From a kid’s perspective, below is Pursuitist’s video review and tour of The Wizarding World of Harry Potter at Universal Studios in Orlando, Florida, for 2014. My daughter takes us on a personal tour of the immersive universe from the mind of J.K. Rowling — as we step into the magical cobblestone streets of Hogsmead and the Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry.
We were chosen by a wand at Ollivanders, visited the shops, dined at the Three Broomsticks restaurant (yes, Butterbeer — and real beer!) and soared above Hogwarts with Harry.
Also, we had a terrific time at Universal Studios, our first visit to this park, and relaxed at the Royal Pacific Resort. See more with our in-depth video report of The Wizarding World of Harry Potter for 2014:
We visited during “A Celebration of Harry Potter,” a three-day event for fans that explored many aspects of the boy wizard’s universe. This included the Harry Potter Expo, which featured The Sorting Hat Experience, props, costumes, collectables and more. The Expo also included appearances by artist Kazu Kibuish, MinaLima — the team behind the graphic design, and Pottermore.
There were also terrific, and packed, panel discussions as part of the Harry Potter celebration. Some featured actors from the film series, including James Phelps (Fred Weasley), Oliver Phelps (George Weasley) and Evanna Lynch (Luna Lovegood). Our favorite panel, however, was with Paul Harris, who designed the wand-combat moves for Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix. The choreographer trained us muggles to do wand combat, a very memorable experience for my daughter.
We also had the opportunity to preview the new Diagon Alley expansion, opening later this summer. When complete, it will feature shops, including the three-story Weasleys’ Wizard Wheezes shop for magical jokes and toys, The Leaky Cauldron restaurant and an innovative attraction based on Gringotts bank – all directly inspired by the books and films. Guests will also be able to ride the real Hogwarts Express train, which will connect Diagon Alley with Hogsmead. Learn more Diagon Alley details with the below video:
Disclosure: Pursuitist paid for our own hotel, flights and tickets to The Wizarding World of Harry Potter. However, we were given press passes for media events with the actors and panel discussions.
Christopher Parr, is the Editor and Chief Content Creator for Pursuitist, and a contributing writer to USA Today, Business Insider — and the on-air host of Travel Tuesday on Live at 4 CBS. He is an award-winning luxury marketing veteran, writer, a frequent speaker at luxury and interactive marketing conferences and a pioneer in web publishing. Named a "Top 10 Luxury Travel Blogger” by USA Today, Parr has also been selected as the official winner in Luxury Lifestyle Awards’ 2023 list of the “Top 50 Best Luxury Influencers and Bloggers in the World.”