After Walt Disney World announced their Star Wars Galactic Cruise (known to the fandom as the Star Wars Hotel), a lot of people started to talk about how Universal needed to create a Harry Potter experience in the same way. Last week, WDW released the pricing and itinerary for the 2 night “cruise”, and it was met with a gasp. We all knew the price tag would be fairly high, but not that high for what it did and didn’t include. Biggest thing to take away is that your Star Wars Cruise gets you Room, Food, access to Hollywood Studios, and rides in Smugglers Run and Rise of the Resistance. They will up sale you any gear that you may want so you can feel in universe. Starting Price for these experiences for 2 adults is $4,809, this would be during the lowest season.
So it got me thinking on what I would do if I could pitch a Wizarding World themed Hotel Experience while keeping the Disney price and time table, but make you feel like you got a deal.
This would all start at home of course. During the booking time frame, some simple things would happen. Naturally, how many Kids and adults, but more specifically, what Hogwarts house would the family be? This would be based on availability, as each Dorm would only have so many rooms for the time period of the trip.
Once you are booked, You would receive an acceptance letter in the mail for Hogwarts (sorry it won’t be by owl). This welcome package would include some of the Harry Potter package that Universal includes in their current packages but let’s say house lanyards, pins, and luggage tags.
To make this a little more magical, Universal would retheme some of the SuperStar Shuttles that they use for pick up to the Knight Bus. I would also have them adopt the luggage delivery just to add that little special touch. On the Knight Bus ride, you will meet a Hogwarts professor. They will welcome you, hand you a special Knight Bus Ticket, and get to know you on the trip to your next destination, as you will be seeing them a lot over the next few days.
You wouldn’t go straight to the Castle, you have to get your school wardrobe, wand, and pet. So you are dropped off at Diagon Alley to get your shopping done. Your professor will escort you to Gringotts, where you will have to with draw some money. But we know there’s some trouble that brews there. After you get off the ride, you will go to the Money Exchange, where you will present your Knight Bus Ticket and get some galleons, Wizarding Money (included in the package).
The next stop would be to Olivanders, where each guest will get their interactive wand (also included). If you don’t like the wand that chooses you, you will be able to find one of your liking after the experience. Once you are finished with your wand purchase, your professor will give you a time to meet at King’s Cross so that you can be on your way. But you will need to get your Robes, and pet before you meet them. This free time will allow you to grab a bite to eat at Leaky Cauldron (included) and shop around for the school requirements, you will be given enough galleons to cover all purchases.
Now that you have gotten all your school supplies it’s time to go to Hogwarts! You get to take the Hogwarts experience over to Hogsmeade. While loading on to the train your Professor will hand you a small bit of treats to enjoy on the ride over.
As you walk off the platform in Hogmeade, and you see Hogwarts in the distance, you will be taken on a special path that takes you to transportation to your hotel. This experience will give you the history of Hogwarts and it’s Founders.
When you arrive at the castle you will be brought into the Great Hall, where you see the sorting hat sitting on its perch. Each family member will “magically” be sorted into the same house, and the asked to sit at the house table. During your dinner you will want to get to know your house classmates as the House Cup is on the line. During this fantastic dinner the new Headmaster will give you the rules and what to expect.
When dinner is done your House Prefect will walk you to the Dorms, giving you the secret word (key) to get in dorm and your room number. From there you have the rest of the night to explore the castle, relax in the House Common room, or just go to bed.
The second day of your adventure will have you learning how to use your wand, make some potions, and some herbology. You will be mixed with other houses and different schedules for different families. These classes won’t be short, but they will be fun, and you never know what may happen.
For your lunch break you will be taken to Hogsmeade for your good behavior, and lunch at Three Brookstricks will be a welcomed treat. You will be given some time to explore and have a few butterbeers, or send a letter home. Before you head back for your afternoon class, Harry wants to meet you, so you will take a Forbidden Journey. Your professor will meet you and explain that Hagrid is ready to teach you about some of the creatures in the Forbidden Forest, so you must go meet him there instead of the castle.
When you come out of Hagrid’s class, Hogwarts will become enchanted. And you will have time to enjoy some desserts, and the show. Before heading back you will have a presentation by the frog choir and the Tri Wizards schools.
While you will have a very structured day, many things will happen that will allow you to gain points in the House Cup, but there will also be things that happen where you will have to help fight off Death Eaters or even He Who Shall Not Be Named.
Returning back to the Great Hall you will have a farewell Holiday feast! The Headmaster will announce the House Cup winner (it will always be a tie) and thank you for saving the day. Hogsmeade will be available to the students of Hogwarts after dinner, where they will have the whole place to themselves.
The morning you leave, all you will have to do is pick up your bags and put them on your bed. You will have your choice of a Great Hall, Three Broom Sticks, or Leaky Cauldron breakfast and some final time to walk around the park. If you are going home after the experience, your luggage will magically be at the airport for you, but if you are going to stay for some Universal Resort Fun, you luggage will be delivered to your next hotel destination. Your return transfer to the Airport would also be included in the price.
I’ve mentioned a lot of stuff in the article, but everything you need to have a fun and exciting time would be included. From food and snacks, to your robes and wand. Your Knight Bus ticket would be the way to get all of that. The exact amount of galleons given would be for your Robes and “pet”. Showing your Knight Bus ticket would get you a set number of snacks, refillable Butterbeer Mug (that is free refills while you’re enjoying your Hogwarts stay), and your meals while in Diagon Alley and Hogsmeade. You will be backdoored into all the Wizarding World attractions, and have special seating for any venues you do in the Wizarding World.
Post stay, you would get an express pass for the remainder of your checkout day, so you could enjoy other offerings the parks have to offer. And your refillable mug would be able to be used throughout that day as well.
Design of the hotel
Overall the hotel would have the feel of the Hogwarts we know and love from the movie. You could get a visit from Moaning Myrtle while in the bathrooms, walk in on a conversation between the paintings in the moving staircases, or see the Quidditch cup in your common room.
Each hotel room would still have the modern convinces, but have the medieval feel to it. There would be little nods to different things that the readers would notice, and things from the movies that would be noticed. Characters from the past would leave their marks and maybe a map will help you find some secret rooms.