Aug 2010

The Wizarding World of Harry Potter: Butterbeer, Pumpkin Juice, and Chicken Fingers

Islands of Adventure - Orlando

The Astronomer and I traveled to Orlando earlier this summer for the National Down Syndrome Congress. While in town for the informative and inspiring conference, we made sure to pencil in a few extra days to dabble in some amusement park action. Whereas I was looking forward to visiting EPCOT at Walt Disney World, the thrill-seeking Astronomer was stoked about Universal’s Islands of Adventure. As luck would have it, The Wizarding World of Harry Potter opened a few weeks before our trip.

Islands of Adventure - Orlando

Truth be told, I have never read a Harry Potter book or seen a Harry Potter movie in my life.  The Astronomer only remembers bits and pieces of the stories after sleeping through the audio books on a couple of family road trips. Still, we were both excited to ride the rides and eat the eats, even though we had no idea of their literary significance.

Islands of Adventure - Orlando

The Wizarding World of Harry Potter is a unique experience because it stays true to the theme at every turn. All of the rides, shops, and foods available in this section of the park capture various elements from the novels. It was a balmy ninety or so degrees when we arrived, so a tall glass of Butterbeer was definitely in order. According to, Butterbeer is a popular wizarding beverage with a very slight alcohol content and a taste “a little bit like less-sickly butterscotch.”

Islands of Adventure - Orlando

The Butterbeer served at The Wizarding World of Harry Potter is amber-colored, non-alcoholic, and available in two forms—straight up or frozen. In order to taste the beverage in all of its carbonated glory, we went for a frothy glass straight up. The Butterbeer tasted like cream soda with an extra thick layer of whipped cream on top. It was sweet, bubbly, refreshing, and well worth the fifteen minutes that we stood in line to buy it. I found it quite humorous watching several tots chugging their beers and frolicking around the park with foamy ‘staches across their lips.

Islands of Adventure - Orlando

We also tried some pumpkin juice, which is “a cold drink favored by the wizarding world, and among the students at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry.” The pumpkin juice tasted like mulled apple cider with spicy punches of cloves and cinnamon.

Islands of Adventure - Orlando

We could’ve indulged in an assortment of Harry Potter themed savories and sweets including fish and chips, shepherd’s pie, smoked ribs, and Cornish pasties, but all that British fare seemed a little to heavy for me on this swampy summer day. Instead, we walked over to “The Lost Continent” and ate chicken fingers and fries at the Fire Eaters Grill. By the way, Universal’s chicken fingers are vastly inferior to Disney’s.

Islands of Adventure - Orlando

We also shared a gyro that was surprisingly palatable. I appreciated that the wrap was fluffy and warm.

The food at Islands of Adventure was pretty good, but nothing too memorable compared to the meals that we took in the following day at EPCOT…

Islands of Adventure
1000 Universal Studios Plaza
Orlando, FL 32819
Phone: 407-224-4233


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27 thoughts on “The Wizarding World of Harry Potter: Butterbeer, Pumpkin Juice, and Chicken Fingers

  1. pumpkin juice just doesn’t appeal to me, but butterbeer does sound good! any fun rides? I have always wanted to go to Disneyworld and epcot. A really long time ago I wanted to go to cooking school there, can you imagine?

  2. Foodhoe – The Hogwarts ride was pretty rad! Video screens are the new technology employed on roller coasters. I’d prefer a good old fashion plunge!

  3. you haven’t read the books! Or seen the movies! really? i love harry potter and am totally jealous of your little hogwarts trip, i want some butter beer!

  4. Glad I’m not the only one who hasn’t read H.P. Are we really missing out? Maybe just on the butterbeer (which, should totally be spiked with some raunchy whisky).

  5. Hi Gastronomer,

    Where are the pics of you and Astronomer during a Quidditch Match?! (^_~) Thanks for the thoughts on the area (lucky you!). Can’t wait to go soon. 🙂

  6. Of course the food was not too great you did not go to Mythos at Islands of Adventure. Mythos is by far the best fare there. It is usually ranked among the best theme park restaurant in the world, and not that much more than the “street fare” in the park.

    But glad you had fun in Orlando.

  7. So exciting! I can’t wait to hear about your eats in EPCOT, though. That was my favorite during our trip to Orlando in January.

  8. Can’t wait to hear about where you ate in EPCOT. I have so become a Disney mom and EPCOT is one of our favorite theme parks. Next time you get to Florida you have to go to Animal Kingdom as well.

  9. Awesomeness! Thanks for the write-up – I’ve been DYING to go to The Wizarding World of Harry Potter. Will have to try the butterbeer when I make my way over there!

  10. I an living vicariously through everyone who is able to go to the Harry Potter world park. I am all about HP. Mike and I make a hot version of butterbeer in the winter, mmm can’t wait.

  11. Wow that looks like fun hanging out at The Wizarding World or Harry Potter. Amusement park food is always average at best. I can’t wait for you Epcot review to prove me wrong.

  12. Lucky! I read all the books (the movies are passable) so I’m pretty intrigued by this place, too bad they weren’t open when I finally made my first trip ever to Orlando a few yrs back 🙁
    Want to try that butterbeer!

  13. HA! Well now our kindred reviews are getting plain weird. I have been finishing up some old unfinished posts from May when I was in Orlando for the first time documenting Disney’s more adult culinary offerings (especially Epcot), keep an eye out, posting soon! Bummed I missed Potter Land!

  14. I want the pumpkin juice… And I’d so keep the bottle. Anything pumpkin == love and the drink sounds perfectly fall (my fave season) to me! They should merchandise this and sell them in 6 or 12-packs to take home! 😀

    I loved the food at Epcot. We ate at the Moroccan place and had sushi in the Japan area. 🙂 Can’t wait to read about where you ate!

  15. damn i’m so jealous of you guys! i love harry potter and ever since i read about this place, i’ve been wanting to go. maybe in december tho, when the weather isn’t as muggy…great post though, but 15 minutes for butterbeer>??!! goodness gracious!

  16. The (liquid) butterbeer was quite tasty, although the taste difficult to describe. I would say a hint of butterscotch, but not overpoweringly so. We never tried the frozen variety, as they are not always both available from the same vendors. The lines for everything were long (August 10-18), although a number of people “in-the-know” stated these were the shortest since the HP portion opened. Do try the tropical citrus drink (100% juice), which is simply amazing. It was especially refreshing in the blazing sun, heat and humidity of Orlando in August.

  17. Glad you got to go. The first butterbeer my daughter and I tried was straight up in a butterbeer glass. Then from then on we got the frozen. I will be honest the frozen is by far better. It is totally amazing. To me it tasted alot like homemade vanilla ice cream! We had the fish and chips in The Three Broomsticks. It was really good, but it was heavy. The temps in July in low 90’s is why we ended up drinking like 5 frozen butterbeers..LOL. Want to go there again. To me that was a very magical place. LOVED the ride!!! Very amazing I think.

  18. This is a recipe that came right from the workers in the Parks of Orlando who work with Butterbeer on a daily bases. The Non Alcoholic version for kids and everyone to enjoy, the secret is out.

  19. Hey I am going to the HP tour, I ma a total HP geek I hope the tour is great, it should be for the money, cant wait to try butterbeer mmmmmmmm.

  20. Pingback: Sites – Travel, Feast, and Be Merry with Gastronomy Blog | Mondette

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