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Ultimate Wizarding World of Harry Potter Guide!

For fans of the Harry Potter books or movies, seeing this wondrous world made into reality is simply marvelous. The WWOHP is located at Universal Studios Orlando Resort with a new theme park at Universal Studios, Hollywood that opened on April 7th 2016 ! Non-fans can also have a magical time at the WWHOP as the rides, shops, food and interactive features provide immersive experiences for all. The WWOHP is split between Universal Islands of Adventure  (Hogsmeade Village and Hogwarts Castle) and Universal Studios, Diagon Alley (opened in 2014). Both parks are connected via the Hogwarts Express train. Read below for my Ultimate Wizarding World of Harry Potter Guide!

Diagon

Diagon Alley

The most recent addition to the WWOHP features its signature motion-based ride, the 3D Escape from Gringotts. On the way inside, you will walk through the marble lobby with its massive crystal chandeliers and see goblin bankers on the job. Bill Weasley (in 3D) has a word with visitors before they go into an elevator that leads to the vaults. The thrills begin once you enter your cart. Lord Voldemort with his faithful servant (and baby mama!) Bellatrix make appearances to scare you silly ! The dragon on top of the bank breathes fire every 10 minutes so be on the lookout.

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There are many immersive experiences that can be enjoyed in Diagon Alley with an interactive wand. There was no foolish wand waving or silly incantations in Professor Snape’s classes, however, in both parks, you can purchase Harry’s, Hermione’s or another character’s wand to practice spell casting in front of shop windows! You can flush the toilet in the Weasleys’ window, make fountains belch water and send a feather floating upwards using the “Wingardium Leviosa” spell. Remember…it’s LeviOHsa NOT Leviosarr !

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Eat in Diagon Alley

Have your lunch at the Leaky Cauldron, with delicious and authentic British pub food and dessert at Florean Fortescue’s Ice-Cream Parlour. Alternatively, grab a non-alcoholic Butterbeer served cold, frozen or hot in a tall cup or small tankard. The hot and cold version is extremely sweet and tastes like liquid butterscotch. The frozen version tastes like molten soft-serve ice cream – it’s my favourite!

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The Hogwarts Express

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Transport at the WWOHP got extra magical in 2014 with the introduction of the Hogwarts Express train that takes you between the two parks. Enter King’s Cross Station from “London” at Universal Studios and make your way to platform 9 3/4 where the train takes you onward to Hogsmeade Village Station. Before I entered the station, I enjoyed exchanging banter with the Knight Bus’s shrunken head. The combination of his Jamaican accent and my Trinidadian one resulted in a hilarious chat! On board, the immersive experience continued as the animated train windows took passengers through scenes of London, English countryside past Malfoy Manor and then arrival at Hogsmeade Station. Hagrid , Harry & Co, the Weasley twins plus a Dementor all made appearances !

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Hogsmeade Village

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Here you can find Hogwarts students’ favourite sweet shop – Honeydukes, where you can get your Chocolate Frogs, Bertie Botts Every Flavour Beans and other sweets mentioned in the books.

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Eat at Hogsmeade Village

Enjoy a hearty lunch at The Three Broomsticks ! Traveling as a family or a group? I highly recommend the Great Feast Platter. Thirsty? Grab your favourite Butterbeer or a bottle of pumpkin juice! Magical folk and Muggles over 21 can try Firewhiskey at the Hogs Head Pub.

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Great Feast Platter!

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Hogwarts Castle

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The iconic castle towers over Hogsmeade and features its signature 3D motion-based ride Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey, where Harry takes you soaring with him over the Quidditch pitch and castle ! While visitors wait in line for the ride, the animated and moving Sorting Hat gives safety instructions in rhyme. The journey into the castle is an experience in itself that takes you past settings in the movies and books, such as Professor Sprout’s greenhouse, Dumbledore’s office and the Defense Against the Dark Arts classroom where Harry and the gang (in 3D) greet visitors!

Dumbledore's Office entrance

Dumbledore’s Office entrance

Prof. Sprout's greenhouse

Prof. Sprout’s greenhouse

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The rooms with moving and talking paintings are also a treat to see and hear. Listen to the founders of 3 of Hogwarts’ 4 houses speak in glowing terms about the school, and Salazar Slytherin’s treacherous commentary about admitting Muggle-borns! Don’t leave the park without listening to the Hogwarts choir and attending a Triwizard Tournament Rally with the students of the Hogwarts, Beauxbatons and Durmstrang Academies of Magic! See the videos below.

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Tips for Visiting the WWOHP

  • Get a 2-day park to park pass (and get a third day free!) in order to experience everything to the max !
  • Download the Universal Orlando Wait Times app to receive real-time information on lines to the rides. Available on iOS and Android.
  • Wear flat, comfortable, sturdy footwear. You’ll be on your feet all day in lines and seeing the sights.
  • Get there early and head straight to each park’s signature rides as wait times can be more than 1 hour long ! You’ll have ample time for photos later
  • Walk with a mini-pharmacy in a ziplock bag in case you fall ill or need to freshen up. I pack aspirin, antacid, mini toothbrush, toothpaste, floss, allergy medication, a compact, lipstick, and sanitizer.
  • Drink water ! Take a full bottle or get one that rolls up and refill at the coolers
  • The parks always have crowds but avoid going during the summer since that is peak vacation season
  • If visiting during January-February, walk with a warm jacket and scarf since Orlando is extremely chilly during that time

 

Where to Stay

My boyfriend and I stayed at the Holiday Inn Express and Suites Nearest Universal Orlando.  The hotel was located across from a compound that had reasonably priced restaurants, Walgreens pharmacy/convenience store as well as souvenir shops. For the price of an on-site hotel at Universal, we got a non-smoking suite complete with a mini fridge and microwave that came in handy for leftovers ! There is an ATM in the lobby and a ticket desk. There is also a free scheduled shuttle that takes you to and from Universal Studios!

 

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18 Comments

  • Reply
    Paul
    at 12:49 PM

    Beautifully written and quite informative as well as enticing. I cannot wait to visit with the family for some fun and adventure! Thank you!

  • Reply
    Stacey
    at 6:38 PM

    These are great tips for people who want to visit this amusement park..

  • Reply
    Dhaval Parmar
    at 7:49 AM

    Thanks for this great article, I really enjoyed it from beginning to ending, this is so interesting.

  • Reply
    Laura Leiva
    at 5:05 PM

    Love all of your FABULOUS pictures!

  • Reply
    Marie Eloise
    at 2:41 AM

    Interesting!!!! I have no words for this but this is really GOALS AF!!!!

  • Reply
    Fiona Mai
    at 2:47 AM

    I’m a Harry Potter fan as well so reading this feels like “OMG I have to be there!” Definitely want to try the sweets, especially the Bertie Botts Every Flavour Beans. And thanks for all your helpful tips as well!

  • Reply
    Lucy
    at 3:40 AM

    Your trip sounds amazing – and the hot butterbeer sounds heavenly. I’m moving to LA in August for 3 months so I’ll have to check it out!

  • Reply
    Sassy
    at 6:16 PM

    Thank you so much for writing such a detailed and descriptive post! I’m totally blind, and I have always wanted to visit the wizard in world of Harry Potter in Orlando, three descriptions you have brought everything to life, and I cannot wait to go! Thank you so much for writing such a detailed and descriptive post! I’m totally blind, and I have always wanted to visit the wizard in world of Harry Potter in Orlando, thrugh your descriptions you have brought everything to life, and I cannot wait to go even more so now! 🙂 xxx

  • Reply
    Shayla
    at 10:38 PM

    Oh my gosh, I have been wanting since it opened! My kiddos are so young though, I don’t think it will be something we can all do for a few more years 🙁

  • Reply
    Raksha Rao
    at 12:52 AM

    I would so love to visit this place! Looks amazing

  • Reply
    Anshula
    at 1:43 PM

    I LOVE this post! I went when I was twelve and needless to say, they have expanded so much since then that I NEED to go back (for the Gringotts Ride if nothing else). I also love that you were able to have a cute banter with Dre Head (that sounds like so much fun – was he able to recognize your Trindad accent?).

  • Reply
    Olivia Johnson
    at 10:14 AM

    This is too pretty, I want to come here at least once in my life and thanks for giving such a wonderful information.

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