After more than five years in the making, The Wizarding World of Harry Potter finally opened at Universal Studios Hollywood last month. If you haven’t zipped up to California to see it yet, book your flight ASAP, because it’s legendary.
The real-world interpretation of Hogsmeade Village and Hogwarts Castle that cost the theme park over $500 million to create is leaving tourists standing at the attraction’s entrance with their mouths open in astonishment. It really does look exactly as it does in the Harry Potter films, and you certainly will feel as though you’re in another world – a “Wizarding World”, that is. This Universal Studios Hollywood masterpiece will transport fans to the very places they read about and watched on screen – but it’s not exclusively Harry Potter fans that will enjoy this bewildering display. Anyone and everyone can appreciate its glory.
As you walk through and admire Hogsmeade’s snow-capped roofs, cobblestone streets, charming shop windows and tilted chimneys, you’ll also be able to buy Butterbeer from unique barrel-shaped Buterbeer carts, and you’ll be greeted by staff in authentic costumes.
If that’s not phenomenal enough, you’ll also get plenty of opportunity to lose yourself in both 3-D and 4-D Harry Potter experiences as well as rides, shows and attractions throughout the enchanting exhibit. At one point, you’ll be on a ride that will have you literally feeling like you’re flying on a broomstick. Throughout the entire village, the soundtrack from the movies fills the air and the general ambience is certainly other-worldly.
Guests of all ages can take photos in front of the Hogwarts Express, partake in memorable scenes from the Harry Potter films with convincing actors, and enjoy a performance by the Hogwarts students’ Frog Choir.
An impressive variety of storefront facades have been authentically recreated from the Harry Potter films throughout the lively attraction. Window-shoppers should keep an eye out for the Owlery, Madam Puddifoot’s cozy tearoom, Ceridwen’s Cauldron Shop, Owl Post, Gladrags Wizardwear, Ollivanders Wand Shop, and the specialty bookstore Tomes and Scrolls – just to name a few.
What about Hogsmeade eats, you ask? Hogsmeade Village also offers its visitors an awesome variety of British fare that is exclusive to “The Wizarding World of Harry Potter.”
At Three Broomsticks restaurant, guests can enjoy British favourites such as Beef Sunday Roast, Bangers & Mash, Shepherd’s Pie, Turkey Leg, Fish & Chips, Roast Chicken and more.
Of course, none of this really compares to the iconic Hogwarts Castle, which is arguably the most picturesque 200-foot sight at “The Wizarding World of Harry Potter” and the 3D-HD ride “Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey” that it’s home to is utterly convincing. Winding through the Castle’s passageways, as part of the queue for the Forbidden Journey ride, Harry Potter fans will encounter many familiar places. If some of it looks exactly like the films, it’s because in some cases you’ll be looking at actual props from the films. You’ll get to see the Mirror of Erised, Dumbledore’s office, and the Defence Against the Dark Arts classroom. Those are a few sneak peaks, but I’ll keep the rest a surprise.
Several collectibles from “The Wizarding World of Harry Potter” are of course available for purchase, including character wands, interactive wands, robes, props, Butterbeer mugs, chocolate frogs, and much more.
Guests will be pleasantly surprised by several acted-out scenes from the films. For example, a visit to Ollivanders Wand Shop allows you to step into one of the most iconic scenes from the Harry Potter films to experience a similar magical moment which Harry enjoyed when his wand chose him.
Needless to say, you’ll be fully immersed in the magical world of Harry Potter. If you got way-too-excited reading this, keep in mind that nothing can compare to seeing it in person.