Tips for Universal’s Wizarding World of Harry Potter
Witches and wizards around the world know of Hogwart’s School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. While we continue to wait for our acceptance letters, we all can visit the castle, the village of Hogsmeade, and the shops of Diagon Alley at Universal Studios in Orlando.
Follow these tips to get the most out of your visit to Wizarding World of Harry Potter (WWOHP).
- Purchase Park-to-Park tickets. Universal Orlando has two theme parks. Diagon Alley in is in Universal Studios. Hogsmeade and Hogwarts are in Islands of Adventure. Hogwart’s Express runs between them. To fully experience everything Harry Potter, you’ll need park-to-park tickets.
- Take advantage of early admission. If you either stay in a Universal resort, or purchase your park tickets through your travel agent, you get one hour early admission to WWOHP. The park with the early admission benefit changes from day to day, so check the park hours for your visit. This early hour is a brilliant time to practice your wand skills or join the line for a ride.
- Reconsider visiting Ollivander’s Wand Shop. If you have plenty of time, the experience of Ollivander’s is nice, but the line can be very long. You’ll enter the shop in groups, and only one child in each group is selected to be chosen by a wand, so it can feel like rubbish if your kid only gets to watch after such a wait. Instead, purchase a wand at a cart outside of Hogwart’s or in Diagon Alley, or even at the Universal shop at the airport.
ProTip: Get your wand online and gift it to your child as a way to tell them about the trip. Make sure you purchase the official interactive wand, so they’ll be able to use it in the park.
- Try all the butterbeer. Throughout all of WWOHP, you’ll find six different varieties of butterbeer: cold (classic), frozen, hot, ice cream, fudge, and potted cream. Your first butterbeer should be cold, as it’s the most like what you’ve seen in the movies. My favorite varieties are frozen and ice cream. But the fudge is so rich and delicious.
- Take the time to notice the details. Muggles may not notice all the magic throughout WWOHP. Here are a few details to look for:
- Visit the ladies’ room in Hogsmeade, and you just might hear a message from Moaning Myrtle.
- Dial MAGIC (62442) at the phone booth outside of King’s Cross Station for a message from the ministry.
- When boarding Magical Express at King’s Cross Station, the walk to Platform 9 ¾ has a magical view.
ProTip: One person with a camera stay behind in the Magical Express line to record the rest of the group disappearing through the magical platform. You’ll have time to catch up with your group before boarding the train.
- Enjoy a meal like a wizard. Just like in Harry’s story, a visit to WWOHP can include some wonderful food:
- Three Broomsticks, Hogsmeade (Islands of Adventure)—quick service dining and a great spot for butterbeer and beef pasties, plus classic British dishes like shephard’s pie and fish and chips.
- Leaky Cauldron, Diagon Alley (Universal Studios)—quick service dining with a good kids menu, consider sitting in the quieter outdoor seating
- Florean Fortescue’s Ice-Cream Parlour, Diagon Alley (Universal Studios)—for a great afternoon sundae, and butterbeer ice cream, stop by this treat shop
- Make a plan for Hagrid’s Magical Creatures Motorbike Adventure. This newest thrill ride in WWOHP (48”) takes you deep into the Forbidden Forest aboard Hagrid’s motorbike. At the time of this writing, Express Pass is not available and the wait times have been extreme. If Islands of Adventure has Early Admission during your visit, go directly to Hagrid’s during that extra hour. If not, arrive at the park 60 minutes before the park opens to get through security, the park gate, and back to Hogsmeade to be ready when that line opens.
ProTip: Guests who are nervous about the thrill ride that is Hagrid’s Motorbike should ride in the sidecar instead of on the bike.
Walking through Wizarding World of Harry Potter is like walking in Harry, Hermoine, and Ron’s shoes. Whether you visit Weasleys’ Wizard Wheezes or watch the Triwizard Spirit Rally, any Harry Potter fan will have a brilliant experience.