Guide and Itinerary for the Wizarding World of Harry Potter in Orlando
I'm not even going to lie, I was expecting the Wizarding World of Harry Potter to be cheesy. Having traveled to many places that are the real Harry Potter locations… how could it possibly live up to the hype. Turns out, it's a magical experience that will make you feel like you're actually in Hogwarts and Diagon Alley. Save for the temperature! I've crafted your perfect guide and itinerary for the Wizarding World of Harry Potter in Orlando!
If you're a fan of Harry Potter, The Wizarding World of Harry Potter at Universal Orlando Resort is your chance to truly experience this immersive world that made these stories come alive. This guide will provide everything needed for an unforgettable journey into the exciting realm, offering itinerary suggestions on what to do and see, insider tips, as well as all essential information so you can make the most out of your visit! So grab your wand and get ready for an adventure—we guarantee a spell-binding time like no other! You can see my guide to all of the best places to travel if you love Harry Potter here!
- Know Before You Go: Wizarding World of Harry Potter Tips
- Where is Harry Potter World in Universal Orlando?
- Where is the entrance to Diagon Alley?
- How Many days do you Need at the Wizarding World of Harry Potter
- What are the Best Rides at Harry Potter World?
- Where to Eat at the Wizarding World of Harry Potter
- How Much Does it Cost to go to the Wizarding World of Harry Potter?
- 2 Day Itinerary for The Wizarding World of Harry Potter
- Day 1 at The Wizarding World of Harry Potter
- Here's what you can do inside of Diagon Alley:
- Here's what you can do in Hogwarts and Hogsmeade
- Hogwarts Castle Illumination
- Day 2 at The Wizarding World of Harry Potter
- At a Glance 2-Day Itinerary for The Wizarding World of Harry Potter
- Hidden Gems Inside The Wizarding World of Harry Potter
- What Should I Bring to The Wizarding World of Harry Potter
Know Before You Go: Wizarding World of Harry Potter Tips
Top tips are if you've never been to Universal Orlando before! First up, stay at a Universal Resort. We stayed at Cabana Bay. Not only is this a great hotel with reasonable rates and a lovely pool, this also provides shuttle access to the parks AND an hour early entrance to the parks! Really helpful as lines can get very long.
The Wizarding World is split over 2 parks. Islands of Adventure (Hogsmeade and Hogwarts) and Universal Studios (Diagon Alley). You will want a pass to both. You can get a 1 park, 2 park or 3 park pass! We did the 2 park pass here.
The Universal Express Pass was SO worth it. Look, I know it's expensive. I do. But the wait times for rides are sometimes 2 hours long. To me, time is money and this saved us so much time. We rode every single ride twice. Check it out here.
Butterbeer is AMAZING. Try every single kind (frozen, hot, or regular) but I highly recommend that you wait until after riding rides as it's really, really sweet and made me a bit sick after the interactive rides.
Download the Universal Orlando FL app! This has maps, wait times, you can even order food!
I say skip on buying an interactive wand. It's another $60 for a wand. Yes, you can do spells with it in different areas but I just watched people do it for free. I brought in my elder wand pen and that was just fine!
Do you need Park to Park Ticket? Short answer: yep.If you're planning a one-day visit, I highly recommend choosing the park to park ticket to maximize your Wizarding World experience. Even if you're visiting for two days, getting the park to park ticket is absolutely worth it. Here's why: You'll have access to all areas of the Wizarding World and can enjoy more time in each area without worrying about having to purchase tickets for both parks!
The Hogwarts Express is a one-of-a-kind experience that alters each time you board, so it's essential to have the park to park pass in order to ride between Universal of Florida and Islands of Adventure (to/from Hogsmeade and Diagon Alley). Similarly, having such flexibility is invaluable. We continuously adjusted our plans depending on crowd levels or weather conditions without having to worry about buying extra tickets – we simply hopped parks!
Make time to just walk around. The sound track is playing as you meander the streets and the details such as the snow, the window shops, the owls, are fascinating to take a look at while you sip frozen Butterbeer.
Where is Harry Potter World in Universal Orlando?
The easiest way to enter is to head through Islands of Adventures and head right through Dr Seuss. Then you'll go through Jurassic Park and The Lost Continent to reach Hogsmeade and Hogwarts.
Where is the entrance to Diagon Alley?
Venturing into the magical realm of Diagon Alley requires a little bit more planning than your typical theme park outing. At Universal Studios Park, you won't find any blatant signage that reads Wizarding World of Harry Potter – instead, the entrance is hidden in plain sight as an inconspicuous brick wall beneath large red arches – similar to those throughout London! But do not fret; if you happen to be lost amongst Muggles and unsure where exactly the enactment begins, simply look for King Cross Station on your left while keeping an eye out for The Knight Bus parked right nearby.
How Many days do you Need at the Wizarding World of Harry Potter
We spent two days at Universal's Wizarding World of Harry Potter (plus some of the other activities in the parks) and it was absolutely perfect. Especially with the Express Pass, I didn't feel rushed at all. However, if you're on a tight budget or short on time, you can do it in one day. Full itineraries below!
What are the Best Rides at Harry Potter World?
There are some seriously fun rides at the Wizarding World of Harry Potter. The most popular ones are:
Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey, Escape from Gringotts, Hagrid's Magical Creatures Motorbike Adventure, and Flight of the Hippogriff. But there are also some other great attractions such as Hogwarts Express, Ollivanders Wand Shop and Triwizard Spirit Rally.
My favorite was definitely Escape from Gringotts, it feels like you're there in the bank on a cart! The animations were amazing and the hologram at the entrance was so cool. I could have skipped Flight of the Hippogriff, it was really short.
Both Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey and Escape from Gringotts and fun, even if there is a line! They are interactive as you walk through!
Where to Eat at the Wizarding World of Harry Potter
If you're looking for a quick bite, there are several places around the park that offer food and drinks. The Leaky Cauldron in Diagon Alley serves traditional British fare such as bangers & mash and fish & chips. I'm not going to lie, it was absolutely theme park food. But the hot Butterbeer made up for it!
The Three Broomsticks in Hogsmeade is perfect for a sit down meal with Butterbeer and of course, a pasty. They also have a great selection of desserts like sticky toffee pudding and treacle tart!
Florean Fortescu's Ice cream parlor in Diagon Alley has delicious ice cream with inventive flavors.
The Hog's Head in Diagon Alley also serves beer and alchohol. Just don't ask for a Diet Coke like I did, it's a muggle drink so you won't find it!
How Much Does it Cost to go to the Wizarding World of Harry Potter?
The cost of admission will depend on the type of ticket you purchase. Single day tickets can range from $109 – $169 depending on the time of year and Express Passes cost an additional fee.
The cost of food and souvenirs can also add up quickly so be sure to plan your budget accordingly. 2-day 2-park passes are about $270 per person.
- Wizarding World Tickets- Park to Park. $100- $170/per person, per day.
- Express Passes: $80- $100/ per person, per day.
- Resort Lodging: $90- $400/ night. Find Hotels.
- Food and Drinks. $15- $35/ per person, per meal.
I'd say roughly about $300-$500 per day.
2 Day Itinerary for The Wizarding World of Harry Potter
I'm not even going to lie: we nailed this itinerary. We went on a Thursday and Friday and Friday was very busy. But we avoided the crowds and made the most of our time! Here's my top recommendations to ensure you have the best time.
This two-day journey to the Wizarding World was created with one goal in mind: ensuring that you hit all of your must-see highlights. With so much grandeur around every corner, it can be an intimidating environment—but this itinerary helps ensure you take full advantage!
To get the most out of your visit to the Wizarding World, make sure you explore both locations during day and night hours. You can opt for one theme park per day or go back and forth between parks with a special “park to park” pass!
Day 1 at The Wizarding World of Harry Potter
Remember, if you're staying at Universal you get one hour early access to the park! I recommend starting at Islands of Adventure where Hogsmeade Village and Hogwarts are. Head straight to the bridge and get an uninhibited view of the castle! Perfect for taking photos.
Then, I suggest doing a ride. (I PROMISE I'm going to leave you plenty of time to explore, just trust me on this!). You can do Hagrid's motorbike (usually the busiest) or Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey.
Hagrid's Motorbike is a roller coaster ride filled with magical creatures. On this “story coaster” you'll see Hagrid's Hut, ride through the Forbidden Forest, see Fluffy, Cornish Pixies, and more! Let your adrenaline rush with one of the world's quickest and most thrilling roller coasters! Featuring seven launches reaching speeds up to 50 mph, this coaster is unrivaled in its exhilaration. It also features a nearly 17-foot vertical drop track – second only to another U.S.-based ride – as well as 5,053 feet of length; making it Florida's longest roller coaster!
Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey makes you feel like you're in Hogwarts! You'll walk in to the castle to get through this ride. It's very dark and feels great (especially when it's hot outside!). You'll move through the portrait hall with real talking portraits! Stop and listen to what they say! Then you'll go through Dumbledore’s office, the Defense Against the Dark Arts classroom, the Gryffindor common room, and more! This ride is absolutely remarkable and will take you on an unforgettable journey! With its movie-style replicas and immersive videos, the single row that's attached to a large robotic arm can move in every direction – even upside down! I was truly blown away by this experience and highly suggest it.
After a ride, let's beat the crowds and go straight to the Hogwarts Express!! Instead of leisurely browsing through the Hogsmeade shops, let’s make a beeline for the Hogwarts Express and head to Diagon Alley! With often lengthy wait times in line, it's best to knock out those rides early on. The wait here can sometimes go beyond an hour which would make any outing feel dull – but don't worry as there'll still be plenty of time later on to explore every corner and hidden gems around us!
Hogsmeade Station doesn’t have any interactive line bits (like Kings Cross Station does) so just move on through and board the train.
Be sure to watch the window and the door where you entered the compartment! This is why I truly loved Harry Potter World so much, every detail was carefully planned. You feel like you're actually on the train!
The train (is a mile long journey) that takes you to King's Cross Station in London. As someone who's been to London dozens of times, they really nailed this! Head left towards the main area and don't forget to pass by a red telephone booth. If you choose to step inside, dial M-A-G-I-C for an astounding surprise! (p.s. there is a Warner Brothers Studio tour you can do in London! See my review here!)
You will encounter the giant purple Knight Bus from Prisoner of Azkaban. Speak with both the conductor in his signature purple attire, as well as converse with a talking shrunken head on board – yes it's true! Don’t miss out on getting some solo photos at the back too; this way is less crowded and gives you an opportunity to explore within bus itself.
While in London, take a peek at 12 Grimmauld Place—where you can spot the house elf Kreacher peeking out of each window. After exploring this magical location, find an arched brick wall that looks like it leads nowhere—in reality, it leads to Diagon Alley! Make sure not to miss the opportunity for adventure and surprise around every corner as your explore these two historically captivating places.
I loved watching people' reactions as they reached Diagon Alley. It's, impressive. This is where the streets are lined with magical finds, attractions and restaurants. This is a great place for all ages! Take your time to enjoy the ambiance here and discover new shops such as Gringotts Money Exchange (where you can exchange Muggle currency for Wizarding Bank Notes), Ollivander's Wand Shop, Flourish and Blotts (where you can buy your school books), Magical Menagerie (for a pet companion) and more.
The first thing we did was walk up the street and marvel at Weasley's Wizard Wheezes decked out in orange and the many other shops. Then we headed to the Escape from Gringott's Ride. Again, this is best to avoid crowds later on. I ADORED this ride, it was my favorite for sure. You actually walk through the bank (well I skipped through because of m y Express pass, the wait was already 45 minutes) and was in awe as it looked identical to the bank from the movie! I've seen the actual set in person at the Warner Brothers Studio Tour in London, and this is an exact replica! You'll see goblins counting money! It's just amazing.
As you walk around you'll see moving newspaper clippings and even a HOLOGRAM (sorry that's wild to me) of Bill and a goblin talking before you grab a paid of 3D glasses and ride!
I could not leave Diagon Alley without trying the signature dish, lunch at The Leaky Cauldron —Fish and Chips! It wasn't the best I've ever had but it filled me up for lunch! I've been told the Simpsons area has better food options, but we wanted to stay in the Wizarding World. The Universal Orlando FL app has maps that are great to check the area, maps, and order food. We ordered from the app and skipped the line.
As you enter Diagon Alley, curve around to the left and explore a plethora of enchanting shops. At the heart of this magical street lies Gringotts Bank, which is guarded by a magnificent dragon perched atop it. Every 10 minutes it breathes fire! So don't worry if you miss a picture. Just past The Leaky Cauldron awaits an eerie path that leads diagonally towards Knockturn Alley in the back-left corner. Here, Borgin and Burkes reveal countless dark arts displays and experiences that are sure to captivate! This is a really fun area to explore and you'll even find the vanishing cabinet!
To the right of Diagon Alley is none other than Carkitt Market! Underneath its covered ceiling lies a stage for live entertainment, interactive wand experiences galore and The Hopping Pot; where you can indulge in drinks.
Now that you've done all of that, it's time to explore!! Carkitt Market is host to a few extraordinary theatrical performances such as the magical Tales of Beedle the Bard and Celesina Warbeck & The Banshees.
I recommend grabbing a frozen butterbeer or a pumpkin juice and explore the many shops.
Here's what you can do inside of Diagon Alley:
- Ride Escape from Gringotts
- Wiseacre’s Wizarding Equipment to check out the beautiful astronomy themed ceiling (you'll also see this as you come out of the ride Escape from Gringotts.) I got a Harry Potter Gryffindor souvenir while here.
- Ollivanders – this is a pretty expensive experience but I'm told it's quite amazing as you'll be given a wand fit for YOU. You can do this in both parks!
- Madam Malkin's Robes for all Occasions – here you can pick up your Hogwart's robes for Gryffindor, Slytherin, Ravenclaw, or Hufflepuff. They also have Hermione's Yule Ball dress!
- Stop by the Owl Post and send your wizarding world finds home in magical, themed packaging! Delight as you watch owls move around on occasion. But beware of the merfolk fountain at its center because it'll cast an interactive spell that launches water from every angle when used with a wand.
- Magical Menagerie is great for all the animals from the Harry Potter series.
- Wands by Gregorovitch for wands (note, this is not the same as the Ollivander's experience but the line is shorter). FYI, you'll find places to get wands throughout the park.
- Globus Mondi is the wizard travel agency
- At the Hopping Pot in Carkitt Market, you will find an array of delicious drinks such as Pumpkin Juice, Peachtree Fizzing Tea and Otters Fizzy Orange Juice. Come tantalize your taste buds!
- Here are some more shops along the cobblestone streets and crooked buildings: Quality Quidditch Supplies for all your broom and jersey needs; Sugarplum’s offering a wide array of magical candy; and Weasley's Wizard Wheezes with their joke themed merchandise. You can find love potions here as well as pygmy puffs and many candies that have interesting side effects like Puking Pastilles, Fever Fudge, and Nosebleed Nougat!
- Just check out all the window displays, they are amazing!
From here, I rode the Hogwarts Express back to Hogsmeade and Hogwarts to explore more of that area. Walking through, you'll be able to see actual advertisements from the film (it's MAGIC), numerous classic trunks including Harry's signature trunk along with Hedig, and even go THROUGH Platforms 9 and 10! To capture a video of this momentous experience, I recommended that someone stays back to record while other go through. You can spot a huge sheet of glass separating some empty space with trunks – that's your cue for taking out your cameras as it plays an essential role in replicating this magical illusion.
As you ride back you'll notice that the scene changes as you're going to Hogwarts!
Here's what you can do in Hogwarts and Hogsmeade
- Ride Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey the interactive ride
- Ride Hagrid's Motorbike
- Ride Flight of the Hippogriff (If there's a long line, skip it, this ride is pretty short)
- After experiencing the thrilling adventure of Harry Potter and Forbidden Journey, you'll make your way out to Filch's Emporium of Confiscated Goods. A charming gift shop with a variety of merchandise ranging from Hogwarts house apparel to unique items like an animated Sorting Hat, wizard chess set, Tom Riddle's diary replica and Rowena Ravenclaw's crown diadem!
- Ollivander's wand experience is also here (as it was in Diagon Alley as well)
- Honeydukes is green and pink and brimming with sweets. You'll find the familiar faves like Bertie Bott’s Every Flavour Bean, Chocolate Frogs, and handmade candies and sweets.
- Stop by Dervish and Banges, your one-stop shop with a wide array of wizarding supplies including Quidditch gear, robes, notebooks, and more! The star attraction here is the live Monster Book of Monsters caged in the center back – watch him move around chomping at nothing for a few minutes and you'll be entranced.
- Bursting with parcels and owls, Owl Post is the ideal place to send your recently acquired merch off in style! Furthermore, they boast an impressive array of wands for you to choose from.
- At the Gringotts Money Exchange you can turn your muggle money into Gringotts banknotes that you can use within The Wizarding World of Harry Potter! There's an interactive Goblin there!
- Carts selling Butterbeer
- Frog Choir or Triwizard Spirit Rally shows.
- The Three Broomsticks is great to walk around and explore
- Hog's Head – great if you just want drinks but still, go inside to check it out!
Overall, Hogsmeade and Hogwarts have more rides and I just loved see the castle and rooftops of Hogsmeade. Diagon Alley has more things to do and more shops.
Remember, you will have 2 days to do it all, so don't fret if you didn't get to it all!
PRO TIP: Do not be like me. Do not down a frozen Butterbeer and immediately ride another 2 rides. I actually felt so sick I went back to the hotel for a shower and 30 minute power nap. But left feeling so refreshed and ready to see the park light up at night!
Hogwarts Castle Illumination
This is truly such a treat and brough tears to my eyes! As the music crescendos there are fireworks, beutiful displays of the ifferent houses and so much more. It's just, amazing.
Take the train and make sure to see Diagon Alley at night! It's worth it to see everything lit up warmly in the windows. You'll notice different things and seeing the dragon breath fire at night is so cool.
We had ice cream as we walked around Diagon Alley and peeked back in to Knockturn alley.
Now, off to bed, we've got a full day tomorrow!
Day 2 at The Wizarding World of Harry Potter
Now that you've seen and done nearly all of the Wizarding World of Harry Potter, you can go back and explore and catch things you missed! We actually had time to do some of the rides outside of Harry Potter like the Jurassic World Velocicoaster (which was AMAZING) and see the Animal Actors special. Mostly because… dogs!
Today, start at Universal Studios and in Diagon Alley. This gives you a chance to be one of the first to get to the park and can take pictures as it's not so crowded.
Then, head to the Escape from Gringotts ride to avoid the line. If you missed a ride yesterday, now's your chance to ride it today.
Explore any shops you missed. I loved exploring the Magical Menagerie. The stuffed animals reminded me of my childhood and it was so hard not to buy them all!
Now is a great time to get a souvenier if you haven't yet. Make your way to Gringotts Money Exchange and you cna turn your money into Gringotts gold that you cna use at the parks or take home as a souvenier.
Take another turn around Knockturn alley, we are saying goodbye and heading to Hogwarts and Hodsmeade.
Remember, the Hogwarts Express will have a different theme going from one park to another and is an experience in itself.
If you missed and shops or rides from yesterday, now is the perfect time to explore!
We watched the Triwizard Spirit Rally as we sipped on more Butterbeer. Yes, it really is that good.
You can have lunch at the Three Broomsticks for Shepard's pie or beef pasties. There are vegetarian optiosn available. There is even a non-dairy butter beer!
There are SO many hidden gems all around. Now is a great time to peruse arounda nd see if you can spot them!
As it gets closer to evening, the crowds start to slowly thin out and you might not have such long wait times. On the Universal app you can also get notifications for ride wait times.
Spend your last evening strolling the park and watching it slowly light up.
I had plenty of time to do everything I wanted, especially with the express pass, that I even had time to explore other areas of the park!
The only thing I really felt that was missing from the park was Dobby! There was a nod to Kreacher, but hardly anything about Dobby. And I'd love to see something from Snape too!
At a Glance 2-Day Itinerary for The Wizarding World of Harry Potter
- Head to Islands of Adventure and to Hogwarts and Hogsmeade
- Ride Hagird's Motorbike
- Ride Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey
- Take the Hogwarts Express to London
- Ride Escape from Gringotts
- Lunch at the Leaky Cauldron
- Watch a show in Diagon Alley
- Explore the shops
- Castle Illumination
- Diagon Alley at night
- Head to Universal Studios for Diagon Alley
- Ride Escape from Gringotts
- Explore the shops
- Take the Hogwarts Express to Hogsmeade
- Lunch at the Three Broomsticks
- Watch the Triwizard Spirit Rally
- Ride Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey
- Watch Hogsmeade light up at night
Hidden Gems Inside The Wizarding World of Harry Potter
There are plenty of Easter Eggs and hidden gems all around, which makes the parks all the more fun!
Just knock on the door of 12 Grimmauld Place and Kreacher the House Elf will peak out his head!
At the red telephone booth, dial M-A-G-I-C for a special message.
Knockturn Alley is definitely a hidden gem! But amke sure to head inside Borgin & Burkes to discover the Vanishing Cabinet Malfor yses in Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince! You can still hear the birds inside. Actually, Universal shared that about 90% of the props on the second level of Borgin and Burkes are from the films!
Platform 9 3/4 on your way from King's Cross Station into the Hogwarts Express and on to Hogsmeade is just so cool! Mrs. Weasley’s words here, “Best do at it a bit of run if you are nervous!” As I did!
The troll armor that hangs in an area beside the Hopping Pot was forged by a real blacksmith and took eight months to create!!
The interactive wands area magic! I opted not to buy one but plenty of others did! You can watch them do masgic at various points throughout the parks. For example, at Slug & Jiggers Apothecary: wave your wand in the right-hand window displaying dragon dung and behold as the lid levitates autonomously while emanating a scent of fertilizer ideal for Herbology class. Moreover, “Incendio” is capable of igniting lanterns on Flimflam's Lanterns' second floor situated at Horizont Alley's end; whereas “Wingardium Leviosa” enables one to lift Scribbulus' feather quill by their window.
Hogwarts was made possible due to the Four Founders – and you can experience their presence if you wait in line for Harry Potter and theForbidden Journey. As soon as you enter, look up towards the tall ceiling of this room where they come alive before your eyes!
Make sure to drop by the Owl Post while you're in Diagon Alley! You can find quills, ink, stationery and even exclusive Harry Potter-themed stamps here. The postmark stamping is complimentary when you buy your own mail or purchase them right at the Owl Post store – just next door to Ollivanders wand shop! So make sure not to miss out on this unique opportunity of sending mail straight from one of our favorite magical worlds!
In Wiseacre’s Wizarding Equipment, you'll find a barometer was used twice in the Harry Potter films: in Dumbledore’s office (Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince) and in the Room of Requirement (Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows).
And, of course, in the bathrooms you can head Moaning Myrtle!
There is a group on Facebook called “Universal Magic” that hides trinkets and souvenirs throughout Harry Potter world for guests to take… and I found one! So cool!
These are just a few of the hidden gems around The Wizarding World of Harry Potter Orlando. With all that's
What Should I Bring to The Wizarding World of Harry Potter
The most important thing to bring is a sense of adventure! But you'll also want to be prepared with enough sunscreen. And don't forget to pack your wand and/or camera for all the amazing photo ops!
Here's some things I'm really glad I had at the park:
- Belt bag/fanny pack – was so nice to be hands free AND I didn't need to store anything in lockers – saves time
- Stick sunscreen– I'm a big fan of this when I travel
- Wand – I brought my own in and didn't buy one but you can buy an interactive one at Ollivander's because it's pricey. But mine was not interactive
Some other posts that you might be interested in:
Best Places to Travel if You Love Harry Potter
Full Guide Warner Brothers Harry Potter London Studio Tour
So there you have it! Your full guide to the Wizarding World of Harry Potter in Orlando! I hope this itinerary helps you plan the perfect trip.