Wizarding World of Harry Potter Complete Guide

by Jan 24, 2023

The Wizarding World of Harry Potter is one of the most popular attractions at Universal Orlando Resort. It’s so popular, some people their whole visit to Universal Orlando around the magical fun to be found there. There is so much to see and do in the world of wands and owls, it spans across both theme parks! This insider’s guide to the Wizarding World of Harry Potter will give you all the details, and plenty of pro tips to help you feel the magic.

Universal Studios

Diagon Alley

Walk down the streets of London and feel the blast of cold air from the entrance to King’s Cross Station. Nearby you’ll find the Knight Bus, and the hidden entrance to Diagon Alley. Make sure you take your time and really soak it all in when you first enter the Wizarding World. It really does feel like you’re seeing what Harry Potter saw the first time he entered Diagon Alley.

Dining & Snacks

The most popular treat in all the Wizarding World is, of course, Butterbeer! Luckily, Diagon Alley has several ways to get your hands on this special brew. Options around the Alley include cold, frozen, hot, and even ice cream. For beverages you can head to the Fountain of Fair Fortune or the Hopping Pot. Florean Fortescue’s Ice Cream Parlour features Butterbeer ice cream, plus several other unique flavors.

The restaurant in Diagon Alley is, naturally, the Leak Cauldron. Open for breakfast to guests who pre-purchase meal vouchers, or lunch and dinner for general guests, this spot features traditional British pub fare. The Leaky Cauldron is a fun spot for a meal, full of magic and details straight out of the movies, including the titular cauldron, and the room where Harry Potter stays during The Prisoner of Azkaban.
PRO TIP! Lines to enter this spot can get pretty long at lunch time. Use the Universal Orlando app to mobile order, or plan an off-peak meal time to make it easier to get a seat.

Things to Do In Diagon Alley

Harry Potter and the Escape From Gringotts

Gringotts Bank in the Wizarding World of Harry Potter

The big attraction in Diagon Alley is Harry Potter and the Escape from Gringotts™. This indoor, immersive thrill ride takes you on a journey deep inside Gringotts bank. Look out for goblins, Death Eaters, and Lord Voldemort himself as you help Harry Potter and friends complete a secret mission.

Wands!

At Ollivanders’ Wand Shop, young witches and wizards experience the magic and see the moment when a wand chooses the wizard. Lucky guests who are chosen to participate in this experience have the opportunity to purchase wand that selects them.

Ollivanders Wand Shop, Wiarding World of Harry Potter, Diagon Alley, Universal Studios Orlando

If you don’t take part in the wand ceremony, you can still purchase your unique wand, character wand replicas, or interactive wands inside the shop.

Make sure to check the map included in your wand box if you pick an interactive wand! The map shows you the places around the Wizarding World of Harry Potter where you can make your own magic. The magical effects of the interactive wand are lots of fun, and help to make the world come alive. It definitely feels like yer a wizard!

Shopping and more

 

There are plenty of opportunities to shop like a wizard, too. You can find toys and novelties at Weasleys’ Wizard Wheezes,. Pick up quidditch kit at Quality Qudditch or school robes at Madam Malkin’s, or even select a pet at the Magical Menagerie. If you’re feeling brave you might even want to venture into Knocturn Alley for a visit to Borgin and Burkes.

As you’re exploring, make sure you stop and watch one of the shows that take place regularly during the day. You can see a puppet show rendition of the most famous tales of Beedle the Bard. Celestina Warbeck and the Banshees are also on hand to sing some magical tunes.

It’s all in the details!

Hidden Gems of the Wizarding World of Harry Potter

As you approach Diagon Alley, you’ll pass a red phone booth near King’s Cross Station. This is a great spot to grab a photo, and if you know the number you can even make a call to the Ministry of Magic! Nearby you’ll also find the Knight Bus. Stop by and have a chat with the Knight Bus conductor and his friend Dre, the shrunken head.

Knight Bus at the Wizarding World of Harry Potter

On the other side of the entrance to Diagon Alley, you’ll find Sirius Black’s home at #12 Grimmauld Place. Brave witches and wizards can knock on the door. You might even spot Kreacher spying on you from an upstairs window.

knockturn alley entrance sign, Wizarding World of Harry Potter, Diagon Alley, Universal Studios Orlando

As you explore the world of dark magic in Borgin and Burkes, keep an eye out for the vanishing cabinet used by Draco Malfoy in The Half Blood Prince. Listen closely, you might hear something from inside.

Interactive wand floor plaque Diagon Alley Universal Studios Orlando, Wizarding World of Harry Potter

Keep an eye on the ground around Diagon Alley for brass plaques. These show you spots where you can use your interactive wand to perform magic, along with the necessary movements to cast the spell. Helpful wizards and witches are always nearby to show you the best way to make the magic happen.

Universal’s Islands of Adventure

Hogwarts Castle, Hogsmeade Village,Wizarding World of Harry Potter,Islands of Adventure

Once you’re done exploring Diagon Alley, you can head over to King’s Cross Station. Guests with park to park tickets can head up to Platform 9 3/4, where you board the Hogwart’s Express and ride to Hogsmeade Village just like Harry and his pals. As you make your way through the station, keep an eye out Hedwig and Harry’s luggage, as well as a little bit of magic as you approach the platform.

Hogsmeade Village

Entrance to Hogsmeade Village, Wizarding World of Harry Potter, Islands of Adventure

Before young witches and wizards enter Hogwarts, they arrive at Hogsmeade Village via the Hogwards Express. The village is an exciting place to explore, with just as much to see, do, and eat as Diagon Alley.

Snacks and Dining around the village

Three Broomsticks, Hogsmeade Village, Wizarding World of Harry Potter, Islands of Adventure

The Three Broomsticks is the main place to get a meal in Hogsmeade.  This spot features similarfare to the Leaky Cauldron, although slightly more rustic in tone, to fit in with the country village setting. Like the Leaky Cauldron, it requires a voucher to be purchased in advance for breakfast. For lunch and dinner it operates as a typical restaurant open to all guests.

The Hog’s Head pub is next door to the Three Broomsticks. You can get a Butterbeer, your choice of draft beers (both wizard beer and muggle), specialty drinks, and more.

You can also find carts throughout the village that sell Butterbeer, snacks, or other cold drinks. Honeyduke’s confectionery features a counter full of baked treats that you can grab and go for a quick sweet snack.

Things to do in Hogsmeade Village

Attractions

The Wizarding World of Harry Potter inside Universal’s Islands of Adventure features 3 key attractions:

  • Hagrid’s Magical Creatures Motorbike Adventure- a thrilling ride on Hagrid’s flying motorbike through the grounds of Hogwarts, where you encounter members of Hagrid’s magical menagerie.
  • Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey- hop on a broomstick and soar through Hogwarts and onto the Quidditch pitch, with a detour to the Forbidden Forest. The queue for this attraction is a walking tour of the most famous locations in Hogwarts Castle.
  • Flight of the Hippogriff- an exciting yet gentle rollercoaster for witches and wizards of all ages.
Entertainment

Frog Choir, Hogsmeade Stage,Wizarding World of Harry Potter, Islands of Adventure

Near Hogwarts Castle you’ll find the Hogsmeade Stage, which features two different shows alternating throughout the day. Listen to the Hogwarts Frog Choir perform an a cappella concert with the help of their amphibian friends. You can also watch watch students from Hogwarts, Beauxbatons, and Durmstrang prepare for the Triwizard Tournament during the Triwizard Spirit Rally.

In the evenings you can see the Nighttime Lights at Hogwarts Castle. Show times vary, but this show typically runs multiple times per night and includes projections on the castle at pyrotechnics to celebrate all four Hogwarts houses.

Shopping

Guests can also visit many of the same shops as Harry Potter and friends in the books and movies. The Owl Post is well stocked with quills, stationary, and all kinds of owl related gifts. You can even send letters and packages from the village, and they’ll arrive with a postmark from Hogsmeade. Dervish and Banges and Filch’s Emporium of Confiscated Goods are great places to stop for general wizarding souvenirs.

Hogsmeade Village,Wizarding World of Harry Potter,Islands of Adventure

Honeyduke’s is the place to go if your sweet tooth is feeling magical. Here you can get Chocolate Frogs, Fizzing Whizzbees, and more. The bakery counter features chocolate wands, cauldron cakes (served in a souvenir cauldron), and the famous Butterbeer fudge!

You’ll also find the Hogsmeade franchise location of Ollivander’s Wands, where you can experience the wand selection process, just like in Diagon Alley.

It’s all in the details!

When you’re done exploring Hogsmeade, be sure to take the Hogwarts Express back to London. The experience is totally different than the ride in the other direction.

 

As you are heading through Hogwarts Castle to get on  Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey™, you will find several familiar scenes from the books and movies. As you pass through the greenhouse, be on the lookout for mandrakes- but make sure you leave them planted! Next, check where your Hogwarts house is in the standings for the House Cup as you pass the display of house points earned.

Be on the lookout for various doors throughout the castle too. Listen at the doors for Snape’s office and the potions classroom. You may hear some familiar voices! As you continue through the castle, be on the lookout for the Mirror of Erised and of course, the Griffin statue that marks the entrance to Professor Dumbledore’s office. Once in the office, you will find Dumbledore’s Pensieve and the Sword of Gryffindor!

Inside the Defense Against the Dark Arts classroom, you’ll find artifacts representing each teacher who has taught the class, as well as specimens of dark creatures and magical beings. You may even catch a magical weather phenomenon!

Hidden Gems of the Wizarding World of Harry Potter, Sorting Hat

Right before you board the ride, look out the the Sorting Hat- it might have some good advice to share before your adventure.

Keep an eye out for the magical brass plaques in the ground around Hogsmeade as well. There are plenty of chances to make magic happen around the village with your interactive wands.

What is your favorite thing to do while visiting the Wizarding World of Harry Potter? If you have not visited yet, what are you most looking forward to?

Ready to visit Universal Orlando Resort and experience the magic of the Wizarding World of Harry Potter for yourself?

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