Fellow Harry Potter fans, rejoice. Muggles — like you and I — can now drink butterbeer, shop for our wands, and go to Hogwarts. Yes, it’s all possible at the Wizarding World of Harry Potter™ at Universal Orlando Resort™ in Orlando, Florida.
I visited Hogsmeade at Universal’s Islands of Adventure™ to explore all that Harry Potter fans can see, experience, and consume. Read on to see all the magical things I discovered!
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Six Things To Do At Universal Orlando’s Wizarding World Of Harry Potter: Hogsmeade
Fly With Harry
Inside Hogwarts castle is a thrilling ride in which you will soar alongside Harry, Ron and Hermione. You’ll even face a dragon and feel the heat of its fiery breath! While waiting in line for Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey™, you’ll pass by iconic sights from Hogwarts — Dumbledore’s office, the Room of Requirement, and the Gryffindor common room. Any muggle who has read J.K. Rowling’s books or seen the movies will appreciate the details inside the castle and on the ride.
Have Your Wand Choose You At Ollivanders
In order to attend Hogwarts, you’ll need your wand. At Ollivanders™, you can purchase your own wand, but first be sure to exchange your muggle dollars for wizarding bank notes at Gringotts Money Exchange in Diagon Alley at Universal Studios.
Ride A Hippogriff Past Hagrid’s Hut
The Flight of the Hippogriff™ doesn’t go upside down, making it fit for young wizards and those who prefer a tame attraction. You’ll zoom past Hagrid’s hut and the pumpkin patch on this family-friendly roller coaster.
Drink Butterbeer™ At Hog’s Head pub
The creamy butterscotch drink beloved by Harry and his friends is delicious indeed. At Hog’s Head™ and at carts located throughout Hogsmeade, you can purchase the buttery beverage in a souvenir cup. The Butterbeer™ comes as a soda topped with a scrumptious foam or as a frozen drink.
Get A Real Hogwarts Experience In The Loo
As you may recall from the Harry Potter novels and films, Moaning Myrtle resides in the girls’ bathroom inside Hogwarts. At the Wizarding World of Harry Potter, you’ll hear the love-struck ghost in the women’s and men’s restrooms.
Take The Hogwarts Express To Kings Cross
Once you’ve explored all that Hogsmeade offers, take the train to Kings Cross Station at Universal Studios. You’ll need a park-to-park ticket to visit Diagon Alley.
Tips For Your Visit
- The Wizarding World of Harry Potter spans both Universal Studios and Universal’s Islands of Adventure, so be sure to purchase a park-to-park ticket if you are only visiting for one day. The family-travel bloggers at The O’Briens Abroad make a great argument for why the park-to-park ticket is totally worth its price. You can easily purchase your Universal Orlando tickets online through Viator, which offers a variety of ticket options for all three Universal parks in Orlando.
- Buy your Butterbeer™ at Hog’s Head and drink it on the back patio in view of Hogwarts.
- One of the best vantage points for a photo of Hogwarts is the bridge that leads to Jurassic Park.
- The Wizarding World of Harry Potter is at the back corner of Islands of Adventure, but you’ll want to head there first thing in the morning to avoid the crowds.
- Traditional English pub fare is served at the Three Broomsticks. If you don’t fancy fish and chips or shepherd’s pie, I suggest holding your appetite for dining at one of the CityWalk restaurants.
- Memorize your locker number when you stash your belongings before riding Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey. You’ll also want to use the same finger throughout the day for the finger-scanning lockers.
Where to stay when visiting the Wizarding World of Harry Potter at Universal Orlando Resort
To maximize your time at the Wizarding World of Harry Potter, you’ll want to stay near the Universal Orlando Resort. There are several high-quality resorts and hotels located on Universal Orlando’s property. The major perk of staying at one of the following six hotels is early admission to the Wizarding World of Harry Potter an hour before the theme park opens.
Universal’s On-Site Hotels & Resorts
- Universal’s Aventura Hotel — Opening in August 2018, this modern hotel will have rooftop and poolside bars and sleek, contemporary guest rooms. Be one of the first visitors to stay at this new hotel by checking availability for your vacation and reserving your room!
- Universal’s Cabana Bay Beach Resort — This family-friendly resort houses two pools, a lazy river, a bowling alley, and an arcade. Find out why TripAdvisor users gave this resort a 4.5 rating. Then book your family’s room!
- Loews Sapphire Falls Resort — Want to feel like you are staying on a Caribbean island during your theme-park vacation? Well, Universal’s newest resort might just be the place for you. See what other travelers are saying about Loews Sapphire Falls. If you are already sold, stake your claim on a room now!
- Loews Royal Pacific Resort — Is a Polynesian vacation more your style? At Loews Royal Pacific Resort, you can feast at a Hawaiian luau and soak in a lagoon-style pool. Check out other travelers’ photos and reviews of this island-chic resort, or reserve your room or Jurassic kids’ suite today!
- Hard Rock Hotel — Listen to music underwater in the pool of this rock-n-roll hotel. Find out more about the Hard Rock Hotel from travelers who have stayed there, or grab your rockin’ room now!
- Loews Portofino Bay Hotel — Family fun meets luxury accommodations at this four-star Italian villa-inspired hotel featuring three pools with plenty of poolside activities for kids, award-winning dining, and nightly operatic performances. Book your room (or Despicable Me-themed kids’ suite) online!
More Perks To Staying At Universal’s Hotels & Resorts
Staying at one of Universal Orlando’s resorts or hotels provides you a number of benefits. For example, you’ll enjoy complimentary shuttles between your accommodations, the theme parks, and CityWalk, the shopping, dining, and entertainment area. If you are interested in comparing the aforementioned resorts and hotels, Universal Orlando has a handy guide to each of its hotel’s theme park benefits, accommodations, and amenities.
Before your trip to the Wizarding World of Harry Potter at Universal Orlando Resort
- Peruse my post highlighting 15 essentials every muggle needs for their visit to the Wizarding World! You’ll find inspiration for your visit, Harry Potter-themed travel gear, and apparel to sport your Gryffindor pride.
- If your Florida vacation takes you beyond Orlando, I also have blog posts about Miami, Naples, and Fort Lauderdale.
- You’ll also find Florida, Orlando, and Universal Orlando Resort articles and resources on my Pinterest Florida Travel board.
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Have you been to the Wizarding World of Harry Potter?