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Universal Studios takes on Christmas with the Wizarding World of Harry Potter


If you haven't visited The Wizarding World of Harry Potter at Universal Studios Hollywood, now is the time.

We’ve seen Universal create picture-perfect horror mazes with Halloween Horror Nights, but last year the park started using its movie magic on another holiday.

Utilizing one of its greatest assets, Christmas at the Wizarding World of Harry Potter is one of the most heartfelt, romantic, and truly magical experiences this season.

When you walk through the archway into Hogsmeade, you're met with snow-capped rooftops and garlands winding all the way to Hogwarts Castle in the distance.

It straight-up looks like a Scandinavian mountain town from one of the bazillion travel Instagram accounts, and it puts you in the spirit of things right away.

Beside the holiday decorations, the architecture of the town is breathtaking.

The main attraction is the revamped light show.

Using projection-mapping, the facade of Hogwarts Castle appears to freeze over, open up, and even turn into Zonko's Joke Shop. Complete with fireworks and classic John Williams score, the show even utilizes the surrounding trees to simulate snowfall.

Look, I'm no poet, but there's a special place in my heart for both Christmas and Harry Potter, so just know that I had to hold back tears the entire time. It's truly a special thing to experience. And if your heart is a Venn diagram of holidays and fantasy movies, this is where it overlaps.

Check out the video above for a better look at the show.

And yes, there are holiday treats.

Actually there's not only treats, there's a full-on holiday meal with roast turkey, pigs in blankets, and a whole bunch of other quality food that frankly has no business at a theme park (not complaining.)

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The highlight is easily the hot butterbeer. It's a seasonal version of their year-round butterbeer drink that's basically liquid butterscotch. I don't know what the sugar content is, but I drank FOUR.

Adult supervision advised.

Luckily the good people of Hogsmeade didn't forget it's a shopping holiday.

There are plenty of new knickknacks to be had including tree ornaments, stockings, tree toppers, and house pennant garlands.

There's even some new interactive wands at Ollivander's that allow you to cast spells in certain areas of the park for a special interactive experience.

Last but not least, it turns out Hogwarts has a glee club.

A surprisingly fun alternative to carolers, the frog choir performs original holiday songs with the help of puppet frogs croaking in sync. In all seriousness, it's likely only a matter of time until we have a Harry Potter musical. So if this is the groundwork, I'm down.

Check out the video above to hear one of their songs about casting Christmas spells, which is exactly the kind of Pagan witchcraft I'm all about.

The world of Harry Potter lends itself so well to Christmas that this instantly became my whole reason to visit the park. Though just a small section of Universal Studios Hollywood, this holiday experience is sure to give Disneyland a run for its money.

Christmas at the Wizarding World of Harry Potter is open at Universal Studios Hollywood from November 17 until January 6.

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