Last Thursday (7th April), Universal Studios Hollywood finally unveiled the brand new magical area of their theme park; The Wizarding World of Harry Potter! Thousands of muggles (that’s non wizard folk if you didn’t already know) were out in force for the grand opening along with some of the most memorable characters from the series. Harry Potter and rollercoaster fans alike will be thrilled to discover that the two are now combined in this incredible ‘Wizarding World’. Wander through the village of Hogsmeade, unwind with a delicious Butterbeer or gaze up at the mesmerising castle as you explore this exciting new attraction! Check out our pick of 8 things you simply cannot miss…
The Hogwarts Express:
Known for taking eager young witches and wizards to the gates of Hogwarts, as well as its unusual boarding methods (which include running into a brick wall to get through to the platform), The Hogwarts Express steam train is a familiar feature with Harry Potter fans. This version has a special carriage that is unique to Universal Studios Hollywood. The seats are furnished with the actual fabric used on the film set, and the racking that holds the students’ heavy trunks is also from the original Hogwarts Express!
The place where all of the action happens, any Harry Potter fan will be desperate to see this mesmerising castle. The centrepiece of this enchanted area is as authentic as you can get, and the attention to detail is outstanding! Created with the promise of staying “faithful to the visual landscape of the fiction and films” heavy influence was drawn from both the books and films, and of course J.K. Rowling herself. Make sure you capture special memories of the day by taking photos in front of this amazing masterpiece.
Get your hands on some of the finest wizarding delicacies including creamy caramel flavoured Butterbeer, Pumpkin Pasties and Chocolate Frogs, but beware not everything is sweet! Make sure you avoid the vomit and earwax flavoured options from the famous Bertie Bott’s Every Flavour Beans selection.
To make sure that everything was just right J.K. Rowling had to give her seal of approval. Universal chefs flew over to Scotland (where Rowling lives) so that she could sample the tasty treats that will be available for herself!
If you’re looking for somewhere to sit down for lunch, The Three Broomsticks serves traditional dishes like shepherd’s pie and fish & chips as well as the more challenging ‘Great Feast Platter’; ideal for sharing.
Flight of the Hippogriff:
This is the tamer of the two rides, suitable for the whole family. You will be educated on the correct Hippogriff etiquette before embarking on a flight with the majestic creature. Look out for Hagrid’s Hut and enjoy views of the castle as you zoom through the pumpkin patch.
Send a letter from Hogsmeade:
Head to the Owl Post in Hogsmeade town, a real post office where you can send your very own letter back home (a great souvenir for any muggle). Your mail is even marked with the official Hogsmeade stamp so that your friends know exactly where it came from! See if you can spot the bright red screaming howler letters in the window; feared by every witch and wizard.
Look out for props:
Keep your eyes peeled for authentic props and set pieces from the eight films. Can you spot which props are actually real? You can expect to catch a glimpse of the desks that were once used by Harry, Ron and Hermione to study Defence Against the Dark Arts, as well as Hermione’s beautiful Yule Ball outfit, and many more magical artefacts. Clue - keep a look out in the shop windows and on-board the Hogwarts express!
Wander through the old village of Hogsmeade and peer into the shop windows at the goodies luring you in. With everything you need to transform yourself into a witch or wizard, get ready for some fun! Start by dressing the part at Gladrags Wizardwear, before stocking up on sweet treats at Honeydukes emporium, and mischievous tricks to fool your foe’s at Zonko’s Joke shop.
Of course your transformation is not complete until you have a wand, and at Ollivanders ‘the wand chooses the wizard’! Use your interactive wand to cast spells on eleven different windows throughout the village, and watch in awe as your powers start mixing potions and making magic before your eyes!
Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey:
This is more than just a ride, with 3D technology transporting you straight into Harry Potter’s world. From the moment you enter the queue area, you will forget that you’re waiting to board a ride as you indulge in the fully immersive experience that starts within the castle. As you pass by the famous Fat Lady Portrait guarding the Gryffindor Common Room and the admirable Dumbledore’s office prepare to face what lies ahead at exhilarating speeds.
Soar above the castle on floating ‘enchanted benches’, before flying over the Quidditch field and facing a few scary surprises (think deadly fire breathing dragons and soul-sucking Dementors) before thankfully returning safely to The Great Hall. Don’t go home until you’ve tried this!
Make sure you explore everything this amazing new attraction has to offer for a truly unforgettable visit! Click here to check out our range of Universal Studios Hollywood tickets.
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