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A Sneak Peek into the Wizarding World at Universal Studios Hollywood

by Mommy Frog on February 24, 2016 10 Los Angeles

The West Coast has long-awaited the arrival of the Wizarding World of Harry Potter at Universal Studios Hollywood. It officially opens April 7, 2016, and the Frog Family is literally hopping with excitement. We recently made our non-froggy friends green with envy when we got a sneak peek into Hogsmeade during the employee training. Here’s what to expect when the Wizarding World Hollywood opens:

Photo Opportunities in the Wizarding World at Universal Studios Hollywood

Wizarding World of Harry Potter at Universal Studios Hollywood Preview -

Right away you will see many great photo opportunities, from the snow-covered shops to the Hogwarts Express and conductor to Hogwarts Castle itself. Be sure to get a picture with the crashed flying car from Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets.

Wizarding World at Universal Studios Hollywood Rides

Wizarding World of Harry Potter at Universal Studios Hollywood Preview - Flight of the Hippogriff

There are two rides in the Wizarding World of Harry Potter. The Flight of the Hippogriff is Universal Studios Hollywood’s first outdoor roller coaster. It is family friendly and appropriate for muggles about 36 inches and up. Be sure to take notice of Hagrid’s hut and Buckbeak in his nest.

Wizarding World of Harry Potter at Universal Studios Hollywood Preview - Hogwarts Castle

Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey at Universal Studios Hollywood takes place inside Hogwart’s Castle. This 3-D adventure is more appropriate for brave muggles 48 inches and up and definitely not for those prone to motion sickness. I can enjoy the biggest and fastest roller coasters around, but even I got a bit queasy on this ride. Tad and Leap, however, jumped back in line to go again. If you are a diehard Harry Potter fan who can brave the Quidditch pitch, Whomping Willows, dragons and dementors, then this ride is for you.

Wizarding World of Harry Potter at Universal Studios Hollywood Preview - Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey

The queue is quite fun as you weave through the castle among the Mirror of Erised, talking portraits and the house league gemstone counters. Professor Dumbledore talks to you, plus Harry, Ron and Hermione also talk to you from their Defense Against the Dark Arts classroom. The line itself is entertaining, so you might wait in line even if you do not wish to ride. If you are bringing a young child to Universal Studios with you, take advantage of the child switch so everyone who wants to ride gets a turn without having to wait twice. You can get more tips for entertaining young children in the park here.

The Front of Line pass is good for both rides. We recommend getting a Front of Line pass if you are attending anytime after the Wizarding World officially opens. Lines are expected to be long. There is a single rider line available for The Forbidden Journey.

Shopping Inside the Wizarding World at Universal Studios Hollywood

Wizarding World of Harry Potter at Universal Studios Hollywood Preview - Honeydukes

Be sure to go into the various shops such as Honeydukes candy shop for some chocolate frogs, Bertie Bott’s Every Flavor Beans, chocolate cauldrons and more. We liked the dark mark suckers as well as the feather quill suckers that actually can be used to write. Attached you will find Zonko’s toy store, where you can find magical items from the movies such as extendable ears, sneakoscopes and Pygmy Puffs available for adoption. The Owl Post, Dervish and Banges, and Gladrags are all attached as well. Be sure to look out for the Monster Book of Monsters. This is the place to buy your robes and uniforms as well as Quidditch equipment and materials to send items by owl post. You can get it officially stamped outside. Inside the castle and as you exit the Forbidden Journey are where you will find Filch’s Emporium of Confiscated Goods. You can purchase clothing, house crest banners, toys, games and replicas of the movie props. If you want to buy a character wand, there is a stand outside of Filch’s Emporium. At Ollivanders you can buy character and custom wands—including magical interactive wands that cast spells in both California and Florida parks—but we recommend watching a wand-choosing ceremony first.

Wand Choosing Inside the Wizarding World at Universal Studios Hollywood

Wizarding World of Harry Potter at Universal Studios Hollywood Preview - Wand

As all wizards know, the wand chooses the wizard. And where do wizards buy their wands? At Ollivanders of course (they have been doing so since 325 BC)! In this unique interactive experience, you can watch one child selected from the audience work with the wand seller to be paired with just the right wand for them. Brace yourself if your tadpole gets chosen, because he or she may want to buy the “custom” interactive wand that lets you cast spells around the Wizarding World, and these wands are not inexpensive. So you might want to set up expectations before entering. There is usually a wait to take part in a wand choosing ceremony, so keep your eye on that.

Food and Drink Inside the Wizarding World at Universal Studios Hollywood

Wizarding World of Harry Potter at Universal Studios Hollywood Preview - Butterbeer

They had me at Butterbeer, which you can find at stands in Hogsmeade, but there are all kinds of edible treats from the candy in Honeydukes to the restaurant and pub. We hopped into The Three Broomsticks to check out the traditional English fare. It is attached to the Hog’s Head, where you can snuggle up with a drink in a cozy booth or spot in front of the fireplace. There are other beverages such as pumpkin juice also sold on the Butterbeer carts outside.

Wizarding World at Universal Studios Hollywood Entertainment


Wizarding World of Harry Potter at Universal Studios Hollywood Preview - Wizards

On the Hogsmeade stage you will find some entertainment throughout your visit. Some of the Hogwarts choir students (one from each house) perform with their large croaking frogs. Ribbit, ribbit! You can also cheer on the Beauxbatons and Durmstrang students as they get the crowd excited for the Triwizard Tournament. After each performance, you can take photos with the singers and dancers.

There are many other magical surprises waiting for you in Hogsmeade. We don’t want to spoil all of them, but if you are a true Harry Potter fan like we are, you will appreciate all the details in the store windows and the magical folk working in the shops. If you are planning to visit shortly after the official Wizarding World opening this spring or summer, we recommend arriving early or getting Front of Line Passes if you can. Hit the rides/wand demonstration first. After that, you can take your time tasting that Butterbeer and exploring all the shops and details.

Have questions about the Wizarding World of Harry Potter at Universal Studios Hollywood? Drop us a line in comments below!

Hoppy planning!



Keep hopping, Mommy Frog!
View Comments
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May 24, 2016 at 7:27 p.m. Myla Says...

We were fortunate enough to experience the Harry Potter World in Orlando last summer! Now my kids want to experience the one in Hollywood since we live in California. I've been trying to figure out if the interactive wands we purchased in Orlando will work in Hollywood. Do you happen to know?

May 31, 2016 at 5:23 p.m. FrogBlog Says...

Hi Myla,

Yes, they will work!

Keep hopping!


Apr 5, 2016 at 8:52 p.m. glen Says...

I recall that in Florida, the Forbidden Joirney's single-rider line, while faster, makes you miss a lot of the cool things the regular line sees/heard inside the castle. Do you know if that's true in Hollywood too? Also, do you know if the Front of Line pass also bypasses some of the pre-ride interior experience? Thanks!!

Apr 25, 2016 at 11:34 a.m. FrogBlog Says...

Hi Glen,

Yes, that is true in Hollywood too. The single rider line bypasses the interior castle scenery. The Front of Line bypasses just a few items such as the Mirror of Erised and some early statues, but it hits the major points of interest of talking portraits, Dumbledore's study, Defense against the Dark arts classroom, and everything else that follows that scenery. (The two lines parallel each other from Dumbledore's study to the front of the line.) We recommend Front of Line or getting there early and walking through the castle at least once. Then use single rider or Front of Line for a second ride later.

Keep hopping!


Apr 3, 2016 at 3:40 p.m. Teri Says...

If I buy one-day tickets through your site, are you certain they will be honored if we go on April 7th? I only wonder because the Universal Site says that tickets "will sell out" and I just want to be sure we won't be turned away!

Apr 4, 2016 at 12:54 p.m. FrogBlog Says...

Hi Teri,

You purchasing the ticket would not guarantee your admission if the park were to reach capacity. This would be true no matter where you purchased from. Your best bet is to make sure you are at the park early on this day. If the park were to reach capacity and you had a date-specific ticket, you would be given a raincheck.

Hoppy planning!

Mommy Frog

Mar 10, 2016 at 3:30 a.m. Dawn Says...

Any chance that the wizarding world of Harry Potter will open before April 7th?

Mar 10, 2016 at 9:16 a.m. FrogBlog Says...

Hi Dawn,

We expect it will have more "previews" before the official opening.

Keep hopping!


Mar 13, 2016 at 4:48 a.m. Dawn Says...

We will be in California until 4/6. Didn't know if we went while we were there if World of Hogwarts would be open.

Mar 16, 2016 at 2:47 p.m. FrogBlog Says...

Hi Dawn,

I think there is a good chance it may be, although there will be official grand opening ceremonies, media previews and other events that might keep it from being open.

Keep hopping!


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