When plans were announced for a Potter land at Universal Studios Hollywood, then I knew I could start planning for a very feasible (and much less expensive) trip. This week, my family hit the road and arrived at the Wizarding World of Harry Potter.
Quick verdict: Loved it. The whole experience made me happy. All of the little details, the rides, the food, everything.
Downside though, there are crowds. So. Many. People. We saw that they sell Front of the Line tickets and scoffed at the price (staring at $199, basically twice the cost of our 1 day ticket). However, after spending much of the day in lines, we came around to the idea that maybe getting those for the people in our group who actually enjoy rides might be worth it.
Now on to some specifics. And pictures, of course.
Forbidden Journey - Best. Ride. In. The. Park. Combo of 3D movie-ride and animatronics.
|The Weasley's Flying Car|
|Baby mandrakes in herbology|
Food and Drink: I did try a few beverages on my visit.
I started with Pumpkin juice after the Forbidden Journey ride. It comes in a very cute container and tastes like pumpkin pie. I liked it better than I thought I would, to be honest, and I would get it again.
Later in the day I tried the Butterbeer. It's served both cold and frozen. Both were delicious. You can get it in a disposable cup or in a plastic Butterbeer collectible stein. Of course, we had to get the steins. At $12, it's not cheap, but it was tasty and I will enjoy that little stein until one of the kids manages to destroy it.
Shows: There are two shows at Wizarding World: the Toad Choir and the Tri-wizard Rally. The Toad Choir was very fun. There were 4 performers, one from each house, and they encompassed the traits of their houses perfectly. Boychild liked the puppets.
Souvenirs: Lots of t-shirts. Of course, Gryffindor fans will have the best selection. I went in with the mindset that I was getting a H-Puff shirt, but I also was tempted by the Azkaban and Platform 9-3/4 shirts. Also tons of scarves, hats, ties, pins, keychains, stuffed animals, books, swords, and so on.
Rest of the Park: We went there for the Wizarding World, but that is not all that Universal Studios has to offer.
|Big Pink Donut - it's huge!|
I personally tried the pizza (standard fare, decent size slices, and comes with a side ceasar salad for $7-something). The bread sticks came 3 to a plate with marinara. Not really garlicy, more buttery, but still filling. I had to try the Buzz Cola - a zero calorie cherry soda that was quite refreshing.
I have to say that compared to other theme parks I've been to, I felt that the food was really good. Everyone found something they wanted. No one hated what they got. The childrens were fed, the hanger retreated. Whining was at a minimum (not gone, just better than it normally would be).
Studio Tour- The ride that started it all. I've been on this many, many times over the years and it has absolutely changed since the last time I was on it (ok, that was over 10 years ago, so time has passed). Bruce the shark is still there, as well as the backlot with facades and sets from many famous tv shows and movies. Mrs. Bates is still rocking in the window of the Bates family home. We still experience a flash flood and an earthquake, as well as the parting of the waters. The avalanche tunnel is gone and we no longer go over the rickety bridge. The giant animatronic King Kong is gone, but we do have a new 3D motion experience that was our favorite part of the tour. We head to skull island, experience a dinosaur attack and get "rescued" by Kong. The tour ended with another fast-moving 3D experience featuring a high-speed chase with the Fast and the Furious crew.
Despicable Me: Fun 3D motion ride where you "turn into a minion". I've heard that this is a good barometer of whether someone can handle other motion rides. If this is too much for them, the answer is no.
Jurassic Park: You might get wet if you are sitting on the end of the row. A boat ride, dinosaurs, a big drop. It was a long wait though. Luckily, you could buy beer in line. YOU COULD BUY BEER IN LINE! It was crap light beer, but whatevs. It helped pass the time. You could also get ice cream, water and soda. It's a great idea. They need to add some of those carts to the lines at HP land.
There you have it, our trip to Wizarding World at Universal Studios Hollywood. If anyone has been to the other Wizarding Worlds, let me know how it compares!
I'll send you off with a few more pictures.
|Helga Hufflepuff having a convo with the other founding members of Hogwarts.|
|Looking up at the castle.|