Park Spotlight: Wizarding World of Harry Potter
The Wizarding World of Harry Potter is a themed area that spans between both Universal Studios Florida and Islands of Adventure theme parks. Because this themed area is split between two theme parks, in order to get the full Harry Potter experience you will need a Park to Park ticket to ride the Hogswarts Express. I must admit, when I was first planning our Universal Orlando vacation I had never watched a single Harry Potter movie. I wanted to know what all the fuss was about so I watched all 8 movies over an 8 week time frame while we were waiting on our trip to arrive, and I instantly became a fan! Now, let’s take a look now at the different parks.
The Wizarding World of Harry Potter – Diagon Alley
Diagon Alley is a section in the Universal Studios Florida Theme Park. If you didn’t know what you were looking for you may actually pass right by Diagon Alley without even knowing it (trust me…we did). Once inside Diagon Alley there are plenty of shopping experiences to purchase all the items you need for your Hogswarts classes. Shop at places like Ollivanders, Weasleys’ Wizard Wheezes, Magical Menagerie and much more. I highly suggest purchasing an interactive wand from one of the many shops like Ollivanders then make you way around the Alley to test your ability to cast a spell! Don’t forget to stop by Gringotts Money Exchange to swap out your Muggle currency for Gringotts Bank Notes that you can be used to make purchased around Diagon Alley & Hogsmeade! Watch out for that fire breathing Dragon snap a photo for proof! Then head over to the thrill attraction Harry Potter and the Escape from Gringotts. Grab a bite to eat at the Leaky Cauldron before you head over to Kings Cross Station at Platform 9 ¾ to hop on the Hogswarts Express towards Hogsmeade (Park to Park Ticket is required).
The Wizarding World of Harry Potter – Hogsmeade
Hogsmeade is a section of Islands of Adventures Theme Park. Hogsmeade is the where all your Harry Potter dreams come true! In both theme areas you truly feel like you have stepped into a Harry Potter movie! Try out rides like Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey, Flight of the Hippogriff (family friendly) and for all you thrill seekers check out Dragon Challenge. Stop by Hog’s Head in the back of the Three Broomsticks restaurant and grab a Butterbeer for the entire family. Take a break from all the excitement and check out the Triwizard Spirit Rally or the Frog Choir. There are many places to shop also in Hogsmeade so if you didn’t get everything you needed in Diagon Alley, no worries you will find everything you need here! Stop by the Owl Post before your visit is over and mail a letter to your family and friends back home, postmarked Hogsmeade. Don’t forget if you are wanting to ride the Hogswarts Express back to London you will need a Park to Park ticket.
Now grab your wand and spell book and let’s head to Universal Orlando Resort and check out the Wizarding World of Harry Potter! Expelliarmus!
Cindy Dismukes in an Independent Agent of Fairytale Adventures Travel. She specializes travel for families, couples and military to Disney, Universal, Cruises, Hawaii, and All Inclusives. She can be reached at Cindy@fairytaleadv.com or on her Facebook Cindy Dismukes- Destination Specialist.