Harry Potter And The Escape Of Gringotts
This one of a kind indoor rollercoaster is themed exactly like the Gringotts wizarding bank found in the books and movies. Opening in 2014 it quickly became one of the most popular attractions in Universal Studios. On the downside because it is so popular it tends to have one of the longest wait times in the parks.
Thats why we recommend Early Park Admission to our clients so much! If you take advantage of entering the park one hour earlier than other guests you can ride Harry Potter and the Escape of Gringotts and save time later on in the day!
Be sure to check out our Universal Orlando tickets page to learn how we can help you get EARLY PARK ADMISSION without staying on Universal property!
Visit The Parks At Night
Lastly, early park entry is great, but there’s also something magical about visiting Hogsmeade and Diagon Alley after dark.
This won’t be possible every night , but be sure to check the opening hours of each park for every day of your trip to see if you can catch either of these parks after dark.
I promise it’s worth it!
You can read Stephen’s post about our weekend here.
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The Wizarding World Of Harry Potter Ride
The Hogwarts Express: Visitors can ride Hogwarts Express as a method of transportation between Diagon Alley and Hogsmeade. It takes you from one park to the other, plus it recreates the train in such great and amazing detail. You do need a Park to park ticket.
Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey: This ride takes you on a magical ride through Hogwarts as you fly through a Quiddich match, are chased by a dragon, and more.
Flight of the Hippogriff: A lower intensity roller coaster that is ideal for younger children. This is a thrilling ride for young magicians that will take you pretty high off the ground.
Harry Potter and Escape from Gringotts: Undoubtedly the jewel of Diagon Alley. The big fire-breathing dragon that sits atop of the Gringotts bank is a hard-to-miss landmark. Approximately every 15 minutes the Gringotts dragon roars and blows a fireball. Once inside, you see all of the goblins that work hard to keep the ledgers and balance accounts. This is an amazing experience you dont want to miss!
Hagrids Magical Creatures Motorbike Adventure: It is definitely worth the wait. Experience high-speed action while riding. This is truly a unique experience. You fly, fall, see beasts, and even do a little magic.
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Cast Spells With Interactive Wands
With a wave of your wand and the proper incantation, you can cast spells in over a dozen locations in Diagon Alley. Find the locations on the map that comes with your Interactive Wand purchase. Knockturn Alley spell-locations are illuminated on the sinister street.
PRO TIP: While youre at it, embrace your inner Weasley twin and convince an unsuspecting friend to stand under the umbrella above the restroom entrance in Horizont Alley while you use your Interactive Wand to cast Meteolojinx.And to make it up to them, I recommend trying your hand at Incendio to illuminate the dazzling Flimflam Lanterns near Knockturn Alley.
Stay At Universal For Early Park Access
One of my biggest tips for visiting Universal Orlando is to stay at one of the park-associated hotels. There are seven of them the Cabana Bay Beach Resort, Loews Royal Pacific Resort, the Hard Rock Hotel, Loews Portofino Bay Hotel, Loews Sapphire Falls Resort, the Aventura Hotel, and the new Endless Summer Resort Surfside Inn and Suites.
Staying at any of these hotels will give you access to both Universal parks one hour before they officially open meaning this is the best way to see Diagon Alley without any people, or to get in line for the Gringotts ride when there’s no wait.
I love staying at the Cabana Bay Beach Resort, which is a funky, family-friendly hotel that opened in 2015. It has two pool areas, a lazy river, a Starbucks right inside the hotel, and a free shuttle bus to take you to CityWalk and back that operates from 7 a.m. 2 a.m. every day. And the prices are more than reasonable we paid an average of $125 per night.
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Do You Have To Pay Extra For The Wizarding World Of Harry Potter
No, the Harry Potter theme park areas are included in your ticket price for whichever Universal Studios park youre visiting . However, to get the full Wizarding World experience, youll need to purchase a Park-to-Park pass that includes same-day admission to both Islands of Adventure and Universal Studios Florida. Thats because the Hogwarts Express ride connects the two parks and can only be accessed by those who have passes to both.
You should also consider splurging on a Universal Express Pass that will let you skip the long lines at the rides in Harry Potters Wizarding World in order to have the very best experience. And, you may want to consider staying at a Universal Premier hotel in order to take advantage of Universals Early Park Admission perk. Because the only thing more magical than the Wizarding World of Harry Potter is having the whole theme park practically to yourself.
Get There Super Early
Youre on vacation. You dont want to set an alarm. Thats understandable. But if you want a couple of rides on Escape From Gringotts, beat the crowds and arrive early to enjoy shorter lines during the park’s morning hours.
If seeing the sunrise isnt your jam, theres always the Express Pass, which allows you to jump to the front of lines that would otherwise require an hour-plus wait on weekdays. While it undoubtedly improves the experience, the Express Pass does make for an even more expensive trip , so know that you can still get through both parks in a single day without it.
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Why Isnt The Wizarding World Of Harry Potter At Walt Disney World
Many people wonder why The Wizarding World of Harry Potter is not at the nearby Disney World Resort. You may be interested to know that Disney and J.K. Rowling were in talks for a period of time to bring the boy wizard to Disney World however, Rowling demanded more creative control over the project than Disney was willing to give, and the company surprisingly wasnt willing to commit as much money and resources to the proposed land as Universal would end up bringing. Once their talks died out, Universal was more than happy to step in and agree to the authors terms, setting in motion a new era of development and success at Universal Orlando Resort .
Awards Honours And Recognition
The Harry Potter series has been recognised by a host of awards since the initial publication of Philosopher’s Stone including a platinum award from the Whitaker Gold and Platinum Book Awards , three , two Book Awards , the inaugural , the , among others. In 2000, was nominated for a , and in 2001, won said award. Honours include a commendation for the , a short listing for the , and numerous listings on the notable books, editors’ Choices, and best books lists of the , The New York Times, , and .
In 2002, sociologist Andrew Blake named Harry Potter a along with the likes of and . In 2003, four of the books were named in the top 24 of the BBC’s survey of the best loved novels in the UK. A 2004 study found that books in the series were commonly read aloud in elementary schools in . Based on a 2007 online poll, the U.S. listed the series in its “Teachers’ Top 100 Books for Children”. named Rowling as a runner-up for its 2007 award, noting the social, moral, and she has given . Three of the books placed among the “Top 100 Chapter Books” of all time, or children’s novels, in a 2012 survey published by : Sorcerer’s Stone ranked number three, Prisoner of Azkaban 12th, and Goblet of Fire 98th. In 2012, the of the in featured a 100-foot tall rendition of Lord Voldemort in a segment designed to show off the UK’s cultural icons. In November 2019, the listed the Harry Potter series on its list of the .
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Ride The Hogwarts Express In Both Directions
As long as were on the topic: ride the Hogwarts Express in both directions. This magical train is more than just transportation between parks: Youll pass through a pillar to enter Platform 9¾ and the sights you’ll see are different in both directions, making it well worth riding twice, even if you dont have to.
All The Shop Windows And Facades
I mention this separately because each of the shop windows is really a treasure. They are highly themed to the stores inside and often loaded with animation such as the self knitting needles and screaming Mandrakes. Many of the storefront facades dont lead into an actual shop but are worth taking in too, like the House Elf House Placement Agency, Flourish and Blotts and my favorite the The Daily Prophet where you can hear the wizard reporters inside working away. There are also a few fun Easter eggs to be found. For example the area that is now Diagon Alley occupies what was once the ride Jaws. In the window at Mr. Mullpeppers Apothecary, youll find a set of sharks teeth in tribute to the retired ride.
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What To Know About The Hogsmeade Shops At The Harry Potter Orlando Theme Park
There arent nearly as many shopping locations in Hogsmeade as there are in Diagon Alley, but there are more than enough to meet all your wizarding needs.
Honeydukes sells many of the same treats found at Sugarplums Sweet Shop in Diagon Alley. If candy isnt your thing, go for the Butterbeer Fudge or Cauldron Cakes in the bakery case.
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Ollivanders Wand Shop
To ensure there are enough wands to go around, there are Ollivanders locations in both of the Harry Potter lands at Universal Orlando. Both locations have stacks upon stacks of interactive and non-interactive wands, and both hold wand selection ceremonies throughout the day.
Dervish and Banges
Dervish and Banges is your home for Golden Snitches, brooms, and Hogwarts clothing and accessories. Dont forget to check out the real live textbook, The Monster Book of Monsters. Luckily, its in a cage because this book bites!
Filchs Emporium of Confiscated Goods
This is another good souvenir stop where youll also find authentic-looking replica props from the Harry Potter films.
In addition to letter-writing supplies, you can mail letters and postcards to your friends and family with a real Hogsmeade postmark.
What Is A Universal Express Pass And How Do I Score Free Universal Express Passes
Another bonus to staying at the higher end Universal Orlando Resorts such as The Portofino Bay Hotel, Hard Rock Hotel, or Lowes Royal Pacific Resort is Free Universal Express unlimited ride access . Similar to a Disney Fast Pass, the Universal Express allows cardholders to skip the regular line and go in the shorter express line including some at Universal Studios Harry Potter land.
The Express Pass doesnt work on new attractions like Hagrids Magical Creatures Motorbike Adventure, but it does work on the popular Forbidden Journey in Hogsmeade and Escape to Gringotts in Diagon Alley, as well as main attractions throughout both Universal Orlando Resort Theme Parks.
If purchased these park passes are $89 per person. Spend your money on one of the nice Universal Orlando hotels and get this perk free youll come out better in the end AND have a nicer experience.
Express Pass vs. Disney Fast Pass. Its important to note that Express passes arent EXACTLY like the Fast Pass at Walt Disney World. You will still wait in line, but the express line is generally half the time of the stated normal line wait time.
Engage with staff who often work in character. Find someone from your house and ask them to teach you the secret handshake.
How to beat the lines. If you dont want to spring for the nicer hotel or the Express Pass, its a must that you:1. Arrive early2. Research and come prepared with a theme park touring plan
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Exploring Universal Orlando Resort: Must Do’s
With 4 themed parks, two water parks and more than 25 themed hotels, Universal Orlando Resort is the holiday of a lifetime if you love all things Harry Potter, Marvel or Dr. Seuss. There are endless things to do at Universal Orlando Resort, and it can be hard to decide what to do first. It’s hard enough to choose which parks to go to, but what rides should be at the top of your list?
The theme parks constantly change and add new experiences, so there is never a dull moment. You can spend one day or ten days and still love every minute.
If you’re planning to visit in the next few months, here are some things you should consider before you head to the resort:
- Purchase a Universal Orlando Resort vacation package directly through Universal.
- Create a My Universal Photos account.
- Use the Express Pass, skip the lines and save time!
- Pack a camera to take lots of pictures!
- Get there early and use the time to explore before the crowds arrive.
What Is The Best Way To Do Harry Potter World
Everyone has their own way that they enjoy exploring the Wizarding World of Harry Potter, however below are some of the best tips and tricks we have learned over the years to get the most out of your day. As youll see there is so much more to the Wizarding World of Harry Potter than just rides and having a solid game plan is key to seeing everything these two lands has to offer.
- Always use Early Park Admission
- Start out at Islands of Adventure over Universal Studios Florida if only visiting for one day
- Always start with Hagrids Magical Creatures Motorbike Adventure
- Upgrade to the Park-to-Park ticket to ride the Hogwarts Express
- Be sure to ride the Hogwarts Express both ways
- Dont forget about the interactive wands
- Make sure you leave room for a Butter Beer
- Be sure to make a visit to Knockturn Alley in Diagon Alley
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Hogsmeade At Universals Islands Of Adventure
There are two entrances to Hogsmeade, though most guests enter through the one that connects the Wizarding World to The Lost Continent we call this the primary entrance. There is also an entryway from the backside of the area, near Hogwarts Castle, that connects to Jurassic Park via a wooden bridge.
If you enter Hogsmeade through Lost Continent, you will walk past the Hogsmeade train station into Hogsmeade Village. This lower portion of the Wizarding World is home to most of the shops, The Three Broomsticks and Hogs Head, and Hagrids Magical Creatures Motorbike Adventure. On the back end of the village is a relatively small outdoor gathering area, replete with a stage, where live shows are performed. At the far end of the Wizarding World lies the magnificent Hogwarts Castle, home to Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey, as well as the setting for the evening projection-mapping shows. Finally, Flight of the Hippogriff is situated right next door, at Hagrids hut.
Take The Hogwarts Express Between Parks
If you’re going to Universal Orlando mostly for the Harry Potter parks, you want to make sure to get a park-hopper ticket so you can visit both parks in one day. Then you can take the Hogwarts Express between Diagon Alley and Hogsmeade!
Get on at Kings Cross Station in Universal Studios, and get off at Hogsmeade Station in Islands of Adventure.
It’s a fun way to travel, and actually can save you some time walking between parks .
The ride itself is fun, too, but I won’t give away why you’ll have to ride it yourself to see!
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The Wizarding World Of Harry Potter Diagon Alley: A History
On the same day that Universal Studios Hollywoods Hogsmeade was revealed, Universal also announced that the Wizarding World in Orlando would be getting an expansion, although it would be nearly a year-and-a-half before it would finally clarify just what that expansion would entail: on May 8, 2013, The Wizarding World of Harry Potter Diagon Alley was confirmed to be arriving at next-door Universal Studios Florida.
Much like Hogsmeade before it, Universal tried to keep everything as top-secret as possible, but nearly every major attraction, restaurant, and shop leaked out into the rumor mill months, if not years, before the company officially tipped its hand. This was primarily due to Diagon Alleys preliminary design work having started before even Hogsmeade was completed Stuart Craig, the movie seriess production designer, started sketching the layout of a Leaky Cauldron restaurant after he completed the blueprints for The Three Broomsticks, and Universal Creative began toying around with the idea of a real, live Hogwarts Express that would connect its two Orlando parks as far back as 2010.
When the announcement on December 2, 2011 was made that Amity, the home of the beloved Jaws ride, was going to be imminently shut down, it was received by the world at large as being the very first confirmation that Diagon Alley was, indeed, going to be inserted at Universal Studios.