We went to Los Angeles on a business trip, and ended up finishing our work early, so we decided to have a little fun! Katie and I are both huge Harry Potter fans and visiting the Wizarding World of Harry Potter has been on both of our bucket lists, so we decided to check it out!
As soon as we got to the gates leading to The Wizarding World of Harry Potter, we were impressed! It was like you could feel the magic! When you pass through the gates, you instantly feel like you have been transported into the magical world of Harry Potter. You start at Hogsmeade Station, where you can see the Hogwarts Express, meet the conductor, and buy some treats in the station.
Then there are all of the shops! At first I didn’t realize that you could actually go in most of them! There was Zonko’s Joke Shop with all sorts of pranks and novelty toys and Honeydukes which has all the candy and sweet treats you know and love from Harry Potter. If you want to send a letter back home with an official Hogsmeade seal, you can stop at the Owl Post where you can also pick up lots of stationary and feather pens.
If you’re a Quidditch enthusiast, make sure to stop at Dervish and Banges for all your gear! There are also shops for general souvenirs, and a shop where you can get your official Hogwarts robes.
The highlight of our shopping was Ollivander’s Wand Shop. There was a short wait to get in, but then you go in with a small group and someone in your group will be chosen for their wand selection. It is just a really cute, fun experience. Then they take you into the wand shop where they have wands for each character, and other wands you can choose from. I chose Fleur’s wand and Katie chose Hermione’s. They are both magical, which means they come with a map of spots in the park where you can stand and perform a “spell” to make something happen in a shop window. It’s pretty cool!
Past most of the shops is the Hogwarts Castle and all I can say is WOW. It’s amazing. It is so impressive, you just find yourself looking at it from every angle.
Right at the base of Hogwarts is the entrance to Harry Potter and The Forbidden Journey Ride. As you walk to the ride, you are walking through Hogwarts and I have to say, they did an amazing job of re-creating what you read about in the books or see in the movies. On the ride, you sit in a 4 person rollercoaster type of car, and are whisked through Harry Potter’s world. There are scenes are projected in front of you, which make you feel like you are flying through them. It is fast and thrilling, and the special effects were really impressive.
There is another ride called the Flight of the Hippogriff that we didn’t go on because it is more geared towards families and smaller children so it didn’t look quite thrilling enough for us haha!
There were quite a few food and beverage options – we saw a restaurant that looked like it served homestyle meals, and there were lots of beverage carts where you could get the iconic Butterbeer and some sweet treats.
We conquered The Wizarding World of Harry Potter as soon as we got to Universal Studios, then went out and did some other rides, and ended up coming back to Harry Potter because we loved it so much! It was especially beautiful as the sun was setting over the park! Another beautiful view was from the escalators down the mountain!
Now for a quick rundown of the other rides/attractions we did:
The Revenge of the Mummy: We had both done this ride before in Orlando, and it was equally fun in Hollywood! It’s pretty fast and jarring, but we like those kinds of rides 🙂 You ride both forward and backward!
The Special Effects Show: We were walking by this as a show was starting so we decided to check it out! We didn’t know what to expect at all, but it was actually really cool and informative! It was about 30 minutes long, and they show you how different movie effects are done. They even lit a stunt guy on fire which was a little scary but he wasn’t hurt!
Transformers: The Ride 3D: This one was my favorite!! You sit in a car with 3D glasses and then you’re whipped around like you are driving in Transformers! The effects were so amazing (they use flight simulation technology), it felt like you were really there and I just can’t even describe how cool it was!
As you can see, we had a really awesome day and if you ever find yourself near a Universal Studios, definitely go, especially if you love Harry Potter!
A few park tips:
We didn’t get to the park until about 2 or 3 in the afternoon, and were a little worried that we wouldn’t have time to see everything we wanted to see, but it ended up being plenty of time! Getting there later was actually great because after a few hours, it started to get cooler and once the sun started to set, the weather was perfect!
We chose to buy the Express Pass. They had a few different options but we chose the one that gave us express access to each ride and attraction one time. This was a lifesaver. Some of the lines were really long, but we didn’t wait more than 5-10 minutes to ride anything. I wouldn’t go to a theme park without an express pass!
We both debated about wardrobe and ended up choosing sundresses. It may sound a little unconventional but it was the best way to stay cool! Plus, most of the rides have the bar that goes between your legs, so we didn’t have to worry about any wardrobe malfunctions haha!
Try to bring as small of a bag as possible. If your bag is larger than a small crossbody, you have to leave it in lockers at every ride and sometimes the locker line is long. Katie had a crossbody and I had a wristlet so we could take them on all the rides!
Buy your souvenirs last! We saw a lot of people lugging gift shop items around the park and having to put them in lockers at every ride. Wait until you are ready to leave and then stock up on souvenirs!
I hope this helps and if you go (or if you’ve already been), you’ll have to let me know what you think and which ride is your favorite!
Thanks for reading!