Whats The Best Way To Do Harry Potter World
To get the most out of your visit to Harry Potter World, stay onsite at one of the Florida hotels at the Universal Orlando Resort.
There are eight Universal Orlando Resort Hotels: The Portofino Bay Hotel, Hard Rock Hotel, Lowes Royal Pacific Resort, Lowes Sapphire Falls, Aventura Hotel, Universals Cabana Bay Beach Resort, Surfside Inn and Suites, and Dockside Inn and Suites. Here are a few reasons it pays to stay on property.
Early Admission. Of all the Wizarding World of Harry Potter tips, this is the most important. Universal Studios Parks and Resorts guests are eligible to enter Universal Studios or Islands of Adventure an hour earlier than anyone else on select days.
Note that early admission is only for one park each day, so check to see which park has early admission the day you are going. And by early, we dont mean arrive when the park opens, we mean arrive 30 minutes to an hour earlier that the early entry time.
Why arrive so early? Guests are admitted to a holding area until the theme park gates open and then the attendants need to scan your tickets. Ticket scanning is quick, but if there are a lot of people, they can only scan tickets so fast and generally not all ticket booths are open. Plus, depending on who is working that day, they may allow guest in even earlier than the stated time
Tip: Universal hotel guests receive early admission on the day you check-in, as well as the day you check out.
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Rumors And Official Announcement
In January 2007, About.com reported a rumor from a “highly credible source” that the Lost Continent area within Universal’s Islands of Adventure park was to be re-themed “to the stories and characters of one of the most popular children’s franchises”. Other sources followed up in the next few days with unofficial confirmation the new area would involve Harry Potter, and was being developed under the name “Project Strong Arm” in reference to the KUKA robotic arm technology it would utilise.Nikki Finke reported her own confirmation of the Potter park plans in April, followed shortly by a story in The Scotsman both reports were widely relayed by other media sources. On May 31, 2007, Universal officially announced the 20-acre addition recreating Hogwarts, the Forbidden Forest and Hogsmeade, with a planned opening in 2009.
Harry Potter Rides Universal Overview
Witches, wizards, muggles, and alike are drawn to Universal Orlando Resort from all over the world, specifically to see The Wizarding World of Harry Potter. The Wizarding World offers two different themed lands designed after iconic Harry Potter locations. Between two magical Harry Potter lands, there are a variety of Universal Studios Harry Potter rides for everyone to enjoy. Some of which are the most imaginative and entertaining rides to ever be made! Islands of Adventure has a Harry Potter land designed after Hogsmeade Village, filled with shops, restaurants, and of course, rides. The Harry Potter rides at Islands of Adventure are a completely different sets of attractions than in the other Harry Potter Land, Diagon Alley, which is located in Universal Studios Florida. Diagon Alley only has one Harry Potter ride at Universal but is still rather popular among the wizarding and muggle folk.
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Try The Fun Treats But Theyre Not All Great
The most exciting part of Harry Potter World, for me, is all of the fun wizarding treats
I made it my personal mission to try as many of the treats as possible, and many were very good! However, some were also super disappointing.
But as a quick preview:
- Definitely have lunch at the Leaky Cauldron or the Three Broomsticks
- Have butterbeer ice cream from Florean Fortescues Ice-Cream Parlour
- Drink butterbeer at the Hogshead
- Have a Fizzy Orange Juice at the Hopping Pot
Frequently Asked Questions About The Wizarding World Of Harry Potter
Below are quick answers to common questions about the Wizarding World of Harry Potter in Orlando, Florida.
What is the difference between the two Harry Potter parks?
Universal Studios is the park that contains Diagon Alley . Islands of Adventure is the park that contains Hogsmeade . They are connected by the Hogwarts Express train ride.
Which Harry Potter park should I go to first?
If you have early admission, go with other early admission guests to Islands of Adventure, which contains Hogsmeade first. If you do not have early admission, you can check the Universal app to see which park has longer wait times, or you may wish to start in Diagon Alley and then take the Hogwarts Express train to Hogsmeade , as Harry Potter did.
How many days do you need at the Wizarding World of Harry Potter?
Most guests can enjoy both parks in the Wizarding World of Harry Potter in one day, especially if you get there early. Expect to spend anywhere from one-half of a day to a full day there.
Can you do both Harry Potter parks in one day?
Yes, you absolutely can do both Harry Potter parks in one day, especially if you get there early. Expect to spend anywhere from one-half of a day to a full day there.
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The Wizarding World Of Harry Potter Vacation
In a common misconception that has floated around since opening day, many guests believe that both Hogsmeade and Diagon Alley are their own theme parks, a misunderstanding probably born from the fact that, in Universals initial marketing push back in 2010, it referred to Hogsmeade as a theme park within a theme park. Its since dropped that language, thankfully enough, and you do not need to buy an additional ticket to visit the Wizarding Worlds. However, if you wish to ride the Hogwarts Express between the two lands, you will need to purchase a park-to-park ticket. Fortuitously enough, Universal has installed ticket booths at the entrances to each station, where guests can upgrade their tickets if they happened to overlooked this caveat.
For our very best vacation planning tips, check out the wealth of informational pages in our Insiders Guide to the Wizarding World of Harry Potter, including how to beat the crowds, the full rundown on early park admission, and where to find the best food and souvenirs on offer and more!
Eat At The Restaurants
I keep saying you have to do this so I hope you get the point that if you are a true fan you really have to do everything in Harry Potter World.
Eating at The Leaky Cauldron and the Three Broomsticks was honestly so cool. The Leaky Cauldron is in Diagon Alley and Three Broomsticks is in Hogsmeade of course. Have the app downloaded and you can order while youre in line to be seated.
The Hogs Head bar is attached to the Three Broomsticks where you can stop in for a beer if you want to test your chances. I wanted to try the Wizarding World beers Hogs Head Brew, Wizards Brew, and Dragon Scales but I was too chicken to drink one before a coaster.
There are more options for drinks and snacks in Diagon Alley. If you want ice cream you can visit Florean Frotescues Ice Cream Parlor where they have Butterbeer ice cream and sticky toffee pudding ice cream.
You can also order drinks at The Hopping Pot and The Fountain of Fair Fortune. I got Butterbeer ice cream from The Hopping Pot and didnt have to wait in line at Florean Fortescues it gets long throughout the day.
Pro tip: You can order on the Universal app from The Hopping Pot and when they tell you its ready you walk right up to the registers and pick it up. No waiting in line.
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Eat At The Three Broomsticks Or The Leaky Cauldron
Lines for butterbeer can be nearly as long as the rides. If youre going to eat in the park, know that you can get a butterbeer with your meal at the Three Broomsticks in Hogsmeade or the Leaky Cauldron in Diagon Alley. The level of detail inside these locations is also wonderful and makes up for how much the fish and chips costs.
Also, you might expect the actual beer to be crap. Thats reasonable. But while the park wont disclose who brews their beer for them, they’re exclusive and actually pretty good. Trust us: you wont be disappointed you skipped the Stella and went for the Dragon Scale Red Ale.
Wizarding World Of Harry Potter Tips For Diagon Alley
Diagon Alley is the newest of the Wizarding World parks. There is a large section of this area that has a glass roof, making it a perfect place to visit if its raining too. Wondering where to begin? Read on.
Ride Harry Potter and the Escape from Gringotts. This is the only ride in Diagon Alley, and the line can be formidable, so get to the park early and ride this first.
Then go back through and enjoy the theming and details. The first thing that caught my eye were the enormous crystal chandeliers. It wasnt until my gaze dropped that I saw the goblins counting their money. Along the way we took an elevator down to the depths, eavesdropped on a conversation between Harry, Ron and Hermione, and passed the offices of Griphook and Ragnuk.
Harry Potter Secret Tip: Trade Chocolate Frog cards with staff at the retail locations.
Visit Ollivanders Wand Shops. You can go into the shop to pick a wand but we recommend taking in the wand ceremony too. During this short performance, Ollivander picks one person from the audience to choose a wand. Its a fun five-minute show where the chosen wizard tries out a few wands before finding the one. Remember, the wand chooses the wizard. The line can get very long, so if this is something you want to do, go here early. You can experience the wand ceremony at either Ollivanders location, the one at Hogsmeade or the one in Diagon Alley.
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The Wizarding World Of Harry Potter Souvenirs
If you want to buy souvenirs, as guests of the Harry Potter amusement park, you should visit all the stores that you know about books:
- Sweetshop Honeydukes and Sugarplum for desserts.
- Zonkos joke shop.
- Owl Post where you can send e-mail.
- Dervishes and the Banges, which is full of robes, Gryffindor scarves, Ravenclaw shirts, and all kinds of items for sale, as well as fun details like books with cage bites.
However, keep in mind that all these activities can be small and get very crowded. Buy items confiscated from goods at Filchs Emporium in the lower regions of Hogwarts Castle which is a much larger store that sells a variety of items. Some Harry Potter items are also available at the large Port of Entry store near the entrance/exit to Islands of Adventure.
Diagon Alley Restaurants At The Wizarding World Of Harry Potter In Orlando
Theres only one sit-down restaurant in Diagon Alley, but there are plenty of spots to get Butterbeer, Fishy Green Ale, sweet treats, and even beers specially brewed for the Harry Potter land.
Fashioned after the pub and inn from Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, the Leaky Cauldron is Diagon Alleys only table-service dining option. You can order traditional British fare such as bangers and mash, fish and chips, and a full English breakfast. Dont worry, there are also plenty of picky-eater-approved options like pancakes and macaroni and cheese. To save time, place a mobile food order before you arrive at the restaurant. When you arrive, your server will find you a table and fill your order.
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Florean Fortescues Ice-Cream Parlour
Butterbeer ice cream is certainly the most popular menu item, but dont sleep on the shops other unique flavors like Earl Grey and Lavender, Sticky Toffee Pudding, and Chocolate Chili. Better yet, spend a few days exploring Harry Potter world in Orlando and try all the flavors.
The Fountain of Fair Fortune
When youre ready for something a bit stronger than Butterbeer, stop at the Fountain of Fair Fortune. Theres a variety of non-alcoholic drinks, but adults can pop in here for a Wizards Brew or Dragon Scale beer, which are only available in the Diagon Alley area at Universal Studios Florida.
The Hopping Pot
Eternelles Elixir of Refreshment
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Splurge On The Universal Express Pass If You Can
The Universal Express Pass works on every ride in The Wizarding World of Harry Potter except Hagrids Magical Creatures Motorbike Adventure. It can be pricey if you have a large party or are visiting for multiple days, but since its included with Universal Premier hotels, you might actually save money by staying at one of Universals high-end properties.
At any attraction that accepts Universal Express, you simply show your ticket to the attendant and they will direct you through a separate line for Express passholders. Because theyll need to scan your ticket, make sure you dont leave it behind with your other belongings on rides that require you to store your belongings in a locker.
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.
What Youll Find In Wizarding World
Youve got six rides to plan on:
Hagrids Magical Creatures Motorbike Adventure
Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey
Flight of the Hippogriff
Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey
As noted above, you want to ride Hogwarts Express in both directions. The ride is different in the two directions. The simplest approach is to start and finish your day in the same portion of the land, so either:
Start at Diagon Alley
Ride Hogwarts Express to Hogsmeade
Ride Hogwarts Express back to Diagon Alley
or vice versa.
Theres entertainment in both lands. To be honest, I dont consider the entertainment an essential part of a visit to either of these lands, but it can be enjoyable and if you have a full day youll likely have time for it. You can find the schedule of entertainment in the Universal Orlando app.
You can get your own interactive wand. You can buy a wand that can interact with different elements of the land. While this can be quite fun, the popularity means some of the spots will have several people in line and a long wait as everyone tries to get the spell cast just right.
Shopping / Eating / Butterbeer. And of course, both lands are filled with stores and treats, including Butterbeer.
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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Are You Ready To Plan Your Next Universal Orlando Trip
If youre ready to plan your trip to Universal Studios, be sure to check out our Universal Orlando Tickets! Not only will you save money vs buying direct, but all of our Universal Orlando tickets come with some amazing benefits which can help save you up to three hours in the parks!
And to stay up to date on everything going on inside the theme parks be sure to check out our partners atThemeparktoday.com!
Harry Potter World Faq
- Where should I stay when visiting Harry Potter World?
- I highly recommend staying in one of the Universal Studios on-site hotels as they come with many perks, like early park entry! There are tons of options to fit many budgets.
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