Wizarding World of Harry Potter During COVID: Universal Orlando

A little escape from the everyday is always a treat, but right now stepping into the Wizarding World of Harry Potter at Universal Orlando is even more of an escape. Many experiences are the same, but there are several changes to the Wizarding World of Harry Potter during COVID you need to know before you go.

Universal Orlando changes policies regularly based on crowds and safety procedures. Some of these limitations may be gone when your trip arrives, but it’s best to plan for limited availability and instead find things easier to do when you arrive.

I am in no way an expert on COVID-19. There is an inherent risk of getting sick when you no longer follow a stay-at-home order. This is information I have compiled in my attempt to make travel decisions for my family at this time. Please consult a healthcare professional with specific questions about your or your family’s potential risks and health.

Plan Ahead For Wand Fittings At Ollivanders

Ollivanders wand shop. Although still magical, the Wizarding World of Harry Potter during COVID has several changes that you need to know when planning your trip.

Every witch and wizard dreams of the day they get a wand at Ollivanders. Getting chosen is a dream for many fans, but right now the show has limited availability because of COVID.

There are two Ollivander shops in the Wizarding World of Harry Potter, one in Diagon Alley and one in Hogsmeade. The rules for wand fitting are different in each shop.

Ollivanders in Diagon Alley

Head straight to Ollivanders in Diagon Alley to get your name on a reservation list. Reservations are first come, first served in the morning and slots fill up quickly. If you miss making a reservation, Ollivanders in Diagon Alley converts to a standby line two hours before the park closes.

You can also skip the wand fitting experience and pick your own wand in Ollivanders shop. The queue often stretches out along Diagon Alley but generally moves quickly. Here you can peruse all of the wands available and find the perfect one for casting spells in the Wizarding World of Harry Potter.

Ollivanders in Hogsmeade

Unlike Diagon Alley, Ollivanders in Hogsmeade is a standby line all day. Capacity is limited, which means you’ll need to get to the Wizarding World of Harry Potter early and pack some patience to get fitted for a wand at Ollivanders in Hogsmeade.

Hogwarts Express

Hogwarts Express train arriving in Hogsmeade station. Although still magical, the Wizarding World of Harry Potter during COVID has several changes that you need to know when planning your trip.

Taking the Hogwarts Express between Diagon Alley and Hogsmeade is still one of my favorite immersive experiences. You’ll need a park to park ticket to ride since the train transports you from Universal Studios Florida to Universal Islands of Adventure, or vice versa. Each direction has a different experience, so make sure you take the train each way.

The overall experience of Hogwarts Express is the same during COVID, but with limited capacity. As of April 2021, each party still has a train compartment to themselves. While it makes for a comfortable ride, it means loading is much slower than before. Wait times for Hogwarts Express can get pretty long especially at the beginning and end of the day.

Guests must wear masks on Hogwarts Express, just like most places in Universal Orlando. Monitored video cameras watch each compartment through the ride. Guests boarding Hogwarts Express are warned ignoring the mask policy can lead to being removed from parks.

Riding Hagrid’s Magical Creatures Motorbike Adventure 

Entrance to Hagrid's Magical Creatures Motorbike Adventure with ornate stone archways. Although still magical, the Wizarding World of Harry Potter during COVID has several changes that you need to know when planning your trip.

Our favorite ride in Hogsmeade is Hagrid’s Magical Creatures Motorbike Adventure. Take an exhilarating ride through the Forbidden Forest with Hagrid, meet magical creatures, and escape from Devil’s Snare on this clever attraction.

Most of the time Hagrid’s Magical Creatures Motorbike Adventure has a traditional standby queue. But on peak capacity days, for example during spring break, Hagrid’s Magical Creatures Motorbike Adventure switches to a virtual line system so it’s helpful to understand both systems.

Hagrid’s Magical Creatures Motorbike Adventure Standby Line Tips

Starting at the end of April, Hagrid’s switched back to a traditional standby line. Wait times get high for this popular attraction, so arriving before park opening or during Early Park Admission is a great way to avoid crowds to ride Hagrid’s Magical Creatures Motorbike Adventure.

If you arrive after park opening, and the wait is too long you can set a “wait time alert” on the Universal Orlando app. Choose a wait time you’d be willing to do and then confirm the alert. If the wait time gets to your desired number, you’ll get a notification on the app. Then just enter the standby queue, wait, and ride.

Hagrid’s Magical Creatures Motorbike Adventure Virtual Line Tips

Over spring break the procedure for Hagrid’s was different. During Early Park Admission, Hagrid’s Magical Creatures Motorbike Adventure was a traditional standby line. Once Islands of Adventure officially opened for the day, the line converted to a Virtual Line. 

Snagging a Virtual Line spot is challenging. If virtual lines are required for your trip, download the Universal Orlando app, be inside the park, and find Hagrid’s Magical Creatures Motorbike Adventure on the app. At park opening time click on “reserve” and choose a return time to ride the attraction. If you miss the first distribution more slots open later in the day, so keep checking.

Mobile Ordering at Leaky Cauldron and Three Broomsticks

Frozen butterbeer at Three Broomsticks outdoor dining patio. Although still magical, the Wizarding World of Harry Potter during COVID has several changes that you need to know when planning your trip.

To manage crowds, Leaky Cauldron and Three Broomsticks are using mobile ordering. You’ll wait in a distanced queue outside the restaurant. Use this time to look over the menu and place your order.

Employees seat you and once you are at the table click “prepare my order”. Enter in your table number and after a short wait your food is delivered.

Three Broomsticks has a large outdoor dining area with a view of Velocicoaster that was perfect for dining during COVID. Many of the tables had umbrellas or were placed in shaded areas which made outdoor dining comfortable.

Food Allergies And Mobile Ordering at Universal Orlando During COVID

If you have a food allergy, mobile ordering doesn’t work as seamlessly. Speak to a team member, and they help with food allergies. For example, at Three Broomsticks a chef consulted us at the table. After finding a safe meal, the chef had us do a mobile order with a food allergy note. He then recorded our order number to supervise preparation of the meal. 

Another Universal quick service restaurant had us seat ourselves. Then I went to a regular register to speak to a chef before placing my special allergy order in person.

Not Everything Is Open At The Wizarding World Of Harry Potter During COVID

Some small specialty shops and stands are closed in Diagon Alley and Hogsmeade at Universal Orlando. But don’t despair: you can still easily get an interactive wand, house robes, Butterbeer, Fire Whisky, and all the Chocolate Frogs your heart desires in the Wizarding World of Harry Potter.

Live Shows Are Happening In The Wizarding World of Harry Potter

Frog choir live performance in Hogsmeade. Although still magical, the Wizarding World of Harry Potter during COVID has several changes that you need to know when planning your trip.

In Diagon Alley live shows are back on the stage near Gingotts Money Exchange. The Tales of Beetle the Bard uses puppets to retell classic wizard children’s stories. Looking for something a little more musical? Then Celestina Warbeck and the Banshees won’t disappoint with their catchy tunes and dazzling style.

Over in Hogsmeade, stop at the stage near Hogwarts Castle for shows. The Triwizard Spirit Rally and Frog Choir shows are back and as entertaining as ever.

Much of the Wizarding World of Harry Potter Is The Same During COVID

Dragon breathing fire over Diagon Alley. Although still magical, the Wizarding World of Harry Potter during COVID has several changes that you need to know when planning your trip.

The immersive, amazing feeling of being part of the Wizarding World of Harry Potter is not diminished during COVID. Watch the dragon above Gringotts Bank breathe fire. Find special details in shop windows along Diagon Alley or Hogsmeade.

Use interactive wands to make magic in Diagon Alley and Hogsmeade like any other time at Universal Orlando. People were generally good about giving space if waiting for popular magic spots and we had a lot of fun throughout both parks.

Enjoy touring Gringotts Bank or the halls of Hogwarts before boarding rides. Just be prepared to store belongings in lockers for exciting rides like Escape from Gringotts, Forbidden Journey, and Hagrid’s Magical Creatures Motorbike Adventure.

Final Thoughts on Changes to the Wizarding World of Harry Potter During COVID

Universal Orlando COVID procedures are similar to those at other area theme parks: limited capacity, social distancing, and mask requirements. Several modifications to the Wizarding World of Harry Potter During COVID keep guests safe while still providing a special experience for Harry Potter fans. We enjoyed our escape from the every day and were grateful to be back home in the Wizarding World of Harry Potter.

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