Happy holidays! Welcome to Universal Studios!
The holiday season is upon us, and therefore Christmastime has officially taken over the Wizarding World of Harry Potter at Universal Studios Hollywood (and nearly everywhere else in the park). Hogwarts Castle is enchanting year round for Harry Potter fans and park goers, but over the holidays, it becomes even more enchanting-er.
Hogsmeade Village is decked out for the holiday season and through January 6, you can experience the loveliness that is Christmas in the Wizarding World of Harry Potter, which is sure to charm the socks off you (which is fine–you can buy more socks at one of their gift shops).
There’s a lot going on this season: Nightly snowfalls begin at 5:15 pm each evening, followed by several showings of “The Magic of Christmas at Hogwarts Castle,” a dazzling light spectacular projected upon the castle (at 5:40 pm, 6 pm, 6:30 pm, and 7 pm).
Seriously, the lights show is very elaborate. Hogwarts seems to become an actual circus at times.
Other magical happenings include an a cappella Frog Choir that performs (harmonized) holiday-themed songs, new custom-made Christmas ornaments that you can buy (shopping!), and new festive fare and hot Butterbeer (!!) at the Three Broomsticks restaurant.
Know Before You Go: There Are Crowds!
It can get a little bit crazy during the holiday season at the park (as well as everywhere else in L.A.), and I know this goes without saying, but there will be crowds at theme parks. But it’s okay, you got this. Don’t let that stop you from visiting. Here are a few things to remember when you visit to make your time as worry-free as possible.
It Will Get More Crowded At Night
Get to the Wizarding World portion of Universal Studios early if you want to watch the lights show because: It. Gets. Packed. The closer to show time, the more people are scurrying into the Wizarding World for a good place to stand and observe (as close to the castle as possible). But it’s worth it! It really is. Just plan to get yourself inside of the Wizarding World at least a half hour before the lights show, and you’ll be good.
It Will Be More Crowded On Weekends
The nightly happenings in the Wizarding World of Harry Potter are not specific to weekends and can be viewed during the week (when it will definitely be less crowded). However, if you go on the weekend, just remember to get there even more ahead of time and save yourself the frustration of feeling rushed. It’s going to be fine! This is a legit fun thing and you’re totally going to enjoy yourself.
Keeping Calm Is Extremely Important
As someone who used to immediately freak out at the mere thought of a crowded place (like, anywhere), I know the importance of just straight up just choosing to stay calm. The holiday crowds can be overwhelming, but try to relax by reminding yourself: You are at a theme park and it’s the holiday season. I know this seems like a no-brainer, because obviously, but honestly just accepting this does wonders for an anxious mind. There’s nothing you can do about the crowds. Take a deep breath–this is going to be okay.
Treat Your Fellow Park Goers With Respect
Please don’t yell at people when making your way anywhere. Not only does it stress your family out, but it stresses absolutely everyone around you out (including yourself). Keep your cool, don’t get upset, and enjoy the spectacle. It can be really simple and really lovely if you don’t let the crowds get to you–they’re not that bad, but it’s important to remember that it’s going to be packed and there’s nothing you can do about it–just prepare for it, and enjoy why you’re there (pretty lights! Harry Potter! The holidays!).
Now go enjoy some magic and buy a Niffler and carry it around like it’s your child (or maybe that’s just me–look, we all celebrate differently).