One of my favorite places to go is the Wizarding World of Harry Potter at Universal Studios. While the Orlando parks have both Hogsmeade and Diagon Alley, the Hollywood park, which is closest to me, has only Hogsmeade.
In Hollywood’s Hogsmeade, there are two rides: Harry’s Forbidden Journey and Flight of the Hippogriff.
Harry’s Forbidden Journey
Harry’s Forbidden Journey is not only one of my favorite rides in Hogsmeade (Hagrid’s Motorbike Ride in Orlando beats this one out), but one of my favorite rides in the Hollywood park.
The premise is that Hogwarts has opened its doors to muggles, where they are going to take a History of Magic class. You also go through the greenhouses if you go through the full queue. I recommend using the single rider line–it allows you to get on the ride in 5 minutes on a busy day and even faster on a slow day. Then, Harry, Ron, and Hermione bewitch a flying bench to sneak the muggles (you) out to the Quidditch pitch to watch a Quidditch match. Nothing could go wrong with that plan, right?
Well, first, a Hungarian Horntail dragon has escaped which throws the bench off-course. After that, dementors chase you into the Forbidden Forest before you finally make it out and back to the Great Hall where you are congratulated for your bravery.
The ride does not move very fast, but focuses on immersing you in the storyline. That said, if you’re prone to motion sickness, you can get sick on this.
You will also need to stow your belongings in a locker. For information on how to do that, you can check this video here:
Finally, some larger riders may not be able to fit into the seats for this, so if you suspect that might apply to you, I recommend using the test seats out front before getting on the ride.
Flight of the Hippogriff
Flight of the Hippogriff is a small rollercoaster designed for children. While I usually make time to ride this on a slow day, I forego it on busier days because there are no single rider lines, and it’s just not worth the long wait on a busy day.
I don’t remember the premise of the story behind this one as I do not ride it every time I am at the park, however, the ride itself lasts only about 30 seconds. It takes you through the Forbidden Forest as you ride on a Hippogriff.
There are three shows in Hogsmeade: Ollivander’s, The Frog Choir, and The Triwizard Tournament.
Ollivander’s runs throughout the day when the park is open, and you will need to wait in line for it. And, there is always a line.
This is a must see the first time you go to the park, but I wouldn’t waste my time after that under most circumstances.
You won’t be chosen for a wand to select you.
Read that sentence again: You won’t be chosen for a wand to select you. That’s right. They only choose children around the age of 11 for this, so if you’re looking to participate in the show–think again.
Now, if you are traveling with a child around this age who is a fan of Harry Potter, then I recommend this show. Otherwise, there is plenty more to occupy your time with.
The Frog Choir
The Frog Choir is probably my favorite show in Hogsmeade although I’ve only been lucky enough to see it at Christmastime, this is the choir from Prisoner of Azkaban, but there is one student representing each house–a soprano, alto, tenor, and bass. At Christmas, they sang the Christmas song from Harry Potter–I’m not sure what they sing during the rest of the year.
The Triwizard Tournament is a dance/gymnastic show focused on the ladies of Beaxbatons and the proud sons of Durmstrang. While I enjoyed this show the first time I saw it, it’s probably not my favorite–I’m just a bigger fan of music than gymnastics.
Casting Spells and Shopping
I don’t usually do a lot of shopping at Universal Studios, but they have several stores from Diagon Alley and the Harry Potter world. They also sell interactive wands.
Your best bet is to purchase your interactive wand from one of the street vendors rather than Ollivander’s because Ollivander’s can get very crowded.
The interactive wands are also interchangeable: I bought my interactive wand (Hermione’s) in Orlando, and it works at the Hollywood location.
For more tips on how to cast spells in the parks, check out my video on casting spells in the parks below.
Restaurants & Food
Finally, there are two connected restaurants in the park, as well as a couple of food stalls where you can get wizarding world snacks and drinks, including butterbeer.
Three Broomsticks is the main restaurant in Hogsmeade, and it serves traditional British fare. Connected to Three Broomsticks is the Hogshead which is the bar side of the restaurant where you can get alcoholic beverages.