Universal Studios Early Admission
Universal Studios Orlando Resort Guests and other select guests get access to Early Admission at Universal Orlando Resort. Which season youre traveling can make a difference in which Park will offer Early Admission so its very important that you check before you plan. Especially if youre hoping to make the most of your days at Wizarding World.
Where To Buy The Must
You already know theres plenty of places to purchase wands, robes, sweets, and souvenirs in the Wizarding World, but if you want to be extra prepared you can purchase many of these items on Universals website before you even arrive at the Harry Potter theme parks.
You can also get them in your hotel, at the large souvenir stores at the entrance to both Universals Islands of Adventure and Universal Studios Florida, or at the Universal Studios Store at CityWalk. The biggest benefit to buying your merch outside of the park areas is that youll have more time to experience the rides and appreciate the attention to detail that went into making the areas feel like Harry Potters world. Window shopping and browsing is more fun than standing in line, anyway.
The Wizarding World Of Harry Potter Diagon Alley At Universal Studios Florida
Experience The Wizarding World of Harry Potter Diagon Alley as you walk the familiar streets of London, passing buskers, red telephone booths and Kings Cross Station. You will know youre close to Diagon Alley once you see the Knight Bus. Just pass through the brick archway and catch your first glimpse of this hidden magical marketplace.
Once inside, grab a cup of Butterbeer or Pumpkin Juice from iconic establishments like Leaky Cauldron, the Hopping Pot and other themed dining options, or even from a passing street vendor. Several Diagon Alley venues also have wizard-friendly eats.
Of course, its not the wizarding world without adventure, and youll find plenty of it at Harry Potter and the Escape from Gringotts. Keep a watchful eye on the roof of Gringotts Money Exchange while youre there, though the 60-foot Ukrainian Ironbelly dragon is known to breathe fire!
Next, its time to gear up on everything youll need to make your time at Hogwarts a success. Find the perfect wand at Ollivanders, get sized for your school uniform at Madam Malkins Robes for All Occasions, prepare for the big game at Quality Quidditch Supplies, or just stock up on side-splitting gags at Weasleys Wizard Wheezes, among other shopping opportunities. And if you have the nerve to brave Knockturn Alley, Borgin and Burkes is your source for Death Eater masks and other merchandise coveted by members of House Slytherin.
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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.
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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The Shops At Universal Studios
- Weasleys Wizard Wheezes: Puking Pastilles and other prank items devised by the Weasley twins
- Gringotts Exchange: trade U.S. currency for Gringotts bank notes, which can be used in Diagon Alley and Hogsmeade
- Borgin & Burkes: Death Eater masks and movie replicas
- Globus Mundi: passport holders, luggage tags, and other necessities for your magical travels
- Madame Malkins Robes for All Occasions: clothing and jewelry
- Magical Menagerie: plush toys featuring magical creatures, including fan fave Buckbeak
- Wiseacres Wizarding Equipment: unique house merchandise
The Wizarding World Of Harry Potter Stores In Hogsmeade
A second Ollivanders location sits in the heart of Hogsmeade, so dont worry about missing out on a wand shopping experience if you only have a 1-park ticket. It has the same wand offerings, and you can watch the wand selection show here. But, as I mentioned before, the Diagon Alley shop has more showrooms to increase capacity, so usually, there is a longer line at the Hogsmeade store. If you want more details, Tad explains everything you need to know about interactive wands and casting spells around The Wizarding World of Harry Potter.
The Owl Post & Dervish and Banges
At the Owl Post, pick out a set of stationery, stamps and a quill. Instead of waiting until you get home to use them, send a letter to family, friends or back home to yourself while youre at the park! Your letter will receive a special Hogsmeade postmark and then be given to the owls for delivery. Continue walking through the connected Dervish and Banges, where youll see the infamous Monster Book of Monsters locked in a cage. While youre at it, pick up a Sneakoscope or a Remembrall.
In the Harry Potter series, Honeydukes is a popular destination among visiting Hogwarts students and we can see why! Universal did a frogtastic job bringing this sweet shop to life. The pink and green walls and shelves pop against the colorful treats and candy boxes. Stock up on Bertie Botts Every Flavour Beans, Chocolate Frogs, Exploding Bon Bons, Fizzing Whizzbees and more.
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The Ultimate Guide To The Wizarding World Of Harry Potter At Universal Orlando
From Hogsmeade to Diagon Alley, here’s everything you need to know about the Harry Potter rides, restaurants, and shops at Universal Orlando.
The Wizarding World of Harry Potter at Universal Orlando Resort consists of two immersive lands based on the Harry Potter books and films. The Diagon Alley area is located in Universal Studios Florida and Hogsmeade is located in Islands of Adventure. The two Harry Potter theme park lands are connected by the Hogwarts Express.
Both of the Harry Potter lands at Universal Studios have themed shops, rides, dining, and entertainment, and the best way to travel between the two is on the Hogwarts Express train. If you want to hop on the train or visit both lands in one day, youll need to purchase Park-to-Park tickets that include both Universal Studios Florida and Islands of Adventure for your visit.
Both Harry Potter Orlando theme park lands accept Express Passes, an add-on to your regular park ticket that lets you skip the line on many rides and attractions. You can purchase Express Passes online or inside the park, and its included as a free perk if youre staying in a Universal Premier hotel.
Tips For Shopping In The Wizarding World Of Harry Potter
- The majority of the gift shops are small and narrow inside and can get crowded easily. Be aware of your surroundings to mind others’ space! Filchs Emporium of Confiscated Goods can get especially packed if it starts raining while you’re riding Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey.
- Most frog families will head straight to the rides. If getting an interactive wand is a top priority, make a beeline to Ollivanders in Diagon Alley first thing in the morning when the shop is less busy.
- If staying at a Universal Orlando hotel , use Early Park Admission to get a hop on the crowds. Depending on the day, you can either ride Harry Potter and the Escape from Gringotts OR ride Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey AND Flight of the Hippogriff plus catch a show at Ollivanders in Hogsmeade.
- Feeling a little claustrophobic? Get your souvenirs from the kiosks in Carkitt Market in Diagon Alley, or right outside Hogwarts Castle and Ollivanders in Hogsmeade.
- Harry Potter merchandise can also be found at the main gift shops near each of the park entrances, Universal Studios Store in Universal CityWalk and every Universal hotel gift shop.
- Visit the Gringotts Money Exchange at Diagon Alley to turn your muggle money into Gringotts banknotes that you can use within The Wizarding World of Harry Potter!
- On-site hotel guests can have purchases delivered to their rooms.
- Buy chocolate treats and sweets closer before you leave, so they dont melt in your bags!
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Which Park Is Better: Diagon Alley Or Hogsmeade
If youre looking for Harry Potter rides, the Hogsmeade area in Islands of Adventure has three of them compared to just one ride at the Diagon Alley area in Universal Studios Florida . On the other hand, Diagon Alley at Universal Studios Florida has more shops and restaurants.
In the end, though, theyre both great and it probably comes down to personal preference. Do you have a favorite scene or location from the Harry Potter books? If so, you may find yourself drawn to one area more than another, but you should absolutely experience both parts of the Harry Potter theme park in Orlando.
Buy A Wand But Skip The Robes
The stores throughout the park are beautiful, and inside each, there are a lot of magical, alluring toys for sale. But transforming yourself into a wizard gets mighty expensive.
Wands are one of the few toys that might be worth the price. They run around $55, but you get more than a run-of-the-mill souvenir: At both parks, brass markers indicate spots where you can cast a spell and “magically” make things happen. Youre essentially buying an extra attraction.
The wands are fun, but you can skip the show in Ollivanders Wand Shop. Only one person in each group is selected to be paired with their wandeveryone else just has to watch. Go into the store next door to discuss what kind of wand you want with, uh, one of Ollivanders assistants. You arent missing much.
Although it’s tempting to complete your Hogwarts uniform with a robe, they cost about $114, dont get you anything special in the park , and you can find one for much cheaper online. You should still visit the talking mirror inside Madam Malkins for a nice confidence boost, though.
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There Are Many Types Of Butterbeer At Universal Orlando Resort
Though cold and frozen Butterbeer are the most popular versions , there are even more ways to enjoy this butterscotch and shortbread-flavored treat. You can get Butterbeer Fudge at Honeydukes and Sugarplums, Butterbeer Potted Cream at Leaky Cauldron and Three Broomsticks, and Butterbeer Ice Cream at Three Broomsticks, Leaky Cauldron, Florean Fortescues The Hopping Pot, and various snack carts.
What Is The Wizarding World Of Harry Potter
The Wizarding World of Harry Potter is the overarching name for the themed areas, attractions, shops, restaurants, and entertainment based on the Harry Potter books and movies. Hogsmeade opened in 2010 at Islands of Adventure and features the Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry, nearby Hogsmeade Village, and the events of the Goblet of Fire. Diagon Alley opened shortly after in 2014 and includes the London-based aspects of the world such as the Knight Bus, 12 Grimmauld Place, Kings Cross station, and the aforementioned Diagon Alley.
The lands are dense and sometimes overwhelming your attention will be pulled in all directions with unique sights and sounds. With something around each corner, every nook and cranny is worth exploring.
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The Wizarding World Of Harry Potter: Diagon Alley
If you are staying at any of the on-site Universal hotels, you can get into The Wizarding World of Harry Potter one hour earlier than general admission.
Which park opens early varies by day and sometimes both parks open early. The front desk agent should give you this information at check-in or you can check the Universal Orlando website for the most up-to-date information.
No matter which park is opening early, plan to arrive at the front gates at least 15 30 minutes before the Early Park Admission opening time. Its the only way to beat the crowds and make the most of your extra time.
Only certain attractions open during Early Park Admission, but this typically includes all of the Wizarding World attractions. The ones you will most likely want to knock out are Hagrids Magical Creatures Motorbike Adventure at Islands of Adventure and Harry Potter and the Escape from Gringotts at Universal Studios Florida.
For Hagrids, head to Islands of Adventure, take a right after passing through Port of Entry and head toward Seuss Landing. Universal team members will be on hand to scan your hotel keycard and allow you to go deeper into the park. Continue through Seuss Landing to The Lost Continent and you should see team members directing you toward the start of the line for Hagrids.
Be careful not to overshoot and walk past the somewhat hidden entrance to Diagon Alley. When you see an opening in a brick wall, you know youve found it.
Hogsmeade Vs Diagon Alley For Early Park Admission
Did you know that everyone who purchases their discount Universal Orlando Ticketsfrom The Park Prodigy receives EARLY PARK ADMISSION to Harry Potter? Yep, thats right you will get into either Hogsmeade or Diagon Alley one hour before regular park guests. But which one is better to use for Early Park Admission?
When trying to decide between Diagon Alley Vs Hogsmeade for early park admission we are going to look at which park will help you save the most time later on in the day. Because thats the whole point of using the Harry Potter Early Park Admission ticketanyway!
Overall we would always lean towards Hogsmeade for early park admission. The main reason is Hogsmeade is home to two of the most popular rides at Universal: Hagrids Magical Motorbike Adventure and Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey. Taking advantage of that extra hour in the morning can save you up to three hours later on in the day!
Special Note: Be sure to check out our Universal Orlando ticketpage for all of the latest deals and promotions!
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The Wizarding World Of Harry Potter Tips
How to avoid long lines: Arriving early may help you avoid long lines during the first hour of the morning. During the day, however, the lines grow long, and purchasing Express Passes may be a better option to avoid the lines.
Take a bunch of pictures: Yes, the attractions are fun, but the incredible attention to detail is what makes The Wizarding World of Harry Potter memorable. Why not take as many pictures as possible to capture and cherish the moment forever?
Renting a locker: Some attractions that prohibit backpacks or purses offer free temporary lockers to hold your items. You can save some time and jump on another ride more quickly if you rent a locker, ride a few attractions back-to-back, then come back and pick up your items.
Insiders Guide To The Wizarding World Of Harry Potter
The Wizarding World of Harry Potter consists of two different areas in two different theme parks. Hogsmeade, located in Islands of Adventure, recreates the only all-wizarding village in Scotland, replete with the majestic Hogwarts Castle Diagon Alley, snuggled inside Universal Studios Florida, is a hustling, bustling city block consisting of several side streets, all dominated by the imposing Gringotts Wizarding Bank. Both are, simply put, amazing areas, with so many unique attractions and experiences hidden around every corner that it just wasnt enough to give you the basic information on the rides, shops, and eateries we have taken it to a whole new level with our Insiders Guide to The Wizarding World of Harry Potter.
This page includes a history of the development of the Wizarding World at Universal Orlando Resort, a description of the lands layouts, and some vacation-planning tips.
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Which Harry Potter Park Should I Go To First
For the most authentic Harry Potter experience, head to Diagon Alley at Universal Studios firstjust like Harry did in the first book. Its a great gateway into the Wizarding World, and you can stock up on all your souvenirs and wizarding supplies at the lands many shops. Then, head to Hogsmeade for your first awe-inspiring view of Hogwarts Castle .