The Wizarding World of Harry Potter Universal Studios Hollywood!

After the opening of the Wizarding World of Harry Potter @ Universal Studios Orlando, Universal Studios decided that it’s time to open one in the east coast as well. This time, we got the opportunity to visit the Wizarding World of Harry Potter @ Universal Studios Hollywood and it is definitely an experience not to be missed for Potter fans!

The Wizarding World of Harry Potter at Universal Studios Hollywood
The Wizarding World of Harry Potter at Universal Studios Hollywood


Rides & Attractions at the Wizarding World of Harry Potter Universal Studios Hollywood

There are actually only 2 rides at the Wizarding World of Harry Potter in Universal Studios Hollywood. Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey (Simulation Ride) as well as the Flight of the Hippogriff (Rollercoaster Ride). However, if you’re a fan of simulated rides, Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey has got to be the best one out there…

Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey

Hogwarts - Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey Simulation Ride
Hogwarts – Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey Simulation Ride
Inside Hogwarts Universal Studios Hollywood
Inside Hogwarts
Hogswart Sorting Hat
Hogswart Sorting Hat
Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey Seating
Seating

Before you head over for the ride, there a few things that you probably have to take note.

1. It is SCARY! Have you taken Transformers The Ride – 3D before? If so, it’s MUCH MORE EXCITING than that! You’ll be taken through a Quidditch match, fleeing from giant spiders and trees (aka Whomping Willow) and fending off Dementors! As you can see from the picture above, the ride moves in a seat. Hence, it is a moving simulated ride. There will be twists and turns and sometimes you’ll be on your back. So get ready for a really exciting ride! Just before we boarded the seats for our ride, a little boy was crying while a little girl wanted to go again…Decide for yourself… ;)

2. Lockers. Before you enter Hogswart for the ride, there are many lockers available to keep your bags. These lockers are activated by finger prints and are free to use for 2 hours, sufficient time for you to finish all the offerings at the Wizarding World of Harry Potter before you move to other parts of the park.

3. Keep your camera handy. As it’s a seated ride, you can have your hand phones with you and keep your glasses on for the entire duration of the ride. Keep your cameras handy because before the ride, you’ll be taken through the Defence Against the Dark Arts Classroom, Dumbledore’s office as well as the hallways of talking portraits

Hogwarts Universal Studios Hollywood Hall of Talking Portraits
Talking Portraits
Dumbledore's Office
Dumbledore’s Office
Defence Against the Dark Arts Classroom
DATDA Classroom

Flight of the Hippogriff

Flight of the Hippogriff Roller Coaster Ride Universal Studios Hollywood
Flight of the Hippogriff Roller Coaster Ride Universal Studios Hollywood

The Flight of the Hippogriff is a roller coaster ride in the Wizarding World of Harry Potter. The ride is a relatively mild roller coaster ride as compared to some extreme rides that we’ve taken such as Sheikra at Busch Gardens Tampa Bay. Yup, the name of the ride tells the whole story.

The setting of the ride is where Hagrid is teaching young wizards how to fly a Hippogriff. The ride takes you through the Forbidden Forest and Hagrid’s Hut before ascending up the highest point of the ride for a great view of the Wizarding World of Harry Potter.

Ollivanders – Where a Wand chooses a Wizard

Ollivanders - Makers of Fine Wands in the Wizarding World of Harry Potter Universal Studios Hollywood
Ollivanders – Makers of Fine Wands in the Wizarding World of Harry Potter Universal Studios Hollywood

As you enter the Wizarding World of Harry Potter, after Honey Dukes, you’ll see a queue for Ollivanders. The queue is actually for a demonstration of how a wand chooses a wizard. This time, we were able to see 2 young wizards try their hand at some wands. To be frank, it was more like a sales pitch. After the demonstration was done, the parents of the 2 brothers were asked to approach while the crowd left. They had the “opportunity” to purchase the special wands for the kids (wands can go as high as ~$50USD each). If you’re in a rush for time or not really in Harry Potter, you can give the demonstration a miss. You could forward to the 20 second mark of the video below to see how it’s like inside before you decide…


Video Coverage of the Wizarding World of Harry Potter at Universal Studios Hollywood

Ollivanders Wand Shop
During Demonstration
Inside Ollivanders
Inside Ollivanders
Harry Potter Wand
Harry Potter Wand

After the demonstration, you’ll be led into Ollivanders Wand Shop. Even in the wand shop, it seemed as though you had entered into a Harry Potter stage set. The wands were placed in a disorderly manner, just like in the films. We also took the opportunity to have a shot with a Harry Potter Wand. Of course, you’ll also be able to find Hermione’s, Dumbledore’s and Sirius Black’s wands as well.

Frog Choir & Triwizard Spirit Rally

In addition to the 3 rides/attraction with queues, there are also 2 shows that are available at the Wizarding World of Harry Potter. They are the Frog Choir performance as well as the Triwizard Spirit Rally


Frog Choir


Triwizard Spirit Rally at the Wizarding World of Harry Potter

For Harry Potter fans, these are great performances to watch!


Dining at the Wizarding World of Harry Potter Universal Studios Hollywood

Three Broomsticks Restaurant at the Wizarding World of Harry Potter Universal Studios Hollywood
Three Broomsticks Restaurant at the Wizarding World of Harry Potter Universal Studios Hollywood
Inside Three Broomsticks Restaurant
Inside Three Broomsticks
Butter Beer and Butter Beer Pudding Three Broomsticks Restaurant Wizarding World of Harry Potter Universal Studios Hollywood
Butter Beer and BB Potted Cream
Hog's Head Pub Wizarding World of Harry Potter
Hog’s Head Pub

Three Broomsticks Restaurant and Krusty Burger are probably the 2 best places to dine in Universal Studios Hollywood. At the Three Broomsticks, you’ll be able to enjoy the famous butter beer and butter beer pudding (potted cream)! These days, Butter Beer to Universal Studios is akin to Dole Whip at Disneyland. Which means, you’ll definitely have to give it a try while you’re there!

Butter Beer is non-alcoholic beverage that is often featured as a favourite drink in the Harry Potter series. To be honest, there isn’t really anything quite like it. But if we have to describe, it would be butterscotch in a soda form. There are 3 versions that you can try. Cold, Hot and Frozen (Slushie for $1 more at $6.99). Since Universal Studios Hollywood was quite warm when we visited, we decided to try the frozen version and it was rather delicious. As for the butter beer pudding (Potted Cream), it was rather sweet (and expensive @ $5.29). However, the more we had it, the more we wanted it! The top layer’s smothered with honey and cream (which can be rather sweet) but once you get to the cream, you simply can’t stop. The cream itself was rich, creamy and oh so smooth! But beware, the pudding is REALLY SWEET. For simply a taste, the pudding is good for 4 to test.

As with all the shops in Hogsmeade, they are all built with such attention to details. Sitting in Three Broomsticks Restaurant, we again felt like we had entered into another stage set. High ceilings, overhanging lights with wooden furniture, add to the feel of the world of Harry Potter. Next to the Three Broomsticks is Hog’s Head Pub. There’s really a Hog’s Head there as well. Beers are mostly from London, which is why you’re able to find Boddingtons on tap there.


Shopping at the Wizarding World of Harry Potter Universal Studios Hollywood

Hogsmeade at the Wizarding World of Harry Potter Universal Studios Hollywood
Hogsmeade at the Wizarding World of Harry Potter Universal Studios Hollywood

The entire Wizarding World of Harry Potter is made to look like that in the movies. So if you’re a Potter fan, take time to visit the stores in Hogsmeade including, the Owl Post, Honey Dukes and even the toilets where Moaning Myrtle lurks

Toilets in Wizarding World of Harry Potter
Toilets
Moaning Myrtle in Wizarding World of Harry Potter Toilet Universal Studios Hollywood
Wasn’t that Moaning Myrtle?
Hogsmeade Train Station
Hogsmeade Station

Inside the toilet, you’ll be able to hear Moaning Myrtle’s laughter, including her iconic phrase to Harry Potter of “Long time no…see”. At the Hogsmeade Station, you’ll be able to take a photo next to a green screen that can be superimposed to look as though you’re seated in the train enroute to Hogsmeade. Do note that King’s Cross or the London part of the Harry Potter series is only featured at Universal Studios Orlando and not Universal Studios Hollywood.

Alleys in Hogsmeade Universal Studios Hollywood
Alleys in Hogsmeade Universal Studios Hollywood
Owl Post Wizarding World of Harry Potter
Owl Post
Inside Owl Post Wizarding World of Harry Potter Toilet Universal Studios Hollywood
Inside Owl Post
Nimbus 2000 Firebolt Broomsticks
Harry Potter Broomsticks
Honey Dukes Wizarding World of Harry Potter
Honey Dukes
Tricks & Jokes Wizarding World of Harry Potter Toilet Universal Studios Hollywood
Tricks & Jokes
Inside Honey Dukes
Inside Honey Dukes

Many iconic stores found in the Harry Potter series can be found as you walk through the town of Hogsmeade. Remember the entrepreneurial Weasley brothers (Fred Weasley and George Weasley) who would be selling sweets, jokes and tricks throughout the Harry Potter series? Yup, you can find Honey Dukes (Every Flavour Beans) as well as some of the tricks and jokes that they sold. Inside the Owl Post, you’ll see some figurines of owls as well as a mountain of packages. As you walk further in, there’s a cage that houses the Monster Book. It comes alive from time to time, so watch out! Also, there are wizard costumes and even broomsticks (Nimbus 2000 and Firebolt) that are just like those in the films. Definitely something that Potter fans got to check out.

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If you’re a Harry Potter fan, the Wizarding World of Harry Potter is a real treat on its own. As a guide, whether you’re a fan or not, head straight to Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey to do the ride, when doors open at 9am (1 hour before official opening). This is because the ride will peak throughout the rest of the day. Head there first and you’ll be able to cover it and cross it out, first thing in the morning.

Given the intricacies and details depicted in the Wizarding World of Harry Potter, you’ll definitely have a great time experiencing and taking in all that the Harry Potter series have to offer. Enjoy!

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