After years of waiting for its completion and another year of delaying visiting, I finally entered into the Wizarding World of Harry Potter at Universal Studios Hollywood. Luckily I previously had an annual pass (expiring before the HP opening) to Universal so I was able to skip the rest of the park and fully embrace The Wizarding World World the entire day.
So as I have now tested out every establishment (minus the Flight of the Hippogriff) I will share with you the best that The Wizarding World of Harry Potter Hollywood has to offer.
Pro Tip: I went with my family (who was in town for my graduation) on Father’s Day and the park was the emptiest I had ever seen it!
The Forbidden Journey
To beat the line the obvious first stop was at Hogwarts. Inside the magnificent castle is The Forbidden Journey ride. Much like other rides at Universal you are keeping up with the characters on one of their adventures, through the good and the bad. You are seated in groups of 4 and your seats fly throughout the building to different parts of the adventure. Needless to say – don’t take this one on if you are prone to motion sickness.
For lunch we ate like kings….or should I say really prestigious and hungry witches and wizards? You can now drink and feast at the same location (well, almost) that Harry drank his first Butter Beer, the Three Broomsticks. Since there were four of us we ordered the The Great Feast and I had an Pumpkin Juice to drink. The feast included corn on the cob, ribs, chicken, potatoes, and more vegetables. The interior truly does make you feel like you are inside the wizarding world or took a step back in time with tall wooden ceilings and rustic decor. Next time I plan to get the Shepard’s Pie (unless I’m with a very hungry group of 4 again!).
Ollivanders Wand Shop
Inside Ollivanders you have the opportunity to watch a wand choose its witch or wizard. Just a quick wait and you will be brought into a room with many other guests. The shop keeper will choose one person from the audience to receive their wand and all guests can watch the wand choosing process. You are then let out of the showing into a wand shop where you can purchase your own wand or the wand of your favorite character.
Triwizard Spirit Rally
If shows are more your thing, then be sure not to miss the Triwizard Spirit Rally getting the crowd hyped up for the Triwizard Tournaments. Set in the between the village and the rides, the performances occur multiple times throughout the day.
Hog’s Head Pub
One reason many visit the Wizarding World of Harry Potter is to try the glorious Butter Beer. There are multiple carts throughout the area that serve non alcoholic butter beer both in liquid and frozen form, but to get the best experience you need to go into Hog’s Head Pub and add in your vice. With options of rum, vodka, or whiskey you can add the good stuff into this already incredible drink. I added a shot of Jameson and am a firm believer that it is worth the price of the Universal Pass just because of this drink.
Ever wanted to try Chocolate Frogs or Bertie Bott’s Every-Flavour Beans? Now you can. Honeydukes is filled with every Harry Potter related sweet you can imagine. Off the side of the location is also Zonko’s Joke shop, making it a two-in-one shop for all sweets and trinkets.
The Wizarding World of Harry Potter is has endless shops including the Owl Post, for stationary goods, Dervish and Banges which includes a real live (and don’t worry, caged) The Monster Book of Monsters, and Filch’s Emporium of Confiscated Goods.
Have you ever been to the Wizarding World of Harry Potter? What is your favorite attraction?