Planning a Trip to Universal Studios Hollywood in California? Here are our top 10 things to do in The Wizarding World of Harry Potter. From where to find the perfect wand for your little wizards to what foods to try, this list includes all of your Wizarding World tips and tricks! Check out our top 10 things to do in NYC on a budget and 10 reasons to stay at Beaches Negril in Jamaica.
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TOP 10 THINGS TO DO IN UNIVERSAL STUDIOS HOLLYWOOD WIZARDING WORLD OF HARRY POTTER
Over the past year, I’ve started to introduce the world of Harry Potter to my son. I was a huge fan of the books and films since I was a child, so I’ve been counting the months down until he was finally old enough to start reading the books and enjoying them for himself. After he read the first book, Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone, we showed him the first film so he could compare and contrast. He loved both, but ultimately sides with the book as slightly superior (of course!).
We couldn’t wait to plan a family vacation to the Wizarding World of Harry Potter at Universal Studios Hollywood, which is a fairly quick 6 hour drive from our place. Needless to say, it was a huge hit with our new Potter Head! Here are our top 10 things we did at this amazing park within a park. Keep your expectations high as the Wizarding World of Harry Potter will meet and beat even the most critical of amusement park and Harry Potter fans.
1. SEE A WAND CHOOSE A WIZARD AT OLLIVANDERS
If you are a Harry Pottery fan, make Ollivanders your first stop on your Universal Studios Hollywood itinerary. Make sure to get in line for the Wand Pairing Ceremony before the line gets too long. During the ceremony, the wandkeeper will select someone to participate in a wand pairing demonstration. It’s quite magical and shouldn’t be missed! Once the ceremony is over, wizards are led into Ollivanders to make their wand choices. My daughter picked Hermione’s wand and my son picked the Elder Wand. I highly recommend opting for an interactive wand.
2. SOAR ABOVE HOGWARTS ON HARRY POTTER AND THE FORBIDDEN JOURNEY
The queue to enter the Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey ride takes you through Dumbledore’s office, the Defence Against the Dark Arts classroom, the Gryffindor common room, the Room of Requirement, and more. The amount of detail that went into creating this magical space is amazing! Riders must be at least 48″ tall to ride. Universal Studios Hollywood offers a child switch program so parents can enjoy rides while one stays behind with a child who may not be tall enough to ride yet. Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey uses motion simulation and 3D effects to create the experience of riding a broom through the world of Harry Potter, chasing behind Harry and his friends while encountering the forces of evil. Our favorite part of the ride had to be the forrest portion where obstacles and enemies come within a few short feet of your face while your seat turns 90 degrees at times.
3. DRINK A BUTTERBEER
All ages can enjoy this type of beer at the Wizarding World of Harry Potter! We opted for the frozen variety of this butterscotch and shortbread flavored concoction and were not disappointed. Every drop was absolutely delicious! Butterbeer comes in two options: cold or frozen. Even my picky little ones could not resist the sweet taste of butterscotch.
4. RIDE FLIGHT OF THE HIPPOGRIFF
Flight of the Hippogriff is the ride that all ages will enjoy. A super family-friendly roller coaster that provides enough thrills for the parents to have fun, while giving the young Harry Potter fans a safe, yet exciting experience. The ride itself ends fairly quickly compared to its big brother, Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey. Keep your ears open for Hagrid’s instructions and his giant pup’s bark!
5. CAST SPELLS THROUGHOUT THE WIZARDING WORLD OF HARRY POTTER
Remember when I mentioned Ollivanders? Remember when I told you to buy that interactive wand? Now’s the time to put the wands to good use. Located throughout the Wizarding World of Harry Potter are magical symbols that show a motion your child can perform with their interactive wand. Perform the motion just right, and you’ll be treated to spectacular effects. Our favorite was the flame atop one of the castles that would blow fire once the spell was cast. Be patient as sometimes your child may perform the motion for the spell ever so slightly wrong, and the trick won’t trigger. Bonus: the interactive wands work at Universal Orlando as well.
6. HAVE A BITE TO EAT AT THREE BROOMSTICKS
This rustic tavern will have your mouth watering from the moment you set foot inside. We absolutely loved the decor. Much like the rest of the Wizarding World park, things feel authentically magical and medieval. The service staff was very friendly and helpful, keeping tables full and cleaning behind departing folks feverishly. My husband chose the Shepherd’s Pie, which looked, smelled and tasted warm and hearty. Meals had a home cooked quality to them. Another Butterbeer or two down the hatches as well!
7. TRY A CHOCOLATE FROG FROM HONEYDUKES
If you have a sweet tooth, run to Honeydukes. The shelves are lined with tasty sweet treats straight out of the books. My son and daughter zeroed in on the Chocolate Frogs, which come in the cutest collector’s box and contain a wizard trading card inside. They talked us into buying a few extra just to complete their collection of cards. Yes, I’m a sucker.
8. SEE THE TRIWIZARD SPIRIT RALLY
This was a fun show for the kids, showcasing three wizarding schools as they cheerlead the Triwizard Tournament. Hogwarts, Beauxbatons and Durmstrang are all represented by a talented troop of youngsters who also get the kids in attendance excited and cheering as well. Even after the show, the entertainers are playful and pose for pics with the audience.
9. GRAB A PUMPKIN JUICE FROM HOG’S HEAD
Water, apple juice concentrate, pumpkin puree, and apricot puree, sugar and a few other small ingredients make up this delicious drink we chose to get at the Hog’s Head. Hog’s Head is located in the back of Three Broomsticks, and is highlighted by a massive, stuffed Hog’s Head hanging over the bar. Hog’s Head is known for its brews, Pumpkin Juice, and Butterbeer (yes, Butterbeer keeps popping up in my post because it’s totally awesome!).
10. EXPERIENCE THE DARK ARTS AT HOGWARTS CASTLE
We are planning a trip back to the park just so we can experience the new Dark Arts at Hogwarts Castle show. The new light show will run from June 22nd through August 11th, 2019. Face Death Eaters, Dementors, and Lord Voldemort himself in this music and special effects show, complete with a John Williams (of Star Wars and Superman fame) musical score.