Muggles Rejoice, Diagon Alley is Open
Muggles rejoice! The time has finally come to experience firsthand the spellbinding world of Diagon Alley at Universal Studios Florida, just a short drive from the Kissimmee area.
From the shop selling quaffles to the interactive wands, every nook and cranny of the estimated $400-million-plus attraction immerses you into J.K. Rowling's vision based on the author's "Harry Potter" book series and scenes from the feature films. At 20 acres, the theme-park within a theme park is enough to keep anyone enchanted. Here's an hour-by-hour way to plan a fun-filled day with Harry.
A ‘Wand'erful Welcome 9 a.m. - You won't need a magic wand to travel from Hogsmeade to Diagon Alley. Instead, hop aboard the Hogwarts Express and pass through the brick wall at Platform 9 3/4. Once you're through the wall, capture your first glimpse of Diagon Alley, where the postcard-perfect shops and eateries are all appropriately higgledy-piggledy.
Make a beeline toward Ollivanders wand shop. Inside, you'll be surrounded by thousands of multi-colored wands stacked in boxes from floor to ceiling. Soon enough, an inquisitive wand keeper will guide you through the one-of-a-kind experience where the wand chooses you.
Riveting Ride 10 a.m. - With wand in hand, you are now magically prepared to trek over to Gringotts Wizarding Bank (complete with a fire-breathing dragon on top) and experience Harry Potter and the Escape from Gringotts, a ride which boasts some pretty impressive technological feats.
Within the bank, the wow-factor spikes. The lifelike replica of the impressive building is complete with the oversized chandeliers and the anything-but-average office of Bill Weasley. Better yet, the ride has you soaring through the cavernous depths of Gringotts and coming face-to-face with Lord Voldemort himself.
Unusual Grub Noon - What better place to down a Butterbeer, then the Leaky Cauldron eatery? The frothy, non-alcoholic drink is a favorite among wizards-in-training. And it also happens to come in the form of ice cream. Plus, pumpkin juice is on the menu, too, along with traditional British eats like fish and chips and bangers and mash. It is so authentically magical; you might imagine Harry himself is sitting next to you (wearing an Invisibility Cloak, of course).
Parting Gifts 2 p.m. - Don't forget the three-story Weasleys' Wizard Wheezes shop for magical jokes and toys. On the other hand, if Quidditch (a fast-pace wizard sport played on flying broomsticks) equipment is what you fancy, then Quality Quidditch Supplies is the place. Choose between Nimbus Two Thousand and Firebolt brooms, and style yourself Harry-like with a Hogwarts robe, striped scarf and tie.
Snack Sweetly 3 p.m. - The tasty treats at Florean Fortescue's Ice Cream Parlour are definitely something to write home about. Sample unusual flavors such as Earl Grey and lavender, sticky toffee, and clotted cream.
Until Tomorrow 5 p.m. - What's your last stop? One more Butterbeer? A photo op with the dancing skeletons inside Knockturn Alley? It's a tough decision, but you can always pay a visit to Harry, Hermione and Hogwarts again the next day.
If you go: Admission into Universal Studios Florida, allows you to roam around the park and visit Diagon Alley. However, if you'd like to pop over to Hogsmeade via the Hogwarts Express, you must purchase park-to-park admission ($136 for adults, $129 for kids ages 3 to 9). Purchase your pass to this magical world today!
Make this summer a magical vacation for the whole family to remember! Your ticket to Diagon Alley starts in Kissimmee, Florida with resorts, hotels and vacation rentals near Universal Studios Florida.