By Nafisa Hossain
Eager fans of J. K. Rowling’s “Harry Potter” franchise are excitedly awaiting the April 7 opening of the Wizarding World of Harry Potter at Universal Studios Hollywood amusement park. The Wizarding World of Harry Potter is designed to look like the popular Hogsmeade Village that Harry and his friends frequently visited.
The Harry Potter attraction in the Hollywood branch of Universal Studios is six acres large, which is much smaller than its counterpart in Florida that spans over Universal’s Islands of Adventure and Universal Studios Orlando. Despite its smaller size, California’s Wizarding World of Harry Potter offers eight different retail shops for Harry Potter merchandise, two different attractions, a restaurant, and a pub all modeled after different places in the popular book and film series.
The new section of the theme park will have a motion-simulator ride, Harry Potter and the Forbidden Forest, and the roller coaster Flight of the Hippogriff. Harry Potter and the Forbidden Forest is an upgraded version of the simulator in Orlando that offers 3D vision to the riders who will be donning “Quidditch-inspired goggles for the ride, which will spiral and pivot 360-degrees on an elevated track,” according to Orlando Sentinel.
The storyline of the ride will be the same as that in Orlando but in Hollywood the visitors will be able to see the Whomping Willow in action, face dementors, and ride with a 3D Harry Potter himself at the Quidditch pitch in a more interactive fashion.
The Flight of a Hippogriff ride, also with a counterpart in Orlando, is a family-friendly roller coaster that allows the passengers on the coaster to test ride a Hippogriff over the Forbidden Forest and Hagrid’s hut. The ride also allows the passengers to see the view of the Wizarding World from above.
“One of my favorite parts was the queue leading up to the Forbidden Journey. You get to line up next to many of the actual artifacts and stage props that had been in the movies like the flying Ford Anglia from the second movie and when you pass by Dumbledore’s study, which is replicated exactly like the movies. There’s the famous gargoyle statue and even a hologram of a talking Dumbledore,” science teacher Christine Lee said.
The Harry Potter attraction also has many Harry Potter-themed retail shops like Zonko’s Joke Shop to buy gag gifts, the famous candy store Honeydukes which sells items like Berty Bott’s Every Flavor Beans and Peppermint Toads, the wand shop Ollivanders where you can get fitted for a wand, the Owl Post to send postcards from Hogsmeade, and two eateries: The Three Broomsticks and The Hog’s Head pub. You can even try non-alcoholic Butterbeer at The Three Broomsticks and The Hog’s Head.
“One of the best parts of the Hollywood attraction is definitely the Butterbeer. We’ve heard so much about it from the book and movie characters. The visit to Hogsmeade is incomplete until you’ve tried the Butterbeer and it definitely doesn’t disappoint,” senior Chris Abad said.
Along with all the amazing rides and shops, there are also many displays throughout Hogsmeade Village that will make it truly seem like you are a part of the Wizarding World. Fans can pose and take pictures in front of the Hogwarts Express and walk around real props used in the movies, like the desks and whiteboards in the castle or some of the outfits at display at Gladrags.
Universal Studios Hollywood’s new Harry Potter attraction allows the magic of Rowling’s famous book series to remain close to the hearts of California Potterheads, who are now able to escape into Harry Potter’s Wizarding World with ease. With the April 7 opening approaching, this new part of Universal Studios is definitely one to check out.