There are 19 tracks on the original motion picture soundtrack to Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone. Track twelve was always my favorite. Entitled “Christmas at Hogwarts,” it was the amalgam of the two most magical things I could envision as a child: Christmas, and Harry Potter’s castle home. Starting November 17th and running through the first week of January, we’ll all get the opportunity to live the magic in real life at Universal Studios Hollywood Wizarding World of Harry Potter. Featuring glistening snowfall for the very first time, guests can experience the spirit of the holidays Hogwarts-style, complete with a nightly light show and all the bewitched jingle bells a kid (or, let’s face it, full-grown adult) could ever want.
Beyond the walls of Hogsmeade lie attraction upon attraction. From a brand new state-of-the-art Universal Cinema to Voodoo Doughnuts and Jimmy Buffett’s Margaritaville, both making first appearances in California on the CityWalk. There are rides for every age, some a little scary, some hilarious; like Kung Fu Panda’s own Po, taking on The Emperor’s Quest. Our 11-year-old son and his father are adrenaline junkies so they couldn’t get enough of the Fast & Furious Supercharged Experience featured on The World-Famous Studio Tour. They raved about riding along with the cast from the hit movies on an exhilarating high-speed chase that exceeds 120 miles per hour, engulfed in the high-stakes underworld of fast cars and international crime cartels delivered via cutting-edge, hyper-realistic special effects, including 3D-HD imagery projected onto the world’s most expansive 360-degree screens.
Retail stores like Sephora, Lids, Sparky’s and Nectar Bath Treats await for when the kiddos have experienced all of the rides, but are just not quite ready to head home. More than 30 diners, cafes, and quick bites alike will satisfy any palate, especially if you’ve had one too many Butterbeers or Pumpkin Juices at Hog’s Head at the back of Three Broomsticks (or if you’ve spent too much time indulging in all manner of colorful sweets at Honeydukes, including Acid Pops, Exploding Bonbons, Peppermint Toads).
Beyond the rides, the restaurants, and the shops lies a real working movie studio, where you can see all 13 city blocks of the historic studio lot. Built under consultation with Steven Spielberg, the four acre entertainment behemoth is open for its world-famous hour-long tram tour. Visit with the toothy star of JAWS, and the smoking ruins of War of the Worlds’ jet crash. Hear from Jimmy Fallon as he takes the whole family behind the scenes where more movies and television shows have filmed than any other lot, anywhere in the world.
On top of everything else, Universal offers California residents one of the best deals in the entertainment world: buy a day, get a year free. It’s hard to pass up a deal this sweet, especially when the holidays are rapidly approaching. A full day of action awaits, all in one place. How magical is that?
To plan your visit or for more detailed information about the park’s attractions, entertainment, dining and shopping options, visit www.universalstudioshollywood.com