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:
One of the first things you see outside of Diagon Alley – the Knight Bus!!
If you’re lucky, you can chat up a super nice and charming Knight Bus driver…
See if anyone is home at 12 Grimmauld Place:
The authenticity of this little strip’s architecture almost makes you believe you’re in London.
So now let’s actually step into Diagon Alley:
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.
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.
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?
Uh ok, technically not a roller coaster…but you can “ride” Hagrid’s motorcycle! ?
Want to be further entertained? Watch a live show by Singing Sorceress: Celestina Warbeck and the Banshees.
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:”
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:
I walked away with Peppermint Toads and Fudge Flies. ?
Flourish and Blott’s wasn’t open, but we did catch a portrait with Mr. Lockhart:
Magical Menagerie was mostly filled with stuffed animals and pet supplies. We didn’t spend too long in there.
For those who are into the Dark Arts, take a walk down Knockturn Alley to Borgin and Burkes for items more to your liking…
This was where April bought Tom Riddle’s diary.
Now that we’re outta there…try on some robes at Madam Malkin’s Robes for All Occasions.
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):
And try out a few wands at Ollivanders. Yes, there’s also Wands by Gregorovitch…but OLLIVANDERS!
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:
And making this fountain spit water:
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):
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…
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.
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:
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.
Now it’s time for a drink (or two). You have many options to choose from:
The Fountain of Fair Fortune brewery:
Street vendors (they sold pretty tasty pumpkin juice), or straight to The Hopping Pot for butterbeer:
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!
After the Sun Sets…
Go back and do it all over again!
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.
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!