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Ultimate Guide to the Wizarding World of Harry Potter at Universal Studios Hollywood

Universal Studios Hollywood
Universal Studios Hollywood Guide
Dani Ruben Headshot from Theme Park Lovers
Article By: Dani Gamutan
Last Updated: August 9, 2022
Visiting theme parks can be daunting, especially if you have limited time and want to experience all there is to offer. The Wizarding World of Harry Potter at Universal Studios Hollywood is no exception, with plenty for fans of the popular franchise to explore and enjoy. From exploring Hogwarts to test driving your new wand with spells around the land, your time in this section of Universal Studios Hollywood can certainly be filled with tons of magic.

Here are the things you shouldn't miss:
HOT TIP: Go early! The crowds at Universal Studios Hollywood are the lightest upon opening and tend to get busy within a couple of hours.

Explore Hogwarts (and Ride the Forbidden Journey)

Universal Studios Hollywood Wizarding World of Harry Potter Forbidden Journey
The Forbidden Journey ride is a solid experience for Harry Potter fans, but the queue line through Hogwarts is the real showstopper. From the Mirror of Erised to Professor Dumbledore's study to the Sorting Hat and more, there's plenty to see and admire as you make your way to the actual ride boarding area. 

If you visit early in the day, you'll have plenty of space and time to make your way through the castle and take pictures as you please. There will be plenty of guests who are looking to just make their way through to the ride, but they'll happily pass around you if you let them know you're taking your time.

The actual ride itself takes you on an adventure with Harry and friends as they try to bring you along to watch their next quidditch match against team Slytherin. There are some unexpected dangers along the way, but Harry, Ron, and Hermione will see you through. This ride features moving seats that can cause problems for guests who get motion sickness easily. It's not very fast, but can have some quick movements. The ride is also pretty dark, for the most part, and some portions can be frightening. Still, we recommend riding it at least once if you're a huge Harry Potter fan and can stomach a thrilling dark ride.

Enjoy the Wand Experience at Ollivander's

Ollivander's Wand Shop at Universal Studios Hollywood Springfield Ollivanders
Ollivander's is another popular attraction in the Wizarding World of Harry Potter that can sometimes have longer wait times. This is mostly due to the show being a bit long and capacity being limited for each show. Again, arriving early should allow you to get into a show with little to no wait, even if you decide to ride one or both of the rides in the land first.

The Wand Experience features a professional Ollivander's wand expert who will select one person from the audience to go through the process of selecting a wand. There's no hard rule for who will be chosen for the experience, but we've noticed they tend to choose guests who look excited and are often dressed for the part (in robes or Harry Potter-themed outfits). We've seen them choose both younger and older guests, so age is not really a factor.

The wand experience lasts about 6-7 minutes long once it has begun, and it's a charming show, for the most part. There are some loud noises and special effects that happen around the room, but there's nothing scary. At the end of the experience, the guest who was chosen will be asked to stay in the room (with anybody else who came with them) while the rest of the guests are ushered into the actual wand shop next door. If you are chosen for the experience, they will give you some more information about the wand and then give you the boxed wand to decide to purchase or not at the shop next door.

You can also go to Ollivander's and just peruse the wand offerings without having to go through the entire Wand Experience by just walking through the shop door (next to the entrance to the experience). Wands start at about $60 per wand for the interactive ones (the ones that will do some magic around the park) and a bit less for the noninteractive ones.
Guide to Wand Magic SpellsList of Wizarding World Wands

Ride Flight of the Hippogriff

Universal Studios Hollywood Wizarding World of Harry Potter Flight of the Hippogriff
Flight of the Hippogriff is the second ride in the Wizarding World of Harry Potter at Universal Studios Hollywood, and it's charming. The queue line is a bit boring, but it does feature Hagrid's Hut, set on a hill near the entrance to the queue. The lines for this ride can sometimes get a bit long, but it tends to stay reasonable most of the day. As for the ride itself, it's a short, family coaster without any huge drops or loops. It's thrilling for what it is, and perfect for younger kids - just don't expect an amazing coaster experience. You do get to see Buckbeak at the beginning of the ride though!
HOT TIP: The seats are tight on this ride, so guests with longer legs will likely be a little uncomfortable.

Indulge in the Sweets at Honeyduke's

Honeyduke's Sweets Shop at Universal Studios Hollywood Wizarding World of Harry Potter Honeydukes
Honeyduke's also offers a variety of colorful desserts and candy treats that are perfect to enjoy immediately or bring home for later. You can try the famous Bertie Bott's Every Flavour Beans, the exciting Exploding Bonbons, or play it safe with a Honeyduke's Milk Chocolate Bar. Don't miss the bakery case, though, which features some delectable flavors of fudge, cupcakes, and a delightful cauldron cake that comes with a silicone cauldron that can be washed and reused!

One of the most iconic snacks from the books, the chocolate frog, is also available at Honeyduke's. For about $13 (the price tends to go up a bit every year), you can bring home an official chocolate frog. This is a solid, milk chocolate frog, that's large enough to share (or enjoy between a few sittings). It also comes with a collectible Famous Witches and Wizards Card with a random character on it.

The potential witches or wizards you can collect are:
Albus Dumbledore (this one is pretty common)
Artemisia Lufkin
Bertie Bott
Daisy Dodderidge
Devlin Whitehorn
Garrick Ollivander
Gilderoy Lockhart
Godric Gryffindor
Helga Hufflepuff
Rowena Ravenclaw
Salazar Slytherin
Hengist of Woodcroft
Jocunda Sykes
Herpo the Foul
Ignatia Wildsmith
Bridget Wenlock
List of Food at Honeydukes
HOT TIP: There's usually a special 3 for $33 price for the chocolate frogs if you're looking to buy a few for friends as souvenirs!

Feast at the Three Broomsticks

Universal Studios Hollywood Three Broomsticks
As the only full restaurant in this section of the park, you don't really have a lot of options. However, the restaurant itself is beautifully decorated and feels magical. The front area is perfect for a quick photo before you head in to peruse the offerings. There is a window that showcases the meals available in the mid-section of the queue line.

In the mornings, breakfast is served until about 11am. This is an entire different menu that consists of American and British breakfast items that include eggs, pancakes, sausages, bacon, and more. Our favorite on this menu is the Traditional English Breakfast. It's a huge plate that consists of scrambled eggs, sausage, bacon, ham, baked beans, a tomato, mushrooms, potatoes, a croissant, and black pudding. It's definitely large enough to share between 2 people if you're not starving.

The lunch and dinner options at the Three Broomsticks are a lot more fun, with options like Fish & Chips, Bangers & Mash, Shepherd's Pie, and more! If you have a larger group, The Great Feast is a mega platter that includes roast chicken, spare ribs, corn, vegetables, and roast potatoes, with enough to serve 4-5 people. As for desserts, don't miss out on the Sticky Toffee Pudding (the most popular option), Chocolate Trifle, or Baked Apple Pie. 
Full Menu at the Three Broomsticks

Try the Butterbeer

Universal Studios Hollywood Butterbeer
Whether it's with your meal at the Three Broomsticks or from one of the many Butterbeer Stands throughout the Wizarding World, this is a MUST TRY drink. The Butterbeer is alcohol-free, so the kids can enjoy it as well. It comes in 3 options: hot, cold, or frozen. The most popular option seems to be frozen. We enjoy ours cold, because you can taste more of the drink. Frozen is delightful for those hot days, but you taste a lot more ice than butterbeer itself.

You can also choose to enjoy your drink in a standard plastic cup or get a souvenir plastic cup that you can bring home to wash and reuse as you please. We love the souvenir cup, but it can be pretty fragile. We've cracked 2 of our souvenir cups over the years, and the design tends to fade with time. We recommend hand washing them gently after each use, since dishwashers tend to be pretty rough on them.

Try the Butterbeer Ice Cream

Universal Studios Hollywood Wizarding World of Harry Potter Butterbeer Cart
If you're a fan of the sweet flavor of butterbeer, don't miss out on the creamy Butterbeer Ice Cream that's available at the Magic Neep Cart, the Three Broomsticks, and snacks stands all around the Wizarding World. At $6 (as of 8/2022) for a tiny portion of ice cream, it's a bit steep. It's pretty solid, however, and a taste of the Florean Fortescue's Ice Cream that boasts a full shop in the Orlando version of the Wizarding World of Harry Potter. They also offer the strawberry peanut butter flavor of the Florean Forescue Ice Cream, which is also worth a try!

Enjoy a Mead at Hog's Head

Universal Studios Hollywood Wizarding World of Harry Potter
For a more unique drinking experience, swing over to Hog's Head and get the mead. It's a classic drink, but a more unique one to be found in a theme park. The Hog's Head is a cool experience in itself, with a moving Hog Head behind the bar and charming drink names you can order. The bar can sometimes get a bit busy, but we find it's usually not as busy as the Butterbeer carts. If you're just craving a Butterbeer and the lines at the carts are long, swing by the Hog's Head to order your drink there instead.
HOT TIP: If you're craving a Butterbeer and the lines at the carts are long, get your Butterbeer at the Hog's Head instead.

Attempt the Wand Spells around The Wizarding World

Universal Studios Hollywood Wizarding World of Harry Potter
After you've toured the castle, experienced a wand ceremony, and filled up on English cuisine and desserts, you're practically a witch or wizard. The next thing to do would be to try out some spells with the interactive wands from Ollivander's. In your newly purchased wand box should be a map of the Wizarding World of Harry Potter at Universal Studios, and it should show you the locations of where you can try some spells and charms to test drive your new wand.

When you find a Wand Experience location, you'll notice a mark on the ground where you'll need to stand. The mark will point at the location you should be facing and aiming your wand toward. You’ll be able to see the movement necessary to make the spell work. It usually takes more than a few tries to do a spell, but it's delightful when you see what you can do with your wand around the park! If you have trouble, there are plenty of experienced witches and wizards around the land who are trained to help teach you how to properly cast the spells and where to aim. This is a great way to spend an hour or two by yourself or with friends, as it can be very satisfying. Check out our Wand Spells guide for some tips!
List of Wizarding World Wands

Take a photo with the Hogwarts Train Conductor

Universal Studios Hollywood Wizarding World of Harry Potter
At the entrance to the Wizarding World is the Hogwarts Express train. There's also often a train conductor who stands near the train to greet guests that are walking by and to take photos with them. These train conductors are super friendly and love posing with everyone, so be sure to swing by and grab a photo with one of them to remember your trip!

Watch the Triwizard Spirit Rally

Universal Studios Hollywood Wizarding World of Harry Potter
Every so often, guests from the visiting schools of Beauxbatons and Durmstrang visit to put in a spirited performance to raise excitement for the Triwizard Tournament. Each school sends a group of performers to represent in a dazzling performance that perfectly captures the unique personalities of their students. The show is performed on the stage just below the entrance to Hogwarts, in a large, open area that allows for plenty of guests to have a great view. After the performance, the visiting students usually stick around for a meet and greet with any guests, and they're very happy to pose for pictures (well, the students from Beauxbatons usually are anyway). You can check the Universal Studios Hollywood app for showtimes during your visit to the park.
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