As a fun follow-up to our guide on Everything You Need to Know about Diagon Alley at the Wizarding World of Harry Potter, today we’re sharing our Top 25 Things You Must Do at Diagon Alley – including 10 Must Eat Diagon Alley treats!
Universal Orlando is divided into three parks: Universal Studios Florida, Universal’s Islands of Adventure, and Universal’s Volcano Bay.
The Wizarding World of Harry Potter is divided as well, with Diagon Alley located at Universal Studios Florida, and Hogsmeade located at Universal’s Islands of Adventure.
Today, we’re sharing our Top 25 Things You Must Do at Diagon Alley – including 10 Must Eat Diagon Alley treats. We’ll soon share our Top Things to do at Hogsmeade (the other half of the Wizarding World of Harry Potter) so keep your eyes out for that!
15 Things You Must Do at Diagon Alley
1. Meet the Knight Bus Driver and Shrunken Head
Get ready for lots of puns while interacting with these two!
2. Watch for the House Elf
At number 12 Grimmauld Place, you will spot some movement up in the windows. If you look closely you will catch Kreache scowling down at you as he watches over the Black residence.
3. Call the Ministry of Magic
Before entering Diagon Alley, you will see a classic red phone booth outside of King’s Cross. Go inside, pick up the phone and dial MAGIC to call the Ministry of Magic.
4. Ride Escape from Gringott’s
OK, now that you’re in Diagon Alley, you may want to head straight for the ride.
Hands-down the best roller coaster I have ever been on! This dark coaster plays mind tricks on you at every turn and is just an amazing experience. I wouldn’t recommend it for sensitive children, but there is a child swap option if you are travelling with more than one adult.
5. Take Out Money at Gringott’s
If you will be shopping during your stay at Diagon Alley, be sure to exchange some muggle money for wizard money at Gringott’s Money Exchange. This isn’t necessary, but it’s fun and you get to interact with the animatronic troll teller. (The magical money can be spent within the park.)
6. Catch a Live Performance
Whether you opt for a concert by Celestina Warbeck and the Banshees or the puppetry of The Tales of Beedle the Bard, you’ll be in for a treat. Both are located outside, just to the left of the Hopping Pot.
7. Hidden Wand Spells
If you are taking part in the wand experience, be sure to check out our post with all of the wand spots – including two secret wand spells!
8. The Talking Mirror
In Madam Malkin’s Robes shop, you can stand in front of the Talking Mirror and hear it’s opinion on your sartorial sense. (Be prepared, it’s not always nice!)
9. The Monster Book
Seek out this snarling, growling and biting book at Ollivander’s – don’t worry, it’s in a cage!
10. Visit Knockturn Alley
This very hidden spot in Diagon Alley (just past the bathrooms) is a well-kept secret and home to many fun spell spots, black light mysteries, a collection of singing shrunken heads, and one of the most interesting shops in the Wizarding World of Harry Potter.
11. Shop at Borgin & Burks
This store has the most interesting collection of merchandise, but it also has some disappearing cabinets and shaking trunks. Take some time to explore this nearly empty shop!
12. Watch the Gringott’s Dragon Breathe Fire
Listen for the rumbling then get ready for some impressive pyrotechnics.
13. Watch Unsuspecting Guests Get Splashed
My dear daughter did this to me, so I learned that standing behind the mermaid fountain is a good way to ensure you get splashed! Grab a drink at the Hopping Pot and just watch unsuspecting guests wander into this area just as a child successfully casts a spell and sends a spout of water their way!
14. Peek in Shop Windows
There are so many details, including real props from the movies, within the Wizarding World of Harry Potter. You will be missing so many silly moments and special touches if you don’t slow down and look through all of the windows.
15. Disappear into Platform 9 3/4
When leaving Diagon Alley towards Hogsmeade, stand in front of the illusion mirror and have a friend snap a picture or take a video of you. It will look as if you are disappearing into the wall.
10 Things You Must Eat at Diagon Alley
1. Eat and Drink Butterbeer
Butterbeer exists in several forms at the Wizarding World of Harry Potter: regular, frozen, hot – and even ice cream, pudding and fudge! The Butterbeer ice cream is available as a hard scoop or soft serve at Florean Fortescue’s Ice-Cream Parlour, the fudge can be purchased at Sugarplum’s Sweetshop, and you can get the “Butterbeer Potted Cream” at the Leaky Cauldron.
2. Make Your Own Potion
Grab a cup of water and head over to Eternelle’s Elixir of Refreshment to make your own potion. Vials of potion were $4.25 at the time of this writing, but if you forget water, you’ll shell out an additional $4 for Gilly Water.
Potion options include:
- Fire Protection Potion (watermelon, peach and strawberry)
- Babbling Beverage (tropical fruit punch)
- Draught of Peace (berries)
- Elixir to Induce Euphoria (green apple and mint)
3. Florean Fortescue’s Soft Serve
Ella and I loved the Granny Smith and Sticky Toffee Pudding flavors, but I’ve heard great things about the Clotted Cream and Strawberry Peanut Butter flavors.
(Note that they do not give samples, but if you or your child dislikes the flavor you buy, they will swap it out. I can understand that if they gave out samples, there would be giant lines and lots of sample requests.)
4. Eat Some Traditional British Pub Fare at the Leaky Cauldron
Whether you split a Ploughman’s lunch, go for the epic Fisherman’s Pie, or just snack on some Scotch Eggs, you won’t regret a stop in at this perfectly themed restaurant.
I highly recommend the sticky toffee pudding.
5. Exploding Bon Bons
Skip the chocolate frogs and go right for the exploding bon bons – such a fun treat, and definitely fun to bring home and share with unsuspecting muggles.
6. Fishy Green Ale
This drink is a polarizing choice. I thought it was really unique and interesting – a combination of mint and cinnamon, and while those pearls at the bottom may look like tapioca, they are actually little exploding blueberry pearls.
Ella thought the experience of having the pearls explode in her mouth was possibly the worst thing to ever happen to her… (yes, it’s non-alcoholic)
7. Tongue-Tying Lemon Squash
An icy lemonade with incredible flavor. This one made me suck my cheeks in it was so tart – more like lemon sherbet candies than a traditional lemonade. Available at the Hopping Pot and topped with a charred, freshly squeezed lemon.
8. Eton Mess
Complete with souvenir glass, this English classic made up of vanilla soft serve (you can ask to swap out the flavor), strawberry topping, meringue bits and heavy whipped cream is available at Florean Fortescue’s Soft Serve.
9. Cranachan (or Sticky Toffee Pudding)
Because the English aren’t the only Brits with great desserts, this light option from Scotland is featured on the dessert menu at the Leaky Cauldron. It’s a nice, light option after a heavy meal and unlike Sticky Toffee Pudding (also highly recommended) this dessert is hard to find outside of Scotland, so take your opportunity while you can! (It’s made of heavy cream blended with honey, then layered with raspberries and raspberry jam, then topped with toasted oats.)
10. Wizard’s Brew
This last one is just for the grown-ups: the Wizard’s Brew is a deep and malty stout with notes of chocolate and coffee, available at the Hopping Pot and the Fountain of Fair Fortune.
Alright, I am bracing myself to hear what your recommendations are – or what you may disagree with on this list. Let me know your must-do and must-eat suggestions in the comments!
For more great resources planning your family’s Universal Orlando vacation, check out our entire Universal Orlando section – or start with our Everything You Need to Know About Universal Studios with Young Kids.