ORLANDO, FL - JUNE 18: In this handout photo provided by Universal Orlando Resort and taken June 13, 2014, today June 18, Universal Orlando announced that The Wizarding World of Harry Potters Diagon Alley will officially open on July 8, allowing guests to experience even more of Harry Potters adventures in an all-new, magnificently-themed environment. Located in the Universal Studios Florida theme park, The Wizarding World of Harry Potter - Diagon Alley will feature shops, dining experiences and the next generation thrill ride, Harry Potter and the Escape from Gringotts. The new immersive area will double the size of the sweeping land already found at Universals Islands of Adventure, expanding the spectacularly themed environment across both Universal theme parks and guests can journey between both lands aboard the Hogwarts Express. For additional information, visit www.UniversalOrlando.com/WizardingWorld.

This Saturday, August 31st is Harry Potter’s Birthday. The chosen one was born July 31, 1980. Which would make him 42 today. Wow. If you’re a Harry Potter fan then this is the day to celebrate. And one of the coolest things I’ve done related to Harry Potter is visit The Wizarding World at Universal Studios. Even a casual fan will be amazed by the detail in this incredibly immersive theme park land. Every detail is purposely thought out. From the shops you’ve read about, to wanted posters for Sirius Black, to how you enter Diagon Alley. There are several must-do’s for when you visit the Wizarding World if you want the full experience.

The Wizarding World is broken up into two sections one in Universal Studios Florida- Diagon Alley and one in Islands of Adventure-Hogsmede Village and Hogwarts. And both bring the books and movies to life in a way that will mesmerize you. I dare you to not tear up as you walk into Diagon Alley and seeing Hogwarts for the first time will take your breath away. This adventure is a must for anyone who grew up with Harry Potter. This brings me to the 8 must-do’s for when you take your Wizarding World visit. There are many more things to do but don’t skip any on this list!

  • 8. Take A Turn Down Knockturn Alley

    Even if you consider yourself a good rule-following which or wizard you can’t miss the chance to visit the dark side. While it can be easy to miss if you’re not looking for it, Knockturn Alley is a must-do.

  • 7. Dine At Either The Leaky Cauldron or The Three Broomsticks

    What’s a better way to be immersed in a theme park land than by trying the food? These restaurants get busy so try to dine in off-peak times for the quickest service!

    Leaky Cauldron

    The Leaky Cauldron

  • 6. Make A Withdrawal At Gringotts

    Inside Gringotts, you’ll find Harry Potter and The Escape From Gringotts, but walking into the bank is unreal. It looks identical to how it’s portrayed in the movies. Goblin animatronics seem almost lifelike and that chandelier is breathtaking.

  • 5. Step Inside Hogwarts Castle

    The signature ride in the Hogsmede section of the Wizarding World is Harry Potter And The Forbidden Journey, which is located inside Hogwarts Castle. While this ride makes some people nauseous and may just be a little too intense for others (though I’d still say give it a chance), you cannot visit without at least walking through the line. You’ll see classic sites like Dumbledore’s Office, the mirror of erised, the Herbology classroom, the defense against the dark arts classroom, the Fat Lady, the sorting hat, and more.

     

  • 4. Buy A Wand And Do Magic

    Magic is real in the Wizarding World. Have you ever wanted to do Wingardium Leviosa? Now you can and watch your spells come to life. 

  • 3. Ride The Hogwarts Express

    You have to purchase a park-to-park ticket to ride the train as it takes you between Universal Studios and Islands of Adventure. But it’s two rides in one with a different experience in both directions. Plus you get to walk through Platform 9 3/4 at Kings Cross Station. And just seeing that train is enough to make any Harry Potter fan a little teary-eyed.

  • 2. Drink A Butterbeer

    Is there anything more Wizarding World that drinking a butterbeer? It’s sweet but delicious, and even better you can sit at the Hogs Head or Leaky Cauldron and enjoy it just as it was consumed by Harry and company.

  • 1. Ride Hagrid's Magical Creature Motorbike Adventure

    When I tell you this is one of the best rides I’ve ever ridden that is not an understatement. The waits can be long but it is 100% worth it!