Do Muggles Belong in the Magic Kingdom?

Harry and Mickey

Hardcore Harry Potter fans venturing to Orlando are likely to hit up the Wizarding World of Harry Potter at Universal Studios (and Islands of Adventure). However, there will be a number of Muggles and Squibs who may be visiting Walt Disney World with friends or family and don’t have the time, money, or resources to go to additional theme parks. Whether you’re only in central Florida for a couple of days or traveling with people that don’t share the same passion for Harry Potter—here are five fantastic ways to satisfy your Potter appetite during a Walt Disney World vacation.

1. Explore Your Patronus Form (Disney’s Animal Kingdom)

Tree of Life at Animal Kingdom

Credit: Disney

Although discovering which animal form your Patronus takes is something you must figure out on your own—Disney’s Animal Kingdom theme Park can help you get in touch with your spirit guardian’s real-world counterpart. Occupying 580 acres, Disney’s Animal Kingdom is home to over 2,000 fantastic beasts from across the globe.

Zoo-like exhibits are woven into the theme Park’s design, providing Guests the opportunity to experience exotic animals up close. Unique attractions such as Kilimanjaro Safaris and Rafiki’s Planet Watch allow you to see animals in their natural habitat and spiritually connect with them—furthering the power of your Patronus. In addition to tigers, lions, elephants, and vultures—the list of fantastic beasts you can encounter at this theme park also include dragons (Komodo), dinosaurs (animatronic), and enormous mountain monsters (animatronic Yeti).

2. Travel To the United Kingdom (EPCOT)

Goofy in EPCOT

Credit: Disney

EPCOT’s World Showcase captures the charm of various countries throughout the Muggle world. While visiting the United Kingdom Pavilion, one may notice there is no Privet Drive. However, even the most devout Harry Potter fans may quickly disregard that fact and revel in a themed area that combines cobblestone streets, British architecture, and English gardens. Guests can shop for classic British treats and souvenirs such as tea, biscuits, and themed apparel and then take a trip over to the Rose & Crown Pub for British-themed fare, including shepherds pie, bangers and mash, and fish and chips.

Although you won’t be able to grab a pint of over-priced, alcohol-free butterbeer like in Universal Orlando Resort, you can easily find offerings of authentic beers and ciders from Britain. Don’t forget to pay a visit to one of the red telephone boxes—just like the one used by Harry Potter to access the Ministry of Magic—and grab a quick photo opportunity.

3. See Magic At The Haunted Mansion (Magic Kingdom)


Credit: Disney

It may not be a school of magic—or even a castle—but the Magic Kingdom’s Haunted Mansion is the most Hogwarts-like attraction you will find inside Disney World. This classic dark ride uses a variety of special effects to provide a multi-sensory experience that takes Guests through an elaborate haunted house. However, the 999 mischievous ghosts behave as though each of them attended class at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry.

As you tour the mansion, you witness moving pictures, upside-down staircases, levitating objects, bewitched mirrors, and a seer that puts Professor Trelawney to shame. There may be no Nearly Headless Nick or Moaning Myrtle haunting the mansion’s halls, but there is no shortage of apparitions, spells, and charms displayed throughout its nearly 7½ minute ride time.

4. Feel What It’s Like to Fly (Disney’s Animal Kingdom)

Flight of Passage

Credit: Disney

No broomsticks required. Debuting at Animal Kingdom in 2017, Avatar Flight of Passage provides Guests with a simulated banshee riding experience through Pandora. Unlike Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey at Universal Studios Orlando (which uses similar technology to simulate the feeling of flight) this theme park ride is a far more immersive and realistic attraction.

5. Dine Inside Cinderella Castle (Magic Kingdom)

Cinderella's ROyal Table

Credit: Disney

“In-castle” dining is a truly Disney-only experience. Despite having a Hogwarts castle façade atop an attraction, Universal Studios Orlando offers no dining experiences inside their “castle.” Just as Disney does with every ride and attraction—no detail is left behind. From the moment you ascend to the restaurant via a spiral staircase lined with stained glass artwork and finish your three-course meal, magic is all you can think about. Guests can enjoy a themed meal as they dine under meticulously decorated chandeliers and artistic archways.

The restaurant—appropriately titled Cinderella’s Royal Table—serves entrees such as tenderloin of beef, Parisian gnocchi, and slow-braised chicken, as well as unique desserts including flavored cheesecake, chocolate mousse, and coffee-infused coconut custard. Its price point is higher than that of typical theme-park fare, but by the end of the meal, you may be saying “Harry Who?” And if you are lucky you may run into a character or two throughout your stay inside Disney’s grand dining hall.

So do Muggles belong in the Magic Kingdom? Of course! Some may enjoy the attractions designed by “The Parks Who Must Not Be Named” a bit more. But at the end of the day, one must remember; Harry Potter is no Mickey Mouse, JK Rowling is no Walt Disney, and Universal Studios is no replacement for Walt Disney World.

About Steven Wilk

Steven has a complicated relationship with Disney. As a child, he visited Walt Disney World every few years with his family. But he never understood why kids his age (and older) were so scared of Snow White or Alien Encounter. He is a former participant of the Disney College Program (left early…long story), and he also previously worked in Children’s publishing, where he adapted multiple Disney movies and TV shows. He has many controversial opinions about Disney…like having a positive view of Michael Eisner, believing Return of the Jedi is superior to The Empire Strikes Back, and that Toy Story Land and Galaxy’s Edge should have never been built (at least not at Hollywood Studios). Every year for the past two decades, Steven has visited either Walt Disney World, Disneyland, Aulani or went on a Disney Cruise. He’s happy to share any and all knowledge of the Disney destinations (and he likes using parenthesis a lot…as well as ellipses…)