We're just going to dive in. I'm not going to lie to you. When you walk into Universal Studios Hollywood it's about 1/4 the size of Universal Orlando and horribly disappointing. But then you get to Hogsmeade and your whole life changes. You walk through the gates and boom! You are in a Harry Potter movie, complete with all the shops, snow capped stores, crooked chimney's and all.
For someone who is an architectural and design buff, this place is heaven. The first thing you see when you walk in is the Hogwarts Express which (for the muggle here is the train Harry and his crew take to Hogwarts).
It's sitting there in all it's glory, steaming away like the real deal. Which, mind you, you can actually ride, in Scotland (check it out here) #lifegoals. But I didn't really realize just how amazing the place was until I looked up and saw Hogwarts, looming over the entire park, completely magical, and completely aw-inspiring.
The first thing we did was get in line to do the ride that's actually in Hogwarts express called Harry Potter's 3D something or other. It was a great ride but if I'm honest, you're not there for the ride, you're there for the experience. You're there for a wand.
Which we absolutely got at Olivander's Wand shop. This isn't just a 'walk in and buy your wand' type of experience. You actually have the option of queuing up and doing a 'Wand Selection' which is by far the thing that excited me the most. When you walk in, you're brought into a room that is chocked full of wands.
I mean, it's literally from ceiling to floor, just wands. Then, you go into the wand selection which involves a volunteer (generally a small child) and actually using the wands to cause all kinds of mayhem in the shop until the wand chooses the wizard. It's. The. Best.
After which, you're able to choose your own wand. I'm not going to get into wand selection, and the differences between the interactive vs the replica. We'd be here all day, but I will tell you I got an interactive Fleur Delacour and Brian got a replica of Sirius Black's.
Next we made our way to The Three Broomsticks for lunch (which was ok) had some Pumpkin Fizz (which was way too sweet) and Butterbeer (which was amazing). Check out Instagram for more photo's of this area. I didn't want to have this post about a mile long...which it already is.
One of the last places we stopped was Honeydukes to get a chocolate frog and Bertie Bots Every Flavor Beans.
And yes, before you ask, the chocolate frog does come with a famous witch/wizard (we got Dumbledore) and Bertie Bot's Every Flavour Beans really do come with vomit, earwax, bogie, and dirt flavored ones. I don't think Brian or I are brave enough to actually try these...at least not sober.
You guys, I can't stress this enough. If you can, go. If you can't, go. It's truly a magical experience. This has motivated both of us to get back to Orlando and do the larger version there. I'm sure it's completely mind blowing.
We spent about 3 hours there which is a long time for B and I. We tend to fly through these things very quickly. For example, we can do Disneyland in about 5 hours, which is saying something. Not sure what, but something.