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Great Theming and Entertainment Make Universal Studios a Must Do for Harry Potter Fans

Great Theming and Entertainment Make Universal Studios a Must Do for Harry Potter Fans

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The theming and entertainment of the Wizarding World of Harry Potter makes Universal Studios a must do for any fan of the franchise. Let’s take a look at what you can expect to see as far as live shows, overall theming, and some secret tips!

Wizarding World of Harry Potter

Credit: Monica

If you are a fan of either the Harry Potter books or the movies, Universal Orlando is a great place to visit. It is the home to the Wizarding World of Harry Potter, and it is an amazing experience for fans who want to immerse themselves in the stories!

The Wizarding World of Harry Potter is the crown jewel of Universal Studios. The two lands, Diagon Alley and Hogsmeade, are so immersively themed that it takes your breath away.

Credit: Monica

Diagon Alley is located in Universal Studios Florida while Hogsmeade can be found in Islands of Adventure. The Hogwarts Express connects the two areas via train. We recommend having the park-to-park ticket so you can travel back and forth and experience this cool attraction!

From grabbing a Butterbeer to casting spells, there are a lot of really great things to do. You can read Kate’s post about the 10 things Harry Potter fans will love. For the purposes of this article, we will focus on overall theming and entertainment.

Overall Theming: London

Credit: Susan

The theming in Unviersal Studios Florida actually begins before you even enter Diagon Alley. The London area is home to the Knight Bus where you can chat with a driver and shrunken head. Unfortunately, you cannot go inside the bus.

Be sure to make a call to M-A-G-I-C in the red phone booth to hear a message from the Ministry of Magic. You may encounter a small line to enter the phone booth, but the line moves fairly quickly.

Another fun thing to do in this area is stop and wait for the house elf to make an appearance at 12 Grimmauld Place. Be patient because he only appears briefly.

Overall Theming in Diagon Alley

Credit: Monica

The theming of Diagon Alley is incredible. There is really no other way to describe it! From the second you enter, you are completely immersed in the movies.You could easily spend most of the day just taking everything in. While that’s not always feasible, please take some time out to explore all the shops and corners.

The storefronts alone are worth the trip! There are so many neat magical objects in the storefronts and inside the shops. You can purchase wands, clothing, magical tricks and toys, and just about every souvenir imaginable. Additionally, you may also be interested in casting some spells in front of those shops!

Credit: Kate

Also be sure to wait for the dragon – he spits fire periodically! You can’t miss him as soon as you enter Diagon Alley.

Knockturn Alley is a somewhat-hidden portion of Diagon Alley that you must check out. There are two entrances – one right next to Leaky Cauldron and one across from The Fountain of Fair Fortune. You won’t see signs, but that’s part of the fun!

Explore all things Dark Arts including spells and the Bourgin and Burkes store. It’s a really great place to cool off and get away from the crowds. Plus, it’s just a neat spot that many people don’t know about.

As far as food, Leaky Cauldron is a must-do. The restaurant looks exactly as it does in the movie – there’s even a wanted poster for Sirius Black! Check out the video above to see for yourself.

After you have ridden Escape from Gringott, head over to the Gringotts Money Exchange. Ask questions and get your real-life USD muggle currency exchanged for Gringotts bank notes. You can use it for purchases throughout Wizarding World and Universal Studios.

Entertainment in Diagon Alley

Credit: Monica

There are two really great shows in Diagon Alley you should be sure to check out. Celestina Warbeck and the Banshees is a jazz-style group who performs in Carkitt Market. See the video below to get an idea of the show:

In addition, The Tales of Beedle the Bard is another live show in the same area. It uses puppets and props to retell 2 popular wizarding fairytales: “The Tale of the Three Brothers” and “The Fountain of Fair Fortune.”

Overall Theming: Hogsmeade

Credit: Monica

Once you take the train from London/Diagon Alley (not necessary, but worth the price of a park-to-park ticket!), you’ll enter Hogsmeade. This is where you’ll find Hogwarts and the little village that surrounds it.

Just like you’ll see the dragon sitting on top of Gringotts, you can’t miss the Hogwarts castle when you enter Hogsmeade. You’ll get the full effect better if you come in through the train station vs the back entrance near Jurassic Park.

Pirate tip: The bridge from Jurassic Park is a great spot for photos with the castle in the back!

Personally, I feel Diagon Alley is better themed than Hogsmeade, but Hogsmeade is still a sight to behold. I love all the snow-capped roofs, cobblestone, and stone buildings. Of course, do some window shopping as there are more spells to cast! And, you MUST make a bathroom stop and listen for Moaning Myrtle! This is one of my favorite parts of Hogsmeade.

universal islands of adventure hogsmeade three broomsticks restaurant dining room 1
Credit: Susan

Three Broomsticks is the restaurant in Hogsmeade, and the food is fantastic! Be sure to get the apple crumble pie, and read our review of the restaurant. There’s also Honeydukes and plenty of places to find Butterbeer.

Send a postcard or letter from the Owl Post, which will arrive at its destination with the postmark of Hogsmeade. There is also plenty of stationary and other owl-ish souvenirs to pick up.

Entertainment in Hogsmeade

Credit: KtP

There are two live shows to watch in Hogsmeade, and you’ll see them both on the stage right next to Flight of the Hippogriff. Showtimes are posted in the Universal app, which is a must for your trip.

First, the Frog Choir features a small choir of Hogwarts students and their frogs! One student from each House perform familiar songs with their frog and then a capella. This show alternates with the Triwizard Tournament on the same stage.

Second, cheer on the Beauxbatons and Durmastrang student as they participate in the Triwizard Tournament. This lively show is part of a centuries old tradition at Hogwarts, and you can watch a quick snippet here:

Both shows are about 10 minutes long and are easy to fit into your plans as you sip on a Butterbeer or before you get in line for one of the three attractions.

Final Thoughts

Credit: Monica

For me, the Wizarding World of Harry Potter is a must-do as a fan of the franchise. Both lands have great theming and entertainment, and the train connecting the two is a great nod to the movie.

I am curious how/if the Ministry of Magic will be connected to the two already existing areas of Wizarding World. My gut reaction is no, it won’t be connected by train, but I do hope Universal connects them somehow. That would make a great Harry Potter-themed day during your trip!

Credit: Monica

If you need someone to walk you through your vacation to Universal – from picking the right hotel to planning your day at Wizarding World (plus so much more), see details below for getting a free quote:

Using a Travel Agent can help you navigate the ins and outs of planning! I am here to help! Please fill out this form and put my name (Monica) in the Special Request box.

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