Written by April
The Wizarding World of Harry Potter is one of the TOP attractions(in my opinion THE top) at Universal Studios and Islands of Adventure in Orlando. With Worlds to be found in both parks, Diagon Alley in Universal Studios and Hogsmead in Islands of Adventure, we’ve put together our list of 10 Must Dos during your visit!
Hot or iced, this beverage is a treat you can’t miss. Often imitated, never duplicated(trust me, I’ve tried many times!), try one or try both, your taste buds will thank you!
2. Kings Cross, Platform 9 3/4, the Hogwarts Express
This train runs between the two parks and in order to ride it, you will need Park to Park admission and not just single park tickets. Winding through Kings cross on your way to Platform 9 3/4 is an experience by itself, with many nods to the Harry Potter movies. Keep an eye out for optical illusions as you cross onto the platform. The immersive experience once you are on the train is amazing. Don’t think that one ride is all you need either, as your experience will differ in each direction.
3. Ollivanders Wand Shop
Ollivanders Wand Shop can be found in both Hogsmead and Diagon Alley. Wall to wall wands, stacked to the ceiling, are available for purchase. You can choose from the wands of many of the characters from the Harry Potter books, or you can choose a unique, interactive wand to be used around the parks. But the best option is to take a page from the books(see what I did there?), and have the wand choose you. There are two entrances to Ollivanders Wand Shop, the first leading you into the main store, and what many people think is the only entrance to this store. But at Diagon Alley, there is a second, less obvious entrance, to the left of the “main” entrance. Here you will be taken through the shop, in a small group of 10-15 people, and you can experience the live show. One member of the group is chosen by Ollivander to have the wand choose them. Many wands are tested, but as we all know, the wand chooses it’s owner, and you know when yours has chosen you. The wand that chooses it’s owner is interactive and available for purchase(but you don’t have to buy it!). You will exit into the main shop. This show doesn’t take long, only about 5 minutes, and is well worth it for the true Harry Potter fan. Hint: Since only one person is chosen to have a wand choose them, chances are you may not be picked. Because this is a quick show, you can go through more than once. I’ve heard of many occasions where a person is picked the second time they go through the show, and it worked that way for me. I was picked during my second trip through the show, so if you don’t get the full experience the first time and really want it, go through again!
4. Harry Potter and the Escape From Gringott’s
This 3D roller coaster in Diagon Alley winds you through Gringott’s Bank and through the caverns underneath it. The queue line features interactive goblins(have a chat with them!). You’ll spot many characters from the movies as well.
5. Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey
Found in Hogsmead, inside of the Hogwarts Castle, the intense ride leads you through a Quidditch match and past smoke breathing dragons. The walk through the castle to the ride guides you through Hogwarts and past classrooms. If you just want to see Hogwarts but want to skip the ride, you can walk through without getting on.
6. The Knight’s Bus
Just like the bus from Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, this triple decker purple bus can be found in Diagon Alley. Have a chat with the bus driver standing outside!
7. Ice Cream at Florean Fortescue’s Ice Cream Parlour
Whether you are going for the Butterbeer ice cream or one of their other flavors(but let’s be honest, Butterbeer is where it’s at), check out these treats, especially if it’s a hot day!
8. The Dragon Challenge Rollercoaster
Many of the rides found in the Wizarding World of Harry Potter are motion simulator rides and can be a bit intense for people who get motion sick easily(like me). The Dragon Challenge is a more typical, suspended roller coaster. It’s a great thrill ride that won’t come with the side of queasiness some people might experience with the motion simulator rides. If those kinds of rides don’t make you queasy, well, check this one out anyway.
9. Three Broomsticks Restaurant and Hog’s Head Pub
Hungry? Well you’ve got options while visiting the Wizarding World of Harry Potter. One must try is Three Broomsticks. From Fish and Chips to turkey legs to the Great Feast Platter, there’s something for everyone! You really don’t want to go toe to toe with a Deatheater on an empty stomach. You can also get butterbeer, hot and cold, at Hog’s Head.
Just like the candy shop in the books, Honeydukes features a wide variety of candy, from chocolate frogs(which sadly don’t come to life) or Bertie Bott’s Every Flavor Beans.