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“To journey to a world beyond anything we thought possible…”
The Wizarding World of Harry Potter is undoubtedly Universal Studios Hollywood’s biggest and most exciting attraction in its 51-year history. The crowds will surely descend upon the park in droves, and because of this, we’d like to offer a guide in how best to navigate The Wizarding World of Harry Potter. If you’d like to experience all that the land has to offer, this guide will hopefully help you plan your adventure through Hogsmeade.
Due to the expected large crowds for the new land, Universal Studios Hollywood will be implementing the Timed Entry Ticket system that has been used for the other iterations of The Wizarding World. If you’re not familiar with the Timed Entry Ticket system, be sure to read our guide here.
The Wizarding World of Harry Potter encompasses six acres of land, including three attractions, seven shops, one restaurant and countless cups of Butterbeer.
As you make your way into Hogsmeade, you’ll come to see that Hogsmeade is a cul-de-sac, which makes navigating the land quite easy. Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey is the marquee attraction in the land, and you’ll want to make this is your first stop. As soon as you enter Hogsmeade (which is the setting for the land) you’ll see the Hogwarts Castle looming over the town. You’ll want to make your way to the back of the land and enter the gates of Hogwarts.
The entrance to Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey
Some might say Forbidden Journey is two attractions in one – the main ride and the queue. The queue itself is quite impressive and immersive and while we’ll leave make this guide spoiler free, we’ll say that Universal, Warner Brothers and J.K. Rowling have made sure that once you enter Hogwarts, you become fully engulfed into the university and all that it has to offer. For those who wish to tour the castle, you’ll be able to request a castle tour that bypasses the main ride.
The ride – Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey – meanwhile is an incredibly advanced 3D attraction that combines 3D media and large-scale practical effects in an intense and unique experience. Do be aware that some have experienced motion sickness, and Forbidden Journey isn’t for the faint of heart. It’s best said that if you can handle a ride systems that are motion simulators, then you should be able to ride this one with relative ease (though we must add that Forbidden Journey is among the more intensive 3D attractions at the park).
Flight of the Hippogriff’s main loading station
Once you exit off of the ride, take your time and walk around the ride’s gift shop, Filches Emporium of Confiscated Goods. After you leave the store go straight ahead and board the family coaster, Flight of the Hippogriff. We recommend only doing this ride if the wait time is minimal or you have a child that is not tall enough to ride Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey. While Flight of the Hippogriff is a fun ride with a surprising amount of speed, the ride’s duration tops out at forty-eight seconds.
After you experienced Flight of the Hippogriff you can begin to take your time and explore all the land has to offer. We would suggest your next stop to be Ollivander’s, which includes an experience that allows the wand keeper to choose one lucky muggle to have an opportunity to have a wand custom-fitted to their characteristics. Please note that the muggle chosen will not be allowed to keep the wand, but they can purchase one for a fee.
The entrance to Ollivander’s – maker of fine wands
You will exit into the Ollivander’s wand gift shop. Here you can purchase wands from each character represented in the film as well as a special wand that is dedicated to the month of your birth. Each wand comes in two different variations – Interactive ($47.95) and non-interactive ($39.95). The interactive wands allow you to cast over eleven spells within Hogsmeade. Look for specially marked medallions on the ground which will indicate a window-display that’s compatible with the park’s interactive wands. Simply follow the map that’s included with your interactive wand, and you’ll be able to cast a spell at a specific window that will see window display come to life.
From there, you can explore the other shops around the land. If clothing is what you’re looking for, than look no further than Dervish and Banges or Gladrags Wizardwear. If you want to buy a stuffed owl, go to the Owl Post and you can even send a special letter to a friend or a loved one. If you’re looking for items that would be more of a collectible nature or even a throw blanket, visit Wiseacre’s Wizarding Equipment. For the practical joker in the group stop by Zonko’s Joke Shop and check out the classic joke products that we all grew up with.
After you’ve traveled up and down the streets of Hogsmeade, you’ll have worked up quite the appetite. Head on over to Three Broomsticks and grab yourself some Americanized British cuisine. Main courses range in price from $12.99 – $21.99 before you add any drinks or desserts. If you like bangers and mash or spare ribs, this is your go-to place to grab a hearty meal. Don’t forget to add a Butterbeer to compliment your meal.
A meal from Three Broomsticks
If you’re just looking to cool off with an alcoholic beverage, stop by Hog’s Head where you can find Wizards Brew, Fire Whiskey, Hogshead and Dragon Scale. This location also serves cold and frozen Butterbeer. There are two other locations within the land that serves Butterbeer. Just look for the giant red Butterbeer carts – one located in front of Three Broomsticks and the other is located just outside the Ollivander’s wand gift shop.
If you have a sweet tooth, head on over to Honeydukes, where you can find candy of all kinds. From Bertie Bots Every Flavour Bean to Fizzing Whizzbees, you won’t have a problem finding something for everyone.
Once you’ve grabbed some candy or dessert, walk on over to the stage near Flight of the Hippogriff to catch one or both of the shows that play every hour. The Frog Choir is a fifteen-minute show where you can see the students of Hogwarts and their frogs sing songs written by J.K. Rowling herself. The TriWizard Sprit Rally is roughly seven minutes long, but packs quite a punch. The Beauxbatons dance gracefully across the stage while the Durmstrang guys perform an intense martial arts demonstration.
Lastl,y before you leave the land, head on over to the Hogwarts Express where you can dress up and have your photo taken inside one of the cabins of the Hogwarts Express. This photo opportunity does not allow any personal photos to be taken but only by an employee of the land. You can purchase a photo for $24.95.