There are so many things to do at The Wizarding World of Harry Potter. You could easily spend your whole day wondering between Diagon Alley and Hogsmede and forget about the rest of Universal Studios! I am a massive Harry Potter fan and I absolutely fell in love with this part of Universal! Sorry to go all nerdy on you during this post, but fellow Harry Potter lovers will totally understand how I felt! To make the most out of your short time in this wonderland you want to try these out:
1. Let your wand choose you at Ollivanders
Ollivanders, the maker of Fine Wands since 382 B.C. Step into this small dusty shop and let your imagination take you away. Entering via a small doorway off the main entrance, we were taken into a back room to meet Ollivander and let the wands choose us. It was fantastic, literally like you had just stepped into the movie. Inside the shop there are countless different wands to choose from. You can choose to have a wand like your favourite character, or pick a completely unique one.
2. Cast a Spell
If you choose to buy an interactive wand you can cast real spells. Yep, this is not a drill people, you can cast spells just like you’re a wizard! While they are a little more expensive then you’re average wand, the entertainment is endless. A map offers you all the different places your wand will make magic, in many different places around the two towns. Wave your wand, cast the spells and watch the magic happen!
3. Ride the Hogwarts Express from Platform 9 3/4
By far the best way to travel between Diagon Alley and Hogsmede is to get on the Hogwarts Express. It needs no introduction, it’s the Hogwarts Express! Catch the train from Kings Cross Station, walk through the wall at Platform 9 3/4 (seriously, you can watch people walk through the wall!) and then jump on the train, just like Harry, Ron and Hermione would every school year. Grab a seat with your friends in one of the cabins and enjoy the view as you rush past the English countryside on your way to Hogsmeade and Hogwarts.
4. Have lunch at the Three Broomsticks
After a few hours of casting spells and buying your robes and textbooks you’re bound to get hungry! The Three Broomsticks, located in Hogsmede, has a great selection of authentic English food to make you feel like you have stepped right out of USA and into the English countryside. Menu options include shepherd’s pie, Cornish pastry, turkey legs and fresh vegetables, and dessert offers apple pie, strawberry and peanut butter ice-cream and chocolate trifle.
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5. Try a Frozen Butterbeer
Arguably the most famous drink in the entire series, Butterbeer is a fizzy treat that you must try whilst escaping muggle life! Available everywhere throughout Diagon Alley and Hogsmeade including restaurants, stores and drink carts, Butterbeer comes in both regular and frozen options and is absolutely delicious! I definitely recommend the frozen version, it was amazing.
6. Swap your boring US$ for Gringotts Bank Notes at Gringotts Money Exchange
If there’s anything that can make you feel like you actually belong to the wizarding world it’s exchanging those boring muggle dollars for Gringotts bank notes. Only a few meters away from the iconic Gringotts Bank, the money exchange is run by a friendly very life-like goblin. Gringotts bank notes are accepted everywhere within Diagon Alley and Hogsmede, as well as all throughout Universal Studios.
7. Buy a Chocolate Frog from Honeydukes
Chocolate Frogs are famous for not only being gigantic chocolatey treats, but also containing collectible cards with the wizarding worlds most famous and influential wizards and witches. The real life version lives up to the movie hype. These frogs are in fact gigantic! I actually couldn’t finish mine all at once and spread it over about three meals! As well as Chocolate Frogs you can get a whole range of sugary treats from Honeydukes including Acid Pops, Exploding Bonbons, Cauldron Cakes, Fizzing Whizzbees and Bertie Bott’s Every-Flavour Beans.
8. Visiting during the day and during the evening
We made a beeline for the Wizarding World of Harry Potter as soon as we walked into Universal Studios. It’s what we had come for and we didn’t want to waste any time! Don’t get me wrong, it was a great idea! There was hardly any line for the Hogwarts Express, the stores weren’t too crowded and there weren’t too many people around so we could happily wander around at our own pace. That being said, I’m so glad we went back at night to experience Diagon Alley by night! The Gringotts dragon breathing fire against the sunset was spectacular. Walking around the streets at night was even more magical – the spells were more effective, the atmosphere was more excited and the whole feel was more authentic. Plus, there’s something about walking down Knockturn Alley in the dark and hoping not to run into the Malfoys.
9. Meet the Knight Bus conductor and the Rastafarian Shrunken Head Officer
Take a photo with the famous Knight Bus and the Rastafarian Shruken Head! Located out the front of Kings Cross Station you can find the Knight Bus and the conductor, and see the great purple bus in all it’s glory!
10. Visit Hogwarts
And last but definitely not least, visit the magical Hogwarts castle itself! Sitting on top of Hogsmeade Village, it really is a wonderful sight! We had such a great day at the Wizarding World of Harry Potter and would definitely recommend visiting! I can’t stress enough how important it is to have a two park pass to visit both Diagon Alley and Hogsmeade and ride the Hogwarts Express! A top bucket list destination for every die hard Harry Potter fan!
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