By the co-author of The easy Guide to Your Walt Disney World Visit 2020, the best-reviewed Disney World guidebook series ever.

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How Long to Stay at the Wizarding World of Harry Potter

By Dave Shute


Universal Orlando is a remarkable place, and easily repays a three or even four day visit, especially if your kids are 12 or older, and/or love thrill rides.

If you are simply trying to fit Harry Potter into a trip otherwise spent at Walt Disney World, use two mornings of your trip for the Wizarding World of Harry Potter.


(These instructions are for fitting a visit to Universal Orlando’s The Wizarding World of Harry Potter into a first family trip to Walt Disney World. Click here for the Summary of Instructions for visiting Harry Potter.)

Universal Orlando is a completely separate enterprise from Walt Disney World.

  • All it shares with Disney is an Orlando location and a devotion to providing a great theme park experience.
  • Just to be absolutely clear…your Walt Disney World park tickets don’t work there, and Walt Disney World buses don’t go there!

Universal Orlando has two theme parks: Universal Studios Florida and Universal’s Islands of Adventure.

The Wizarding World of Harry Potter is not its own theme park, but rather is in two areas in Universal Orlando–Hogsmeade is in Universal’s Islands of Adventure theme park, and Diagon Alley in the Universal Studios theme park.

Even before Harry Potter, each of these parks took more than a day to fully experience, especially for families with older kids who love thrill rides and extreme, world-class roller coasters.

With the opening of Harry Potter, visitors could easily spend three busy days, or four easier days with breaks, experiencing these parks.

Families seeking just to see the Wizarding World of Harry Potter can do so in two mornings–especially if they follow this site’s advice to get a room at the Royal Pacific or Cabana Bay Beach Resort, which allows early entry to Harry Potter.

Hogsmeade contains two major rides–the all-new Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey, and the re-decorated roller-coaster ride Dragon Challenge.

It also has a minor ride, The Flight of the Hippogriff, and a number of physical spaces themed after Hogwarts and other key settings of the Harry Potter books and movies.

Hogsmeade is connected to Diagon Alley via the Hogwarts Express.  This is a one-way trip, and to ride it you need a two park ticket. (You can return to your original park on the train, but need to wait again).

Diagon Alley has in addition another major ride, Harry Potter and the Escape from Gringotts, plus tons of fun shops and dining.

(For more on these rides and attractions, see this page.)

You can see all or most of this in two mornings, if you follow this site’s advice on where to stay.  If you don’t, you can likely still see it all in two mornings, but only if you arrive at the gates 60-120 minutes before opening time.



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1 Sass { 06.27.14 at 11:08 am }

Hi! Any update on Diagon Alley and how they’ve decided to get from Hogwarts/Hogsmeade to there? Will visitors have to buy two tickets to the two different parks to see both? Thanks. 🙂

2 Dave { 06.27.14 at 12:26 pm }

Sass, I am so embarrassed that I have not updated this stuff for Diagon Alley. Shame on me…

To see both, you will need a two-park ticket; to use the train that goes between, them, you’ll need a two parks in one day ticket.

3 Heather { 02.05.18 at 4:16 pm }

Im curious, for someone prone to motion sickness, and not planning to actually ride roller-coasters, how long would you plan to spend in each park? (Hogwarts/Hogsmede?) and do them together or seperately? thanks

4 Dave { 02.06.18 at 7:23 am }

Heather, each has only one major ride, and the one in hogwarts is a stinker for those subject to motion sickness, and the one in Diagon Alley is, while not a roller coaster, VERY much a thrill ride. There are lots of details and dining and such, plus the Hogwarts Express (which you need a park to park ticket to ride) connecting the too. If you are into the details, dining, etc., then 3/4 of a day if you skip the two main rides; otherwise half a day.

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