The Complete Wizarding World of Harry Potter Guide and Two-Day Itinerary

Hogwarts Castle at Islands of Adventure Orlando.

If you’ve spent years dreaming of one day receiving your Hogwarts letter, then a trip to the Wizarding World of Harry Potter in Universal Orlando will feel like a dream come true. From the amazing Hogwarts replica, delicious Butterbeer, fun rides, and plenty of places to explore you’ll believe you’ve been transported to that magical world. I’ve traveled to Universal twice now, and am still awestruck by the level of detail, and wonder found within the theme parks. If you’re planning a visit then read on to find the complete Wizarding World of Harry Potter guide and two-day itinerary. 

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What to Know Before Visiting the Wizarding World of Harry Potter

First and foremost, The Wizarding World is in both Universal Parks: Islands of Adventure and Universal Studios. On the Islands of Adventure side, you’ll find the village of Hogsmeade and Hogwarts, along with several rides. In Universal Studios you can find Diagon Alley, Grimmauld Place, and the Knight Bus. In this guide and two-day itinerary, you’ll visit both parks so you won’t miss a thing that the Wizarding World has to offer. 

Where to Find Hogsmeade and Diagon Alley

Both Harry Potter areas are somewhat out of the way, but once you understand how to get there it’s easy to find. Hogsmeade in Islands of Adventure is in the northern part of the park between Jurassic Park and The Lost Continent. Plenty of signs point to Hogsmeade once you near The Lost Continent section of the park. However, the entrance to Diagon Alley, found in the back of Universal Studios is unmarked. Just look for the brick wall next to the Kings Cross Station and walk on in. You can also see the purple Knight Bus across from the entrance.

Knight Bus at Wizarding World of Harry Potter.
Hard to miss the massive Knight Bus!

Download the Universal Orlando App

If you plan to have any sit-down meals in the Wizarding World, then you’ll want the app for mobile food and drink orders. It cuts down on waiting time and makes for a seamless dining experience. Additionally, you can purchase park tickets, check park hours, use a digital map, and view ride wait times. The ability to see wait times for rides truly made my Wizarding World experience smooth and enjoyable. The waiting lines update in real-time, and you can utilize this to your full advantage to pick and choose where to go next based on that. I never waited longer than 45 minutes for any ride.

Purchase Park-to-Park Tickets 

Buying park-to-park tickets is my number one tip for visiting the Wizarding World. The Hogwarts Express, which runs between Hogsmeade and Diagon Alley is only accessible with the purchase of park-to-park tickets and is not to be missed. Like Hogwarts Castle, the train and the stations are beautifully detailed and accurate to the story, but best of all it feels like being on another attraction. 

Both Kings Cross Station and Hogsmeade Station have unique surprises while riding the train and should be experienced each way. On top of the incredible joy of riding the Hogwarts Express itself, it’s also a handy way to travel to and from each park instead of making the long trek in the Florida heat. Park-to-park tickets are more expensive than standard one-day tickets but are worth the extra cost. 

Hogwarts Express at Kings Cross Station.

How Much Time to Spend in the Wizarding World of Harry Potter

How much time to spend in the Wizarding World comes down to personal preference. Can you see and do everything in one day? Probably, if crowds are lower for that day. Would I recommend trying it? No, especially for a first-time visit. One day also leaves no time to explore the other lands in Universal Studios and Islands of Adventure. Plus, that one day would be extremely rushed, and it’s better to have that extra day to take more things in. I found that two days was the perfect amount of time to see everything in the Wizarding World, explore other Universal lands, and go on plenty of rides.

Cost for Two Days in the Wizarding World

How much tickets will cost depends on the month and day you plan on visiting. There is the additional variable of if you are eligible for any promotions, so check out what current deals Universal has on their website before buying tickets. Additionally, the longer you stay the lower the cost of tickets will be. As of May 2023, the starting price for a 1-day park-to-park ticket for an adult is $164 and $159 for children. 

As a general rule, ticket prices are higher on weekends, holidays, and during the summer months. If possible, target off-season travel like September, end of January, and end of April during the week. In full transparency, for two adults in May 2023 with tickets and food, we averaged $500 per day. 

Best Time to Visit the Wizarding World

The best time to visit the Wizarding World of Harry Potter Orlando varies each year. This is based on different factors, such as when athletic and dance competitions will be in town and when periods like spring break fall on. Overall, the summer months and the holiday weeks of Thanksgiving, Christmas, Presidents’ Day, and Easter are the least ideal times to visit due to crowds. Late spring through early fall in Florida is also when the state experiences its warmest temperatures which is something to consider when choosing when to visit. As mentioned above, there are lower-season times to visit such as September, the end of January, the end of April, and early March. 

Know All the Butterbeer Options!

Did you even go to the Wizarding World of Harry Potter if you didn’t enjoy several Butterbeers? You could, but you would miss out on the best drink in the parks! There are three different Butterbeer drink options: hot, cold, and frozen. Unfortunately, it’s always been too warm in Florida during my visits to sample the hot Butterbeer, but I’ve heard it’s amazing.

Besides the three Butterbeer drinks, there’s also Butterbeer-flavored food to try in the Wizarding World. There’s the beloved Butterbeer ice cream, a soft serve vanilla swirled with thick butterscotch. Butterbeer fudge is another tasty option with its butterscotch flavor and shortbread foundation. Lastly, there’s the Butterbeer potted cream which is similar to a pudding yet lighter.

Butterbeer at Wizarding World of Harry Potter Orlando

Where to Find All the Butterbeer

Frozen and Cold Butterbeer
Hogsmeade: Butterbeer street carts, Hog’s Head, and The Three Broomsticks. 
Diagon Alley: The Hopping Pot, The Leaky Cauldron, and The Fountain of Fair Fortune.

Hot Butterbeer
Hogsmeade: Hog’s Head, The Three Broomsticks, and the Butterbeer street carts. 
Diagon Alley: The Hopping Pot and The Leaky Cauldron.

Butterbeer Ice Cream -
Hogsmeade: The Three Broomsticks.
Diagon Alley: The Hopping Pot, Florean Fortescue's Ice-Cream Parlour, The Leaky Cauldron, and The Fountain of Fair Fortune.

Butterbeer Fudge -
Hogsmeade: Honeydukes. 
Diagon Alley: Sugarplum’s Sweet Shop.

Butterbeer Potted Cream -
Hogsmeade: The Three Broomsticks.
Diagon Alley: The Leaky Cauldron.

Understand the Ride Lockers System 

For any thrill rides and some 3D/4D rides, you'll need to put your possessions in a park locker. The standard lockers are on the smaller side, consider this when deciding which bag to bring to the Wizarding World. The lockers are 14 in x 5.5 in x 16.9 in. For reference, a mini Hogwarts Loungefly backpack fit fine along with a gift bag and a few loose items. You’ll want to make sure to empty your pockets to store in the locker apart from your park tickets.

The single-use lockers are located near the attractions that require them and are free. They also easily open and close one time with the scan of a park ticket. Larger lockers are available for a fee, but I would avoid them unless necessary. The Wizarding World rides that use lockers are Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey and Hagrid’s Magical Creatures Motorbike Adventure in Hogsmeade, and Harry Potter and the Escape from Gringotts in Diagon Alley.

Note: You must have your park tickets to reopen your locker! 

Woman with Loungefly Hogwarts bag at the Wizarding World in Islands of Adventure.
Loungefly bag that I wore throughout the Wizarding World.

The Wizarding World of Harry Potter Two-Day Itinerary

Day 1:

Rise and shine because this is going to be an early day! If you’re staying at a Universal property resort, which I highly recommend, then it’ll be extra early too. For those who choose to stay at a Universal Hotel, you have the opportunity to take advantage of early park admission. This gives you an additional hour at one of the parks before they open to the public. Which park offering early admission changes based on the date, so check the Universal app or website for hours. 

Islands of Adventure - Hogsmeade 

Before jumping to the first stop, when you walk through the entrance to Hogsmeade, pause for a moment to take it all in. Admire the snow-capped buildings, the instrumental music playing in the background, and Hogwarts off in the distance. Congratulations, you’ve made it to Hogwarts. 

Hogsmeade at Islands of Adventure Orlando.

First Stop: Hagrid’s Magical Creatures Motorbike Adventure 

The first stop you’ll want to make is Hagrid’s Motorbike Adventure which takes you on a thrilling ride through the Forbidden Forest. It’s a unique attraction that combines the fast adventure of a roller coaster with immersive storytelling. This is undoubtedly one of Universal’s most popular rides and can see hours-long wait times. The ride is best attempted immediately after entering the park to get on the line as early as possible.

So, is Hagrid’s ride worth the wait? YES! It is absolutely worth the wait. Some elements I loved on the ride were going backward and a slight drop. It’s a thrill without being too extreme, and the perfect way to start your two-day Wizarding World adventure.

Second Stop: Butterbeer Carts 

All that exhilaration (and probably a bit of waiting) from Hagrid’s Motorbike Adventure is sure to leave you parched, and what better way to quench your thirst than with your first Butterbeer? I say first because you’ll want more than one throughout the day. The sweet cream soda and butterscotch drink are delicious and addicting. There are two Butterbeer carts in Hogsmeade. The first is next to Honeydukes, and the second cart is near the Hogwarts (aka Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey ride) entrance in a corner off to the side. The lines move fast at either cart, so choose whichever you’re closest to.

Butterbeer cart at Hogsmeade in Islands of Adventure.

Third Stop: Pose for Pictures With Hogwarts

As soon as Hogwarts Castle comes into view, I immediately feel a sense of being at home. I’m transported to another world, one filled with magic and wonder. Each time I see Hogwarts is special, a new memory is made, and I love being able to capture that in a photo. Hogsmeade has two unique perspectives to capture photos with Hogwarts.

Photo Location # 1: The Front of Hogwarts (The Forbidden Journey Entrance)

Near the second Butterbeer cart, you won’t be able to miss this spot as it’s the entrance to the Forbidden Journey ride. This angle has Hogwarts in its full glory directly facing you. The castle stands atop a rocky cliff, each tower visible, with spires jutting into the sky, and statues up front. You’re also surrounded by crowds, who will be in your shot as this is a ride entrance, but honestly, it doesn’t take away from the picture. It also makes for a great selfie spot if the crowds are too much for a regular picture. 

Front of Hogwarts at Wizarding World of Harry Potter.
Photo Location # 2: The side of Hogwarts on the bridge 

This is a favorite picture spot in not only all of the Wizarding World but all of Universal. The location is the bridge between Hogsmeade and Jurassic Park. Looking at the Islands of Adventure map, the bridge shows as the connection between the two lands in the park. The bridge provides an unobstructed view of the side of Hogwarts. Standing behind the bridge, the castle towers above, surrounded by lush greenery. Best of all, there will be zero other guests in your pictures because there is plenty of space to spread out. Be prepared to take tons of pictures!

Find my Gryffindor scarf here! Find my Gryffindor headband here!

Fourth Stop: Visit Ollivanders Wand Shop 

Hogsmeade has plenty of stores to enjoy, but on the first day, you’ll want to visit Ollivanders Wand Shop. There are two Ollivanders in the Wizarding World, so if the one in Hogsmeade is too crowded, you can try the one in Diagon Alley instead later in the day. Ollivanders is no ordinary store, every 15 - 25 minutes they hold a wand-choosing ceremony. In this experience, the wand chooses a lucky wizard among a group of guests. There’s no guarantee to be selected, but it’s still a fun activity as a Harry Potter fan.

A variety of wands are available for purchase that are either traditional or interactive. The main difference between the two types of wands is that the traditional ones are purely decorative whereas the interactive ones are used for spellwork in the Wizarding World. Traditional wands are character-based and have a smaller selection but a cheaper price tag of $55 per wand as of May 2023. On the other hand, there’s a wide selection of interactive wands to choose from, with a slightly higher price of $63 per wand in May 2023.

Fifth Stop: Grab Sweet Treats at Honeydukes

Honeydukes is a colorful candy shop filled with every kind of Harry Potter-themed treat, unique merchandise, and a small bakery. Like the sweetshop in the Harry Potter movies, it has a bright pink staircase and green shelves lined with various candies. You can expect to find Chocolate Frogs, Bertie Bott’s Every Flavor Beans, and Exploding Bon Bons to name a few. In the small bakery section, there are items such as Cauldron Cakes, Pumpkin Pasties, and even Butterbeer Fudge.

Sixth Stop: Ride Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey 

Now it’s time to ride The Forbidden Journey! Luckily, wait times are usually much shorter for this than the other Wizarding World rides, and can range from 10 minutes to an hour. I never waited longer than 30 minutes during either visit. Not to mention, moving through the line is an experience in itself!

After entering through Hogwarts gates, you’ll pass Dumbledore’s office, the Gryffindor common room, and the Sorting Hat while waiting in the line queue. Then on this dark thrill ride, you are completely immersed in the Wizarding World. There are so many tributes to Harry Potter that each time I go on it, I find something new that I missed!

Seventh Stop: Take the Hogwarts Express 

After a morning in Hogsmeade, it’s time to travel to Diagon Alley via the Hogwarts Express. Riding the train each way at the Wizarding World is an attraction in itself. There are fun surprises to look out for on the window and through the closed train door. It’s also air-conditioned with plenty of seat space, making it a great way to relax before the next part of your day at the parks.

Hogwarts Express in Hogsmeade Station Wizarding World.

Universal Studios - Diagon Alley

Kings Cross is more detailed than Hogsmeade Station with plenty of subtle tributes found throughout the station. Lookout for the posters on the walls and the piles of trunks scattered here. You will be taking the Hogwarts Express back this way on day two of this itinerary, so there’ll be plenty of time to catch any details you miss tomorrow. 

Trunks in Kinds Cross Station Universal Studios Orlando.

Exiting the station, you’ll find yourself in Muggle London. There are display shops lining the street until you see the red phone booth. You’ll come across a large brick wall with the unmissable large purple Knight Bus across from it. This is the entrance to Diagon Alley.

Diagon Alley Wizarding World Universal Studios Orlando.

First Stop: Watch the Gringotts Dragon Spit Fire! 

Before moving on to the next destination, take a moment to appreciate the surroundings of Diagon Alley. You’ll also want to hang out to watch the large dragon perched atop Gringotts bank spit fire. Fair warning, it’s a big ball of flame, so the closer you get to the dragon, the more likely you are to feel that heat. The show only lasts for a few seconds, but it’s an astounding sight. Gringotts dragon spits fire every 10-15 minutes, and you’ll know when it’s time when the dragon starts to make a rumbling sound. 

Gringotts bank dragon at Wizarding World of Harry Potter.

Second Stop: Sit Down for Lunch at the Leaky Cauldron

This is where mobile food ordering on the Universal app is important. Reservations aren’t available at the Leaky Cauldron, but mobile ordering will keep wait times short. The menu is classic British pub fare, but there’s enough variety for anyone to find something. 

I ordered the Cottage Pie, it was tasty, despite a lack of seasoning, and very filling. Some other menu favorites include Bangers and Mash, Fisherman’s Pie, and Beef, Lamb, and Guinness Stew. Overall, the food is good, not great, but the ambiance is its selling point. The Leaky Cauldron is modeled after its appearance in the movies with a cathedral ceiling, long wooden beams overhead, mismatched wall décor, and rustic metal chandeliers. It made me feel like I was in Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban

The Leaky Cauldron at the Wizarding World in Universal Studios Orlando.

Third Stop: Wander Through Diagon Alley

This is more of a recommendation on how to spend the next few hours of the afternoon in Diagon Alley. Which is to take it all in! Go get a Butterbeer from The Hopping Pot and walk around. There are so many unique and amazing touches sprinkled throughout the area that you’ll spot something different on every wall and hidden in corners. Diagon Alley has plenty of shops to stop into, but I saved most of these for day 2. You can also check out Ollivanders here if you skipped it at Hogsmeade earlier. 

Dark Mark in Diagon Alley Wizarding World of Harry Potter.
Check out all the amazing art scattered throughout Diagon Alley!

Fourth Stop: Skulk in the Shadows of Knockturn Alley

Calling all witches and wizards interested in the Dark Arts! Hidden within the bright and magical Diagon Alley is a walkway to the darker side of the Wizarding World. There are two ways to enter Knockturn Alley, the first entrance is next to the Leaky Cauldron, and the second is across from the restrooms at the end left of Gringotts Bank. The alley is very dark, which is great to escape the Florida sun, but watch your step as you walk.

There are a few Dark Arts displays to observe, with different Harry Potter Easter eggs and spells to cast for those with interactive wands. The main attraction is the one shop here, Borgin and Burkes. The store is brimming with merchandise geared toward the Dark Arts. Like the alley, there are plenty of hidden gems to find, and there's even the vanishing cabinet tucked away in a corner.

Entrance to Knockturn Alley Wizarding World of Harry Potter.

Fifth Stop: Meet the Knight Bus Driver

Back outside the entrance of Diagon Alley is the Knight Bus, and standing next to it is both the driver and the shrunken head from Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban. They’re always up for a conversation and prepare to laugh because they have jokes ready. The bus itself is a replica from the film and feels larger than life to stand by. Best of all it’s a fun photo opportunity, and the Knight Bus driver will pose with you for pictures. 

Knight Bus driver at Universal Studios Orlando.

End of Wizarding World Day 1!

Although the day doesn’t have to be over, for others such a long day can be exhausting, and plenty of people would be ready to get back to the hotel. However, if you choose to stay, as I did, then I suggest exploring the rest of Universal Studios and grabbing dinner in another part of the park.

Sign in Diagon Alley in Universal Studios Orlando.
There's always plenty of mayhem to find in Diagon Alley!

Day 2:

It’s time for day two and another early day because the earlier you arrive at the parks, the better. Mornings can be crowded, but generally, there are fewer parkgoers compared to the afternoon. This is also Florida, and unless you’re traveling in the winter, the afternoons can be hot even in spring and fall.

Today you’ll start with Diagon Alley and then head back to Hogsmeade later on. In addition to experiencing anything missed in the Wizarding World from the first day, you’ll also have time to revisit some favorites.

Universal Studios - Diagon Alley

First Stop: Harry Potter and the Escape From Gringotts

Escape from Gringotts is the only Wizarding World ride in Universal Studios, and similar to Hagrid’s Motorbike ride in Islands of Adventure, it can have long standby lines. You’ll want to make this your first stop on the second day in Diagon Alley to avoid a long wait. This thrill ride is a fun adventure through Gringotts vaults.

Like Forbidden Journey, the line queue is an experience in itself as you move through the stunningly detailed bank, a replica of the lobby from Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows. Made complete with a crystal chandelier and goblin bank tellers. Slowly moving to the lower levels of Gringotts, you begin your heist journey into the vaults! It’s nothing too scary, though it is fast, and a thrilling experience.

Second Stop: Shop Till You Drop In Diagon Alley

After escaping from Gringotts Bank, it’s time to visit the countless stores that make up most of Diagon Alley. Below I've listed my top three favorite shops with the rest of the stores. The list excludes Ollivanders and Borgin and Burkes since they were in yesterday's itinerary.

1. Weasley’s Wizard Wheezes

The Weasley twins' famous joke shop is the first store you see as you enter Diagon Alley. It would be hard to miss with its bright orange windows against a lavender building and the giant robotic Weasley removing its large hat. The shop is colorful and fun, filled with hilarious candies like Puking Pastilles and Nosebleed Nougats. Plus, there's joke merchandise and adorable plush Pygmy Puffs.

Weasley’s Wizard Wheezes in Diagon Alley Universal Orlando.
2. Magical Menagerie 

The Magical Menagerie is the store for all things magical creature related. The windows to this pet shop are filled with all types of Wizarding World beasts, including a snake that speaks in Parseltongue. Inside you’ll find endless plush creatures to take home and beast-centered merchandise. I snagged a cute Hedwig shirt here on my last visit. 

3. Sugarplum’s Sweetshop 

Sugarplum’s Sweetshop in Diagon Alley has all the candy and baked goods you desire behind its hot pink pained exterior. The items are the same as those found in Honeydukes in Hogsmeade, but who could turn down more delicious treats? So stop in and grab another Chocolate Frog or two. 

Sugarplum's Sweetshop in the Wizarding World of Harry Potter.
Other Diagon Alley Shops
  • Wiseacre’s Wizarding Equipment: A whimsical atmosphere and celestial theme with house items and jewelry for sale. 
  • Globus Mundi: Find travel merchandise and see the wall of clocks. 
  • Wands by Gregororovitch: A second wand shop.
  • Scribbulus: Stationary and writing supplies. 
  • Quality Quidditch Supplies: You can find all the Quidditch-related merchandise here.
  • Madam Malkin’s Robes for All Occasions: Hogwarts robes and uniforms as well as Hogwarts house items. Check out the mirror, it may compliment you.
  • Gringotts Money Exchange: Get Wizarding World Bank Notes in exchange for Muggle money from a goblin. 

Third Stop: Ice Cream at Florean Fortescue’s Ice-Cream Parlour

Florean Fortescue’s Ice-Cream Parlour is a no-fuss ice cream shop that might look simple compared to the more eye-catching store designs in Diagon Alley, but there’s a reason a line quickly forms throughout most of the day. The ice cream is delicious, with plenty of different options and unique flavors.

The soft-serve Butterbeer ice cream in a cone is a personal and park guest favorite. For other soft-serve options, consider orange marmalade or strawberries and cream. For hard pack try the sticky toffee pudding or strawberry and peanut butter.

Butterbeer ice cream at the Wizarding World of Harry Potter.

Fourth Stop: Look For Kreacher at 12 Grimmauld Place

Back outside of Diagon Alley, you’ll see an unsuspecting building next to the brick wall entrance and across from the Knight Bus. This is 12 Grimmauld Place, the Muggle facade of the Black family's ancestral home. The Black residence was an integral part of the Harry Potter series serving as the meeting place for the Order of the Phoenix. Every few minutes here you can catch a quick glimpse of Kreacher, the house elf, so keep your eyes peeled to the middle of the second-floor window. 

12 Grimmauld Place with Kreacher at Universal Studios Orlando on a two-day Wizarding World itinerary.
Spot Kreacher peeking through the window!

Sixth Stop: Make A Call at the Red Phone Booth

You’ve passed the cherry red phone booth several times, but if you haven’t stopped in for a cute photo and quick dial to a certain Ministry, then you should now. If you dial MAGIC (62442) inside the phone booth you’ll be connected to the Ministry of Magic for a moment. It’s a fun and quick stop for fans in Muggle London on the way to King Cross Station. 

Seventh Stop: Ride the Hogwarts Express From King Cross Station

This time we’re taking the Hogwarts Express from Kings Cross Station back to Hogsmeade. The elaborate station has countless touches throughout the space that you might have missed on your way in. A favorite Easter egg is the Make a Little Magic poster, similar to the poster seen in The Half-Blood Prince when Harry meets with Dumbledore at the station. Kings Cross Station also has the 9 3/4 platform sign. There are quite a few to stand under so make sure to take a picture with one.

9 3/4 Platform at the Wizarding World of Harry Potter.

Islands of Adventure - Hogsmeade

First Stop: Pose for Pictures With the Hogwarts Express

Back at Hogsmeade, the first thing to do is take a picture with the Hogwarts Express. It's challenging to get a decent shot on either of the train platforms, making the stationary train in Hogsmeade a great photo opportunity. After walking through Hogsmeade’s entrance, you won’t be able to miss the train, and it’s right next to Hagrid’s Motorbike ride. There’s enough background space that guests won't be in your photo. Throughout the day the Hogwarts Express conductor is nearby and will pose for pictures with you too.

Second Stop: Have Lunch at the Three Broomsticks

Like the Leaky Cauldron, the Three Broomsticks doesn't accept reservations, instead using mobile ordering. The menu is also traditional British food with some American dishes like rotisserie chicken and sparerib platters. Popular items include the Fish and Chips, which I had and were good, and the Shepherd's Pie. They also offer The Great Feast for four, with multiple sides and entries. 

Overall, the food is alright, but the restaurant's décor and ambiance can’t be beaten, especially with indoor and outdoor seating. Inside, the pub and inn is a complete immersion into the Wizarding World, with high vaulted ceilings, a wall of antlers, and endless staircases above you. Fans might notice that the restaurant looks identical to the Three Broomsticks seen in Harry Potter and The Half-Blood Prince, and that’s because they are. The same plans used for the park were then used for the movie. 

Third Stop: Peruse the Other Hogsmeade Shops

Hogsmeade doesn’t have as many shops as Diagon Alley, but there are still a couple that we skipped over yesterday that you might want to visit.  

  • Dervish and Banges: This shop has a little of everything: house gear, Quidditch merchandise, and even brooms are available to purchase. While here make sure to see The Monster Book of Monsters locked up and snarling. 
  • Owl Post: Find all your stationary needs here. You can also have your mail stamped with the Hogsmeade mark! 
  • Filtch’s Emporium of Confiscated Goods: Hogsmeade's biggest shop, carrying a wide variety of Wizarding World items to purchase. They also have collectibles such as a chess set and Death Eater masks.
Owl Post in Hogsmeade at the Wizarding World.

Fourth Stop: Relax With a Drink at the Hogs Head

The Hogs Head is connected to the Three Broomsticks, at the back of the restaurant, but it has a totally different vibe. True to the Harry Potter series, it has rustic décor, and behind the bar, the hog's head moves. There's no food on the menu, but they serve alcoholic and nonalcoholic drinks, including specialty-themed beers. With plenty of seating indoors and outside, it’s a great spot to relax with a drink.

Fifth Stop: Ride Attractions Again and Enjoy the Rest of Islands of Adventure

Take this time to soak in Hogsmeade for a bit longer, perhaps grab another Butterbeer or ride Forbidden Journey again. You can also watch one of the 10-minute shows happening throughout the day (check the Universal app for show times.) Then go explore the rest of the park! Though this is a Wizarding World trip, I love the Jurassic Park and Marvel lands and never skip out on them.

Snowman at Wizarding World of Harry Potter in Hogsmeade.

Sixth Stop: The Nighttime Lights at Hogwarts

In full transparency, I didn't get to do this in my Wizarding World itinerary. I was exhausted, and as much as I wanted to see the amazing display of lights illuminating Hogwarts at night, I crashed at the hotel instead. However, you should do this if you’re up for it. I’ve heard this is a beautiful light show experience where all the houses are represented with the music we love. You’ll see fantastic projections on the castle in the perfect way to end your trip to the Wizarding World of Harry Potter.

Hotels Near Universal Studios Orlando

1. Universal's Endless Summer Resort - Surfside Inn and Suites:
Endless Summer is an affordable and convenient resort part of Universal Studios. This is where I stayed on my last trip, and loved the spacious and clean rooms. Included are a short shuttle ride to the parks and early park access.

2. Universal's Cabana Bay Beach Resort:
Cabana Bay is what I consider mid-tier among Universal's hotels. It's slightly more expensive than Endless Summer, but still reasonably priced and includes extra amenities. Volcano Bay is within walking distance, located across the road. Plus, the resort has a lazy river, two outdoor pools, and a bowling alley.

3. Universal's Loews Sapphire Falls Resort:
This 4-star upscale hotel is more expensive comparatively, but it won't completely break the bank. Less bougie than the premium resorts but still a beautiful place to stay with an Island theme. Perks include a water taxi to the parks, being within walking distance of Volcano Bay, and a large pool with a sand beach.

4. Residence Inn by Marriott Near Universal Orlando:
If you're looking for a hotel outside of Universal's resorts, but still close to the parks, the Residence Inn by Marriott is an ideal choice. It's approximately a 5-minute drive to Universal Studios and offers a comfortable stay. Rooms are spacious, and there's a complimentary shuttle service to the parks. 

Final Thoughts

No matter how you choose to spend your time in the Wizarding World of Harry Potter, you’re sure to have an unforgettable experience with lasting memories. I hope this guide and two-day itinerary helps plan your Universal trip. Be sure to let me know in the comments what you would want to experience in the Wizarding World! 

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12 comments

  • Chelsea Messina says:

    I've never been to the Harry Potter world in Orlando but I've been to the one in Anaheim twice! We had the butter bear, bought some candy, and had a blast. Each time I visited, I rode the castle ride. I had to close my eyes halfway through trying not to puke and was super sick afterward. My motion sickness does not agree with the castle!

    Reply
    • Jillian says:

      I haven't been to the one in Anaheim yet but hopefully someday soon! But oh no, the rides can be a lot if you struggle with motion sickness! It's worth going for the butterbeer alone though!

      Reply
  • Kiki says:

    This is so well written. Loved all your pics. This is definitely my bucket list place. Saving this post for my visit. Seeing the Hogwarts Express is giving me goosebumps!

    Reply
    • Jillian says:

      Thank you so much for your kind words! It was also a bucket list destination for me and trust me it will not disappoint you! Each time I see the castle and Hogwarts Express I get goosebumps!

      Reply
  • Shelly says:

    Thank you for the blueprint! I’m so embarrassed that I missed majority of these cool places and I live in Orlando lol. So using this as a guide to really explore.

    Reply
    • Jillian says:

      Don't be! There's so much to see that it's easy to miss things which is why I put this guide together! I hope you get to explore soon!

      Reply
  • Gabby Olivera says:

    Ok, this is officially on my bucket list. I feel like I just got an exclusive sneak peak and now I’m itching to go! Looks so fun!

    Reply
    • Jillian says:

      You will have the best time! It's such a fun trip for anyone to enjoy!

      Reply
  • Kitty says:

    Great post and very comprehensive! Will have to make sure I check off everything next time I am at Universal.

    Reply
    • Jillian says:

      I am so glad you enjoyed it! Last time I visited I missed so much so I hope this helps for when you return!

      Reply
  • Nick says:

    Thank you for this post! Very useful for me as I'm not familiar at all with this but am planning a trip with my wife for out 10th anniversary. Do you have any thoughts or posts on where to stay? We are looking at doing 3 nights and 2 days in the park. Thanks!

    Reply
    • Jillian says:

      I'm so glad you enjoyed it and congrats on the 10 year wedding anniversary! In terms of where to stay I definitely recommend staying at one of the Universal hotels if you can! There are a few options to choose from plus you get an hour of early park access to the Wizarding World which is worth it. Universal's Endless Summer Resort and the Dockside Inn and Suites are similar in price value to the hotels surrounding the park. I stayed at Endless Summer and loved it! The Loews Sapphire Falls Resort in Universal is higher in price but a beautiful place to stay as well. Additionally, there's a Hyatt and Holiday Inn across from Universal, both are casual and convenient hotels. I hope this helps and that you have an amazing vacation!

      Reply