If you’re a fan of the Harry Potter books and movies, a visit to Universal Orlando Resort to check out both Wizarding World of Harry Potter areas just makes sense, right? My family goes bananas over everything Jo Rowling can throw our way, but when it comes to feeling like we’re immersed in the books and movies we’re the first ones to queue up! If you’ve never visited or have already but want to make sure you didn’t miss all of the good stuff, here are 13 best things to do at Wizarding World of Harry Potter- Diagon Alley and Wizarding World of Harry Potter- Hogsmeade.
- Try a Butterbeer
- Visit King’s Cross Station and Ride The Hogwarts Express
- Mosey through Harry Potter and the Escape from Gringotts
- Catch an Ollivander’s Wand Selecting Ceremony
- Find Knockturn Alley
- Catch a Live Show
- Queue Up for a Forbidden Journey
- Get an Official Hogsmeade Postage Mark at Owl Post
- Talk to a Knight Bus Conductor
- Listen in on Ministry of Magic Conversations
- Exchange Muggle Money at Gringotts Money Exchange
- Find Kreacher the House Elf at 12 Grimmauld Place
- Shop Around- Even if You Don’t Buy Anything!
1. Try a Butterbeer
Even if you don’t have a sweet tooth, sampling a Butterbeer, if only once, is a must. The butterscotch-flavored drink comes in two varieties, chilled and frozen, and can be purchased in the WWOHP restaurants and drink stands.
If you really want try it but don’t feel like downing a drink, head to Florean Fortescue’s Ice Cream Parlour and order a Butterbeer cone. It’s in the Diagon Alley area.
2. Visit King’s Cross Station and Ride The Hogwarts Express
A trip (or two. Or three.) on the Hogwarts Express is a journey in itself – figuratively and literally. The enhanced train ride travels back and forth between Wizarding World of Harry Potter- Diagon Alley and Wizarding World of Harry Potter- Hogsmeade and each way is an entirely different adventure. Keep an eye on the windows and doors as Harry, Ron, and Hermione make an appearance.
Just as cool is a visit to King’s Cross Station and its Platform 9 3/4. Remember how Harry and the gang could easily walk through the wall to board the train (except when Dobby jinxed them, but we won’t go into that.)? Universal Orlando has such a cool simulation so get your cameras ready.
Tip: You need to have park-to-park admission ticket to travel on the Hogwarts Express.
3. Mosey through Harry Potter and the Escape from Gringotts
I’ll admit it: we love it when the stars align and we can walk right through a queue and straight to a popular ride (rope drop or end of day) but there’s something to be written about having to mosey through a queue.
For one, if you’re visiting when it’s hot and humid, the air conditioned queue is such a relief. And second, the details in Escape from Gringotts are so fascinating it’s worth a trip even if you don’t plan on riding the ride, which you can absolutely do.
4. Catch an Ollivander’s Wand Selecting Ceremony
We’ve watched the wand ceremony at Ollivander’s Wand Shop several times- and one time The Kid got lucky. While you can see the wand selecting ceremony at both Hogsmeade and Diagon Alley, the latter offers a larger room and interactive wands. If you are chosen for the ceremony, you don’t have to purchase the wand, but it sure makes for a fun souvenir!
5. Find Knockturn Alley
Head to Wizarding World of Harry Potter-Diagon Alley and skulk around a bit to find Knockturn Alley. Just like in the books and films, the alley isn’t the easiest to find (we happened upon it by luck but you certainly can ask!), but when you do it’s worth it.
Dark and creepy with the best magical signs, you can visit Borgin and Burkes and check out items used in the Dark Arts including Death Eater masks and clothing.
6. Catch a Live Show
We know, we all love heading for the thrill rides at Universal Orlando Resort, but really do take the time to catch a live show at both areas. The shows bump up the feel and ambiance so much and you may just find yourself humming the tunes for hours. Trust me.
7. Queue Up for a Forbidden Journey
Once again, we love the rides from both Wizarding World of Harry Potter areas, but we love the interactive queues, too. The standby line in Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey is a trip through Hogwarts Castle and includes a visit to the Greenhouse, the entrance to Dumbledore’s office, and appearances from Harry, Ron, and Hermione.
You don’t have to actually ride the attraction, either. There’s an escape route right before the actual ride begins. Ask a castmember for the proper exit etiquette.
8. Get an Official Hogsmeade Postage Mark at Owl Post
You’ll need to visit the Owl Post at Wizarding World of Harry Potter- Hogsmeade for this one. Outside (just under where the owl’s perch and the open-air seating) walk towards the windows to find the stand. You can purchase post cards and receive an official Hogsmeade postage stamp.
9. Talk to a Knight Bus Conductor
This is one of my family’s favorites! Queue up for a quick chat with a Knight Bus conductor and get ready for a silly, snarky conversation. The Knight Bus is right outside the entrance to Wizarding World of Harry Potter- Diagon Alley and you can’t miss it.
10. Listen in on Ministry of Magic Conversations
Another hidden-ish gems at the entrance of Wizarding World of Harry Potter-Diagon Alley is the traditional English phone booth- or is it? Pick up the receiver and you may get lucky enough to listen in on official Ministry of Magic conversation.
11. Exchange Muggle Money at Gringotts Money Exchange
Gringotts Money Exchange in Wizarding World of Harry Potter-Diagon Alley is the place we Muggles visit to exchange U.S. currency to official Gringotts Bank Notes. In $10 and $20 notes, they may be used in Universal Orlando Resort or kept as souvenirs.
12. Find Kreacher the House Elf at 12 Grimmauld Place
If you’re into attention to details, you’ll love the fact that you can see Kreacher the House Elf peeking out from 12 Grimmauld Place at the entrance to Wizarding World of Harry Potter-Diagon Alley. It happens sporadically so you may have to wait a few minutes, but it sure is a hoot.
13. Shop Around- Even if You Don’t Buy Anything!
You don’t have to buy a thing to go window shopping- and it’s one of our favorite things to do when we visit. Weasley’ Wizard Wheezes, Borgin and Burkes, Ollivander’s, Madam Malkin’s, and Honeydukes are just a few of the spots where you can purchase official Harry Potter merchandise and supplies.
Did we miss your not-to-miss favorite? Please let us know in the comment section below!