Still waiting for your owl from Hogwarts?
Yeah, me too.
But you know what, it’s ok. I know where to get our fix until the Headmistress realizes her mistake.
Nestled inside Universal Studios Hollywood is the Wizarding World of Harry Potter and the magical town of Hogsmeade. For those of us still waiting for our letters, it’s probably the closest we’ll ever get to J.K. Rowling’s fantastical world of witchcraft and wizardry.
I’ve visited a few times and each time I seem to discover something new. So here are five of my favorite magical tips for the Wizarding World of Harry Potter.
First things first. Ok so this isn’t really a must, but they say fake it til you make it, right? If you don’t have robes or a scarf to represent your house, you can outfit yourself like a proper witch or wizard once you arrive. My first tip? If you haven’t already done so, get sorted at J.K. Rowling’s website Pottermore, then pick from your house’s robes, scarves, socks or ties at the park. You can even get your own Molly Weasley inspired H or R initial sweater. Ginger hair not included, sorry guys.
Once you’ve been outfitted like a respectable member of the wizarding community, it’s time to visit Ollivanders, Makers of Fine Wands since 382 B.C. If you have the time, there is a small line off to the side of the entrance where you can watch a master wandmaker seem to help a guest find their wand. But as any true Potter fan knows, a wand chooses the wizard.
In the store itself, there are wands piled all the way up to the ceiling. The Weasleys and Malfoys, the Potter trio, and just about every other character’s wand are all represented.
Personally, I was drawn to Hermione’s wand – 10 ¾”, vine wood, with a dragon heartstring core.
Oh, one more thing about the wands. If you have a few more gold Galleons to spare, there are wands for sale that can create magic throughout Hogsmeade. Look for special medallions on the floor in front of certain storefronts and perform the spell. Quick! Look in the window to see the magic happen!
Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey
So there are only two rides in Hogsmeade. First is Flight of the Hippogriff, a perfect roller coaster for little ones. Take a walk by Hagrid’s hut and Buckbeak the Hippogriff, then spiral through Hagrid’s pumpkin patch on the coaster. Done.
Now, of course, the main one you cannot miss is the Forbidden Journey. It used to be 3D until riders began complaining of getting sick and dizzy. So of course, the Ministry of Magic removed the 3D elements and it’s now a thrilling 2D ride through the Forbidden Forest following Harry on his broomstick. If you have a weak stomach, I’d recommend skipping the ride itself but not the line.
Most people moan and groan when there’s a long line. Not me! And I’ll tell you why. The line takes you on a tour of Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry! See the Pensieve in Dumbledore’s office, walk by the Sorting Hat, and listen in as the portraits come to life.
The Three Broomsticks and the Hogs Head Pub
Yes, I know, this is technically two musts but just go with it, trust me.
Now, I definitely recommend getting your nosh and drink on after you escape the Forbidden Forest. Although you won’t find any house elves in the kitchens, they do have really yummy comfort food in the Three Broomsticks. I ordered the beef and lamb shepherd’s pie served in a bread bowl with a salad. My friends ordered Bangers and Mash, and an asparagus veggie plate. All three were delicious and very filling. But let’s be real, my pie was the envy of the table.
If you’re still a bit parched, head next door and order a butterbeer with fire whiskey. We asked for a drink that was only available there and we ended up with a Scottish red ale, which was pretty magical, let me tell ya.
Last, but certainly not least, is Honeydukes. No trip to Hogsmeade is complete without visiting the candy store that would make Willy Wonka evict Charlie Bucket. I caved and bought a Chocolate Frog the last time I went. Ron was right, the cards are really cool! I was hoping for Dumbledore but, alas! I got Godric Gryffindor. I guess I’ll just have to try again!
I wish you luck deciding on just one treat because each and every shelf, nook, and cranny of this place is filled with sweets. It’s perfect for when you find yourself starting to lose energy and need a little magical pick-me-up.
If you’ve already been, I’d love to hear what your can’t miss parts are about the Wizarding World! If you haven’t, I can’t wait to hear if these recommendations were helpful!
Until next time…Mischief Managed!