The Wizarding World of Harry Potter

Before we even got to Tampa, Garrett and I knew we’d be taking a visit to The Wizarding World of Harry Potter (aka Harry Potter World) at Universal Studios. Orlando is a super easy drive from Tampa and while I’m not really a fan of Orlando theme parks (too crowded, overpriced), Harry Potter World is a major exception to that rule.
This would be my second and Garrett’s first visit, but when I went, only one section was open. And… I’ve read all the books now. I had only read a couple of the books when I first went. I was way, way late to the Harry Potter game, but I’m a huge fan now. I was reluctant to read the books when they came out because I didn’t get what the big deal was and had no desire to compete with friends to stay up all night reading the book first after attending a midnight premier. (Makes me wonder what HP’s release would be like had ebooks and iPhones been around!) 
I actually read the series starting the summer before my senior year of college and throughout the fall semester. Isn’t it the case that Harry Potter is there for people when they need it the most?? I had just quit rowing for good, my closest friends at college had all graduated, and I would be living by myself in a single dorm. I knew my senior year wouldn’t be the same without the camaraderie of my teammates or my friends like Victoria (aka Little V!). I wouldn’t change my last year at Georgetown, but it was pretty lonely. Harry Potter was my escape.

Now both sections of the park are open. Hogsmeade is in Islands of Adventure and Diagon Alley is at Universal Studios. You have to buy a park-hopper pass to get to see both since they’re in separate parks (brilliant Universal, but also annoying! ha). But… it’s pretty cool because you take the Hogwarts Express between the parks and get the full Harry Potter experience. All that’s missing are chocolate frogs to eat while on the train, although you can actually buy those so… yep, they’ve thought of everything.

We went on what felt like the hottest day of the year. A prime-time July day! It’s funny because Hogsmeade has snow covered roofs on all the buildings. You feel like you’re getting ready for Christmas at Hogwarts while melting in the Florida sun.

The Butterbeer alone is worth the trip. Only partially kidding. It really is delicious. You can get the hot drink, but when it’s 100 degrees… the iced version tastes extra delicious. It’s very, very sweet though! Garrett and I split one and I still felt a little sugar rush then crash. If you’re wondering what it tastes like, it’s kind of a mix between butterscotch, root beer, and cream soda. 
We spent a lot of time wandering around and poking around the shops. I can’t reiterate enough how perfectly well-done the whole park is. No detail is too small.
The rides are cool, but not in a traditional theme park way. The rides themselves are entertaining of course, but it’s the LINE for the ride that is really the most fun. Which is a good thing because the lines are long. (Two hours for the Hogwarts ride!) You feel like you’re walking through the buildings though and getting inside access.
If you’re into Harry Potter, going to the park is a MUST. Even if you skip the rest of Universal/Islands of Adventure, it’s so worth visiting. I have a huge stack of books I need to get through, but I’m for sure planning on rereading the series. Going to Harry Potter World reminded me just how much I love the stories and adventures of Harry Potter!
Who else is a Harry Potter fan?! Have you been to HP World yet?
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So awesome! My friends and I used to go the midnight releases of the books, and then have a sleepover so we could stay up all night reading (but I always went to bed earlier than everyone). I hope to visit the park someday!


I'm planning a trip to Orlando at the end of August and am dying to go! I'm mainly going for Disney but I think we're going to spend a day at Universal because I've never been and the friend I'm going with and I are both big HP fans.


Oh, this was amazing! I wish you put more pictures though! 🙂
I went to do HP studios in London this past autumn, it was absolutely wonderful, highly recommend it.

Abby Ingwersen

Oh, I love this so much! I went a few years back, but the Diagon Alley section of the park wasn't open yet… gosh, I don't think they'd even begun building it. I MUST go and see what they've added; it looks utterly fantastic!

Ane I.

I've been a Harry Potter maniac since it came out and visiting the Wizarding World in Orlando was a dream come true! I can't wait to go back!

Ane | Basque Prep


I really want to go! It seems way more interactive than the HP Studios in London, but that was an AMAZING experience as well. I highly recommend it for any HP fan.

Joyce Novacek

My family went in March and we LOVED it. I totally agree with you, I'm not a huge amusement park fan but HP World is the nicest one I've ever been to. Just such a magical place!

Lindsey Saxby

I'm obsessed with Harry Potter! My best friends are I were definitely the ones who got up early to get tickets for the midnight releases and then stay up all night reading the books. The books ended around when we were graduating high school so it was a fun experience growing up with the books. I finally got my boyfriend (who doesn't like Harry Potter) to go with me to HP World in February and it was amazing! You're right that no detail was left untouched, even the shops that don't open. Glad you both had a good time!

Lindsey | Finding Balance in Life