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    Harry Potter theme park in Orlando, Florida: how to organize the visit

    Who I am
    Joel Fulleda
    @joelfulleda
    SOURCES CONSULTED:

    wikipedia.org, lonelyplanet.com

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    Are you still waiting for the Hogwarts letter? I gave up and went directly to the castle to check for myself. Do it too: The Wizarding World of Harry Potter Orlando is a must for any fan of the most famous magician in the world.

    Opened in 2010, it continues to record staggering figures every year thanks to the expansion that does not seem to have an end. The main places of the saga are faithfully reproduced, from the talking paintings to the snow on the roofs of Hogsmeade. The lines are long but the experience will be unforgettable. Indeed, magical.



    PS: This article refers to The Wizarding World of Harry Potter in Orlando, if you are interested in the California equivalent read our guide to the Harry Potter park in Hollywood.

    Index

    • Where is it and how to get to the Harry Potter park in Orlando
    • How to organize the visit and tips to save time
    • Hogsmeade or Diagon Alley: which one to choose?
      • Hogsmeade: attractions, shops and where to eat
      • Diagon Alley: attractions, shops and where to eat
    • Tickets: prices, types and how to buy them

    Where is it and how to get to the Harry Potter park in Orlando


    The Wizarding World of Harry Potter is located in Orlando within the two parks that make up Universal Orlando Resort:

    • Universal Studios Florida is home to the section of Diagon Alley
    • Islands of Adventure includes the section of Hogsmeade

    The Universal complex is 15 minutes from Orlando and three and a half hours from Miami. I recommend you to visit Orlando by renting a car to move freely even beyond the parks area and visit the Everglades and the many other attractions of Florida (in this regard you can rely on our guide on how rent a car in Florida). The cost of parking is 22 dollars per day and this is the address to put in the navigator:



    Theme Parks & CityWalk Parking Garage
    6000 Universal Boulevard
    Orlando, FL 32819

    Latitude: 28.47399
    Longitude: -81.46228

    If you do not intend to rent a car instead, know that it is in any case very easy to get around by taxi, bus and shuttle; the latter are often offered free of charge by hotels. For more information on accommodations that include various services depending on the park, I would like to remind you of the advice we have given on where to sleep in Universal Orlando. For airport transfers take a look at this page.

    How to organize the visit and tips to save time

    The village of Hogsmeade

    Both Harry Potter areas share their respective train stations and Ollivanders. In this shop, in addition to selling chopsticks, Ollivanders himself will entertain guests with a little show by having one of you choose a wand (or is it the other way around?).

    Follow these tips to make the most of Orlando and Harry Potter parks:

    1. Choose accommodation near the parks and avoid sleeping in Orlando city. There are plenty of options for all budgets and the prices are lower than in other American metropolises. To learn more, in addition to our previously reported recommendations on Universal Studios accommodation, you can also take a look at our general overview of where to sleep in Orlando.
    2. Dedicated by 2 to 4 full days to visit more or less one park a day between Disneyworld (which consists of 6 parks plus Disney Springs) and Universal Studios Florida (which, in addition to the park of the same name, also includes Islands of Adventure, Volcano Bay and the commercial area of ​​Universal City ).
    3. Specifically, if you don't have an Express pass, the Harry Potter park on the busiest days it takes a full day. It is advisable to dedicate the early morning or late evening hours to The Wizarding World of Harry Potter before closing to avoid long queues.
    4. If you buy a ticket Park-To-Park (which includes both parks), take the train ride on the Hogwarts Express in both directions (Diagon Alley to Hogsmeade and vice versa) because the outside landscape you will see will be different.
    5. The busiest periods are June-July-August, December close to New Year's Eve and during Spring Break (approximately in March).

    Bonus tip: combine Orlando with Miami or a Florida Keys tour!



    Hogsmeade or Diagon Alley: which one to choose?

    Hogwarts Express

    As already mentioned, the Harry Potter themed attractions are distributed between 2 parks: Diagon Alley at Universal Studios Florida e Hogsmeade in Universal Islands of Adventure. If you have limited time or a limited budget, you will therefore be faced with a difficult choice:

    • the reconstruction of Diagon Alley it is truly evocative; to get there you will first have to take 2 steps through the alleys of London, not without noting the building where Harry Potter moved in the last episodes and the Nottetempo, the magical double-decker bus of the saga. Turn the corner, as if by magic Diagon Alley will appear in front of you, where it is really difficult not to get excited walking among the many locations you loved in the film (Ollivanders, the Weasley brothers' shop, the Gringotts bank, the alleys obscures of Knockturn Alley ...). If you want to taste a butterbeer you can take a seat ...
    • A Hogsmeade, the original section of the park, the village of the same name and the famous magic castle of Hogwarts are reconstructed. Also in this case the quality of the reconstruction is excellent (also here you will find Ollivanders and the opportunity to taste a butterbeer) and, if you take the Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey carousel, you will be able to enter the castle with lots of talking paintings.

    In my opinion, the Universal Studios area (Diagon Alley) can boast a more impressive reconstruction but in Islands of Adventure you will find more rides. However, these are subjective impressions: the truth is that both boast remarkable attractions and the best thing, if you are a fan of the famous magician, is undoubtedly to visit them both (it is also possible to do it in 1 day with the special ticket), also because in this way you will have access to Hogwarts Express, the magical train that connects the 2 parks and at the same time represents a truly fascinating experience for those who loved the film.



    In any case, if you really are forced to choose, you can get an idea of ​​which to favor by knowing the main attractions that await you in both sections:

    Hogsmeade: attractions, shops and where to eat

    The attractions

    • Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey
      The Forbidden Journey is a carousel with 3D effects and real installations (like dragons breathing fire). A journey on a broom that retraces some of the most exciting moments of the Harry Potter adventures, including dementors and Quidditch matches. It is located inside the Hogwarts Castle. If they asked me: "Would you like to go to Orlando to do The Forbidden Journey and then go home soon after?" I would answer yes a thousand times. For fans of the series this is the star attraction. The queue is always long and during the New Year the wait was about two hours.
    • Flight of the Hippogriff
      Near the castle there is also Flight of the Hippogriff which refers to the part where Hagrid teaches wizards to fly on the hippogriff (one of the magical creatures). It's an outdoor roller coaster. Fast, but for everyone.
    • Hagrid’s Magical Creatures Motorbike Adventure
      A motorcycle adventure accompanied by Hagrid through the surrounding forests, passing through the most terrifying wild beasts and beasts of the saga. Like Flight of the Hippogriff, the carousel is a roller coaster (like a roller coaster) but definitely more adrenaline-pumping.

    Between the shows don't miss The Nighttime Lights at Hogwarts Castle, a light show projected over the castle every month for certain days. Here is the always updated calendar.

    Where to eat

    • Three Broomsticks
      Could not miss the pub known in Spanish as The Three Broomsticks appeared in The Prisoner of Azkaban.
    • Hog’s Head
      Another small pub serving beer, whiskey and of course butterbeer. In Spanish in the books it is translated as Pig's Head.

    Shopping

    • Honeydukes
      Mielandia is a beautiful sweet shop, where you can also find the famous Tuttigusti + 1 jellies.
    • Dervish and Banges
      World Wizard in Spanish, offers various accessories for wizards.
    • Filch’s Emporium™ of Confiscated Goods
      Here are the treasures seized by Hogwarts keeper, Argus Filch.
    • Owl Post
      Here you can send letters with the Hogsmeade stamp or buy quills, seals and miscellaneous stationery.

    Diagon Alley: attractions, shops and where to eat

    Diagon Alley has fewer rides than Hogsmeade, but many more shops and restaurants, as well as the famous Knight Bus.

    The attractions

    • Harry Potter and the Escape from Gringotts
      It is the most famous attraction in Diagon Alley and consists of a roller coaster in the dark with 3D effects. It has no major descents and you won't be upside down, so don't worry if you're not the roller coaster type; it is an attraction for everyone even if quite lively.

    Where to eat

    • Leaky Cauldron
      Harry stayed in the Leaky Cauldron during the summer when he escaped from the Dursleys. There are no rooms to sleep here in Orlando, but you can always order something from the menu.
    • Eternal's Elixir of Refreshment
      It is a small kiosk that sells, as the name suggests, magical elixirs to drink.
    • The Fountain of Fair Fortune
      Alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages. Among the latter, butterbeer.
    • Florean Fortescue’s Ice-Cream Parlour
      The Diagon Alley ice cream maker appeared in numerous books in the saga
    • The Hopping Pot
      Many drinks, including the inevitable butterbeer

    Shopping

    • Borgin and Burkes
      It is known in Spanish as Sinister Magic and is a shop for items belonging to dark magic.
    • Madam Malkin’s Robes for All Occasions
      Here Harry bought his first uniform. It is the tailor shop known in Spanish as Madama McClan.
    • Weasley’s Wizard Wheezes
      The Weasley Shots is the name of the Weasley brothers' shop. Colorful and with two floors, it sells products of all kinds, from games to food.

    Other stores:

    • Magical Menagerie
    • Quality Quidditch Supplies
    • Scribbulus
    • Sugarplum’s Sweetshop
    • Wands by Gregorovitch
    • Wiseacre’s Wizarding Equipment

    Curiosity: to the Gringotts Money Exchange you can exchange dollars in the magical currency accepted in the park and shop freely.

    Tickets: prices, types and how to buy them

    The sore point: the price of tickets. As mentioned, to fully enjoy all the Harry Potter themed attractions you will need to purchase the entrance to both parks. The quality of the attractions, the reconstructions of environments and shops is exceptional, with attention to the smallest details and constantly evolving.

    Harry Potter fans will certainly not be disappointed. For info on prices and the various types of tickets, I refer you to our article on Universal orlando, in particular the paragraphs dedicated to how to skip the lines, how many days to invest in the visit and how to choose entrance tickets.

    Universal Orlando: tickets and tour guide

    Looking for tips on Orlando and Florida?
    • How to organize a Florida tour?
    • Advice on where to sleep in Orlando
    • The best parks in Orlando
    • How to rent a car in Florida
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