Enter the world of Harry Potter
Explore Hogwarts Castle, Gryffindor Common Room and more at Universal Studios' theme park for all Potterheads in Los Angeles
After the smashing success of the Harry Potter film franchise and before the Nov 17 release of the highly anticipated spin-off Fantastic Beasts And Where To Find Them, Universal Studios Hollywood has come up with the best way for Potterheads to get their fix.
It launched The Wizarding World Of Harry Potter theme park in Los Angeles in April.
Yes, it is not enough that we already have the Japanese version, which opened in 2014, and the one in Orlando, which has been around since 2010.
I was one of a group of journalists given a tour of the attraction one early morning last month - before the park was open to the public - by Mr Benjamin Southbury, director of attractions, who wears his name and the title of the 2003 rom-com film Love Actually on his badge.
This is in keeping with every park employee who picks their favourite Universal film to put on their badge (he said he watches it with his wife every New Year's Day).
Five years in the making, this latest Wizarding World has been recreated faithfully from the Harry Potter movies by production designers on 2.8ha of the Universal lot.
Hogwarts Castle is the focal point and piece de resistance, of course, with its entrance flanked by two winged boars.
Narrow stone passageways lead to the Dungeon Corridor with the Mirror of Erised, Professor Sprout's Herbology class, Professor Dumbledore's office (pretty faithfully recreated - I was on the film set), the Defence Against the Dark Arts classroom, the Gryffindor Common Room and the Portrait Gallery, including the one of the Fat Lady and the House Founders, where the subjects all move and talk to one another.
But you enter Hogsmeade first, with its cobblestone streets and village shops, all designed to separate fans from their money while making them happy to do so, in keeping with the purpose of theme parks everywhere.
With the Harry Potter movie score playing throughout, here are M's top seven sights to behold...
TOP SEVEN SIGHTS
Off to the right of the entrance, we have the shiny, red steam locomotive that takes students to Hogwarts from King's Cross Station in London on Platform 9¾.
A train compartment has been recreated as a photo op, with a choice of three backdrops - facing a Dementor, seeing the flight of the Ford Anglia or an aerial view of Hogwarts Castle.
These, of course, are for purchase. Guests can adorn themselves with the scarves and wands provided for the photo.
SHOP TILL YOU DROP
We carry on through the streets past Zonko's Joke Shop with its Extendable Ears, Sneakoscopes and Screaming Yo-yos for sale; Filch's Emporium of Confiscated Goods that displays a Marauder's Map and has Golden Snitches, Omnioculars and various student apparel to buy; and Honeydukes with its Chocolate Frogs, Bertie Bott's Every-Flavour Beans and Fizzing Whizzbees among other sweets.
WHAT A HOOT
For those of you missing Harry's pet Hedwig, you can visit the Owlery, an open-air covered barn with animatronic owls in the rafters that hoot, turn their heads and ruffle their feathers, as well as the Owl Post, where visitors can send postcards to anywhere in the world bearing the Hogsmeade postage stamp.
THE THREE BROOMSTICKS
This tavern is a working cafeteria serving bangers and mash, shepherd's pie and fish and chips. It has three broomsticks featured prominently, a spiral staircase and the obligatory rafters reminiscent of ye olde country pubs in England.
Standalone carts located throughout the area sell Butterbeer (made of butterscotch and shortbread) served traditionally or frozen, as well as Pumpkin Fizz and Gilly Water.
OLLIVANDERS: MAKERS OF FINE WANDS SINCE 382BC
This is a shop that has floor-to-ceiling wand boxes with the name of practically every important character in the movies for sale (72 in all).
In a little dark room off to the side, The Wandkeeper engages guests in a moment of mysterious magic in which a wand selects its owner, in a proper, solemn ceremony.
I can't imagine that young fans will be too happy if they are matched with Xenophilius Lovegood's wand or that of Mundungus Fletcher, but since the vast majority of the boxes are labelled Harry Potter, I would imagine the lesser characters' wands would have to be specifically requested for.
THE FLIGHT OF THE HIPPOGRIFF
This roller coaster is "family friendly", meaning the experience is not as intense as the other big ones in the park.
Visitors enter the Care of Magical Creatures grounds through to Hagrid's pumpkin patch and past his hut where they will hear Fang barking. Then Hagrid instructs them on how to properly approach a Hippogriff before they climb aboard the ride on which they will spot a Hippogriff in its nest.
HARRY POTTER AND THE FORBIDDEN JOURNEY
Our last stop is the flight-simulating flagship attraction, which incorporates 3D technology. Visitors wearing 3D glasses experience some of the memorable scenes from the movies, including a Quidditch match, a close encounter with a Dementor and the Whomping Willow, and a soaring view above the castle.
Harry and his best friend Ron Weasley lead the way in this ride, which is more extreme but worth getting on if you don't have health problems.