Adventures Into the Wizarding World of Harry Potter
Last Wednesday, I was filled with childhood glee as my sister and I embarked on an adventure to Universal Studios Hollywood to explore the new Wizarding World of Harry Potter! As soon as I walked into the Harry Potter area I felt like I was being thrust into the movie set and a flood of vivid childhood memories reading the series washed through me.
Our first stop was to Ollivander's wand shop! After about 20 minutes waiting in line we entered a dimly lit Ollivander's (almost an exact replica of the movie set) where we were able to watch a wand matching ceremony conducted by Ollivander himself! Once a girl from the crowd was properly matched with her wand, the small crowd was able to enter a second room where we could explore various wands ourselves. In the shop they were selling the wands of Harry Potter, Snape, Ron, Hermione, Dumbledore, Lord Voldemort, amongst other characters, as well as generic wands with descriptions of the types of witches and wizards that possess them. I went with the Ivy wand whose wood is described as being associated with "tenacity, stamina and endless patience" by the description at Universal. As someone who has trained for multiple long distance races and clawed her way into medical school, I felt this wand truly did choose me.
Unfortunately I did not realize this until I got home, but the wand came with a map of locations around the Harry Potter area where I could have tried out my magical skills! I am bummed I missed out on this, but maybe I will be able to take a trip back at some point in the near future.
New wand in tow, my sister and I rode the Flight of the Hippogriff roller coaster which was short and sweet. We also purused through some of the souvenir shops but I resisted the urge to buy any more over-priced but totally awesome merchandise. We then went to try out the ever-famous Butterbeer which my sister described as cream soda. They offered it cold or frozen, and we both went with cold. The cream on top was incredibly sweet and really made the beverage. We slurped it down while winding through the aisles to the one other ride in the area, Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey. Side note: It was during this time I was thankful we came on a Wednesday because we never waited more than 20 minutes for any attraction throughout the park! Full of Butterbeer we went through the incredible, frightening, thrilling, 3-D experience that was the Forbidden Journey! Let me tell you, 3-D rides are so captivating! However, a 3-D Harry Potter ride where I literally felt like I was flying around Hogwarts with Harry was epic!
High off life we strolled through some more shops, including Honeydukes, which was a candy lover's delight, watched a Triwizard Tournament spirit rally, took a picture with the students of Durmstrang and Beauxbatons, and of course filled up some delicious fish and chips at the Three Broomsticks! For whatever reason I was disillusioned into thinking the Wizarding World would be a lot bigger than it was, but my sister and I made it through the entire area and had plenty of time to explore the other attractions at Universal Studios. With that said, I was thoroughly impressed with the way all of the attractions were crafted and the staff that remained completely in-character the whole time. If it were not for my more grounded sister, I probably would have walked out of that place thinking I was a real witch!