Hogsmeade vs. Diagon Alley: Which One Should You Visit?

Visit Hogsmeade for rides and Diagon Alley for food and shops. Take the Hogwarts Express to hop between the two.
Carissa Rawson
By Carissa Rawson 
Published
Edited by Giselle M. Cancio

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Fans of Harry Potter have likely heard of The Wizarding World of Harry Potter located at Universal Studios. With locations across multiple theme parks, these high-quality lands are immersive and fantastical.

However, the Universal Orlando Resort stands out when it comes to Harry Potter theming. With two lands to choose from — Diagon Alley at Universal Studios Florida and Hogsmeade at Universal’s Islands of Adventure — guests can don their robes, grab their wands and while away the day with a Butterbeer.

But which themed location will give you the best Harry Potter experience? Let’s take a look at Hogsmeade versus Diagon Alley and find out.

The main difference between Hogsmeade and Diagon Alley

Although both Diagon Alley and Hogsmeade are located within the Universal Orlando Resort — and both are associated with Harry Potter — that’s about where their similarities end.

A comparison of Diagon Alley to Hogsmeade shows their biggest difference is their theming.

Sure, the food is different, the drinks are different and the rides are different, but simply put: One is themed as the fictional town of Hogsmeade, while the other is themed as the fictional neighborhood of Diagon Alley.

Hogsmeade

Which Harry Potter world is better? Hogsmeade is the first to open and can be found in multiple Universal theme parks, including the one located in California. Here, we’ll discuss the Hogsmeade found in the Universal Orlando Resort.

Location

The Universal Orlando Resort consists of three theme parks, two of which contain Harry Potter elements. Hogsmeade is inside Universal’s Islands of Adventure, which focuses more on large rides such as roller coasters.

Attractions

You’ll find a handful of attractions within Hogsmeade, including three popular rides:

  • Flight of the Hippogriff. 

  • Hagrid’s Magical Creatures Motorbike Adventure.

  • Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey. 

Hagrid’s Magical Creatures Motorbike Adventure is a high-speed roller coaster aboard a flying motorcycle and features some of the best theming around. It’s the newest Harry Potter attraction at the Universal Orlando Resort and tends to have long lines.

Flight of the Hippogriff is another roller coaster in Hogsmeade, but it’s much smaller and is suitable for children.

Finally, Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey is an immersive ride with lots of movement, including a moment when you spin upside-down.

Hogsmeade is home to a number of other attractions, including Ollivander’s wand shop and shows that run throughout the day. The Hogwarts Express is also located just outside Hogsmeade; guests can board this train to travel directly to Diagon Alley without needing to exit and re-enter the theme parks (as long as they have a park-to-park ticket).

Food and drinks

Hogsmeade has just two official dining locations to get food and drinks. The Hog’s Head is a bar that serves alcoholic drinks, including specially brewed Dragon Scale beer. It also offers Butterbeer and Pumpkin Juice.

The Three Broomsticks is the only restaurant inside Hogsmeade; you can find traditional British food such as fish and chips and shepherd's pie.

🤓Nerdy Tip

Honeydukes is a candy shop at the entrance of Hogsmeade. Along with sweets, you can also purchase water, juice and some limited pastries.

Diagon Alley

Opened in 2014, Diagon Alley in Orlando is the newer of the two lands at Universal.

Location

Diagon Alley is located inside Universal Studios Florida, which focuses more on the filming and studio side of rides.

Attractions

There’s just one ride located in Diagon Alley compared to the three in Hogsmeade. Harry Potter and the Escape from Gringotts is an indoor roller coaster that mixes live effects with large screens to create a thrilling experience.

However, there are more attractions within Diagon Alley than there are in Hogsmeade. This includes the aforementioned Escape from Gringotts, (a second) Ollivander’s wand shop, two different shows and, of course, the Hogwarts Express.

Diagon Alley is also full of shops that double as entertainment such as:

  • Borgin and Burkes.

  • Gringotts Money Exchange.

  • Madam Malkin's Robes for All Occasions.

  • Magical Menagerie.

  • Weasleys’ Wizard Wheeze and more.

Food and drinks

Diagon Alley has a few different places for food and drink. Its only sit-down restaurant is the Leaky Cauldron, which serves traditional British fare like the Three Broomsticks.

You can also find an ice cream shop and two locations to purchase alcoholic drinks. Finally, Eternelle's Elixir of Refreshment is a walk-up stand that sells water and specialty flavorings.

So, Diagon Alley or Hogsmeade?

This is a hard question to answer.

Hogsmeade is the original Harry Potter land and features larger rides, though it’s limited in terms of food and drink. Diagon Alley only has one ride to its name, but it pulls out all the stops when it comes to shops, food and drinks. If you're a thrill seeker, consider Hosgmeade. If you'd prefer to walk, eat and shop, head to Diagon Alley.

In the end, both Diagon Alley and Hogsmeade are worth a visit — and with a ticket that allows you to hop between parks, a quick ride on the Hogwarts Express can ensure you experience both Harry Potter lands.

(Top photo courtesy of Universal Parks & Resorts)


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