Orlando: Universal Studios and the Wizarding World of Harry Potter

It was time to switch it up after two days doing the Magic Kingdom and Epcot. From our base at Disney’s Caribbean Beach Resort, we arranged for a Mears Shuttle to pick us up and take us to Universal Studios Orlando.

We had been to Universal Studios Hollywood back in 2012, and although there is a bit of crossover, the big draw to Orlando is, of course, the Wizarding World of Harry Potter.

It is, in one word, amazing! The attention to detail is spot on. The shops and restaurants have a great atmosphere and the workers are wonderfully in character.

London, Wizarding World of Harry Potter

London, Wizarding World of Harry Potter

We started with the London street facade with Kings Cross station, the Leicester Square tube stop, 12 Grimmauld Place, and the Knight Bus.

Then we entered Diagon Alley, got some butterbeer, and visited the Leaky Cauldron, Knockturn Alley, and did the exciting Escape from Gringotts ride.

Diagon Alley, Wizarding World of Harry Potter

Diagon Alley, Wizarding World of Harry Potter

Following that, it was time for the train journey: Hogwarts Express! Having been to the actual Kings Cross in London, it was amazing to get the same type of vibe! The train journey was fun and full of special effects. Movie magic!

Hogwarts Express, Wizarding World of Harry Potter

Hogwarts Express, Wizarding World of Harry Potter

The train deposits you at Hogsmeade Village where you’ll find snow on the rooftops. We had lunch at the Three Broomsticks, watched the quick wand show at Ollivanders, and the Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey ride at Hogwarts Castle.

Hogwarts Castle, Wizarding World of Harry Potter

Hogwarts Castle, Wizarding World of Harry Potter

After getting our fill of Harry Potter, we toured around the Islands of Adventure and then took the Hogwarts Express back to tour more of Universal Studios Florida.

Keep in mind, the Wizarding World of Harry Potter is divided between the two Universal parks (Universal Studios Florida and Islands of Adventure). You will need park-to-park admission to visit both Harry Potter sites. It’s well worth it! We did both parks in one day. The weekday hours in winter when we were there were shorter. We could have used a couple more hours to do more, but were happy with what we saw. We exited when the park closed at 7pm.

Maybe because this was a new experience for me, seeing the Wizarding World was my favorite theme park experience for Orlando. Definitely a must do!

Below are a few photos, for the full set, check out my Flickr album.

One Comment on “Orlando: Universal Studios and the Wizarding World of Harry Potter

  1. Pingback: Orlando: Trip in Review | Travel on the Side

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