A Muggle's Guide to The Wizarding World of Harry Potter: London & King's Cross

By in Alston Stephanus, Disney Adventures, Florida, Harry Potter, Orlando, The Wizarding World of Harry Potter, Universal Studios, USA
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There are a few things in the world that can match the impact of Harry Potter. Let’s be real here. Real nerdy. Harry Potter transformed the imaginations of an entire generation and beyond.

So when Alston and I were doing our Orlando tour of Disney Adventures and decided to include Universal, I couldn’t deny that what I was most looking forward to was The Wizarding World of Harry Potter. I was going to be a witch! I’d see Hogwarts! Roller coasters! Everything was going to be amazing.

I’ll be super frank here and say that I didn’t love J.K. Rowling’s writing all the time. I had issues with her style and some of the choices she made (wait, Dumbledore is gay? Why didn’t you include that in the story so LGBTQ readers could have an amazing hero that was just like them? Why announce it only after everything is done? Argh… don’t get me started), but one thing I desperately loved was the world she crafted. She really did bring magic to life.

wizardselfie

The Universal Studios park in Orlando (there’s also a Wizarding World of Harry Potter at Universal Studios Los Angeles and Osaka) is like a fairy tale come true for many of the Harry Potter generation. You get to live and breath the whimsical world of Diagon Alley and Hogsmeade, walk in the shadow of Hogwarts, and drink Butterbeer and eat Puking Pasties.

But wait… I’m getting ahead of myself. You need to get there first!

The first thing to realize about The Wizarding World of Harry Potter (which shall henceforth be referred to as WWoHP because holy crap that’s a lot of words to keep typing over and over again), is that it is magical.

A Muggle's Guide to The Wizarding World of Harry Potter: Hogsmeade - The Nerdventurists - www.nerdventurists.com

Okay, you knew that.

Actually, it’s two different parks. You have Diagon Alley and Londonย at Universal Studios Florida and then Hogsmeade and Hogwarts on Islands of Adventure. To get between the two, you take the Hogwarts Express. For realsies. You take a train.

A Muggle's Guide to The Wizarding World of Harry Potter: Hogsmeade - The Nerdventurists - www.nerdventurists.com

From King’s Cross to be exact.

Ignoring the geographical error here and the fact Leicester Square is not directly next to King’s Cross, I have to hand it to Universal for getting the architecture of London pretty gosh darn right. Sure there’s the staple f the red telephone booth, but then again, those do still exist. What amused me most was they have the grating for the tube stop completely right. it’s the little things, people.

In fact, this part of the park, which is also home to Diagon Alley, is a mini recreation of London with important landmarks from the films. There’sย 12 Grimmauld Place, home of Sirius Black and later headquarters for The Order of the Phoenix, the infamous Knight Bus from The Prisoner of Azkaban, and of course King’s Cross and the magical Platform 9 3/4.

mugglesguide_kingscross8

The particular part of the park is really just an entrance to the rest of the attractions. From here you can get to both Diagon Alley and hop on the train to Hogsmeade and Hogwarts. Other than posing with the various landmarks there’s not much else to do, unless you’re us and get into a duel, but that’ll come later.

Getting to Hogwarts

In order to get to Hogwarts from here you need to head into King’s Cross station with your park ticket, get validated, and then wait in line. The train runs back and forth constantly so the wait is never horribly long, and in theory you could just exit Universal and go to the Islands of Adventure entrance, but what fun is that?

The good thing is that the line has plenty of things to amuse you. There’s luggage stacked everywhere, a few owls looking at you, and of course all the excited people roaming around. Alston and I were decked out in our robes and everything by this point and more than one person was snapping a pic. Alston frequently got mistaken for an employee x’D.

A Muggle's Guide to The Wizarding World of Harry Potter: Hogsmeade - The Nerdventurists - www.nerdventurists.com

Did you know that when you go to TWWoHP that you actually become magical? I mean, how else did Alston and I go through platforms 9 and 10?

harrypotter-kingscrossgif

It’s actually a fun mirror trick (OH GOD I RUINED THE MAGIC!). It’s just another little quirk and experience here that really adds to the atmosphere.

A Muggle's Guide to The Wizarding World of Harry Potter: Hogsmeade - The Nerdventurists - www.nerdventurists.comOnce you pass through Platform 9 3/4, you see the sign for the Hogwarts Express, and it’s kinda hard not to squeal. I mean, this is iconic.

Though so is waiting in lines.

Eventually you’ll be put into chutes for your cabins when the train finally rolls up. And when it does you’ll also feel like a kid because there it is, in all it’s glory: The Hogwarts Express!

6-8 fit in a cabin and as you travel to the other park you’re treated to a little movie that shows you chugging along the Scottish countryside as well as some memorably moments from the films (the car from A Chamber of Secrets makes a particularly amusing cameo). There’s also shadows on the cabin windows of your fellow Hogwarts students passing along, including the famous trio of Harry, Ron, and Hermione.

A Muggle's Guide to The Wizarding World of Harry Potter: Hogsmeade - The Nerdventurists - www.nerdventurists.com

It should be noted that to get the full experience, ride the train BACK to Universal as well instead of exiting through Islands of Adventure. The movie is different on the return trip.

harrypotter-hogwartsexpressgif

You journey comes to an end in Hogsmeade, the perpetually snowy village that’s dwarfed by Hogwarts.ย 

The Wizarding World of Harry Potter is a theme park in every sense of the world. It’s about the theme and the experience more than about the rides. The rides are great, but there’s not a lot of them. When you go to TWWoHP, it’s to dive into the magical world of the books and movies more than anything else. And it just goes to show how successful that aspect is by the fact you can entertain yourself in the London and King’s Cross part of the attraction, which is relatively minuscule in comparison to everything else.

Especially because… who knows… you may just end up in a duel!

A Muggle’s Guide to The Wizarding World of Harry Potter will be a multi-part series, so make sure to subscribe and follow us on social media to know when the next part is published!

| London & Kingโ€™s Cross | Diagon Alley | Hogsmeade | Hogwarts & The Forbidden Journey | How To Dress Like a Wizard (& Witch!)ย |

A Muggle's Guide To The Wizarding World of Harry Potter - The Nerdventurists - www.nerdventurists.com

A Muggle’s Guide to The Wizarding World of Harry Potter is part of the Disney Adventures collaboration between The Nerdventurists andย  Alston Stephanus ofย Alston Stephanus Accessories. Check himย out on Instagramย & his company!

Photos by Noriko Sugiura.

  1. Reply

    I’m not really a Harry Potter fan but I must admit we did stop in when we were last at Universal Orlando. Looks like you had a whole lot of fun!

    1. Reply

      It’s such a fabulously fun place!

    • Gennifer Rose
    • December 7, 2016
    Reply

    Hi Kristina!

    I love your photos! You guys are so adorable, looks like you had a great time ๐Ÿ™‚

    xo Gennifer

    1. Reply

      Haha thank you!!

    • Rachel G
    • December 7, 2016
    Reply

    Your excitement in this post is almost tangible! I’ve never read any of the Harry Potter books or seen any of the movies, so I think I missed this particular fandom completely. I am a fan of theme parks, though, and Universal Studios is one in Orlando I’ve never had the chance to visit.

    1. Reply

      Aww I’m glad you enjoyed reading it! Def give the books a try, they’re not everyone’s cup of tea, but they’re fun reading!

    • Nadine Smith
    • December 7, 2016
    Reply

    I watched all Harry Potter movies but I’m not really a HUGE fan. But even if I’m not, I can imagine how magical this place is! Your photos are great! ๐Ÿ˜ƒ And you both look cute!

    1. Reply

      Thanks so much ^^! It’s a really great part of the park, it’s hard not to fall in love with it.

  2. Reply

    This was magical reading. Love the fantasy world of Harry Potter and hence was spell bound by this post. Thanks for the magic wand(guide)

    1. Reply

      10 points to Gryffindor for all your puns, my friend.

  3. Reply

    I’m freaking out – this place looks so amazing! I love that you take a train between the two places and love that they thought of little details (like the mirror) to add another dimension to the park. Need. To. Visit. ASAP!

    1. Reply

      Yesssssssss, go! It’s so much fun, it’s impossible not to feel magical!

  4. OMG! Oh My God! This is definitely the most exciting write-up I’ve read all day. I am so jealous yet the videos and pics are making me so happy, that I keep going back to the post ๐Ÿ˜€

    1. Reply

      Ahahaha omg you’re so sweet. Glad you enjoyed it and my silly gifs lol!

  5. I think for JK Rowling, she told the world Dumbledore was gay at the end because she wanted everyone to see him for the hero he is and not his sexuality. That’s just my opinion. I’ve been to the WWoHP way back in 2010, but I didn’t get a chance to see Diagon Alley. My dream is to go to Gringotts Bank! Lol

    1. Reply

      I mean, fair. I suppose I just think it was such a chance for amazing representation and it was squandered. How amazing would it have been for everyone to see him as not only a hero, but as one who was homosexual as well, and that was addressed? I feel many were just cheated. Alas.

      Aw man, Diagon Alley may be my favorite part. You must see it!

    • neha
    • December 8, 2016
    Reply

    while reading through the first part of the post , i was wondering everything else can be done but what about disappearing in the wall. I am stunned by technology & innovation!!

    • Tiffany @ Parsnips + Pastries
    • December 8, 2016
    Reply

    This looks like you had the most fun time, ever!! I love that mirror trick! Super fun that you got that video!!

  6. Reply

    This looks like SO much fun, I would love to visit one day ๐Ÿ™‚

    xo Anna Elizabeth

    • Sandi Moynihan
    • December 9, 2016
    Reply

    This looks like a Harry Potter fan’s dream world! So glad you enjoyed!

    xoxo,
    Sandi

  7. Reply

    I was just down that way and the only place I wanted to go to if I did the theme park thing was Harry Potter, but I opted for small town explorations instead. Looks like fun time, especially since you become magical. Thanks for the great tips. ๐Ÿ™‚ I’ll have to check it out when I’m down that way.

  8. Such cute pictures and this looks like so much fun!!! I’ve been to the Warner Bros. Studio Tour in London but still dying to see check out the Orlando one. Thanks for sharing!

  9. Reply

    ๐Ÿ™ I missed this…and I am such a huge HP fan. I am right now so J of you . I want to visit the Diagon Alley and go through the 9 and three quarters platform. ๐Ÿ™ I guess this should be the prime reason for my next visit to London

  10. Reply

    You’re right about the architecture of the tube station looking pretty legit. The ground looks a bit too clean though. Haha. It looks like you guys are having a lot of fun dressing up and being super fans. There is a Warner Bros studios with Harry Potter sets in the UK, near Watford, and the real Kings Cross has a Harry Potter shop plus a trolley you can pose with going through the wall at platform 9 3/4.

  11. Reply

    I think to be the lonely one that is not fan of Harry Potter’s movies and books, but I read all your post with interest and took a look your wonderful pictures! I tried to watch the first movie twice but….nothing, I didn’t like it ahuuahahu!! Thanks for sharing, you guys had a lot of fun there….:-D

    • travellingslacker
    • December 12, 2016
    Reply

    Hey what did just read!
    It is almost like getting transported to a fantasy world.
    There s no dearth of theme parks in the world but very few of them do justice to the subject matter. But this one seems to have done it!

  12. Reply

    wow..you must have had a jolly good time out there. A must visit for all the Harry Potter fans worldwide. I’m definitely recommending my friends. Thanks for sharing.

  13. Reply

    hehehe I was there with my cousins some years ago! I hope the guy of the pictures at King’s Cross is still saying “Brilliant!” every time he pushes the scarf for the picture! I think it’s a lovely place for Muggles!! :):):):):)

    • Adam, Bite of Iceland
    • December 13, 2016
    Reply

    Fantastic post! Iโ€™m a huge Harry Potter fan ๐Ÿ™‚ Such a lovely place. It looks like you had a great time there ๐Ÿ™‚

  14. Reply

    You really disappeared! What a magical experience.
    The whole place seems to be done up so well, worth a visit.

  15. Reply

    Harry Potter is everyone’s favorite. The lace looks so magical. Looks like you had a fun time there.

  16. Reply

    It’s impressive how they’ve built London so beautifully (still, not understandable why did they put Leicester Square near King’s Cross). I love how you disappear through the wall, must have been a really fun experience. And I think I know how they did it ๐Ÿ™‚

  17. Reply

    I really enjoyed reading through your post! I am not a great fan of HP and haven’t watched much of those series but your post was fun. Thank you for sharing your experience.

  18. Reply

    Wow!! don’t know how to react on your post as I’m a die heart fan of Harry Potter series and since childhood times watched every movie countless times. You looking like a alive character of the wizarding world and the glimpse of your movement between platform took me in the magical world for a sec.

  19. Reply

    Thanks for this magical post! But I am jealous. Love Harry Potter & I am so glad such places exist <3

    Parampara-Parichay
    http://awaradiaries.com
    India

  20. Reply

    I am not too big a fan of Harry Potter. But after reading your account, I feel like visiting this place.

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