I am a HUGE Harry Potter fan, so when a friend and I were given tickets to visit the Wizarding World of Harry Potter at Universal Orlando Resort in exchange for telling you all about it, we were THRILLED!
Neither of us had ever been, so we boarded our flights with huge expectations for what was in store for us. The Wizarding World was everything we hoped it would be and SO MUCH MORE!!!
While I could talk for hours about how wonderful the parks are (and where to take the best wizard selfies) I’ll start with your best route through the parks. This will minimize wait times and help you have the BEST experience possible!
For starters, make sure you get the park hopper passes. Universal has TWO theme parks in Orlando. They are right next to each other, but you can buy tickets to one park…or both! The Wizarding World of Harry Potter stretches both parks, with the Hogwarts express connecting them! You won’t want to miss anything at either park!
Start at Universal Studios. Grab a map and head towards the back of the park to find the most magical place in the world. You’ll find Grimmauld Place as you walk along, you’ll notice things change from Universal Studios to LONDON.
There may have been screaming when we saw Grimmauld Place and realized that we’d found our way to Harry Potter.
Before you enter the Leaky Cauldron to find Diagon Alley, make sure you check out the Knight Bus. If you walk up to the bus you can have a chat with the driver and the shrunken head!
Last thing before you enter the Leaky Cauldron is to check out the phone booth. It looks like just a cute photo opp from the outside, but you can actually step inside and call the ministry of magic.
Now, you are officially ready to enter Diagon Alley. I was not prepared for how epic this moment would be. From the moment you enter Diagon Alley everything is thematic. The only food and drink places are the ones you’d actually find in the wizarding world.
To skip the lines, head straight to Gringott’s bank and ride that ride FIRST! The line an get pretty long, but it’s also a very entertaining one. There are loads of things to look at and enjoy along the way.
If you can manage it, exit Diagon Alley next, and head over to the Hogwarts Express. Don’t worry, you’ll be back to Diagon Alley later so you won’t be missing anything, you just want to make sure you get through all the rides FIRST so you don’t get stuck waiting in long lines.
The train is a fun ride in and of itself, and it’s different depending on what direct you are going, so riding it twice (towards Hogsmeade and towards Diagon Alley) is essential.
When you arrive in Hogsmeade, run to Hogwarts before you do anything else. This is another wonderful ride with a fun, interactive line! It can get long too though, which is why this should be number two on your list!
Next, there is dueling dragons, another EPIC ride. This is two rides in one, and you get to choose which dragon you want to ride. As you walk out of the ride watch for a sign on your right that says “re-ride”. I love that you can hop in line again without having to wind all the way around. You’ll definitely want to ride it twice so you can experience both dragons.
The last of your rides is the hippogriff one. I had heard from a few people that this ride was skip-able. NOT TRUE. While it doesn’t have flips or other crazy things, it gives you a gorgeous view of the park and all of Hogsmeade and is a MUST-RIDE in my opinion.
Now, you’re done with all the rides, and can enjoy walking around the Wizarding World and taking in all of the shops and souvenir shops. Each of them are brilliantly done so you feel like you are legitimately in the Wizarding world. I didn’t want to leave!
Now is also a great time to take a break and eat the the three broomsticks. The food here was unbelievably good! Not only was it “real” food (vs. sketchy amusement park food like we were expecting) but it’s reasonably priced, and healthy!
I got a delicious cottage pie with salad and my friend got roasted chicken, potatoes and corn on the cob. So. Good.
Make sure you stop by Honey Dukes to get some candy souvineers, and pick up some butter beer or pumpkin juice from vendors on the streets or any of the restaurants.
When you are back in Diagon Alley, you’ll definitely want to swing by Florean Fortenscue’s ice cream. Y’all. There’s a reason this was Harry’s favorite ice cream shop! There were loads of tasty flavors to choose from, but our favorite was the sticky toffee!
If you are planning a trip to the Wizarding World of Harry Potter, I hope this guide helps you make it through the park and see all of your favorite sites!