Whether you’re a true Potterhead who has read all the Harry Potter books multiple times (yep, that’s me) or a muggle with a sense of adventure, you can’t help feeling the magic in the air at The Wizarding World of Harry Potter.
It truly is an awe-inspiring place, and today I’m sharing ALL the best rides, food, and tips for seeing all that is anxiously awaiting you at the Wizarding World of Harry Potter at Universal Studios Hollywood.
Put on your house robes, hop on the Hogwarts Express, and get ready for an exhilarating adventure at Hogwarts and the quaint town of Hogsmeade. Just follow these Wizarding World of Harry Potter tips for an fun-filled day.
Top Magical Things To Do and See at The Wizarding World of Harry Potter
#1 Experience the wand choosing the wizard at Ollivanders wand shop
Every Harry Potter fan knows that the wand chooses the wizard. Witness this magical choosing in a small group at a special wand pairing show inside Ollivanders.
Witness what happens when a wand isn’t the right fit, then see the magic of matching the wand to the wizard or witch. This is definitely a must do at Wizarding World of Harry Potter! Have your little one drink some Felix Felicis- maybe they’ll be the lucky one chosen to find their perfect wand!
#2 Cast REAL magic spells inside The Wizarding World of Harry Potter
Your little witch or wizard will be amazed at their magical abilities when they cast a spell with Wizarding World of Harry Potter wands and make real magic! If you purchase one of a handful of interactive wands at Ollivanders, then your kiddos can cast spells at one of 15 locations throughout Hogsmeade.
Look for the gold label on the wand boxes to know which ones are interactive. Gold labels are interactive, while white labels are non-interactive.
Just open up your interactive wand box for a special map of all the locations where you can perform certain spells and create some magic! You can also look for special gold markers that show you where to stand and how to wave your wand to perform each spell. If done correctly, magic will happen!
Try Alohomora to unlock a door with a series of intricate locks, Incendio to create flames, and many other spells to do all sorts of cool things.
#3 Witness an attack on Hogwarts during the awe-inspiring The Dark Arts At Hogwarts Castle show
While this incredible show is available for a limited time (April 13-28 and May 25-27, 2019), it is absolutely a MUST if you plan on visiting The Wizarding World of Harry Potter anytime soon.
The light show is illuminated on Hogwarts castle and is accompanied by an epic score from the master of music, John Williams. Before the show even starts, the sight of Hogwarts all lit up is stunning!
When the castle lights shine brightest is when the Death Eaters, Dementors, Inferi, giants, spiders, and every other sinister creature you can imagine attack the castle. The castle is transformed from scene to scene as all manner of evil creatures try to destroy the beloved Hogwarts. Lord Voldemort himself even makes an appearance.
Just as it looks like all hope is lost and Hogwarts can’t take much more destruction, there is hope and light and an ending that I won’t give away! The Dark Arts At Hogwarts Castle Show is awe-inspiring and is the BEST way to end your day at Wizarding World of Harry Potter and Universal Studios Hollywood.
#4 Taste butterbeer and pumpkin juice
Get a cup of the famous butterbeer and pumpkin juice drinks, all while taking in the rustic interior of the The Three Broomsticks.
The inside of the Three Broomsticks looks just like it does in the movie, and has a wonderful variety of traditional English food and wizarding world food. You can buy butterbeer that is hot, cold, or frozen.
The pumpkin juice is my absolute favorite! To me it tasted like a chilled version of a very spicy apple cider or wassail that one might drink at Christmas.
Just like our last visit to The Wizarding World of Harry Potter, we bought The Great Feast, which included a large green salad, lemon herb roast chicken, spare ribs, roasted potatoes, fresh vegetables, and corn on the cob. While it says that the meal will serve four, our family of seven (minus our baby) all ate and we still had leftovers!
If you wander over to the right side of The Three Broomsticks, you can visit the Hog’s Head pub, complete with a hog’s head hanging on the wall above the large barrels of butterbeer.
#5 Get a Sugar Rush at Honeydukes
Any fan of the Harry Potter books knows all about Honeydukes, the sweets-filled candy shop at Hogsmeade filled with all sorts of wizarding world sweets.
Indulge in all your favorite treats from the books- chocolate frogs (complete with the collectible cards inside), Bertie Bott’s Every Flavour Beans, Fizzing Whizbees, Jelly Slugs, Exploding Bon-Bons, Fudge Flies, Acid Pops, Pepper Imps, Cauldron Cakes, and so much more!
My kids saved up all their galleons for our trip and spent most of it on Honeydukes candy. We’ve got quite the collection of chocolate frog cards at this point, and I’m a-okay with that. 😉
#6 Fly with Harry through Hogwarts
Soar above Hogwarts with Harry and his friends on Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey without even receiving your Hogwarts letter!
This thrilling ride flies you through the halls of Hogwarts and through Dumbledore’s office, the Gryffindor common room, the quidditch pitch, and more. This incredible ride will quickly become a favorite in the Wizarding World of Harry Potter. Bet you’ll want to ride this one more than once- or even four times like my kiddos!
#7 Cheer on Hogwarts, Beauxbaton, and Durmstrang students at the Triwizard Spirit Rally
Cheer on your favorite wizarding school at the spirit rally for the Triwizard Tournament! This engaging show features students from all three wizarding schools dancing and performing to get everyone excited about the Triwizard Tournament. Although Hogwarts will always be my favorite, I was most impressed with Durmstrang’s performance!
Check the schedule for the day you are there at Wizarding World of Harry Potter so you don’t miss the Triwizard Spirit Rally.
PS I didn’t get a photo this year of the tournament, so the above photo is from last year!
#8 See the magical Enchanted Ceiling
As you’re boarding the Harry Potter and The Forbidden Journey ride, you’ll get to ooh and awe over the magical Enchanted Ceiling, complete with thousands of flickering candlesticks above your head. It truly is the stuff dreams are made of!
#9 Hitch a Ride on a Hippogriff
Soar through the skies on a hippogriff, just like Harry Potter did, on the Flight of the Hippogriff ride. This family-friendly roller coaster is quick but entertaining.
While waiting in line for the ride, keep an eye out for Hagrid’s hut, motorbike, and giant pumpkin patch. Keep reading to learn something cool about Hagrid’s motorbike!
#10 Not chosen? Get Help Choosing One of Many Ollivanders Wands
Even if you weren’t chosen in the wand choosing ceremony, you can still get help finding your perfect wand inside Ollivanders wand shop. Just find a friendly witch or wizard worker, tell them you’d like help selecting the perfect wand, and they will ask you a series of questions and recommend one or two of many of Ollivanders wands based on your answers.
My daughter got help and the recommendation was spot on! She ended up loving and buying the wand that was chosen for her by a friendly wizard inside the shop.
Check out all of the wands from your favorite Harry Potter characters at Ollivanders wand shop, as well as at the character wand stand across from Hogwarts.
There’s just something magical about holding Dumbledore, Harry Potter, and even Voldemort’s wands in your hands and noticing all the intricate details of each wand. The hard part will be deciding which wand to buy!
#11 Score the coolest Harry Potter merchandise
Hands down, The Wizarding World of Harry Potter sells THE coolest Harry Potter merchandise.
You can buy everything from Harry and Ron’s ‘H’ and ‘R’ sweaters (like the ones sewn by Mrs. Weasley) and cool Hogwarts and house pins (we bought a bunch for our Harry Potter lanyards) to journals with metal house plaques on the front and your own set of house robes.
If you’re a Potterhead like me, then you’ll definitely want to check out each shop! While some of the shops sell some of the same things, there is definitely Harry Potter merchandise that is only sold in certain stores.
My favorite shop was Filch’s Emporium of Confiscated Goods. Not only are the stores all themed perfectly, but there are so many cool decorations to look at. Even if you don’t plan on buying anything, it is really quite fun to roam through all the shops in The Wizarding World of Harry Potter.
#12 Snap a photo with the Hogwarts Express conductor
While you can’t actually ride the Hogwarts Express, you CAN take a selfie or a photo with the Hogwarts Express conductor right inside the entrance to The Wizarding World of Harry Potter at Universal Studios Hollywood.
My husband was excited because it was the same conductor we took photos with last year. We showed him our photo from last year and had some fun with him. He was a great sport and we hope that he’s there every time we go so we can snap a new photo with him!
#13 Witness the Hogwarts portraits in action
It’s not every day that the paintings on the wall move and speak to you- that is, unless you’re at Hogwarts castle.
As you’re waiting in line for the Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey ride, take the time to soak it all in. The portraits speak to each other and are quite incredible as you walk up the stairs for the ride.
You’ll also get to see the headmaster’s office while Dumbledore speaks to you, the Defense Against the Dark Arts classroom, the fat lady in her portrait, and more! This is one ride that even if the line is long, it’s a treat to wait and notice all the perfectly-themed details inside Hogwarts castle.
#14 Hear giant frogs and Hogwarts students perform
The Frog Choir is a fun show where four students, one representing each of the four houses, sing a capella songs, some of which you might recognize. The students are holding giant croaking frogs during the show that move, which makes this a fun one for kids to see.
Check the schedule for the day you are there at Wizarding World of Harry Potter to catch one of the Frog Choir performances.
#15 Adopt (or just pet) a Pygmy Puff
If you’re little witch or wizard loves Pygmy Puffs as much as the Hogwarts students did, then they can get their very own at Zonko’s Joke Shop. Even if you don’t buy one, Pygmy Puffs are fun to pet and look at since they’re so soft, colorful, and fluffy!
While in Zonko’s Joke Shop, which is attached to Honeydukes, you can also see such wizarding favorites as Extendable Ears, U-No-Poo (my daughter bought a jar of these, ha!), Fever Fudge, Nosebleed Nougat, and more.
#16 Head to the heads in The Wizarding World of Harry Potter
It’s inevitable that you’ll have to make a trip to the toilets during the day at Universal Studios, so be sure to use the bathrooms in The Wizarding World of Harry Potter!
You’ll get to hear Moaning Myrtle wandering about the bathrooms, just like in the movies.
Can we also appreciate the fact that even the bathrooms have cool witch and wizard signs hanging above them? The theming here is so spot on!
#17 Keep your fingers away from The Monster Book of Monsters
Yes, you can actually see a real, snarling, growling, sharp-toothed Monster Book of Monsters kept securely in a cage for your safety (thank goodness). You can see the book, as well Quidditch supplies, the Nimbus 2001, the Firebolt, and much more at Dervish and Banges.
#18 See Cho’s real Yule Ball dress (and other props from the Harry Potter movies)
If you wander inside Gladrags Wizardwear in Hogsmeade, you will see the actual dress that Cho Chang wore in the Harry Potter and The Goblet of Fire movie.
There are also other real movie props from the Harry Potter movies scattered around The Wizarding World of Harry Potter. Hagrid’s giant motorbike that you see while waiting in line for the Flight of the Hippogriff ride is from the movies too!
The chalkboard and desks inside the defense against the dark arts classroom inside Hogwarts are also from the movie.
#19 Send real postcards and letters with an authentic Hogsmeade postmark on them
Take a visit to the Owl Post, where you can drop postcards and letters in the post box, where will they will be delivered with an authentic Hogsmeade postmark on them!
You can buy stationery, Harry Potter stamps, pens, owls, and more at the Owl Post. You can even bring your own postcards or letters already written, addressed, and stamped and drop them in the post box to get that Hogsmeade postmark. Which leads me to the next Wizarding World of Harry Potter tip…
#20 Look up!
Seriously, keep looking up, everywhere you go in Hogsmeade. You might be surprised at some of the things that you will see when you look up that you might have missed!
Inside the owl post, you’ll see hundreds of packages wrapped up in brown paper. Keeping watch on the packages are delivery owls, all with their own unique look and colors.
Outside of Hogsmeade Station I almost missed seeing all of the owls moving up in the rafters. They look so lifelike and realistic- there’s even owl poop on the wood beams!
There’s also a really cool pendulum that swings outside Hogsmeade Station that is easy to miss if you’re not looking up.
#21 Marvel at Hogwarts lit up at night
Even if you aren’t able to visit The Wizarding World of Harry Potter while The Dark Arts at Hogwarts Castle show is scheduled, you can still witness the wondrous sight of Hogwarts at night.
Every nook and cranny of the castle is perfectly lit to create a welcoming, wonderful sight to behold. You can’t help but feel the magic in the air and start to dream about your next trip to this fantastic place.
I hope you enjoyed all 21 of these Wizarding World of Harry Potter tips!
If you’d like to learn more about everything else there is to do at Universal Studios Hollywood, then you’ll definitely want to check out my Top 10 Things To Do at Universal Studios Hollywood post.
This is where I share ALL THE REST of our favorite activities, plus share all my best tips for a great day at the park!
Thank you Universal Studios Hollywood for sponsoring this 21 Magical Moments You Can’t Miss at The Wizarding World of Harry Potter post. All ideas and opinions are always 100% my own.