How to see all of The Wizarding World of Harry Potter in 1 day

If you’re a Harry Potter fan like me than you’ll definitely want to take a trip to Universal Orlando and The Wizarding World of Harry Potter. Each time I step into the Wizarding World I’m blown away by the insane amount of details. For those that are visiting and only have a limited time I’ve composed the ultimate one day itinerary!

Diagon Alley

Your first stop on your one day itinerary will be on the Universal Studios side at Diagon Alley. Bonus points if you stay at a Universal hotel and get early admission. Onsite guests get early admission, this will give you an hour before crowds come to explore.

When you arrive in Diagon Alley head to Escape from Gringotts and ride (after some amazing pictures of course). This roller coaster ride through Gringotts Bank vaults is amazing and if you get there early should have little to no wait. You can then have breakfast at The Leaky Cauldron. They serve breakfast until 10:30. You can read all about the Leaky Cauldron here.

After breakfast head to Ollivander’s Wand shop and buy an interactive wand. This is my top pick for a souvenir. The wands let you do magic throughout Diagon Alley and Hogsmeade.

Then grab a Butterbeer from The Hopping Pot and go explore some of the shops! They are all incredibly detailed and fun to walk through. You can buy books, Hogwarts House Robes, magical pets, and so much more! If you’re in the mood for a snack you can grab some delicious ice cream at Florean Fortescue’s Ice-Cream Parlour.

Depending on time make a quick trip into Knockturn Alley. There are some spells and some hidden gems inside Borgin and Burkes.

On the way to King’s Cross Station to catch the train, stop by the Knight Bus and Number 12 Grimmuald Place. Kreacher is in the window and peeks out often. The Shrunken Head at the Knight Bus is interactive and so funny!

Platform 9 3/4

Make your way to King’s Cross Station to catch the Hogwarts Express. (Please note a Park to Park ticket or annual pass is need to board the train. Hogsmeade is inside of Islands of Adventure).

Make sure you have someone in your group record you “going through the platform”. This illusion is right after the staircase. It’s so much fun and a must for Potter fans.

The Hogwarts Express is so detailed! It’s one of my many favorite things about the Wizarding World of Harry Potter. There is a fun show while you ride.

Hogsmeade Village

You’ve made it to Hogsmeade! The only full Wizarding town in Britain. First things first, get in line for Hagrid’s. On weekends they usually set up virtual line, if you need help with virtual line Universal has information here.

After Hagrid’s grab some lunch at the Three Broomsticks. They have a great selection of British Pub food. Fish and Chips is always a great choice. The Three Broomsticks is another place that transports you right into the books/movies. While the upstairs isn’t really an Inn it’s definitely designed to look like one.

Explore Hogsmeade a bit after lunch. Make sure to do some magic and definitely visit Honeydukes. This candy shop is absolutely amazing. The smells and music inside are so much fun.

If you’re feeling up to it head over to Hogwarts! The Forbidden Journey is an amazing ride with an even more amazing queue. You actually walk through Hogwarts. From the Herbology greenhouse, Dumbledore’s office, the Defense Against the Dark Arts classroom, and more even if you don’t ride make sure to walk the queue. (This is a motion ride and people probe to motion sickness beware of this ride.)

After you ride Forbidden Journey cross right over and ride Flight of the Hippogriff. It’s a small rollercoaster and the last of your Harry Potter rides.

Depending on time you now have two options. You’ve done just about everything in The Wizarding World of Harry Potter. You can stay in Hogsmeade until closing for empty park photos and continue to explore or head back to Diagon Alley. The Hogwarts Express has a different show each way. Then you can try dinner at The Leaky Cauldron and catch anything you may have missed. This would definitely be my pick if time permits. Make sure to check park hours before making a decision, Diagon Alley may close prior to Hogsmeade.

This is the perfect one-day itinerary and what I usually do when I visit the Wizarding World. Make sure to try and catch a show or two and have a great time exploring.

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Susan Wilson