By Abby Berman Mazenod
This last weekend my husband and I got the “golden ticket”! (golden owl? golden snitch? ticket on the Hogwarts Express?) Our super cool nephew wanted us to go with him to “The Wizarding World of Harry Potter” (otherwise know as Harry Potter World) at Universal Studios, Hollywood for his 11th birthday! How great is that!? For Timothy’s 11th birthday he got to go to Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry for the first time just like Harry Potter did when he turned 11! I can’t get over it!
This place is so magically awesome! When you first walk in, you are transported into Hogsmeade during a snowy winter day. Universal has done everything to make this experience authentic.
If you are a Harry Potter fan, you will seriously go nuts! The first stores you will see will be Zonko’s home of “Weasleys’ Wizard Wheezes”products and the magical candy store Honeydukes. Here you can buy chocolate frogs, Bertie Botts’ Every Flavor Beans, Chocolate Wands, fudge flies, peppermint toads, cauldron cakes, Dumbledore’s favorite… lemon drops, and many other magical candies and treats.
At Ollivander’s Wand Shop, as you know, the wand chooses the wizard. There are two parts to this shop. In the first part, a new wizard can have the interactive experience and opportunity of a wand choosing him or her. The other part is literally a giant wand store with thousands of wands to choose from. A really neat element of buying a wand at Ollivander’s is the ability to buy an interactive wand! These come in the form of your favorite character’s wand, and can be used around Hogsmeade to perform actual spells!
My awesome nephew trying out a spell with his new”interactive wand”…
Butterbeer!!! This tasty treat is served everywhere! We had lunch at the Three Broomsticks that afternoon, and obviously had to quench our thirst with some of this delicious (non-alcoholic) beverage.
While waiting in line for the rollercoaster “Flight of the Hippogriff”, riders get to see Hagrid’s hut up close and check out his flying motorcycle parked outside. They also get to hang out with Buckbeak the Hippogriff right before boarding. It’s a pretty short ride, but really fun!
The highlight of this whole experience is Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry! In the ride “Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey”part of the excitement is just waiting in line. Riders get to see what everyone has imagined Hogwarts looking like. We couldn’t get over how much it felt like we were jumping right into the world from the books! While waiting in line you pass the Weasley’s crashed Flying Ford Anglia, you go through the Herbology greenhouse, the Gryffindor common room, the Defense Against the Dark Arts classroom, the entrance to Dumbledore’s office, and you end up in the Great Hall to board the ride. It is a hybrid 3D simulator that follows Harry on an dark journey through Hogwarts. Riders see the Whomping Willow, some scary Dementors, and an exciting Quiddich match! (A little warning- this ride was a bit more frightening than I expected.)
There are still more things to see for the next trip to the Wizarding World of Harry Potter. The Hogwart’s Express, and the Owlery, where you can buy Howlers and can post an owl back home, to mention a couple. This place is seriously amazing! I hope you get to visit soon!
Also-A special thanks to Chad, Jen, Timothy and Katelyn for including us on their magical adventure last weekend! Thanks guys!