Experiencing the Wizarding World of Harry Potter at Universal Studios Hollywood

harry potter world

Universal Studios Hollywood is currently doing soft openings for its newest land addition – The Wizarding World of Harry Potter. The official opening of the world takes place on April 7th. If you have been to the one in Florida, then let me start by saying I envy you. This location is something to visit as well, and it changed my life.

I had the opportunity to visit the park this past week at night, and just stepping in made me cry like a baby! For me, Harry Potter holds a vey personal and sentimental meaning in my life, and to see the world I desired to live in all my life become an actual thing and step inside of it, man there was no better feeling.

Upon walking in, you immediately see the Hogwarts Express and in the distance you can see Hogwarts itself. It’s an exceptional view, especially at night time. It immediately makes you feel as if you are walking where the trio once did. For me, that was enough. I could have gone home and been satisfied, but let’s talk more about all of the things they had to offer.

Hogwarts //

First Stop

We made our way over to the restaurant/pub. Since we weren’t eating, we didn’t spend much time there, but the food on the menu looked exceptional and ranged from a traditional roast dinner to Shepherd’s Pie. Although I can’t eat it, it was definitely dreamy to look at. Besides the food, the props and scenery looked beautiful. Every inch of the location was covered with amazing attention to detail. Trust me, if you were there you wouldn’t be able to get enough of it. The pub and the restaurant looked so well done, but that was just the beginning of our journey.

The next location we stopped at was the Owl Post Office. Fun fact: Did you know that this place actually serves as a proper post office? If you have a letter and want to mail it, they’ll do it! The first thing I noticed was the owls moving about, watching everyone enter the building. After all – owls are how wizards get their mail! The number one thing I noticed, though, were the authentic quill pens and quill pen sets. I am a sucker for things like this, and they were just so breathtaking! Having one could make you feel like you were actually there.

The post office was attached to another store – Dervish and Banges. The store serves as a place where you can get your robes, scarfs, or any other supplies you might need to start your year at Hogwarts. It was really surreal to step inside and think about the first Harry Potter film, where they all go to the same store and buy their robes. Not only do they sell those items, though, I heard you can actually buy Hermione’s Yule Ball dress! Isn’t that super cool? (P.S. I highly recommend the scarves.)

Next Up – Hogwarts

The way this is set up is that if you want to have a look inside the castle, you’re going to have to wait in line with everyone else because it’s also the way to ride Harry Potter and The Forbidden Journey – which is one of two rides at the location.

Hogwarts x 2 //

The castle itself is just – no words. It really takes you back a second, and it’s almost overwhelming to be there because it makes you so happy. (Well it does for me at least.) It’s incredibly accurate to how Hogwarts actually is. You start at the beginning which showcases the founder of Hogwarts and all of the house founders. Godric, Rowena, etc. My favorite part was to see the Phoenix, which is how you get to Dumbledore’s office. Harry uses it in the Chamber of Secrets.

Next up we actually got to take a step inside Dumbledore’s office, where everything was gorgeously put together. His desk took the spotlight in the middle, and it looked identical to that of the movie. Each paper placed on his desk and every book in the bookshelf served its purpose.

Moving on from there, we get to see the Defense Against the Dark Arts room, where Harry, Hermione, and Ron are talking to you about their endeavors at school. The classroom is insane, honestly. From head to toe it is blanketed in decor to fit the scene.

The best part? In every corridor pictures hung on the wall. Every single one of them moved – just like in the films. Every one! All with different personalities; some would even join up with another in separate painting. Speechless, really.

Now by the time you’re finished with all that, you finally made it to the ride! If you’re not into 3D effects, fast motions, flinging back and forth, and things in your face, then Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey isn’t for you. But if you don’t mind that stuff and want the most incredible experience of your life, then please, please, please go on it! I won’t go much into detail, because it’s truly an “at least once in a lifetime” thing and I believe that if you want to fully experience it you need to just go.

After, we headed over to the other ride in the park – Flight of the Hippogriff. Now, this one isn’t nearly as cool as the other, but it’s still pretty fun. If you don’t remember what a Hippogriff is, it’s a magical creature first featured in the third film. It’s a mix between a horse and an eagle. Pretty cool, right? The rollercoaster ride isn’t very long, but that doesn’t make it any less entertaining.

Unfortunately, the park only has those two rides, unlike the location in Florida, which has about 5 in total. That’s more than enough for me, though. Two rides are great, and if you’re not there for the rides, then you’ll understand why!

Last but certainly not least, we made our final stop at the very famous Honeydukes, the candy shop featured in most of the films. So many iconic moments have come from this location. Chocolate frogs, Bertie and Botts Every Flavored Beans, and so much more! The experience in the store was truly magical, and the best way to end the entire thing. It was so colorful and pretty, not to mention that the candy itself was incredible! They even offer fudge and loaded sweets. (After paying, you can get a short view of Weasleys’ Wizard Wheezes. It’s very small but very fun.)

Honeydukes //

Sadly, we didn’t get a chance to check our Olivander’s Wand Shop, because the line was far too long. When I go back, and you know I will, I want to actually check it out and have the experience of a wand choosing me. It’s the ultimate Harry Potter super fan dream!

I also didn’t get to try the Butterbeer, but my friends did and they all seemed to really enjoy it! So if you go, I recommend it.

Even though this location isn’t as big as the one in Orlando, it certainly does not disappoint. It has so much to offer, and if you love the series as much as I do, you will understand that this small park is enough and a million for you. It’s breathtaking, really well done, and makes you feel at home.

Because it was just the soft opening, there were a few things that didn’t happen. Like some of the wizard shows and other small things. But have no fear! All of that will be happening once the park actually opens. Who knows – sometime soon they might even add Diagon Alley to the location! How exciting would that be?

Overall, you must take a visit to The Wizarding World of Harry Potter. It’s truly life changing, and if the series means a lot to you, then let me reassure you that the park will always be there to welcome you home.

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Amber Karpaty
Amber Karpaty 215 posts

You may or may not have seen me dancing around on our YouTube channel. I really love psychology and dissecting shows/film. Also your token anime nerd.