Harry Potter World… Where do I even start? Quite possibly one of the most magical places I’ve ever visited, if I could go back tomorrow I would. I mean, brb whilst I go cry in the corner wishing I was still there!
Emily and I started our Harry Potter adventure on the second day of our Florida vacation because although we could have gone the evening we arrived, it would only have been for an hour or so and I really didn’t want my first experience there to be rushed.
Our original plan was to go to Hogsmeade first, which is located in the Universal Islands Of Adventure park however upon our arrival it was closed for the morning, so we headed over to Universal Studios for Diagon Alley. The reason why we wanted to start off at Hogsmeade was because Emily has been before and she said Diagon Alley is the best out of the two, so we wanted to save the best till last however it worked out quite well because obviously Diagon Alley comes first in the movies so it makes more sense that we went there to begin with.
Diagon Alley is hands down one of the most magical places I’ve ever visited. It’s incredibly realistic and being there truly does make you feel like you’re in the wizarding world. Everything is perfection and so well thought out, from Kreacher peeking out of the window at Grimmauld Place to the incredibly ginormous dragon on top of Gringotts Bank. It’s clear that a lot of time, thought and effort has gone into making Harry Potter World truly flawless.
Our first stop in Diagon Alley was The Leaky Cauldron, where Emily and I decided to go for some breakfast because we were starving! We definitely chose the right venue to grab some food because again, eating in The Leaky Cauldron really made me feel like I was part of the wizarding world and the food was just divine! Emily and I both had the full breakfast which included tasty scrambled eggs, potatoes and best of all, a croissant! I’ve never had a croissant as part of my full breakfast before but I’m all over that now. We actually ended up having breakfast at The Leaky Cauldron twice over the course of our Universal Adventure because it was such a cool place with a wonderful atmosphere,
I’d go back in a heartbeat. Too delicious!
After breakfast it was straight to Ollivanders to purchase our wands. After a lot of umm-ing and ahh-ing over whose to buy (because unfortunately in this Diagon Alley the wand doesn’t actually choose the wizard, we had to choose ourselves), I ended up purchasing Dumbledore’s wand aka the elder wand and I decided I would use it’s amazing overruling powers to spread love and light in the world. Of course Emily and I both made sure the wands we got were interactive so we could do spells around Diagon Alley and Hogsmeade.
One of the coolest places to go and practice your spells is definitely Knockturn Alley which you can find towards the back left of Diagon Alley. In my opinion, some of the most fun spells are located here. With a spooky atmosphere Knockturn Alley is just as you’d expect, it’s dark and eerie and the Borgin and Burkes store is just amazing with the staff being extra creepy! There’s even a vanishing cupboard in there where you can hear a bird chirping if you listen closely. Truly magical and atmospheric.
Naturally being a theme park, Harry Potter World obviously features a few super amazing rides, with ‘Escape From Gringotts’ being the main attraction of Diagon Alley. This ride is incredible even down to the queuing system which is a walk through Gringotts itself. It’s unbelievably realistic with Goblins at both sides of the room ‘working’ just like in the films. It reminds me of the scene in Deathly Hallows where Hermione has taken the Pollyjuice Potion to look like Bellatrix and is demanding access to her vault. Whilst on the ride you have to wear 3D glasses and as you speed around Gringotts you follow along with scenes made especially for the ride, including scenes with Voldemort and Bellatrix.
One of the things I loved most about Diagon Alley was the shopping, my favourite shop definitely being Weasley’s Wizard Wheezes. As I was reading the Half Blood Prince at the time of my holiday which makes a lot of references to the shop at the beginning of the book, it really made me excited to actually ‘step inside the pages’ and experience Weasley’s Wizard Wheezes for real. They sell everything in there, from U-No-Poo sweets to extendable ears, both of which Fred and George sell in the books. They even sell a ‘Umbridge Unicycle’ which I think is hilarious. This shop is the best ever!
As Harry Potter World is split between two different park, Islands Of Adventure and Universal Studios, with Diagon Alley located at Universal Studios you obviously have to cross between parks to get to Hogsmeade and vice versa. In order to get between parks, rather than walking you can actually take the magical Hogwarts Express which is just amazing. The attention to detail Universal have paid to making Harry Potter World truly the most magical and realistic world is incredible. The Hogwarts express is an amazing experience and an extra special touch to an already magical place, even the queue to get on is so realistic and similar to the films. I’m not going to give away any spoilers as to what it’s like when you’re on, but take it from me until you go, it’s really very cool!
Hogsmeade is magical. With snow covered buildings and of course the life size, realistic Hogwarts Castle set as the most magnificent backdrop once again I really felt like I could be a student at Hogwarts.
One thing I definitely wanted to do whilst at Harry Potter World was try butter beer which although I hadn’t heard good things about I needed to do anyway. Emily and I decided to have a drink in The Three Broomsticks where of course, we got butter beer. Ew, it was gross. It tasted kind of like marshmallows but definitely not in a good way and I was in no rush to finish the drink. Emily and I shared and we got most of the way through but I definitely was not keen to have it again. I’m glad I tried it however and in The Three Broomsticks too, which was super cool and as with everything in Harry Potter World, very atmospheric. The staff were super friendly too!
In Hogsmeade there are two rides, Flight Of The Hippogriff and The Forbidden Journey. Flight Of The Hippogriff is just a little rollercoaster which is pretty much over as soon as it starts. It’s such a short ride but it’s so cute and giggly and it’s Harry Potter so I love it.
Forbidden Journey is the best ride. A rollercoaster located actually inside Hogwarts Castle the magic starts the moment you enter the queue. The portraits on the wall talk amongst each other and the dark winding staircases make you feel as though you’re rushing to get back to your common room or heading to the great hall for a feast. The ride itself is wonderful as you journey through Hogwarts facing spooktacular Dementors and the Whomping Willow on the way. It really is very cool!
Emily and I spent a good few days experiencing all Harry Potter World has to offer, everyday we were at Universal we made sure to visit both Hogsmeade and Diagon Alley. I couldn’t get enough of it! It really is the most magical place and a dream come true for a Harry Potter fan like me, and a great place to be enjoyed by all. I seriously can’t wait to go back one day (soon) and I just wish I could cast a spell with my elder wand right now to transport me back!
Have you ever been to Harry Potter World at Universal? Do you prefer Hogsmeade Or Diagon Alley? Let me know in the comments below.
Thank you all for reading,