The Wizarding World of Harry Potter was the most awaited and best part of our vacation! Sit tight, this is going to be a long post. As a Harry Potter fan, I have to post the awesome nitty-gritty details that we found in the theme park and more importantly, tips on visiting the Wizarding World of Harry Potter in Orlando.
*Check out the gallery below and the videos of the Hogwarts Express, moving pictures, Sorting Hat, and more!
1. A week before your flight, watch/read the Harry Potter again to refresh your memory and increase your excitement (oh, it’s possible!).
Mr. C and I watched the entire set of Harry Potter movies in one week!!
2. The Wizarding World of Harry Potter is sooo huge, it’s located at both theme parks (Islands of Adventure and Universal Studios).
3. It is more convenient to ride the Hogwarts Express to transfer from one theme park to another.
The line is always long but at least you will be standing in a shaded area while waiting. The other option is to walk for the same amount of time or more. It’s better to conserve your energy since you still have a long day of walking.
4. You would need a park-to-park admission to ride the Hogwarts Express.
5. Try not to set your expectations too high for the Hogwarts Express ride.
We were so excited to ride the Hogwarts Express because we thought it would be scenic, unique and jaw-dropping like how it was depicted in the movie. When we got inside the cart, we realized that the window was only a monitor. It played a video of Harry Potter characters leading us from one site to another (Diagon Alley to Hogsmeade and vice versa).
When we had our second ride, we began to enjoy and appreciate it. It wasn’t as bad as we remembered. Now that we didn’t expect anything, we actually enjoyed it. The ride has special effects like thunder and shadows on the cart’s door (as if the characters were just beside our cart).
6. You have to ride the Hogwarts Express from both theme parks of the Wizarding World of Harry Potter because the videos are different.
7. They sell Butterbeer!!
Because of its popularity, butterbeer carts always have long lines! It’s being sold in several areas and restaurants in Diagon Alley and Hogsmeade. It can be regular ($6) or frozen ($7). We liked the frozen butterbeer better.
8. You could buy your own personalized interactive wand at Ollivanders “Makers of Fine Wands” for around $45-50 or a Harry Potter character wand replica (cheaper)
With the interactive wand, you can go around Hogsmeade and Diagon Alley and cast spells! There are certain locations dedicated for these spells. If you plan to buy one from Ollivanders, it’s better to do this first since the line gets long pretty fast.
9. You could also buy a robe at Madam Malkin’s Robes For All Occasions.
It was very amusing to see kids and kids-at-heart wearing these robes and casting spells everywhere. A robe costs around $100.
10. Ride Review: Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey (Islands of Adventure)
Average wait time: 60 mins (As soon as we entered the castle, we didn’t mind the long wait. The interior of the castle was elaborately designed!)
This ride is our favorite. Even though we rode it at least 3 times, the ride was still thrilling! We rode like we were flying with our broomsticks. We flew through Hogwarts, a Quidditch match, Forbidden Forest and Chamber of Secrets.
The quick plunge and chase during the Quidditch game was exciting! The terrifying parts were when we were being thrown around and when our seats were fully reclined. We were so close to the huge animatronic props (dragon, Dementors and Whomping Willow) that it felt like we could almost reach them.
Ride’s interior details:
- Remember the Hogwarts’ corridors with paintings that move? There are lots inside the castle! They referred to us as Muggles (with disdain).
- There are also newsletters that have moving pictures, the Fat Lady who guards the Gryffindor Tower and the Sorting Hat.
- In the Defense Against the Dark Arts room, Harry, Ron, and Hermione briefed us on our ‘mission’. Even this part has special effects!
11. Ride Review: Flight of the Hippogriff (Islands of Adventure)
Length of the ride is very short. The only scary part is the fast drop/quick spiral.
12. Dragon Challenge – Abort! Abort!!
We were too scared to ride this. The riders were hanging from their seats! I have to prepare myself for this ride. Maybe next time?
13. Watch the Triwizard Spirit Rally
Beauxbaton and Durmstrang students performed their schools’ introductions similar to the scene in Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire. Check out their performance schedule.
14. Ride Review: Harry Potter and the Escape from Gringotts (Universal Studios):
It’s a very short but intense ride. The cart moved along a track, similar to Transformer and Amazing Adventures of Spider-man rides in Universal Studios. The movements were more terrifying than Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey. The 3D effects were superb! There were many simulated drops and turns.
Ride’s interior details:
- The lobby was lavishly decorated with chandeliers and marble.
- The animatronic goblins were freakishly realistic! Sometimes they looked up from their desks and I swear, they looked straight at me!
15. The dragon on top of the Gringott Bank breathes fire randomly. It will start growling to signal that it might breathe fire.
On our first night, we waited for an hour for the dragon to breath fire but it didn’t happen. On our second day, we were about to leave Diagon Alley when it breathed fire!! Awesome!!
16. Souvenir alternative: Exchange your US currency to official Gringotts Bank Notes and interact with the goblin at Gringotts Money Exchange
17. Dine at the Leaky Cauldron – the interior and waiters are fully decorated
We ordered Fisherman’s Pie ($15), Beef, Lamb & Guinness Stew ($14). and of course, a frozen butterbeer!
The Fisherman’s Pie is a combination of baked salmon, cod and shrimp. Both orders were delicious but the servings were too small.
18. Enter the Knockturn Alley (Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets)
It’s a dark, hidden alley in Diagon Alley.
19. Watch out, this mermaid spits water when the correct spell has been cast! (Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire)
20. Don’t miss out these details from the Wizarding World of Harry Potter:
On your way to Hogwarts Express (King’s Cross Station), check out this mirror.
People before you would look like they were really passing through the brick wall.
Secret building of the Order of the Phoenix (#12 Grimmauld Place)
The Mirror of Erised at Madam Malkin’s Robes For All Occasions
The Mirror of Erised “shows the deepest, most desperate desire of our hearts.” – Albus Dumbledore (Harry Potter and the Sorceror’s Stone) Is the desire to become a Hogwarts witch counted? If so, then the mirror is accurate! 🙂
Knight Bus with the Conductor and the interactive Shrunken Head (Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban)
Pumpkin Patch outside Hagrid’s Hut (where Buckbeak was supposed to be executed)
Check out my gallery from the Wizarding World of Harry Potter:
Which part of the Wizarding World of Harry Potter is your favorite?
For tips on this trip, click here.
Planning to go to Disney World? You can buy discount tickets from Florida Ticket Station.