One of my favorite things to do is stroll through the Wizarding World of Harry Potter at Universal Orlando. The Wizarding World consists of two sides, Diagon Alley and Hogsmeade. Everything is so detailed and it really feels like you’re stepping right into the books. If you’re planning a visit soon here are magical experiences that you won’t want to miss!
1. Watch the Stage Shows
There are a number of fun shows inside the Wizarding World of Harry Potter. Celestina Warbeck and the Banshees and The Tales of Beedle the Bard are located inside Diagon Alley. You can also catch the TriWizard Spirit Rally and the Frog Choir at Hogsmeade. All are really fun entertaining shows! My favorite may be Celestina and her fun songs like ‘You Charmed The Heart Right Out Of Me’. Check the official Universal app for times.
2. Drink A Butterbeer
If you didn’t drink a Butterbeer while at the Wizarding World did you even go? Butterbeer is a Harry Potter staple and I suggest trying it at least once. It’s a non-alcoholic butterscotch/cream soda mix drink. If that doesn’t sound up your alley try either some Pumpkin Juice or some Fishy Green Ale. Roaming around enjoying a Butterbeer is part of the experience.
3. Buy a Wand and Do Some Magic
One of my favorite parts about the Wizarding World is how realistic it feels and being able to do magic is amazing. I highly recommend purchasing a wand at Ollivander’s for the full experience. They even have a wand choosing ceremony and some lucky witches/wizards get chosen to be in it. An interactive wand will let you cast spells all around both Diagon Alley and Hogsmeade. Each wand comes with a map with a location of all the spells on it. It so fun to walk around and try them all out! Interactive wands start around $55 but are definitely the one souvenir I would recommend.
4. Ride The Amazingly Themed Rides
There are 4 rides total between the two parks (minus the Hogwarts Express that’s later) and I suggest trying to ride them all. The queues are magical and the rides themselves are so much fun!
They rides are:
- Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey (Hogsmeade/Islands)
- Flight of the Hippogriff (Hogsmeade/Islands)
- Hagrid’s Magical Creatures Motorbike Adventure (Hogsmeade/Islands)
- Harry Potter and the Escape From Gringotts (Diagon Alley/Universal Studios)
5. Explore All The Magical Shops
Even if you plan on window shopping the shops inside the Wizarding World are so incredibly detailed. From Fred and George’s Weasleys’ Wizard Wheezes joke shop to the Magical Menagerie for magical pets, plan some time to stroll through them all. Each one is so different and so fun to look around in.
6. Eat Ice Cream At Florean Fortescue’s Ice Cream Parlour
Be like Harry and enjoy some delicious ice cream at Florean Fortescue’s Ice Cream Parlour. Bonus points if you get the Strawberry and Peanut Butter like Harry did in the books. You can also indulge in Butterbeer or my personal favorite Earl Grey and Lavender.
7. Buy Candy At Honeydukes
Honeydukes is another staple in the Wizarding World. There you can buy some famous candy mentioned in the Harry Potter books. They have so many fun treats to try like Chocolate Frogs, Bertie Botts Every Flavour Beans, Fizzing Whizbess, and Pepermint Toads. The candy and packaging is so fun that I’ve kept the boxes as souvenirs.
8. Visit Number 12 Grimmuald Place
Visit the headquarters for the Order of the Phoenix and the Black family residence. This is located right outside of Diagon Alley and if you look up at the windows you can find the house-elf Kreacher looking out. This is just a fun photo spot but it’s definitely on my list to check out.
9. Visit the Knight Bus
Also outside of Diagon Alley is the Knight Bus. There you can chat with the driver and the shrunken head. It’s a really funny interactive experience. While you can’t actually get in the Knight Bus the beds are all set up and it makes for some fun entertainment and photos.
10. Call the Ministry Of Magic
There’s a red phone booth right between Kings Cross Station and Diagon Alley. If you go in and dial MAGIC you’ll be directed to the Ministry of Magic. It’s the little things like this that really make the Wizarding World such an amazing experience.
11. Ride The Hogwarts Express
Get ready to journey to Platform 9 3/4. Riding the Hogwarts Express is definitely something you’ll need to experience. The cabins look so much like they do in the movies it’s unreal. For this, you will need a Park-to-Park ticket or an annual pass. The Hogwarts Express is your ride to the other park. Pro Tip: the “scenery” is different each way so make sure to ride it both ways.
12. Eat At the Leaky Cauldron or the Three Broomsticks
Both of these restaurants are incredibly detailed and transform you right into the books/movies. I’ve eaten at both and it’s really hard to pick a favorite. If I had to pick one I would probably go with the Leaky Cauldron just because it’s usually not as busy. If you can manage it try eating at both. They have different menus and serve some delicious British food options.
13. Trade in your Muggle Money
Trade in your muggle money for some real wizarding cash. You can trade at Gringotts Money Exchange located in Diagon Alley. While you get paper “money” in increments of $10 and $20 and not Galleons it’s a fun thing to so and makes for a nice souvenir. There’s also an interactive goblin inside. Your wizarding cash can be spent throughout the Wizarding World or you can just save it and display at home.
14. Visit Knockturn Alley
While roaming around Diagon Alley make sure to take a detour and venture into Knockturn Alley. There you will find Borgin and Burkes and the vanishing cabinet. You can browse some dark magic artifacts including some Death Eater masks. There are also quite of few spells you can do while in there. It’s really dark and a great way to cool off. Make sure to listen while inside Borgin and Burkes, there are some fun surprises.
15. Buy your Hogwarts School Robes
This may not be the ultimate must-do but if you’re on vacation and willing to splurge the Wizarding World sells amazing Hogwarts robes. These are pricey at $125 but very high quality and make for amazing photos. It does get extremely hot if you’re not visiting in the winter months so keep that in mind. Even if you don’t plan on buying some robes check them out at Madam Malkin’s Robes for All Occasions. The store has some costumes on display and some Weasley sweaters for purchase too!
The Wizarding World of Harry Potter is an amazing sight to see. It’s such an incredibly immersive experience and one that I find myself in awe of every time. Even as a local I find new things each time I go. I hope this magical list gives you a head start to planning a truly magical vacation!
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