A runDisney race weekend usually includes time at Walt Disney World – enjoying the parks, eating at the restaurants, and experiencing the magic. However, there are other places to explore in the Central Florida area as well!
Inside Universal Orlando Resort is a themed area that truly makes you feel as though you have entered the world of wizards, witches, and even muggles. Take a look at everything you can experience while exploring the Wizarding World of Harry Potter!
Within the brick walls of London is a place only wizards know of – Diagon Alley! Upon entering, it feels as though you have been transported into the books and movies! Head to Ollivanders, where a wand is waiting to choose its wizard. Stock up on your Quidditch supplies. Get your own magical pet like Hedwig or Buckbeak. Take a break for some food at the Leaky Cauldron. Laugh as you walk through Weasleys’ Wizard Wheezes. You can even purchase chocolate frogs at Sugarplum’s Sweetshop!
High above is the dragon that guards Gringotts Bank. Look out, as the dragon makes itself known from time to time with its fire-breathing fury! Inside Gringotts is a motion simulator ride (with 3D glasses) where you will encounter your favorite characters from the movie as you try to escape the bank. However, even more impressive is the detail inside, including the goblins at work in the marble lobby!
If you dare, take a walk down Knockturn Alley. Step inside Borgin and Burkes, where the Death Eaters frequent.
First and foremost, in order to ride the Hogwarts Express, you MUST have a park-to-park ticket. This will be checked prior to entering the train area.
If you are starting in Universal Studios Orlando, you will enter King’s Cross Station. Take a walk through the wall to enter Platform 9 3/4, where you will be lead to your compartment aboard the train. While aboard the Hogwarts Express, you may encounter some characters flying by!
You can also board the Hogwarts Express from Hogsmeade (in Universal’s Islands of Adventure), where you will be transported back to King’s Cross Station or, take a quick turn around the corner and enter Diagon Alley.
Near Hogwarts is a small village called Hogsmeade, where many of the teachers and students of Hogwarts frequent. Take a look at the treasures seized from the students at Filch’s Emporium of Confiscated Goods. Head to the Owl Post to send a letter to a friend. Get a butterbeer at Hog’s Head or the Three Broomsticks. And don’t miss out on the Frog Choir or Triwizard Spirit Rally!
You can also take a ride on a Hippogriff, which will take you around Hagrid’s hut and pumpkin patch. Stay tuned, as a new coaster will be replacing the Dragon Challenge!
The infamous School of Witchcraft and Wizardry towers above as you exit Hogsmeade! Enter the castle and make your way through the corridors, including Dumbledore’s office, the Gryffindor common room, Room of Requirement, and more! After walking through the castle, you will soar above on Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey. This ride is 3D and motion simulated.
The Wizarding World of Harry Potter is truly full of details – it is easy to spend hours taking it all in! And, of course, don’t forget to try a Butterbeer!