When we do Disneyland, we don’t really see much else of Southern California. This trip we decided to tack on an extra day and see Universal solely for the Harry Potter World! Izzie is so HP obsessed (I’m so proud) and Linc has gotten through the first four books so it felt really magical and realistic.
In hindsight I probably would not take little kids? It seems to be geared for bigger kids/teens and grown up HP fans (Hi, me). The attention to detail was pretty amazing, Dumbledore’s office was like GASP so beautiful and we loved all the architecture. Overall, I wanted it to be bigger- I wanted all the stores to be bigger, they felt tiny and cramped. Stuff was expensive, which was to be expected I guess. I would definitely go back just with my big kids and no complainers or small kids. And skip the tram/other parts of Universal and just dwell in Hogwarts. That tram ride has not been updated in twenty years and it really took a chunk of our day.
The wand selection process was fun, would recommend that. We ended up buying the “smart wands” that you wave at certain parts around the park and then they make magical things happen. The kids loved that. Butterbeer was a must, we liked the frozen one. We ate at the three broomsticks that night and I was so tired and so worn out from 6 full days of theme park traveling that I’m pretty sure I cried over something really lame like a spilled drink and had to go outside and collect myself. All in all, worth it. We will go back again.