In my previous post about Universal Studios Florida, I mentioned our remarkable circumstance on a soaking wet and chilly winter in Osaka, and how this Florida trip is a vindication of that day in Japan. Sure, we enjoyed Universal Florida, but we were simply most thankful that it didn’t rain while we were inside the Wizarding World of Harry Potter World which we mainly came here for.
Daredevil rides is not my cup of tea, so is my husband’s. But amusement parks keep my eyes and my lens curious about the tiniest captivating details. While I confess that I had only read the first 4 of the Harry Potter book series but had watched the entire film series more than once at home, having a sense of familiarity and tons and tons of passion for the chronicle will make your experience of Diagon Alley, Hogwarts Express, Hogsmeade and all the wizard magic all worth every penny.
Beyond portkeys and floo powder, the Wizarding World of Harry Potter is undoubtedly a magical ride. No wands and spells needed.
Or maybe an interactive wand or two at Ollivanders. And butterbeer, definitely a mug of butterbeer.
Harry Potter World is made up of two unique universes requiring separate park-to-park tickets, The Diagon Alley (located at Universal Studios Florida) and the Hogsmeade Village (located at Universal’s Islands of Adventure). Both are connected by Hogwarts Express which is a huge attraction itself.
Diagon Alley is the shopping district in London/Diagon lined with wizarding shops. What I remember the most is its iconic real-life fire-breathing Ukranian Ironbelly dragon that sits atop the Gringotts banks. We were also able to meet the Gringotts bank goblin that moves and talks, and although the meet-up was quick, it felt creepily real. Our lunch at Leaky Cauldron is an experience I want to recommend although the food was not too impressive. Some of its wand and novelty shopping icons that are sure not to miss are the Ollivanders, Weasleys’ Wizard Wheezes, Quality Quidditch and the Knockturn Alley.
Hogsmeade or Hogsmeade Village is the only all-wizarding village in Britain in the Harry Potter book series. It is an enjoyable 4-minute train ride onboard the Hogwarts Express from King’s Cross Station . Two things stand out in my memory: Hogwarts Castle and butterbeer.
Connecting Diagon Alley (located at Universal Studios Florida) and Hogsmeade Village (located at Universal’s Islands of Adventure) is the popular Hogwarts Express. It is a 4-minute ride through the British countryside with a view of Harry Potter characters like Ron Weasley and Hermione Granger talking on a window screen creating a perception of them just outside the train. There were even dementors flying!
A Park-to-Park admission ticket is required to board the Hogwarts Express in either King’s Cross Station or Hogsmead Station. Or you can visit either land with a Single Park admission ticket, without access to the Hogwarts Express.
One top priority for my husband was to own a wizard wand. Fortunately, that is one item checked off his bucket list. He bought a Dumbledore interactive wand that has a receptor attached to its end that reacts at spell-casting locations. The wand also comes with a map. Spell locations are marked by medallions set into the pavement which serves as a stand point for wizards and witches to cast a spell. It was a bit pricey but I highly recommend it especially for kids. And oh, don’t forget to ring up the Ministry of Magic using a red phone booth located outside King’s Cross Station.