Wizarding World of Harry Potter strikes Hollywood

By Olivia Levada Lenoir

At immediate entrance of the Wizarding World of Harry Potter, it is as if you step out of reality and into a movie, all eight movies to be exact. A very friendly conductor greets Universal Studios Hollywood visitors, and you are left to enroll in Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry.

The Frog Choir, an a cappella Hogwarts choir that features croaking frogs, serenades visitors as they explore the world of Harry Potter.

Between Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey and Flight of the Hippogriff, the Forbidden Journey is definitely the better ride.

As guests rush to line up for the Forbidden Journey, they are provided with an inside tour of Hogwarts. The tour features Professor Albus Dumbledore’s office, the defense against the dark arts classroom and more.

The actual ride includes everything from when Harry Potter catches his first snitch to the end of the series when Harry Potter defeats Lord Voldemort.

Riders are taken on an adventure as they fly on their own broomsticks. Encounters include a flight over Hogwarts and a journey through the dragons layer.

In the Forbidden Forest, riders meet Aragog, Rubeus Hagrid’s pet spider.

Riders are given a rocky spin when the Whomping Willow tree grabs hold of their broomsticks and delivers riders to the Quidditch pitch, the arena where the sport is played.

When dementors enter the pitch, riders are left to battle them in the Chamber of Secrets, and the only words that can save them are “expecto patronum.”

At the end, the whole team including Harry Potter, Hermione Granger, Draco Malfoy, Ron Weasley and more applaud the success of the battle and greet riders.

Honestly, the only thing missing from the Forbidden Journey ride is an actual encounter with Lord Voldemort.

The Forbidden Journey is fun, with some possibly frightening and very realistic moments for young visitors.

“It was kind of scary because it showed you the dragons, then like the haunted things and then it just started coming to life and stuff,” said Aydrik Pelletier, a young child visiting from Oregon.

For older riders, it is all things thrilling.

“It was great. I liked it a lot! ” I liked the dragons,” said Ruby Rice, a world-traveling visitor.

The Flight of the Hippogriff is a small but fast roller coaster. As you ascend up the coaster, Buckbeak, Rubeus Hagrid’s former hippogriff, greets riders.

The only critique for this one is that it is a short ride. So, you’ll have to get back in line for a full taste of how it feels to fly and swoop like a hippogriff.

At Ollivander’s Wand Shop, visitors watch in awe as a wand chooses a wizard. In this show, one audience member is chosen for a wand fitting. The chosen one performs several spells with several different wands before finding the best fit.

Following the demonstration, everyone is given the chance to purchase a wand.

Additional shops at the Wizarding World include Honeydukes, Zonko’s Joke Shop, Dewish and Banges, the Owl Post and Gladrags Wizardwear.

Also very popular in the Wizarding World is butterbeer, a non-alcoholic beverage that is loved among young wizards. The butterscotch infused drink is served both frozen and cold and leaves drinkers with a foam beer mustache.

“[Butterbeer is] awesome! ” We tried it in Orlando, and we loved it. We like the mustache, the cream mustache,” said Tina Jamie, a visitor from Chicago.

The drink is available in the streets of the Wizarding World and is also served in the classic Three Broomsticks eatery.

As a Hollywood production company, Universal Studios thought of everything when creating this world. Even sound affects are included in the restrooms.

A trip to Universal Studios is definitely worth it. For those traveling from out of state, Universal Studios launched the Preferred Hotel Program, a partnership with more than 20 hotels. Many provide a variety of services for guests including complimentary shuttle service to Universal Studios, free hotel parking and complimentary breakfast.

For Cal Poly Pomona students, faculty and staff wanting to visit, discounted tickets are offered at ushtix.com/calpoly.

Wizarding World of Harry Potter

Olivia Levada Lenoir / The Poly Post

Wizarding World of Harry Potter

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