Muggles can now experience Christmas in the Wizarding World — and you don’t even need a forged permission slip.
The charming wizarding village of Hogsmeade, which is the setting for Harry Potter’s wintry adventures in J.K. Rowling‘s Potterverse — despite the fact that year after year, the Dursleys wouldn’t give him permission to go — is now decked out for the holidays for the first time ever at Universal Orlando. (The “London” portion of Wizarding World, home of Diagon Alley, also got a festive makeover for the season.)
Fans of Rowling’s books know that the author took special delight in creating cozy Christmas scenes, from the Weasleys’ annual monogrammed sweaters to the Great Hall’s holiday feasts.
Here are the five most magical surprises from the Christmas celebration, which runs at both parks through Jan. 6:
1. The holiday feast at Three Broomsticks.
Standard English fare is still on the menu at the cozy Hogsmeade pub — fish and chips, shepherd’s pie, Cornish pasties — but there is a special item that tastes like Dobby lovingly made it himself: the holiday feast. With ample portions (it serves four but could easily serve six), the bounty of traditional Christmas favorites includes roast turkey, English chipolata sausages and spiced cranberry sauce. Pair it with Dragon’s Scale beer (or a hot butterbeer!) and eat outside in the shadow of Hogwarts castle. You’ll feel like Madam Rosmerta is going to rush by at any moment and offer you another pint.
2. The light show at Hogwarts Castle.
One advantage to eating outside Three Broomsticks: You’ll have a view of the new laser light show, “The Magic of Christmas at Hogwarts Castle,” which runs multiple times after dark. Clever projections inspired by the films feature Fred and George Weasley’s signature mischief, Hogwarts ghosts and glittery fireworks. The music — including the cheeriest notes from the movies’ score — is more than enough to set your holiday spirits soaring.
3. The dazzling décor.
Let’s be honest: Florida’s steamy temperatures do not always align with fans’ fantasies of the jumpers-and-wool socks world from the books. But with Hogsmeade and Diagon Alley bedazzled in their full holiday glory, Wizarding World feels exactly as it should. (Yes, the snow on the rooftops finally makes sense.)
From twinkling lights to ribboned garlands, the details are spectacular — and create an even more immersive experience for visitors. (Make sure to look up to catch every last sparkling touch!)
4. Celestina Warbeck and the Banshees holiday show.
Mrs. Weasley would be kicking up her stockinged feet at this show, which stars her favorite singer and features seasonal tunes with a wizarding twist. (On the set list: “Accio Christmas.”) Her cauldron of hot, strong love is the perfect holiday brew.
5. The holiday magic.
Christmas and Harry Potter go together like Hermione and homework, Harry and Ginny, and Dumbledore and lemon drops. You may not be able to spend the holidays in the Burrow (yet!), but Christmas at Wizarding World feels like a hug from Hagrid, a seat by the Gryffindor fireplace and a warm dish of treacle pudding all in one.