In 1998, Scholastic Corporation released the first book of the Harry Potter series, ‘Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone’, in the U.S. The popular books are currently the #1 best-selling series of all time with distributions equaling over 500 million.
The ‘Wizarding World of Harry Potter’ is found in two theme parks owned by Universal Orlando Resort;Islands of Adventure opened the doors to Hogwarts in June of 2010, and guests began strolling the streets of Diagon Alley, located within Universal Studios, in July of 2014.
Universal Studios Florida
Where to begin?
Begin the enchanting journey in Universal Studios and follow the life and events of Harry Potter. Meander through Diagon Alley and purchase magical supplies in preparation to attend Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry.
‘Harry Potter and the Escape from Gringotts’ is a 3D steel roller coaster experience. Explore the underground vaults with Harry and the gang while fighting off villains and monsters. Observe the goblins hard at work in the grand marble hallway while walking through the queue and then travel deep in the caverns beneath the bank to board the thrilling ride! Gringotts is easy to find under the giant fire breathing dragon.
Visit Ollivanders to pick a wand or rather, let the wand pick you! Swing by Madam Malkin’s Robes for All Occasions for your back- to-school clothing needs. The Magical Menagerie is crawling with familiars to be adopted, and don’t forget ‘Quality Quidditch Supplies’!
A spot to eat
The Leaky Cauldron pub serves cottage pie, fish and chips, and bangers and mash. Top it off with an amazing butterbeer drink for a meal that can’t be beat! For a sweet treat, slide over to Florean Fortescue’s Ice Cream Parlour. I get apple crumble ice cream every time. Accio!
King’s Cross Station
Walk through Platform 9 3/4 to find a full scale replica of Hogwarts Express. Have a blast sitting in a separate compartment with friends on a magical trip back to school seeing the beautiful English countryside, hearing Harry and his friends, and reliving exciting scenes from the movies. The train travels from Universal Studios to Islands of Adventure. A park-to-park admission ticket is required to ride the train. Watch out for spiders! Why does it always have to be spiders?
Islands of Adventure
Arriving at Hogsmeade
Ready your wand and begin practicing spells as you step off the train! Study the map in your wand box to locate areas around the village where it is possible to create magic and stir up a little mischief with your interactive wand. Expelliarmus!
Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry
Hogwarts is home to an amazing robocoaster called ‘Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey’. The queue winds through intriguing rooms such as the dungeon, the greenhouse, and the Gryffindor common room.
The seats of the ride are held above the track by a robotic arm and pivot while riders watch a wraparound projection screen. The ride does NOT go upside down. In the Room of Requirement, Hermione uses floo powder to set off the journey with Harry and Ron. Fly through the castle, grounds, and forbidden forest. Wingardium leviOsa!
‘The Flight of the Hippogriff' roller coaster whisks young witches and wizards past Hagrid’s hut and around the pumpkin patch. ‘The Dragon Challenge’ is a high speed, roller coaster dragon chase for guests old enough to enter the Tri-Wizard Tournament. Choose from two fire breathing dragons for different ride experiences.
The Three Broomsticks serves fish and chips, shepherd’s pie, and the ‘Great Feast Platter’. Step next door for a non-alcoholic butterbeer or pumpkin juice at the Hogs Head Pub.
Last minute school supplies
The shops of Dervish and Banges and Honeydukes are a must for last minute shopping. Be sure to stock up on chocolate frogs, cauldron cakes, and Bertie Bott’s Every Flavour Beans!
The Wizarding World of Harry Potter is a magical place where guests feel the enchantment of the books and movies. Mischief Managed!
“Of course it happened inside your head, Harry, but why on earth should that mean it is not real?” J.K. Rowling, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows
Please join us on ourGoing Out The Door facebook page for fun travel tips and stories.
Angie Roberts Harris, CTIS, has been working in the travel industry for over 25 years. She has made lifelong friends in the tourism industry from attending national travel conventions. She loves traveling and it is a huge part of her life.