Universal Hollywood Studios opened their Wizarding World of Harry Potter in 2016, only 4 years after the final film of the franchise. The success of the Harry Potter books and films across the world is almost incomparable to any other popular culture franchise- now spanning 3 decades. Despite the world of Harry Potter’s first book being released in the late 90s, the world’s love for all things Potter has not waned, and instead, a new generation of Potter fans emerges each year.
Harry Potter fans can not get enough of the wizarding world and all that comes with it and Universal is best placed to indulge any massive Harry Potter fan at its Theme Parks with its Wizarding World attraction. As BIG Harry Potter fans ourselves, we could not wait to experience a taste of Harry Potter in real life. Here we show you exactly what to expect from your visit to The Wizarding World of Harry Potter Universal Hollywood Studios
How Much Does The Wizarding World Of Harry Potter Cost?
The Attraction is included as part of your ticket to universal studios Hollywood. This is great if you are visiting the park anyway, but less so if all you want to do is visit The Harry Potter attraction. But there is so much to see and do at the Studios on top of the wizarding world that it worked out to be great value.
For more info on Visiting the Studios, we have our full guide here, including the best ways to save money on visiting Universal studios.
For the main area of the Wizarding World of Harry Potter, Universal has turned the Upper lot into a real-life version of Hogsmede.
Hogsmeade is eternally set in winter, with the roofs of the buildings covered in forever glistening snow. Quite an unusual feeling if you visit during the warmer months! Us being British, even the cooler weather of March in California feels warm to us so it was very strange to see snow and feel so warm when we visited! If you have never seen snow in real life we can imagine was a sight it must be for you!
As you enter the village of Hogsmeade, you are right outside Hogsmede Train Station complete with a replica of the Hogwarts Express. Unfortunately, this is just a standing replica model and you are unable to actually go on the train unlike at Universal Studios Orlando or at The Making of Harry Potter London.
The village of Hogsmeade is laid out just like in the movies, small, rickety brick front buildings with cobbled streets. Most of the buildings in Hogsmeade are actually different Harry Potter Themed shops, the perfect place for any Harry Potter fan to find their ultimate magic purchases!
There are many shops in the Wizarding World of Harry Potter, each selling different magical items for you to take home.
Dervish and Bangs
Dervish and Bangs is the must-stop for any major Quidditch fan. Here you will find team t-shirts, Quaffles, and Golden Snitches and you can even purchase your very own Nimbus 2000 or Firebolt Broomstick!
Filch’s Emporium of Confiscated Goods
This shop is perfect for those who like to bend the rules… Here you can purchase Harry Potter gifts including collectibles, clothing, toys, jewelry, and your own real-life copy of the Marauder’s Map!
Gladrags Wizard Wear
Here you will find authentic Hogwarts Robes and accessories from all 4 of the school houses. As you enter the shop you will see a replica of the dress Hermione wore to the Yule Ball and a high-end version of Severus Snape’s robes. Don’t forget to visit here to get your official Hogwarts uniform to really look the part during your visit!
Just located right near the Hogwarts Express, at the Hogsmeade Station shop you can purchase all your Platform 9 3/4 branded items including gifts and souvenirs.
No visit to Hogsmeade would be complete without a trip to Honeydukes. Here you will find real-life versions of the magical treats such as Chocolate Frogs and Bertie Botts Every Flavour Beans. We can’t promise you will get all the nice flavors but you definitely don’t need to sneak in via a trap door to get your hands on these unmissable treats!
Ok, so technically Ollivanders is located in Harry Potter at Diagon Alley, not the village of Hogsmede but this is simply a must-visit for all Potter fans. In the tiny, dusty old Shop of Ollivanders, you can have the unforgettable experience of seeing the wand choose the wizard. Purchase character wand replicas, collectibles, and even an interactive wand that allows you to cast spells throughout Hogsmede. Allow plenty of time to visit here though as it is extremely popular and can have high wait times due to the small size of the shop. Trust us though, the wait time is worth the experience!
The Owl Post
The Owl Post is more than just your average mail shop! Here you can send postcards and letters with an authentic Hogwarts postal mark, see the Owls resting in the rafters as well as purchase Wizarding World of Harry Potter Stamps and other stationary needs. The owl post also sells owl-related gifts and toys including a stuffed toy of Hedwig herself.
Wiseacre’s Wizarding Equipment
Here you can also buy the Hogwarts house robes, Hogwarts Express, and Platform 9 3/4 items as well as many wizarding equipment pieces such as crystal balls, hourglasses, and compasses.
Zonko’s Joke Shop
No Weasley- wannabe would miss out on visiting Zonko’s! Zonko’s is the place for jokes and novelty items. Here you can take home your very own Pigmy Puff, pair of Extendable Ears, and more. Don’t forget about the novelty joke treats such as Fainting fancies, Nosebleed Nougat, and more!
Interactive Wand Experience
As previously mentioned in the article, the Wizarding World of Harry Potter offers guests an interactive Wand Experience. The interactive wands are available to purchase from Ollivanders and cost $59 each. They come in a huge range of character themes so you can choose the wand of your favorite Harry Potter character.
There are now 15 interactive spots throughout Hogsmeade, each with its own unique and magical wand experience. You can create magical moments with your wand as you make your way through the village.
This is a great chance to explore the back alleys and more remote locations of Hogsmeade there is far more to the Location than meets the eye!
The first time you heard of butterbeer the chances are we all had a VERY similar reaction. We need this in our lives! Naturally no attempt to bring the Wizarding world to life would be close to complete without actually making (and selling) Butterbeer, so of course, Universal has done just that and the Sweet brew is available at several locations.
There is the Butterbeer stand in the center of Hogsmeade that serves pretty much just Butterbeer, you can have it with your meal in The Three Broomsticks, or at the Hogshead Pub.
What is butterbeer like? Well, actually we found it pretty awful. It’s really sweet, but actually lacks any real flavor, it is supposed to have a butterscotch taste but this is pretty weak. It’s very creamy, sweet, and flavorless.
The Three Broomsticks
The Threebroomsticks is supposed to be a traditional English pub serving up English classics such as Fish and Chips, Shepherds Pie, and Bangers and Mash. We have been in a lot of English pubs and the decor and ambiance are all wrong, but it feels right for a Hogsmeade-style pub.
Food-wise, it’s a bit of a miss in terms of authenticity. Still, it hits the spot as one of the better places to grab something to eat in Universal Hollywood Studios. We actually prefer the Ribs and Chicken Platters that are decidedly more American than English!
The Hogs Head
The Hogs Head Pub is located at the back of the Three Broomsticks. Here you can purchase another Butterbeer or try the Pumpkin Juice, or the many other imported and domestic drinks also available. We actually found the Butterbeer quite sweet and opted not to have a second one but tried other drinks instead.
We always laugh at the “beer cocktails” served in American versions of English Pubs. Snakebite, Black and Tan, Black Velvet, and Shandy are all just standard variants in real English pubs and would never be on a menu, infact, Sankebire is banned from many English dinking establishments due to its intoxicating nature.
We really feel we could sit down on do some proper hard drinking here as we do at home, only these drinks prices would cause a riot back in the UK!
The jewel of the Wizarding World of Harry Potter is the lifesize replica of Hogwarts castle. Make your way through Hogsmede and up the hill to get a glimpse of the iconic sight that is the castle.
Hogwarts castle is obviously a popular attraction so can be very busy with lots of harry Potter fans desperate to get the ultimate selfie in front of the castle.
The castle is also much more than just a replica built for photos… the gates of the castle lead you to one of the two rides in the Wizarding World of Harry Potter. This also adds to the crowds as Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey ride is unmissable for any major Potter fan.
One of the best things we found about the ride is the queue (something not usually said in relation to queueing!)- to get to the ride you walk through the Hogwarts Castle, filled with replicas of all things from the inside of the castle. The castle walk to the ride is an attraction in itself, so much so that you can walk through the castle to see the inside for yourself even if you don’t want to go on the ride, or want to head back with a camera as No loose articles are allowed on the Ride.
There are 2 rides in the Wizarding World of Harry Potter Universal Studios Hollywood; Flight of the Hippogriff and Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey.
Flight of the Hippogriff
Flight of the Hippogriff is a family-friendly rollercoaster for all ages. As you enter the queue for this ride you are transported into Care of Magical Creatures lessons with Hagrid giving you instructions on how to properly approach a Hippogriff. Make sure you listen to Hagrid’s advice as any Potter fan knows that Hippogriffs are easily offended!
Soar over Hagrid’s hut and swoop between the pumpkin patch on this fun, children-friendly ride. Read our review of the ride HERE
Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey
Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey is unmissable for witches and wizards of all ages (height restrictions apply). This is easily one of our favorite rides at Universal and we have been on it, again and again, one journey is just not enough!
The journey starts before you have even got onto the actual ride. This is one queue you don’t want to be too short, as you make your way through the lifesize replica of Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. As you approach the ride you find yourself working your way through the corridors of Hogwarts passing familiar rooms such as Dumbledore’s Office and the Room of Requirement. This is one of our absolute favorite themed queue environments, like we said before, we are in no hurry to get onto the ride as there is so much to see in the castle.
Once you make it through the castle, you reach the ride entrance. This ride uses state-of-the-art magic (sorry, technology!) to immerse you into the world of Harry Potter, taking a thrilling journey through Hogwarts, the Forbidden Forest, and Gringotts with the help of Harry, Ron, and Hermionie. Battle Dementors, Giant Spiders (you have been warned!), and other magical creatures as you fly through the castle grounds.
This ride is the ultimate thrill for all Potter fans- read our full review HERE.
The Wizarding World of Harry Potter also offers a chance to see other Hogwarts-themed experiences.
The Tri-Wizard Spirit Rally is a concert performed throughout the day in Hogsmeade. Watch the colorful procession of the students from Beauxbatons, Durmstrang, and Hogwarts as they celebrate the Tri-Wizard Tournament.
The Frog Choir is also located in Hogsemde daily. Watch the choir of Hogwarts performs familiar wizarding singing along with their giant frogs! A sight and sound not to be missed!
The Wizarding World of Harry Potter is one of our favorite attractions at Universal Hollywood Studios. Due to its strong theming it is possibly not the best attraction for those who have not seen Harry Potter or are not a fan but the village of Hogsmeade is so beautifully created that at least one visit should be on your must-do list at least once. Due to the popularity of the books and the films, it is a large part of the Theme park to miss completely during your visit.
Have your Say
Are you a Harry Potter Fan? Do you believe that the Wizarding World of Harry Potter is one of the best attractions at Universal? What is your favorite part about visiting Hogsmede Village? Let us know below in the comments section. If you have any questions about our visit to the Wizarding World of Harry Potter please ask below in the comments section.