Last weekend, we embarked upon a magical day out at the new experience, Harry Potter: Magic at Play – which is now open from this week in Chicago.
Harry Potter: Magic at Play celebrates the iconic journey from Privet Drive to Hogwarts and its grounds in an all-new, active way – complete with practicing your Quidditch skills, Forbidden Forest-exploring and feather-floating. Being a Hogwarts student? It’s not all about sitting at desks with a parchment and quill, you know. This experience invites you to roam around, so we strongly recommend some good sturdy shoes for this adventure.
We start our journey in the same way Harry does – with a trip to Privet Drive. But the magic has already begun – with owls guarding the house and cascading Hogwarts letters all over the living room. The experience earns its “play” title immediately, as guests of all ages are invited to crawl through the space if they so choose, ducking into a climbing frame through the fireplace and make your way to slide down over Harry’s cupboard under the stairs.
From there, it’s off to King’s Cross, through Platform nine and-three-quarters (make sure to get a photo opp with the trolley!), passing the Hogwarts Express, and then off to Hogwarts itself! Be sure to grab a pic of yourselves in the boats that take the first-years to Hogwarts, as it comes with some rather atmospheric lighting!
Once at Hogwarts, you’ll be ushered into the Great Hall (complete with enchanting flaming lanterns) to meet the Sorting Hat and discover more about your house. From there, you can immerse yourself in the school’s traditions, such as mixing potions in giant cauldrons, hanging out outside Hagrid’s Hut (watch out for the adorably larger-than-life pumpkin!) and enjoy some cheeky Cornish Pixies flying around, just as if we were in a Professor Lockhart lesson.
There is also a huge maze erected within the experience, á la the Triwizard Tournament’s third task, for you to get lost in and discover surprises.
LEGO fans will be thrilled to see that there is even an opportunity to create your own LEGO-fied Hogwarts student, have them mirror your actions (and spells!), and then have them emailed back to you. Extremely cute.
How eventful! Now, spell-casting and general Hogwartsing is thirsty work. Thankfully, all this action is richly rewarded with a trip to a Butterbeer Bar, where you can have a well-deserved sit down with this pleasing beverage, alongside some other delicious Wizarding World snacks like Bertie Botts Every-Flavour Beans and Chocolate Frogs. Thankfully, no Cockroach Clusters, though.
And when all is said and done, a hard day of wizarding work should also precede a bewitching shopping spree. Harry Potter: Magic at Play has an impressive array of Wizarding World merchandise on offer.
Speaking of cool merch, to celebrate Harry Potter: Magic at Play’s launch, a new exclusive wand is being released next year, which we managed to get a first-look at. Confirming it is beautiful and colourful, representing all four Hogwarts houses in one fell swoop.
All in all, we’re very proud of our Hogwarts journey in Chicago, and really felt like new students exploring the esteemed school of witchcraft and wizardry. Now if you’ll excuse us, we simply must replenish our energy with a deep-dish pizza.
If you fancy challenging yourself with a day of adventures at Harry Potter: Magic at Play, visit the official website for more details. You can even look into hosting private parties and deluxe celebrations! After all, wizards and witches work hard! So they most certainly should play hard too.