The JetSet Family just returned from the most incredible trip to The Wizarding World of Harry Potter™ and it was everything we hoped for and oh, so much more. Kiddo completed reading the entire Harry Potter book series this past school year and as a reward, she earned herself a spot on Platform 9 3/4 and a ticket on Hogwarts Express to visit Hogwarts Academy at Universal Studios Hollywood.
I want to be clear, you don’t have to belong to a specific House, or be a Harry Potter super fan to enjoy your time in Hogsmeade, but you are definitely going to want to read these tips on how to make the most of your visit to The Wizarding World of Harry Potter™ before you go!
A Muggles Guide to The Wizarding World of Harry Potter at Universal Studios
• h o g s m e a d e •
The mornings are beautiful in Hogsmeade. Not only because the sun rises over Hogwarts Castle, but because it’s the most peaceful time of the day. The crowds are almost non-existent, and the lines flow smoothly.
Tip: Make sure to purchase your tickets online before you arrive at the park and receive special early admission to TWWOHP. You’ll have the opportunity to explore the stores and attractions at 8:00am one hour before the park opens.
• h o g s w a r t s • e x p r e s s •
It’s an absolutely beautiful morning here in Hogsmeade and there is so much to do and see. Inside the entrance of The Wizarding World of Harry Potter is Hogwarts Express is your first photo-op where you can snap a picture with the conductor.
• o l l i v a n d e r s •
A visit to The Wizarding World of Harry Potter wouldn’t be complete without your very own magic wand. Ollivander will even chose one child for a very special, personal wand fitting. In this video, Kiddo was the “chosen one” on her way to Hogwarts.
Tip: While visiting Hogsmeade make Ollivanders Wand Shop in Diagon Alley your first stop because the line gets incredibly long very quickly. Each wand comes with a map that reveals places throughout TWWOHP which the wand works magic by simply pointing and chanting spells like, “Ventus” and “Alohomora”.
• g r y f f i n d o r •
Waiting in line has never been this exciting! As you wait to board the 3D-HD roller coaster, Harry Potter and The Forbidden Journey, you’ll feel as though you are on an official tour of Hogswart Castle. See Professor Sprout’s room with his Mandrakes, The Great Hall, and holograms of Harry, Ron and Hermione before having your very own chance to play Quidditch and fighting the Dark Lord. See if you can see Snape’s office around the Three-Eye Witch, and the moving portraits in the Gryffindor Common Room are new characters from J.K. Rowling!
As you walk through the talking portraits corridor in Hogwarts Castle, pay close attention to what the founders are saying. You’ll hear them brag about how many points their houses have and you’ll probably hear some insults toward Muggles thrown around.
Tip: Get in line straight from Ollivanders, and do not use your “Gate A” front of the line pass in the morning. Save it for late afternoon because I promise, you’ll want to ride this one again! (Parents with young children this is not a lap ride, and kids have to ride solo. My 9yo loved it and was fine, but I saw a some other children around the same age terrified after getting off.)
• b u t t e r b e e r •
The signature caramel creamsicle soda is served throughout the park in many different forms. You can opt for a cold brew (great for creamy mustaches) or frozen slushy from the Butterbeer cart in a collectors frosted mug, Butterbeer ice cream from Florean Fortescue’s, or Butterbeer fudge at Honeydukes.
Tip: Beat the drink lines and take your Butterbeer mug to The Hogs Head Pub where Harry and Ron held secret Dumbledore’s Army meetings for a quick refill throughout the day. (P.S. They also serve alcohol drinks like: Dragonscale Lager, Hog’s Head Scottish Red Ale and the Wizard’s Brew Porter.)
• l a v a t o r y •
Too much Butterbeer and Pumpkin Juice can only mean one thing… Bathroom Breaks! Make sure to listen closely for the Moaning Murtle ghost while taking care of business.
• p l a t f o r m • 3 / 4 •
You can also take a photo inside sitting in the train’s compartment. These have been taken from the movie set and are the same seats Daniel Radcliffe, Emma Watson and Rupert Grint sat while filming the Harry Potter movies.
• s e c r e t • r o o m s •
I know you are hoping for a bunch of secret rooms, and there is one, but let’s just hope you never have to see it. Those who fall ill from motion sickness after riding Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey, there is a designated spot for you to regroup at get better. If you can’t help yourself and get sick on the ride, then the staff at Hogwarts will give you a pair of gym clothes.
• s p e c i a l • d e l i v e r y •
Make sure to stop by The Owl Post and send your BFF a postcard. It a working post office and will be delivered with the official Hogsmeade postmark stamp. Oh, and make sure to watch for falling owl poop around The Owl Post. Don’t worry, it’s fake, but still pretty gross.
• b e w a r e •
When shopping for your Quidditch equipment and Hogwarts uniform, we’re warning your right now not to get too close to The Monster Book of Monsters that’s caged up in Dervish and Banges. And by that we mean do get too close and see what happens!
• t r i w i z a r d •
Attend the Triwizard Spirit Rally with Beauxbatons and Durmstrang students in preparation for the Triwizard Tournement and my favorite, the Hogwarts Frog Choir as they both perform throughout the day.
• h e • w h o • c a n n o t • b e • n a m e d •
I’m not going to spoil the surprise, but while visiting, go ahead and casually mention Voldermort’s name to one of the WWOHP employees and wait for a reaction.
• d i n e • w i t h • d o b b y •
The food inside The Wizarding World of Harry Potter is really good. We ate lunch at The Three Broomsticks and the fish and chips were amazing and the cheese & ale soup was delicious. And no, your eyes are not playing tricks on you, it is actually the shadow of Dobby lurking about!
Bonus tips for visiting The Wizarding World of Harry Potter
• s h o p p i n g •
TWWOHP gives you the opportunity to pay + play. Shop as you zoom through the parks and have all of your purchases stored until you are ready to leave the park. Everything will be waiting for you at the Universal Studios shop up at the entrance.
• l o c k e r s •
The lockers inside Hogwarts Castle are complimentary for the first 90-minutes. Those with a Front of the Line “Gate A” pass, can store their belongings inside the locker and have time to ride both Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey + Flight of the Hippogriff without having to worry about paying.
Photo credits: Nicole Standley
Promotional consideration has been furnished by Universal Studios Hollywood. On occasion, contributors of The JetSet Family receive complimentary admission. This practice does not hinder the influencer’s point of view. All descriptions are factual and accurately reflect the overall experience.
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