Wizarding World of Harry Potter Universal Studios Hollywood Rides

by Jeanne
Two women standing outside Hogwarts castle at Universal Japan

Heading to the Wizarding World of Harry Potter? We’ve got a plan for spending an entire day at Universal Studios Hollywood! While this park has fewer attractions than Universal Orlando Resort, there’s still plenty to do (be sure to check out Universal Citywalk!). We’ve put together this list of Harry Potter Universal Studios Hollywood rides to help you get ready. 

What’s in this post:

  • No Diagon Alley in Hollywood
  • Flight of the Hippogriff
  • Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey
  • What to Do at Wizarding World of Harry Potter at Universal Hollywood
  • More Great Rides at Universal Studios Hollywood
  • Halloween Horror Nights

If it’s your first time at the park, please note that the Wizarding World of Harry Potter is in the Upper Lot. If that’s all you care about, then you won’t even have to venture anywhere else! While you’re in Los Angeles, though, we highly recommend checking out everything Universal Studios Hollywood has to offer! 

No Diagon Alley in Hollywood

Harry Potter fans will probably be sad and disappointed to learn that there is no Diagon Alley at Universal Studios Hollywood. You’d have to travel to Universal Studios Florida to enjoy this attraction. It’s definitely worth visiting someday if you can swing it, though. 

Overall, the Orlando park has a lot to offer. Goals, right? The good news is that you’ll still have a spectacular time in Southern California!

Flight of the Hippogriff

One of the two Harry Potter rides at Universal Hollywood is Flight of the Hippogriff. It’s a small roller coaster suitable for small kids and Harry Potter fans of all ages! The wait time for this really depends on when you go. I’ll be honest, that I’ve ridden this at three Universal parks and never waited more than 10 minutes. Keep an eye on the app, get there early, and plan ahead!

Lift hill on Flight of the Hippogriff at Universal Florida
  • Opening date: April 7, 2016
  • Height requirement: 39 inches (99cm) or taller. Children 39-48″ (99-122cm) must be accompanied by a Supervising Companion (14 years or older). 
  • Orlando location: Universal’s Islands of Adventure

There are a couple of really sweet things about this ride. The first is that you’ll get to see the outside Hagrid’s Hut if you get on this ride. The second is that on the lift hill, you’ll have a great view of Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry!

Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey

The signature attraction at Hollywood’s Wizarding World of Harry Potter is Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey. It’s easy to find, of course, because it’s inside Hogwarts Castle! We’ve been on this ride at Universal Studios Hollywood, Universal Studios Florida, and Universal Studios Japan. Every version is a little different, but it’s always so much fun! 

Universal Studios Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey
  • Opening date: April 7, 2016
  • Height requirement: 48 inches (122cm) or taller.
  • Orlando location: Universal’s Islands of Adventure

We absolutely love the queue for this attraction, which is a good thing because the wait time can be brutal. Definitely plan for that! It’s cool going through the castle, though, seeing the Defense Against the Dark Arts Classroom, Dumbledore’s office, the Gryffindor Common Room, and so much more. It’s a little bit creepy, though, so you might feel as nervous as a student competing in the Triwizard Tournament! 

The ride vehicle on this dark ride is legit. It twists and turns, giving riders a truly immersive experience (watch out for the Whomping Willow!) and maybe a little motion sickness. It definitely made me feel like I was living in one of my favorite movies! Be sure to read our guide to How Scary is Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey for more details. 

What to Do at Wizarding World of Harry Potter at Universal Hollywood

Walking through the village of Hogsmeade, you know our first stop (after the rides) is to grab some Butterbeer! Along with the gift shop, it’s definitely one of the best things about a trip to the Wizarding World of Harry Potter. 

Things to do:

  • Ollivander’s wand shop sells the interactive wand. We got one for one of our smaller kids and he still loves it two years later. 
  • Gladrags Wizardwear sells a wide array of apparel inspired by the films.
  • Hear the Frog Choir.
  • Check out the Triwizard Spirit Rally.
  • Buy stationery, writing tools, and The Wizarding World of Harry Potter stamps, and more at The Owl Post.
  • Zonko’s Joke Shop will help you channel your inner Weasley twin. 
  • Find truly unique Harry Potter gifts at Dervish and Banges.
  • Pick up a Marauder’s Map (and more!!!) at Filch’s Emporium of Confiscated Goods.
  • If you’re looking for robes, head to Wiseacre’s Wizarding Equipment.
  • You can’t ride the Hogwarts Express train at Universal Studios Hollywood but you can buy Platform 9 ¾-branded items like train tickets, passport cases, wallets, passport cases, blankets, backpacks, mugs and more at the Hogsmeade Station shop!

Where to eat:

We’ve created a guide for Where to Eat at the Wizarding World of Harry Potter. Check it out, be sure to note which places are only at Universal Orlando. 

Wizarding World of Harry Potter food The Three Broomsticks Universal's Islands of Adventure Universal Orlando Resort
  • The Three Broomsticks restaurant offers a fantastic menu of British fare and meals inspired by the Harry Potter films. 
  • Hog’s Head is inside Three Broomsticks (head to the back). This is the place for Pumpkin Juice, Butterbeer, and other drinks (including alcohol). 
  • Honeydukes is great for sweet treats, drinks, and snacks. 
  • The Magic Neep Cart sells cold beverages, snacks, fresh Fruit, and bottled beers.

More Great Rides at Universal Studios Hollywood

When you’re ready to explore the rest of Universal Studios Hollywood, you’ll find many amazing attractions to explore (especially in the lower lot). But first — head to Lard Lad Donuts, if your diet allows! That giant donut is delicious and so famous (inspired by one of the most popular television shows of all time, The Simpsons). 

Here are some of the rides and attractions you can check out:

  • Revenge of the Mummy: The Ride (this is a true thrill ride)
  • The Simpsons Ride (skip if you’re prone to motion sickness)
  • Despicable Me Minion Mayhem (so cute but can make you queasy!)
  • Jurassic World – The Ride
  • King Kong 360 3-D
  • Super Silly Fun Land
  • The World-Famous Studio Tour
  • Transformers: The Ride 3-D
  • Special Effects Show
  • Fast & Furious: Supercharged
  • Silly Swirly Fun Ride

Halloween Horror Nights

If you get the chance to visit a Universal theme park in September or October, try to check out Halloween Horror Nights. It’s one of the best special events at Universal Hollywood, for sure. We strongly recommend the R.I.P. Package so you can skip the lines while you eat and drink your way through the night. So worth it! 

You may have heard that the Wizarding World is usually closed during Halloween Horror Nights. This year, though, it seems that Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey and Flight of the Hippogriff are open! Don’t quote me on this, but keep your fingers crossed!

Enjoy the Wizarding World of Harry Potter!

It’s hard to name just one fun thing about visiting the Wizarding World of Harry Potter. Even though Universal Studios Hollywood doesn’t have many rides, it’s still an amazing, immersive experience. 

Universal Studios Japan Wizarding World of Harry Potter Hogwarts

If you want to get on the Hogwarts Express, ride Harry Potter and the Escape from Gringotts and stroll through Diagon Alley, though, your best bet is to head to Universal Orlando Resort (if you’re into extreme thrill rides, be sure to hop on the Incredible Hulk Coaster and Velocicoaster!). 

Whether you’re in Florida or on the west coast, there’s nothing like Universal Parks. Yes, we like Disney World too, but how can you compete with Harry Potter?! We hope this short guide helps you have a great time on your next trip!

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