By now, you’ve probably heard about the Wizarding World of Harry Potter attraction at Universal Studios Orlando. It is considered a must-see for fans and, this summer, some upgrades made it even better. In addition to Hogwarts, they’ve added Diagon Alley and visitors seem to be thrilled about the expansion of the Potter Universe. Here are some suggestions for planning your trip.
Think of how busy any amusement park is on any given day and amplify that to include all of the Harry Potter fans (many of them with their entire family) and you’ve got one crazy atmosphere. One good thing, however, is that it’s not just Hogsmeade anymore. Visitors will also be spread out in Diagon Alley which should give you a bit more breathing room.
Hit the Rides Immediately
There are a few great rides at the Wizarding World of Harry Potter (Flight of the Hippogriff, Dragon Challenge, Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey) but it’s not uncommon for the wait in line to be around 2 hours. If you get to the park early and line up, you could wait 15 minutes or less. This way, you won’t spend all of your time waiting in line.
Enjoy the Rest of the Park
When the areas of the Wizarding World of Harry Potter get too crazy, head out and enjoy the rest of Universal Studios. There really is a lot to see and do and there’s something for visitors of all ages. There are a lot of attractions based on the Marvel Universe (The Amazing Adventures of Spider-Man, The Incredible Hulk Coaster) but also cute things like the Despicable Me Minion Mayhem ride that lets you become a minion for a 3D adventure.
Return in the Evening
Once you have enjoyed the rest of your day, head back to the Wizarding World of Harry Potter for the evening. Many families with young children head out early and the park will be a little less congested. As the crowds thin out, this is an excellent time to go on the rides again or pick up souvenirs in the gift shops.
Sample the Goodies
In the Hogsmeade area, enjoy an entire meal at the Three Broomsticks (they also have a children’s menu for little eaters!) or sample some drinks at the Hog’s Head including Butterbeer and pumpkin juice. At Honeydukes, you will be able to grab some Cauldron Cakes, Chocolate Frog’s and Bertie Botts Every-Flavour Beans. In the new Diagon Alley expansion, you can also enjoy a traditional British meal in the Leaky Cauldron and grab something sweet at Florean Fortescue’s Ice-Cream Parlour.
Buy the Park-to-Park Pass
If you want to see both the Hogsmeade and the Diagon Alley portions of the Wizarding World of Harry Potter, you will need to buy the Park-to-Park pass that will give you access to Universal Studios Florida and Universal’s Islands of Adventure. Otherwise, pick the one that you want to see most. If you do choose to visit both, you will have the cool experience of traveling between the parks on the Hogwarts Express!
Most of all, remember to just have fun and enjoy the magical experience. Don’t worry about all of the lines and chaos, just focus on making memories.