Where can we see Harry Potter?
“While we are at Disney, we want to make sure we visit the park that has Harry Potter.” This is a common phrase that we hear from clients when we are collaborating on their family vacations. Some clients are surprised when we tell them that Harry does not reside at Disney - his home is at the Universal Parks across town.
While some clients are happy to have one day at Universal to see the Harry Potter themed areas, others want to spend more time immersing themselves in the story and the experience. The team at On The Road Travel can help you conjure up a magical visit to The Wizarding World of Harry Potter and Diagon Alley.
There are three theme parks at the Universal Orlando Resort - Universal Studios Florida, Islands of Adventure, and the newly opened water park, Volcano Bay. To visit both Harry Potter themed areas, you’ll need to plan to visit Universal Studios and Islands of Adventure.
The Wizarding World of Harry Potter Hogsmeade is located in Islands of Adventure (this area opened in June of 2010), and features Flight of the Hippogriff (a family-friendly roller coaster) and Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey (a 3D/4D, motion simulator experience). When you’re not experiencing one of the attractions in and around Hogwarts, you can visit Ollivander’s and select your wand - or is it the wand that selects the wizard? You can indulge in a Butter Beer, pick up some sweets at Honeydukes, or grab some enchanted loot at Filch’s Emporium of Confiscated Goods.
If you are planning to visit Hogsmeade and Diagon Alley on the same day, you’ll need a Park-to-Park ticket to board the Hogwarts Express at Hogsmeade Station. From there, you’ll be transported to the famous King’s Cross Station (home to Platform 9 ¾) located in Diagon Alley.
When you exit King’s Cross Station, you’ll find yourself in the heart of Diagon Alley (opened in 2014), home to all of the shops you’ll need to visit to secure your supplies for your term at Hogwarts. Your first stop will need to be Gringotts Wizarding Bank to make a withdrawal from your vault. Madam Malkin’s Robes for All Occasions is the place to go for your uniform needs, and everyone must stop at Weasleys’ Wizard Wheezes to check out the array of items Fred and George have assembles for the jokester in your travel party. When you’ve shopped yourself out, stop at Florean Fortescue’s Ice Cream Parlor for a cool treat. And don’t leave Diagon Alley without experiencing Harry Potter and the Escape from Gringotts, a motion simulator that will take you into the depths of the famed wizard bank.
Both Universal parks are loaded with other attractions that the whole family can enjoy. While at Islands of Adventure, you can visit Seuss Landing, Marvel Super Hero Island (which hosts a character meal with your favorite Marvel characters), Toon Lagoon, and Jurassic Park. Head on over to Universal Studios Orlando to experience Springfield: Home of the Simpsons (DOH!) and the streets of New York, Hollywood and San Francisco.
All that, and we’ve not even touched on the high-tech Volcano Bay Water Park or Universal City Walk entertainment district. There really is a lot to do at Universal Orlando Resort and you can easily spend three full days exploring all that it has to offer.
Stay tuned for our next blog which will share your onsite resort stay options at Universal. There are five onsite resorts, with another slated to open in August. Just as Disney resort guests get perks at the Disney parks, the same holds true at Universal. We’ll cover that, and a whole lot more, on Monday.