Lifestyle

What to Expect at The Wizarding World of Harry Potter, Open This Week

Harry Potter World Universal Studios
David Sprague/Universal Studios Hollywood

Surely you've heard by now that the Harry Potter universe has been planted with meticulous detail at Universal Studios Hollywood, and it's officially open to the public this week, on April 7th. But, like, what exactly can you expect when you go there, other than themed food and drink? You Muggles better get ready: this place is like living all your high school dreams at once (except that one with that one cheerleader/football player/drama nerd/insert trope here): 

Hogwarts express universal studios hollywood
Jeff Miller/Thrillist

It's all true: one of the first things you see upon entering the land is the Hogwarts Express, billowing smoke but not going anywhere. In the station next to it is a photo booth (natch), where you can send friends pics proving you're off to see about a wizard.

Harry potter universal studios hollywood
David Sprague/Universal Studios Hollywood

Of course, before you get to Hogwarts, you'll see Hogsmeade Village -- perennially snowy, and always serving ultra-sweet Butterbeer. (The food and drink here are worth a story themselves, obviously.)

Harry potter universal studios hollywood
David Sprague/Universal Studios Hollywood

A walk through the streets reveals stores you'd never thought you could actually set foot into, each loaded with easter-eggy, for-fans-only stuff like...

Clippy Clip honeyduke universal studios hollywood
Jeff Miller/Thrillist

Honeydukes Clippy's Clip Joint -- which actually works...

butterbeer universal studios hollywood harry potter
Jeff Miller/Thrilist

... world-specific treats like Butterbeer fudge...

harry potter universal studios hollywood
Jeff Miller/Thrillist

... merch, made from the same wool as the uniforms in the films...

harry potter universal studios hollywood
Jeff Miller/Thrillist

... and, of course, a real-working post office, where you can send your postcards via owl (OK, that part's not entirely true, but how cool is this stamp??)

harry potter universal studios hollywood ollivanders
Jeff Miller/Thrillist

Of course, Ollivanders Wand Shop also exists, and once you walk through a hidden door in this room...

harry potter universal studios hollywood ollivanders
Jeff Miller/Thrillist

... you end up in this (much darker) room, where a real-life wizard helps a little-bitty wizard find the wand that's right for him, by casting a buncha spells that are actually really, really awesome.

Jeff Miller/Thrillist

Speaking of awesome, some of the wands actually perform magic in the park. Seriously...

harry potter universal studios hollywood ollivanders
Jeff Miller/Thrillist

Just find a logo on the street, like this one...

Jeff Miller/Thrillist

... do the spell as it's laid out...

David Sprague/Universal Studios Hollywood

... and windows will open, gadgets will move, hourglasses will turn, and more secrets will be revealed.

toad show harry potter hollywood universal studios
Jeff Miller/Thrillist

On your way to the rides, you'll come across themed shows -- like these singing toads...

Hogwarts castle harry potter los angeles
David Sprague/Universal Studios Hollywood

Yes, we said rides -- there're two, including this outdoor rollercoaster, Flight of The Hippogriff, which is sort of a mini-coaster for thrill-ride beginners, and the more intense 3D + movement ride Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey, which is in Hogwarts Castle. Yep: inside. Hogwarts. Castle.

Hogwarts castle universal studios hollywood
Jeff Miller/Thrillist

In fact, the whole world, including Hogwarts, was designed with the team from the movies, so everything will look, well, awesome...

Hogwarts griffin harry potter hollywood
Jeff Miller/Thrillist

... including foreboding griffins at the end of hallways...

Hogwarts universal studios hollywood spells
David Sprague/Universal Studios Hollywood

... lab setups that reveal secrets about dark magic...

Hogwarts universal studios hollywood
David Sprague/Universal Studios Hollywood

... dragon bones perched above you...

Hogwarts talking portraits harry potter universal hollywood
David Sprague/Universal Studios Hollywood

... and even a whole hall of talking portraits. Yes. For real. Just like all the rest of this stuff. Believe. And get your ass up there.

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Jeff Miller really needs to reread the whole series stat. See if he does on Instagram at @jeffmillerla and Twitter at @ThrllistLA.