Wizarding World of Harry Potter Guide for Your First Visit

Wizarding World of Harry Potter Guide for Your First Visit

Visiting the Wizarding World of Harry Potter at Universal Studios Orlando for the First Time can be confusing! Between the planning and choosing what to do, see and eat, there is enough to fill at least one day, if not two! Here is your first-timer’s guide to the Wizarding World of Harry Potter.

If this is your First Visit to the Wizarding World of Harry Potter, there is a lot to learn! Because it’s about so much more than just showing up with your wizard robes. If you’re hoping to take in all the magic of Wizarding World then settle in, and take notes. Butterbeer, Ollivander’s Wand Shop, and the Frog Choir await!

Universal Studios CityWalk Orlando Florida

Universal Orlando Resort Parking and Getting to the Parks

If you’re traveling to the Wizarding World of Harry Potter and not within walking distance of the parks, then you’ll need to pay for parking and enter through Universal CityWalk. This area of Universal Orlando Resort includes shops, restaurants, and more all available without the need for a park ticket. In fact, Universal CityWalk is one of the best places to visit if you’re just looking for something fun to do. That said, you can find Harry Potter merchandise in the gift shops, pizza places, specialty shops, and restaurants, you will want to make time for. Check out the Universal CityWalk map for a list of the places to peruse. Once you’ve taken in CityWalk, you can venture to either of the two parks ahead; Universal Studios Florida, or Islands of Adventure. 

Universal Express Pass

Wizarding World of Harry Potter Layout

Where is the Wizarding World of Harry Potter in Universal Studios Orlando Resort?

One of the more confusing parts of getting to the Wizarding World of Harry Potter has nothing to do with traveling to Florida! In fact, finding it within the walls of Universal Studios Orlando is your first task to tackle. 

To be clear Universal Studios Orlando Resort is separated into three parks; Volcano Bay, Universal Studios Florida, and Universal’s Islands of Adventure. These three parks include many different areas, rides, lands, and more. But for the purpose of visiting the Wizarding World of Harry Potter, you only need to know two; Universal Studios is where you’ll find Diagon Alley, and Universal’s Islands of Adventure houses the village of Hogsmeade. Each park includes different Harry Potter shops, restaurants, and rides.

To truly experience the Wizarding World of Harry Potter you will need to visit both parks.

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Where is the Entrance to Diagon Alley?

Diagon Alley is located inside Universal Studios Park. And just like in the films the Wizarding World of Harry Potter is filled with secret entrances into the Wizarding World, hidden from muggles. As such, you won’t see any big sign that actually says Wizarding World of Harry Potter. Instead, the entrance is disguised as a brick wall, beneath large red arches, just like something you would expect to see in random locations throughout London. Luckily, a good indicator you’re nearby the entrance will be because you pass King Cross Station on the left, and see the Knight Bus on the right. 

Wizarding World of Harry Potter Diagon Alley Map- Universal Studios Florida

Universal Studios Diagon Alley Harry Potter Map
c/o Universal Studios Florida

Where is Hogsmeade entrance

Where is the Entrance to Hogsmeade?

Easier to find than Diagon Alley, Hogsmeade is located at the back of Universal’s Islands of Adventure and is accessible by walking through the Jurrasic Park area or The Lost Continent area. This area is smaller than you would think but does include Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry, and the Hogwarts Express train station for returning back to Diagon Alley.

Wizarding World of Harry Potter Hogsmeade Map – Universal’s Islands of Adventure

Universal Studios Hogsmeade Map Harry Potter
c/o Universal’s Islands of Adventure

wizarding world of harry potter hogwarts castle

Wizarding World of Harry Potter Tickets

How many tickets do you need to see the Wizarding World of Harry Potter? Well, if you want to see it all then you will need 2 tickets. One ticket for Universal Studios Florida, and one ticket for Universal’s Islands of Adventure. And of course, there are pros and cons to which tickets you get when. Of course, if you’re visiting multiple days, and don’t need to ride the train, then you can purchase individual tickets, one for each park, each day. But, if you hope to do the Wizarding World of Harry Potter in One Day then you will need the Park to Park Ticket to cover access to both parks and use of the Hogwarts Express. Check out current Universal Orlando Resort Park Ticket Prices.

Do You Need a Park to Park Ticket for Wizarding World?

If you’re hoping to ride the Hogwarts Express Train, and/or visit BOTH Wizarding World of Harry Potter areas, then YES, you will need to buy a park-to-park ticket. Check out current Universal Studios Park to Park Ticket Prices.

Universal Studios Early Admission 

Universal Studios Orlando Resort Guests and other select guests get access to Early Admission at Universal Orlando Resort. Which season you’re traveling can make a difference in which Park will offer Early Admission; so it’s very important that you check before you plan. Especially if you’re hoping to make the most of your days at Wizarding World. 

universal studios annual pass

Is it Cheaper to Get a Universal Orlando Resort Annual Pass? 

If visiting the Wizarding World of Harry Potter more than once throughout the year then a Universal Studios Annual Pass may be more budget-friendly. With such cheap annual season passes ( so much cheaper than Walt Disney World!) you would definitely save money not only on park tickets but also on Universal Orlando Resort Hotels. Check out all the perks you get with a Universal Studios Orlando Annual Pass

Is the Universal Express Pass Worth it?

Are you planning to skip the line at any of the rides in the Wizarding World of Harry Potter? If so, you will need an Express Pass. That said, this extra pass ranges from $80-$110 dollars per person per day! Read more to review all the pros and cons on whether or not the Universal Express Pass is or isn’t Worth It.

How Many Days Do You Need at Wizarding World of Harry Potter?

If you’re traveling to Universal Orlando Resort and trying to figure out how many tickets, or how many days you need at Universal Studios, here’s our take.  If you’re on a time crunch or working with a tight vacation budget, then we’d highly recommend fitting the Wizarding World of Harry Potter in One Day. However, if you’re a devoted Harry Potter Fan, and hope to really immerse yourself, then you should plan for one park per day. One day at Diagon Alley and one day at Hogsmeade. Two days total. Though a third day, with a park-to-park ticket, could help you get to all the magic you didn’t have time for the first two days. 

wizarding world of harry potter

Hogwarts Express

The Hogwarts Express is a train that travels between the two parks and allows you access to both Diagon Alley and Hogsmeade. You will need a Park to Park Ticket in order to ride this attraction. While the park to park ticket is about 60 dollars more per day than the typical one park a day ticket, for us, it’s completely worth it. The Hogwarts Express is such a critical part of the Harry Potter stories, that just being on Platform 9-3/4 is nostalgic. Plus it offers the chance to experience interesting sights, sounds, and special effects you only see from the train car.

And the flexibility of going between the two lands as you explore is a godsend on busy days when you’re trying to get out of the crowds. There’s also the extra bonus of not having to walk the entirety of both Universal parks just to get from one to the other. 

Where is the Hogwarts Express Entrance?

The Hogwarts Express is at King’s Cross Station in Universal Studios Florida, just past the San Francisco area on the left. Once you get through the entrance you even get the chance to “disappear” as you walk onto Platform 9-3/4.

The Knight Bus

Just outside the Diagon Alley entrance is the Knight Bus, and is one worth noticing! Here you can chat up the driver, and take pictures. This is one of the original Knight Bus props used in the actual films, so get your pics!

Kreacher the House Elf

If you’re looking for more Wizarding World of Harry Potter magic, as you walk by the London facade, just across from the Knight Bus, you can peer into the upper windows to see Kreacher the House Elf peeking through the curtains. 

diagon alley

wizarding world

Diagon Alley | Universal Studios Florida

This area includes a variety of shops, shows, and experiences specific to the Interactive Wands you can get from Ollivander’s Wand Shop. Plus, Diagon Alley also includes other familiar things you’ll recognize. 

Hogwarts Express King’s Cross Station

This train station is just near the Diagon Alley entrance and features a neat trick you can capture from the top landing, of someone walking through the doorway beyond as they disappear. Lines are typically long at this station, so have your phone, or camera, ready at the top landing if you hope to grab a photo of it happening. 

escape from gringotts harry potter universal

Rides in Diagon Alley

One of the best rides in the Wizarding World is Harry Potter and the Escape from Gringotts. This ride combines a roller coaster, a dark ride, and simulated experiences. As a result, this ride offers twists and turns in a multi-dimensional experience filled with Harry Potter characters helping you escape the bank. It also includes a drop at the beginning of the ride. 

Shows ni Diagon Alley Harry Potter

shows in diagon alley

Shows at Diagon Alley

The joy of visiting the Wizarding World of Harry Potter is seeing the stories and characters you know and love come to life. As such, head to the stage at the back of the park, behind Weasley’s Wizarding Wheezes. Here you can see the performance of The Tales of Beedle the Bard by professional actors in a marionette style. And even experience a song and dance number from the famous Celestina Warbeck and the Banshees.

Restaurants in Diagon Alley

Diagon Alley consists of the main restaurant, The Leaky Cauldron, and a variety of smaller eateries, and carts.

Leaky Cauldron harry potter

Leaky cauldron

fruit plate at leaky cauldron

Offering quick service dining, The Leaky Cauldron offers classic English foods, like Cottage Pie, Fisherman’s Pie, a full English Breakfast, and more. Serving breakfast, lunch, and dinner, there are minimal plant-based dishes here. Check out the Leaky Cauldron Menu.

ice cream at Wizarding World

And if you’re looking for a sweet treat then the Florean Fortescue’s Ice Cream Parlour should be on your list. This restaurant serves up unique ice cream flavors you would expect to find in the world of Harry Potter. Chocolate chili, sticky toffee pudding, and lavender are on the menu. Choose your favorites before you visit on the Florean Fortescue’s Ice Cream Parlour Menu

drinks and refresments

Home to the Gillywater, and four specialty elixirs, this is a stop to make for the true Harry Potter fan. Eternelle’s Elixir of Refreshment includes Fire Protection Potion, Babbling Beverage, Draught of Peace, and Elixir to Induce Euphoria.

Fishy Green Ale, Wizard’s Brew, and Dragon Scale can be found at Fountain of Fair Fortune, and you can also grab Butterbeer Ice Cream here if you don’t want to wait in line at Florean Fortescue’s.

The Hopping Pot is found in the Carkitt Market and serves up Pumpkin Juice, Peachtree Fizzing Tea, Otters Fizzy Orange Juice, and more. 

shops in wizarding world

harry potter shops

harry potter sweet shop

Shops in Diagon Alley

  • Globus Mundi- A Wizarding Travel Agency, Hogwarts Express merchandise, travel accessories. 
  • Gringotts Money Exchange- Gringotts banknotes, and souvenirs
  • London Taxi Hut Store – souvenirs, Hogwarts uniforms, apparel, costumes. 
  • Madam Malkin’s Robes – wizarding robes for all occasions. Uniforms, scarves, cardigans, hats, and jewelry. 
  • Magical Menagerie – Magical creatures of all kinds. Hedwig, ferrets, pygmy puffs, ad plush.
  • Ollivanders Wand Shop – wands, character wands, and interactive wands. 
  • Owl Post – a post office meant for sending gifts back home. Stationery, quills, seals, ink, stamps. 
  • Quality Quidditch Supplies – Quidditch brooms, nitches, apparel, and more. 
  • Scribbulus – authentic Harry Potter writing supplies, journals, pens, parchment. 
  • Sugarplum’s Sweet Shop – Bertie Botts Beans, Cauldron Cakes, Butterbeer fudge, and more can be found here.
  • Wands by Gregorovitch. Wands, interactive wands, and character wands. 
  • Weasleys’ Wizard Wheezes – Novelty joke shop, tricks and toys, games, and novelties. 
  • Wiseacre’s Wizarding Equipment – collectibles, wizarding supplies, crystal balls, moon charts, apparel. 

shops in diagon alley

Potions at Wizarding world

Knockturn Alley

As the dark and dastardly part of the Wizarding World of Harry Potter, Knockturn Alley is hidden just inside the entrance to Diagon Alley on the left. It’s noted with a simple sign and is very dark. There are lots of things to look at here, including interactive signs, and a small shop. 

harry potter gift shops

universal studios gift shops

interactive wands diagon alley

Diagon Alley Spell Locations for your Interactive Wand

Where can you use your Interactive Wand in Diagon Alley? There are 16 spell locations, and 2 secret spell locations in Diagon Alley. In order to uncover the magical happenings in Diagon Alley, you will need an interactive wand, for purchase at Ollivander’s, and time. Once you’re ready simply stand near the spell maker on the ground and point in the direction of the marker’s tip. 

  • Tarantallegra: Pilliwinkles Playthings Window
  • Incendio: Flimflam’s Lanterns
  • Metelojinx- Horizont Alley Restrooms Umbrella
  • Silencio- The Magical Menagerie Birdcage
  • Dark Detectors- Wiseacres Window, facing Gringotts
  • Specialis Revelio- Wiseacres Window, near the front door
  • Wingardium Leviosa- Scribbulus Window, with the feather quill
  • Reparo- Brown E. Wright’s Blacksmith Shop, suit of armor
  • Locomotor Bellows- Brown E. Wright’s Blacksmith Shop, pump
  • Aguamenti- Carkitt Market, near the Mermaid Fountain
  • Descendo- Weasleys’ Wizard Wheezes, shop window
  • Slug and Jiggers Apothecary- window, secret spell, ask a witch or wizard for help
  • Scribbulus- far right of the shop window, secret spell, ask a witch or wizard for help
  • Locomotor Chimney Sweep- Chimney Sweep Elf Sign, Knockturn Alley
  • Moving Skeleton- Window across from Borgin and Burkes, Knockturn Alley
  • Mimblewimble- Dystyl Phaelanges, in the window of the shrunken heads
  • Incendio- Birdcage around the corner from Borgin and Burkes
  • Alohamora- Courtyard around Borgin and Burkes

hogsmeade harry potter

Hogsmeade | Universal’s Islands of Adventure

If you’re traveling between parks, Hogwarts Express- Hogsmeade Station, is the place where you can catch the train back to Diagon Alley if you have a Park to Park ticket. It’s also home to the Hogwarts Train prop, which makes a great photo op. 

wizarding world of harry potter hogwarts castle

Rides in Hogsmeade

Hogsmeade is so much more than rides, but it features such fun experiences that you won’t want to miss. An original ride that opened back in 2010 Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey is not a rollercoaster, but a scenic dark ride featuring the whomping willow, dementors, and a quidditch match. This ride takes place in the castle of Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. 

The newest ride in Hogsmeade, Hagrid’s Magical Creatures Motorbike Adventure is a freewheeling coaster ride filled with twists, turns, and even a drop! Experienced on a bike with a sidecar, this rollercoaster is unique and worth the wait in line. 

A mini rollercoaster for children, the Flight of the Hippogriff is located right next to the castle and offers slight turns and bumps with an animatronic Hippogriff in the background. 

wizarding world of harry potter

Shows in Hogsmeade

A Must-see show in Hogsmeade is the Frog Choir and Triwizard Spirit Rally, which performs on a rotation throughout the day. This show features a group of professional performers, that is well worth the stop. Grab a butterbeer and settle in for the show! 

three broomsticks restaurants

Restaurants at Hogsmeade

Restaurants in Hogsmeade are exactly what you would expect to find in the Harry Potter books. Painstaking detail and authentic foods around every corner. 

The resident bar in Hogsmeade is Hogs Head featuring a variety of Harry Potter-themed drinks and many from the books. Wizard Brew, Dragon Scale, Snake Bite, and a variety of Butterbeer are on the menu. Check out the Hogs Head Menu if you’re looking for a drink. 

three broomsticks restaurant

food at 3 broomsticks restaurant

And if you’re looking for a meal, there is one restaurant in Hogsmeade. Serving breakfast (until 11 am), lunch, or dinner, you can head to Three Broomsticks.  Basic English fare here includes turkey leg platters, shepherd’s pie, bangers and mash, fish and chips, and the like. Unfortunately, a significant lack of plant-based items, makes this a challenging restaurant for vegans and vegetarians. Three Broomsticks Menu

olivander's wand shop

owl post at universal

Shops in Hogsmeade

  • Dervish and Banges – brooms, cloaks, quidditch, and souvenirs. Home to The Monster Book of Monsters
  • Filch’s Emporium of Confiscated Goods- authentic props, Hogwarts gear, House clothing
  • Gladrags Wizardwear – Apparel
  • Ollivanders Wand Shop – wands, character wands, and interactive wands. 
  • Honeydukes Sweetshop – Candy, Chocolate Frogs, Caudron Cakes, Acid Pops, and more. 
  • Madam Puddifoot’s – Tea and akes
  • Owl Post – a post office meant for sending gifts back home. Stationery, quills, seals, ink, stamps. 
  • The Shrieking Shack – Abandoned building
  • Zonko’s Joke Shop – joke items

honeydukes at harry potter

Hogsmeade Spell Locations for your Interactive Wand

This park has 9 spell locations and all are easily accessible! Be sure to explore and find the spell markers throughout, so you can make your own magic!

  • Incendio- Zonko’s Joke Shop, window
  • Arresto Momentum- Mchavelocks, wall mounted cauldron
  • Revelio- Honeydukes, window display
  • Herbivicus- Dogweed and Deathcap, window display
  • Ascendio and Descendo- Gladrags Wizardwear, window
  • Locomotor Snowman- Madam Puddifoot’s, window
  • Locomotor and Arresto Momentum- Dervish and Bangs, in the back
  • Alohomora- Tomes and Scrolls Specialist Bookshop, window
  • Wingardium Leviosa- Spintwiches, window

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Best Things to Eat in the Wizarding World of Harry Potter

If you’re looking for Wizarding World of Harry Potter Snacks, then here’s a good list to get you started. When it comes to the best things to eat at Wizarding World of Harry Potter, you can count on all of Harry Potter’s favorite flavors.

Butterbeer: Offered in a few varieties.

  • Cold Butterbeer
    • Diagon Alley: Leaky Cauldron, The Hopping Pot 
    • Hogsmeade: Three Broomsticks, Hog’s Head, Butterbeer Street Carts
  • Frozen Butterbeer
    • Diagon Alley: Leaky Cauldron, The Hopping Pot 
    • Hogsmeade: Three Broomsticks, Hog’s Head, Butterbeer Street Carts
  • Hot Butterbeer
    • Diagon Alley: Leaky Cauldron
    • Hogsmeade: Three Broomsticks
  • Butterbeer Potted Cream
    • Diagon Alley: Leaky Cauldron
    • Hogsmeade: Three Broomsticks
  • Butterbeer Fudge
    • Diagon Alley: Sugarplum’s Sweetshop
    • Hogsmeade: Honeydukes
  • Butterbeer Soft Serve Ice Cream
    • Diagon Alley: Florean Fortescue’s Ice-Cream Parlour, The Hopping Pot
    • Hogsmeade: Three Broomsticks

Firewhiskey

  • Hogsmeade: The Three Broomsticks and Hog’s Head

Chocolate Frogs

  • Diagon Alley: Sugarplum’s Sweetshop
  • Hogsmeade: Honeydukes

Treacle Fudge

  • Hogsmeade: Honeydukes

Gillywater

  • Hogsmeade: The Three Broomsticks and Hog’s Head

Mulled Mead

  • Hogsmeade: The Three Broomsticks

wizarding world of harry poter cost

Wizarding World of Harry Potter Cost

How much does it cost to visit the Wizarding World of Harry Potter? Here are the items to consider in your Wizarding World Budget. 

  • Wizarding World Tickets- Park to Park. $100- $170/per person, per day.
  • Parking Fees at Universal Orlando Resort.( Unless you’re walking, or using Hotel transportation.) $27-$30/per day
  • Express Passes. $80- $100/ per person, per day. 
  • Resort Lodging. $90- $400/ night. Explore Hotels.
  • Food and Drinks. $15- $25/ per person, per meal.
  • Souvenirs and Misc. 

We typically recommend buying your Wizarding Robes on Amazon (with a wand pocket!) ahead of time. As well as any Harry Potter outfits, so you can save money in the shops. And if you’re looking for ways to save even more money check out our Wizarding World of Harry Potter on a Budget post. 

hotels near wizarding world

Hotels Near the Wizarding World of Harry Potter

If you’re traveling to the Universal Orlando Resort it’s important to be strategic about where you stay. For instance, if you’re hoping to get access to Early Theme Park Admission for the parks, consider staying at a Universal Orlando Hotel. We loved Loews Portofino Bay Hotel, which was both within walking distance and has boat transportation available. Plus, the Walking Path from Universal Studios to Resort Hotels connects other local hotels as well and offers a budget-friendly way to avoid parking fees. But of course, there are plenty of places nearby to stay. If you’re also doing Walt Disney World during this stay, you can easily stay at any Disney Resort and simply drive over on your Wizarding World day. 

LoewsPortofino Resort

Best Universal Resorts Near Wizarding World of Harry Potter? 

While we would love a Hotel at the Wizarding World of Harry Potter, there are none, so we mere muggles must be contented with far less magical lodgings. Thankfully, Universal Orlando Resort has some perks for those staying on property at the Resort. Guests of Loews Portofino Bay, Hard Rock Hotel, and Loews Royal Pacific Resort get FREE Unlimited Express Passes and Early Admission included with their stay. If you’re on a budget, you can also consider a Value resort at Universal, Universal’s Endless Summer Resort, which consists of Surfside Inn and Suites and Dockside Inn and Suites offers Early Admission as part of the perks included. 

Visiting the Wizarding World of Harry Potter for the First Time

Hopefully, this guide has helped you get a handle on ALL THE THINGS you can do, see and eat at the Universal Orlando Wizarding World of Harry Potter. From Hogsmeade to Diagon Alley to the Hogwarts Express, there is so much to do. We hope you take some time to take in the magic and love it as much as we do! 

Wizarding World of Harry Potter Guide for First Time Visitors. #wizardingworld #disneyvacation


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