The Wizarding World of Harry Potter at Universal Studios Orlando offers something for every Harry Potter fan (and even those that are not). From amazing rides to delicious treats, the details here are spectacular. Guests will need a park to park ticket to experience all that the Wizarding World offers- Diagon Alley in Universal Studios and Hogsmeade at Islands of Adventure as well as the Hogwarts Express to take you from one park to the other.
Travel Planner, Naomi recently experienced the Wizarding World and shares her experience here:
Visiting the Wizarding World of Harry Potter is every fan’s dream come true. You can walk around Hogsmeade and Diagon Alley in your house robes with your interactive wand. It truly feels like stepping into another world.
To fully experience the Wizarding World of Harry Potter you have to visit both parks: Universal Studios and Islands of Adventure. On the Universal Studios side you’ll find Diagon Alley. Hogsmeade is located in Islands of Adventure. The Hogwarts Express takes you from one park to the other but a park-to-park ticket is required to ride the train. I decided to start in Diagon Alley in order to have the same experience as Harry.
Guests can enter Diagon Alley through London, where they’ll see 12 Grimmauld Place, the Knight Bus, and the telephone booth that serves as the Ministry of Magic’s visitors entrance in the books and films. Upon entering Diagon Alley you immediately see Gringotts and the fire breathing dragon that has escaped to its roof.
The first thing I did in Diagon Alley was eat lunch at the Leaky Cauldron. This is where I had my first taste of Butterbeer. I made it my mission to try each kind of butterbeer: cold, hot, frozen, and ice cream. Here I had the original cold butterbeer. It far exceeded my expectations and thus began my addiction. I had cold butterbeer several more times during my stay as it was my favorite variation.
After my classic British lunch I was ready to explore Diagon Alley! Weasley’s Wizard Wheezes was my favorite shop. Here I bought a Skiving Snackbox. You can also purchase pranks, puffskeins, and even have a naming ceremony for you puffskein. Next door was the quidditch shop where I bought my nephew a golden snitch of his own. Later on, I stopped in Florean Fortescue’s Ice Cream Parlour and had butterbeer ice cream (yum!).
Diagon Alley has one thrill ride, Escape from Gringotts, which takes you into the depths of the bank’s vaults and brings you face to face with some well known characters. Another popular experience is the Wand Choosing Ceremony at Ollivander’s, though this can also be experienced in Hogsmeade. Don’t miss the live performances in Diagon Alley! I was fortunate enough to hear Celestine Warbeck perform. Before you leave Diagon Alley be sure to check out the dark and spooky Knockturn Alley where dark witches and wizards do their shopping.
Now that I was ready to venture out of Diagon Alley I headed to Kingscross Station and hopped on the Hogwarts Express, which took me to Hogsmeade. Riding the Hogwarts Express is not something you want to miss so make sure you purchase park-to-park tickets. Also, don’t forget to have a friend take a video of you walking through the wall onto Platform 9 ¾, which happens just after climbing the stairs.
I chose to visit Hogsmeade on my second park day as I had a breakfast reservation for the Three Broomsticks. I had a traditional English breakfast and a hot butterbeer which I was pleasantly surprised by.
After breakfast I went straight to Hagrid’s Magical Creatures Motorbike Adventure. Even if you don’t enjoy roller coasters the queues for all of the Harry Potter rides are worth waiting in. I, however, LOVED this ride. Enough to ride it three more times. It is without a doubt my favorite ride of all time. I rode on Hagrid’s motorbike and flew around Hogwarts. I even got to see some blast-ended skrewts, which unfortunately never made it into the films.
Flight of the Hippogriff is a short, kid-friendly coaster. This is a perfect starter ride if you have kids (or adults) who are hesitant to ride thrill rides.
Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey is the last ride and it is located inside Hogwarts castle. I found the queue just as magical as the ride itself. Guests get to go through the halls of Hogwarts before getting on the ride and having an adventure that I won’t spoil for you.
After spending some time on rides I made my way over to Honeydukes. Here you can find many magical sweets from the books. They sell chocolate frogs, Bertie Bott’s Every Flavour Beans, caldron cakes, pumpkin pasties, and more. I purchased a cauldron cake which comes in a cute souvenir cauldron. Later on, I went to the Hog’s Head and bought a frozen butterbeer, which I enjoyed as I waited in line for Hagrid’s Magical Creatures Motorbike Adventure once again.
At the end of the night, I made my way back to Hogwarts for the special Halloween light show on the castle. I had to forge my way past numerous Death Eaters who were taking over Hogwarts. I drank an ice cold butterbeer (can you tell how much I like it?) while watching the show. Death Eaters overran Hogsmeade and took over the castle. It was magically spooky.
My experience at the Wizarding World of Harry Potter was extraordinary. I was especially pleased with the attention to details from the books that never made it into the films. There were so many character performances and opportunities to take photos and interact with different witches and wizards. It was a truly immersive experience and a must-do for lovers of Harry Potter.
Written by Naomi ()
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