For all the Potterheads out there, visiting the Wizarding World of Harry Potter is the ultimate dream. While watching the movies, we all wished we could stroll down the cobblestone pathway of Diagon Alley or enjoy a butterbeer at Hogsmeade. When part three came around, we all were envious of Harry for riding the Hippogriff. But with the inauguration of the Wizarding World of Harry Potter, now we can all live out our Harry Potter fantasies. Given below is the ultimate guide for visiting the Wizarding World of Harry Potter. Therefore, if you are planning a vacation to a magical place, make sure to read our article first.
“I’ll never forget the time I walked through those doors”Sirius Black
The Wizarding World of Harry Potter – A Quick Glance
The Wizarding World of Harry Potter – Essential Information
The Wizarding World of Harry Potter comprises two different areas namely Hogsmeade and Diagon Alley, that are bridged by the Hogwarts Express train. Despite being connected, these two areas are in different theme parks. Diagon Alley is in Universal Studios, whereas Hogsmeade is in the Islands of Adventure. Therefore, if you only have a single day to visit the parks, you will need to purchase the one-day park-to-park ticket, which will allow you to tour both parks and you will be able to embark on magical Hogwarts Express to travel between the two.
Unfortunately, however, if you don’t purchase the park-to-park ticket you will be allowed to visit only one park, either Universal Studios or Islands of Adventure. Moreover, you will won’t be able to ride the Hogwarts Express.
One-park ticket – $115
Park-to-park ticket – $170
Which Ticket Should You Get When Visiting the Wizarding World of Harry Potter?
If you are a diehard Harry Potter fan, who wants to explore the entire magical Wizarding World of Harry Potter, then you should definitely go for the park-to-park ticket as you will not only be able to visit both Hogsmeade and Diagon Alley but will also be able to ride the Hogwarts Express. Moreover, to save money, instead of getting one-day tickets, you can opt for multiday-day tickets, as the tickets get cheaper if you add more days. So, what are you waiting for, platform nine and three-quarters await.
“Funny way to get to a wizard’s school, the train. Magic carpets all got punctures, have they?”Vernon Dursley
Where to Stay
If you plan on visiting the parks for multiple days, it is best that you stay at one of the hotels in Universal Orlando. Opting for Universal Hotels also gives you the perk of a free Universal Express Pass. Given below are the best Universal hotels you can stay at while visiting the Wizarding World of Harry Potter.
Hard Rock Hotel – If you are traveling with kids then this rock and roll hotel is the best one for you. Hard Rock is a fun hotel that allows you to bask in the perks of rock and roll royalty with impeccable surroundings, show-stopping service, and posh laid-back style.
Loews Portofino Bay Hotel – Loews Portofino Bay Hotel is one of the coolest ones at Universal and is designed to look just like Portofino Italy. So, if you are looking to stay in luxury on your trip to the Wizarding World of Harry Potter, then this hotel is the perfect fit for you.
Loews Royal Pacific Hotel – Another great boarding option is the on-site Loews Royal Pacific Hotel which will surely remind you of a Polynesian paradise. With sun, sand, and tons of plam trees, the fun isn’t limited to only the park, but you can also enjoy your days lounging beside the hotel’s shimmering pool, sipping mai tais.
When you step into the magical realm of the Wizarding World of Harry Potter, you will find yourself surrounded by the fantastic Hogsmeade Village, and the impressive Hogwarts Castle. Located at the Islands of Adventure Hogsmeade offers the ultimate Harry Potter experience everything from thrilling rides to the soothing butterbeer. Given below are some of the main attractions that Hogsmeade offers:
Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey – A scenic dark ride that takes tourists around Hogwarts Castle. During the ride they encounter the Whomping Willow, a horde of Dementors, and even find themselves amidst a Quidditch match. Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey is a ride that a wizard should experience at least once in their life.
Flight of the Hippogriff – This family-friendly roller coaster will truly teleport you to the fantastical world and will make you feel like you are riding a real-life Hippogriff, as it swoops past Hagrid’s hut and spirals and dives around the pumpkin patch.
Three Broomsticks – After a day filled with magical adventures, you can kick back and relax at the Three Broomsticks with a pitcher of Butterbeer and a hot meal.
Ollivander’s – The famous wand shop from Harry Potter is also a part of the attractions, and you can even buy your very own wand from there.
Honeyduke’s – Among the varying fantastical attractions, you will find the famous candy shop from Harry Potter, Honeyduke’s. They house every mythical candy from the Chocolate Frogs to Bertie Bott’s Every Flavor Beans.
Butterbeer carts – As you stroll around Hogsmeade, you will come across numerous outdoor carts, selling hot, cold, and frozen Butterbeer.
The newest addition to the Wizarding World of Harry Potter is the famous Diagon Alley that is located in the Universal Studios Park. It is designed in such a way that it excellently mimics the one from the movies, making it look like a secret wizarding world hidden within the city of London. The Diagon Alley features the following main attractions:
Harry Potter and the Escape from Gringotts – This is a simulation thrill ride inside the Gringotts Bank, where you will navigate perilous subterranean vaults. While on the ride you will come across the golden trio, and evade the wrath of the villainous Bellatrix, He who must not be named, trolls, and other wicked creatures, that stand between you and the safety of the bustling streets of Diagon Alley.
The Leaky Cauldron – After a tiresome day of wand shopping, you can enjoy a hot meal and Butterbeer at the acclaimed Leaky Cauldron.
Florean Fortescue’s Ice-Cream Parlour – Coveting something sweet and refreshing? Head on to Florean Fortescue’s Ice-Cream Parlour to enjoy an ice cream or two.
Gringotts Money Exchange – Another aspect of the park that makes you feel like you are truly in the world of Harry Potter is that you can exchange real money for Gringotts bank notes that you can later use for purchases in the Wizarding World of Harry Potter.
Ollivander’s – The shop that Harry visits in the first part of the Harry Potter books/movies, from where he purchases his very first wand is also a part of the attractions in Diagon Alley.
Borgin and Burkes – Although every wise wizard will advise you against visiting the Borgin and Burkes in the spooky Knockturn Alley, it doesn’t hurt to venture into the dark sides once, and with your wands at your side nothing can lay a finger on you. At the Borgin and Burkes, you will find all sorts of creepy collectibles, such as Death Eater masks.
Madam Malkin’s Robes – Want to feel like a true wizard, running down the halls of Hogwarts with your robe flapping in the air? Then do visit Madam Malkin’s Robes, to purchase your very own wizarding robes and Hogwarts apparel.
“A scarlet steam engine was waiting next to a platform packed with people. A sign overhead said Hogwarts Express, eleven o’clock. Harry looked behind him and saw a wrought-iron archway where the barrier had been, with the words Platform Nine and Three-Quarters on it. He had done it.”
The one thing that we truly wanted to ride from the world of Harry Potter was the Hogwarts Express and with the advent of the Wizarding World of Harry Potter, we can do that to our heart’s content. You can board the train either at the Hogsmeade Station in Hogsmeade or King’s Cross Station in Diagon Alley. Riding the train both ways is so much worth it as the storyline for the Hogsmeade to London journey is a lot different from the London to Hogsmeade one, and why shouldn’t you enjoy every magical aspect that the park has to offer?
Universal Express Pass
Want to save time and skip lines at the Universal attractions? Well, you can do that by purchasing the Universal Express Pass. The Unlimited Express Pass allows you to skip lines for all the attractions unlimited times. Whereas the Regular Express Pass lets you skip lines, one time for all attractions.
Universal Express – From $89.99 to $349.99
Universal Express Unlimited – $99.99 to $379.99
If you opt for an on-site Universal Hotel such as Hard Rock Hotel, you get the Unlimited Express Pass for free.
Optimal Time to Visit the Wizarding World of Harry Potter
The best times of year for visiting the Wizarding World of Harry Potter are given below:
- Late August to most of September, except the weekends for Halloween Horror Nights.
- For most of October, expect the weekends for Halloween Horror Nights.
- Early to middle November, with the exception of Thanksgiving.
- Late February to March, before the spring break.
- Almost the entire month of May.
Tips for Visiting the Wizarding World of Harry Potter
- Before going to the park be sure to check the opening and closing hours as sometimes the Universal Studios and the Islands of Adventure open at varying times, mostly an hour apart. Moreover, depending on the day and season, the closing hours of the parks also vary. You can check the schedule of theme parks by visiting the Universalorlando website.
- Make sure to arrive early at the park, right when it opens as it will give you a chance to take one or two rides with absolutely no wait.
- While strolling the bustling Diagon Alley be sure not to miss the almost-hidden entrance to Knockturn Alley. Trust us it’s a place worth visiting.
- Make sure to ride the Hogwarts Express both ways to truly enjoy the magical experience.
- Even though interactive magic wands are expensive, they are worth buying and are a perfect souvenir.
- Make sure to try a Butterbeer as what trip to the Wizarding World of Harry Potter is complete without trying the delicacy?
The Wizarding World of Harry Potter offers a truly magical experience that evokes feelings of joy and nostalgia. The site of Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizarding rising up to meet the sky stirs the senses and will make the most diehard fans tear up with joy. The mythic building that only existed in the minds of adoring fans, looks picture-perfect and truly remarkable in person. Visiting this place should be on the list of every Potterhead.
While visiting the Wizarding World in the USA, there are several other places that you should also try. Read our article on the top 10 vacation spots in the USA, to know what the Land of Liberty has to offer its tourists.