The Wizarding World of Harry Potter at Universal Orlando Resort is an incredible experience for all, but holds a special place in the hearts of Harry Potter fans of all ages. The amount of detail and immersive surroundings will have you feeling like you stepped into another world and there can be so much to take in, so where to begin? Of course attractions, shopping and snacks abound, but what are those things that will truly make you feel like you are in the Wizarding World? We've picked our top 5 must-do activities.
|Which way to go for our top 5?|
5) Dine at The Three Broomsticks or Leaky Cauldron
Both quick service locations, these two restaurants are serving up delicious food in a great environment. You can round out your meal with several specialty beverage (both alcoholic and non-alcoholic) as well. Because these locations are both often very busy, dining is really the best way to see the details inside. Honorable mention: next door to the Three Broomsticks is the Hogs Head, with a specialty beer you can only purchase there and is entirely worth a stop for the adults in your travel party!
|Fish and Chips at The Leaky Cauldron (veggies subbed for Chips)|
4) Explore Hogwarts Castle
At the back of Hogsmede Village is the stunning Hogwarts Castle, home to Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey attraction (a personal must-do for me!), but is an attraction all in itself. As you head in line for the attraction, be sure to take in all of the details that were put into the queue. You will truly feel like you are about to attend Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. There are many delights around every corner, which house is in the lead for House Cup? Did you find the Sorting Hat? Does this ride seem a bit too intense for you? You can also walk through the queue to take in all the details and don't have to ride, just ask a team member at the entrance to the attraction.
|One of the many views of the Hogwarts exterior|
3) Watch the wand pick the wizard at Ollivander's (and get your own wand after!)
Ollivander's exists both in Diagon Alley and Hogsmeade, but we recommend trying for the Diagon Alley experience for the shorter waits. Once inside, you will witness (or if you're really lucky, get to experience for yourself!) the magic of wands and how each one uniquely picks the wizard. After the show, you will end up in Ollivander's store where there are exclusive wands only available for purchase in those locations. Talk to any team member there for help identifying which wand will fit you best. If you purchase an interactive wand, it can lead to many magical experiences throughout both parks which is an extra treat!
|Walls and walls of wands at Ollivander's|
2) Ride the Hogwarts Express
The Hogwarts Express is how Harry Potter and his friends get to school each year and is a pinnacle part of the Wizarding World experience. You do need a Park-to-Park ticket to experience it, as it will physically take you from Kings Cross Station (Universal Studios) to Hogsmeade Station (Islands of Adventure) just like it did for the students in the movies (or books!). Be sure to ride this attraction in both directions, as you will have a different experience both ways.
|The Hogwarts Express pulling into the station|
1) Have a butterbeer!
Having a butterbeer seems to be the ultimate Harry Potter fan experience. There are multiple ways to experience this wonderful delight reminiscent of butterscotch and shortbread. The classic is a cold butterbeer but it also comes in frozen and hot (in winter only) beverages. It can also be found in the form of several desserts such as ice cream, fudge, and potted creme.
|A classic cold butterbeer|
*) Honorable Mention: Photo Session at Shutterbuttons Studio
Tucked away in Diagon Alley is Shutterbuttons Studio where you can have your own magical photos taken as a great souvenir. This experience does cost extra but the photos you will have at the end are incredible! They will help you bring out your inner witch and wizard.
|The sign for Shutterbuttons|
Adding on Universal Orlando Resort to a Walt Disney World vacation (or doing an entirely separate Universal Orlando trip!) is a great option for all of you Harry Potter fans out there! However, putting this all together can be a bit overwhelming, but have no fear, we are here to help! Your Kingdom Konsultant agent is well-versed in Universal Orlando and will be happy to assist you in booking a Universal trip or adding Universal to your Walt Disney World Vacation. Did you know, we can even book Harry Potter exclusive vacation packages that will give you even more Harry Potter fun (and include the photo session at Shutterbuttons!)!