Attraction of the Week: The Wizarding World of Harry Potter at Universal Studios Orlando
Hogsmeade (Islands of Adventure)
Hogsmeade, located in Islands of Adventure, is the original section of The Wizarding World of Harry Potter, having opened back in June 2010. The design is outstanding with cobblestone streets, snowy rooftops on each building, and storefronts that resemble those seen in the films.
Harry Potter based attractions at Hogsmeade include 3 rides (Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey, Dragon Challenge, and Flight of the Hippogriff), shops, a themed restaurant, and the Hogsmeade Train Station. Dining includes British style fare at Three Broomsticks, and shopping and treats can be found in the Hogsmeade Shopping Village.
A full listing of shops/treats at Hogsmeade
*Ollivanders – Pick out your favorite characters wand or get your Christmas shopping done early for all the Harry Potter fanatics on your list!
*Honeydukes – Feast your eyes on wall to wall treats, including Chocolate Frogs, Bertie Bott’s Every Flavor Beans, and Chocolate wands.
*Filch’s Emporium of Confiscated Goods – You’ll find a little bit of everything here including movie prop replicas, Hogwarts apparel, Quidditch apparel, and lots of small gifts.
*Dervish and Banges – Here you will find a variety of magic items like Sneakoscopes, Quidditch supplies, and Hogwarts clothing.
The Hogwarts Express
At the Hogsmeade Station, you can take the quick ride over to King’s Cross Station at Universal Studios to explore Diagon Alley.The nice aspect of The Hogwarts Express is that the ride over to King’s Cross is completely different than the ride from King’s Cross. Be sure to take the ride both ways as you will see different characters each time!
The rustic themed Three Broomsticks serves British favorites like Shepherd’s Pie and Fish and Chips. You can also test out some Butterbeer or Pumpkin Juice. If you have a big party, you can select The Grand Feast option, which includes salad, Rotisserie Chicken, Corn on the cob, Roasted potatoes and ribs. A platter for 4 people is $50, with each additional person adding $13. Be aware, there are often huge wait times to get into this restaurant, and in my opinion, the food wasn’t that good. In addition, there aren’t many allergy friendly options available.
You are better off picking up some Butterbeer and dining somewhere else to maximize your time in the parks (who wants to wait in line for a restaurant!?). You are already limited in terms of time and there is just so much to see!