Universal Orlando Resort is renowned for its immersive and enchanting experiences, and one of the highlights for any Harry Potter fan is the iconic Hogwarts Express. In this blog post, we will explore the wonders of Universal Orlando’s Hogwarts Express, including what type of tickets you need to ride it, valuable tips, what to expect, photo opportunities, and a glimpse into how this magical transportation works.
What is the Hogwarts Express?
In the Harry Potter movies, the Hogwarts Express serves as a captivating and integral part of the magical world. As the iconic scarlet steam engine pulls out of London’s King’s Cross Station you know that excitement and a great adventure are about to begin! The train ride is a visual feast for the eyes, showcasing stunning landscapes, picturesque countryside, and glimpses of mythical creatures along the way. Within the cozy compartments, we witness heartfelt conversations, friendships forming, and characters embarking on their thrilling journeys to Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. The Hogwarts Express in the movies embodies the essence of adventure, camaraderie, and the enchantment that permeates the Wizarding World.
Universal has given you an opportunity to step inside the Harry Potter Movies and no Wizarding World experience is complete without riding the train! This extraordinary train ride transports visitors between the two Wizarding Worlds of Harry Potter lands: Hogsmeade in Universal’s Islands of Adventure and Diagon Alley in Universal Studios Florida.
Universal’s Creative team worked closely with Warner Bros., Stuart Craig, and the production team from the Harry Potter films to create a sensational Hogwarts Express experience that the entire family can enjoy. The Creative team went to great lengths to ensure the experience is true to the books and films. Everything about the train is authentic – from the paint and the materials used to build it and all the way down to the whistle.
What is the Hogwarts Express Train Ride Like?
As you step onto the platform of King’s Cross Station in Universal Studios Florida, you’ll enter the bustling world of London’s wizarding community. Upon boarding the iconic red Hogwarts Express, you’ll find yourself seated in carriages that replicate those seen in the Harry Potter movies.
Once seated in the cabin, guests can look out their windows as an incredibly authentic and magical adventure unfolds before them. They’ll see Hagrid alongside the train on his flying motorbike, Buckbeak the Hippogriff swoop over the black lake, the Weasley twins on brooms and up to their usual antics, the Knight Bus swerving through London traffic – and other special surprises.
The train ride is an immersive experience, complete with visual effects and audio that transport you into the enchanting world of Harry Potter. Keep an eye out for surprises that may occur during the journey, as familiar characters and magical creatures often make appearances.
Hogwarts Express Tips
You Need Park-to-Park Tickets: To embark on the adventure aboard the Hogwarts Express, you’ll need a park-to-park ticket that grants access to both Universal Studios Florida and Universal’s Islands of Adventure. These tickets allow you to explore both Hogsmeade and Diagon Alley, as well as the thrilling attractions and entertainment offered throughout the resort. The convenience of the park-to-park ticket allows you to experience the complete magic of the Wizarding World by traveling between the two lands on the Hogwarts Express.
Get an Early Start: Arriving early at the park is essential to avoid long queues for the Hogwarts Express. Make sure to plan your day accordingly. If you purchase tickets from Favorite Grampy Travels, you can get into the parks an hour early even if you are not staying at a Universal resort.
How to Disappear: When you take the Hogwarts Express from London at King’s Cross Station (USO), you will come to a baggage cart around the corner from 9¾. If you stay behind and wait for your party to go ahead, you can film them walking into the wall and disappearing into Platform 9¾. (Look through the baggage cart as your family goes around the corner.)
How Long is the Hogwarts Express? Allocate ample time for your journey between the parks as the train ride itself takes around four minutes. Factor in the wait time, which can vary depending on the season and time of day.
Park-to-Park Order: The experience is best enjoyed by taking the Hogwarts Express in the order depicted in the Harry Potter books and movies. Start at King’s Cross Station in Universal Studios Florida and board the train to Hogsmeade. The return journey will transport you from Hogsmeade Station to London’s Platform 9¾ in Diagon Alley.
Queue Entertainment: While waiting in line to board the Hogwarts Express, keep an eye out for captivating details and interactive elements that enhance the magical ambiance.
Don’t Miss the Photo Opps: The Hogwarts Express offers several fantastic photo opportunities. Capture the excitement of arriving at Platform 9¾ in Diagon Alley or pose alongside the train in Hogsmeade Station. Additionally, while onboard, you can take snapshots of the intricate details within the train compartments, such as the luggage racks and windows offering glimpses into the wizarding world.
Is Universal’s Hogwarts Express Plus-size Friendly? Yes! The seats are bench seats so size is not an issue with the train.
Universal Orlando’s Hogwarts Express is a must-do for any Harry Potter enthusiast. The seamless integration of storytelling, scenic design, and technology brings the magic to life, allowing guests to become a part of the Wizarding World’s rich tapestry. With park-to-park tickets and a little planning, visitors can embark on an enchanting journey aboard the Hogwarts Express, reliving cherished moments from the beloved book and film series. So, step aboard, find your compartment, and get ready for an extraordinary adventure like no other!