It’s taken me two years to cross another Harry Potter experience off of my bucket list, but the wait was worth it and the timing was perfect!
In 2014, I traveled solo to the UK to take a short course in Creative Writing. If you’re a huge Potterhead like me, visiting Oxford is a MUST because they filmed several Harry Potter scenes there. In London–specifically in Leavesden–they have the official studio tour. It’s the actual set and location where they filmed the movies. If you’ve never been or are planning to go, I’ve written about my Warner Brothers Studio Tour London experience here.
This year, I went to the USA and it so happened that the Wizarding World of Harry Potter had just opened. What perfect timing!
Of course nothing beats the actual experience of being in the Wizarding World Hollywood, but I hope that reading this entry will make you feel as if you were there with me.
As you enter the Universal Studios threshold, you can see the spires of the Wizarding World of Harry Potter from afar. We went as early as 8AM–yes 8AM–to beat the crowd!
YOU GUYS I COULDN’T BELIEVE I WAS FINALLY HERE! There wasn’t any time for jet lag to strike, even if I had only arrived the day before.
The first thing you see when you enter Hogsmeade is the Hogwarts Express. They have a conductor there to welcome you too! He had an Irish accent, so it totally makes you feel like you’re in the UK. We took more than a couple of photos with him.
At this point I couldn’t contain my excitement! Look at that! It feels as if you’ve transported yourself to Britain. Ahhh.
As soon as you enter the Wizarding World of Harry Potter, you won’t know where to look. There’s just so much to take in: the Hogwarts Express ot your right or the shops on your left. Honeydukes and Zonkos are the first shops you’ll see. It’s hard not to go crazy with all the things you can buy.
Pro tip: save up and really budget for when you visit because you’ll want to buy everything! From the sweets in Honeydukes to an official Hogwarts robe (that costs about $100!)!
I didn’t want to spend too much since it was only my second day in the USA. I couldn’t blow all of my savings at the Wizarding World of Harry Potter…no matter how tempting.
The beauty that is the Hogwarts Castle! We went straight to the Forbidden Journey ride and rode it TWICE! It truly pays to be early.
As soon as we entered the cave–yes I call it the cave–we deposited our items in a locker. Even the lockers felt magical because they use your fingerprint as the lock & key.
I really wanted to take a video or photo inside the castle, but didn’t want to risk losing my camera or phone during the ride.
When you exit the ride, you’re taken to Filch’s Emporium where you can buy goodies. I was tempted to buy the marauderer’s map with a wand.
Outside the castle you will see a stall selling wands, but we went inside Ollivanders to get our wands. I mean, you might as well get the full experience of buying a wand at Ollivanders, amiright? 😉
I purchased an interactive wand because I wanted to feel like Hermione casting spells around the park.
This is the wand I chose! I wish I could say it chose me HAHA. It’s an oak wand, which symbolises confidence and optimism.
We didn’t get to ride Flight of the Hippogriff anymore because we were so excited to try out our interactive wands!
Here’s the vlog about my Harry Potter adventure where you can see us casting spells:
Of course you have to try the butterbeer! The first time I tasted butterbeer at the official studio tour in London I didn’t like it. But this butterbeer on the otherhand… it was delicious! Who care about the calories… you’ll be walking it off anyway!
Top Tips When Visiting the Wizarding World of Harry Potter:
- Set a budget – Decide early on how much you will allocate when in the theme park as it can get tempting to splurge!
- Go early – You’ll beat the crowd and be able to ride without waiting in line for too long. Also, if you want to experience the wand choosing ceremony at Ollivanders, you’ll have to be there early if, again, you don’t want to wait long.
- Try the interactive wand experience – If you have the budget to buy an interactive wand, I suggest you give it a go because casting spells makes the experience much more fun!
- Avoid the long queue at the Three Broomsticks by eating at other food places at Universal Studios – We were thinking about eating at the Three Broomsticks, but the line was so long we decided to eat outside. This saves you time and then once you’ve finished your meal you can go back inside and resume the fun!
If ever you find yourself in Florida, Japan or Hollywood, you must make a trip to the Wizarding World of Harry Potter to experience the magic for yourself. I already want to go back! 🙂
‘Til next time,
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