Welcome to our Wizarding World of Harry Potter touring plan. We have created what we believe to be the most comprehensive guide available anywhere to experience all of Hogsmeade and Diagon Alley, giving families a sense of their true size and scope. Furthermore, using our plan will help you experience these magical venues just as Harry did for the first time.
IMPORTANT: this is not a traditional touring plan in the sense that it will help you avoid crowds. If that is a concern given how busy the parks are projected to be during your visit (see our free crowd calendar), we recommend that you use one of our other touring plans for the general framework of when to visit the Wizarding World, and then use this plan to help ensure you don’t miss a thing.
That being said, if you are only planning on visiting Diagon Alley and Hogsmeade during your visit to the parks, and you’re not interested at all in the other lands, then you could definitely use this as your full-day plan. We say that because, even with the Wizarding World being as grand as it is, it still only constitutes two out of a total of 16 lands across Universal Studios Florida and Islands of Adventure.
There are two plans offered below: one for spending the full day at Diagon Alley before making the jaunt over to Hogsmeade, and the other for retracing Harry’s footsteps chronologically – the closest you can come to actually being the Boy Who Lived.
Ever since Universal Orlando reopened after its initial COVID-19 closure, changes have been implemented that will impact your touring of the parks. Most pertinently, all single-rider lines have been closed (even though we still have those attractions that normally feature them marked as such), and there has been a greater emphasis placed on Virtual Lines, whether these are used exclusively or in conjunction with standby lines. This last point means that you’ll have to secure a return-time slot before you’re able to go to the ride at all, and it’s also important to note that the roster of Virtual Line-enabled experiences can change on a daily – or, even, hourly – basis, depending upon the overall crowd levels. (For more on this, please see our insider’s guide.)
You can read more about how the parks operate in a COVID world here.
Full-day, “don’t miss a thing” Diagon Alley touring plan
Plan on four hours to all day, depending on crowd levels and your family’s interest in Harry Potter.
1. We usually recommend that, whether or not you have Early Park Admission for Universal Studios Florida, you arrive at the turnstiles 45 minutes before you are able to get in (either as part of EPA or as part of general admission). But considering that your plan is to spend most of the day in the Wizarding World, anyway, it isn’t as necessary for you to be the first in line. (If you’d like to learn more, see our guide to Early Park Admission.)
2. When you are let through the turnstiles, grab a park map and proceed through to Diagon Alley.
The London waterfront that hides Diagon Alley from the rest of the park is more than just a barrier – it features its own set of stops, food, and must-dos, as well as being one of the most lavishly detailed areas of all of Universal Orlando Resort.
3. Stop by the Knight Bus and visit with the Conductor and his shrunken-head compatriot. Be sure to take a look inside the bus, including from the back – it’s one of the best photo-ops in the entire park!
4. Visit the cabman’s shelters, labeled by Universal as “taxi huts.” One serves food while the other offers authentic London merchandise. If possible and desirable, grab a little something to snack on while you…
5. Snap a photo of Kreacher, Sirius Black’s house-elf, who periodically pokes his head out from behind the curtains in one of 12 Grimmauld Place’s windows.
6. If they’re available that day, make sure to soak up the live entertainment: London street buskers, who are usually stationed just outside of King’s Cross Station. They perform nearly 100 songs, so you’ll never know what you’ll get to experience. (Times are not published – ask a Universal team member for assistance.)
7. Visit the telephone booth in front of Leicester Square and dial M-A-G-I-C for a little surprise. Then take a look into the record shop next to this booth for several Easter eggs or references to JK Rowling, Jaws (the attraction that existed here before the Wizarding World), and the Universal Creative department logo.
Once you’ve had your fill, proceed to the entrance of Diagon Alley under the Liecester Square signage.
The first street you see stretching out before you is called Diagon Alley. Like a true city block, there are several exits along the road: to the right, past Weasleys’ Wizard Wheezes, is Carkitt Market; to the left, just after The Leaky Cauldron, is Knockturn Alley; and at the end of the street is Horizont Alley, whose intersection is dominated by Gringotts Wizarding Bank. We recommend doing everything you’d like in the Diagon section first before moving to any of the others.
8. Visit the shops: Quality Quidditch Supplies, Weasleys’ Wizard Wheezes, Madam Malkin’s Robes for All Occasions, Ollivanders Wand Shop, and Shutterbutton’s Photo Studio.
You’ll want to see the mirror inside Madam Malkin’s – it may have something to say about you or what you’re wearing.
If you already have an interactive wand, make sure to check out two of the three secret wand locations here. One can be found within the shop window next to Madam Malkin’s, and the other can be found directly to the right, in the Apocratery window. If you don’t have an interactive wand yet, then…
9. Stop at Ollivanders Wand Shop and see the wand-picking-the-wizard show. You can also shop here on your way out.
Keep in mind there are multiple effects in the show, and not every effect is used in every show. If the wait is very short, consider experiencing the demonstration more than once. There is also more than one Ollivanders employee working at any time, so you could experience a new wand keeper on your second or third trip through the show. This includes the new-to-Diagon-Alley female wand keepers, too.
Want to learn about interactive wands and spellcasting at the Wizarding World? View our guide.
10. Eat a meal at The Leaky Cauldron (open for breakfast, lunch, and dinner).
In case you haven’t seen it already, learn about the food and drinks of Leaky Cauldron and every venue inside Diagon Alley in our comprehensive guide.
11. Have a snack at Florean Fortescue’s Ice-Cream Parlour (which typically opens bright and early in the morning and remains open all day long).
There is limited space for queuing inside Florean Fortescue’s. Because of this, the ice cream line will often begin outside the door and against the building. Note: if you’re only interested in Butterbeer ice cream, that item is also served next-door at The Fountain of Fair Fortune (but, technically, that’s part of Horizont Alley, so we haven’t mentioned it yet!).
When you are ready, backtrack a bit to the entrance of Diagon Alley and head towards Carkitt Market, which is located next to Weasleys’ Wizard Wheezes.
This is a large, (mostly) covered shopping area that is home to a number of street vendors, the new wizarding land’s only outdoor seating area, and, of course, live entertainment.
12. Visit Wands by Gregorovitch – that is, if you didn’t already buy a wand at Ollivanders.
13. Do your shopping at Globus Mundi, the traveling agency of the wizarding world.
14. Stop at The Hopping Pot, a mostly-drinks-only location, and either sip on your draught beer at the outdoor seating or take it on over next-door to the stage so you can…
15. See the live entertainment: The Tales of Beedle the Bard and The Singing Sorceress, Celestina Warbeck and the Banshees. These are two separate shows whose performances alternate. (Times are not published in the guide map or online, but they do appear in the Universal mobile app.)
Celestina Warbeck and the Banshees does include crowd participation. If you are a male over the age of (around) 17, stand near the stage about 10 minutes prior to the show for a chance to be selected by a Universal team member to have a small role in the performance.
16. Visit the Gringotts Money Exchange to chat with the fully interactive audio-animatronic goblin teller while he exchanges your muggle cash for wizarding bank notes. You can also pick up some Gringotts merchandise here, as well.
Not interested in buying a bank note? No problem. You may still get in line and experience the goblin teller. It’s also worth noting that wizarding money is not required to make purchases throughout Diagon Alley – it’s simply a souvenir and a way to get gift certificates.
17. Mail home those special packages, for you or those special muggles in your life, at the Owl Post. Don’t forget that you can splurge on fancy wrapping!
When you are ready, head towards the next section, Horizont Alley, which officially starts with the bend in the road, right before Eternelle’s Elixir of Refreshment.
Although Diagon Alley is the main section of Universal Studios Florida’s Wizarding World, Horizont Alley is really its heart, with a number of refreshment stands, shops, and, of course, the land’s only ride: Harry Potter and the Escape from Gringotts.
18. Stop by Eternelle’s Elixir of Refreshment, a beverage stand that mixes flavored “elixirs” (really just shots of watermelon or pineapple) into a bottle of Gillywater (filtered water) right in front of your eyes.
19. Go to Gringotts Wizarding Bank to ride Harry Potter and the Escape from Gringotts. Exit the attraction with a look through its gift shop, Wiseacre’s Wizarding Equipment.
Remember to look up in Wiseacre’s to see repurposed remains of the Jaws ride.
20. Adjacent to Wiseacre’s and sharing the same building, you’ll find Scribbulus Writing Implements.
Outside Scribbulus, make sure to see one of the hidden wand experiences found in the window. Results may vary, so you’ll want to try it more than once.
21. Visit Magical Menagerie, full of plush animals found within the Harry Potter books and films. Check out the windows, including one that holds Nagini, He Who Must Not Be Named’s pet snake and a Horcrux.
22. Next, stroll down to the public conveniences to enjoy the wizarding Easter eggs hidden there. Utilizing a stall? Look above the toilet.
23. If you’re (still) thirsty, stop by The Fountain of Fair Fortune, another drinks-only venue that focuses on both Butter- and draught beer. Because it’s located adjacent to Florean Fortescue’s Ice-Cream Parlour, it also serves Butterbeer ice cream.
Once you exit the pub, turn left and head through the entrance to the last area of the land, Knockturn Alley.
Knockturn may be the smallest section of Diagon Alley, but many consider it the most immersive – and certainly the creepiest. Despite its having only one store, be sure to spend just as much time here, drinking in all the exquisite details and spooky fun (including Diagon Alley’s most fun homage to Jaws and Amity, the land it replaced.)
Note: certain areas of Knockturn Alley will allow you to see otherwise-invisible messages found on your interactive wand map.
24. Visit Borgin and Burkes to explore some of the most unique pieces of wizarding merchandise, including Death Eater masks. There are also familiar items on display, including the vanishing cabinet (from Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince) and the Hand of Glory (from Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets).
Need a primer on all of the merchandise available inside Diagon Alley, including Borgin and Burkes? Yep, we have a complete guide for that, too!
Once you have finished all of your window shopping and Easter egg-hunting, it’s time to head through Knockturn’s exit next to The Leaky Cauldron.
Then head back towards the brick wall you entered through and exit. You’ll find yourself back in London. Now, just take a right, until you’ve landed at the only attraction in London: King’s Cross Station.
King’s Cross Station
This is it – the grand finale of Diagon Alley. King’s Cross, of course, is the home of the Hogwarts Express, which will take you to Hogsmeade over in Scotland (read: Islands of Adventure).
Once you arrive there, you can either tour that part of the Wizarding World or hop straight back on the Hogwarts Express to experience the journey back to London (which, yes, is different).
Full-day, “Harry’s journey” touring plan (for both sides of the Wizarding World)
Plan on two to six hours, depending upon the crowds and your dedication to being authentic to Harry’s journey.
1. We usually recommend that, whether or not you have Early Park Admission for Universal Studios Florida, you arrive at the turnstiles 45 minutes before you are able to get in (either as part of EPA or as part of general admission). But considering that your plan is to spend most of the day in the Wizarding World, anyway, it isn’t as necessary for you to be the first in line. If you’d like to learn more, see our guide to Early Park Admission.
2. When you are let through the turnstiles, grab a park map and proceed through to Diagon Alley.
3. Stop by the Knight Bus and visit with the Conductor and his shrunken-head compatriot – this is how Harry arrived at London, after all! Be sure to take a look inside the bus, as it’s one of the best photo-ops in the entire park.
4. Visit the cabman’s shelters. One serves food while the other offers authentic London merchandise. If possible/desirable, grab a little something to snack on while you head to Leicester Square Station, the entrance to Diagon Alley.
5. Eat breakfast at The Leaky Cauldron. Harry went through here first before doing his shopping at Diagon Alley.
6. Visit the Gringotts Money Exchange in order to pick up some authentic wizarding bank notes with which to do your shopping (this is just like Hagrid taking Harry to Gringotts Wizarding Bank to withdraw his galleons).
7. Pop into Knockturn Alley for a scare (or a quick spy on the Malfoys and the other Death Eaters). You can even pretend you’re being rescued by Hagrid once you’re done window shopping!
8. Go shopping for your school supplies. We recommend hitting up (a) Ollivanders Wand Shop (on Diagon Alley) for your wand (do the wand-choosing-the-wizard show for the most authentic experience), (b) Magical Menagerie (on Horizont Alley) for your pet owl, (c) Quality Quidditch Supplies (Diagon) for your broom, and (d) Madam Malkin’s Robes for All Occasions (Diagon) for your school robes (of course).
9. Grab a quick bite of ice cream at Florean Fortescue’s Ice-Cream Parlour. Harry ate here often before departing for school.
10. Board the Hogwarts Express at King’s Cross Station to head to Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry at Hogsmeade (located in Islands of Adventure).
11. Ride Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey inside of Hogwarts Castle. There’s enough adventure in these five minutes to cover an entire school year of misadventures!
12. Visit Hagrid at his hut and ride Flight of the Hippogriff.
13. Not done with Hagrid yet? Take his Care of Magical Creatures class in the Forbidden Forest at Hagrid’s Magical Creatures Motorbike Adventure. (If you’re able to hop on now, that is – Hagrid’s Motorbike Adventure usually employs a Virtual Line, which means you’ll have to nab a return time earlier in the day. Sometimes, however, you can luck out and find the ride being a walk-on.)
14. Have lunch at The Three Broomsticks and desert at the Hog’s Head Pub. Be sure to try a Frozen Butterbeer here.
15. Enjoy the Frog Choir and the Triwizard Spirit Rally.
16. Pick up your final wizarding essentials at Hogsmeade’s shops, including (most importantly) the Marauder’s Map (at Filch’s Emporium of Confiscated Goods) and some sweets (Honeydukes).
17. Hop back on the Hogwarts Express to experience the return journey to London.
18. Face down Voldemort on Harry Potter and the Escape from Gringotts inside of Gringotts Wizarding Bank.
Congratulations – you’ve helped defeat Lord Voldemort by destroying his Horcruxes!
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