Step into Diagon Alley at The Wizarding World of Harry Potter

A little more than 4 years ago, we visited The Wizarding World of Harry Potter when it only had Hogsmeade. So a trip back to the expanded Diagon Alley portion was a must. We definitely went crazy with the pictures – if you scroll through all of the following pics, it’ll almost be like you went there yourself! If you’re a Potterhead, get ready to geek out with me in this comprehensive guide to Diagon Alley:

Universal Studios Harry Potter World Diagon Alley

One of the first things you see outside of Diagon Alley – the Knight Bus!!

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Can you sense my excitement?!

If you’re lucky, you can chat up a super nice and charming Knight Bus driver…

“You sure you’re not a keeper? Cause you’re such a catch!” Ba-dum-CHHH

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Look at this lucky chap, a pretty girl on each arm! ?

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See if anyone is home at 12 Grimmauld Place:

Where we caught a brief glimpse of Kreacher – do you see him?

The authenticity of this little strip’s architecture almost makes you believe you’re in London.

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Diagon Alley

So now let’s actually step into Diagon Alley:

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Universal Studios Harry Potter World Diagon Alley

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Rides

Before I share the best parts (shopping, duh), let me give you a peek into the one ride in Diagon Alley – Harry Potter and the Escape from Gringotts.

Universal Studios Harry Potter World Diagon Alley Gringotts

Getting to the ride was a spectacle in itself. I loved the artwork and details that went into making this more than just a ride but an immersive experience.

Harry Potter and the Escape from Gringotts

Harry Potter and the Escape from Gringotts

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Head goblin awaits

Harry Potter and the Escape from Gringotts

Harry Potter and the Escape from Gringotts

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Harry Potter and the Escape from Gringotts

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Donned our “safety goggles” and ready to ride! No more pictures!

So the ride itself was a mini rollercoaster/4D movie. It was definitely well done; a step up from Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey (in Hogsmeade) only because it was 4D whereas the other one was not. The “movie” itself was pretty great in that it took you through a short story and ended with epic John Williams music. Who doesn’t want triumphant John Williams music surrounding them when ending a ride?

That was mos def a satisfying ride!

Uh ok, technically not a roller coaster…but you can “ride” Hagrid’s motorcycle! ?

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Entertainment

Want to be further entertained? Watch a live show by Singing Sorceress: Celestina Warbeck and the Banshees.

Singing Sorceress: Celestina Warbeck and the Banshees
She knew how to work the camera

Universal Studios Harry Potter World Diagon Alley

Shops

Now let’s do a little shopping!

My favorite was Weasleys’ Wizard Wheezes joke shop that had everything from classic toys to candy like “U No Poo:”

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Weasleys' Wizard Wheezes Shop

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Weasleys' Wizard Wheezes Shop

Weasleys' Wizard Wheezes Shop

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So good! I definitely spent a small fortune on knick-knacks from there.

Attached to the store is Sugarplum’s Sweet Shop filled with candy galore:

Sugarplum's Sweet Shop

Sugarplum's Sweet Shop

I walked away with Peppermint Toads and Fudge Flies. ?

Flourish & Blotts Shop

Flourish and Blott’s wasn’t open, but we did catch a portrait with Mr. Lockhart:

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Magical Menagerie was mostly filled with stuffed animals and pet supplies. We didn’t spend too long in there.

Magical Menagerie Shop

Magical Menagerie Shop

For those who are into the Dark Arts, take a walk down Knockturn Alley to Borgin and Burkes for items more to your liking…

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Harry Potter World Potions Shop

Borgin and Burkes Shop
Lucius Malfoy’s mask

Borgin and Burkes Shop

Borgin and Burkes Shop

This was where April bought Tom Riddle’s diary.

Borgin and Burkes Shop

Borgin and Burkes Shop

Now that we’re outta there…try on some robes at Madam Malkin’s Robes for All Occasions.

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Buy a new broom at Quality Quidditch Supplies, which sells quidditch uniform clothes and gear (inside I spotted the “Potter” quidditch jersey that I bought 4 years ago LOL):

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And try out a few wands at Ollivanders. Yes, there’s also Wands by Gregorovitch…but OLLIVANDERS!

Ollivanders Wand Shop Harry Potter World

Ollivanders Wand Shop Harry Potter World

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I did not get a wand because I literally have no use for a resin stick, but I can see their appeal. They’re so fancy now – if you buy an interactive wand, you can swish and point it at various objects around the park and perform “magic.”

One example is making this umbrella rain:

Universal Studios Harry Potter World Diagon Alley
Kid was having some trouble, I see

Universal Studios Harry Potter World Diagon Alley

And making this fountain spit water:

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Universal Studios Harry Potter World Diagon Alley

Ah yes, you can also see Mr. Ollivander himself choose a wand for a lucky young witch or wizard (this experience requires waiting in line):

Mr. Ollivander Harry Potter World

Another one of my favorite shops was Wiseacres, which sold pretty much every souvenir a tourist could want. That’s where I got this spankin’ awesome backpack (which I later realized I could’ve just DIY’ed with a black backpack and patch…oh well):

And a couple of other random buildings that aren’t exactly shops, but…

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Owl Post
Money Exchange Harry Potter World
Money Exchange
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Daily Prophet

Universal Studios Harry Potter World Diagon Alley

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Food

What, you’re tired of shopping already? Then let’s eat!

Get a scoop (or 2) of ice cream from Florean Fortescue’s Ice-Cream Parlour. They have butterbeer flavored soft serve, which is what April got.

Florean Fortescue's Ice-Cream Parlour Shop

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It wasn’t the best ice-cream I’ve ever had. It was already half-melted when I got it. But if you really want to dish out $5 or taste the butterbeer ice cream…then I say go for it.

For a sit-down meal, dine at the Leaky Cauldron:

Leaky Cauldron Harry Potter World

It was average pub food, but if I had to do it again, I’d get the beef pie instead of toad-in-the-hole. You go to these things for the experience, not the overpriced, slightly bland food.

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Drinks

Now it’s time for a drink (or two). You have many options to choose from:

The Fountain of Fair Fortune brewery:

The Fountain of Fair Fortune Harry Potter World Beer Ale Shop

The Fountain of Fair Fortune Harry Potter World Beer Ale Shop

Street vendors (they sold pretty tasty pumpkin juice), or straight to The Hopping Pot for butterbeer:

The Hopping Pot Harry Potter World

The Hopping Pot Harry Potter World
Well someone caught me

My favorite food/drink of the day was DEFINITELY the frozen butterbeer! I got regular (carbonated) butterbeer last time then later found out the frozen was better. So that’s what I tried this time. The top is some kind of frothy cream that you can mix into the slushy drink. I also found out they serve hot butterbeer in certain vendors. I’ll have to save that for next time!

The only kind of beer I like is #butterbeer ?? #yesplease #potterhead #harrypotterworld

A photo posted by Jessica Pei (@itsjpei) on

After the Sun Sets…

Go back and do it all over again!

Universal Studios Harry Potter World Diagon Alley

Ha just kidding, we only rode the Gringotts ride again. ETA was 10 minutes, unless the ride breaks down…which is exactly what happened to us.

Universal Studios Harry Potter World Diagon Alley
Sometimes the dragon breathes fire and it’s really cool and I wish I knew when it’d happen so that I could get a better pictures. But with not knowing, I’d say my picture-taking reflex here was good enough.

Universal Studios Harry Potter World Diagon Alley

Pro tips for visiting Diagon Alley at The Wizarding World of Harry Potter:

  • This park is located in Universal Studios. If you want to also visit Hogsmeade, which is in Islands of Adventure, you’ll have to buy the park-to-park pass.
  • Buy tickets in advance! I always try to do this to save time (and sometimes money). Walk right up to the entrance with your printed ticket.
  • Arrive early and stay late to avoid the worst of the crowds. Trust me – we literally spent 12 hours between the 2 Harry Potter parks! Crowds were the worst from mid-morning to late afternoon.
  • The interactive wands come with a Marauder’s map with all the interactive locations, so you don’t have to point your stick at every thing (though you could if you wanted to).

This may be my longest post on the blog yet, haha! If you still have questions feel free to ask them in the comments below. Have you been to The Wizarding World of Harry Potter? Share about your experience below!

Thanks for reading!

P.S. Read more posts from Florida in the Florida Spring Break ’16 tag!