The Universal Orlando Resort is made up of 3 amazing parks and is home to the Wizarding World of Harry Potter. If you didn’t already know, the Wizarding World of Harry Potter is spread out over two of the Universal parks. With a Universal 3-Park Explorer Ticket you’ll have 14 days to visit all 3 of these fantastic parks and spend time in the Wizarding World.
You’ll be able to walk down the cobbled streets of Diagon Alley at Universal Studios Florida and explore the village of Hogsmeade at Universal’s Islands of Adventure. There’s SO much to see that we really would recommend spending more than a day at the Wizarding World, but if you don’t have much time, don’t worry! We’ve put together a handy itinerary to help make sure you see all the highlights in just one day...
Before you arrive- Check what time the Universal parks will open as this can change depending on the season.
Approx 8:45am- Of course you don’t have to, but we’d suggest arriving early and by that we mean before the park opens. This gives you enough time to get to the park entrance and be ready to discover the magic as soon as the gates open. The parks usually open around 9am, so try to get here just before then.
9am- The Wizarding World of Harry Potter is located towards the back of both Universal Studios Florida and Universal’s Islands of Adventure. While there may be lots of exciting things that catch your eye as you walk in, we’d recommend Potter fans head straight to the back to beat the crowds.
9:15am- We think it’s best to start at Diagon Alley, just like Harry did when he first experienced the wizarding world. But, before you get there, you’ll have to walk through the familiar streets of London where you’ll spot the enormous Knight Bus and the ancestral home of the Black family- Number 12 Grimmauld Place. Make sure you take plenty of pictures here.
9:30am- Get ready to be transported to somewhere truly magical as you step onto the cobbled streets of Diagon Alley. You’ll be surrounded by lots of colourful shops, but the main thing that grabs every muggles attention is the huge fire-breathing dragon that guards Gringotts Bank. There’ll be plenty of time for retail therapy later, so make sure you head straight over to Gringotts- after taking a few selfies outside of course!
9:45am- Harry Potter and the Escape from Gringotts is one of the park’s most popular attractions, so it’s best to ride this as early as possible to avoid the queues. It’s not uncommon to see the wait time reach 2 hours during peak times, so it’s important to put this at the top of the list if you want to fit everything in. Trust us when we say you won’t want to miss it, although be prepared for an up-close encounter with Lord Voldemort himself!
10:30am- Next, it’s time to get yourself the ultimate wizard accessory- a wand! The best place to go for this is of course Ollivanders. When you step inside you’ll see thousands of boxes of wands stacked right up to the ceiling. As you know, the wand chooses the wizard, so prepare for a surprise. If you purchase an interactive wand, you’ll be able to create your very own magic as you cast spells throughout the wizarding world.
11am- Make sure you spend some time exploring the many shops along Diagon Alley. Weasley’s Wizard Wheezes is the colourful emporium owned by Weasley brothers Fred and George, and it’s filled with jokes and mysterious objects you’ll want to take home. You can also pick up writing supplies from Scribbulus, wizard robes from Madam Malkin’s and Quidditch gear from Quality Quidditch Supplies. Slytherin fans will love Borgin and Burkes for their dark arts objects.
11:40am- If you’re feeling hungry after all that souvenir shopping, head to Florean Fortescue’s Ice Cream Parlour. This is one of our favourite places to go for a refreshing treat and is a great way to cool down from the Floridian sunshine. Enjoy one of the amazing stage shows while you eat your ice cream. Depending on what time you arrive, you’ll either be able to hear Mrs Weasley’s favourite singer Celestina Warbeck perform, or you’ll discover the fascinating tales of Beedle the Bard.
12pm- Now it’s time to board the famous Hogwarts Express, so make your way back to Kings Cross station for a journey you’ll never forget. If you have a multi-park ticket, this gleaming scarlet steam train will take you straight to the Wizarding World of Harry Potter Hogsmeade. Look out for your favourite characters along the way, as there’s lots of action going on through those train windows!
Another reason we’ve suggested visiting Hogsmeade after Diagon Alley, is because Universal’s Islands of Adventure park sometimes stays open a bit later, giving you the extra time that you need to look around.
12:45pm- When you come out of the station and walk into the village of Hogsmeade the stunning surroundings will take your breath away. The shops all have snow covered roofs and magical window displays, and you’ll feel as though you’ve stepped straight into the movie. There’s so much to see, but before you start exploring head to the Three Broomsticks to refuel.
12:55pm- The Three Broomsticks features in both the Harry Potter books and movies and we think this rustic tavern is the perfect place for a bit of lunch. Dine on hearty dishes like fish & chips, shepherd’s pie and spare ribs, and be sure to quench your thirst with an ice-cold glass of the famous Butterbeer. This sweet caramel-flavoured drink is a huge hit with Potter fans!
1:55pm- Once you’ve finished, spend some time looking around the shops. Filch’s Emporium of Confiscated Goods, Dervish and Banges and Owl Post (where you can send a post card home with an official Hogsmeade stamp) are just a few places you must visit. Honeydukes sweet shop is the best place to go for dessert as they have a whole range of sweet treats to choose from. We love the cauldron cupcakes, Bertie Botts every flavour beans and Butterbeer-flavoured fudge.
2:55pm- Now, for the moment you’ve been waiting for. If you’re a Harry Potter fan (who isn’t?) you’ve probably imagined what it would be like to go to Hogwarts. Well, now’s your chance! Walk to the end of the street and you’ll see the towering castle- a truly spectacular moment. Stop here to take plenty of pictures.
3:20pm- The Wizarding World of Harry Potter Hogsmeade has 2 great shows that you can enjoy during your visit. The Frog Choir features talented Hogwarts students performing wizarding hits, while the Triwizard Spirit Rally sees students from Beauxbatons and Durmstrang make an appearance. Both performances take place near Hogwarts castle.
3:50pm- Now that you’ve seen the castle, fancy going inside? Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey is another hugely popular attraction, but by this time, hopefully the queues will have started to get shorter. Walk through the corridors of Hogwarts before flying through the castle and soaring high above the grounds. There’s plenty of familiar faces to look out for along the way.
4:30pm- Right next to the castle, you’ll find the Flight of the Hippogriff attraction. While this may initially appeal to the little kids more, the big kids will love it once they’ve tried it! You'll also get a close-up look at Hagrid's Hut.
5pm- Spend some time enjoying the village of Hogsmeade (or riding your favourite attraction again) while you wait for the spectacular night-time performance of ‘The Night-time Lights at Hogwarts Castle’. This stunning show sees Hogwarts castle illuminated with the vibrant colours of the 4 school houses. Make sure you check the show times when you arrive, as they change throughout the year and you won’t want to miss it.
End your visit- by boarding the Hogwarts Express. You might think you’ve already ticked this off your list, but the journey is completely different each way, so it’s well worth experiencing it twice. As you pull up at King’s Cross and leave the train, you’ll know that you’re leaving the park with plenty of brand new magical memories.
As we mentioned before, if you’re a big Harry Potter fan, you’ll want to spend more than a day here as there really is so much to see. Our Universal 3-Park Explorer Ticket gives you admission to all 3 Universal parks for 14-days and lets you ride the Hogwarts Express!
Ready to start planning your holiday? Click here, to view our great value Universal Orlando Resort tickets.
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