If you need to know anything about me, then I will share this: I am a HUGE Harry Potter fan. From the books to the movies and everything in between, I just love it. So when we took an East Coast road trip when we were looking at colleges for my oldest son, it was the perfect time to get there. Here are some of my favorite tips to enjoy Hogsmeade as first timers!
So my best first piece of advice is to stay in one of the on-site hotels. For us, we stayed at the Loews Royal Pacific Hotel. A short walk to the park, and it grants you early admission to the Wizarding World of Harry Potter.
I can’t even tell you the excitement you feel when you pass through the gate for the first time.
You truly do feel like you have entered a magical world. When we first got there, I didn’t really take it all in. We made a mad dash to the main attraction in Hogsmeade: The Forbidden Journey Ride.
It is so breathtaking to see the castle that you know from the movies. Of course, even with early admission, the line was long. I didn’t care, I took picture after picture after picture. My boys kept smirking at me, and I could read the speech bubbles above their heads: Really Mom!?!? More Pictures. Yes sweeties, more pictures.
The queue for the lines are just as amazing as the park itself. You got to see the Herbology greenhouses, the house hourglasses, and even Dumbledore’s office. The attention to detail was just fantastic. You really can imagine yourself in a Hogwarts classroom!
So once we completed our first time on the ride, we took a few minutes to check out the gift shop. And make lists of the things we were going to buy on our last day.
We then headed off to try Hogsmeade’s signature drink: butterbeer! You could get it either frozen or cold. I will tell you, it was very sweet, so you may consider sharing it with another family member.
After that we wandered back through the main area. The signs made it fun, too!
I am short, so my husband’s head got in the way. In the background you can see the walkway to get to the Dueling Dragons roller coaster. First time I have ever waited to be in the front seat, and I would do it again. Unfortunately, this attraction closed in 2017. I haven’t heard if it is being replaced with something new.
After that, we wandered a bit to look at the different shops.
It was fun to see the different shops you could visit.
Of course, I wanted to send a letter by owl, but we were on a mission. Along the way I had to do some more people watching.
We were all hungry at that point, so what better place to eat then the Three Broomsticks?
The roasted chicken dinner was amazing. I should have taken a picture of it first, but I was so hungry. It was well worth the price tag for such a filling meal. Then it was time to continue walking.
And then we reached our destination: The Hogwarts Express.
It really is so amazing to see this beauty in person. You forget that it isn’t the real thing when you are gazing at it. We managed to get there just as the next run was being performed. Next stop, Diagon Alley! Be sure to stop in the future when I share my favorites about Diagon Alley.