Going to the Wizarding World of Harry Potter at Universal Studios Resort in Orlando can be as exciting as it can be stressful.
On the one hand, you’re excited to experience all the magic. On the other, you’re fearful that you’ll miss out on vital attractions or experiences during what is likely a once in a lifetime experience.
We’ve been there.
And now, we’re pleased to say that we’ve visited The Wizarding World of Harry Potter at Universal Studios Orlando multiple times over the past decade.
So to make your life easier, and hopefully, your trip run smoothly, we’ve put together this list of answers to the most frequently asked questions so you can be fully prepared for your trip.
Table of Contents
- Can You Just Go To The Wizarding World Of Harry Potter?
- Do You Need A Separate Ticket To Visit The Wizarding World Of Harry Potter?
- How Much Do Tickets Cost For The Wizarding World Of Harry Potter?
- How To Get Early Park Admission To The Wizarding World Of Harry Potter?
- Can You Ride The Hogwarts Express With A Single Park Ticket?
- How Many Times Can You Ride the Hogwarts Express?
- Are Rides Free In Universal Studios?
- Best Rides At The Wizarding World of Harry Potter
- Best Things To Buy At The Wizarding World Of Harry Potter
Can You Just Go To The Wizarding World Of Harry Potter?
The Wizarding World of Harry Potter is split across two parks at the Universal Studios Resort; Universal Studios & Islands of Adventure, and while you can just visit the Wizarding World of Harry Potter, you’ll still need a ticket for the entire Universal Studios park(s) that you choose to visit.
If you’ve only a ticket for Universal Studios, then you’ll only be able to access the Diagon Alley half of the Wizarding World of Harry Potter.
Meanwhile, if you’ve only a ticket to Islands of Adventure, then you’ll only be able to access the Hogsmede half.
Therefore, most Harry Potter fans find themselves purchasing a ticket to both parks, either as a single ticket to each or as a park-to-park ticket which provides you with the ability to ride the Hogwarts Express between parks.
Do You Need A Separate Ticket To Visit The Wizarding World Of Harry Potter?
You don’t need a separate ticket to visit the Wizarding World of Harry Potter. Instead, your pre-purchased admission for Universal Studios and/or Universal Studios Islands of Adventure will give you access to The Wizarding World of Harry Potter.
If you have a park to park ticket, then you’ll be able to visit both areas of the Wizarding World of Harry Potter on a single day and take the Hogwarts Express between the two.
Meanwhile, if you have a single day ticket to Universal Studios, then you’ll only have entry to the Universal Studios park and, with it, the Diagon Alley of The Wizarding World of Harry Potter.
Alternatively, if you have a single day ticket to Islands of Adventure, then you’ll only have entry to the Islands of Adventure park and with it the Hogsmede area of the Wizarding World of Harry Potter.
Some ticket packages provide you with multiple days at Universal Studios Resort but no park-to-park access meaning you can only spend a day at one park and not travel between the two.
This will allow you to experience both areas of The Wizarding World of Harry Potter during your trip. However, it will not provide you with the ability to ride on the Hogwarts Express.
How Much Do Tickets Cost For The Wizarding World Of Harry Potter?
The cost of a one day ticket to Universal Studios and Islands of Adventure that provides you with access to both areas of The Wizarding World of Harry Potter (Diagon Alley & Hogsmede) starts at $160 for adults.
Meanwhile, prices for children aged between 3 and 10 years old are discounted by $10, with children under the age of 3 going free.
There are many different ways to book a vacation to Universal Studios, whether as part of a vacation package with on-site accommodation, a park to park ticket for the entire resort or as a Florida Resident.
As such, there are many ways you can save on your trip to the Universal Studios resort without compromising on the experience for Harry Potter fans.
How To Get Early Park Admission To The Wizarding World Of Harry Potter?
You can get early park admission to The Wizarding World of Harry Potter by purchasing tickets from the Universal Studios website (in some cases), staying at a Universal Studios Orlando on-site hotel, booking a vacation package or purchasing a VIP Pass.
Some of these booking methods are easier (and more affordable) than others.
However, some methods also come with additional benefits worth considering if you have the budget available.
Booking Your Tickets Online
Depending on the tickets you purchase and the promotions running during that time, you might be able to obtain early admission to the Wizarding World of Harry Potter by purchasing Universal Studios Orlando tickets on the resorts official website.
This is the most affordable way of obtaining this early access, therefore to capitalise, we recommend signing up to the Universal Studios Resort in Orlando mailing list and regularly checking the websites ongoing promotions.
Staying At A Universal Orlando Hotel
Staying at a Universal Studios Orlando on-site hotel comes with several benefits, including the ability to enter The Wizarding World of Harry Potter one hour before Universal Studios & Islands of Adventure opens to the general public.
However, this access comes at a price as the cost of staying on-site at a Universal Studios Orlando hotel is significantly more expensive when compared to other similar resorts in the area.
If you choose to stay on-site at a Universal Studios Orlando hotel, then to access the park early, you simply need to show your rooms keycard and your park ticket at the park entrance.
Purchasing A Universal Studios Orlando Vacation Package
Alternatively, you can also access The Wizarding World of Harry Potter early by purchasing a vacation package.
This vacation package doesn’t always have to be booked directly on the Universal Orlando Resort website, as in some cases, travel providers can offer this bonus as an incentive to travellers (be sure to check with your travel provider as to whether this perk is included with your package).
However, regardless of your travel provider, you will always need to include a hotel stay and Universal Studios Orlando park tickets for the vacation booking to become a vacation package.
By booking your vacation this way, you’re often able to save money by staying in an off-site hotel near the Universal Studios Resort.
If your travel provider does offer this early access to The Wizarding World of Harry Potter as part of your vacation package, then be sure to clarify how you demonstrate this early access to park staff on your arrival at the park, as it can vary.
Purchasing A VIP Pass
A VIP Pass provides you with several incredible perks when visiting Universal Studios Orlando. One of which is the ability to enter the Wizarding World of Harry Potter one hour before the general public.
However, the cost of the VIP Pass starts at $189 per person, in addition to your general park admission. As such, it’s the most expensive way to obtain this one-hour early access.
However, it’s still likely worth researching if you have the budget, as it can be an incredible experience for some Harry Potter fans.
Can You Ride The Hogwarts Express With A Single Park Ticket?
You can’t ride the Hogwarts Express with a single park ticket. The two Harry Potter areas are located in two different parks, so you’ll need a park-to-park ticket to ride the Hogwarts Express.
The train follows a track between Hogesmade located in Universal’s Islands of Adventure and Diagon Alley in Universal Studios.
For this reason, Universal requires each visitor to have a park-to-park ticket before embarking on the journey, as you’ll be travelling from one park to another.
If you’ve already bought a single park ticket and would like to upgrade to a park-to-park ticket, then you can do so by contacting Universal Studios.
As expected, however, this upgrade will come at an additional cost. The exact price will depend on the number of days on your original park ticket and the time of year you’re visiting the parks.
How Many Times Can You Ride the Hogwarts Express?
You can ride the Hogwarts Express at Universal Studios Orlando as many times as you would like, provided you have the park-to-park ticket.
However, there are two things you’ll need to consider before doing so;
The first is the amount of time you’ll need to spend in line.
That’s because the Hogwarts Express is one of the most popular rides at the Universal Studios Resort in Orlando, and while an Express Pass can reduce your time spent in line by around one hour, it’s still going to take a significant time out of your day.
The second thing you need to consider is whether or not multiple journeys on the Hogwarts Express are worthwhile.
The story told on the journey between Hogsmede, and Diagon Alley differs from that of Diagon Alley to Hogsmede. However, otherwise, the journeys are pretty much the same, making multiple journeys relatively lacklustre.
Are Rides Free In Universal Studios?
All rides at Universal Studios in Orlando are free as long as you have an entry ticket to the park.
As a result, after the initial ticket purchase, you won’t have to spend any additional money to go on the rides and attractions within the park.
The only exception to this is if you need to purchase an extra park ticket (if you only had a ticket to Universal Studios and not Islands of Adventure), an additional day at the park or upgrade to a park-to-park ticket to travel between the two parks on a single day using the Hogwarts Express.
Of course, it’s also worth considering that you’ll still have to pay for any additional services and/or facilities during your vacation to Universal Studios.
This includes food and drink, accommodation, parking, souvenirs, wheelchairs and pushchairs.
Best Rides At The Wizarding World of Harry Potter
There are five rides at The Wizarding World of Harry Potter at the Universal Studios Resort in Orlando.
Harry Potter & The Escape From Gringotts is located inside Universal Studios, while Hagrid’s Magical Creatures Motorbike Adventure, Flight of the Hippogriff and Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey are located inside Universal’s Islands of Adventure.
Meanwhile, the fifth and final ride at The Wizarding World of Harry Potter is the Hogwarts Express, connecting the two parks.
In our opinion, the best rides at The Wizarding World of Harry Potter are;
The Hogwarts Express
The Hogwarts Express is perfect for little Harry Potter fans who may not be able to ride some of the larger attractions that have a height restriction.
It also happens to be one of the most iconic rides at The Wizarding World of Harry Potter, which we believe every Harry Potter fan should experience during a vacation to the Universal Studios Resort.
However, keep in mind that you’ll need a park-to-park ticket to experience a journey on The Hogwarts Express as it connects Universal Studio’s Diagon Alley with Islands of Adventure’s Hogsmede.
Hagrid’s Magical Creatures Motorbike Adventure
For those looking for an adrenaline pump the gentle Hogwarts Express can’t provide, I highly recommend Hagrid’s Magical Creatures Motorbike Adventure, situated inside Island’s of Adventures Hogsmede.
This is the latest addition to the Wizarding World of Harry Potter, which replaces the Triwizard Tournament that stood before it.
Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey
If you’re looking to experience the feeling of flying with Harry, Hermione, or Ron, then Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey is the ride for you.
Situated inside of Hogwarts Castle at the very edge of Hogsmede inside Universal’s Islands of Adventure, this simulated ride is incredible, and it turns out many other visitors to the park would agree as wait times often surpass two hours during the peak season.
Best Things To Buy At The Wizarding World Of Harry Potter
There are a lot of souvenirs for you to purchase at The Wizarding World of Harry Potter, with prices generally ranging from $6 all the way up to $250.
However, not all Harry Potter souvenirs are created equal. Instead, these are the ones we think are the most iconic and best value for money;
This isn’t as much a souvenir as it is a drinking experience.
Available in multiple different formats, a trip to The Wizarding World of Harry Potter isn’t complete without picking up (and grabbing a photo with) a butterbeer.
The best place to buy a Butterbeer is from the cart just outside of the Hogwarts Castle in Hogsmede. Here you can get a fantastic photo of the butterbeer with the castle in the background.
There are a number of different Harry Potter Wands you can purchase at Universal Studios. However to experience the magic of the wand choosing the wizard be sure to head to Ollivander’s in Diagon Alley to make your purchase.
You can then use these wands with the interactive elements across both Diagon Alley and Hogsmede to perform a range of different spells.
To fully transform into a student at Hogwarts, you’ll need a robe, and luckily you can purchase one of any of the four Hogwarts houses at a range of stores at the Universal Studios Resort.
The price of a Hogwarts robe starts at $115 + tax and, as such, is one of the most expensive things to purchase at The Wizarding World of Harry Potter.
Therefore if you’re looking for all the magic without the price tag, it might be worth purchasing a second-hand one online or purchasing a different robe online and bringing it to the parks with you.