Review of Harry Potter’s Diagon Alley at Universal Studios Orlando

Harry Potter’s Diagon Alley at Universal Orlando

Harry Potter's Diagon Alley at Universal Orlando

As many of you know, I got the amazing opportunity to attend a blogger event last week with my kids at Universal Orlando where I was pretty much spoiled with fun for 3 days.  My favorite day was when we got to go check out the new Harry Potter’s Diagon Alley at Universal Orlando.  We started the day at 7 am and went straight for the new Gringott’s Bank ride.  On the way to the ride entrance you walk into the most jaw dropping area filled with all kinds of shops, window displays, dining experiences, attractions and more.  There is also a HUGE dragon guarding the bank that breathes fire that you definitely can’t miss as you walk towards the ride. gringotts-ride As you go through the line you will be surrounded by so many fabulous details from the movie.  I made a collage of some of the neatest things.  When you reach the front of the line you will be given 3D glasses to wear during the ride and let me tell you, this ride is so cool.  We ended up going on it twice because once was just not enough. HP-glasses Next we got to spend some time inside Diagon Alley playing around.  One of the coolest things they have added to the parks is the interactive wizard wands which come with a map that shows you where you can cast spells throughout both Diagon Alley and Hogsmeade.  You can choose between different characters wands such as Harry Potter, Hermione and Dumbledore (we got Hermione’s wand). map

As you walk around, look for medallions located on the ground and stand facing the direction that it points.  Above is a collage of 9 of the mediallions we found.  Notice how each one shows a unique arrow that explains how to wave your interactive wand to “cast your spell”.  Each medallion also has the word to recite while waving your wand (even though this part is not necessary for the spell to work, it sure is fun to say). HP-medallions

Below is a video of Kyle casting the “Aguamenti” spell which turned on the water fountain (watch the frog in the water fountain as he casts the spell).

Some spells are harder than others but don’t give up, some just take more practice to master. Once you think you have found all of the spots to cast spells, head over to Knockturn Alley and look at the map under a black light to reveal some hidden spots.

map-glow

If you see the sign like the one pictured below, it means the spell isn’t working at this time.  It took us awhile to figure this out (and then we would let others know if we saw them struggling to get a spell to work in a spot where there was a sign). inactive-spell

Around this time you will probably be getting ready for lunch so you will want to head over to the Leaky Cauldron to grab a bite to eat.  Make sure you order the butter beer because it is so delicious.  You can even choose a souvenir mug to drink it in like the ones below.  Also they now offer frozen butter beer (ice cream) which is amazing !  I could have eaten 3 bowls of it LOL  All the food was actually very good (I got a specialty chicken sandwich, Kaley got mac n cheese and Kyle got fish n chips).  I will definitely eat there for lunch when we go back to the park again.

butterbeer

Another really cool thing you can do while in Diagon Alley is trade your muggle money for Gringott’s Bank notes at the Gringott’s bank.  These come in denominations of $10 or $20 and can be spent throughout  both theme parks and City Walk.  I like that they don’t cost any more than the value of the note so its just a fun thing to do with the kids.  Below are pictures of the $10 and $20 (front and back). gringotts-bank-notes After you have had your fill of fun in Diagon Alley, you will want to head over to Hogwarts Express and ride the train over to Islands of Adventure to experience Hogsmeade (you will need a 2 park pass or annual pass to ride the train).  By the evening, we had to stop and get ponchos because it started to rain but that wasn’t going to stop our fun. hogwarts-train

As you walk through the line to board the train, you can do a really cool trick with your camera.  Have one person stay back at the luggage rack while the other person walks through the line.  It will look like they are walking through the wall onto platform 9 3/4 just like in the movie.  Its even neater if you video them walking through the wall !!! hogwarts-platform As you ride the train, it will feel like you are really riding Hogwart’s Express.  The amount of detail they put in each cabin is amazing.  Out the “window” you will watch a magical adventure take place (which is different each way) and through the cabin doors, you will see and hear Harry Potter and his friends talking.  Its a very cool ride (we actually went back and forth a few times that day). hogwarts-express-cabin As you can see, there is just so much fun to be had in the new Diagon Alley area of Universal Studios Orlando so you will definitely want to plan a day to play in the park.  I am even saving up for an annual pass because we all want to go back again and again. Speaking of annual passes, there is a great Florida resident special going on where you can get a power pass for only $189.99+tax and a preferred pass for $259.99+tax.  They even offer a Florida resident FlexPaySM option with automatic renewal so you can pay as little as $10 a month (see details HERE).

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Comments

  1. Looks fun! We haven’t made the drive out there yet despite living in Winter Park. How bad were the lines?

    On a side note, your kids are getting so big! We’ve been reading your blog for a few years now and they are really growing up fast.

    • during the day the lines were a little long BUT it started raining around 5 or 6 and everyone left the park and we literally walked onto Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey and walked right onto the Hogwarts Express Train. Also during the day the spell spots do get short lines but in the evening when it was drizzling we could walk up to each area and cast spells with no line. Rain was the best thing that happened for us that day haha

      and yes my kids keep getting bigger and bigger… why can’t they stay little for just a little longer ?!?!

      • Peter Downey says:

        That’s been my experience at pretty much every attraction in Florida at one time or another. The best days are when it’s a bit rainy out.

        The Palm Beach Zoo even does a rainy day special, which I believe is half off any day that it rains for a bit.

  2. I was going to say the same thing, you son is so big.

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