Guide to Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey at Universal Studios Hollywood

January 26, 2024
Exterior photograph of Hogwarts Castle during sunset. Exterior of Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey in the Wizarding World of Harry Potter.

Don’t lie. We know you’ve fantasized about being a student at the Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. You know what house you’d be in, what classes you’d take, which Quidditch position you’d play. While I can’t promise a flurry of Hogwarts acceptance letters will fly down your chimney, I can offer you a chance to traipse around the school grounds with with Harry Potter himself. Just head to Universal Studios Hollywood, wander through The Wizarding World of Harry Potter, make your way to Hogwarts Castle and hop in line for Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey.

This dark ride in The Wizarding World of Harry Potter is an epic, can’t-miss adventure for wizards and Muggles alike. Here’s everything you need to know about Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey at Universal Studios Hollywood.


Exterior photograph of Hogwarts in the Wizarding World of Harry Potter.

All your wildest dreams have come true: Professor Albus Dumbledore has invited Muggles into Hogwarts! That means you. It might be just for a History of Magic lecture with the ghostly Professor Binns, but don’t worry — our favorite trio of Gryffindors has other plans for you. With some genius magic from Hermione, you’ll soar through the Hogwarts grounds with her, Harry and Ron.


Queue of Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey in the Wizarding World of Harry Potter. Photographs line the walls centered by a stairwell.

If you’ve ever fantasized about creeping around Hogwarts under Harry’s Invisibility Cloak, you’ll love the queue for this ride. Seriously — as a “Harry Potter” fan, I think the queue for this ride is one of the best parts. Here are just a few things true fans will catch as they wind through Hogwarts:

  • Talking, moving portraits throughout the experience. This includes the founders of the four Hogwarts Houses: Godric Gryffindor, Rowena Ravenclaw, Helga Hufflepuff and Salazar Slytherin.
  • The Headmaster’s office, where Dumbledore extends a hearty welcome to all visiting Muggles.
  • The Defense Against the Dark Arts classroom, where Harry, Ron and Hermione emerge from an Invisibility Cloak with important instructions: meet them in the Room of Requirement. Adventure awaits!

And so much more. Superfans should keep their eyes peeled for familiar characters and magical objects throughout Hogwarts.


Harry Potter wearing a red robe on a broom with the golden snitch in center view on Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey in the Wizarding World of Harry Potter.

You’ve made it to the Room of Requirement! Once you’re secured into the four-person enchanted bench, Hermione will send you to the Astronomy Tower via the Floo Network. You’ll careen through the Floo Network, and once you land in the tower. Harry and Ron bring you down to the Quidditch Pitch for the big Gryffindor vs. Slytherin match!

But trouble seems to follow these three wherever they go. You’ll spend this ride flying all over the Hogwarts grounds — and even within the castle, too. You’ll twist and turn, narrowly escaping peril at every turn. The ride uses a combination of 4K-HD video and practical, dark ride elements, so guests really feel like they’re inside the wizarding world.

I won’t spoil too much for you. But here’s what you can expect to encounter on Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey at Universal Studios Hollywood:

  • A treacherous Hungarian Horntail, who has just escaped from Hagrid and seems determined to set you ablaze.
  • The infamous Whomping Willow, whose wild branches could take you out with the slightest swing.
  • A mob of soul-sucking Dementors, who interrupt a Quidditch Match with nefarious intentions.
  • The skeletal remains of the deadly Basilisk, who rests in the depths of the Chamber of Secrets.
  • And much more! C’mon, it’s Hogwarts. There are always unexpected surprises here.


Defense against the dark arts classroom in the queue for Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey in the Wizarding World of Harry Potter.

Here’s the nitty-gritty stuff you need to know about the attraction:

  • Height requirement: 48” (122 cm)
  • Free lockers available on site to stow bags
  • Child Switch available upon request
  • Universal Express Pass is available
  • Single Rider is available


A monster book with four eyes.

Exploring Hogwarts doesn’t end on the ride. After disembarking your bench, you’ll head down to the dungeons to peruse Filch’s Emporium of Confiscated Goods. Because if the notorious Hogwarts caretaker doesn’t want students to have it, you know it’s gotta be good.

At this gift shop, you can buy your very own Marauder’s Map, a wizard chess set, and apparel specific to your Hogwarts House. You can also take home your very own magical creature — OK, the plush kind, but still — like an Acromantula, a Hippogriff, or even a Basilisk. If you haven’t stopped by Ollivanders yet, you can get your very own wand at Filch’s Emporium, too.


Exterior aerial view of the Wizarding World of Harry Potter at Universal Studios Hollywood.

The fun doesn’t stop when you step out of Hogwarts. There’s much to explore in The Wizarding World of Harry Potter at Universal Studios Hollywood, from the Flight of the Hippogriff, to the live performances from Beauxbatons and Durmstrang students, to the Hogsmeade shops. Not to mention the food and drink at Three Broomsticks and Hog’s Head. Oh, and a little something called Butterbeer. Check out our complete guide to The Wizarding World of Harry Potter to plan your magical getaway. No Marauder’s Map necessary. (But, yes, you can purchase one if you want to!)

What’s your favorite detail of Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey? There are tons to choose from, so tell us in the comments below!

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  • Reply Katelyn Nunez January 27, 2024 at 3:25 pm

    This article should add details about the ride chair width and body size restrictions.

    It is possible that an employee will pull you aside just before the front of line. They will ask you to use a fit test set of chairs to test the drop down safety bars will click into place. A friend is required to push down on the front safety railing as the employee is not allowed to.

  • Reply Alan Wicks February 18, 2024 at 3:02 pm

    Little dissapointed that I ( being of a bit of girth….like the great Hagrid himself!) Could not ride the flying bench with my son. We didn’t find this out until just before we were to hop on. Luckily he went by himself since he is a huge HP fan. I was proud of him since, with Autsim, he has a lot anxiety being without someone, but he did great.

    • Reply Digital Guest Communications February 18, 2024 at 3:22 pm

      Hi Alan. We are sorry to hear of any disappointment you may have experienced during your visit to Universal Studios Hollywood. Please be assured that the safety of our Guests is our highest priority. We recommend reaching out to Universal Studios Hollywood directly at 800-864-8377 so that your feedback can be formally documented for review.

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