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    23 Tips For Taking Your Kids To The Wizarding World Of Harry Potter At Universal Studios Hollywood

    Harry Potter heaven opens at Universal Studios Hollywood on April 7.

    Andrew Richard / BuzzFeed

    1. Upon first entering The Wizarding World of Harry Potter at Universal Studios Hollywood, grab a photo with the conductor in front of the Hogwarts Express.


    This is totally free and usually has only a short line.

    2. You can also take a photo on the train en route to Hogwarts — for a price.


    This 8x10 commemorative photo — which lets you wrap yourselves in house scarves and pick your choice of background — comes in a collectible folder.

    3. You'll want to head over to the Butterbeer cart for a mug of Butterbeer, which kids will LOVE.


    Butterbeer has a butterscotch-y taste and comes in classic and frozen versions. My kids — ages 6 and nearly 3 — both preferred the frozen version. I did too, tbh.

    There is, of course, no alcohol in the Butterbeer, so it's totally appropriate for kids (assuming you're OK with them drinking a sugary beverage).

    4. The Butterbeer cart also has other other kid-friendly options, including water, lemonade, and pumpkin juice.


    Pumpkin juice tastes like a sweet, pumpkin-flavored soda.

    5. Kids will be thrilled by the magic on display inside Ollivanders.

    Along with a group of 15 to 20 other people, you and your kid will be ushered into a small, dusty wand shop, where a wandkeeper will help someone in your group select a wand (or where the wand will select them, more specifically).

    This process only takes about five minutes, but includes some cool effects where magic is performed before your kid's (wide) eyes.

    6. After you've experienced Ollivanders, you will exit through a shop selling a wide variety of wands, including replicas of the ones used by Harry, Hermione, Dumbledore, and others.

    Kevork Djansezian / Reuters

    You can buy a regular wand for $42 or an interactive one for $50.

    7. If you buy an interactive wand, it will come with a map leading you to locations throughout the Wizarding World where you can cast spells.


    These interactive wands, by the way, will work at The Wizarding World of Harry Potter in Orlando, Florida, too.

    8. At these locations your kid (or you!) can wave the wand and make magic happen.


    At this location, for example, your little wizard can make a music box play behind the glass with just a wave of the wand.

    9. Kids will love the Frog Choir, which features performances of songs like “Dance Like a Hippogriff" by Hogwarts students and their croaking frogs.

    Heather Spohr / BuzzFeed

    These (roughly) 15-minute long performances happen throughout the day. It's a good idea to camp out in front of the stage before the performance to make sure your kids don't end up behind tall Muggles.

    10. Kids will also dig the Wizarding World's other performance — the Triwizard Spirit Rally.


    Students from Hogwarts, Beauxbatons, and Durmstrang put on a colorful and exciting performance.

    11. If your kid has never been on a roller coaster before, the Flight of the Hippogriff is a terrific one to start with.

    David Sprague / Photo by David Sprague

    This family-friendly ride has some exciting spirals and dives, but is fairly tame in relation to the average roller coaster. It's also over pretty quickly, which is ideal for kids on their first ride (but maybe not adrenaline-junkie veterans).

    Your kid must be at least 39 inches tall to ride with you and 48 inches tall to ride alone.

    12. Worth noting — waiting in line for the Flight of the Hippogriff is the only way to see Hagrid's hut and flying motorcycle up close.

    Heather Spohr / BuzzFeed

    13. The other big ride — the 3D-HD adventure Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey — can be found inside Hogwarts.

    Heather Spohr / BuzzFeed

    14. As you wind your way through the line, you'll have a blast passing through Hogwarts' familiar classrooms and corridors.

    Spohr / BuzzFeed

    You'll probably see Harry, Hermione, and Ron, plus Dumbledore — and portraits on the walls that move and talk!

    15. The ride itself is also a blast, but may be a little intense for younger kids.

    Universal Studios

    As a point of reference, it's definitely more intense than Despicable Me Minion Mayhem. If your kid is nervous to ride it, it's probably best not to make them go.

    Like Flight of the Hippogriff, your kid must be at least 39 inches tall to ride with you and 48 inches tall to ride alone.

    16. By the way — if your kid wears house robes or a Hogwarts shirt into Hogwarts, a team member might say, "Welcome back!"

    Heather Spohr / BuzzFeed

    Similarly, when you buy something with your bank card, the team member might say, "Your signature is required by the Ministry of Magic."

    17. Zonko’s Joke Shop is a must-visit, and is packed with all kinds of confections kids want — like chocolate frogs!

    Heather Spohr / BuzzFeed

    Keep an eye out for other treats straight out of the books, like Queenbee's Fizzing Whizzbees.

    18. Zonko's also sells a number of novelty items and jokes that would please even the Weasley twins.

    Heather Spohr / BuzzFeed

    Decoy detonators and extendable ears are just a couple of the mischievous items your kids can get their hands on.

    19. You can grab lunch at Three Broomsticks, which has traditional English fare for the whole family.

    Heather Spohr / BuzzFeed

    Parents and older kids will enjoy items like bangers and mash, shepherd’s pie, beef Sunday roast, stew, and fish and chips.

    20. The children's menu includes mac and cheese, chicken tenders, a quarter chicken, and fish and chips.


    The place has dessert, too — my kids tried the Butterbeer potted cream and sticky toffee pudding and enjoyed both, but finished off the sticky toffee pudding with the most enthusiasm.

    21. At Filch's Emporium of Confiscated Goods, you will find lots of cool Harry Potter–themed toys for sale that are hard to find anywhere else, like this Fluffy the three-headed dog...


    ...and this sorting hat.

    Heather Spohr / BuzzFeed

    22. Want a cool, low-cost souvenir? Check out the personalized keychain stand across from Hogwarts.


    They have a wide selection of names (including both of my kids').

    23. Before you go, drop by the Owl Post, a fully functioning post office where your kids can mail their friends postcards and letters postmarked from Hogsmeade.

    Heather Spohr / BuzzFeed

    You can buy cool Wizarding World of Harry Potter stamps at the Owl Post, but — FYI — you can save money by using your own postage.

    Have fun!

    Heather Spohr / BuzzFeed

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