The Wizarding World of Harry Potter at Universal Orlando Resort is one of the most impressive offerings at any theme park resort. Comprised of two immersive lands: Hogsmeade at Universal’s Islands of Adventure and Diagon Alley in Universal Studios Florida, these areas let guests step inside the books and films of J.K. Rowling. With the combination of screen-accurate details, imaginative attractions, and interactive experiences, it’s easy to see why the Wizarding World has become a top destination for vacationing families.
Hogsmeade Village was the first Wizarding World ever built in a theme park. Debuting in June of 2010, the land was immediately hailed as a new step in immersive theme park entertainment. Universal’s creative team worked closely with Rowling and Harry Potter filmmakers to bring a faithful version of the magical town to life. The area features a fantastical village with snow-covered rooftops and surreal architecture. The centerpiece is a breathtaking recreation of the iconic Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. Not only does this masterful work of forced perspective provide a beautiful backdrop to the land and a stage for the nightly light show, but it also houses the area’s headliner attraction Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey.
Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey
This intense dark ride takes guests on a fast-paced trip through the famed Wizarding school of Hogwarts Castle. Riders begin the experience by walking through the gates of Hogwarts into a queue modeled after the hallways and stairwells of the school. Memorable items from the films like talking portraits line the walls. Many recognizable rooms seen in the movies are on display as well including the Dumbledor’s office and the Defense Against the Dark Arts classroom. After an introduction from Dumbledore himself by way of a projection screen, guests board omnimover benches attatched to robotic arms. As the ride zips through harrowing scenes, the robotic arm twists and turns the ride benches adding another level of intensity to the ride. Guests must be 48″ or taller to ride. Eligible for Universal Express Pass.
Hagrid’s Magical Creatures Motorbike Adventure
The Wizarding World’s newest attraction is also one of it’s most exciting as well. Hagrid’s Magical Creatures Motorbike Adventure is a combination of a rollercoaster and animatronic show. Guests board ride vehicles designed to look like Hagrid’s flame-shooting motorbike and sidecar for an intense ride around the grounds of Hogwarts. Hagrid welcomes riders to view his collection of magical pets as well as a journey deep into the Forbidden Forest. Fantastical beasts like Cornish Pixies, the Devil’s Snare, and Fluffy the three-headed dog. Guests must be 48″ or taller to ride.
Flight of the Hippogriff
This kid-friendly rollercoaster takes guests on a short and quick ride in a Hippogriff shaped vehicle. The coaster dips and swirls around a pumpkin patch near Hagrid’s hut just outside Hogwarts Castle. This is a great first coaster for younger guests and also offers a few great views of Hogwarts as it zooms around the track. Guests must be 36″ or taller to ride, those under 48″ must have a supervising companion. Eligible for Universal Express Pass.
Hogwart’s Express – Hogsmeade Station
Hogsmeade’s third attraction is also a means of transportation between the Wizarding World lands. Hogwarts Express is a faithful recreation of the majestic train system that transports Harry and his friends to and from Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry each school year. This highly enjoyable and relatively relaxing ride utilizes moving window projection screens and special lighting effects to create enchanted landscapes and recognizable characters. As the British countryside changes to lands off-limits to muggles through the windows, Harry, Ron and Hermione encounter friends, and foes on the other side of the frosted glass cabin doors. The effects are fun and impressive and the air-conditioned train cars make this a nice break from the heat while traveling to Diagon Alley. It should be noted that guests may only take advantage of Hogwarts Express if they have Universal’s “Park to Park” ticket. Eligible for Universal Express Pass.
- Frog Choir: Guests can enjoy the vocal stylings of Hogwarts student choir featuring bass notes provided by magical singing amphibians. The choir features members from each Hogwarts house performing wizarding themed a capella songs. Shows happen multiple times daily at the stage between Hogwarts and Hogsmeade Village. Check park listings for current showtimes.
- Triwizard Spirit Rally: Cheer on your favorite wizarding school at this magical pep rally. Representatives from Hogwarts, Beauxbatons, and Durmstrang present acrobatic and dancing performances to help drum up excitement for the Triwizard tournament. Shows happen multiple times daily at the stage between Hogwarts and Hogsmeade Village. Check park listings for current showtimes.
- The Nighttime Lights At Hogwarts Castle: In the evenings, Hogwarts Castle comes to life with a dazzling display of special lighting and projection mapping effects. The castle transforms into representations of Hogwarts houses as well as scenes and themes from the history of Harry Potter. There’s even a special Dark Arts version of the show shown at various times throughout the year. The show takes place multiple times in the evening, usually after sundown. Check park listings for current showtimes.
- Three Broomsticks: This Quick Service location invites guests to dine on traditional British dishes breakfast, lunch, and dinner. The breakfast menu includes items like pancakes, oatmeal and traditional plates with eggs, bacon, sausage, and potatoes. For lunch and dinner, guests can enjoy dishes like Fish And Chips, Shepherd’s Pie, Cornish Pasties, Turkey Legs, and Fresh Vegetables. The theming here is as good as any other part of the land. Guests dine under a massive vaulted ceiling with intricate stairwells and some magical hidden touches worth exploring. This spot can be quite popular for lunch and dinner, so we suggest eating early or late to avoid the crowds.
- Hog’s Head: This classic-style pub sits in the back of Three Broomsticks and serves Butterbeer, Pumpkin Juice, Gillywater, specialty drinks, wine, spirits, and mixed cocktails.
- Ollivanders: Hogsmeade Village’s most popular shop also houses a unique and magical experience. At Ollivanders, guests can purchase wands featuring unique designs as well as replicas of those owned by famous wizards and witches. There are two types of wands sold here, interactive ones that can be used to cast spells and trigger hidden effects in the lands, or those that are purely decorative and do not interact with those elements. Guests can also enjoy a wand ceremony that happens multiple times daily within Ollivanders. After being led into a magical showroom, one special guest is chosen from the crowd where their wand chooses them. You can read all about the interactive wand experience at the Professor’s guide here.
- Honeydukes: The perfect spot to satisfy your sweet tooth, or get adventurous and try a strangely flavored jelly bean. Honeydukes sells a wide variety of colorful sweets and tasty temptations even Muggles can enjoy. Guests can enjoy imaginative treats like Acid Pops, Cauldron Cakes, Fizzing Whizzbees, Chocolate Frogs, and Bertie Bott’s Every-Flavour Beans.
- Dervish and Banges: A stationary store for the distinguished witch or wizard. Here you can purchase items like ink and inkwells, feather quills, parchment, and writing paper. You’ll also find Sneakoscopes, Spectrespecs, and Omnioculars as well as Quidditch supplies like Quaffles, Golden Snitches.
- Filch’s Emporium of Confiscated Goods: This shop also serves as the exit for Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey. Here you can shop from the collection of prohibited items taken from Hogwarts students by the school’s Caretaker. Items like Hogwarts t-shirts, shoulder bags, caps, scarves, house crest banners, and stationery; plus authentic movie prop replicas, clothing, toys and more are available for purchase.
- Owl Post: Here guests can purchase everything a studying wizard or witch needs to ccommunicate via owl delivery. You can peruse correspondence materials like stationery, quills, seals, and ink or even purchase your own owl.
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Some Photos Courtesy Universal