Are you a Potterhead? If you are, you’ll want to read on. And if you’re not, read on anyway because Harry Potter is something EVERYONE can get excited about on some level. We were so excited we even made a video about it. Read to the end of this post to check it out!
On our recent trip to the US we spent a few nights in LA on our way over to Colombia. To my absolute delight, this coincided with the recent opening of The Wizarding World of Harry Potter in Hollywood. I literally almost peed my pants with excitement when I realised we’d be able to hit up Hogsmeade Village.
I was totally prepared to fly all the way to Florida to experience this at Universal there but we were totally in luck with our timing on this trip. If you’re based in Australia, California is a mere 14-hour flight away in comparison to the trek we would have to take to get to Florida!
Hot tips before you go
- Check the school holiday timetable. Somehow we always end up at theme parks during peak holiday season…this time was no different! If you want to avoid massive lines, don’t go during the holidays!
- Buy a Front of the Line pass. A little pricer than regular entry into Universal Studios but well worth it! You can cram in way more when you’re not waiting in line for hours on end.
- Watch the Harry Potter movies or refresh your memory with reading your fave book in the series (Prisoner of Azkaban or Order of the Phoenix if you’re me!) to get yourself in the mood for a Butterbeer or two at the Three Broomsticks!
As you enter Universal Studios in Hollywood there is a ridiculously amazing amount of INCREDIBLE Harry Potter paraphernalia in the gift shop as you enter the park so you can get yourself kitted out with robes, a wand and your very own Marauders Map before you can say Expecto Patronum!
PARENTS BE WARNED! This trip could set you back a pretty penny!
There is only one word I can use to describe the feeling of standing outside the gates of Hogsmeade Village…MAGICAL! I was soooooo excited to get in there and check it all out.
Highlights of The Wizarding World of Harry Potter
There are two main rides here which are both awesome, but then again I LOVE rides of any kind. If you’re a bit of a sick note when it comes to 3D rides then Harry Potter and the Forbidden Forest may leave you wanting to throw up in the nearest bin…like it did Elaina! The special effects of this ride are really cool and it was worth the wait (which wasn’t that long as you’ve guessed it, we got to the front of the line pretty quick with our passes!). The experience of being in a game of Quidditch with Harry and Ron was so realistic. One of the best rides of this kind I’ve been on! Flight of the Hippogriff was a bit tamer but still heaps of fun, this one is fine for little kids too!
Food & Drink
Now a trip to The Wizarding World of Harry Potter wouldn’t be complete without sampling the Butterbeer! It wasn’t really our taste (read: ridiculously sweet) but we got one anyway, go for the frozen Butterbeer if you’re there in summer like we were. If you want to indulge in some pub grub the Three Broomsticks have got you covered. For candy, head to Honeydukes to stock up on your Chocolate Frogs and Bertie Botts’s Every Flavour Beans!
Ollivander’s Wand Shop Experience
I won’t spoil this one for you by giving away everything that happens but Ollivander’s Wand Shop Experience was probably my favourite part of The Wizarding World of Harry Potter. The characters really get into the experience and it was well worth the wait of around 45 minutes…you can’t use your front of the line pass for this one. They say the wand chooses the wizard and during this experience that is definitely the case! Very cool!
Cool special effects and Potterhead memorabilia!
Speaking of wands, if you do happen to channel your inner Hermione and buy one they can actually perform magic in the windows of the various shops in Hogsmeade Village. This feature was a big hit with everyone as we crowded around the windows to witness adults and kids alike try their turn at performing a spell or two! Look closely in the windows and you may also spot real props that were used in the movies.
The LA skyline is now complete with its very own Hogwarts and it definitely looks impressive from a distance. Harry and Ron’s car sits in the grounds of the castle looking a bit worse for wear after it’s encounter with the whomping willow and there really is a sense of magic as you walk around this part of The Wizarding World of Harry Potter. The view of the castle from the Flight of the Hippogriff ride is pretty spectacular too!
We loved this experience so much, we even had to make a video of it for you guys so you could get an idea of just how cool this place is! Next stop is to see how The Wizarding World of Harry Potter in Florida, England and Japan compares to this one in Hollywood. I reckon it will be hard to top!