Summer travel is on it’s way and one of the spots that, as my kids say, I “super duper cooper more than googolplex” want to return to is Wizarding World of Harry Potter. I am a HUGE Harry Potter Geek, so last year when we had a chance to briefly visit Universal Orlando to check out the theme park for the very first time, I was thrilled. I soaked in every second, which sadly ended much too soon due to a horrible-even to Florida standards–rain storm. We were there just a few hours and it was not enough, but I did get a chance to check out several of my favorite Wizarding hot spots.
What a marvel to see this fantastical district come to life. We ate lunch at the Leaky Cauldron for some traditional English Wizarding World grub and even wandered off into Knockturn Alley (which was a bit scary for the kids.) Inside the shops were just as perfect to please my inner child’s imagination.
The animatronic dragon on top of Gringotts was truly awesome, with roars and the heat of fire bursting forth at regular intervals.
But this scared the beejezus out of Ellie as you can see from her sad face below. We didn’t spend too much time outside in the alley itself because of it but preferred to stay inside and check out the fun shops like Madame Malkins dress shop. I would love to spend more time in Diagon Alley on my next visit!
Olivander’s Wand Shop
We had a blast inside of Olivander’s. A Fun Family Tip is to definitely wait for the short show where a wand chooses a young wizard in the audience.
We spent a good amount of time checking out all of the wands and in the end purchased a few interactive wands for even more fun family excitement. Using the provided map, we waved our wands to see some magical happenings around both Diagon Alley and Hogsmeade.
Florean Fortescue’s Ice-Cream Parlour
We absolutely had to enjoy some ice cream and pumpkin juice from Florean’s during the hot afternoon.
The Knight Bus
Just outside Diagon Alley is the Knight Bus. Wouldn’t it be fun to take a ride?! Sadly, this is not an attraction but it’s certainly a cool photo opp.
King’s Cross Station: Platform 9 3/4
Next stop, King’s Cross Station to Platform 9 3/4 to hop on the Hogwarts Express to Hogsmeade.
To actually take the trip on the Hogwarts Express, you must purchase passes to both parks, Universal Orlando and Islands of Adventure. Diagon Alley is in Unverisal, while Hogsmeade is in Islands. This makes the full Harry Potter experience in Orlando pretty expensive. I hear that the new Wizarding World of Harry Potter at Universal in California (which just opened in April) is not split like this.
Hedwig waited with us, Ellie being a future Gryffindor herself.
After a fun interactive ride (we did purchase passes to both parks!) it was off to “snow covered” Hogsmeade. We enjoyed some Butterbeer and a visit to Honeyduke’s Candy Shop!
Honeyduke’s Candy Shop
We had to pick up some Bertie Bott’s Every Flavor Beans and a few other treats to share with family back home. A must stop when energy is waning on a hot summer day. Yes that snow is fake. The candy however is not. Sweet.
Hogwarts Castle features a ride Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey, which we decided not to do knowing the kids might be scared. BUT Family Fun Tip! We asked for a tour of the castle and were led through the castle past those in line for the ride just to see what was inside.
An Early Finish
Way before our day should have ended, the skies opened and we ended up trapped under cover. After waiting for quite some time, we purchased a Gryffindor umbrella and Harry Potter ponchos and booked it out of there.
Sadly. Oh so sadly.
We can’t wait to go back! Or at least John and I can’t. I think the kids might need to be a little older to fully enjoy all that Wizarding World of Harry Potter has to offer.