I had BIG expectations for the Wizarding World of Harry Potter at Universal. Everything I’ve read and heard about it made it seem like you FELT the magic when you walked into it. My sister has always been the BIGGEST Harry Potter fan I know. I bought her the first book for Christmas the year it came out and ever since then she was the biggest fan. So right off the bat I felt a little guilty going here without her, but I was determined to give her a review (and I Marco Polo’d her during my trip too)!
You won’t be disappointed with the Wizarding World of Harry Potter.
When we entered Diagon Alley for the first time I saw people fall to their knees and cry. Seriously. Die hard Harry Potter fans are falling to the ground crying… THIS is how magical this place is. Keep reading to see what we thought of the Wizarding World of Harry Potter.
Hogsmead, Hogwarts, & More in Universal’s Islands of Adventure
We first visited Hogsmead in Universal’s Island of Adventure park. It was early morning entry for this park, so it’s the first place we visited on our trip in March. It was disappointing for me because I felt like we visited it all backwards. I would have rather visiting Diagon Alley first and THEN taken the Hogwarts Express to Hogsmead. If you can do it that way, that’s the way I suggest! If you are a big Harry Potter fan it’ll make a difference I think!
They pulled out ALL the stops when they designed this part of the park. I can say that there are so many little details that are probably over looked (especially by me), but J.K. Rowling had to approve EVERYTHING, so this place is really legit. Hogwarts itself during the hot Florida heat and sun wasn’t as impressive as I thought it would be on the outside. However – when you go INSIDE these queues for the attractions… WOW! It’s amazing how many details and how realistic it is. The pictures even move!!
Inside Hogwarts is Harry Potter & the Forbidden Journey. This is a motion based ride with some 3D screens and some actual props that pop out at you. This ride really whips you around… and it’s hard to explain. I would say it’s probably my least favorite Harry Potter ride. You really should go on it at least once… even if it’s just to experience the queue!
Hogwarts Express, Park to Park Tickets, & the Wizarding World of Harry Potter
In order to ride the Hogwarts Express from one park to the other you need Park to Park tickets (actually in order to ride the Hogwarts Express AT ALL you need Park to Park tickets). If you are a small family or group you WILL get put with other people or families on the train. Each car holds 8 people and they fill them up even if it’s slow. I’ve heard that there is a kinky reason for this… but I’m trying not to think about that!
The “ride” is different depending on which direction you are taking the train! It’s a cool and fun little way to get from park to park if you have the tickets to do so!
Diagon Alley, Gringotts, & Knockturn Alley in Universal Studios
Diagon Alley is probably my favorite themed area at the Wizarding World of Harry Potter and it holds one of my favorite rides in all of Universal! Harry Potter and the Escape from Gringotts is AMAZING. Before you even get to the actual attraction you will be immersed into Gringotts bank itself. It is absolutely stunning! There are little mini shows that get you ready for the actual attraction itself all the way through and it’s not wasted time at all!
Don’t forget while you are in Diagon Alley to take a little trip to Knockturn Alley… there are fun and creepy things awaiting you there…
There are so many other little details and facts that I’m sure I could go on and on about forever, but I’m not that type of blogger gal. I’m thinking next time we go I’m going to get some information to do a whole post on those awesomely expensive interactive Harry Potter wands that my son HAD to buy so he could become a wizard and show off his magic skills to everyone in the park (yes, that happened).
Butterbeer & Pumpkin Juice
However, last but not least… special Harry Potter beverages. Butterbeer vs. Pumpkin Juice. You can get Butterbeer frozen or just cold. We tried it the “regular way” which was just cold and it was VERY sweet… good, but SWEET. My son is our health nut and he only took a couple sips and said that it was just way to sweet for him. I thought it was sweet, but I finished his anyway! Haha!
The second time we went we tried the Pumpkin Juice instead. I went into one of the stores to get it and they were selling it by the bottle. The woman in there told me that it’d be cheaper if I went over to the spot that sold it by the tap and I would actually get MORE if I did it that way (I love when people are honest)! So we got Pumpkin Juice by the tap and it was delicious. Still sweet, but not quite as sweet as Butterbeer. I think next time we should probably try the frozen just so I can let you all know the difference…
After writing this blog I realized that I could probably do a WHOLE blog on the Wizarding World of Harry Potter. There is so much that I didn’t touch on today that I feel like I should tell you all! All in good time…
If you are planning a trip to Universal Orlando you NEED to check out my post on the BEST THEME PARK BAG EVER!
If you are thinking about booking a trip to Universal you might want to check out my resort reviews!