If you’ve never been to The Wizarding World of Harry Potter before, it can be a bit confusing to find your way around or know where to start. There’s so much to see, that if you’re a big fan we really would recommend dedicating an entire day to enjoy the magic. We’ve put together a handy guide of everything you need to know, to help you plan your visit…
Where is it?
The Wizarding World of Harry Potter can be found at the Universal Orlando Resort. If you haven’t been before, you might think that it’s all in one place, but it’s actually spread out across 2 parks- Universal Studios Florida and Universal’s Islands of Adventure. If you’ve got a Universal ticket that gives you admission to both parks, you can board the famous Hogwarts Express, and it will take you between the two. Here’s a guide explaining the difference between the two parks…
Universal Studios Florida:
Highlights- Harry Potter and the Escape From Gringotts, Gringotts Bank, Number 12 Grimmauld Place, King’s Cross Station, The Knight Bus, The Leaky Cauldron, Ollivanders, Weasley’s Wizard Wheezes, Quality Quidditch Supplies.
Universal Studios Florida is where you’ll find Diagon Alley. Walk in the footsteps of Harry, on his first adventure into the Wizarding world. You’ll be able to go inside the shops you’ve seen on screen, like the eerie Borgin and Burkes (Draco Malfoy’s favourite hangout), Madam Malkin’s Robes for All Occasions, and of course, pick up your very own wand from Ollivanders.
Make sure you visit Weasley’s Wizard Wheezes too. The shop is owned by Fred and George Weasley and is filled with hilarious pranks, mysterious potions, edible treats and novelty gifts.
This part of The Wizarding World of Harry Potter is inspired by London and the parts of the city that featured in the movies. So, as well as the Leaky Cauldron pub and Diagon Alley, you’ll also find the ancestral home of the Black family that was used as the headquarters for the Order of the Phoenix.
When you’re ready to catch the train over to Universal’s Islands of Adventure, head to the impressive King’s Cross Station. Before you go in, make sure you check out the red phone box just outside. If you pick up the phone and dial 62442 (aka M-A-G-I-C) you’ll be put straight through to the Ministry of Magic!
Don’t leave before trying the incredible Harry Potter and the Escape from Gringotts ride!
Universal’s Islands of Adventure:
Highlights- Hogwarts Castle, Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey, Dragon Challenge, Hogsmeade Station, Honeydukes, Frog Choir, Triwizard Spirit Rally, Ollivanders, Owl Post, Dervish and Banges, Three Broomsticks, Hog’s Head.
Universal’s Islands of Adventure is home to The Wizarding World of Harry Potter- Hogsmeade. The village of Hogsmeade is often visited by Harry, Ron and Hermione in the films, and there’s plenty to explore. The first thing you’ll notice is the iconic Hogwarts Castle. The famous school of witchcraft and wizardry is the central focus of this area’s main ride- Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey. It’s also a great spot for taking a few selfies!
Wander through the village and you’ll find shops, restaurants, shows and more rides. Out of the two Wizarding World of Harry Potter areas, Universal’s Islands of Adventure is actually the park with the most Harry Potter-inspired rides, with a total of three exciting attractions.
If you’re feeling hungry, stop off at the Three Broomsticks for traditional, hearty cuisine that will remind you of home. There’s another Ollivanders shop here, so don’t worry if you missed it before, you’ll still have a chance to find your perfect wand.
One of the main attractions and most exciting parts of The Wizarding World of Harry Potter, is the amazing Harry Potter and the Escape from Gringotts ride at Universal Studios Florida. You’ll get to re-live the nerve-wracking experience seen in Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2, where Harry, Ron and Hermione attempt to break into Gringotts Bank. Venture deep into the underground vaults of Gringotts for yourself and prepare to encounter mysterious creatures, trolls, a fire breathing dragon, Bellatrix Lestrange and even the Dark Lord Himself. We don’t know which is worse!
At Universal’s Islands of Adventure, the main ride is Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey. This action-packed adventure takes you through the classrooms and secret passageways of Hogwarts, before sending you soaring high above the castle.
Dragon Challenge is an exhilarating ride that’s actually two roller coasters in one! You’ll either be on the aggressive Chinese Fireball coaster or the fierce Hungarian Horntail. Make sure you hold on tight as the two dragons race around the track.
For something a bit tamer, try Flight of the Hippogriff. This family friendly ride takes you whizzing around the Care of Magical Creatures Grounds, swooping past Hagrid’s Hut along the way.
There’s several shows you can enjoy at The Wizarding World of Harry Potter, that help to bring the books and movies to life. Here’s what you can expect…
Universal Studios Florida:
The Tales of Beedle the Bard- In Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 1, Hermione is gifted with the book ‘The Tales of Beedle the Bard’ from Albus Dumbledore’s will. Inside this book is the infamous story of the three brothers. This stage show is a fantastic recreation of the stories from the book, using props and puppetry created by Emmy-award-winning designer Michael Curry.
Celestina Warbeck- If you haven’t heard of Celestina Warbeck, she’s the “singing sensation of the Wizarding world” and also Molly Weasley’s favourite singer! The live performance includes songs that have never been heard before, like “A Cauldron Full of Hot, Strong, Love” and “You Stole My Cauldron But You Can’t Have My Heart”
Universal’s Islands of Adventure:
Triwizard Spirit Rally- Watch in awe as the elegant ladies from Beauxbatons and the Durmstrang men lead a colourful procession to celebrate the Triwizard Tournament. Be sure to cheer them on from the sides, as the celebrations begin.
Frog Choir- For something totally unique, watch the Frog Choir perform a series of croaky classics! The group of Hogwarts students are accompanied by their frog friends for this one-of-a-kind performance.
Food and Drink:
The Wizarding World of Harry Potter isn’t complete until you’ve tried a glass of Butterbeer! You can also enjoy a delicious frozen Butterbeer which is perfect for cooling down from the Floridian heat! That’s not all though, you can get hot Butterbeer in the winter, and there’s Butterbeer-flavoured fudge, potted cream and ice cream on the menu too. Which one will you choose?
If you’re looking for a proper meal, you can dine inside replicas of the restaurants that featured in the Harry Potter films, like the Three Broomsticks (Universal’s Islands of Adventure) or The Leaky Cauldron (Universal Studios Florida). The Three Broomsticks is a rustic tavern that serves British fare like Fish & Chips, Shepherd’s Pie and Cornish Pasties, while the Leaky Cauldon also serves traditional British dishes like Bangers & Mash, Toad in the Hole and a mouth-watering Beef, Lamb and Guinness stew.
Florean Fortescue’s Ice-Cream Parlour at Universal Studios Florida is a must-visit! There are so many delicious ice cream flavours to choose from including Butterbeer, Sticky Toffee Pudding, Granny Smith, Orange Marmalade, Toffee Apple, Earl Grey, Lavender and Strawberries and Cream to name just a few.
For something fun, you can create your own magical drinks at Eternelle’s Elixir of Refreshment (Universal Studios Florida). This small cart has a range of colourful, enchanting potions, that when mixed with Gilly Water, transform before your eyes into something truly magical. You can choose from the Fire Protection Potion, Babbling Beverage, Draught of Peace, and Elixir to Induce Euphoria.
Sugarplum’s Sweet Shop is another place that we just can’t resist. The shop is full of Wizarding treats that we’re sure any Muggle would love to get their hands on. You can get fresh snacks like Cauldron Cakes from the counter, or pick up some souvenirs to take home like the famous Bertie Bott’s Every Flavour Beans, Exploding Bonbons and Peppermint Toads. Honeydukes sweet shop at Universal's Islands of Adventure has lots of the same goodies as well as Chocolate Frogs. Don't worry, these ones won't jump away from you!
There are lots of great places to eat and drink at The Wizarding World of Harry Potter in both parks, but it’s worth noting that there is a bigger selection at Universal Studios Florida. We’d recommend stopping at as many as you can, to try the tasty treats on offer.
Full list of places to get food and drink:
Universal Studios Florida- Eternelle’s Elixir of Refreshment, Florean Fortescue’s Ice-Cream Parlour, Leaky Cauldron, The Fountain of Fair Fortune, The Hopping Pot, Sugarplum’s Sweet Shop.
Universal’s Islands of Adventure- Hog’s Head, Honeydukes, Three Broomsticks.
Click here, to see our top pick of food and drink from The Wizarding World of Harry Potter.
- Make sure you ride the Hogwarts Express both ways, as you’ll experience totally different journeys each way!
- Did you know, you can send a letter home from Owl Post in Hogsmeade. Your letter will even be stamped with an official Hogsmeade postmark. This a great idea for a souvenir, or to let your friends at home know what you’ve been up to.
- If you want to purchase a wand, it’s a good idea to do so near the start of your visit, so that you can make the most of the opportunity to create some magic of your own. You can purchase special interactive wands, and these let you cast spells at special locations throughout The Wizarding World of Harry Potter.
- The dragon on top of Gringotts Bank breathes scorching flames that reach temperatures of 3,560°F. This happens approximately every 15 mins, and makes a great photo opportunity.
- At Gringotts Money Exchange you can trade in your Muggle money for Wizarding bank notes that can be spent throughout the park.
- If you’re brave enough to visit Borgin and Burkes, you’ll notice the vanishing cabinet used by Draco Malfoy in Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince. If you get close enough, you’ll be able to hear a bird chirping inside, just like in the movie.
- Stand outside number 12 Grimmauld Place and keep a close eye on the second-story window on the right-hand side. Every now and then the miserable house elf Kreacher will make an appearance.
- Even a visit to the toilets is an experience at The Wizarding World of Harry Potter, as you’ll hear the whining of Moaning Myrtle.
Ready to start planning your visit? Click here, to view our great value Universal Orlando Resort tickets.
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