Universal Studios – Harry Potter

Universal Studios – Harry Potter

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This will be my final post on Florida ! You can find the various posts about Florida on this page.

I am a big Harry Potter fan ! I loved the Harry Potter books and movies. So it made sense that I would visit Universal Studios when I was in Orlando !

We booked our tickets through the Universal website. As the website highlights you have to buy a park to park admission to be able to ride on the Hogwarts express ! The park to park admission gives you access to both Universal Island of Adventure and Universal Studios Florida . Both parks have Harry Potter related rides, shops  and shows.

We only had one day for the Universal Studio so we focused on Harry Potter. If I had to do it again I would spend three days here and explore the other parts of the park.

We were there when the park opened, wanted to make the most of our one day . We went directly to the Harry Potter area at Universal’s Island of Adventure. People were walking around wearing cloaks ($109 US) and carrying wands ($45 to 75 US). The first area is modeled after Hogsmeade – the all Wizarding village near Hogwarts. This area also had the Hogwarts Castle and one of the stops of Hogwarts Express. For a Harry Potter fan seeing the buildings from the books/movies, Hogwarts Express, and the Hogwarts Castle  is a treat . I was so excited I didn’t know what to do first !

Universal Studios – The Wizarding World of Harry Potter – Hogsmeade
Universal Studios – Harry Potter
Universal Studios – Hogwarts
We did the Dragon Challenge roller coaster ride first. One of the differences I noticed between Disney and Universal is that the roller coasters at Universal were more for adults. The restraints were stronger, the coasters went backward, in loops and had drops! The Disney ones had better simulations and design, but they were less for thrill seekers.
This dragon coaster was okay, not something I would do if the line was long.  When you go in this coaster you have to leave all your loose items in a locker. The nice thing about universal is you can lock your items in a locker for two hours while you go on various rides. You lock using your thump print and you can use as many lockers as you want at the same time.
Universal Studios – Harry Potter
My favorite ride at Universal’s Island of Adventure  is Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey . The line up for this ride goes through the Hogwarts School, and there are many displays created from the book in the lineup to the ride. Tip: If you take the single rider line the line moves a lot faster. This ride was a combination of simulations and a roller coaster. Incredible!! No matter how long the line is you have to do this ride. I tried to find a video of it on YouTube, but couldn’t find one of good quality. It is like flying through the Harry Potter movies !

We took the Hogwarts Express to Diagon Alley at Universal Studios Florida ( the 2nd Harry Potter Park). The Hogwarts Express is just like the train in the Harry Potter movies. The windows show you locations from the movies. Very real like. The door also has projections. Very cool to ride the train. We went on it two times. The lines for the trains were not very long. Maybe we just got lucky !

Universal Studios – Hogwarts Express
Universal Studios – Harry Potter


The Diagon Alley is located behind a hidden wall right beside the train station.The train station on the Universal Studio side is called King’s Cross Station.  Right at the entrance of Diagon Alley is Leaky Cauldron – a British pub. We had lunch here and warm Butterbeer ! The warm Butterbeer was very sweet, and perfect for a somewhat colder day !

Butterbeer !
Universal Studios – Diagon Alley

We also went to Ollivanders , watched the wand picking Wizard ceremony and bought wands ! For the wands there are two options for most of them. You can buy the interactive version which is a bit more expensive but will let you do cool things all around Harry Potter World – like get water to come out of a statue etc. I didn’t get this option, but a child or more enthusiastic fan might fund it interesting !

The must do ride on the Diagon Alley is Harry Potter and the Escape from Gringotts ! Again this is an amazingly designed ride. Probably the best Harry Potter ride in all of Universal Studios !  This video will give a small taste into what the ride is like.

I loved my time at both Harry Potter parks at Universal ! It was very much worth it ! A must do for any Harry Potter fan !






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