Universal Orlando Fun Under 54″ – The Wizarding World of Harry Potter – Diagon Alley

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When mentioning to people that our family was looking forward to heading back to Universal Orlando this summer as part of Family Forward, I usually heard the responses of “So cool!” or “How fun!” But, I sometimes heard responses similar to  “I don’t like roller coasters” or “Our kids are too little for the big rides.” If you’re the type of person who would have the second set of responses, let me tell you – Your family will have fun at Universal Orlando!


Melinda Johnson at Melinda Jae Photography

Little R had spent the year following our previous  trip to Universal hoping to grow to 54″  so he would be tall enough for the Hulk Ride he couldn’t go on last year. He was quite jealous that his mom and I got to ride it and he had sit out. But other than Little R, I am the only one in our family of 5 who actually likes roller coasters, but we ALL find ways to have fun at Universal Orlando! And, since he didn’t quite hit the 54″ mark yet this year, that’s a good thing!

The Wizarding World of Harry Potter Escape from Gringotts

So that takes me to our very favorite part of the park – The Wizarding World of Harry Potter – Diagon Alley, which is fun for everyone no matter their height. Believe it or not, there is only one ride, Harry Potter and the Escape from Gringotts (height requirement 42″) in Diagon Alley. That experience is more than worth it just for the adventure on the way to the ride itself. You first travel through the lobby of Gringotts bank, past the goblins hard at work. Then in an amazing hologram show, goblin banker Blordak and Bill Weasley fill you in about the bank. And last, but not least, you take a crazy ride in an “elevator” to the start of the actual ride. Despite Escape from Gringotts being such a fun ride, we totally enjoy Diagon Alley WITHOUT IT!


We can spend literally hours in Diagon Alley wandering through the streets and looking through the many shops. One of our favorites is Weasleys’ Wizard Wheezes where they have lots of fun novelty trick and joke items. And a MUST is Olivanders. Don’t miss the interactive experience where you can see a wand choose a wizard. Then you can choose your own wand in the shop itself. We LOVE the interactive wands. When you purchase your wand, you receive a map of locations throughout The Wizarding World of Harry Potter where you can use your wand. At each location, you simply follow the wand motions indicated on a bronze medallion on the ground. If you cast your spell correctly, you will see the magical result – anything from turning on lights to making plants grow.


Melinda Johnson at Melinda Jae Photography

There are also two awesome shows that take place in Diagon Alley. The Tales of Beedle the Bard is a trunk show that uses puppetry, props and scenic pieces to tell the stories of Beedle the Bard, a 15th century author of wizarding fairytales. My favorite show is the musical performance of Celestina Warbeck and the Banshees. Celestina is always amazing, as are the Banshees. It’s pure entertainment!


Two other must-sees in Diagon Alley. The first Gringotts Money Exchange where you can interact with the goblin inside (sure to induce giggles!) and exchange your muggle money for Gringotts Bank Notes that can be used throughout the Universal Orlando parks. The second is technically just OUTSIDE of Diagon Alley – The Knight Bus. You can chat with the driver and maybe be heckled by the shrunken head hanging in the window.


And I have to mention that you won’t go hungry in Diagon Alley. You can grab British pub fare at the Leaky Cauldron, grab a Butterbeer, or treat your sweet tooth at Florean Fortescue’s Ice-Cream Parlour. I seriously love the salted caramel blondie flavor! But, one of my favorite things to eat in all of Universal Studios is found just outside of Diagon Alley near the Knight Bus – the jacket potatoes at the London Taxi Hut. We have tried both the shepherd’s pie and the loaded varieties and they are outstandingly good!

Have you been to The Wizarding World of Harry Potter – Diagon Alley? We want to know YOUR favorites!


thriftyjinxy@live.com' About Chrysa

Chrysa is the founder and owner of ThriftyJinxy.com, a site dedicated to living a fabulous life on a frugal budget. Her approach is that by spending less on the boring everyday stuff, you can have more money to splurge on the things you REALLY want, whether it’s travel, fashion, electronics – you name it! Chrysa is married, has a 8-year old nephew she dotes on, as well as three lovable cats and a big sweetie of a German Shepherd.


  1. This was absolutely made for me! And I mean ME! My kids and husband love roller coasters, but I won’t get on them.

  2. This is a great post. I rarely see any posts on theme parks that take younger kids or those who don’t like roller coasters into account. Thank you!

  3. The Harry Potter parts of the park are my favorite. My youngest was 5 the first year we went to Universal and there was definitely still plenty for him to do.

  4. reesann723@yahoo.com' Reesa Lewandowski says:

    I am so jealous of your trip! We went years ago, but Harry Potter wasn’t around there yet! My kids want to go soon!

  5. Wow what a thrilling and whimsical adventure for the whole family to enjoy. I know we’d have the greatest time at Universal Orlando and I love all the different attractions that are available with no height requirements.

  6. Looks like so much fun! I have read all the books and seen all the movies. I have to make it there one day!

  7. My daughter was a huge Harry Potter fan. She has been wanti to visit Diagon Alley at Universal Studios.

  8. They really did a wonderful job bringing the magic of the books and movies to this place. I’m glad even the littlest ones can enjoy it!

  9. This is really amazing! I am sure my kids will enjoy this! I know now where will be our next trip! 😀

  10. How amazing! We don’t really know much about HP but this would be neat to experience!

  11. They have added some stuff since the last time I was at Universal Studios. I rode the Harry Potter ride and it was fun but glad there are more attractions in this section of the amusement park!

  12. How wonderful that they’ve brought it all to life for us like that! Have I mentioned how much I love Universal lately? 🙂

  13. I couldn’t imagine NOT having fun there! I love their new Halloween setup!

  14. christinaaliperti1@gmail.com' Christina Aliperti says:

    I have to admit I am a little jealous of this trip! It looks like such a fun time and I know my nieces would love it.

  15. Yes, I have been there! Gringott’s is my husband’s favorite ride EVER! We tried all forms of butter beer – regular, frozen and hot. I liked frozen best. Did you try the pumpkin juice? There were other crazy fun drinks as well. kristiedonelson(at)gmail(dot)com Thank you.

  16. shartmaniam@gmail.com' Susan Hartman says:

    I am such a Harry Potter fan that I made my husband go with me when it first opened. I would love to go back since I hear that they have added quite a bit.

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