I went to Harry Potter World at Universal Studios Orlando this past fall and it was amazing. If you’re a fan of the series, add this to your bucket list.
Harry Potter World: Hogsmeade and Diagon Alley
There’s 2 parts of Harry Potter World- Hogsmeade, and Diagon Alley. You need a park-to-park ticket in order to do both parts- and they’re definitely worth it. You enter Diagon Alley from outside London, right next to Grimmauld Place. As soon as you enter Diagon Alley, you’re totally immersed in the magic of the wizarding world. Be sure to spend time in the Leaky Cauldron, eating pub food and drinking delicious butterbeer. Look through the Weasley’s joke shop, get a pumpkin pasty at Sugarplum’s Sweets Shop, buy your wand at Ollivander’s, and exchange your money for Wizarding money at Gringotts. I spent a lot of time wandering around and taking pictures, The theming is just phenomenal, and you really feel like Harry when he first visited Diagon Alley. There’s so much to see and do- ride Escape from Gringotts, buy an interactive wand and test it out around the park, drink a butterbeer at the Leaky Cauldron, and watch performances from Celestina Warbeck and the Hogwarts school choir. You can even visit Knockturn Alley and see some of the darker aspects of the wizarding world. Once you’ve had your fill of Diagon Alley, board the Hogwarts Express to head to Hogsmeade and Hogwarts.
The Hogwarts Express is a train ride from Diagon Alley to Hogsmeade, and it really does transport you from one park to another. It looks just like the train in the movies, and the queue to get in looks just like King’s Cross Station. Once in your cabin, the “window” outside looks out across the countryside, and you’ll see familiar faces, like Hagrid, and Hedwig. On the inside of the doors, there are projections that look like Harry, Hermione, and Ron are speaking outside of your door. There’s even a visit from Dementors!
Once you get into Hogsmeade, that same sense of magic and wonder fills you as you see Hogsmeade and Hogwarts itself. Hogsmeade is all decked out for winter, covered in fake snow. More shops, such as Honeydukes and another Ollivander’s offer more goodies, and the Three Broomsticks offers more Butterbeer. There are a few more rides in Hogsmeade, including one inside of Hogwarts itself. The queue for this ride goes through Hogwarts itself where you can see parts of the castle and take part of a broomstick ride with our favorite trio.
There’s so much to see and take in- they really created this entire world and it’s amazing to see it come to life and be a part of a beloved franchise. Everyone there is enjoying it, and really getting into the spirit. You see people wearing their houses proudly (go Slytherin house!) and waving wands about- drinking butterbeer and eating sweets. Kids in robes from Madam Malkin’s are playing with toys from the Weasely’s shop, and when the dragon on Gringotts breathes fire, everyone stops to watch.
Harry Potter World is a must do for any Harry Potter fan. Be sure to spend some time in the rest of Universal as well!
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