If you're fortunate enough to be visiting The Wizarding World of Harry Potter at Universal Orlando anytime soon, you're definitely wondering where to eat and drink - and you have plenty of options!!
Check out these easy tips, and you'll have a great (and fully-boozed) time! (It should go without saying, but these drinking tips are for 21+ only! They're really diligent about carding everyone, even me!, so don't even try!)
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*post updated July, 2019
Hope you've read-up on your Harry Potter and brought your House's mug to show your Ravenclaw pride, because you're going to visit all of Harry's 'favourite' haunts - don't forget to grab some of the pubs' original ales! Let's take a deep dive into the eating and drinking options for your visit to The Wizarding World of Harry Potter at Universal Orlando!
The Wizarding World of Harry Potter: The Leaky Cauldron
The eponymous meeting point in Diagon Alley, the Leaky Cauldron's iteration in the Wizarding World is stunning. Though you don't need to tap the bricks to enter Diagon Alley through the Leaky Cauldron, it's definitely a great way to make your entrance into Harry's World. If you do the parks "in order," which I highly recommend, this will likely be the first dining option you run across. (If you're curious about more general tips for your visit, check out my post on What Millennials Need to Know Before Visiting Harry Potter World). Depending on when you arrive at the parks, lunch at the Leaky Cauldron may not fit into your day - if you do the parks in "order" - Diagon Alley and then Hogsmeade - you may not be quite ready for the full, sit-down lunch at this point (we normally aren't). But if you get there early enough, they'll let you look around, particularly not when it's super crowded during the lunch rush.
Offering excellent pub fare at surprisingly reasonable prices, who can resist splitting a Ploughman's at the Leaky Cauldron? As always in The Wizarding World, the details throughout the restaurant are excellent - with "historic" wizarding images sprinkled across the walls. If you happened to have watched Prisoner of Azkaban in the lead-up to your trip, you'll definitely recognize this as a recreation of the set used for the film. The entire place has a very solid pub feel - and they even have brown sauce.
The Wizarding World of Harry Potter: Platform 9 3/4
Who knew you could drink on the Hogwarts Express???? Obviously we all dreamed that would be the case, but given it's a train that takes children to school, it didn't seem likely. But wait!
As you walk through Kings Cross, you'll find a lovely convenience store - depending on the time of year in which you visit, you may see it while you're still in line, or you may breeze by, as we always do, waiting to catch the train, but not to the line yet. They sell all manner of the best British beers - I'm partial to a Boddington's myself, though The Husband opts for an Old Speckled Hen. And don't forget the crisps!
And yes, if you buy a drink, they'll let you bring it on the train (the Millennial Dream).
I'm sorry, I just have to say it again. You can take a beer with you on the Hogwarts Express. I don't care if it's 9 AM - you must do this.
The Wizarding World of Harry Potter: The Three Broomsticks
How many amazing Saturdays did those Hogwarts kiddos spend getting completely and totally tanked at the Three Broomsticks in Hogsmeade? Well, now you can join them. If you have a choice, I'd say hold off on grabbing lunch until you get up to Hogsmeade. The detail in The Three Broomsticks is just incredible. And, in all honesty, the food is pretty good, too. I generally opt for fish and chips to keep it culturally accurate- but they have many other options, if you aren't feeling British today.
The Three Broomsticks is a modified cafeteria-style restaurant. You'll wait in a, sometimes lengthy, line and then be directed to a numbered cash register to order. Then, you'll pick up your food from the correspondingly numbered line. I will note that while it sounds self-explanatory here, it's a bit confusing and can lead to a jumbled group of people. Don't forget - the Three Broomsticks, like any good pub, has its own selection of beers, including Hogshead Brew and Dragon Scale. I prefer the former, myself, but be your own rainbow.
Once you've cleared the confusing lines, you'll be seated, either inside or out, by a team of robe and hat-clad wizards. They generally let you pick inside or out. So, if you have a choice - the outside is nice, especially on a sunny day, but you're overlooking a body of water and the Hulk roller coaster, so it does break the "Harry Potter" spell, quite significantly. I would opt for inside, to spend more time exploring the pub. Every attention to detail has been made in the interior - from "pub style" chairs and tables, to visible "wizard style" cleaning materials left in corners. You'll love it.
The Wizarding World of Harry Potter: The Hogs Head Inn
It's drinks only here at the Hogshead and Aberforth doesn't hold with long lines! Next to the Three Broomsticks you'll find the Hogshead Pub - completed with anamatronic hog's head and quite a few British beers on tap. I suppose it's technically attached, though you would generally enter from a separate door.
If you're just looking to grab a drink while you're in Hogsmeade, this is definitely the place to do it! You get to experience all of the ambiance, without the line/stress of the Three Broomsticks. There are a few places to sit, as well, if you need a break from the hustle and bustle of Hogsmeade! And, even if you aren't needing any refreshment, I'd definitely at least pop your head in and check out the moving hog's head. It really is super cool.
Does Butterbeer have alcohol in it?
Sprinkled throughout both Hogsmeade and Diagon Alley are a number of trolleys selling a variety of tasty treats - most importantly including beers (because I know that was your #1 question).
They also sell, obviously, Butterbeer, however, it is non-alcoholic and a bit like a foamy cream soda. I've been told by multiple friends, acquaintances, and Uber drivers that you can ask them to spike it for you...but I've never felt a sufficient bond with the person staffing the trolley cart to go out on a limb and make that ask...If you have - leave me a comment!! They also have Butterbeer ice cream, which I did enjoy on this most recent visit.
Happy, Harry travels, my friends - and let me know your top places to eat in Harry Potter World!!
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