Universal Orlando is the only place where you can inexplicably find yourself emerged into the astonishing Wizarding World. Here, you can experience the sensational world that J.K Rowling brought to life in her beloved books. You’ll be able to walk through the quaint little town of Hogsmeade, explore the corridors of Hogwarts Castle, and even stock up on your wizarding supplies in Diagon Alley. To enhance your visit, I set up a guide of some of the best locations throughout the Wizarding World of Harry Potter at Universal Orlando Resort.
1. Hogwarts Castle
Located at Universal’s Islands of Adventure, you’ll be able to not only explore the village of Hogsmeade, but also get the chance at taking an extraordinary photo in front of the legendary Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. Hogwarts Castle is the most beloved and well-known landmark in the Wizarding World, and you won’t want to miss it! For a better view of the castle, head over to the bridge at the entrance between Jurassic Park and Hogsmeade. Here, you’ll get a stupendous view of Hogwarts, which is home to the incredible attraction Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey. The attraction’s queue takes you through iconic locations throughout the castle, including the greenhouse and the headmaster’s office, the Defense Against the Dark Arts classroom, and the Gryffindor Common room. You may even get to see a few of the moving paintings. The attraction itself is beyond astounding!
2. Hogwarts Express
First off, you can’t get to Hogwarts without riding the iconic steam engine train. To ride the Hogwarts Express, you’ll need to purchase a park-to-park pass. I personally recommend getting on the train from King’s Cross Station located at Universal Studios Florida. Just like Harry Potter, you can go through the station and magically appear at platform 9 3/4.
Who doesn’t love sweets? In the snowy village of Hogsmeade, one of the most popular candy stores is Honeydukes, which is located at Islands of Adventure. As soon as you enter the store you are hit with a sweet aroma that will drive you insane. Honeydukes has shelves full of different flavors that will be sure to please everyone. Plus, if you head outside, you’ll be able to practice your magic with the shop’s window displays (I find them to be absolutely incredible).
4. Hagrid’s Hut
One of my favorite sets in the Harry Potter series has to be Hagrid’s Hut. I was pleased to know that you can actually take a look at Hagrid’s Hut in person. Located in Hogsmeade, this precious piece is in the queue of the Flight of the Hippogriff roller coaster. Bonus: You can see the famous Hippogriff Buckbeak as well.
Another classic location is Ollivander’s Wand Shop. Just like Harry, you can purchase your own wand, and practice your magic throughout the Wizarding World (with an interactive wand). But that’s not it! Ollivanders gives you the opportunity to enjoy an interactive experience where a wand chooses a wizard/witch. Ollivanders is located in both Hogsmeade and Diagon Alley, so head on over and don’t forget to take a precious picture with your wand outside the shop.
6. Three Broomsticks Restaurant
In the wizarding village of Hogsmeade, be sure to dine at the most popular pub — Three Broomsticks Restaurant. Here, you can order authentic British cuisine and even purchase drinks such as Butterbeer and Firewhiskey. Universal did an amazing job of capturing and bringing to life every single detail of this quaint and cozy pub. There is both an inside and outside dining area and the views for each are extraordinary!
7. Backside of Weasleys’ Wizard Wheezes
For all things exciting and prank worthy, you’re not going to want to skip out on Weasleys’ Wizards Wheezes. This store is filled with exotic toys and candy; it is definitely one of the most captivating places in Diagon Alley. Both inside and out, this store is wondrous and filled with detail. If you head on over to the backside of the structure, you’ll see a giant blue wall filled with character.
8. Streets of London
Before entering the cobblestone streets of Diagon Alley, you must first walk through the streets of London. This area is truly spectacular because of its fine detail and locations like Kings Cross Station (park-to-park admission is required to board the train, but you can take a picture in the train station) and Grimmauld Place, home to the Order of the Phoenix (if you watch long enough, you’ll be able to see a certain house elf peek through the window). London is also home to the triple-decker, purple Knight Bus. If you want a picture, you can find the conductor and the Shrunken head right in front of the vehicle. And to complete the experience, the area features a red telephone booth (you can actually walk in it and call the Ministry of Magic).
9. Streets of Diagon Alley
There’s no question that Diagon Alley is one of the most magnificent places in the Wizarding World, and walking down these streets is an experience you will never forget. Everything is so detailed, from the buildings to the inside of each store. I always find myself looking at every single thing that Diagon Alley has to offer. If you pay close attention, you’ll be able to find certain things from the movies, such as the Daily Prophet headquarters and the House Elves Placement Agency. One of the most impressive buildings is Gringotts Bank, which stands at the far end in its jaw-dropping setting. At the very top of the bank sits a massive dragon that breathes fire every now and then.
10. Knockturn Alley
A trip to the Wizarding World wouldn’t be complete without lurking around the dark corners of Knockturn Alley (located in Diagon Alley). The alleyway has about two entries: right next to the Leaky Cauldron and near Florean Fortescue’s Ice Cream Parlour. While in the alley, be sure to check out Borgin and Burkes for all things dealing with the Dark Arts, and make sure you’ve got your wand close by just in case there are any unusual wizards roaming around. Knockturn Alley will always be my all-time favorite location in the magical world of Harry Potter because I absolutely adore the strange and mysterious environment that surrounds every corner.