Selecting Tickets for The Wizarding World of Harry Potter (Universal Orlando)

The Harry Potter areas at Universal Orlando Resort are separated between 2 parks with Hogsmeade in Islands of Adventure, and Diagon Alley in Universal Studios Florida, and the Hogwarts Express train connecting the two.  So, to enjoy all of the Harry Potter attractions, you will need a “Park-to-Park” pass.

To make the most of your visit, you will need to make several decisions when purchasing your tickets online, in person or through a travel representative:

Step 1: Number of Days

Universal Orlando determines their ticket prices based on the dates you will be visiting.  When calculating the number of days your ticket should cover, consider whether you plan on visiting the park(s) for a partial day on your day of arrival and departure from Orlando.  Depending on what time your outbound flight is scheduled on the day of your departure, for example, it may allow you to go to the park for a few hours before you have to be at the airport.

Additionally, staying at a Universal onsite hotel gives you the added benefit of gaining Early Park Admission into The Wizarding World of Harry Potter which is one hour earlier than the standard opening time for regular guests.

NOTE: Most of the time during the off-season, Universal will offer a 3rd day free with the purchase of a 2-day ticket.

Step 2: One or Both Parks

As mentioned above, the Harry Potter areas at Universal Orlando Resort are separated between 2 separate parks with Hogsmeade in Islands of Adventure, and Diagon Alley next door in Universal Studios Florida, and the Hogwarts Express train connects the two.  So, to enjoy all of the Harry Potter attractions, you will need a “Park-to-Park” pass.

Step 3: Extras

Several options to bundle your ticket purchase with upgrades will be available during your purchase.  One of the most popular options is ExpressPass which allows you to bypass the lines at most rides throughout the parks.

During the off-season which is generally November-February excluding holidays and special events, crowds are more moderate and ExpressPass will be less necessary than if you are visiting during the peak times which include holidays, Spring Break or Summer.

NOTE:  At this time, ExpressPass is not available for any of the Harry Potter rides.

Step 4: Delivery Method

Tickets must be assigned to the name of each guest in your party during checkout.  Universal offers several ways to obtain your tickets after purchasing including:

You will receive an email link to a printable PDF file which contains each ticket on a separate standard A2 (letter-sized) page.

NOTE: During my visit on February 17, 2015, I observed that ticket scanners throughout the park were not reading this format, and the ticket takers had to manually type-in the barcode numbers from the ticket each time.

Will-Call Kiosk
Outside the main entrance to each park, there are automated self-service kiosks where you can retrieve your tickets by swiping the credit card you used to purchase them, and entering the confirmation code you received via email.  You must have both of these pieces of information to retrieve your tickets quickly and easily.  If you have ever used a kiosk at your local movie theater to buy or retrieve tickets, it’s a very similar experience.  Small card-like tickets will print out that easily fit in a pocket or wallet and scan consistently and quickly throughout the parks.

NOTE: You cannot purchase tickets at these kiosks.  They are for retrieval only.

Mail Delivery
Small, card-like tickets like the ones you would receive at a Will-Call Kiosk will be dispatched to your mailing address.

NOTE: This option may only be available for certain ticket types such as Annual Passes and may not be available if your arrival date is too near to the time of purchase.

Next Tip: Selecting a Hotel for The Wizarding World of Harry Potter (Universal Orlando)


The Wizarding World of Harry Potter: Carkitt Market (at night)

Below, are some additional images of Carkitt Market at dusk and at night.

Visit our full Carkitt Market review with daytime photo galleries!



The Wizarding World of Harry Potter: Carkitt Market

The Wizarding World of Harry Potter: Diagon Alley opened officially on July 8, 2014 and features a variety of carefully recreated shops, restaurants and entertainment situated throughout Diagon Alley and the adjacent areas of Horizont Alley, Carkitt Market and Knockturn Alley. Carkitt Market features a variety of shops, carts and beverage stands as well as a stage area where two live stage shows are performed several times a day: Celestina Warbeck and the Banshees, and The Tales of Beedle The Bard.

Immediately after entering, or once you have walked the length of Diagon Alley toward Gringotts Bank, if you turn to the right, you will enter Carkitt Market which is a glass-covered arcade-style shopping and entertainment area that runs between Gringott’s Bank and the Diagon Alley entrances/exits through the London Embankment building facades.  Specifically, there is an exit directly adjacent to The Hopping Pot beverage stand from which you exit through the Wyndham’s theater facade.

Below, are several photo galleries with detailed captions.

Visit our separate photo gallery featuring Carkitt Market at night!

Exteriors & Environment

Shops & Restaurants

Wizeacre’s Wizarding Equipment
Visitors will find a variety of wizarding wares and supplies including crystal balls, telescopes, binoculars, armillary spheres, compasses, magnifying glasses and hourglasses. Don’t miss the unique selection of apparel and accessory products from your favorite Hogwarts™ house!

VIDEO: Rotating Armillery Sphere at Wiseacre’s Wizarding Equipment

Gringotts Money Exchange
Gringotts Money Exchange is separate from Gringotts Bank. In this location you can exchange your U.S. currency to official Gringotts Bank Notes. $10 and $20 notes are available. This currency can then be used at various places around Universal Orlando Resort or kept as souvenirs. Other Gringotts merchandise can be purchased here as well. The goblin at the desk will interact with you while you’re in line. This attraction is located in Carkitt Market between Wiseacre’s and the show stage.

Connected to Wiseacre’s and focusing on ink, quills, parchment, backpacks, stationery, paperweights, wax seals and other school supplies.

Photos to come

Shutterbutton’s Photography Studio
Shutterbutton’s is a small shop which offers park guests a photo or video oppurtunity. They have a couple rooms with green screens and old looking cameras which capture your moving likeness.  They put you and your family into Wizarding places in a moving picture scrapbook ranging between 3-5 minutes in length on a DVD. Its a 15 minute process to complete and costs $69.95.

Photos to come

Wands by Gregorovitch
While most aspiring wizards will want to visit Ollivanders, some might not have time to wait in the long queue. Don’t frett, there is another wizarding wand shop in Diagon Alley called Wands by Gregorovitch. Of course, purchases here come without the experience and show wizards and witches get in Ollivanders. The shop is also much smaller than Ollivanders, but has all of the classic wand options.

Photos to come

Eternelle’s Elixir of Refreshment
A beveral stand offering variety of “beverages” that consist of various “potions” mixed with Gillywater, creating a combination that allows the drinker to “experience a delightful flavour surprise”. Known potions used by Eternelle’s include the Draught of Peace, Babbling Beverage, Elixir to Induce Euphoria, and Fire Protection Potion.

The Hopping Pot
Outdoor bar with eleven different beverage options including Draught Beer,  Wizard’s Brew (a heavy porter), Dragon Scale (a hoppy amber) all four varieties of Butterbeer (cold, frozen, hot or ice cream), Tongue Tying Lemon Squash, Otter’s Fizzy Orange Juice, Fishy Green Ale, Pumpkin Juice, Gillywater as well as various snack items such as meat pasties and bags of British crisps.


Celestina Warbeck and the Banshees
A concert-style street performance featuring “The Singing Sorceress” and original music titles created by J.K. Rowling including: “A Cauldron Full Of Hot, Strong Love,” “You Stole My Cauldron But You Can’t Have My Heart” and “You Charmed The Heart Right Out Of Me”.

Photos to come

The Tales of Beedle the Bard
Re-telling of the “Tale of The Three Brothers” by Beedle the Bard by actors and puppeteers who bring the story of The Deathly Hallows to life during a live on stage performance using intricate puppets inspired by the feature film’s animation sequences.

Photos to come


The Wizarding World of Harry Potter: Hogsmeade – Hogwarts Castle (Exterior – at night)

Below, are some additional images of Hogwarts Castle at dusk and at night.

Visit our full Hogwarts Castle daytime photo gallery!


The Wizarding World of Harry Potter: Knockturn Alley


Harry Potter and the Escape From Gringotts – Queue & Ride Photos

The Wizarding World of Harry Potter: Diagon Alley opened officially on July 8, 2014 and features a variety of carefully recreated shops, restaurants and entertainment situated throughout Diagon Alley and the adjacent areas of Horizont Alley, Carkitt Market and Knockturn Alley.  The featured attraction is Harry Potter and the Escape From Gringotts – a multi-sensory, multi-dimensional journey that combines an indoor roller-coaster with a 3D dark ride themed around an incredible adventure  where riders navigate their way through the perils of the Gringotts vaults and encounter many familiar friends and foes.   This familiar story is from Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, where Harry, Ron, and Hermione con their way into Gringotts Bank to steal (and, ultimately, destroy) the Horcrux in Bellatrix Lestrange’s vault that holds one-eighth of evil Lord Voldemort’s soul.

The Queue

SPOILERS AHEAD:  After walking through Diagon Alley, you’ll witness an escaped Ukranian Ironbelly dragon perched atop Gringotts Bank exterior, which growls and snarls every 15-20 minutes before emitting a huge burst of flames from which the heat can be felt on the ground below.  The ride queue is an immersive visit to the infamous Wizarding Bank that takes you through the main lobby which is adorned with marble columns, glittering crystal chandeliers, domed atrium ceilings and features animatronic goblin tellers hard at work that interact with visitors while writing on parchment.

After passing the bank manager goblin, which also speaks to you directly and encourages you proceed, you arrive in a corridor of bank offices where an attendant takes your photo for your bank record (also used as a ride souvenir).  Then you head down the corridor to Bill Weasley’s office – Ron’s older brother – with whom visitors have an appointment to open a new account.  The pre-show scene inside Bill’s office features practical sets in front of a screen that creates a three-dimensional feel.  Domhnall Gleeson reprises his role as Bill, welcoming guests to Gringotts and setting up their tour of the vaults below.

After leaving Weasley’s office, guests board one of a pair of lifts for a 10 mile trip down into the Gringotts vaults.  The elevators feature shaking floors and guests witness the plummet through the glass ceiling (achieved by perfectly timed video effects). When the doors open, you walk down a hallway to retrieve your cart goggles and then up a spiral staircase to the loading platform to board the the twin, 12-person roller coaster trains.

The Ride

SPOILERS AHEAD: As you begin your tour, the thieves stealing the Horcrux have been detected and Gringotts’ security defenses are coming to life. Bellatrix Lestrange (Helena Bonham Carter) appears to curse the visitors as potential accomplices to the theft of her vault.  Bill is near, and saves the visitors with an “arresto momentum” spell that angles the track downward and releases the carts into a spiral through the vaults.

Then, the Gringott’s trolls attack, thinking you are the intruder, and they hurl your cart away and plunging down hundreds of feet on a waterfall toward the rapids at the very bottom of the caverns.  Bill casts a levitation spell to save you and then sends you off the the vault for safety.  Just then, the walls of the vault explode toward you, and the hissing of the snake Nagini warns the arrival of Bellatrix and “He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named”, Lord Voldemort (Ralph Fiennes).

Bellatrix curses the visitors away, careening into the next cavern.  But they arrive again, riding plumes of black smoke, to torture you to a fiery death.   Harry, Ron and Hermoine arrive atop thew Ukranian Ironbelly dragon which is directed to fend off Voldemort’s fireball. Hermoine throws a chain which is magically hitched to our carts, and the dragon flies the visitors up and out of the cavern to safety.  Bill greets you with his congratulations and another encouragement to open your account at Gringott’s – “The safest place on earth!”

Photo Gallery

Below, is our comprehensive photo gallery for Harry Potter and the Escape From Gringotts including 70 photos with detailed captions of the exterior approach through Diagon Alley, through the ride queue, into the ride vehicles, official Universal screenshots of the ride experience and the exit through Wiseacre’s Wizarding Equipment:

Press Images


Concept Renderings: Diagon Alley and London at The Wizarding World of Harry Potter – Universal Orlando

Official concept renderings from Universal of the new Diagon Alley and London attractions coming in Summer 2014 to both Universal Studios Florida and Islands of Adventure.  Be sure to click though each photo to see detailed descriptions:


A Celebration of Harry Potter Expo at Universal Orlando (Soundstage 33)

We visited the The Wizarding World of Harry Potter on January 20, 2014 and January 24, 2014.   On Friday, January 24, 2014 we attended the kickoff for A Celebration of Harry Potter weekend featuring a one-of-a-kind “Harry Potter Expo” with interactive activities for fans including a vignette of movie costumes from Harry Potter: The Exhibition and The Sorting Hat experience… all at Universal Studios Florida Soundstage 33!  Be sure to click though each photo to see our unique and detailed descriptions:

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Diagon Alley and London Waterfront Construction Photos at The Wizarding World of Harry Potter – Universal Orlando

We visited the The Wizarding World of Harry Potter on January 20, 2014 and January 24, 2014.  Below is our collection of photos from Day 1 (January 20, 2014) that captured some photos of the London Embankment and Diagon Alley which were still under construction.  Be sure to click though each photo to see our unique and detailed descriptions: