This guide to the Wizarding World of Harry Potter is the perfect starting point for any muggle getting ready for their Universal Orlando trip! You’ll find that there is so much to do and see you might find yourself wondering, What is the best way to see Harry Potter at Universal Orlando?
You will want to have a good game plan going into your trip and take advantage of the The Park Prodigy Universal Orlando tickets which come with EARLY PARK ADMISSON! This is especially true if you are planning for the best way to see Harry Potter at Universal in only a day or two. The reason being is the Wizarding World of Harry Potter is split between Diagon Alley and Hogsmeade Village with each being located in a different Universal park.
In this guide we will cover what time does the Wizarding World of Harry Potter open, if you should visit Hogsmeade or Diagon Alley first, the best way to see Harry Potter World and so much more! We hope you find this post helpful, and if you are planning a trip to Universal Orlando be sure to check out our other FREE vacation planning tools. Our goal at The Park Prodigy has always been to help you save time on your next vacation and find the cheapest Universal Orlando tickets!
So if you’re ready to plan your trip to the Wizarding World of Harry Potter read on!
SPECIAL NOTE: If you’re looking for the best days to visit the Wizarding World of Harry Potter be sure to check out our crowd calendar below!
Many people don’t realize that the Wizarding World of Harry Potter is split into two sections in Universal Orlando, Diagon Alley and Hogsmeade Village. The two sections are located in the following theme parks:
As you can imagine there are so many amazing things to do in each section, so the best way to see Harry Potter Universal Studios is to give yourself a few days. It’s also important to note that you will need to purchase Universal park-to-park tickets if you plan on riding the Hogwarts Express.
The truth is there really isn’t a bad time to visit Harry Potter World especially when you are with your family. But on the flip side waiting in long lines is a bigger disappointment than Neville Longbottom in herbology class.
One of the best ways to visit Harry Potter World is to plan around the crowds. Luckily our Universal Orlando Crowd Calendar breaks down the expected crowds, average temperature, and even theme park ticket prices. We find that the least crowded times of year tend to be early fall and right after New Years Eve!
If you prefer a few great dates we have outlined them below.
As we discussed the Wizarding World of Harry Potter is in two different parks which mean you will need the right tickets especially if you plan on visiting both Harry Potter lands. There are a few different ways to purchase the correct Universal Orlando tickets including Harry Potter World . Below are the most common questions we receive when purchasing Universal tickets to visit the Wizarding World of Harry Potter:
The least expensive tickets will allow you to visit one theme park per day. We suggest asking these questions when deciding which ticket is the best fit for your family. Do you plan on going and exploring the other rides at each Universal theme park? If so, then you will have plenty to do while visiting one park per day. Or do you plan on spending all of your time in the Wizarding World of Harry Potter? If so, you might be better off purchasing a Universal park-to-park ticket so you can explore both Harry Potter World lands.
Receive EARLY PARK ADMISSON to the Wizarding World of Harry Potter and purchase discounted Universal Orlando theme park tickets with The Park Prodigy! All of our tickets are the exact same tickets you receive if purchasing from Universal directly. The best part is you can combine our Universal Orlando ticket deals with any vacation package booked through our travel agency.
Customers are automatically signed up for our Magic Rewards Program which allows guests to receive gift card points which they can use towards the purchase of their discount Universal Orlando tickets.
The Benefits of Purchasing your Harry Potter Park Tickets from us are:
So now that you know what tickets to buy for Harry Potter World, lets plan your perfect Universal Studios Harry Potter Itinerary!
Not everyone’s Harry Potter Itinerary will be the same though. Some might prefer to see the Wizarding World of Harry Potter in one day and others might have a full weekend. We are going to start with the basics tips for visiting the Wizarding World of Harry Potter and then break down the best way to visit Harry Potter World based on your trip length.
The first step is to decide how early to arrive at Universal Studios for the Wizarding World of Harry Potter? We always recommend to arrive as early as possible to avoid long lines later on in the day. This is true even if you are spending a few days at the Wizarding World of Harry Potter.
This is why Early Park Admission is so important as it allows you entry into the Wizarding World of Harry Potter up to one hour before regular park guests! Your family can hop on a ride such as Harry Potter and the Escape from Gringotts and save two to three hours later on in the day. That’s why early park admission is one of the best ways to visit Harry Potter World in one day!
If you are not staying in a Universal hotel and still want Early Park Admission check out our Universal Orlando Tickets Page!
Both Diagon Alley and Hogsmeade close along with the rest of the parks. Be sure to check our Universal Orlando Crowd calendar for all theme park hours.
The theme park hours when visiting Harry Potter Universal Studios will line up with the regular park hours which you can find here! This is of course if you are not taking advantage of the Early Park Admission which comes with the Park Prodigy Universal Orlando tickets!
The Hogwarts Express operates under the regular park hours! It’s important to note that you will need a Universal Park-to-Park ticket in order to ride the Hogwarts Express.
The original and first land of the Wizarding World of Harry Potter is Hogsmeade. Hogsmeade is located in Universal Islands of Adventure, and you will want to head right over to this section as soon as the park opens. For the fastest entrance to the Wizarding World of Harry Potter is to go to the right as soon as you enter the park and take a left once you hit Seuss Landing.
For fans of the books and movies you will recognize Hogsmeade as the charming town covering in snow, and home to the famous butterbeer! You will also find some of the best attractions, stores, and restaurants in all of Universal Orlando.
So now that you have arrived you are probably wondering what are the best things to do in Hogsmeade! You will want to be sure to include these rides in your Wizarding World of Harry Potter Itinerary.
Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey: The original Wizarding World of Harry Potter attraction and still one of the most popular rides in Hogsmeade! Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey is located inside of Hogwarts castle and is a one of a kind ride which will allow you to experience the Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry on your very own broomstick. This used to be the most popular attraction with the longest line in the parks however they have not been as bad ever since Hagrid’s Magical Creatures Motorbike Adventure opened last year. (more on this soon)
Flight of the Hippogriff: This family friendly ride is short but sweet. This kid friendly roller coaster is located directly between the Forbidden Journey and Hagrid’s Motorbike Adventure. The line for this ride is usually short so no need to make it a priority during Universal early park admission.
Hagrid’s Magical Creatures Motorbike Adventure: Fly deep into the wilds of the Forbidden Forest, beyond the grounds of Hogwarts castle, on a thrilling roller coaster ride that plunges into the paths of some of the wizarding world’s rarest magical creatures. To be honest, I have been a Walt Disney World annual pass holder for years and this ride single handedly convinced me to purchase a Universal annual pass. IT”S THAT GOOD! It is a must when you’re figuring out what to do at Universal Studios Harry Potter. (Hagrids Motorbike Adventure Wizarding World Hours are not included in Early Park Admission)
The Hogwarts Express: This attraction is also one of the quickest ways to travel between the Wizarding World of Harry Potter Hogsmeade (Islands of Adventure) and Diagon Alley (Universal Studios). This train ride will bring you from Hogsmeade to the King’s Cross Station in London. It simply is a must do for all die hard Harry Potter fans and your chance to see platform 9 3/4. That’s why we always recommend that the best way to do Wizarding World of Harry Potter is by purchasing the the park-to-park ticket. (Park-to-park ticket is required to ride the Hogwarts Express)
In our opinion one of the coolest aspects of the Wizarding World of Harry Potter is how much attention to detail went into everything. This couldn’t be more true for the shops located in Hogsmeade as they are right out of the books and movies. Here is a list of the shopping things to do at Wizarding World of Harry Potter:
Ahh yes, the wand does indeed choose the wizard! You might recognize this wand shop from the original Harry Potter book where Harry receives his very first wand. At this fun shop, you can participate in your own wand ceremony! Universal has also stepped their game up and now offers interactive wands which can be taken through out the Wizarding World of Harry Potter to interact with different parts of Hogsmeade and Diagon Alley.
Fill your sweet tooth craving with a visit to Honey dukes candy shop. In this shop you will find a ton of goodies and treats from all of the Harry Potter books and movies. Think peppermint toads, Chocolate Frogs, Fudge Flies, Candy Floss, Fizzing Whizbees, and exploding bons bons.
Mail your family and friends an official Wizarding World of Harry Potter postcard!
Wiseacre’s Wizarding Equipment: Represent your favorite Harry Potter house with amazing Hogwarts robes and a variety of uniform attire.
Dervish & Bangs: Souvenir and merchandise shop
Zonko’s Joke Shop: This shop has some of the best merchandise and souvenirs.
Filch’s Emoporium of Confiscated Goods
The main restaurant in Hogsmeade offers up a variety of classic British food inspired by the books and movies. The Three Broomsticks serves breakfast, lunch, and dinner and begin serving guests around 9:30 AM. This restaurant is a must do whenever we plan a trip to Harry Potter World.
This bar serves up classic drink choices such as pumpkin juice, butterbeer, and other grown up drinks.
You can also grab your favorite butterbeer drink at various stands through out Hogsmeade. This classic drink comes in two varieties of cold butterbeer and frozen butterbeer!
For a additional information on the restaurants be sure to check out our Complete Guide to Dining at Harry Potter World!
The theme park hours when visiting Harry Potter Hogsmeade will line up with the regular park hours which you can find here! This is of course if you are not taking advantage of the Early Park Admission which comes with the Park Prodigy Universal Orlando tickets!
The second land added to the Wizarding World of Harry Potter is Diagon Alley (located in Universal Studios). If you are entering from the front of the park walk straight until you hit the mummy attraction and make a right, then continue until you see the Knight Bus. The area outside of Diagon Alley is themed to fill like London, and you will need to make your way through the brick wall until it opens up as Diagon Alley.
Be prepared especially if you are a die hard Harry Potter fan as the attention to detail is unmatched in Diagon Alley. You will be in the middle of shops and cooked buildings, as well a fire breathing dragon nestled over Gringott’s Bank!
Diagon Alley is located in the back left corner of Universal Studios. Directly to the right of Kings Cross Station and to the left of the Knight bus.
If taking the Hogwarts express from Hogsmeade, you will find yourself on platform 9 3/4 at King’s Cross Station. You will want to exit this station and make a left. From here you will see the Knight Bus, and can enter Diagon Alley through the same brick entrance.
So now that you have arrived you are probably wondering what are the best things to do at Harry Potter Universal Diagon Alley. As of right now, and besides the Hogwarts express there is only one ride, but it is amazing!
Harry Potter and the Escape of Gringotts: This one of a kind indoor rollercoaster is themed exactly like the Gringotts Wizarding bank found in the books and movies. Opening in 2014 it quickly became one of the most popular attractions in Universal Studios. On the downside because it is so popular it tends to have one of the longest wait times in the parks.
That’s why we recommend Early Park Admission to our clients so much! If you take advantage of entering the park one hour earlier than other guests you can ride Harry Potter and the Escape of Gringotts and save time later on in the day!
Be sure to check out our Universal Orlando tickets page to learn how we can help you get EARLY PARK ADMISSION without staying on Universal property!
Although we don’t like to pick favorites, the shops in Diagon Alley are simply magical. The attention to detail that went into not only the inside of the buildings but the outside is amazing. Here are our tips on Harry Potter Wizarding World Diagon Alley shops:
This shop is a must see for any aspiring wizard or magician. Be careful as you enter as will see Professor Umbridge swinging from the celling. This store is full of fun novelty gifts for magic, jokes, and pranks.
Yes, there are two! You know what they say about wands…don’t leave home without it.(Please don’t sue me @Mastercard) But just incase you only plan on visiting one park, you still have the option to participate in your very own wand choosing ceremony.
Just like in Hogsmeade you can find all of our favorite Harry Potter house apparel in Madam Malkins Robes. Dress up in your favorite house colors as you explore the Wizarding World of Harry Potter Diagon Alley.
Find the very best and newest Quidditch apparel for your favorite wizarding sport.
Just like Honeydukes, this sweet shop is the perfect store for anyone in the mood for Harry Potter themed candy.
There is no better friend in the Wizarding world than an Owl. Be sure to visit Magical Menagerie to adopt your very own wizarding pet.
Recreate your very own moving picture photo just like in the Harry Potter books and movies.
This is the perfect stop if you plan on giving your young Wizards a few spending dollars once you get into Diagon Alley. Here you can exchange for Wizarding currency in nominations of $10 & $20 to be spend in the Wizarding World of Harry Potter.
Located in Knockturn Alley, here you can find your favorite merchandise inspired by the dark arts.
Very similar to Hogsmeade there is only one main restaurant in Diagon Alley. We will say that if you consider your self a foodie and love to snack you will want to check out Diagon Alley!
At the Leaky Cauldron guests can dine on British inspired food very similar to the three broomsticks. Guests can book and participate in a special Leaky Cauldron breakfast until 10:30 AM. Guests can also visit this restaurant for lunch and dinner.
This is one of my favorite treat spots in all of Universal Studios. Guests can snack on different icecream flavors inspired by the Harry Potter books and movies.
You can pick from Salted Caramel Blondie, Sticky Toffee Pudding, Chocolate Chili, Early Grey and Lavender, Chocolate and Raspberry, Granny Smith, and clothed Cream. Oh and of course Butterbeer!
The Fountain of Fair Fortune: A cart carrying a variety of different beverages from pumpkin juice, butterbeer and adult beverages.
For a additional information on the restaurants be sure to check out our Complete Guide to Dining at Harry Potter World!
Our Universal Orlando Crowd Calendar is the best tool to help you get the most out of your time in the parks. We breakdown the park crowds, park hours of operation, ticket prices by day, and average temperature.
If you’re ready to plan your trip to Universal Studios, be sure to check out our Universal Orlando Tickets! All Park Prodigy Universal Orlando tickets will get you into the park one hour before regular park guests with Universal Early Park Admission!