A Beginner’s Guide to the Wizarding World of Harry Potter

Do you love the Harry Potter books and movies and want to experience the magic yourself? This guide to the Wizarding World of Harry Potter will help you have the best trip ever!

If you reread all the books and rewatch all the movies in the Harry Potter series over and over as we do, then you definitely need to experience this Harry Potter world for yourself.

Where does a Harry Potter stan begin their adventure through the Universal Orlando resort? Since we see Diagon Alley first in the movies, visit Universal Studios 1st.

The entrance to Diagon Alley is the red building, called Leicester Square Station. It’s not marked. Otherwise, muggles will find it. Keep a tissue handy. You may get a little misty as you enter this wonderfully themed area.

Universal Resort Hotel Guests

Assuming you are staying in a Universal Resort and enjoying Early Park Admission, use this time to some photos in front of Gringotts Bank before the crowds arrive. Then ride it while the lines are shorter.

For Witches and Wizards Not Staying in Universal Resort Hotels

If there’s no crowd, check out the Knight Bus. The inside is impressive. Chat with the conductor and Dre Head.

Walk along the London Waterfront façade to 12 Grimmauld Place. Watch the windows for someone to appear. There are a few different interactions, so watch a few times.

When you finally enter Diagon Alley, be sure to listen as you walk through.

Take a minute to take it all in.

For Harry Potter Fans Who Want a Robe

The first thing I should point out is that if you are a Harry Potter fanatic, then you are definitely interested in a robe.

Madam Malkin’s Robes for All Occasions

If you’re a huge HP fan and interested in a robe, I think your first stop is Madam Malkin’s Robes. They’re about $130, but they are of excellent quality. Displaying your house pride will likely lead to interactions and fun with Wizarding World employees.

Next is Ollivander’s Wand Shop

Ollivander will typically select the child from the far, right end for the ceremony. I suspect they will change this occasionally for those of us who figure it out. If your witch or wizard doesn’t get selected, note which child they choose, go through the experience again, and move to that spot.

“The wand chooses the Wizard.”

Ollivander

Wand Ceremony in Ollivander’s Wand Shop
“The wand chooses the wizard.”

If your kid gets selected, you have to buy the wand. It’s not required. Universal has no rule that forces you to buy the wand. But you can’t not buy the wand. That strip of wood will likely be the first of many your young witch or wizard collects.

It will also be one of your most treasured souvenirs.

The wand offered after the wand-choosing ceremony is an interactive wand. You’ll fun opportunities throughout the park to practice spells and marvel at the results of your magic.

After you purchase your interactive wand, watch for medallions on the ground throughout the Wizarding World Parks. These are locations to practice spells with your interactive wands.

Now you have a robe and a wand for all of your Wizarding World photos! Your pics will be even better if your witch/wizard is wearing their robes. The robe has a pocket for the wand, so they can always have it handy.


Start With Right Mindset for the Wizarding World of Harry Potter

Don’t rush from place to place. Take your time and soak it all in.

There is plenty to appreciate everywhere. Pay attention to all the storefronts and facades. It’s unreal how many items from the movies you’ll find.

Start saving some money now for Wizarding World souvenirs. They are fantastic and fun, excellent conversation pieces and they’ll bring back wonderful memories.

Diagon Alley at Universal Studios Florida

Diagon Alley hosts mostly indoor attractions. If you’re enjoying a rainy day in the Wizarding World of Harry Potter, you may want to spend more time here. Also, if you need to get out of the heat, Knockturn Alley is a cool, dark place to get relief from the heat.

Ask an employee where Voldemort is. Don’t be afraid to say his name.

“Call him Voldemort, Harry. Always use the proper name for things. Fear of the name increases fear of the thing itself.”

Albus Dumbledore

The dragon atop Gringotts Bank
The dragon atop Gringotts Bank roars and breathes fire every few minutes.

Escape from Gringotts

The queue is fantastic! Pay attention to the goblins. You probably can’t miss it, but keep an eye out for the dragon on top to roar and breathe fire.

The ride is a blast. We get to enjoy the original cast in the ride, Rupert Grint as Ron Weasley and Daniel Radcliffe as Harry Potter

Kings Cross Station and The Hogwarts Express

This magical train ride requires a Park-to-Park ticket. The experience is different, so be sure to ride from both parks. Catch it at Kings Cross Station in Diagon Alley. Remember the perfume ad from HPHBP?

Have our phone or camera ready when it’s time to enter Platform 9¾.

Be sure to ask an employee for directions to Platform 9¾.

Weasley’s Wizarding Wheezes

Weasley’s Wizarding Wheezes sells lots of jokes from your favorite twins. They’re great souvenirs. Keep an eye out for Dolores Umbridge.

Madam Malkin’s Robes for All Occasions

Whether or not you get a robe, have a look at them and especially Hermione’s gown from the Yule Ball. Be sure to ask the mirror how you look.

Ollivander’s Wand Shop

If you’re having trouble with an interactive wand, even one you bought in previous years, bring them to Ollivanders for repair or exchange.

Borgin and Bourkes

This shop is in Knocktrun Alley, a wonderful retreat if you’re fascinated by the dark arts (or if it’s hot outside). The vanishing cabinet is a great photo op. Listen for something inside.

See if you can find the necklace that Draco Malfoy used to curse Katy Bell. Ask to see Lucius Malfoy’s wand.

While in Knockturn Alley, have another look at the map you received with your interactive wand.

Gringotts Money Exchange

You can purchase Gringotts Bank Notes from here. Keep them as souvenirs or use them to buy items anywhere in the parks.

Just for fun, ask the goblin if he’s a house elf.

The Leaky Cauldron

Keep an eye out for items from the movies. Enjoy the artwork. The Fish & Chips and the ribs are delicious. The stew, not so much. Save time by not visiting during peak dining times.

You can get frozen, cold, and hot (during the winter) Butterbeer here, as well as Butterbeer potted cream and the sticky toffee pudding.

Mind the sign as you walk under it.

Fountain of Fair Fortune

If you purchase a bottle of Gilly Water, hang on to the bottle when you finish. You can get free refills of water or sparkling water here.

The vast, colorful assortment of sweets at Sugarplum’s Sweet Shop.
The vast, colorful assortment of sweets at Sugarplum’s Sweet Shop.

Florean Fortescue’s Ice Cream Parlor

In addition to other tempting flavors, this is where you’ll find Butterbeer ice cream.

Sugarplum’s Sweet Shop

You’ll find lots of sweets here, including Butterbeer fudge.

Hopping Pot

Hopping Pot is a fine place for drinks and snacks, including Butterbeer ice cream, cold Butterbeer, and frozen Butterbeer.

Magical Menagerie

Look for Luna’s pet on the 2nd level. Do you speak Parseltongue? Ask the snake in the window.

Carkitt Market Stage Shows

Enjoy great performances from the movies. Check the Universal Orlando app for showtimes.

Restrooms

That’s right, the restrooms. Where else are the restrooms an attraction? Listen for a familiar voice while washing your hands for at least 20 seconds.

London Waterfront

If you didn’t already, be sure to check out the London right outside the entrance to Diagon Alley. The Waterfront is where you’ll find 12 Grimmauld Place, the red phone booth, Alfred Gilbert’s Eros Fountain, and the Knight Bus.

Don’t just get a great pic in the phone booth, dial 62-442 (M-A-G-I-C) for a message from the Ministry of Magic.

Hogsmeade Village (Universal Islands of Adventure)

Hogsmeade Station and the Hogwarts express in the Wizarding World of Harry Potter.
Hogsmeade Station and the Hogwarts express in the Wizarding World of Harry Potter.

Hogsmeade Village hosts mostly outdoor attractions. If it’s you’re enjoying a nice, pleasant day in the Wizarding World of Harry Potter, you may spend more time in this park. What are the must-dos for the young witch or wizard in Universal’s Islands of Adventure?

Hagrid’s Magical Creatures Motorbike Adventure

This is a new attraction and one of the most popular attractions in Florida, so get in the virtual queue for this one. If the virtual queue isn’t available, set an alert on the Universal App to let you know when the line is short enough.

Hagrid’s Magical Creatures Motorbike Adventure in the Wizarding World of Harry Potter.
Hagrid’s Magical Creatures Motorbike Adventure

I also recommend using early park hours when available, or simply being ready to enter the park right at the open and head for this ride first.

Hagrid’s ride is my favorite ride anywhere! In an era of 3DD Goggles and animation, Hagrid’s stands out as a classic roller coaster with so much more. You’ll blast through the Forbidden Forest and see loads of magical creatures, even some we didn’t see in the movies.

Harry Potter & the Forbidden Journey

The queue is fantastic. Soak up all the artifacts from the movies, especially the paintings. Be sure and eavesdrop by the door when you walk by the potions classroom.

If you’re prone to motion sickness, this ride may not be for you. The queue is still worth it. It is easy and discrete to exit without riding the ride. If you don’t want to ride and want to see the school, ask for a Castle Walk pass. With a Castle Walk pass or Express Pass, you get to see an extra Grand Staircase.

This ride also features the original cast. Draco stans keep a sharp eye out for Tom Felton.

For a little extra fun, sit on the right side of the cart.

Flight of the Hippogriff

Hagrid’s hut and the Hippogriff along the queue are great photo ops. It is a very short ride, more of a kid’s ride, but still fun. The best part of the ride is the gorgeous views of Hogwarts Castle and Hogsmeade. Be sure to take in the spectacular views!

Spectacular view of Hogsmeade Village from Flight of the Hippogriff
Spectacular view of Hogsmeade Village from Flight of the Hippogriff

The Hogwarts Express

This ride requires a Park-to-Park ticket. The experience is different, so be sure to ride from both parks. Catch it at Hogsmeade Station in Hogsmeade.

Hog’s Head Pub

Hog’s Head Pub is a real pub with real adult beverages.

You can get Frozen Butterbeer and cold Butterbeer here.

Honeydukes

You’ll recognize many treats from the movies, such as chocolate frogs and Bertie Bott’s Every Flavour Beans. Beware, some of the flavors are disgusting, but you must be brave!

Grab a chunk of Butterbeer fudge to share!

The Owl Post

Send some postcards from here. Send anything you’d like postmarked from Hogsmeade! Check out the coo-coo clock! And watch in case somebody there receives something in the mail.

The Three Broomsticks

Take in the wonderfully wicked atmosphere and enjoy delicious fish and chips. Keep an eye out for shadows.

You can get frozen, cold, and hot (during the winter) Butterbeer here, as well as Butterbeer potted cream and Butterbeer ice cream.

Hogwarts Castle Stage Shows

Enjoy more great performances from the movies. Check the Universal Orlando app for showtimes.

Butterbeer

The Wizarding World of Harry Potter is the only place we can enjoy real butterbeer. I’ve tried every imitation butterbeer I can find or make. Nothing compares to the real thing at Universal.

When you see a cart, grab a Butterbeer. Every Harry Potter fan has to try it. Non-fans should also try it. If you’re in Hogsmeade, be sure to find the bridge to Jurassic Park World and take a selfie of you and your drink with Hogwarts in the background.

It is very sweet but delicious. Get one to share. A whole Butterbeer is a lot to take at once. If you drink a whole one, you may not enjoy the second half as much as the first.

Try Butterbeer in all of its forms.

  • Butterbeer fudge
  • Frozen Butterbeer
  • Cold Butterbeer
  • Hot Butterbeer
  • Butterbeer ice cream
  • Butterbeer potted cream

Be sure to try the pumpkin juice also. It’s got a nice, slightly spicy pumpkin flavor.

Question:

What’s your favorite thing to do (or what are you most looking forward to doing) in Universal’s Wizarding World of Harry Potter?

More Universal Orlando Information

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