Review: Hogsmeade in The Wizarding World of Harry Potter at Universal Orlando’s Islands of Adventure
By Dave Shute
The Wizarding World of Harry Potter is in two different areas of Universal Orlando. Diagon Alley is in Universal Studios, and Hogsmeade is in Universal’s Islands of Adventure.
This page is an overview of Hogsmeade. Attractions here include
- The Flight of the Hippogriff
- Dragon Challenge
- Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey
- The Hogwarts Express
REVIEW: HOGSMEADE AT THE WIZARDING WORLD OF HARRY POTTER
- A delightful but small built environment meant to bring the village of Hogsmeade (and a few imports from Diagon Alley) to life
- A replica of Hogwarts Castle, and
- Four rides (one shared with Diagon Alley) and another attraction
The four rides are the Flight of the Hippogriff, a minor roller coaster in the open air, Dragon Challenge, a world-class, very intense roller coaster (both slightly re-decorated versions of older rides), the all-new Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey, the all-new Hogwarts Express. Also worth special note is the charming attraction Ollivanders, where the wand chooses the wizard (there’s another version of Ollivanders in Diagon Alley.)
- The Flight of the Hippogriff will be uninteresting to most.
- Dragon Challenge will appeal to fans of top-level roller coasters, but be far too intense for anyone else.
- Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey has a stunning queue, and a pretty amazing ride, but will be off-limits to those with even moderate motion sickness.
- The Hogwarts Express requires that you have a “park to park” ticket (extra $) but is an easy way to get back and forth between the two Wizarding Worlds, and is moderately fun in itself. True Harry Potter fans need to ride it.
- The village of Hogsmeade is well-done and charming, but quite small.
- Butterbeer rocks.
The upshot: The Wizarding World of Harry Potter’s Hogsmeade is absolutely worth a visit if you are going to Universal Orlando anyway, and/or are huge Harry Potter fans. If you are, the best way to see the Wizarding World of Harry Potter is to stay at a Universal resort hotel. This will allow you to take advantage of its resort hotel early entry program, saving you hours of waiting in line.
If, however, you are a first time visitor to Walt Disney World, and following one of this site’s Disney World itineraries, I can’t recommend taking time out of already over-packed days to see the Wizarding World, unless your children simply will give you no peace otherwise. (If you must fit Harry Potter into a Disney World visit, see the links at the bottom of the page for hints on fitting Harry Potter in.)
Instead, save the Wizarding World of Harry Potter for another trip.
MORE ON HOGSMEADE AT THE WIZARDING WORLD OF HARRY POTTER
Because of the way Islands of Adventure is laid out, there are two ways to get to the Wizarding World of Harry Potter–clockwise or counterclockwise around the park.
If Islands of Adventure is open to early arrival (some days both parks are, and some one or the other is), Universal hotel guests may be sent one way, and everyone else another. If you have a choice, go counter-clockwise.
Once you are in Hogsmeade, you end up in a charming area about the size of Disney World’s Liberty Square. Hogsmeade and Hogwarts Castle are both stunningly well done. The small number of things you can do in Hogsmeade–for example, see the wand pick the wizard at Ollivanders, or buy butterbeer– are mobbed.
If you are a Universal hotel guest, and have a park-to-park pass, here’s the way to work both parts of the Wizarding World:
- Be at the turnstiles for whichever park has early open by 45 minutes before early open is expected to start (if both are open early, which will be uncommon my recommended weeks, then pick Universal Studios/Diagon Alley.)
- At open, get back to the Wizarding World and ride (depending on which park you are in) Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey or Harry Potter and the Escape from Gringotts.
- See the Wand choosing the Wizard at the Ollivanders in either Diagon Alley or Hogsmeade
- Get in line for the Hogwarts Express, and ride it to the other park. You’ll get there just about when day guests do. See whichever of Forbidden Journey or Gringotts you missed first thing
- Relax, and see all the other rides and wonderful detailing in both Wizarding Worlds.