amusement parks Cool Things to Know About the New Wizarding World of Harry Potter  

Lisa Waugh
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Spring 2016 saw the opening of the new Wizarding World of Harry Potter at Universal Studios Hollywood. Like the WWoHP parks in Orlando, FL, and Osaka, Japan, the six-acre California Potter world also offers fans an interactive and immersive experience, doing the maximum with just half the acreage as the Orlando location. But the upgrades in the Harry Potter theme park California make the world just as magical and well worth the visit.
 
The new Wizarding World of Harry Potter may be smaller technically, but the upgrades include a faster, higher, and extended Forbidden Journey ride; wider streets; more shops, a photo op aboard the Hogwarts Express; and magnificent views of the Hollywood Hills. You may not think that better queueing is sexy, but when there are tons of people in the park it’s a crucial thing toward enhancing your experience - no one likes waiting in boring lines!
 
Enjoy your butterbeer, wave your new wand from Ollivander’s at the symbols in the shop windows to perform magic, but know that this Hogsmeade has its own magical light and some of the most stunning sunsets in the world. Let’s look at some Wizarding World of Harry Potter tips that will make you an expert on the Hollywood park before you arrive.

The Forbidden Journey Ride Adds 3D, Is Faster, Higher, and Longer


The Forbidden Journey Ride Add... is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list Cool Things to Know About the New Wizarding World of Harry Potter
Photo: Universal Studios
The ride moves faster and there’s more content than its Orlando counterpart - it's also higher off the ground. The 3D is definitely an enhancement, and especially cool as you fly over the grounds of Hogwarts. Also expect a few updates and surprises in the narrative of the Hollywood version. A big plus are the stunning views as you whip through the castle. The Dementors are also scarier.

Ollivander’s Is Larger, More Efficient Queue Space


Ollivander’s Is Larger, More E... is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list Cool Things to Know About the New Wizarding World of Harry Potter
Photo: Geeks and Sundry
First off, it’s much larger than the Ollivander’s in Orlando, making it easier to navigate. There’s a large lobby with floor-to-ceiling shelves crammed with wands, allowing for browsing while escaping the Southern California heat. Also, the shop is on the opposite side of the street from the Orlando park, and there is better room for queueing. Considering how much time you’ll spend in line at such a popular attraction, this is crucial and something J.K. Rowling pushed for.

There’s an Extra Side Street in Hogsmeade


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Gladrags Wizardwear is only a storefront in Orlando. In Hollywood, you can go inside. And what’s inside? Lots of international treasures. There are fabrics and costumes, such as the sweaters Harry and Ron wore and Hermione and Cho Chang’s Yule Ball gowns from the film. This street, unofficially called The Town Wall street, is also a good spot for any selfies and group shots you may need to snap. Oh, and the streets are wider to allow better flow of guests. Again, this may seem small but it makes a visit much more enjoyable. No one likes a jostling when they are shopping for Quidditch uniforms.

The Flight of the Hippogriff Ride Gets More Hagrid


The Flight of the Hippogriff R... is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list Cool Things to Know About the New Wizarding World of Harry Potter
Photo: Universal Studios

A fun addition to the ride is Hagrid’s motorbike parked next to the hut, with the sound of Fang’s barks emitting from inside. This family friendly ride allows guests to see different views of Hogwarts.

Pro Potter Fan Tip: Before approaching a Hippogriff, you must bow first.