On our California trip we went to Universal Studios Hollywood and one of my main highlights was Harry Potter land (technically it’s called “the Wizarding World of Harry Potter”, but our family called it Harry Potter land” for short). Not only were the rides fun but going to each one of the shops was a cool experience too. My sister and I were in our Harry Potter robes and were happy to be in Hogsmeade/Diagon Alley.
Flight of the Hippogriff
This ride was a fast but short ride. It was a full roller coaster unlike all the other in universal that use screens and are virtual. There was a mechanical Hippogriff near the beginning of the ride that was quite impressive. This ride was also my sister’s favourite ride and she went on it about 10 times in the 2 days we were there. We went twice on the first day all together but on the second day mom and she went seven times while dad and I did something else.
The Forbidden Journey
This ride was one of the two faster and scarier rides at universal. You must put all your stuff in a locker as you do go upside down a few times. In this ride, you follow Harry Potter through the various classrooms and halls of Hogwarts. You experience a Quidditch match and help Harry get the Golden Snitch. This ride was a great experience especially since I am a big Harry Potter fan though it was quite scary and even though my sister is a Harry Potter fan, she said she never wanted to go on this ride again since it was so scary.
Here you can send a letter and it will arrive by owls. You can also buy stuffed owls which are fluffy. The stuffed owls look like Hedwig who is Harry Potter’s owl in the story. In the story Harry sends letter to various people including Sirius Black his godfather. While we were there, we saw quite a few people sending letters. I personally thought that sending letters through the Owl Post is cool but pretty much the same as any letter but with a different stamp.
Here you can buy tons of different and delicious candy that some the characters from Harry Potter really enjoy. Some of these sweets include chocolate frogs, Bertie Botts’s Every Flavour Beans, Peppermint Toads and Fudge Flies. In the book Hermione mentions that Every Flavour Beans can be very dangerous. my sister thought it was really a good place to get all your sweets because there so many to chose from.
Zonko’s Joke Shop
There is also Zonko’s Joke Shop where the sell joke supplies. There are extendable ears, a deck of cards and lots of other items. Fred and George were inspired by this joke shop and made one of there own. two buildings were connected on the inside, but we didn’t know since they had separate doors on the outside. We thought the jokes were very interesting but weren’t very practical. My sister wanted the extendable ear.
Quality Quidditch Supplies
Here you can find all your quidditch needs from broomsticks, quidditch robes of your house colour, caps, goldens snitches, quaffles, a Remembrall etc. It was cool to see the differences between the Nimbus 2000, Nimbus 2001 and the Firebolt and to imagine what difference that would make while playing in a match.
Gladrags Wizard wear
Here you can find robes, T-shirts, scarfs and hats. All these come in each of the houses colours but personally I find blue the best. Go Ravenclaw!
In this famous wand shop, there are over 68 different wands including Harry’s, Hermione’s, Ron’s, Luna Lovegood’s, Sirius Black’s and many more. In fact, some of these wands are interactive and can be used to make different things move around Hogsmeade/Diagon Alley. There is an interactive wand experience where you get to watch a wand fitting done by the wand master himself. The person who gets fitted by the wand is just someone else in your group who was chosen by the wand master. Remember the wand chooses the wizard not the other way around.
Wiseacre’s Wizarding Equipment
Here you can get all your wizarding needs before going to Hogwarts. You can find anything from equipment for astronomy to mugs and T-shirts. Just like Honey dukes and Zonko’s Wiseacre’s Wizarding Equipment is connected to Olivanders.
In Filch’s Emporium you can find all the different items he has stolen from the students of Hogwarts and other items he has obtained over the years. You can get a Harry Potter chess ser, the Sword of Gryffindor, the Triwizard Cup, Bellatrix’s dagger and many more. I think seeing all the different items were cool especially the chess set based on Harry Potter and the other items in the emporium like the Sword of Gryffindor. In fact, you exit the Forbidden Journey ride through Filch’s Emporium so keep that in mind if your going on the Forbidden Journey.
We went to Three Broomsticks for lunch and it was great. I had fish and chips which were very good a long with the famous Butter Beer. Even though the Butter Beer tasted like root beer with some foam on top it was still very good. I was very happy to finally have Butter Beer since the flavour was never really described in the book, so I wanted to know what it tastes like. There were two flavours – cold and frozen. I decided on cold since I thought that the frozen might take away from the taste. Going to Three Broomsticks and having Butter Beer there was a great experience and really made me feel like I was actually in Hogsmeade. You can also get Butter Beer outside on the carts, but I felt that it would feel more authentic to have it in Three Broomsticks because that where Harry, Hagrid, Hermione, Ron, and all the students at Hogwarts get Butter Beer in the story.
Overall, my experience with the Wizarding World of Harry Potter was fun and it was great to see Hogsmeade/Diagon Alley with my own eyes.
DS has a whole lot of stuff to juggle in life already. In addition to school and homework, he needs to deal with cadets, LOL and social life.