The Wizarding World of Harry Potter Hollywood is opening April 7,2016 but I had the chance to go in before it officially opens. I haven’t had the opportunity to see the park in Florida so this review will stand alone.
From now on I’m just going to refer to the park as WWOHP. The new world is located on the upper lot, a short walk from the main entrance of the park. This is a great spot but I will say it doesn’t give it much room. If they would have done it on the bottom floor I think there would be a lot more room to grow unless they get rid of the Simpsons area which is right next to it.
I brought my cousins with me JJ and Abbs who are huge Harry Potter fans. I was excited to be able to see all of this through their eyes.
(To see more pics and video visit my Instagram. https://www.instagram.com/mizhollywood/)
Entering the world of WWOHP:
When entering you get a great view of the snow-covered roofs and windows. Hogwarts castle is amazing!! The castle towers over the rest of the park and definitely grabs your attention. It’s not a complete replica from the film but this place is pretty awe inspiring. My cousins were freaking out when we walked in as they were able to look inside the shops and explore. For me, not reading all the books and being a die hard fan it was enjoyable for me to see everything and not break it down piece by piece.
Immediately after walking in you will see Hogwarts express waiting for you. The bad thing is you can’t ride the train and there is not a 9 3/4 platform or even a sign.
The store fronts are full of details and the windows. You can spend hours just looking in the windows and seeing all the trinkets.
If you get an interactive wand which is about $50 you can interact with the store fronts and make things move. My cousin got a wand but it was hard to find the right places that you can use the wand.
As we were walking through we heard singing and they have The Frog Choir. The choir performs at the edge of Hogsmeade. Each show lasts about 10 minutes. It’s a great a capella group that seemed to be singing live. You can also take pictures with the choir and their frogs after the show.
Wand Fitting: (video https://www.instagram.com/p/BC6RZ8PGhR2/?taken-by=mizhollywood)
When we first arrived there was no one really in line for the wand fitting. My suggestion is do that quickly because a long line does form. There are multiple areas to buy a wand but if you want the house experience do this.
Ollivanders is half shop and half attraction. You will meet a Wandkeeper and take part in an interactive experience. When walking in the walls were lined with wands they shut the door and a secret door opens. The Wandkeeper picks a person and attempts spells with them to see which wand works. It’s great little special effects. It’s a small room so if you can’t deal with that don’t go.
The Wandkeeper picked a girl and tried spells with her and found a wand that fit. He said goodbye to us all and then we went into the store. There you have wands to choose from. You can pick a character wand or one that fits your personality.
This is where they get you. The wands start at over $30 and if you want an interactive one it’s about $50.
After we got our Butter Beer which was good and tasted like butterscotch on steroids we made our way over to the ride (side-note: do NOT drink Butter Beer or anything before this ride).
When making your way through the village you will find Hogwarts castle, home of the big attraction Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey. When we first got there it seemed there was no line but later on it was an hour way. Expect to have to wait a long while for this one.
When you reach the attraction you will go through Winged Boar gates and go through a windy path. You will have to walk a while to get to the ride which is good because there is a lot to see. You will walk through a dungeon like scene with various prop replicas including the Mirror of Erised from Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone. Then you will come outside and into Hogwarts greenhouses.
The best part for me was seeing the portraits move and talk. It was crazy how they did it all.
The ride itself is a thrill ride that mixes large scale projections and huge physical sets to take you in and around Hogwarts. In the ride you be trying to get away from dragons, sweep by Whomping Willows, be involved in a Quidditch match and not my fave fight off Dementors. If you get sick easily this is not the ride for you. It’s a lot of movement and the 3D may be too much. It really feels like you are flying and for kids the whole thing may be too scary. I was scared at a lot of parts but I’m easily scared. It may be the 3D that is getting people sick. As I said above don’t drink or eat before this it will make it worse. Another side note, when getting on the ride there is a conveyer belt you get on and have to get off. It goes very fast and we almost fell twice. I think they need to change this. In my opinion Universal has too many screen rides and 3D.
Flight of the Hippogriff:
This is the other ride in the land. It’s the first outdoor roller coaster. It’s very small and the ride is really nothing but kids may enjoy it. The ride lasts less than 30 seconds and you may have to wait a long time.
I didn’t expect much from it and you don’t either. It goes really fast and it’s over fast.
As I said before you need to have the Butterbeer but in the park we heard try the frozen and others said try the regular. I say get both and share. You may not be able to drink a whole one alone…it’s very sweet.
After all this, you’re going to want to head over to The Three Broomsticks restaurant and Hogshead bar. The food was really good. I had the lemon herb chicken, potatoes and corn on the cob, my cousin had chicken fingers and fries and the other cousin had a turkey leg. We also had to get dessert. They don’t serve any soft drinks so don’t ask.
The Wizarding World of Harry Potter Shopping:
If you haven’t spent enough money yet, enter the WWOHP shopping. There are quite a few shops to go to. Some have the same things and some don’t. The first set of stores you will see after you enter are Zonko’s Joke Shop and Honeydukes, they are connected. Zonko’s isn’t very big but they sell novelty items. Honeydukes is a candy store where you will find some crazy confections. You will find on the menu Bertie Bott’s Every Flavor Beans, Mice Pops, Cauldron Cake and chocolate frogs.
If you don’t want food or snacks go a little further down and you will find Harry Potter robes, brooms, sweatshirts and t-shirts, books and more.
If you’re just going to Universal Studios Hollywood for Harry Potter I wouldn’t say it’s worth it alone. You have to pay for a full priced ticket anyways. I’m not saying it’s not a must see but you will have to do other things. It is a lot smaller than I thought so you will be done in a few hours if the lines aren’t massive.
It was a great day and visually amazing. I think they definitely need to add to this. For the $90 ticket to get in take your time and go through the whole park.
Go to the bathrooms and hear Moaning Myrtle talk!