I went to Hogwarts! (Also known as The Wizarding World of Harry Potter, inside Universal Studios Hollywood).
I visited the Wizarding World last weekend with my boyfriend, his mom, sister and cousin. And we had a lot of fun! Here are some pictures:
This is the entrance to the Harry Potter section inside Universal Studios.
“Please respect the spell limits”.
You can take pictures in front of the Hogwarts Express.
Our first stop was Ollivanders. We watched the mini show where a wizard helps someone from the public try different wands. They have to try some spells inside the store and some things will “move” until a wand chooses that person (they will know because of the lights and music that will play, like in the first movie).
After watching the show you go to the other side of the store to check all the wands. You can buy a wand from a book character (they have all the main characters’ wands plus some secondary characters – like Katie Bell or Xenophilus Lovegood). You can also buy a personalized wand. Sometimes the wizard from the show will choose you to do a demostration, the rest of the time you can ask an employee and they will help you find a wand depending on your personality.
Another fun thing about the wands is that some of them are interactive, so you can wave them at certain locations inside the park and they will do magic. I didn’t get an interactive wand because they were around $10 more and because they look bulkier. It makes sense, because they have some… well, technology thing inside that makes them do the magic. But I like the slim versions better because they look like the wands in the movies. I got Hermione’s wand! (It was $47).
Since it was a hot day I got the frozen butterbeer. I had never had butterbeer before, it tasted like root beer with a bit of shaving cream. I liked it!
Then we went inside the Castle. This is actually the ride “Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey” (imagine a ride that is a combination of Space Mountain and Star Tours -from Disneyland-, but with Harry Potter characters and scenarios). I loved it! I would go back just to get on this thing again, it was a magical experience.
The line was a bit long (we waited for almost two hours), but it had many fun things to look at. Like Arthur Weasley’s car.
When you get closer to the castle, you enter the Herbology room. It has some cute decorations. And by cute I mean nightmare-inducing decorations, look at those mandrakes!
The line to the ride takes you inside the castle. I didn’t mind waiting for two hours because there were many things to look at! Most of these paintings moved just like in the movies. And the bigger ones also talked and interacted with each other.
The details were amazing! Just look at the hourglasses, Gryffindor is about to win the House Cup 😉 . After going through this section, the line ended and we got into the ride. Again, I loved it! I was a bit scared at first because I don’t like crazy rides. But it was not worse than Space Mountain (although the special effects can make you dizzy).
After the ride, you leave the castle through Filch’s Emporium.
I never find my name on these things! Every vacation I feel hopeful and look for my name on the souvenirs. It’s never there.
Then we got into the other ride: Flight of the Hipogriff. The line for this one was shorter, around 35 minutes. And while waiting in line you get to see Hagrid’s house and yard. This ride is super short and not too crazy, I would compare it to Disneyland’s Toontown Rollercoaster. It was fun, I just wish it was at least 5 seconds longer.
Then we headed to the shops! First Zonko’s.
Then my favorite shop: Honeydukes!
I got a chocolate frog here! The rest of the day we just walked around the park and took some pictures.
I loved visiting this park! It was magical and the details were amazing. But it was so small! You can’t spend the whole day there, unless you go into the same two rides over and over again. (The advantage here is the you can use the rest of the day to check other attractions inside Universal Studios). I visited all the Harry Potter shops in one hour, and took another hour to do a second round. I liked the atmosphere and the fact that they played music from the movies. I also liked that everything was Harry Potter themed, even the food and drinks.
I think my favorite shop was Honeydukes because they had the best souvenirs. You can find all the candy from the books/movies there and it looks exactly the same! The rest of the shops sell normal Harry Potter merchandise that you can find somewhere else. It’s still nice, but nothing you can’t find on the Internet (and maybe cheaper). In my opinion, the only things worth splurging on are the wands and Hogwarts uniforms, because they are good quality and make your experience at the park more magical.
I’m so happy and grateful for this experience! I don’t think I would go back very often, because for the price ($105-$116) and location I would rather go to Disneyland ($110-$ 124). But it still makes me happy to know that Hogwarts will be there to welcome me home.