Tag Archives: Wizarding World of Harry Potter

Complete Guide to Dining in the Wizarding World of Harry Potter

Photo: Universal Orlando Resort

The immersive experiences within The Wizarding World of Harry Potter bring you as close as you can get to actually living out the fantasy. And one of the most tantalizing ways to immerse your senses is tasting some of the famous treats and flavorful beverages available in Hogsmeade at Universal’s Islands of Adventure and Diagon Alley at Universal Studios Florida. Today, we are sharing the complete guide to dining in The Wizarding World of Harry Potter at Universal Orlando Resort.

BREAKFAST

As the saying goes at Universal Orlando Resort: early to rise, early to ride. This is why staying on property and taking advantage of Early Park Admission can be your best friend, especially with early access to The Wizarding World of Harry Potter. Plus, arriving early means in-park breakfast and I highly recommend you make time to enjoy a pleasant sit-down morning meal at one of the two remarkably themed restaurants in Hogsmeade or Diagon Alley before setting off on your journey. 

Leaky Cauldron – Diagon Alley

Photo: Universal Orlando Resort

Recommendations: To fully immerse yourself in the wizarding world you’ve got to go all in, which is why I highly recommend choosing one of the more adventurous breakfast plates like the delicious Egg, Leek and Mushroom Pasty.

Breakfast Menu

Three Broomsticks – Hogsmeade

Photo: Universal Orlando Resort

Recommendations:  The Traditional English Breakfast is the star of the show here, but when I’m in the mood for an old reliable I usually opt for the American Breakfast.

Breakfast Menu – Currently Unavailable

Check the Universal Orlando App for availability and mobile ordering during your visit. 


LUNCH/DINNER

If there’s one word to describe the majority of meals you will find at seated dining locations throughout The Wizarding World of Harry Potter it is hearty. The menus at the Leaky Cauldron and the Three Broomsticks are loaded with wholesome dishes offering a feast of familiar and even some unfamiliar British fare. This, in addition to extraordinary theming and lively ambiance, makes the entire dining experience an attraction unto itself. 

Leaky Cauldron – Diagon Alley

Photo: Universal Orlando Resort

Recommendations: I can’t stress enough how good the Beef, Lamb & Guinness Stew really is, but I also dig the Mini Pie Combination.

Lunch/Dinner Menu

Three Broomsticks – Hogsmeade

Photo: Universal Orlando Resort
Photo: Universal Orlando Resort

Recommendations: Fish & Chips is my choice, but if you want something a bit more eclectic try the Great Feast.

Lunch/Dinner Menu

Both the Leaky Cauldron and the Three Broomsticks have kids menu options as well if you’re traveling with young ones.

Short on time? There’s a variety of grab-and-go food options throughout both lands so you can keep exploring and make use of every last valuable minute in the wizarding world.

London Taxi Cart – Diagon Alley

Photo: Universal Orlando Resort

Recommendations: LoadedJacket Potato


BEVERAGES

When it comes to drinks in The Wizarding World of Harry Potter, Butterbeer is a must-try. However, choices abound beyond just that sweet butterscotch concoction, including a number of other favorite drinks from the stories. Though, if you do opt for Butterbeer, the decision you’ll have to make is…which kind? 

Where to get Butterbeer…

Diagon Alley – Leaky Cauldron, The Hopping Pot, The Fountain of Fair Fortune

Hogsmeade – Three Broomsticks, Hog’s Head, Street Carts

Photo: Universal Orlando Resort

Recommendation: Frozen Butterbeer is my personal favorite, but cold Butterbeer and hot Butterbeer are also worth a try. Keep in mind hot Butterbeer is a seasonal beverage available only during the winter time.

Eternelle’s Elixir of Refreshment – Carkitt Market in Diagon Alley

Photo: Universal Orlando Resort

Recommendations: Sample the lot!CombineFire Protection Potion, Babbling Beverage, Draught of Peace, or Elixir to Induce Euphoria with a bottle of Gillywater for a flavorful treat.

Other Beverages…

Hogsmeade – Three Broomsticks

Diagon Alley – Leaky Cauldron, Fountain of Fair Fortune, The Hopping Pot

Photo: Universal Orlando Resort
Photo: Universal Orlando Resort

Recommendations: Pumpkin Juice is the classic, but Fishy Green Ale and Otter’s Fizzy Orange Juice are the more adventurous choices. 

Adult Beverages…

Hogsmeade – Three Broomsticks, Hog’s Head 

Diagon Alley – Leaky Cauldron, Fountain of Fair Fortune, The Hopping Pot

Photo: Universal Orlando Resort

Recommendations: Try the exclusive Hog’s Head Brew or other domestic and imported beers.

Check each location for availability of specific beverages. *Must be 21 years or older with valid identification to purchase or drink alcoholic beverages. 


TREATS

Butterbeer isn’t the only sweet treat to be found in the wizarding world. Both lands feature their own whimsically-themed candy shops with shelves and glass cases of popular treats from the stories and some originals you won’t find anywhere else, too. 

Honeydukes – Hogsmeade

Sugarplum’s Sweet Shop – Diagon Alley

Photo: Universal Orlando Resort
Photo: Universal Orlando Resort
Photo: Universal Orlando Resort

Recommendations: Too many to name… but I’ll try. Bertie Bott’s Every-Flavour Beans, Chocolate Frogs, Exploding Bonbons, Fizzing Whizbees, Fudge Flies, Butterbeer Fudge (yes, this exists and yes, it is absolutely delicious).

Florean Fortescue’s Ice-Cream Parlour – Diagon Alley

Photo: Universal Orlando Resort

Recommendations: If you have to choose just one, I highly recommend Butterbeer ice-cream, but save room to try the Earl Grey & Lavender, Chocolate Chili and Sticky Toffee Pudding if you can.

Ice Cream Menu


HEALTHY EATING

And if you’re looking for options for healthy eating or special dietary needs, we got you covered with some delicious options. If you or another guest have food allergies or intolerances, we offer a number of dining options throughout The Wizarding World of Harry Potter where our chefs and culinary staff can accommodate your dietary needs. Just be sure to ask your server or attending Team Member for options at your specific dining location. 

Leaky Cauldron – Diagon Alley

Photo: Universal Orlando Resort

Recommendation: The Ploughman’s is enough food for two and it features an array of a feast of English cheese, crusty bread, field green salad, roasted tomatoes, cornichon pickles, apple beet salad, branston pickle & scotch eggs. Wow, that’s literally a mouthful!

Lunch/Dinner Menu

Three Broomsticks – Hogsmeade

Photo: Universal Orlando Resort

Recommendation: Rotisserie Smoked Chicken Salad is a nice light way to graze and save room for other delights.

Lunch/Dinner Menu

I hope this guide to dining in The Wizarding World of Harry Potter at Universal Orlando Resort helped you plan all of the yummy details of your next visit. If I missed any of your favorites, please recommend them in the comments below.

Must be 21 years and older with valid identification to purchase or drink alcoholic beverages.

Thanks Universal Orlando Resort Blog!

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20 of the Most Unique Experiences at Universal Orlando Resort

Photo: Universal Orlando Resort

When planning for a vacation, I love to find the lesser-known things you can’t miss at that destination. It’s no different when it comes to theme parks. You probably know the highlights about Universal Orlando Resort: fun rides, hotels to stay at, delicious restaurants and entertainment, and — of course — The Wizarding World of Harry Potter. But that’s just the tip of the iceberg. This list offers twenty unique experiences at Universal Orlando Resort that you can do during your vacation.

There’s so much more you can do at Universal that you may not even be aware of. Like, did you know you can adopt a Pygmy Puff? Do you even know what a Pygmy Puff is!? Well, you’re about to find out. Whether it’s your first visit you’re planning or your 100th, I hope these spark some inspiration.

1. Try a Can of Whoville’s Who Hash

Photo: Universal Orlando Resort

One of my new favorite foodie finds is over at Green Eggs and Ham Cafe in Seuss Landing with the can of Whoville’s Who Hash. Munching on your can of Who Hash while strolling through the land will make you feel as if you’re right in the middle of a Dr. Seuss book. You can also get Green Eggs & Ham Tots, Buffalo Chicken Tots, and more.

2. Have a Chat with a Volcano Spirit

If you venture inside the volcano Krakatau at Universal’s Volcano Bay, you will come across Vol, the spirit of the volcano! This trickster fire spirit is great to chat with and can be a bit playful with water when they want to be.

3. Tour the MEN IN BLACK Headquarters

Did you know that there is an immigration tour offered at MEN IN BLACK Alien Attack? This exclusive tour will allow you to explore the downstairs level of MIB headquarters. If you ask one of the agents nicely, they may have availability to take you down and meet a few of the aliens. *Note: This experience is not always available. Saving the galaxy can be quite time-consuming.*

4. Meet Characters From Your Favorite Movies

Did you know you can occasionally run into Men In Black agents, trade in your cash for bank notes with a Gringotts Goblin, or even practice your kung fu moves with Po from Kung Fu Panda? There are a ton of characters to meet that you may not even be aware of! Keep an eye out as you explore the parks to see who you can find.

5. Adopt a Pygmy Puff

Photo: Universal Orlando Resort

And this, my friends, is a Pygmy Puff. They are one of the cutest creature companions in The Wizarding World of Harry Potter and, when you adopt one, the shopkeepers will do a fun naming ceremony for you. You can find them at Magical Menagerie and Weasleys’ Wizard Wheezes, and you can adopt them in three sizes!

6. Bowl a Strike in Universal’s Cabana Bay Beach Resort

Even if you can’t bowl a strike (like me), it’s pretty sweet having a bowling alley in your hotelGalaxy Bowl at Universal’s Cabana Bay Beach Resort is small and intimate with only 10 lanes, which is part of its charm, but it does fill up fast. Don’t forget to make a reservation ahead of time and to bring your lucky bowling socks.

7. Snap a Pic with Your Favorite Shark

Photo: Universal Orlando Resort

Our JAWs attraction will live on in our memories, but there is still one place you can get a taste of it. Quite literally — you can enjoy a Shark Attack drink at Chez Alcatraz. This little bar pays homage to the attraction and even has our favorite shark right next to it for pictures.

8. Brave a 125-Foot Drop Slide Called Ko’okiri Body Plunge

Your vacation is the perfect time to face your fears, right? Conquer the tallest drop slide in Orlando at Universal’s Volcano Bay. It also happens to have an awesome view… that is if you can keep your eyes open.

9. Try All Six Kinds of Butterbeer Treats

Yes, you read that right. There are six kinds of Butterbeer treats you can try in The Wizarding World of Harry Potter, including fudge, ice cream, potted cream and — of course — the three types of drink. *Certain Butterbeer treats are offered seasonally.*

10. Dance with a Panda

Sometimes you just need an impromptu dance party with a panda. Have no fear, Hashtag the Panda is here to help! You can meet and dance with Hashtag before racing through New York with Jimmy Fallon. You can also see a performance by the Ragtime Gals.

11. Embark on a Rum-Tasting Journey

Photo: Universal Orlando Resort

Take a break from the parks and unwind with a rum-tasting journey led by a Rum Captain at Strong Water Tavern at Loews Sapphire Falls Resort. They also happen to have amazing empanadas. *Operations are temporarily suspended for Loews Sapphire Falls Resort. Click here for updates.*

12. Get Your Putt-Putt On

As a self-proclaimed mini golf extraordinaire, one of my favorite things to do is play a round at the Hollywood Drive-In Golf in Universal CityWalk. It’s the perfect low-key activity to end the day. Plus, the haunted and sci-fi themes of each course speak to my geeky heart.

13. See Your Favorite Movies On… Water Screens?

Photo: Universal Orlando Resort

End your day at the parks with a front-row view of the nighttime show Universal Orlando’s Cinematic Celebration in Universal Studios Florida. There’s something really epic about seeing a gigantic T. Rex from Jurassic World roaring in your face on MASSIVE water screens. *This show is available on select nights. Make sure to check the park map or Universal Orlando Mobile App for updates.*

14. Enjoy a Lunch Inspired by Dishes from Across the Globe

Right at the front of Universal’s Islands of Adventure is one of my favorite restaurants, Confisco Grille. This hidden gem (that just so happens to be in plain sight) features an eclectic menu with a mixture of global cuisines like Asian, Turkish, Mediterranean, Greek, Russian, Polish, and more. You can also find mysterious confiscated goods inside that you may recognize from the park.

15. Escape to Waterfall Cove

Photo: Universal Orlando Resort

This is my kind of hidden gem when it comes to water parks. Waterfall Cove is a secluded area tucked away at the base of Krakatau (the volcano) in Volcano Bay. It makes for a peaceful escape from the crowds and has some gorgeous waterfalls that will make you feel as if you’ve been transported to an exotic location.

16. Explore Lost Continent

An enchanted talking fountain, exotic cuisine, a bazaar filled with trinkets and treasures, psychic readings, and more. Lost Continent is one of the most richly-themed areas of Islands of Adventure with stunning backdrops for photos, and the perfect place to relax and grab a bite to eat. I highly recommend having lunch at Mythos and enjoying the excellent views of the park from the outside seating.

17. Eat Burgushi – Where the Cow and the Fish Become One

Photo: Universal Orlando Resort

Take the fixings of both a burger and sushi, put them together, and bam! Burgushi. Chow down on this land and sea fusion at The Cowfish in Universal CityWalk. A guest favorite is The High-Class Hillbilly-Southern Style Bar-B-Q-Shi (pictured).

18. Live Your Best Rockstar Life

I love music, which makes Hard Rock Hotel one of my favorite places to stay. One of the fun things to do is the memorabilia tour. You can see priceless items from some of your singers and bands. Feel inspired? You can rent a guitar or record player to play in your room after! *Some hotel amenities may be temporarily unavailable during your visit.*

19. Cast Your Own Spells in the Wizarding World of Harry Potter

Photo: Universal Orlando Resort

Create your own magic in The Wizarding World of Harry Potter with an interactive wand. You have to try your hand at the Meteolojinx in Diagon Alley (pictured). My personal favorite spell is Incendio at Flimflams Lanterns in Diagon Alley. It’s so cool at night! You may even discover some hidden spells as you progress in your practice.

20. Sing Karaoke on the Big Stage

Even if you’re afraid of being in the spotlight, singing karaoke at Rising Star in Universal CityWalk is so much fun! You get backup singers and even a hype man to help make you the star of the show. Plus, the lights are bright enough on stage so you can barely see the crowd — just in case you need a courage booster. *Check the Universal Orlando Mobile App for when Rising Star and other CityWalk venues are open.*

What are your favorite unique experiences at Universal Orlando Resort? Add to the list in the comments below if you’re an experienced veteran of the parks!

Must be 21 years of age or older with valid identification to purchase or drink alcoholic beverages at Universal Orlando Resort.

Thanks Universal Orlando Resort Blog!

15 Tips for Visiting the Wizarding World of Harry Potter

You’ve booked your vacation to experience The Wizarding World of Harry Potter! Now what? If you’re planning to experience the Wizarding World of Harry Potter for the very first time, you may need some tips for visiting the Wizarding World!

I remember the first time I knew I was going to be able to go to Hogwarts and try a Butterbeer just like Harry Potter. I was overflowing with excitement, which only increased ten-fold when I found myself finally walking under the arches into Hogsmeade village. I’m pretty sure I stood there for a good chunk of time staring and taking it all in before finally making a mad dash to get everything done in a matter of hours.

Planning on how best to experience The Wizarding World of Harry Potter for the first time can be daunting. With two lands that span across two theme parks — Hogsmeade in Universal’s Islands of Adventure and Diagon Alley in Universal Studios Florida — and tons of things to do, eat, drink, and see in each, you can easily find yourself missing out on some of the incredible details and experiences.

Here’s a list of planning tips and can’t-miss experiences you’ll want to check out before your upcoming visit to The Wizarding World of Harry Potter at Universal Orlando Resort.

15 Tips for Visiting the Wizarding World of Harry Potter

Don’t Try Doing It All in One Day

If you have one day to spend in The Wizarding World of Harry Potter, you can get the majority of things done, while enjoying the rest of the theme park attractions. But, if you truly want to get the full wizarding world experience without feeling rushed, I recommend dedicating a day in Hogsmeade (Islands of Adventure) and a day in Diagon Alley (Universal Studios).

Remember to Pack Your Robe and Wand

It’s not every day you can wander the streets of Hogsmeade and Diagon Alley like a real witch or wizard. Make sure to add your robe, wand, and any other Harry Potter apparel or accessories to your packing list for some real epic pics. If you want to get your gear during your visit, there are many shops to check out throughout the wizarding world.

Arrive Early and Stay Late

Try to get there first thing in the morning for fewer crowds. (If you’re staying at a Universal hotel, definitely take advantage of the Early Park Admission perk!) On the flipside, if the theme parks are open later, try to stay until nighttime. The Wizarding World of Harry Potter is absolutely breath-taking at night.

Ride the Hogwarts Express Both Ways

Hop aboard the Hogwarts Express and travel back and forth between Diagon Alley and Hogsmeade. Make sure to take it both ways as each way has a different experience(You’ll need a park-to-park ticket in order to ride the Hogwarts Express.)

Don’t Miss Diagon Alley

The entrance to Diagon Alley is cleverly disguised as a brick wall in the London area, just like it’s described as in the films and books. Believe it or not, some people (like my brother’s friends) walk right by it!

Try All Six Types of Butterbeer Treats

Photo: Universal Orlando Resort

You’re probably familiar with Butterbeer, the frothy drink from the films and books that is reminiscent of butterscotch and shortbread. But, did you know there are six different Butterbeer treats you can try in The Wizarding World of Harry Potter, like soft-serve ice cream and fudge? (Certain Butterbeer treats are offered seasonally.)

Don’t Skip the Queues

Typically, I’m all for getting through queues quickly, but the ride queues in The Wizarding World of Harry Potter are ones you don’t want to miss. You get to see the iconic rooms and details inside Hogwarts castle and Gringotts bank, and even pass through Platform 9 ¾ on your way to ride the Hogwarts Express.

See All the Shows

A choir of singing frogs AND a theater troupe who performs with puppets? What more could you want. There are five live shows —  two in Hogsmeade and three in Diagon Alley —  you can see perform daily. (Check the Universal Orlando Resort App for show times.)

Ride Both the Sidecar and Motorbike

There are two ways to ride on Hagrid’s Magical Creatures Motorbike Adventure, and each seat gives you a unique experience. I’ll take it one step further and say I’ve heard riding at night is, and I quote, “life-changing.”

Don’t Miss Out on Magical Experiences

Photo: Universal Orlando Resort

Make time for some of the more lesser-known experiences like sending a letter with a Hogsmeade stamp, mixing your own elixirschatting with a goblin, or creating your very own moving pictures at Shutterbutton’s.

Check Out Knockturn Alley

You may be too distracted by the fire-breathing dragon atop Gringotts bank when you first enter Diagon Alley and walk right by Knockturn Alley. Put your brave face on and wander into this shadowy alleyway, which gives you a taste of Dark Magic in the wizarding world.

Treat Yourself to More Than One Wizarding Treat

Chocolate Frogs, Bertie Bott’s Every-Flavour Beans, Sugar Quills, Pumpkin Pasties, and more. Nab a few of your favorite wizarding world sweets before you leave and enjoy them while reminiscing about your trip after you get back home.

Don’t Forget Your Interactive Wand Map

Photo: Universal Orlando Resort

If you treat yourself to an interactive wand, don’t forget about the map! Each wand comes with a map that shows where you can cast spells throughout Hogsmeade and Diagon Alley. Don’t be like me wandering around aimlessly searching the ground for bronze spell markers because you forgot it.

Explore the Shop Windows

Your attention may be pulled toward the rides or getting a Butterbeer, but make sure to take some time to do some “window” shopping. There are incredible details in each shop window that bring the magic to life right before your eyes.

Don’t Miss Christmas in The Wizarding World of Harry Potter

Coming to The Wizarding World of Harry Potter any time of the year is quite magical, but coming during the holidays… it’s a whole ‘nother experience you won’t want to miss. Need more convincing? Two words: hot Butterbeer.

What are your favorite tips for visiting the Wizarding World of Harry Potter?

Thanks Universal Orlando Resort Blog!

10 Reasons to Celebrate the Holidays at Universal Orlando Resort

10 Reasons to Celebrate the Holidays at Universal Orlando Resort

The holidays are an extra special time to visit the theme parks. One of my favorite things to do this time of year is visit the theme parks. You may ask, what happens at Universal Orlando during the holidays? You can enjoy gorgeous weather, roller coasters, incredibly fun holiday festivities and so much more during holidays at Universal Orlando Resort. Although things do look a bit different this year than in past years (as expected), you can still get in the spirit and celebrate the holidays at Universal Orlando Resort.

Celebrate Christmas in The Wizarding World of Harry Potter

Photo: Universal Orlando Resort and @timsalathiel

When Christmas time comes to The Wizarding World of Harry Potter, the land embraces the holiday season with spellbinding decorations, holiday entertainment, and the can’t-miss hot Butterbeer.

  • Twinkling lights and enchanting strands of garland and wreaths adorn the eaves and shop windows throughout Hogsmeade and Diagon Alley. Make sure to take a close look as each shop’s decorations are uniquely themed (even Knockturn Alley gets festive with a wreath).
  • You can’t celebrate properly without tuning in to hear Celestina Warbeck and the Banshees perform their holiday hits like “My Baby Gave Me a Hippogriff for Christmas” (my personal favorite) in Diagon Alley. Over in Hogsmeade, the Hogwarts Frog Choir is taking the stage with their classic carols like “Christmas at Hogwarts”.
  • Take home a piece of the wizarding world with marvelous merchandise like Hogwarts house ornaments, stockings, and sweaters.

Hot Butterbeer: This seasonal drink has the same creamy flavor reminiscent of shortbread and butterscotch you know and love. It’s perfect for warming you up when the weather gets chilly.

See the New Universal’s Holiday Experience Featuring Macy’s Balloons

Although Universal’s Holiday Parade featuring Macy’s won’t be making its way through the streets of Universal Studios Florida this year, you can see the balloons and floats up close like never before in this new walkthrough experience. See the larger-than-life Macy’s balloons and floats depicting holiday moments inspired by favorite films like Illumination’s Despicable Me, and DreamWorks’ Shrek and Madagascar. And say goodbye to waiting in long lines at the mall — Santa Claus is coming to Universal Studios. Dress in your holiday best and come get a (socially distanced) photo with Santa during this holiday experience.

Universal’s Holiday Tour: Get front of the line access and walking tour to the balloon experience with this add-on experience. You also get a private meet and greet with the Grinch while enjoying a hot cocoa bar, an exclusive viewing of The Magic of Christmas at Hogwarts Castle, and a tour of the Tribute Store. 

Meet Your Favorite Characters

After meeting the holly, jolly man in the red suit, head over to Universal’s Islands of Adventure to meet the mean, green one himself, the Grinch. You can find him and the Whos spreading holiday cheer — or grumpiness in the Grinch’s case — throughout Seuss Landing.

You can also join other holiday characters for some dancing, singing, and photos in the streets of Universal Studios. Join in on the merry and mayhem with characters like the Minions and other beloved characters from Illumination’s Despicable Me, and DreamWorks favorites like the family of Shrek and King Julien and crew from Madagascar.

Don’t worry, Universal’s other famous characters aren’t taking off for the holidays. You can still meet the towering Transformers robots in Universal Studios and encounter Jurassic World’s Blue at Raptor Encounter in Islands of Adventure.

Enjoy Holiday Decor and Festivities at Universal’s Hotels

Make your holiday vacay at Universal Orlando complete with a stay at one of the resort hotels (don’t worry, you can reassure the kiddos that Santa can still find you). Besides being a short walk, Water Taxi, or shuttle ride to the theme parks, the hotels get in on the holiday festivities, too.

  • Do the hotels decorate? You betcha. Each hotel has a uniquely themed tree in the lobby and hundreds of lights, garland, and wreaths throughout. Just walking in to check in at the front desk will immediately put you in good spirits with the warm ambiance and holiday tunes filling your ears.
  • Exclusive to the hotels are the holiday feasts they host in their restaurants. Whether you’re visiting for Thanksgiving, Christmas, or New Year’s, there are specialty breakfast, lunch, and dinner meals that you can indulge in.
  • Nothing screams winter snuggles like cuddling up in front of a fire. The hotels have fire pits they light nightly, which is the perfect way to wind down after a day in the parks.
  • OK, so pools aren’t exactly a “holiday” activity, however, in Florida they might as well be. The fact you can lounge by the hotel pool in the middle of winter with an umbrella drink is the best gift you could give in my opinion.

Come Do Your Holiday Shopping

Another great perk about coming to celebrate at Universal? You can do your shopping at the same time, too. We’ve got a ton of unique themed gift shops throughout our entire resort destination. You can find popular finds, including some of my favorites like a classic Jurassic Park T-shirt, an interactive wand to cast spells in The Wizarding World of Harry Potter, and basically any piece of merch with the Grinch’s face on it.

And if you really want to amp the shopping up 10 levels on the festive scale, then you have to check out these new experiences:

  • For the first time ever, the Holiday Tribute Store is opening its door in Universal Studios with four rooms decked from wall-to-wall, floor-to-ceiling, and shelf-to-shelf with holiday goodness. Enjoy traditional goodies in the Bavarian Holiday Festival room; whimsical finds you can only find in the Grinch-inspired room; magical gifts and decor in The Wizarding World of Harry Potter inspired room; and holiday snacks and treats from Earl the Squirrel’s Tree Farm.
  • As you’re on the hunt for the perfect gift in the parks, why not make it a scavenger hunt as well? Purchase a brochure for the Holiday Tree Hunt and discover 16 themed trees throughout Universal Studios, Islands of Adventure, and Universal CityWalk. Collect all 16 stamps and you’ll get an exclusive holiday ornament prize.

Indulge in Holiday Feasts and Treats

Photo: Universal Orlando Resort

My favorite part about the holidays, as my waistband can attest to, is the food. With elaborate feasts, endless amounts of sugary treats, and the excuse to have as much hot cocoa as I want, I live for the holiday food and drinks.

  • New this year is the Holiday Treat Trail. Grab a trail brochure, gather your treat stamps, and enjoy favorites like the holiday ornament doughnuts at Voodoo Doughnut. Once you finish, you get a special completion treat on us!
  • Stop by the Holiday Tribute Store to try holiday treats and snacks you can only get from Earl the Squirrel’s Tree Farm.
  • Universal CityWalk is the place to get whimsical holiday goodies like eggnog cocktails, Peppermint Beignet Sundae from Pat O’ Brien’s, the savory Caribbean dish of Brown Stew Chicken from Bob Marley – A Tribute to Freedom, and more.
  • As I mentioned above, if you’re looking for a full holiday feast, look no further than Universal Orlando’s hotels.

Gingerbread Milkshake: It’s the very definition of Christmas in a cup. This milkshake from The Toothsome Chocolate Emporium & Savory Feast Kitchen has gingerbread, vanilla soft serve, caramel, cinnamon, chocolate ganache, and topped with a gingerbread-man cookie.

Take Advantage of Florida “Winter” Weather

Instead of having to worry about wearing extra layers of clothing, all you have to worry about is an extra layer of sunscreen. Florida “winter” is the perfect time of the year to get outside and enjoy cooler temperatures while soaking in that gorgeous sunshine. Nothing beats being able to lay out by the hotel pool in the dead of winter. Plus, less clothes packed also means more room for shopping goodies! If you’re really craving a brisk winter wind with a bite, I suppose you can ride Hollywood Rip Ride Rockit first thing in the morning…

Need Packing Help? Check here for recommendations on what to pack for the parks and hotels yearn round, as well as a handy checklist to keep you organized.

Instead of Sleigh Rides, Do Thrill Rides!

There’s one thing I can guarantee your holiday vacation will have that others won’t: roller coasters! Don your Hogwarts house scarf and fly through the Forbidden Forest on Hagrid’s Magical Creatures Motorbike Adventure in The Wizarding World of Harry Potter. Put Santa’s sleigh to shame by racing through the air at 67 miles per hour on The Incredible Hulk Coaster in Universal’s Islands of Adventure. And you have to try singing Jingle Bells on Hollywood Rip Ride Rockit over in Universal Studios — it really takes Christmas caroling to the next level.

Capture the Best Photo for Your Holiday Card

The holiday season is all about creating lasting memories with your family and friends. I mean, it’s the one time of the year where families still send an actual card with photos wishing everyone “seasons greetings”. Universal has the perfect backdrops for all your holiday photo needs. Ditch the traditional fireplace and snap a pic in front of a fire breathing dragon instead. Make it whimsical with the colorful twists and turns of Seuss Landing, complete with festive decorations. And you can’t beat a matching family PJs pic in front of the Universal Globe.

Oh, Christmas Tree! Holiday card photos are typically in front of the tree, but how often do you see a photo with an 80 ft. tree? The tree in Universal Studios is the perfect spot for a family pic. Add a fun twist by getting a photo of your reflection in one of the giant ornaments.

Ditch the Holiday Stress

This year, more than ever, we all need to escape the reality of the day to day and find what joy we can this holiday season. Which means we also deserve to ditch the stress we typically feel around this time with the shopping, the decorating, the cleaning up for visitors, the cooking, the calories, school winter break, working, and all 50 of the different family activities you have to navigate… Let Universal Orlando take that stress off your shoulders and be your home away from home for the holidays.

You’ll be pampered at our hotels with comfy beds you don’t have to make every day. No need to drive when you’re here with Water Taxis and shuttles that get your around. There is an endless number of fun toys, trinkets, and apparel you could ever want for your Christmas list all in one place. There are dozens of restaurants with all varieties of cuisine for you to enjoy a meal at and not have to wash dishes after. Also, calories don’t count on vacation so… Universal has the decorations, the tree, the eggnog, and the songs. All you have to do is let loose and have fun, safely.

Are you ready to celebrate the holidays at Universal Orlando Resort?


Holidays at Universal Orlando Resort are happening now through Jan. 3, 2021, with hot Butterbeer and beautiful weather staying even longer! Now pack your bags, the kids, presents, whatever you need for your holiday vacay, and get ready for some festive fun. Don’t forget to spread the holiday cheer on Twitter and Instagram with #UniversalHolidays when you get here.

Thanks Universal Orlando Resort Blog!

Five Universal Orlando Resort Recipes to Make at Home

We all have favorite theme park snacks, right? It can be tough when you’re craving a butterbeer, but can’t stop by the Wizarding World of Harry Potter to pick one up. So, we have the next best thing! Make one at home! You can make these four amazing Universal Orlando Resort recipes at home to help get you by until your next Universal Orlando Resort vacation. Enjoy!

Butterbeer Recipe from the Wizarding World of Harry Potter

butterbeer recipe

One of the most iconic snacks from the Wizarding World of Harry Potter or even all of Universal Orlando Resort is butterbeer. Butterbeer is served chilled, frozen, or warm (seasonally) inside of the Wizarding World of Harry Potter. You can find this sweet butterscotch flavored treat in the Three Broomsticks, Leaky Cauldron, Hog’s Head, and carts throughout the Wizarding World.

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup light or dark brown sugar
  • 2 tablespoons water
  • 6 tablespoon butter
  • 1/2 teaspoon  salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon cider vinegar
  • 3/4 cup heavy cream divided
  • 1/2 teaspoon rum extract
  • 4 bottles (12 oz. bottles) cream soda

Directions:

  1. In a small saucepan over medium, combine the brown sugar and water. Bring to a gentle boil and cook, stirring often, until the mixture reads 240 F on a candy thermometer.
  2. Stir in the butter, salt, vinegar and 1/4 heavy cream. Set aside to cool to room temperature.
  3. Once the mixture has cooled, stir in the rum extract.
  4. In a medium bowl, combine 2 tablespoons of the brown sugar mixture and the remaining 1/2 cup of heavy cream. Use an electric mixer to beat until just thickened, but not completely whipped, about 2 to 3 minutes.
  5. To serve, divide the brown sugar mixture between 4 tall glasses (about 1/4 cup for each glass). Add 1/4 cup of cream soda to each glass, then stir to combine. Fill each glass nearly to the top with additional cream soda, then spoon the whipped topping over each.

To make your butterbeer most like the original version served in the parks, you will want to freeze this recipe since it served hot.

We even have a Harry Potter recipe card that you can print out to save your butterbeer recipe to make again and again!

Fried PB&J with Bananas Sandwich Recipe from Halloween Horror Nights

Photo: Universal Orlando Resort

Although Universal Orlando Resort will not be hosting Halloween Horror Nights in 2020, you can still enjoy a delicious treat from the nation’s premier Halloween event!

The first step to enoying these fried pb&j with bananas sandwich is to make the secret ingredient that makes this sandwich unbelievable… FUNNEL CAKE BATTER!

Funnel Cake Batter Recipe

Ingredients:

  • 1 ½ cups of whole milk
  • 2 large eggs
  • 2 cups of all purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon kosher salt

Directions:

  • In a large bowl, mix the milk and eggs together.
  • In a separate bowl, combine the flour, baking powder, and salt.
  • Next, stir the bowl of dry ingredients into the large bowl of wet ingredients and mix until smooth.
  • Set aside for later.

Fried PB&J with Bananas Sandwich Recipe

Ingredients:

  • 2 slices of thick cut, white bread
  • 1 ½ tablespoons of creamy peanut butter
  • 1 ½ tablespoons of grape jelly
  • ½ banana sliced
  • 1 teaspoon chocolate syrup
  • ½ cup funnel cake batter
  • 1 tablespoon of powdered sugar
  • Canola oil (I would get at least 48 oz.)

Directions:

  • Preheat a large, heavy bottomed pot or large fry pan with canola oil until it reaches 350 degrees (use a candy thermometer to check temp).
    • You can also use a dutch oven or stock pot to fry as well. Whatever floats your boat… or in this case, sandwich.
    • For the canola oil, you’ll want around 2 inches or so. You want to be able to fully submerge the sandwich in the oil.
    • If you don’t have a candy thermometer (which I did not), you can tell the oil is ready when it’s shimmering with a whiff of smoke.
  • Spread creamy peanut butter evenly on one slice of bread.
  • Spread grape jelly evenly on another slice of bread.
  • Pause to lick any peanut butter or jelly you may have gotten on your fingers.
  • Slice the banana and place onto the piece of bread with the peanut butter.
  • Close sandwich and submerge into the bowl of funnel cake batter until completely covered.
  • Place the sandwich into the preheated oil but be careful! I recommend using tongs or a large slotted spoon.
  • Fry until golden brown on both sides.
  • Remove from oil and place onto paper towels to absorb the excess oil.
  • Drizzle as much chocolate syrup as you’d like and garnish with powdered sugar. I love A LOT of chocolate as you can probably tell in the picture!
  • Lastly, turn on the Halloween Horror Nights Spotify Playlist, close your eyes, and munch away. It’s almost like you’re back on the fog covered streets… almost.

Are you ready to start counting down to Halloween Horror Nights 2021?!

Guacamole Recipe from Antojitos

Photo: Universal Orlando Resort

You can celebrate Cinco de Mayo anytime with this guacamole recipe from Antojitos Authentic Mexican Food in Universal CityWalk.

Ingredients:

  • 1 ripe avocado
  • 1 teaspoon of jalapeños (diced)
  • 1 teaspoon of tomatoes (chopped)
  • 1 teaspoon of red onions (chopped)
  • 1 teaspoon of garlic (finely chopped)
  • 1 teaspoon olives (finely chopped)
  • 1 teaspoon of kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon of cilantro
  • 1 teaspoon of lime juice
  • A drizzle of olive oil

Directions:

  1. First, let’s get fancy and get a bunch of little bowls and divide all the ingredients up into them. Then, let’s get mixing!
  2. Put the jalapeños in a large bowl (if you don’t like spiciness, skip this step.)
  3. Carefully cut the avocado in half and discard the pit by inserting the blade into the seed using a quick and gentle cutting movement, then twist and remove. Gently scoop the avocado with a spoon and place in a bowl.
  4. Add the red onion, tomatoes, cilantro, salt, and olives to the bowl.
  5. Add a drizzle of olive oil.
  6. Mash and mix all the ingredients together using the back of a large spoon or fork, then mix in the lime juice.
  7. Shape it into a perfect little guac mountain and garnish with extra cilantro or tomatoes.
  8. Get your favorite chips and get your guac on!

Blast the mariachi music, throw those chips in a bowl, and get that salt shaker ready. It’s time to fiesta!

Big Apple Grilled Cheese Recipe from TODAY Cafe

Photo: Universal Orlando Resort

You can bring a taste of Universal’s comfort food to your home with the Big Apple Grilled Cheese recipe from TODAY Cafe. This fun twist on grilled cheese combines the savory flavors of melted cheesiness and tomatoes with the crisp sweetness of apples all in one sandwich. It’s a great lunch option for your kids or for the big kid that’s in all of us.

Ingredients:

  • 2 slices of white bread
  • 2 slices of cheddar cheese
  • 2 slices of Swiss cheese
  • 1 slice of pepper jack cheese
  • 1 tablespoon roasted plum tomato
  • 2 teaspoons unsalted butter
  • 4 thin slices of Red Delicious apple

Directions:

  1. Butter two slices of white bread with softened butter
  2. Remove the core of the apple and cut into 4 wedges
  3. Thinly slice one wedge of apple and set aside for later
  4. Place bread butter side down into non-stick fry pan on medium heat
  5. Begin to build the sandwich by laying the pepper jack and Swiss cheese on one slice
  6. Allow the cheese to begin to melt from the heat below
  7. Once the cheese begins to soften, place apples and tomatoes on top of the slice with cheddar
  8. Using a spatula, flip the side with the pepper jack onto the other side and press for one minute
  9. Ensure that both sides are golden brown, remove from pan and place onto cutting board
  10. Cut in half and enjoy the cheesiness!
  11. Serve with your favorite side of fruit, potato salad, or whatever your heart desires

Bonus: it’s an easy recipe to tackle for those of us who aren’t necessarily cooking savvy.

Four Universal Orlando Resort Recipes to Make at Home

Mini Pumpkin Donuts with Green Icing Recipe

This is the perfect pumpkin donut recipe to bring a little Halloween Horror Nights to your home. Not only are they deliciously pumpkin flavored, they’re also mini and very cute!

Photo: Universal Orlando Resort

Makes 24 Mini Pumpkin Donuts

Ingredients:

  • 1  cup sugar
  • 4  teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 1⁄2 teaspoons salt
  • 1⁄2 teaspoon nutmeg
  • ¼ cup of pumpkin pie spice
  • 2 eggs
  • 1⁄4 cup unsalted butter, melted
  • 1 cup milk
  • 4 cups flour (plus a little more if dough is sticky)
  • Vegetable oil (for frying)
  • Green icing or white icing + green food coloring (from local grocery store for topping)

Directions

  • In a large bowl mix the sugar, baking powder, pumpkin pie spice, salt, and nutmeg together.
  • Add eggs, milk, and melted butter. Beat well.
  • Add 3 cups of the flour, beating until blended. Add one more cup of flour and beat well. The dough should be soft and sticky but firm enough to handle. If you feel it’s necessary, add up to 1/2 cup more flour.
  • Cover with plastic wrap and chill for (at least) one hour.

During your hour break, turn on the Halloween Horror Nights Spotify Playlist and imagine yourself standing in the fog. Now it’s time for the fun part.

  • Remove your dough from the fridge and begin heating about 1 inch of oil to 360℉ in a large metal skillet or dutch oven.
  • Working half the dough at a time, roll it out on a floured surface to about ½ inch thickness.
  • Cut out circles using a mini donut cutter or small biscuit or cookie cutter, really anything that can give you a mini donut shape. 
    • For the center, I actually use the cap off a soda bottle to cut the holes. (Life hack!)
  • Gently drop the donuts a little away from you in batches into the hot oil.
  • As they begin to puff, flip them over with metal tongs and continue to flip a few more times as they cook. They will take about 2-3 minutes in total and will be a lovely golden brown color all over.
  • Remove donuts from the oil and set them on top of paper towels draped over a plate.
  • Grab the green icing you purchased from your local grocery store and drizzle over donuts as much as you’d like!
    • If you’re unable to find green icing, you can mix green food coloring in any white frosting. 
  • For a little more fun, you can even crush up some cookie crumbles and lay the donuts on top to resemble a spooky little pumpkin patch.
  • Take a photo and ENJOY!

What are you whipping up in the kitchen? Share with us your homemade Universal Orlando Resort recipes!

Four Universal Orlando Resort Recipes to Make at Home

15 Details in Hogwarts Castle at The Wizarding World of Harry Potter You Won’t Want to Miss

15 Details in Hogwarts Castle at The Wizarding World of Harry Potter You Won’t Want to Miss

From the Universal Orlando Resort Blog:

Hogwarts Castle in the Wizarding World of Harry Potter
Photo: Universal Orlando Resort Blog

One of the best parts about riding Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey is all of the details in The Wizarding World of Harry Potter as you walk through the queue inside Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. This is one of the best queues for any Harry Potter fan because of the amazing relics with unique stories and incredible details. So grab your robe and wand as you learn about the stories behind the most famous relics found in Hogwarts castle at Universal Orlando Resort

COURTYARD:

The Two Guardian Boar Statues at the Gates 

Hogwarts castle
Photo: Universal Orlando Resort

At the entrance of Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey, the first things we come face-to-face with are the two boar statues. Right below the guardian boars, you will see the name of the attraction lit up in small lights that cascade from top to bottom.

GREENHOUSES:

Mandrakes

Hogwarts castle
Photo: Universal Orlando Resort

Sitting at the top of the greenhouses we find Mandrakes — a tufty little plant that can be quite dangerous. If de-earthed, a fully matured Mandrake’s cry can be fatal to those who hear it. So, let’s leave them planted, shall we?

House Points

Hogwarts castle
Photo: Universal Orlando Resort

Another relic you will find is the hourglass-like cylinders displaying the standings of the house points. Triumphs during students’ time at Hogwarts will earn the house points, while any rule-breaking by students will lose house points. As a non-biased Hufflepuff, I think Hufflepuff should be in the lead, but who do you think should be on top?

DUNGEONS:

Potions Classroom Door

Hogwarts castle
Photo: Universal Orlando Resort

As you leave the dungeons, don’t miss the door on your left titled “Potions Classroom”. If you listen closely, you can hear what’s going on inside, as well as some familiar voices.

One-Eyed Witch Statue

Hogwarts castle
Photo: Universal Orlando Resort

Continuing along, you’ll pass a statue of a humpbacked, one-eyed witch. Harry first encountered the Marauder’s Map near a one-eyed witch statue just like this one. Mischief Managed!

Professor Severus Snape’s Office Door

As entrancing as the one-eyed witch statue may be, keep your eyes peeled for a door labeled for the infamous Potions master. If you angle yourself just right, you can see it toward the left. This is — in my opinion — one of the coolest things to see.

Mirror of Erised

Hogwarts castle
Photo: Universal Orlando Resort

We’ll also encounter the Mirror of Erised. The attention to detail is stunning, complete with the “Erised stra ehru oyt ube cafru oyt on wohsi” inscription in beautiful gold lining. Take a moment to stand and gaze into the mirror to discover your deepest desire!  

Griffin Entry to Office

Hogwarts castle
Photo: Universal Orlando Resort

If you’re a Harry Potter fan, you know all about the entrance to Dumbledore’s office. The Griffin statue requires a password to gain entry, and knowing Dumbledore’s favorite sweet treat has proven helpful in the past. Of course, after this can only come…

DUMBLEDORE’S OFFICE:

Dumbledore’s Pensieve

Hogwarts castle
Photo: Universal Orlando Resort

Nestled safety in Dumbledore’s office is the Pensieve -a very unique enchanted item where one can deposit their thoughts or memories. The Pensieve was a very important element of Harry’s journey and is destined to become an exciting sight in yours!

Sword of Gryffindor

Hogwarts castle
Photo: Universal Orlando Resort

The sword of Godric Gryffindor, one of the Hogwarts founders, was made a thousand years ago and is known to appear to true Gryffindors who are in need of it. You can find the ornate sword displayed hugging the wall opposite of Dumbledore in his office. Look up so you don’t miss it!

DEFENSE AGAINST THE DARK ARTS CLASSROOM:

Dragon Skeleton

Hogwarts castle
Photo: Universal Orlando Resort

Finally, we’re here. This is my favorite room because there are lots of interesting things in it. Here you will find a relevant artifact from every Defense Against the Dark Arts professor, serving almost as a trophy area from teachers who have come and gone.

GRYFFINDOR COMMON ROOM:

Fat Lady Portrait

Hogwarts castle
Photo: Universal Orlando Resort

Never a dull moment near the entrance to the Gryffindor common room — the Fat Lady never stops talking. She even mentioned she would go to the Quidditch match if someone could just lift her up and take her but don’t look at me. Any volunteers?

Quidditch Board Game

Hogwarts castle
Photo: Universal Orlando Resort

The board is set for people to play a board game of Quidditch, but you won’t find any of the pieces except for the stands. There is only one visible Quidditch board game in the castle and it’s spiritedly themed with the four Hogwarts house colors. 

Wizard’s Wireless 

Hogwarts castle
Photo: Universal Orlando Resort

Looking much like the radios of yesteryear, is a wizard’s wirelesss. We can almost imagine the Gryffindor students gathered around listening to Celestina Warbeck and the Banshees on the Wizarding Wireless Network. If you get really really close you’ll hear… nothing, sorry. 

Sorting Hat

Hogwarts castle
Photo: Universal Orlando Resort

The last thing you’ll see before you hop on for the ride of a lifetime on Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey. Say hello and goodbye to the familiar face of this incredible hat and get ready for quite the adventure with Harry, Ron, and Hermione!

So, how many of these details in Hogwarts Castle at the Wizarding World of Harry Potter at Universal Orlando Resort had you noticed? Did you learn something new about these details in the Wizarding World? Let me know in the comments below and share your favorites on social media with #WizardingWorldOrlando

6 Iconic Treats at Universal Orlando Resort You Can’t Miss

6 Iconic Treats at Universal Orlando Resort You Can’t Miss

From the Universal Orlando Resort Blog:

iconic treats at Universal
Photo: Universal Orlando Resort Blog

You know that feeling when you’re watching a movie and you start to crave the food the characters are eating…but then you realize it doesn’t actually exist? We’ve all been there. Luckily, at Universal Orlando Resort, some of those foods and drinks DO exist. From snacks and meals to drinks and desserts, here are six iconic treats at Universal Orlando Resort that you just can’t miss!

Spoiler alert: they taste just as good as they look.

Iconic Treats at Universal Studios Florida

Springfield Dining – Universal Studios Florida

iconic treats at Universal
Photo: Universal Orlando Resort Blog

Springfield U.S.A.’s dining area brings to life all of the Simpsons eateries you’ve always wanted to try! Personally, my two favorites to visit are Lard Lad Donuts and Moe’s Tavern. A Big Pink donut is a must-have, with a size so large it’s perfect for sharing with a few friends. When it comes to quenching your thirst, I recommend the Flaming Moe. It bubbles and smokes — plus, it’s nonalcoholic so it can be enjoyed by everyone! Also, don’t miss out on the fully-themed Krusty Burger or Duff Brewery.

The Wizarding World of Harry Potter – Universal Studios Florida & Islands of Adventure

butterbeer from the Wizarding World of Harry Potter
Photo: Universal Orlando Resort Blog

One word: Butterbeer. Arguably the most iconic treat from The Wizarding World of Harry Potter, Butterbeer will make you feel like you’re actually a student at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. You can enjoy this iconic flavor in several different types of treats and the only way to find out your favorite is to try them all…so get to tasting!

There are also plenty of other sweets from the Harry Potter film series to try, including Bertie Bott’s Every-Flavour Beans, Peppermint Toads, Fizzing Whizzbees, and Chocolate Frogs (complete with a famous Witch or Wizard Card, of course).

Iconic Treats at Islands of Adventure

Blondie’s – Islands of Adventure

iconic treats at Universal
Photo: Universal Orlando Resort Blog

If your appetite is as insatiable as Dagwood’s, you’ll love the iconic sandwich named after him! You can find the Dagwood at Blondie’s in Toon Lagoon — and trust me, it’s as mouthwatering in person as it looks in the comics. Made with fresh-baked onion and poppy seed bread, piled high with baked ham, turkey, roast beef, American and Swiss cheese, and topped with lettuce, tomatoes, mayonnaise, and mustard, one bite is all it takes to see why Dagwood makes so many of these sandwiches. 

Green Eggs and Ham Cafe – Islands of Adventure

iconic treats at Universal
Photo: Universal Orlando Resort Blog

Have you been haunted by the question of how green eggs and ham actually taste ever since reading the book? Well, you can finally find out at Green Eggs and Ham Cafe…but with a tot-tastic twist! This Seuss Landing eatery offers green eggs and ham tots, along with a number of other delicious tot varieties. You can even try a can of Who Hash! Just look for the building shaped like a big green ham with a giant fork on top — it’s pretty hard to miss.

Iconic Treats at Universal CityWalk

Bubba Gump Shrimp Co. – Universal CityWalk

iconic treats at Universal
Photo: Universal Orlando Resort Blog

Any Forrest Gump fan will want to run to Bubba Gump Shrimp Co. right when they enter Universal CityWalk. As Bubba himself puts it, “shrimp is the fruit of the sea,” and there’s plenty of “fruit” to be found here. You can try Cajun shrimp, coconut shrimp, fried shrimp, shrimp soup, shrimp salad, shrimp scampi, shrimp gumbo… and that’s not all. True fans of the film can even test their knowledge of Forrest Gump factoids right at the table!

Jimmy Buffett’s Margaritaville – Universal CityWalk

iconic treats at Universal
Photo: Universal Orlando Resort Blog

Jimmy Buffett’s island vibes are in full force at Margaritaville. Even better, the menu is filled with food and drinks referenced in his songs! Instead of singing “Cheeseburger in Paradise,” why not actually eat one? Or you could grab a Who’s To Blame Margarita to really get in the mood for some tropical relaxation. After all, it’s not “wasting away” if you’re actively consuming calories. That’s just science.

Must be 21 years and older with valid identification to purchase or drink alcoholic beverages.

Is your mouth watering just looking at these photos, too? That means there’s only one thing to do now…book a trip to Universal Orlando Resort right now to satisfy the cravings! Did we leave any iconic treats at Universal out? Be sure to let us know in the comments below. You can even tag us in your best Universal foodie pics!

What are your favorite iconic treats at Universal Orlando Resort?

How to Spend a Day in the Wizarding World of Harry Potter

How to Spend a Day in the Wizarding World of Harry Potter at Universal Orlando Resort

From the Universal Orlando Resort Blog:

How to Spend a Day in the Wizarding World of Harry Potter at Universal Orlando Resort
Photo: Universal Orlando Resort

Let’s just start by saying, The Wizarding World of Harry Potter is downright magical. Whether it’s your first time visiting or your 100th, the experience of being dropped into the story of Harry Potter will give you chills (and quite a few thrills, for any of you roller coaster fanatics). 

We don’t all get gifted Time-Turners from Professor McGonagall, though, so if you find yourself short on time and wanting to get the most out of your trip to The Wizarding World of Harry Potter, here are some tips to make sure you’re set for an incredible day in the Wizarding World of Harry Potter.

WHERE TO BEGIN

Just like how the wand chooses the wizard, you must choose where your adventure begins. It’s important to know there are two unique wizarding world lands that offer completely different experiences at Universal Studios Florida and Universal’s Islands of Adventure

Diagon Alley

day in The Wizarding World of Harry Potter
Photo: Universal Orlando Resort Blog

Nestled in the heart of ‘London’ within Universal Studios Florida, Diagon Alley is home to must-see experiences like Gringotts bank, Carkitt Market, and Knockturn Alley.

Hogsmeade

day in The Wizarding World of Harry Potter
Photo: Universal Orlando Resort Blog

This picturesque snow-capped village is located within Universal’s Islands of Adventure at the foot of Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry.  

Starting in either park guarantees you a great day — obviously, you’re at The Wizarding World of Harry Potter, you really can’t go wrong — but we recommend starting at Hogsmeade, catching the train over to Diagon Alley mid-day, and then coming back to Hogsmeade to finish the night. 

day in The Wizarding World of Harry Potter
Photo: Universal Orlando Resort

The best part about starting your day in The Wizarding World of Harry Potter? Shorter wait times because, as you’ll see on your map, it’s near the back of the park. It should only take you half the time it would have been to ride during peak park hours to ride Hagrid’s Magical Creatures Motorbike Adventure. And, bonus, since the whole ride queue is an immersive experience, the line feels shorter and the time passes itself as you try to spot all the fun, hidden gems throughout the attraction. 

day in The Wizarding World of Harry Potter
Photo: Universal Orlando Resort

Shortly after you choose the sidecar or motorbike, you’ll be twisting and turning deep into the Forbidden Forest. It’s an incredible experience joining Hagrid on this all-new thrilling roller coaster ride! 

Letter or not, you have been formally accepted to bask in the incredible sight of the Hogwarts castle. Seeing it in real life is incredible.

day in The Wizarding World of Harry Potter
Photo: Universal Orlando Resort

Once we’re inside the castle, let’s ride Harry Potter and the Forbidden JourneyYes, you really can walk inside Hogwarts. See the magic come to life as you enter through the towering castle gates, experience countless relics from the story and walk past iconic classrooms, all in preparation to soar above the castle grounds on a life-changing adventure and incredible multidimensional thrill-ride. 

Now we’re heading to ride Flight of the Hippogriff. As you move up on this coaster track, you’ll see Buckbeak, the Hippogriff, as he bows down. When you get to the top, make sure to look around and take in the view as this ride offers unique sights of Hogsmeade and Hogwarts. Before you know it, you’ll spiral past Hagrid’s hut and over the pumpkin patch. What an adventure!

day in The Wizarding World of Harry Potter
Photo; Universal Orlando Resort

If you’re anything like Ron Weasley, all this excitement has probably helped you work up quite an appetite. Time to grab a bite at the Three Broomsticks. Once you walk in, your nose will enjoy scents of delicious delicacies. This spot offers the chance to enjoy authentic food that your favorite characters also enjoyed. This rustic tavern serves breakfast, lunch or dinner. It’s full of delicious, hearty, British food and world-famous can-not-miss Butterbeer.

“OK now that we’ve eaten, it’s time to catch the Hogwarts Express,” is just one of those casual sentences you can say when you’re at The Wizarding World of Harry Potter. Walk over to Hogwarts Express: Hogsmeade Station and we can head to King’s Cross Station in London, at Universal Studios Florida. This isn’t just any regular old train ride, so be prepped for an incredible experience as we ride with our friends (real and fictional) over to Diagon Alley. (Just make sure you have the park-to-park ticket!) 

day in The Wizarding World of Harry Potter
Photo: Universal Orlando Resort

After you deboard the scarlet engine, you’ll find yourself on Platform 9 ¾ in the bustling Hogwarts Express: King’s Cross Station

Time to enter Diagon Alley. Make a left from King’s Cross Station and you’ll pass through the brick archway to enter into the bustling streets of Diagon Alley. Now you’ll really want to take a second to soak it all in. The magic of the hustle and bustle is all around you. You are standing where aspiring witches and wizards begin their journey to another semester at Hogwarts.

day in The Wizarding World of Harry Potter
Photo: Universal Orlando Resort

Every witch or wizard knows you can’t start a shopping spree in Diagon Alley without a trip to Gringotts bank. Let’s stop by Gringotts Money Exchange, because, honestly, how often do you get the chance to ask a Goblin a question? Come on in and ask away! You can even exchange U.S currency for Gringotts bank notes that can be used for purchases throughout both lands.

day in The Wizarding World of Harry Potter
Photo: Universal Orlando Resort

Now we can headdeep into the vaults at Harry Potter and the Escape from Gringotts. Walk through the bank’s grand marble lobby, then journey through underground passageways as we experience a multi-dimensional thrill ride. If you’re like me and love The Wizarding World of Harry Potter, but maybe your Gryffindor bravery stops at roller coasters, you can still walk the queue with your thrill-seeking friends. I definitely recommend doing this, as walking these lines feels like you’ve jumped straight into the story.

Next, head to Ollivanders and experience how a wand chooses its wizard… you may even be selected to be paired with a wand of your own to purchase and take home! As you walk through the shop you can also browse an array of wands stacked floor-to-ceiling by the thousands. We recommend getting the interactive wand for next-level wizarding fun….

day in The Wizarding World of Harry Potter
Photo: Universal Orlando Resort

While I know it’s hard to stop yourself from looking up at all the details around you, try not to miss the details at your own feet. You may notice gold medallions placed throughout the streets. These help indicate where you can practice your hand at casting spells with your interactive wand.Every interactive wand comes with a map that marks these spell-locations throughout Diagon Alley and Hogsmeade. All you’ll need is a gentle flick of the wrist, the right incantation, and your interactive wand to create your own magical experiences. 

Visit the shops and build your wizarding wardrobe at Madam Malkin’s Robes for All OccasionsWhether you’re Gryffindor, Hufflepuff, Slytherin, or Ravenclaw, this is a great spot to find the gear to proudly represent your House colors.

day in The Wizarding World of Harry Potter
Photo: Universal Orlando Resort

Hungry again? Let’s grab a bite in the Leaky Cauldron. This is an iconic eatery of the wizarding world, so let’s take a break from all that wandwork and enjoy some authentic British cuisine! Might I suggest the Ploughman’s Platter?

Is there a better way to pass the time while our food settles than watching some wizarding world entertainment? There are two incredible shows at Diagon Alley’s Carkitt Market, so we recommend sticking around for both. 

The Celestina Warbeck and the Banshees show is a bewitching live performance with sweet, smooth melodies by this wizarding world sensation (she’s also Molly Weasley’s favorite singer). 

The Tales of Beedle and the Bard is a show presented by the Wizarding Academy of Dramatic Arts, retelling two famous 15th-century stories from wizarding fairytales, including The Fountain of Fair Fortune and The Tale of the Three Brothers. Be sure to stick around for the end of this show in particular!

OK, who’s ready for dessert? Let’s make a stop at Florean Fortescue’s Ice-Cream Parlour. If you thought you liked Butterbeer, wait until you try it in ice-cream form. Here you can taste a variety of unique flavored soft-serve ice-cream including Chocolate Chili, Salted Caramel Blondie, and Earl Grey and Lavender.

day in The Wizarding World of Harry Potter
Photo: Universal Orlando Resort

If you’re a Gryffindor, you may be more suspicious of the Dark Arts. But let’s explore the Darker side magic in Knockturn Alley and visit Borgin and Burkes, known for inviting shady patrons, including Draco Malfoy. Here, you can explore malevolent relics, items of Dark Arts, and other oddities. Don’t be surprised if your Slytherin friends drag you to this side of Diagon Alley. Not only will you be able to shop unique merchandise only found in this dark alley, but you’ll also be able to cast special incantations and find hidden gems here. 

Outside of Diagon Alley in London, we can talk with the Knight Bus Conductor. Passers-by can look inside the purple, three-storied Knight Bus and hear chatter from the talkative shrunken head hanging over the steering wheel. 

One of the lesser-known must-dos in The Wizarding World of Harry Potter is a stop at the Magical Telephone Booth. At first glance, it might seem like an ordinary booth, but you just might find a little “M-A-G-I-C”. 

All right, time to catch the train again. Let’s walk to the station where you can walk through a solid brick wall onto Platform 9¾ — Hogwarts Express: King’s Cross Station. On this train ride, we can enjoy the urban outskirts of London into the British countryside while we catch up on all the fun we’ve already had and deliciousness we’ve already eaten. 

day in The Wizarding World of Harry Potter
Photo: Universal Orlando Resort

Back in Hogsmeade, let’s take a break at the Hog’s Head. After back-to-back thrilling rides, shopping, and casting spells, relaxing inside this pub located behind Three Broomsticks sounds perfect. We can even enjoy traditional drinks, as well as Butterbeer, Pumpkin Juice, and Gillywater. 

Time to stock up on delicious delectables at Honeydukes. This delightful shop has legendary wizarding world sweets including Chocolate Frogs, Bertie Bott’s Every-Flavour Beans, and Exploding Bonbons.

day in The Wizarding World of Harry Potter
Photo: Universal Orlando Resort

Even though the sun may be setting, your day in the Wizarding World of Harry Potter is definitely not over. At night, Hogwarts castle transforms into a beautifully themed experience that changes depending on the season: 

  •  The Nighttime Lights at Hogwarts Castle: Enjoy this dazzling spectacle where you see projections against the majestic Hogwarts castle, celebrating the four houses.
    • Dark Arts at Hogwarts Castle: This powerful story of light vs. dark shows Hogwarts castle being taken over by dark magic and then — well, why spoil it? Catch it for yourself during the fall season. 
    • The Magic of Christmas at Hogwarts Castle: The holidays in The Wizarding World of Harry Potter spring to life through this incredible display when Hogwarts castle is transformed for the Christmas season.

These shows are the perfect way to end your epic day in The Wizarding World of Harry Potter!

WHAT a day! Of course just one day in The Wizarding World of Harry Potter at Universal Orlando Resort is not nearly enough to experience all the magic it has to offer! We’ll see you at the Three Broomsticks tomorrow morning.

Get the Ultimate Guide to the Wizarding World of Harry Potter

Guide to the Wizarding World of Harry Potter

Does your family love Harry Potter? Are you confused about visiting the Wizarding World of Harry Potter? Are you spending thousands of dollars on a vacation and afraid you will miss something? Are you worried that you are going to be waiting in long lines during your vacation? Looking for time saver tips, money saving tips, and all of the secrets and fun inside the Wizarding World of Harry Potter?  You have come to the right place!

If your answer is YES to any of these questions, then you need the Ultimate Guide to the Wizarding World of Harry Potter. For less than the cost of a mug of Butterbeer, you can get this comprehensive guide to the Wizarding World of Harry Potter which covers both Hogsmeade and Diagon Alley at Universal Orlando Resort!

This incredible Guide to the Wizarding World of Harry Potter includes:

  • Descriptions of the rides and must do’s
  • Insiders tips to help save time during your adventure at Wizarding World of Harry Potter
  • Descriptions of the stores and hidden gems
  • Travel tips to help save money during your Harry Potter vacation
  • Harry Potter secrets inside the Wizarding World of Harry Potter 
  • Dining at the Wizarding World of Harry Potter, including popular restaurants like Three Broomsticks & Leaky Cauldron
  • Must Do’s that you could miss, if you do not read this guide!
  • Tips on how to save money at Wizarding World of Harry Potter – one tip will save you the cost of the guide (and then some)!
  • So much more…
Guide to the Wizarding World of Harry Potter

Is this YOU?  Meet the typical family visiting Wizarding World of Harry Potter….

This excited family arrives to Universal Studios around 10 AM and makes their way to the Wizarding World of Harry Potter Diagon Alley.  Their daughter is a huge Harry Potter fan, wearing her robe and excited for the adventure.  They miss the hidden gems in King’s Cross and head right into Diagon Alley.  They wait in a 90 minute line to ride Harry Potter & the Escape from Gringotts. They forget to purchase a 2-Park Pass, so they have to spend time upgrading their ticket, so they can ride the Hogwarts Express. They wait in line for 30 minutes at Ollivanders in Hogsmeade.  They miss out on Knockturn Alley and the hidden surprise from Moaning Myrtle.  They find out during their vacation that they could have dined for breakfast at Three Broomsticks for free.  So many frustrations!

This is truly the typical family visiting Wizarding World of Harry Potter.  Don’t let this be YOU!

Guide to the Wizarding World of Harry Potter

If you are planning a visit to the Wizarding World of Harry Potter this is a must read guide. Once you confirm your purchase, you will receive an email with a link to instantly download your guides. You can then read in your leisure or print for future use. It’s in .pdf format, so you can read it on your smartphone, iPAD, computer, or your Kindle. There are over 33 pages and pictures of insider information from the Wizarding World of Harry Potter at the Universal Orlando Resort. Ready to purchase the Ultimate Guide to the Wizarding World of Harry Potter?

Guide to the Wizarding World of Harry Potter

Planning your Universal Orlando Resort vacation? Don’t miss these helpful articles, too!

You may also want to pick up the Harry Potter Paperback Box Set or Harry Potter: Complete 8-Film Collection to brush up on your Harry Potter knowledge!

Top 4 Reasons You Need to Book the New Wizarding World of Harry Potter Vacation Package

From the Universal Orlando Resort Blog:

If you’re anything like me, you’ve been dreaming of a Harry Potter vacation since the moment you opened your first book. I’d picture myself walking through Platform 9¾ with fellow witches and wizards. Never in my wildest dreams did I actually think I would be able to ride the Hogwarts Express or stand beneath the towering and enchanting Hogwarts castle.

Now, you have the chance to experience all this and more. Universal Orlando Resort has a ‘you-have-to-see-it-to-believe-it’ The Wizarding World of Harry Potter vacation package with all-new exclusive offerings. This vacation package is so incredible that my fellow Harry Potter fans won’t want to miss these details and the top four reasons that the new Wizarding World of Harry Potter vacation package is perfect for your next visit.

1. Special Themed Keepsake Box

Photo: Universal Orlando Resort Blog

This brand-new customized, special themed keepsake box is a perfect collectible for any Potter fan-family. Not only is this exclusive to this vacation package, but when you see the special items contained inside, you’ll see why this will kick-off the vacation of your dreams.

What makes this exclusive to this vacation package?

  • A red, unique special themed keepsake box, exclusive to this vacation package with gold lettering that includes:
    • A personalized vacation welcome letter
    • Set of (3) luggage tags, featuring:
      • Harry Potter
      • Ron Weasley
      • Hermione Granger
    • Hogwarts Railways Lanyard —one for everyone in the family
    • Travel planning guide that includes: fun facts, information about Diagon Alley and Hogsmeade, including each lands’ unique dining options, shops and rides

2. Three Words: Shutterbutton’s Photography Studio

Have you ever dreamed of being a part of The Wizarding World of Harry Potter? You know, really picture yourself here. Well, Shutterbutton’s at Universal Orlando Resort is making this fantasy a reality. Wear your favorite Harry Potter-themed outfits, house colors and other wizarding gear and this magical shop will place you in your favorite Wizarding World sights and scenes!

Why is this so unique??

  • Only this vacation package will unlock an exclusive background
  • Vacation package guest(s) will now receive a complimentary 8” x 10” photo

TIPS & TRICKS:

  • Enjoy (12) iconic scenes from Hogsmeade and Diagon Alley
  • Bring your wizarding world props like wands, merchandise, hats, etc
    • Don’t worry if you don’t have a robe because you’ll be able to borrow robes there
  • (5) guests are allowed per session
  • Reservations are required

3. The Details: Vacation Package & Breakfast

Photo: Universal Orlando Resort Blog

So, what exactly is included in this vacation package? It was carefully created by Universal Parks and Resorts Vacations to help fans make the most of immersing themselves in the wizarding world. Take it from me, this curated package offers exclusive experiences and convenience – making it something you truly something you can’t miss on your vacation.

What’s included?

  • Hotel accommodations at a Universal Orlando Resort hotel
  • Admission to all (3) Universal Orlando theme parks:
    • Universal Studios Florida
      • In this park, you’ll roam the streets of London before entering Diagon Alley
    • Universal’s Islands of Adventure
      • This park is where you’ll enter the snow-capped village of Hogsmeade and get to experience the awe-inspiring Hogwarts castle
    • Universal’s Volcano Bay
      • Relax in Waturi Beach and enjoy the towering views of the Krakatau volcano

Fun Fact: With your park-to-park passes, you’re able to ride the Hogwarts Express between the lands at The Wizarding World of Harry Potter

  • Early Park Admission to The Wizarding World of Harry Potter and Universal’s Volcano Bay (and select attractions)
    • Get access 1-hour before the park officially opens
  • Breakfast at an iconic eatery from The Wizarding World of Harry Potter
  • Special-themed keepsake box with a personalized welcome letter, travel planning guide, luggage tags and lanyards
  • Shutterbutton’s experience that unlocks an exclusive background and a complimentary 8” x 10” photo
  • Access to select venues at Universal’s CityWalk

4. The Wizarding World of Harry Potter Lands: Everything You Need to Know

If you’re reading this, you probably don’t need convincing to why you need this vacation package in your life. However, if you need reminding, I wanted to list out some of the must-have whimsical experiences offered at The Wizarding World of Harry Potter.

  • Relish in the picturesque views of Hogsmeade, located at Universal’s Islands of Adventure
    • Head into the Forbidden Forest on Hagrid’s Magical Creatures Motorbike Adventure
    • Spiral and dive past Hagrid’s hut on Flight of the Hippogriff
    • Go on a journey with Harry Potter and his friends on Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey
    • Explore the familiar corridors and passageways of Hogwarts castle
    • Board the Hogwarts Express and travel to Diagon Alley
  • Follow in Harry’s footsteps through Diagon Alley, located at Universal Studios Florida
    • Witness a wand choose its wizard at Ollivanders
    • Ride Harry Potter and the Escape from Gringotts
    • View unforgettable shows at Carkitt Market
    • Walk through the brick barrier in King’s Cross Station and onto Platform 9¾ to board the Hogwarts Express
    • Savor the delectable taste of Butterbeer

We know you’ll want to spend your entire vacation at The Wizarding World of Harry Potter; however, remember that you’ll be able to enjoy other parts of Universal Studios Florida, Universal’s Islands of Adventure and Universal’s Volcano Bay. There’s so much to do in our parks that I’m sure you’ll have a blast.

So, tell us in the comments, what’s your favorite part of The Newly Enhanced The Wizarding World of Harry Potter vacation package? Can’t wait to see you here!

Ready to start planning your Wizarding World of Harry Potter vacation? This post will help you choose the best resort for your visit!