Warning to Disney purists — we’re branching out a bit today! Heather Winfield sent along this amazing review of some food stops in Universal Orlando’s Wizarding World of Harry Potter! Just take one look at that mug of butterbeer and you might be swayed… . Take it away Heather!
In December, we visited Universal for the first time to see the Wizarding World of Harry Potter (WWoHP.) I got in late in the Harry phenomenon, but WWoHP is a must do for any fan. It was amazing. Every detail was perfect! When it was time for lunch, we didn’t want to leave the area, so we decided to eat at WWoHP’s restaurant, Three Broomsticks.
The Three Broomsticks
Like all of Hogsmeade, the outside of the restaurant looks exactly as you picture it from the books & have seen in the movies. There’s also a little sign outside with a partial menu.
We went at 11am, which seemed like a good time to eat. While there was a small line to order, it wasn’t crowded. When we left, the line was out the door!
While you are waiting in line, they have examples of the food on display. The coolest (in a Harry Potter-ish way) is probably the Great Feast. It feeds 4, and has a bit of everything! Someone at a table next to us had it, and I wanted to take a picture when it came to their table, but I figured that was a bit creepy. At least I got a picture of it when you first walk in.
If you are looking for the typical theme park burgers & fries, this isn’t the place for you. They have chicken, ribs, and turkey legs, which are more of the normal park fare. But then they also have fish & chips, shepherd’s pie, and Cornish pasties.
It’s basically on par with Disney’s counter service places. When you get to the front of the line, someone there tells you which register to go to. After placing your order at that register, they send you to another line to pick up the food. Then, once you get your food, they seat you.
If you try to sit before ordering, they will kick you out of your seat! Really, we saw this happen twice while eating! This works well since you never have to worry about walking around carrying a tray of food trying to find a place to sit (which happened to us the next day at Disney!). The staff was pleasant and pretty organized (which, sadly, wasn’t the case for most of Universal).
The inside of the restaurant looks like you jumped into the books. So no matter how long you have to wait to be seated, it won’t feel that bad since you’ll be looking around and up at the ceiling!
There were also a few decorations up for Christmas, but if you weren’t looking for them, you’d probably miss them.
Across from where we were seated were, well, three broomsticks!
Onto the food! I had the rotisserie smoked chicken platter. When the plate was placed on our tray, I actually said “that’s huge! I can’t finish that!” The server laughed at me!
It was half a chicken and a full ear of corn. The chicken was really good, and very moist! And, no, I couldn’t finish it! I’m not used to getting corn in the parks, but this was really good, too. It was nice and sweet, and it was fun that the full husk was still attached, so it was easy to eat.
But my favorite thing on the plate was the potatoes. Even though I couldn’t finish the chicken or corn, I was pushing everything around on the plate to make sure I had every last potato! They were just perfect, I would buy just a side of them alone!
My mom got the Cornish pasties with garden salad. She enjoyed this, and said the salad was crisp and the pasties were nice and flaky. The dressing for the salad are the Kens packets you’d find anywhere; this was the only thing that seemed against the theme (they don’t even sell soda anywhere in WWoHP!), so I found that a bit odd.
Of course no trip to WWoHP would be complete without trying butterbeer! Every table had at least one glass of it. I don’t even know how to describe it, except that it’s SO good! It’s like cream soda, but 1000 times better. The yummiest part is the foam — it’s really thick, and after the drink was gone, we both ate it with a spoon!
They sell butterbeer in a souvenir plastic mug or in just a regular cup. Of course I had to get the special mug. You can also use it to get refills anywhere in the park for 80 cents, but only for soda or lemonade, not butterbeer (boo!).
My mom knows nothing about Harry Potter, but even she had heard of butterbeer and wanted to try it. Butterbeer was her favorite part of WWoHP! Before coming, I had really wanted to try the frozen version. But the day we were there, it was freezing, and with the windchill, it felt like it was in the teens. So, no frozen drinks for me, maybe next time.
Because of the cold, we took our time eating; we were in there for about an hour, but we were never rushed out. The staff was also really helpful, taking plates away, and telling guests the best places to see the parade. When we finally had finished our last drop of butterbeer, I went around to take pictures.
There’s also lots of seating outside behind the restaurant, which would be great on a normal, not freezing day. There is a nice view of the castle to enjoy while eating.
I love this fun sign by the outdoor seating. Typical of the little touches around WWoHP that make it so magical.
Attached to Three Broomsticks is Hog’s Head.
From the outside it looks like 2 separate places, but once you are inside, you might not even realize you are walking into a separate bar (my mom didn’t!). It has a very dark feel to it, just like you would expect.
They also sell butterbeer here, along with alcohol, including Hog’s Head Brew. The silver hog’s head on the right is the tap that it comes from!
The hog’s head actually moves, just like in the movies & books.
There are also shrunken heads and this sign behind the bar:
After lunch, we braved going into Honeydukes.
All the stores in WWoHP are really small and hard to move around in, and we were there when the park wasn’t even that crowded!
I really wanted to take more pictures in the stores, but it was hard with the crowds. A few minutes after we went in, they actually started a queue outside — just to get into the store! The size of the stores are really my only complaint, I know I missed seeing a lot of little things since we didn’t go in all the stores, and got out of them as quickly as we could.
By the cash register, they had a case with fudge and really cute cauldron cakes, but I couldn’t get near there to get a picture. I did buy a chocolate frog. It’s huge (and priced that way, at $10), and they each come with a card.
I wish they were smaller/cheaper so it’d be easier to collect the cards. They are holographic, so the picture is as movable as we can get in the Muggle world. I got a Hufflepuff card.
One thing I really wished I had tried is pumpkin juice. You can buy them in bottles on carts around WWoHP. Someone told me that it tastes like liquid pumpkin pie. And how cute are these bottles?! So, unlike butterbeer, you can buy bottles of pumpkin juice and bring it home.
Hope you enjoyed a tour through all the food venues in the Wizarding World of Harry Potter!