This is your complete guide to the differences in the Wizarding World of Harry Potter at Universal Orlando Vs Hollywood. Expecto patronum! Fans all over the world have been able to experience the magic of Harry Potter at Universal Orlando since 2010. The success of the Harry Potter land in Orlando had fans wondering does Universal California have Harry Potter? And just like that, Hogwarts California was born. Both Harry Potter Universal parks are full of fantastic rides, shops and spell-tacular fun. But which is better – The Wizarding World of Harry Potter in Universal Orlando or California?
While we enjoy exploring the wizarding world in both parks, we do think Harry Potter Universal Orlando does have the better Harry Potter Lands. Orlando has two Wizarding World lands, Hogsmeade Village and Diagon Alley, connected by the Hogwarts Express train, while Hollywood has only Hogsmeade with the iconic Hogwarts castle. Although Harry Potter Universal Studios California has great Harry Potter offerings that fans will love. This guide is going to go through both Harry Potter Universal parks in Orlando Vs Hollywood and compare the similarities and differences to help you decide which is better! Don’t forget that The Park Prodigy offers Early Park Admission to the Wizarding World of Harry Potter in Orlando with our discounted tickets!
If you are ready to learn all about Florida vs California Harry Potter Worlds, read on!
SPECIAL NOTE: If you need help picking the best time to visit Universal Orlando for your next vacation be sure to check out our Universal crowd calendar!
Universal Orlando Crowd Calendar
Let’s start with one of the most common questions we receive on the topic which is, is Harry Potter World in California the same as Florida? And in general while The Wizarding World of Harry Potter in California is smaller than Florida, and is missing some major rides and attractions. The most noticeably being one of the main attractions Hagrid’s Magical Creatures Motorbike Adventure and also the entire Diagon Alley themed land. However California does have a similar Hogsmeade themed land, as well as the popular ride Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey.
The truth is no matter which way you look at it there isn’t anything much better than being able to walk about the streets of Hogsmeade, drinking butterbeer feeling like you’re in the Harry Potter Universe. And we are lucky enough for there to be two different places in the U.S. where you can experience a Harry Potter theme park. Which is why we are so excited to compare which is the ultimate Harry Potter experience – Universal Orlando or Universal Hollywood?
And as noted, while Universal Orlando Harry Potter World is much larger, you do have to buy a separate ticket for both parks to experience everything. In Orlando, Islands of Adventure has Harry Potter World, the main land, Hogsmeade. While over in Universal Studios Florida you can experience all that Diagon Alley has to offer. Diagon Alley was built in 2014 and expanded the Universal Orlando Harry Potter experience tenfold. The theming of Diagon Alley is almost identical to what you would imagine in the Harry Potter books or films. With it came the thrilling ride, Harry Potter and the Escape from Gringotts, which is an extremely popular thrill ride.
With that being said, it is an extra cost to travel between the two parks in Universal Orlando and Diagon Alley is typically very busy no matter the time of year. So, overall is Universal Studios Hollywood Harry Potter World better or Universal Orlando Harry Potter World? You’ll have to continue reading to find out.
One of the most obvious differences between the Wizarding World of Harry Potter Universal Orlando Resort and the Wizarding World of Harry Potter Universal Studios Hollywood are the lands. Both parks offer guests to experience Hogsmeade, which has the Hogwarts castle and the various shops and rides throughout the village. Unfortunately, because of size issues and where Universal Hollywood is located, there was not room for another Harry Potter theme park.
It is important to note that while comparing the two, Harry Potter World in Universal Hollywood is missing Diagon Alley. Harry Potter World in Florida has an entire second theme park where guests can ride the Hogwarts Express back and forth from the two parks with a proper ticket. That is one of the major disadvantages of Universal Hollywood when comparing both Harry Potter parks.
When it comes to the layout of Hogsmeade, it is nearly identical in both parks. Although Universal Hollywood’s Hogsmeade is slightly smaller, you cannot tell the difference with the amazing theming. Universal Orlando’s Hogsmeade is also located in the Islands of Adventure park, where California’s is in their Universal Studios Hollywood.
Don’t worry though, if you’re wondering, “Where is Hogwarts located?” both parks have the famous towering castle for the perfect Potterhead photo-op. Both Universal Studios Hogwarts castles offer immersive theming, but there is a slight difference on what guest will experience. Guests at Universal Orlando enter the Hogwarts castle right out of Hogsmeade, where Universal Hollywood guests get to enter from the Forbidden Forest. You can even see parts of Arthur Weasley’s crashed flying car in Universal Hollywood, which we think is pretty cool!
Soaring through the Forbidden Forest or roaming the halls of Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry, the Universal Studios Harry Potter rides are amazing. So, to start our Harry Potter World coast to coast comparison, let’s start with what rides are offered at Hogsmeade. The Harry Potter rides in both Universal parks are mostly the same when it comes to Hogsmeade, but Orlando definitely has gotten some updates over the years. So what are the difference in rides when comparing Harry Potter World Hollywood Vs Orlando?
Bonus: Diagon Alley Rides
The Escape from Gringotts is an exclusive Harry Potter ride in Orlando, which can only be ridden in Diagon Alley in Universal Studios Florida.
So, when deciding between Universal Studios Hollywood or Universal Orlando for early park admission, which one is better? Well, this is actually an easy one as only Universal Orlando offers a Harry Potter early park admission. But should this be the deciding factor between the two?
Overall we would say don’t make the decision to visit Harry Potter World Orlando or Hollywood just based on an extra hour in the morning. But we would pay more attention to the actual rides that are included with the early park admission. Specifically the Universal Orlando early park admission does include some of the most popular Harry Potter rides including Harry Potter and the Escape from Gringotts which is not a ride that can be found at Universal Hollywood.
Next, let’s compare the Universal Studios Harry Potter World restaurants – Florida vs California. Craving fish n’ chips or an ice cold butterbeer? Don’t worry, you can find all sorts of delicious wizard’s fare at both Wizarding World locations at Universal Orlando Vs Hollywood. Both parks have incredibly themed quick service locations that are a must do for a complete Potter trip!
Bonus: Universal Studios Diagon Alley Restaurants
Double, double toil and trouble! Looking for a cauldron, magical creature or your very own wand from the famous Ollivander? Both Universal Studios Harry Potter Worlds offer a variety of shops to get all of your witch-y needs! But which shops are better – California or Florida? Let’s compare Wizarding World shops in Florida and California.
Hogsmeade StationOverall, the Hogsmeade in Universal Studios Hollywood uses its space to allow more shopping for guests. You will not find Zonko’s, Gladrags Wizardwear or Hogsmeade Station Shop over in Orlando’s Hogsmeade.
Here is where we are going to see our biggest difference between Florida vs California Harry Potter Worlds. While a lot of shopping is jammed into Hogsmeade in Hollywood, these shops are spread out a lot more in Orlando between the two parks. So if you’re planning on only visiting Hogsmeade in Florida, you will miss out on some shops that are in Hollywood’s Hogsmeade.
Bonus: Universal Studios Diagon Alley Shops
So now that we have broken everything down, which Harry Potter World is better Orlando or Hollywood? And just on the rides alone we do have to go with Universal Orlando as it is home to Hagrid’s Magical Creatures Motorbike Adventure and Harry Potter and the Escape from Gringotts which they do not have in California. We also love the fact that Universal Orlando offers early park admission to save time in the Wizarding World of Harry Potter.
However as you can see, both Universal parks offer their pros and cons depending on what you’re looking for with your Harry Potter vacation. Harry Potter World in Universal Studios Hollywood is perfect if you’re looking for a more concise trip. Hollywood Hogsmeade has more shops within it and only one park to explore. While that could be less of a hassle over traveling between two parks, you do miss out on quite a bit in Harry Potter Universal Studios California.
The Wizarding World of Harry Potter in Orlando is the full magical experience. With the addition of Universal Studios Florida Harry Potter park, traveling between Hogsmeade and Diagon Alley feels like the real deal. It is important to note that you do need separate entry tickets to both Harry Potter parks in Florida and to ride the Hogwarts Express. You may need two full days to experience all of Harry Potter Orlando, which can really add up in cost!
Whatever you choose, we are more than happy to help you plan your amazing Universal trip! The Park Prodigy is a proud partner with Universal and our travel agents are trained to help you get the best deals.
In the United States, there are two different locations you can visit Harry Potter World. In California, Universal Studios Hollywood is located at Universal City, CA. In Florida, Universal Orlando Resort is located in Orlando, FL.
Yes! You can find Hogsmeade located in Universal Studios Hollywood.
So, is the Harry Potter World in Florida bigger than California? And, very simply yes. The Wizarding World of Harry Potter is much bigger in Orlando Florida as it is spread out between the two lands of Hogsmeade and Diagon Alley. Universal Orlando Florida also has the Hogwarts Express to transport guests back and forth between the Harry Potter lands.
Harry Potter World California only has 1 Harry Potter Land – Hogsmeade Village, while Universal Orlando has Hogsmeade and Diagon Alley across 2 parks connected by the Hogwarts Express.
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! And to stay up to date on everything going on inside the theme parks be sure to check out our partners at Themeparktoday.com!