Last time I was here in Univeral Studios Hollywood, California, I was about 9 years old, maybe. There was still the Knight Rider car, KITT, on the lot, which I remember crying after taking a photo because my hand got stuck pretending to lift it. The last time I went to any theme park was in 2009, to Disneyland, for my niece's first visit. At that time, the lines were long, and my 4-year old niece was so patient. Basically, I don't itch to go to theme parks at all. Waiting in line for about an hour to get on a 5 minute ride under the heat seemed ungodly.
Oh but Harry Potter. It's an entirely different story. I will always make an exception for Harry Potter. In Orlando, the Wizarding World of Harry Potter has been in existence since 2010. But here in California, it only opened this past April. Apparently it is much smaller than that of Orlando, but since I don't have that to compare to yet in my head, it was glorious nonetheless.
#UniversalStudiosHollywood Fun day begins when you're welcomed with this! Every detail captured. Sure it's not the size of the wizarding world, or apparently that of Orlando, but it was good for the day! Hogsmeade - Universal Studios Hollywood, California 2016 #travelingb #GetThereGetLost #travelblog #picoftheday #harrypotter #takemethere #mytinyatlas #travelpics #tasteintravel #ustravel #california #passionpassport #worldplaces #worldcaptures #worldingram #livetoexplore #globetrotter #letsgoeverywhere #traveldeeper #worldtravelbook #tlpicks #mytravelgram #wanderlust #traveldudes #socal #thewizardingworldofharrypotter #Hogsmeade #jkrowling #universalstudios
I'm a Harry Potter fan enough to have read all the books, finished them within 3 to 5 days from starting. Fan enough to have all hard cover first editions of them. Fan enough that when I was in Edinburgh back in 2012, I asked people about JK Rowling and the series' Scottish roots, for which I was shown some pubs and other places where they said old wives tales were told that had the origins of the HP folklore. So yes, Harry Potter as a theme park was an exception I was going to make to endure the heat and the wait.
The Wizarding World of Harry Potter in Universal Studios Hollywood did not disappoint. It's comprised of Hogsmeade and Hogwarts. There are two rides - the 3D Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey ride through Hogwarts, and the small roller coaster Flight of the Hippogriff. You also get in line to Ollivanders where there's a bit of a show for the wand to find the wizard before you shop for your wand. With your interactive wand, there are various spots throughout the park where you can use it.
Details, details, details - really that's what I appreciated. The butterbeer, the owl post, Honeydukes, the Three Broomsticks, the Gringotts Bank ATM, the full on shop windows. Very clever, very fine. It's why I'll never get too old for Harry Potter. In fact, I'll always probably crave for more.
Because to me, it's more than a story. It's a universe created by the genius of an individual, given to me to be imagined when I read the books, presented to be enjoyed in the movies, and now, created to be experienced the way I imagined it to be. (It was the Game of Thrones before Game of Thrones - so hopefully, there'd be a park for that one day too!) Wicked is what it is! It was a fun day and I'm lucky to have HP fans in my family to enjoy it with. It absolutely warrants a full post but I've been posting a lot on Instagram, so please check it out too!
Bianca is one of the founders of get there | get lost. She is an avid writer and photographer based in Northern California. Her love for history, literature, architecture and food culminate to her passion for traveling and learning about different cultures. She advocates for accessible travel, and continues to explore with her husband and travel partner, Jesús, despite physical limitations. Follow their adventures on Instagram as @gettheregetlost and @coffeeandtherapy.