While in Orlando, my brother and I visited the Wizarding World of Harry Potter at Universal Studios Orlando. It was an amazing experience and we had a ton of fun. But, Universal Orlando is a pretty big theme park. It can be quite hard to fit everything into one day. That’s why I came up with this list of tips on how to get the most out of your Universal Studios Park To Park ticket.
My number one tip is get there when the park opens. There are two main parks: Universal Studios and Islands of Adventure. Make sure you are at the Universal Studios gate when the park opens. During the day, lines can get really long but when you’re early, lines only take 15 minutes tops.
When the park opens, head straight to Diagon Alley, walk through the wall and towards Gringotts. You can’t miss it, it’s the building with the dragon on top 😉 Harry Potter and the Escape from Gringotts is one of the most popular attractions so skip the stores and sights and do that first. I won’t spill any beans, but it’s a pretty amazing ride you don’t want to miss.
My second tip is to do the shops and the exploring of Diagon Alley at the end of the day. After Gringotts, head out of Diagon Alley and go to King’s Cross Station with your Park To Park ticket. Right in front of King’s Cross, you can find the Knight Bus. Board the train to Hogsmeade and get ready for a journey you will never forget.
Once in Hogsmeade, ride the Dragon Challenge and the Flight of the Hippogriff. Don’t do Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey for now. I promise you, it’s worth it. After riding those two rides, again, skip the stores and picture-taking and do all the other rides in Islands of Adventure.
When you’ve done all the rides you wanted to do in Islands of Adventure, go back to Hogsmeade and order a frozen Butterbeer. I wasn’t the biggest fan, but that’s just because I’m not that into sugar or sweets. My brother, on the other hand, loved it. So it’s definitely a must-try when you’re out there. While sipping on your Butterbeer, visit all the stores in Hogsmeade.
A must visit is Honeydukes in Hogsmeade! Even if you don’t have a sweet tooth, this store is so amazing. When you’re done visiting everything in Hogsmeade, take the Hogwarts Express back to King’s Cross. You have to take the Hogwarts Express in both directions because the experience is totally different.
Go back to Diagon Alley and visit all the shops over there. My favorite one was the Weasley’s Wizard Wheezes store. It looks exactly as it does in the movies (yes, even the bunny appearing and disappearing underneath the hat is exactly the same!). Then, take your time to visit the rest of Universal Studios’ attractions. Definitely go see the Animal Actors on Location-show. It’s amazing and animal-friendly!
Later at night, take the train back to Hogsmeade to see Hogwarts at night. The castle is beautiful when it’s all lit up like in the movies. Then, ride Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey. We did that at about 8.30 P.M. and we rode it twice because there was no line and because it’s the best ride in the park. If you’re like me and you’re afraid of spiders, you will end up covering your eyes for a bit during the ride. But don’t worry, the rest of the ride is so good, you’ll forget all about it!
A few extra tips for those who want to visit the Wizarding World of Harry Potter:
- Plan your visit. This crowd calendar is the best one I could find to predict how busy the park is going to be when you are there.
- Don’t get the Express Passes. We went on a really crowded day and the longest we had to wait was 45 minutes. We ended up doing every ride but 3 so it’s really not worth it.
- Again: be on time. Be there when the park opens and stay until it closes so you can get the most out of your day.
- Buy your tickets online. It’s so much easier, faster and cheaper if you buy them online.
- Don’t eat in the Wizarding World of Harry Potter. Unless you want the entire experience, opt for places like Jurassic Park or Superhero Ville to eat lunch. It’s a bit cheaper.
- Go back to Hogsmeade at night to get the full picture and to see it in all its beauty.
- Download the Universal Studios app (available on iOS and Android) and use the free Wi-Fi throughout the entire park to see the waiting times at attractions or take a look at the map on your smartphone.
- Do your shopping at the end of the day, when there’s a smaller crowd.
- Go see some shows as well!
- Talk to the actors in the two Harry Potter Worlds. They are amazing!
We had an amazing time at Universal Studios. The moment you step through that wall in Diagon Alley, you’re really inside Harry Potters world. The crew and cast is amazing and they make sure you get the full Harry Potter experience. If you’re ever in Orlando, this park is a must-visit!