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Monday, July 4, 2016

The Newest Wizarding World of Harry Potter

Posted by Charlene // Tags: ,

Last Friday, I went to Universal Studios Hollywood to celebrate my Mom's birthday, and was extra happy to be able to finally see the new Wizarding World of Harry Potter.  I have yet to visit Florida and see how amazing it is over there, so it was great to finally be able to see it in my neck of the woods.  And I took a few photos to share the experience on my blog!


The Hollywood version is much smaller than the Florida one - it only has two rides - Forbidden Journey and the Flight of the Hippogriff.  Forbidden Journey is FANTASTIC.  I love the immersive wait line experience of walking through Hogwarts - complete with moving pictures, Dumbledore's office, and the Gryffindor common room.  It's so detailed, and huge.  I couldn't believe it. I managed to get to the Park early and get on the ride before there was too much of a wait, but I think if I had to wait an hour, I wouldn't mind too much in such a realistic version of Hogwarts.  The actual ride is a combination of aerial movement, real props and 3D screens, and it's such a fun ride through the world of Harry Potter.  Well apart from the creepiness of the huge spiders, and the surprising jolt of... fear?  or dismay? I had when the dementors showed up.  I thought the references to things and places in the books was well done, and the story of the ride was excellent.  It felt like a real trip to Hogwarts.

Just waiting to get on the ride...

Flight of the Hippogriff was a bit disappointing though.  It was such a kiddie roller coaster and was over almost before I knew it had started.  I don't know if the one in Florida is similar, but I feel like they could have done something a bit more with it, especially since it's the first outdoor roller coaster ever in Universal Studios Hollywood.





It was difficult to get into the shops just because there were so many people there.  I spent more time trying to get on Forbidden Journey (I rode it three times!) so by the time I was ready to explore the shops, it was almost elbow to elbow to get in.  I wanted to eat at the Three Broomsticks too, but there was a line just to get into the building, so no thank you.  I did get my delicious butterbeer though - obligatory butterbeer drinking photo:

Love this stuff!

There were a couple live shows scheduled for the Park, but I only caught the Hogwarts choir/Frog choir one which consisted of acapella singing and beatboxing some Potter tunes.  It was fun to watch, and the performers were really good!  Hopefully next time I will catch the Triwizard Spirit Rally with the Beauxbatons.


And obligatory bookshop photo
With the crowds and the general heat, I didn't get to explore Hogsmeade as much as I wanted to, but I was really impressed by the attention to detail and the commitment to the experience this new addition to Universal Studios had.  I'm normally used to seeing that from Disneyland - Universal Studios does do some things very well (like live shows), but immersive theme park experience isn't it's strong point.  They are changing for the better though, and I hope to come back again soon to explore it more.  I didn't even get to step into Ollivanders! (Long line)  And I also need to make a trip to Florida sometime to see what it's like over there!

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