What Harry Potter fan wouldn’t love to stroll down the streets of Diagon Alley or savor a Butterbeer in the Three Broomsticks? We love “the boy who lived” at my house. So, Harry Potter World in Orlando was a MUST for my family!
Officially named the Wizarding World of Harry Potter, this themed portion of Universal Orlando is hugely popular and for good reason.
Harry Potter World Orlando is awesome! The theming is amazing… fantastic attention to detail!
The Wizarding World of Harry Potter occupies portions of 2 theme parks at the Universal Orlando Resort.
Diagon Alley is in Universal Studios and Hogsmeade is in Islands of Adventure. The Hogwarts Express connects the two areas.
Harry Potter World Tips
If you’re planning a trip to the Wizarding World of Harry Potter at Universal Orlando, there are a few things you should know before you go.
In order to ride the Hogwarts Express between Hogsmeade and Diagon Alley, you must have Park to Park tickets. For example, a 3 day one park per day ticket will not give you access to the Hogwarts Express. (Which, in my opinion, is the BEST ride in Harry Potter World!)
Park staff do check riders for the Park to Park ticket. So, make sure you have the right ticket! Be sure to buy tickets that say PARK to PARK not BASE tickets!
Universal offers these super cool interactive wands, so guests can join in the wizarding fun.
Be sure to visit either Olivanders in Diagon Alley or in Hogsmeade to watch the wand selection ceremony.
In the wand ceremony, a lucky visitor is chosen to participate. It’s is a fun show to watch! Then, you can purchase your own interactive wand.
Enjoying a meal at Harry Potter World’s two famous eateries, the Leaky Cauldron and the Three Broomsticks, is a MUST.
The Leaky Cauldron is located in located in Diagon Alley. It is a quick service restaurant, so no reservations are required. The Leaky Cauldron serves traditional British pub-style food such as fish and chips and bangers and mash.
The Three Broomsticks is located in Hogsmeade in Islands of Adventure. It also serves traditional British fare but the menu differs a bit from the Leaky Cauldron. At the Three Broomsticks, you’ll find fish and chips, rotisserie chicken, ribs, and turkey legs.
No visit to Harry Potter World would be complete without sampling Butterbeer. You can get this non-alcoholic beverage from street vendors or in either restaurant. We tried both the frozen and regular versions of Butterbeer.
We had differing opinions. I didn’t care for it…too sweet for me. But, my kiddo loved it. You’ll just have to decide for yourself.
The Hogwarts Express was my favorite ride at Universal Orlando.
Guests can board the Hogwarts Express at either Kings Cross Station on Platform 9 3/4 or at Hogsmeade Station.
Be sure to ride the train both directions. The experience is different each way.
To make the most of your Harry Potter experience, take time to visit some of the shops in Diagon Alley and Hogsmeade.
In Hogsmede, Honeydukes is a real treat (pun intended). Honeydukes offers a colorful array of sweats. Here you’ll find confections made famous by the Harry Potter series such as Bertie Bott’s Every Flavour Beans and Chocolate Frogs.
Wheasleys’ Wizard Wheezes is another must-see. This fun store sells various jokes and toys along with “enchanted” candies.
Think twice about what you take with you to Harry Potter World. No bags/purses are allowed on Escape from Gringotts and Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey.
Lockers are available at both rides. BUT, it is a huge bottleneck which is best avoided. If at all possible, don’t carry a bag or purse. You’ll save yourself time and headache!
There are only a few rides in Harry Potter World. In Hogsmeade, you’ll find Harry Potter and the Hidden Journey, Flight of the Hippogriff, and coming soon, Magical Creatures Motorbike Adventure.
Universal Studios is home to Escape from Gringotts. The Hogwarts Express train ride connects Diagon Alley to Hogsmeade.
Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey and Escape from Gringotts are both fantastic rides. The queue is even awesome and contributes to the immersive experience. Both of these rides combine actual ride movement with 3D elements. So, they can do a number on your stomach.
Flight of the Hippogriff is a fun but fairly tame roller coaster. It has one major drawback… it is short… laughably short. Just be aware of this when deciding how much time you’re willing to stand in line.
The Nighttime Lights at Hogwarts
Be sure to visit Hogsmeade at night in order to experience the Nighttime Lights at Hogwarts.
This projection light show takes place on Hogwarts Castle and lasts about 5 minutes. It showcases the 4 houses of Hogwarts and is set to Harry Potter music. You don’t want to miss this show in Islands of Adventure.
I had high expectations for the Wizarding World of Harry Potter. And, I’m happy to report that it did not disappoint! If you are a HP fan, it’s definitely worth making the trip!
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