Universal Orlando Resort is the ultimate vacation for families—we should know, we’ve been visiting the parks since we were little. We’re huge Harry Potter fans, so our first stop is always The Wizarding World of Harry Potter.
With many visits under our robes, here are our best tips on exploring The Wizarding World of Harry Potter.
1. Butterbeer On-the-Go
Butterbeer is obviously a MUST in The Wizarding World of Harry Potter, whether you’re a fan of cold or frozen. (We have our own opinions on which version tastes best!) But with so much to do and see, why not take your Butterbeer with you? There are multiple locations you can grab a Butterbeer on your way to exploring other adventures in-park, including:
Diagon Alley at Universal Studios Florida
- Leaky Cauldron
- The Fountain of Fair Fortune
- The Hopping Pot
Hogsmeade at Universal’s Islands of Adventure
- Three Broomsticks
- Hog’s Head pub
- Butterbeer street carts
No matter where you go (or which version you get), the foam mustache is photo-worthy, so don’t forget to take a picture.
2. Grab an Interactive Wand
A visit to Ollivanders is a must where you can experience a wand choose a wizard. You can also pick up your very first interactive wand – which allows you to cast spells throughout both lands.
As if The Wizarding World of Harry Potter wasn’t magical enough, the wand magic actually lasts forever. How is that possible?! (Oh wait, magic!) Bring them back every time you visit the parks to use again and again.
In addition to Ollivanders, you can also visit Wands by Gregorovitch tucked away in Diagon Alley. Carts positioned outside of Hogwarts castle in Hogsmeade also have wands available, or check out the Universal Orlando’s online merchandise store if you want to grab one before your trip here!
3. Check Out Dark Magic in Knockturn Alley
Our favorite place to hang out in is Knockturn Alley in Diagon Alley – and not just because we’re Slytherins. It’s the stomping ground for the villains, so it’s dark all day long, all year round.
Inside Knockturn Alley, you can visit Borgin and Burkes for some goodies that any dark wizard would totally have, and use your interactive wand on some top-secret spots only visible in the dark.
4. Be a Savvy Shopper
We can’t leave the parks without buying something for ourselves – yes, of course we need more Slytherin house scarves. If you’re on the hunt for souvenirs to bring back home, listen up!
All of Universal Orlando’s hotels have Harry Potter merchandise in their gift shops, so if you happen to forget those Hufflepuff socks for your cousin back home, you can snag some before checking out.
Both Islands of Adventure and Universal Studios have huge gift shops near the exits with heaps of Harry Potter merchandise and sweets, from Bertie Bott’s Every Flavour Beans to Chocolate Frogs. And if you load up on goodies while in The Wizarding World of Harry Potter, hotel guests can have purchases delivered directly to their rooms.
5. Hop Aboard the Hogwarts Express
Once you’ve had the chance to experience one of the magical lands, hop on the Hogwarts Express (park-to-park admission required) and make your way to the other park.
But wait, there’s more! Did you know the Hogwarts Express has a different experience depending on which direction you’re going? It’s like two rides in one! Whether you’re headed to a new school year, or on the way to Diagon Alley, you’ll see a different story each way.
Possibly the biggest tip we have is to stay at a hotel. Here’s why: When you stay at a Universal Orlando hotel, you get Early Park Admission to The Wizarding World of Harry Potter. This gets you into the park one hour before it opens.
Imagine being the very first person to walk into Hogsmeade in the morning. Trust us, it’s a magical experience well worth getting up a bit early for.
7. Make New Friends
Did you know there are multiple opportunities to meet characters from the Wizarding World?
- The Hogwarts Express train conductor is a friendly face that welcomes you to Hogsmeade
- The Knight Bus conductor and the shrunken head inside are always good for a laugh
- Chat with a goblin at the Gringotts Money Exchange inside Diagon Alley
Have a great tip to share? Tell us in the comments. We’ll see you in The Wizarding World of Harry Potter!