There’s nothing more magical than the first time you read Harry Potter! Am I right? I have a few kids in the middle of the series right now and I envy them because it’s just so exciting the first time you read it. (And it’s still so good the second time and the third time…) Last month we went to the Wizarding World of Harry Potter at Universal Studios Hollywood to walk through that magical world ourselves. We had no idea what to expect or if it would be worth the money to attend, so now that we’ve been, I thought I’d give you the low down so that you can decide for yourself if you want to go!
Wizarding World of Harry Potter Universal Studios Hollywood:
Here’s a peek into the Wizarding World of Harry Potter Universal Studios Hollywood.
When you walk into this area of Universal Studios, you’ll feel a little bit like you’ve entered a new world, or at least a new city. The whole place is decked out in Harry Potter style buildings all around you with Hogwarts looming in the distance.
As you stroll down the streets you are likely to feel like you are in Diagon Alley or Hogsmeade. The buildings look very realistic and just how I pictured them when I read the books.
You can wander in and out of shops as you walk the streets.
They feel very realistic and fun! And there’s a few important stops to make as you stroll.
Hogwarts Express: Of course you can’t get anywhere in Harry Potter’s world without a ride on the Hogwarts Express right? This replica is right inside the gates to Harry Potter World. You can’t ride this one though, there’s just a conductor standing nearby to get your picture taken with.
Ollivander’s Wand Shop: You certainly can’t visit the wizarding world without a stop at Olivanders, right? For this one you’ll have to wait in line to enter, though the line was short and fast moving for us. Inside Ollivander will select one lucky participant to be selected by a wand. It lasts about 5-10 minutes and is a fun little experience. Of course when you are finished they’ve got a wide variety of wands for you to buy if you would like. Here’s a peek inside:
Honeydukes: You know the first stop everyone would want to make in Hogsmeade is Honeydukes right? Step inside this candy shop and it’s everything you would imagine. Bright colors, candy that smells amazing, chocolate frogs, the works. Pretty fun place to visit, though I will warn you-it was very crowded and the prices were high. A chocolate frog will run you about $12. Here’s a little glimpse of the fun:
There are many other stores you can visit as well-Dervish and Banges, Zonks Joke shop, shops to pick out your own owl, you could spend hours just having fun looking in these stores if that’s your thing!
Three Broomsticks: And of course you can eat at The Three Broomsticks. They’ve got a variety of food-a few English foods, a little Harry Potter fare and some traditional American foods. We didn’t eat here, but I am told it is great.
Butter Beer: What we did try, was the Butter Beer. You can get this inside the restaurant, but we just got it from a stand. They’ve got a regular version and a frozen version. We tried the frozen. It’s very sweet and very cold and caused some serious brain freezes. Might be something to share, because my kids had a hard time finishing them on their own. And they cost about $7 a piece.
Hogwarts Castle: At the back of Harry Potter land, looming over the rest of the land, is Hogwarts Castle. And inside the caste is a ride. This was the highlight of Harry Potter World for me. You’ll walk all through the castle as you wait in line. You’ll see everything from moving pictures to castle paraphernalia and other familiar aspects of Hogwarts. We loved this!
The ride inside the castle is like no other ride I’ve ever been on. I admit that at first it was very disorienting-they’ve packed a lot in. You’ll wear 3D glasses and also be taken on a flying ride. There are twists and turns and dips and you’ll see all your favorite characters and places inside the castle and out. I enjoyed the second time that I rode it much more than the first because I knew better what to expect. Overall it’s a very fun ride! If you are at all prone to motion sickness though, I’d be careful. This one’s a doozie!
There’s also a small roller coaster-Ride of the Hippogriff. It’s a quick, fast “family friendly” ride that scared my 5 year old to death. It had no line which is always nice!
Overall we had a good time at The Wizarding World of Harry Potter in Universal Studios Hollywood. Our overall feeling was that while it was fun, we wouldn’t make a special trip to Universal just for the Harry Potter part. If Universal sounds fun to you otherwise, then Harry Potter will be icing on the cake, but the land itself probably isn’t worth the money alone. (We loved some other parts of Universal though too-like the Jurassic Park ride!)
Have a FUN day!
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