Explore the Wizarding World of Harry Potter
I am a self-professed Harry Potter fan–I have read all of the books, enjoyed the movies, and was excited to visit the new Wizarding World of Harry Potter at Universal Studios’ Islands of Adventure theme park. The new Wizarding World was hyped pretty heavily before the unveiling, and although Hogsmeade village is smaller than some fans were hoping, I think the world fully lives up to expectations.
Enjoy my full review of the new Harry Potter World and the tips and tricks to ensure you also enjoy your park visit. Oh yeah, and there is a full butterbeer critique, so enjoy!
Hogsmeade Village from above at the Wizarding World of Harry Potter, Universal Studios Orlando
Review: The Wizarding World of Harry Potter at Universal
As an Orlando native at one point in my life Universal Studios Orlando was one of my favorite haunts throughout college. So when the new Harry Potter World was opened I was one of the first in line for HP geekery and Butterbeer goodness!
Walking into the Wizarding World
As a native Floridian, I was instantly charmed by the snowcapped village, a stark contrast to the bright blue skies and heat backing up at you from the pavement. The buildings in Hogsmeade Village are sweetly nestled throughout the faux-cobblestone street. Walking through this fictional village, fans of the book series will love the nuances and details they get just walking through the Harry Potter world. Their town, buildings, names, colors, and music are a detailed trip through the intricacies of J.K. Rowlings’ wizarding universe.
Hogsmeade Village in the Wizarding World of Harry Potter, Universal Studios Orlando
The observant and careful readers will love the hidden writing on the walls of Hogsmeade and those little details etched into the town that proves that Universal tried very hard to faithfully recreate this world.
Honey Duke’s sweets shop at the Wizarding World of Harry Potter, Universal Studios Orlando
What Shops Are Present in Hogsmeade Village?
All of the key elements from the series are present in Hogsmeade Village:
- Ollivander’s Wand Shop
- Dervish and Bangs
- Zonko’s Joke Shop
- Snack cakes
- Pumpkin juice
- Wands for sale
- Wizard cast members walking around
Paraphernalia for each of the houses is for sale and you’ll love the hour or two spend inside this fictional Universe.
The Delicious Butterbeer
Butterbeer is a non-alcoholic drink (for muggles…just like the in the book series…bring some house-elves though and it’s a different story
The drink is only served in the Harry Potter World, so make sure you try it while you’re there!
The drink itself is delicious and the frozen Butterbeer tastes a notch above the traditional butterbeer. I recommend trying them both (but not at the same time unless you’re traveling in a couple or family!
All aboard the Hogwarts Express at the Wizarding World of Harry Potter, Universal Studios Orlando
New Ride: Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey
The newest ride at Universal, Harry Potter, and the Forbidden Journey, is a wowzer and has now become, perhaps, the best ride out of all of the Orlando theme parks. The journey through the queue alone is part of the experience. I’m an avid theme parker (I grew up an hour from Orlando, how could I not be?) and as I waited in line and winded my way through Hogwarts Castle the level of detail, interaction and care put into the experience made me frequently smile and laugh out loud at the fun and quirky inside jokes that made it into the ride.
Hogwarts Castle and the new ride at the Wizarding World of Harry Potter, Universal Studios Orlando
Also, the interior castle decorations have the best holographic technology I’ve ever seen.
The ride itself is innovative, incredibly technologically advanced, and well, yes: magical. You will have to queue in line for this ride since it’s still a new attraction, but it’s worth it for the end result (and you can get on the ride in record time if you stay on Universal property for the extra hour of park time!
As a warning though, The Forbidden Journey is not for the weak-stomached and each person in my group felt a ill walking out (but no one had to make that sad and sudden dash to a nearby trash can, thankfully).
Hogsmeade lit up at night at the Wizarding World of Harry Potter, Universal Studios Orlando
Between the creamy butterbeer, the Universal Studios cast members dressed up in robes, and the tinkling Harry Potter music throughout the village I completely geeked out, as will any Harry Potter fans, and even those fans in denial.
Your Quick Travel Tips: Harry Potter World at Universal Studios, Orlando
Check out our Theme Park Travel Tips for the basics like what you can bring inside the park, average weather temperatures, and other little tidbits from insiders who have done the theme parks for years!
When: The weather is decent all year round for the theme parks but school holidays are, naturally the busiest, craziest time of the year. Go in shoulder season if possible.
Where: Islands of Adventure inside Universal Studios at Orlando, Florida.
- Bring sunscreen and reapply often, the Florida sun is strong!
- Book a night at the Hard Rock Hotel on Universal Studios property (and the other on-property hotels) and you get early admission into Islands of Adventure. That extra hour before the park opens is perfect for ensuring short wait times on the Harry Potter lines!
- Try both butterbeer, but the frozen butterbeer is superior to regular butterbeer. If you’re forced to choose just one, go with frozen.
- Merchandise from inside the Harry Potter souvenir shops is also inside other shops in the park, if the lines are long (and they will be) know that you can buy the paraphernalia elsewhere!