Fun

How to Survive the Wizarding World of Harry Potter

Seeing the Harry Potter movies come to life is now finally possible — and we don't mean through your friends' eerily on-point Halloween costumes. Nah, we're talking about the recent opening of the Wizarding World of Harry Potter at Universal Studios Hollywood. It's the biggest deal in this fan-chise since Neville Longbottom got hot. Well, besides the larger version of the park at Universal Orlando. 

But still.

Though this sounds like a Nymphadora Tonks-heavy dream come true, theme parks can still be an overwhelming, um, nightmare to some of us. Which is why we've assembled this guide to how to survive (even enjoy!) the Wizarding World of Harry Potter.

How to not feel guilty about leaving your Harry Potter-loving friends and family behind in the non-Wizarding World
You can send a postcard at the Owl Post, and it will be postmarked from Hogsmeade – so bring stamps.


How to avoid giving attitude to a park employee
We’re going to tell you right now, Butterbeer is not alcoholic. It’s like cream soda with butterscotch whipped cream. Super good, but no alcohol. Proceed accordingly.

How to ride the Flight of the Hippogriff without waiting in line
Closing time seems a mere suggestion in Universal City. And the super-bored teens manning ride entrances don’t super-care about you racing past them for another go-around on the kiddie coaster for up to maybe 20 minutes. If the teens do not look super-bored, do not attempt.

How to avoid the crowd
Impossible. Sorry.

How to look like a super fan
Talk loudly about how the prop luggage to the right of Hogwarts Express is actually from the movies. (This is true, so, you're welcome).


How to get to the front of every line
Spend a crillion dollars on VIP passes. That's right, a crillion.

How to get the very same wand Pottermore.com said you absolutely needed
You don’t. Ollivanders Hollywood has about 13 of the 200 wand results from the site. It’s also crowded. Just grab the Snape wand and get the hell out of there.

How to not get sick on the 3-D Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey ride
You don’t.

How to get that perfect Instagram shot
Hogwarts is all lit up at night, and it’s beautiful. Your iPhone is almost not worthy of this majestic scene, but we guess you can take a photo anyway.

How to freak out someone who’s not that familiar with HP
They pipe in the voice of Moaning Myrtle into the restrooms. Fans are familiar with her perviness; others may wonder what the hell is going on.

How to not get taken to the bank at Honeydukes, Gladrags Wizarding Wear, et cetera
Unavoidable.
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Lauren Cusimano was the Phoenix New Times food editor from 2018 to 2021. Joys include eating wings, riding bikes, knowing everyone at the bar, talking too much about The Simpsons, and falling asleep while reading.