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How Real Harry Potter Fans do Universal Orlando

Updated: Sep 1, 2022

There are many ways to experience the World of Harry Potter in Universal Orlando. Im not saying there is a right way to do it, but if you are a true Harry Potter fan then this is the right way...

Hogwarts Castle at Islands of Adventure within Universal Studios Florida
Hogwarts Castle at Islands of Adventure

I call this experience the Hogwarts Journey.

This means going to Diagon Alley inside of Universal Studios Florida first. I would start my journey with a ride on Harry Potter and the Escape from Gringotts because you can’t buy any school supplies without some wizard’s gold. This ride usually gets long lines so I would suggest rope dropping it (being at the parks when they open and going straight to this ride). Mom may want to stop for pictures on the way, but MOM! There will be plenty of time for pictures after you ride. We know Diagon Alley is impressive, but getting straight on Gringotts to avoid the soon to be hours wait is important.

Your next stop would be a trip to Ollivander’s Wand Shop in Diagon Alley. Are you a wizard or witch if you don’t have a wand? This is a quick experience, and I am not judging if you stand in front of that 6-year-old, who let’s face it will probably cry anyway, to get chosen to try wands. Ollivander’s on the Diagon Alley side usually has shorter wait times than the shop in Hogsmeade. Also, in my opinion the interactive wand experience is MUCH cooler in Diagon Alley; this experience will take fans into Knockturn Alley and all over shops from the movies and books.

It’s now time for an early lunch. Lunch lines in the Wizarding World of Harry Potter can be just as extreme as the rides. Our suggestion for lunch is to eat early! The Leaky Cauldron is your lunch stop! I know, I know, to enter Diagon Alley we should have gone through the Leaky Cauldron but Universal can only do so much. The Leaky Cauldron does have a good breakfast, but for this journey I say head to lunch between 10:30AM and 11:00AM.

Ollivandor's Wand Shop at Diagon Alley inside of Universal Studios Florida
Ollivandor's Wand Shop at Diagon Alley

Let’s check in –

  • Wizard Gold? Got it.

  • The Wand Chooses the Wizard? Chosen.

  • Its pronounced Levi-o-sa? We said it.

  • Does Butterbeer go with Fish and Chips? We made it work.

Now it’s time to go to school!

We will now exit Diagon Alley and head for the Hogwarts Express. You should be able to hit this before 12PM which is when most people are thinking about lunch. The wait for the Hogwarts Express will increase quickly after 12pm and more people are wanting to switch parks. We should have timed this just right.

You are let out into the magic of Hogsmeade! There is snow! It’s 95 degrees out! Wow!

Hogsmeade can bottle-neck as the main path through the village is not very large, but you can do this! We are headed for Hogwarts as school students don’t get to experience Hogsmeade and the Forbidden Forrest without the opening feast at Hogwarts.

Hopefully your lunch has settled by this point, and you took our advice and skipped the sweet shop in Hogsmeade before riding Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey. You have been warned – If you get motion sick at all on rides I would NOT ride. You are able however to go through the line which is AMAZING. You will get to experience Dumbledore’s office, the sorting hat, the founders, and the Defense against the Dark Arts classroom.

After exiting this ride you can head to Flight of the Hippogriff as it is located just outside the Forbidden Journey exit. This to me is not a must do unless you’re traveling with small children. This small coaster is meant for younger riders.

Grab a snack! I now suggest stopping at any of the outdoor carts or running in Honeydukes for an afternoon snack and drink. I would also suggest going to the restroom at this point as there is really no dodging the next line we will have to wait in (express passes or not). Going to the restroom in the Wizarding World is an experience though! If you listen closely you'll be able to hear Moaning Myrtle in the pipes.

Hagrid's Magical Creatures Motorbike Adventure
Hagrid's Magical Creatures Motorbike Adventure

Now it is time to head to the newest thrill in the Wizarding World, Hagrid’s Magical Creatures Motorbike Adventure! This ride can get extremely long wait times. You will notice in the morning that many people run to this ride. It will usually have its longest line of the day for the first couple hours that the park is open. By this time in our schedule it should be around 2:00pm which should have a normal wait time of about an hour. This line is incredible for HP fans though, so take your time in the line and study the details. This ride is worth the hype and the wait.

You’ve now done it! You have ridden all of the rides in the Wizarding World! Let's celebrate with a drink. The Hogshead is a great air-conditioned spot to grab a wizards brew and reminisce about all of the magic you experienced in your Wizarding Day.

Have you experienced the Wizarding World of Harry Potter in Orlando? Is this the plan you would suggest? Let us know in the comments.

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