The Wizarding World of Harry Potter: The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly

Updated on February 14, 2018
nestle02 profile image

A Florida resident who has visited many major amusement parks.

I'm happy to say that I finally had the opportunity to visit both Harry Potter worlds in the Universal Parks in Orlando. Diagon Alley and Hogsmeade are the locations from the books that have their own worlds for visitors to explore. Unfortunately, I visited during spring break, which is one of any amusement park's busiest times of the year. Ultimately, I was able to experience the parks at very different times—during the day when there were a lot of visitors and during the evening when things had slowed down a bit. My takeaway: as with all attractions, the Wizarding World of Harry Potter has some things that are good, some bad, and some downright ugly.

The Good

Aesthetics: One of the park's biggest strengths is that, once you step into Diagon Alley or Hogsmeade, you really feel like you’re there. So much attention went into every detail, from the ground to the roofs and everything in between.

Food: The food is great and will fill you up. I highly recommend getting early reservations for the Leaky Cauldron—it’s worth it. While I personally didn’t care for the butterbeer, my son loved it, so I'll consider it a good part of the visit. Just a heads up if you do decide to try the butterbeer: you have a choice of a souvenir cup or a regular cup. I'm sure you can guess which one is more expensive, but the decision is entirely up to you!

The Hogwarts Express Ride: The Hogwarts Express is also a great attraction, especially since it gifts you a few nice minutes to rest your feet. Additionally, a movie plays during your ride aboard the train and the movie from Universal Studios to Islands of Adventure differs from the movie from Islands of Adventure to Universal Studios. I recommend catching both if you can.

Wands: Another fun thing you can do is purchase an interactive wand that you can use to set off animatronics at both Diagon Alley and Hogsmeade. Your wand purchase comes with a map detailing interactive spots around the parks. It also gives directions on how to move your wand and tells you what spell to cast to set off the animatronic. I noticed that a few of the spells were harder to master than others.

The Bad

Now to the not-so-great factors of these parks.

Waiting: First of all, there were absolutely no express passes for some of the popular rides, including Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey, Harry Potter and the Escape from Gringotts, and the Hogwarts Express. No express pass means you have to wait. And during spring break, that’s exactly what we did—wait. Even with the early admission, wait times got up to 45 minutes in less than five minutes. The good news though is that the rides are always running, so the lines are rarely standstill and almost always moving. There are also great interior designs and animatronics to keep your attention while you wait. Of course, during the slow season you’ll be able to walk through with barely any wait; if this is the case during your visit, make sure to slow down for a moment to take in the details around you.

Bag Policy: Another downside is that there are no bags allowed on either the Forbidden Journey or Escape from Gringotts rides. There are temporary free lockers by the rides, unless you want to pay for a locker for the entire day. I didn’t take a bag into the parks, so I can’t say how well the temporary lockers worked. However, I was told that the bigger sizes always seem to be occupied and that they really aren’t that large. In fact, a few people complained they weren’t even long enough to hold the boxes that the wands come in. We were able to get around the wand box issue by putting my son's wand in the robe that he was wearing around the park. With the wand securely tucked away, we were able to have its container delivered to our onsite hotel.

The Ugly

Ready for the ugly? Okay, here goes.

Cost: It’s expected that anything in a theme park is going to have a high price tag. It’s also expected that anything related to one of the most beloved stories of all time is going to have a high price tag. But even these expectations aren't able to cushion the blow when you get the cost of your visit all totaled up. The robes alone were $99.00, and that was for children and adult sizes. The interactive wands started around $45, and if you wanted a wand display stand, that’s another $25. Small knickknack merchandise was also expensive—I didn’t see anything under $10, though maybe I was just looking in the wrong areas. The food prices varied, and some meals gave you more bang for your buck than others.

Crowds: Uglier than the prices were the crowds during the day. Again, I went during spring break, so I know the crowds I experienced were not indicative of year-round crowds. However, the two Harry Potter areas will always be the most crowded areas of the two parks. It was literally shoulder-to-shoulder spacing in Diagon Alley and Hogsmeade when we visited. It was so uncomfortable that I told my son we would do one walk through during the day for him to see everything, but that all his activities and shopping would have to wait until the evening when the crowds had thinned. Thankfully, the evening was much better—there were just a handful of people shopping, and everyone else was in lines for the rides. My son was able to shop with plenty of elbow room and do interactive wand activities without having to wait in line. It was so busy during the daytime that people were forming lines to do the interactive wand activities. Just a personal note: though the interactive activities were great, my son and I both agreed that Disney’s Agent P’s World Showcase Adventure has much better interactive animatronics than the Harry Potter areas.

Overall, it was a great experience to visit Diagon Alley and Hogsmeade. The trip was magical for my son, an avid Harry Potter fan. For him, walking around Diagon Alley and Hogsmeade with his robe and wand made him feel like he was following in Harry Potter’s footsteps. I’m not a big Harry Potter fan, but even I got caught up in how much detail went into both areas. Long story short, a trip to Harry Potter's world will have its highs and its lows, but it's well worth the visit.


    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment
    • nestle02 profile imageAUTHOR


      2 years ago from Florida, USA

      No problem! The are a lot of great walk thru videos on YouTube that will give you more insight as well.

    • Lauren Flauding profile image

      Lauren Flauding 

      2 years ago from Sahuarita, AZ

      Thanks for this insight. I’ve been wanting to go here for a while and now I feel like I know a little more what to expect.


    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at:

    Show Details
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the or domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)
    ClickscoThis is a data management platform studying reader behavior (Privacy Policy)