Poets sipped sweet Butterbeer, screamed on a high-speed, mummy-filled rollercoaster and were shocked by dinosaurs at Universal Studios Hollywood this past Saturday.
The Leadership Experiences and Programming (LEAP) Office brought 75 students to the theme park from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. to experience the many dazzling attractions. Students purchased the tickets for only $35 with the help of the ASWC Senate. Many participants were especially grateful for the discounted price of tickets. “If it was full price, I wouldn’t have gone,” sophomore Kelsey Sherman said.
In previous years, LEAP hosted trips to Knott’s Scary Farm, but with the new popularity of the Wizarding World of Harry Potter that opened this April, LEAP decided to switch it up. Tickets sold out on OrgSync in an hour and a half, proving that LEAP made the right decision, with only three additional tickets made available two days prior to the trip.
The Wizarding World of Harry Potter is modeled after the fictional village of Hogsmeade, located next to Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. This segment of the park includes Ollivander’s Wand Shop, Dervish and Banks, Zonko’s Joke Shop, Filch’s Emporium of Confiscated Goods and other shopping stores. The bright green candy store Honeydukes is full of Harry Potter themed candies and snacks, including Chocolate Frogs, Berttie Bott’s Every Flavor Beans and Fizzing Whizzbees. The Hog’s Head Pub and The Three Broomsticks are the park’s main dining locations.
Along with shopping, the Wizarding World of Harry Potter also features two rides: Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey and the Flight of the Hippogriff. Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey is located in Hogwarts Castle and features screen simulations, skeletons, spiders and Dementors. The Forbidden Journey was sophomore Amanda Lane’s favorite part of the trip. “It was scarier than I thought any ride could be because the Dementors were freaky,” Lane said.
The Flight of the Hippogriff is a small rollercoaster that is based on the character Hagrid’s pet, Buckbeak. The coaster is short in length but still brings joy to guests of all ages.
One of the most popular must-haves from the Wizarding World of Harry Potter is Butterbeer, a sweet butterscotch-flavored drink that was featured in the franchise. The drink can be enjoyed frozen or as a soda, both topped with foam. “The foam part was really sweet,” first-year Amanda Hessey said. “I didn’t realize there are two parts, the beer and the foam.”
As a fan of the books and movies, senior Sara Chiu said she was excited to see the new Harry Potter World. “I thought it was smaller,” Chiu said. “They hyped it up really well. There were only two rides. [Forbidden Journey] was really cool and the other was really short. It was cool to see it in real life.”
Another thrill ride that students enjoyed wasJurassic Park: The Ride and The Revenge of the Mummy. Students were shocked by the speed of the Mummy, as it accelerates to a speed of 45 miles per hour in the dark. “I was yelling really loudly and everyone just kept laughing,” senior Leslie Caamal said.
Poets also got to experience the world of Despicable Me first hand in Super Silly Fun Land, a fictional amusement park that features a boardwalk filled with carnival games. Students enjoyed shows such as Universal’s Animal Actors and Special Effects Stage.
Students also had fun on the Universal’s Studio Tour that opened for the public in 1915. “My favorite part of this trip was going on the studio tour and I really like that Bones uses one of the soundstages because it is my favorite show,” Sherman said.
The bus was filled with laughter and excitement on the journey home after a long day exploring Universal Studios Hollywood. The trip was an overall success and many students were gladthey had attended and said they were looking forward to future trips put on by LEAP.