The Complete Guide to Harry Potter World – Universal California vs Florida

wizarding-world-of-harry-potter-tickets

The Complete Guide to Harry Potter World – Universal California vs Florida

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. Since then, Universal on the west coast was missing the magic and decided to build their own Harry Potter World in 2016. 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?

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

Harry Potter World – Universal Orlando vs Hollywood Overview

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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. Lucky for us, there are two different places in the U.S. where you can experience a Harry Potter theme park. There are many similarities and differences between both Universal Studios Harry Potter parks which we will cover here. The question is, which is the ultimate Harry Potter experience – Universal Orlando or Universal Hollywood?

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.

Harry Potter World Lands – Universal California vs Florida

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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!

Harry Potter World Rides – Universal Florida vs California

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? 

Harry Potter World California Rides – Hogsmeade

  • Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey
  • Flight of the Hippogriff

Harry Potter World Orlando Rides – Hogsmeade

  • Hagrid’s Magical Creatures Motorbike Adventure – This is the BEST ride to utilize The Park Prodigy’s Early Admission tickets because this ride is so popular.
  • Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey
  • Flight of the Hippogriff
  • Hogwarts Express – All aboard! Catch a slow-moving ride on the amazing Hogwarts Express at Universal as your way between Diagon Alley and Hogsmeade with your park to park ticket!

Bonus: Diagon Alley Rides 

  • Harry Potter and the Escape from Gringotts

The Escape from Gringotts is an exclusive Harry Potter ride in Orlando, which can only be ridden in Diagon Alley in Universal Studios Florida.

Early Park Admission at Harry Potter Universal Studios Hollywood Vs Orlando

how to ride Hagrid's Motorbike Adventure

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.

Harry Potter Restaurants – Universal California vs Florida

florida vs california harry potter

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!

Universal Studios Hollywood Harry Potter Restaurants

  • The Three Broomsticks – Head on into the rustic tavern for a quick service meal of shepherd’s pie, fish & chips or even ‘The Great Feast.’ Inside the theming has beautiful cast-iron chandeliers, exposed wooden beams and the normal wizarding trinkets you’d find laying about.
  • Hogs Head – Located on the backside of The Three Broomsticks, this pub offers Pumpkin Juice, Butterbeer, specialty drinks, wine, spirits and brews.

Harry Potter World Orlando Restaurants – Hogsmeade

  • The Three Broomsticks – Head on into the rustic tavern for a quick service meal of shepherd’s pie, fish & chips or even ‘The Great Feast.’ Inside the theming has beautiful cast-iron chandeliers, exposed wooden beams and the normal wizarding trinkets you’d find laying about.
  • Hogs Head – Located on the backside of The Three Broomsticks, this pub offers Pumpkin Juice, Butterbeer, specialty drinks, wine, spirits and brews.

Bonus: Universal Studios Diagon Alley Restaurants

  • The Leaky Cauldron – Start right where Harry did at this charming British pub! You can grab an English breakfast here, or even some bangers & mash for lunch or dinner! This is perfectly themed after the movie and worth a stop in for the reasonably priced food.
  • The Hopping Pot – This is a mostly drinks kind of stop, but you can pick up some beef pasties with your Fishy Green Ale. It is also a stop for butterbeer or even regular draft beer on tap.
  • Florean Forescue’s Ice Cream Parlour – Strawberry and Peanut Butter sundae? Earl grey, lavender or clotted cream? You can try many different flavors of hard-packed or soft serve ice cream at this shop.
  • The Fountain of Fair Fortune – Inside a curious looking tavern, you can grab specialty drinks or just another glass of your favorite butterbeer!

Harry Potter Land Shops – Universal Orlando Florida vs California

harry potter shops universal

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.

Universal Studios Hollywood Harry Potter Shops – Hogsmeade

  • Ollivanders
  • Honeydukes
  • Owl Post
  • Zonko’s
  • Dervish and Banges
  • Filch’s Emporium of Confiscated Goods
  • Wiseacre’s Wizarding Equipment
  • Gladrags Wizardwear

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.

Harry Potter World Orlando – 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.

  • Honeydukes
  • Dervish and Banges
  • Owl Post
  • Filch’s Emporium of Confiscated Goods
  • Ollivanders

Bonus: Universal Studios Diagon Alley Shops

  • Ollivanders
  • Weasley’s Wizard Wheezes
  • Gringotts Money Exchange
  • Borgin and Burkes
  • Globus Mundi
  • Madam Malkin’s Robes for all Occasions
  • Magical Menagerie
  • Quality Quidditch Supplies
  • Scribbulus
  • Shutterbutton’s
  • Sugarplum’s Sweet Shop
  • Wands by Gregorovitch
  • Wiseacre’s Wizarding Equipment

Which Harry Potter World is Better Orlando or Hollywood?

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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.

Universal Florida Vs California Harry Potter World FAQs

Q: Where is Harry Potter World?

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. 

Q. Is there a Harry Potter World in California?

Yes! You can find Hogsmeade located in Universal Studios Hollywood.

Q: Is Harry Potter World in Florida bigger than California?

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.

When Is The Best Time To Visit Universal Orlando?

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.

Are You Ready to Plan Your Next Universal Orlando Trip?

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!