If you’re planning a trip to Universal Studios, you’re probably wondering which is better: Hogsmeade vs. Diagon Alley. They both have thrilling rides, delicious butterbeer, and wands for every aspiring wizard. But, just like in the books, they are distinctly different. Each park is filled with uniquely tailored theming that brings the the pages of the Harry Potter books to life. So, which Harry Potter world is better?
If you’re not sure where to start, don’t worry. Our ultimate guide is here to help! Our side-by-side comparison will help even the biggest Potter fan figure out which Harry Potter theme park is best for your vacation.
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First, let’s be really clear on the most important question: What park is Harry Potter world in? There are two parks at Universal Orlando: Universal Studios and Islands of Adventure. And both of them contain the Wizarding World of Harry Potter! So whichever park you go to, you’ll get to experience the Harry Potter universe.
Putting a Wizarding World in both of the Universal Orlando parks makes planning your visit a breeze. The hard part then becomes finding out which Harry Potter park will be best for you! As we continue, let’s go over some determining factors that will help you decide which is better, Hogsmeade vs Diagon Alley?
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Before we begin our Harry Potter World comparison, here is a quick overview of the main points that most visitors want to know about. It might be enough to help you decide which park to visit when comparing Hogsmeade Vs Diagon Alley 2023! But if not, don’t worry. We’ve got plenty of other information to help you decide whether to visit Diagon Alley or Hogsmeade.
One of the biggest questions we receive here when deciding if you should visit Diagon Alley or Hogsmeade is, should I visit both parks or just one? And it’s a tough question because although they are both part of the same Potter-verse, they are completely different experiences, with different rides, restaurants, and shops.
Hogsmeade is bigger than Diagon Alley, however we believe it’s more important to focus on which park has the best rides, shows, and restaurants which we will break down below.
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A big part of the fun at Universal is the roller coasters! Unlike Disney or other parks, which mostly focus on family-friendly rides, Universal is known for more thrilling coasters. Not just in the Wizarding World, but all throughout the parks. You can tell there is an emphasis on adrenaline-fueled coasters that speed, flip, and twist. So when comparing Diagon Alley vs. Hogsmeade Universal, it just makes sense to start with the rides.
The main Harry Potter ride at Universal Studios Florida is “Harry Potter and the Escape from Gringotts.” This ride is just beautifully imagined, down to every last detail. If the line is really long, you’ll be waiting outside for a while. But once you get inside, oh my! It’s a breathtaking replica of Gringotts, the bank of the goblins. If you’ve ever wondered – what is Harry Potter world like? – this is it! Every breathtaking detail is perfectly rendered to make you feel like you’ve been transported into the magical world.
This ride isn’t a roller coaster in the truest sense, however. Most of the time, you are watching 3-D screens that simulate the drops, twists, and turns. And it does take place in the dark, with some close encounters with bad guys, so there is a thrill factor.
If you have every wanted the true Harry Potter Hogwarts experience, look no further. Board the Hogwarts Express from London’s King Cross Station by walking through the brick wall at Platform 9 3/4! On this journey to Hogsmeade, you will encounter everything from your favorite characters to some trouble some dementors. The only catch with this ride is that you must have a Park to Park Ticket in order to ride. As this ride does transport you from Universal Studios Orlando to Islands of Adventure Park.
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If you’re going to determine which Harry Potter world is best solely on rides, we’ll point you in the direction of Hagrid’s Motorbike Adventure! Once this ride starts, whoa! On Hagrid’s motorbike or in its sidecar, you’ll twist, turn, drop, and roll onto your side. The 1-mile track makes it the longest coaster in Florida. If you’re an adrenaline junkie, this ride alone could decide the question of which is the best Harry Potter theme park for you.
Another mostly 3-D ride, Harry, Ron, and Hermione “save you” from a boring lecture about the Defense of the Dark Arts. Madness ensues and you get taken on an adventure through Hogwarts and it’s grounds. The ride is fun, but the really exciting part is entering Hogwarts. It’s a dream come true for any Potter fan, and for many people this alone settles the question of which Harry Potter world is the best.
For younger riders, or those who prefer a milder ride, the Flight of the Hippogriff is ideal. It’s a bit of a kiddie coaster, but it does go high enough to give you great views of the Hogwarts castle.
This ride is the same experience to Diagon Alley as it is leaving it. The only additional experience with the trip from Hogsmeade is the depression. Who wants to leave Hogwarts?! We definitely recommend experiencing this ride from Diagon Alley instead of Hogsmeade Station.
The Verdict: For starters, there are three rides, compared to Universal Studios having just one. And of the three, two are actual roller coaster type rides. If you’re deciding which Harry Potter park is better in Orlando based on the rides alone, we’ll have to give it to Islands of Adventure and Hogsmeade.
Related Page: All Harry Potter World Rides Ranked Best to Worst
In all honesty, the food doesn’t make much of a difference from one Wizarding World to the next. In the Universal Hogsmeade vs Diagon Alley debate, dining won’t be too much of a factor.
A small pub and inn where, in the books, Harry spent several weeks one summer. This location serves as the main restaurant in Diagon Alley. Offering u quick-service dining options for breakfast, lunch and dinner! The typical fare at The Leaky Cauldron is English favorites. Including Fish & Chips, Bangers & Mash, Cottage Pie, Fisherman’s Pie, Toad in the Hole and Beef, Lamb & Guinness.
This quaint little ice cream shop along the streets of Diagon Alley serve up a variety of traditional and unique flavors! Here you can enjoy soft serve, hard packed, and sundae style ice creams. Our favorite flavors have to be chocolate chili, Butterbeer soft serve, or the sticky toffy pudding!
At this small beverage kiosk you’ll find a variety of elixirs that, when combined with water, transform before your eyes into unique, colourful, and flavourful beverages. You can choose from Fire Protection Potion, Babbling Beverage, Draught of Peace, and Elixir to Induce Euphoria.
Named for one of the fables in The Tales of Beedle the Bard, The Fountain of Fair Fortune serves a variety of beers and other beverages (both alcoholic and non-alcoholic). Non-alcoholic offerings include Butterbeer, Frozen Butterbeer, Pumpkin Juice, Gillywater (bottled water), and more!
Nestled within Carkitt Market is this walk-up counter where you can cool off with a variety of drinks including Butterbeer (regular or frozen, and ice-cream), Pumpkin Juice, Tongue Tying Lemon Squash, Otter’s Fizzy Orange Juice, Peachtree Fizzing Tea, Fishy Green Ale, our Wizard’s Brew and Dragon Scale beers, and more.
This rustic tavern is the place to go in Hogsmeade for good food, friendly conversation, and of course—a Butterbeer. Take a seat and have your fill of tasty British fare including ‘The Great Feast’, Fish And Chips, Shepherd’s Pie, Beef Pasties, Turkey Legs, and fresh vegetables. This quick-service style restaurant serves breakfast, lunch, and dinner!
You may notice the stuffed hog’s head hanging over the bar. Especially if he snarls at you. Don’t be alarmed, though; this pub in the back of the Three Broomsticks is the perfect place for a Butterbeer or Pumpkin Juice, along with domestic and imported beers, the pub’s exclusive Hog’s Head Brew, specialty drinks, wine, spirits, and mixed drinks.
A must-stop for Hogsmeade visitors, the shelves of this legendary sweet shop are lined with all manner of colourful treats including Acid Pops, Exploding Bonbons, Cauldron Cakes, Fizzing Whizzbees, and Chocolate Frogs which contain a wizard trading card in each box. While you’re here, fill up a bag of Bertie Bott’s Every-Flavour Beans!
Hogsmeade has two outdoor Butterbeer carts that serve the cold and frozen versions. There is one right in front of the Three Broomsticks, and the other is next to the bridge that overlooks Hogwarts Castle.
The Verdict: Diagon Alley wins this round only because of the amount of options you have to choose from! The classic spots are in Hogsmeade, yes, but we also have to give honorable mention to Weasleys’ Wizard Wheezes! Not only do they serve trinkets and souvenirs, but most candy that can be found at Honeydukes! But it was a close call, we would say don’t decide which Harry Potter park is better at Universal Studios based on the Harry Potter food!
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No one goes to a theme park just to shop. But once you’re there, it’s hard to say no to a souvenir or four. This is especially true at Universal, with all of its exclusive Harry Potter merchandise! And if you’ve been sorted into a Hogwarts house, you can choose from everything from hoodies to backpacks to school supplies in your colors.
But the biggest souvenir, the one that is almost impossible to turn down, is a wand. Especially if the wand has chosen you! That means that you’ll probably want to visit the park that has Ollivanders Wand Shop. Lucky for you, there is an Ollivanders in each of the parks when comparing Diagon Alley or Hogsmeade! Although book purists may be quick to point out that, technically, Ollivanders is only located in Diagon Alley, you’ll find a wand shop at either park. So the Hogsmeade – Diagon Alley debate won’t be decided by a wand!
Other shops, however, do vary.
The Verdict: As tempted as you may be by the chocolate frogs, there’s really no contest here. When it comes to which Harry Potter park is better at Universal, Diagon Alley in Islands of Adventure is the clear winner. They have more shops, more merchandise, and the fun of trading your money for Gringotts bank notes. Plus, the younger kids will love the stuffed animals at the Magical Menagerie!
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Did you know that the Wizarding World of Harry Potter has Early Park Admission to some of the most popular rides? Yep, that’s right you will get into either Hogsmeade or Diagon Alley one hour before regular park guests. But which one is better to use for Early Park Admission?
When trying to decide between Diagon Alley Vs Hogsmeade for early park admission we are going to look at which park will help you save the most time later on in the day. Because that’s the whole point of using Early Park Admission anyway! Overall we would always lean towards Hogsmeade for early park admission. The main reason is Hogsmeade is home to two of the most popular rides at Universal: Hagrids Magical Motorbike Adventure and Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey. Taking advantage of that extra hour in the morning can save you up to three hours later on in the day!
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In an ideal world, you’d be going to both parks and your only worry whether to visit Hogsmeade or Diagon Alley first. But, since that’s not always possible, we’ll help you out with our recommendation. We pick… Hogsmeade / Islands of Adventure!
Why did we pick Hogsmeade?:
We hope our Harry Potter World comparison helps you decide which Harry Potter theme park is best. They are both excellent parks and you will have fun wherever you go, but in our opinion, Hogsmeade is the clear winner!
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A: Now that we have discussed the best Harry Potter park, you might be wondering should I go to Hogsmeade or Diagon Alley first? And as a general rule of thumb we always suggest visiting Hogsmeade in Islands of Adventure first. This is especially true when using early park admission as the wait times for Hagrids Magical Creatures Motorbike Adventure and Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey will always be longer than the Escape from Gringotts later in the day.
A: Another common question we receive is, which park at Universal Orlando has Hogwarts castle? And Hogwarts castle would be at Islands of Adventure which is Hogsmeade. There’s even a ride that takes place inside Hogwarts castle, so you’ll actually be able to enter the hallowed halls of Harry’s alma mater.
A: Islands of Adventure. Same as Hagrid’s Motorbike AND the Hogwarts Castle.
A: No. If you’re eager to explore Diagon Alley, Universal Studios is your park!
A: No! The Wizarding World of Harry Potter is located outside of the Walt Disney World Resort at the Universal Orlando Resort in Florida.
A: This state of the art coaster has a 1-mile long track! This makes it the longest coaster track in all of Florida. The run time of this ride is usually 3 min and has you traveling up to 50mph!
A: Near the main entrance of Hogsmeade on your left next to Honeydukes!
A: There are a few kiosks scattered around both Hogsmeade and Diagon Alley. But if you want the true experience, head to Ollivander’s Wand Shop in both parks for a one of a kind wand buying experience.
And here’s some good news: both parks serve Butterbeer! If tasting Harry’s favorite drink is high on your list, you’ll be able to buy one at either park. And it’s non-alcoholic, so the kids can try it, too.
If you’re ready to plan your trip to Universal Studios, be sure to check out our Universal Orlando Tickets! Not only will you save money vs buying direct, but all of our Universal Orlando tickets come with some amazing benefits which can help save you up to three hours in the parks!
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