Visit Hogsmeade in Hollywood

Sip a non-alcoholic Butterbeer while roaming through Hogsmeade at Universal Studios Hollywood.

The Wizarding World of Harry Potter at Universal Studios Hollywood officially opens to the public on April 7. A non-publicized soft opening for “technical rehearsals” took place over the President’s Day weekend. This soft opening offered staff nearly two months to work out the kinks and get the massive addition ready for visitors.

Having the privilege to have visited the first day of the soft opening (and over a dozen times since), the land has exceeded all expectations and no hiccups have been experienced. Every visit offers the opportunity to see details missed on previous visits. As you make your way into Hogsmeade, visitors will be immediately blown away by the incredible detail put into every aspect of the experience. The “land” features two rides, numerous shops, live entertainment and a massive dining establishment. There isn’t a nook or cranny that has not been themed. Fans of the Harry Potter series will see Hogsmeade brought to life. While a similar land opened at the Florida Universal theme park a few years ago, Hollywood offers a bit more space and feels more immersive.

The centerpiece of the land is the multi-story Hogwarts castle, which houses the signature attraction, “Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey.” Visitors are placed inside of Harry’s world. Smoke, fog, water effects and 3D screens provide a wild ride that makes you feel as if you are flying.

The queue line for the ride inside Hogwarts is an attraction in its own right. The detail put into the queue cannot even be described in print. Universal’s creative team has outdone themselves, and even if motion rides are not your thing, it is recommended that you wait in line and marvel at the visuals. The shops and dining venues are as equally impressive. Browse through Honeydukes, Owl Post, Zonkos Joke Shop, Dervish and Banges, and Filch’s Emporium of Confiscated Goods. The most impressive is Ollivnders Wand Shop - Makers of Fine Wands. Enter through a pre-show experience, where a guest is chosen to participate in a wand ceremony. You have never seen anything like it! Live entertainment includes the Frog Choir and the Triwizard Tournament. Delicious foods can be found inside of Three Broomsticks. While wandering around, sip on a non-alcoholic Butterbeer and munch on a “Chocolate Frog.” Buy a wand and participate in interactive experiences found in shop windows.

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