No Intro, Just facts. We went to The Wizarding World of Harry Potter. The culmination of a dream come true. We had the opportunity to go before but passed for very complicated reasons. But as huge Harry Potter fans (see Harry Potter wedding) we had to go.
Usually, I’m all about bypassing the t-shirts and going for girly dress but if I’m being very honest here, Harry Potter fashion is mostly ugly, or really really hot or ugly and hot and scratchy to boot. I should have done what my husband did and opted for custom gear but I didn’t think far enough ahead so I opted for this t-shirt from the mens section of Target. But honestly, look how cute he is and can you beat a man who looks at you like that when you’re not looking? The answer is no.
Anyway, we spent two days in Universal Studios and here are the top ten tips that we came away with for best navigating the Wizarding World of Harry Potter.
- Get the two day park to park pass. If you can afford it and have the time, spend one day doing all things Harry Potter and the other doing everything else that Universal has to offer. The HP things are split between two parks Universal Studios and Island of Adventuress and are connected by the ride, Hogwarts Express.
- Get the app. We had the app and still allowed ourselves to get lost. The app has not just a map of the park which can guide you from ride to ride but it also has tickets, real time waits for the lines, and the wifi is free in the park so you are killing your battery searching of signal all day.
- Get there for park opening. No not 10 am not 9:30 am. NINE AM. We got to the park our second day a little before ten and it was a mistake mistake mistake. Oh the difference an extra hour makes. We had the park all to ourselves the first hour of the first day and we were able to figure our way to the the Wizarding section of the park without fretting over crowds and managed to ride a few rides before people flooded the park.
- Walk to the back of the park. It takes a lot of energy to get there sure but by skipping stuff at the front of the park, you can ride the rides at the back since no one will be there and then do stuff at the front of the park on your way out. Souvenirs and such will still be there and you can ypass everyone taking introductory photos together. We applied this to both Disney Magic Kingdom and Universal and we were not disappointed in the slightest.
- Start the day with Gringotts bank. Harry Potter and the Escape from Gringotts is a beautiful, beautiful ride and the lines get long fast and you want to be able to experience it before they do get long. You have to get a locker which is right across from the ride. Put EVERYTHING in it. They’re free for the first hour or so and the attendants will send you back if you haven’t put everything in the locker so do it the first time.
- Regardless of how many children you have, buy ONE interactive wand. Whether you have one child or five, the best bet is to buy one interactive wand from Ollivander’s. Hubby and I made the mistake of buying two and then spent the better part of the day together so we didn’t even get the chance to use them both. If your little ones all demand a wand, get them the non-interactive one and buy the interactive one for yourself so that they can share it. Keep your eyes open for golden medallion on the ground near shops because this is where the interactive wands can be used.
- Buy the butterbeer. It’s overpriced and tastes very similar to cream soda but for $7.50 it’s worth it to satiate your curiosity about what it taste like. And in a park that gets to be 100 degrees, it quickly becomes worth the money. If you have little ones, get the courtesy cups and split it. I had to share mine with hubby because it was just way too much sugar. We passed on the souvenir cup because we didn’t feel like carrying anything else.
- If a ride has a short wait time, take it! The Hogwarts Express had a ten minute wait, so we took it. The Dragon Challenge ride had a ten minute wait so we took it. The wait for those lines was even shorter than the fast pass so it helped to act while we were paying attention.
- Be assertive without being rude. There are people all over the place many of whom stop in the middle of the sidewalk and the streets and the walkways. If you spend all day waiting around for people to scoot over, you will never see everything. By the end of the trip we were experts at the human version of Nokia’s snake and bobbing and weaving while saying politely “excuse me, honey”.
- Don’t rush. This sounds counter-intuitive to all the advice I’ve given so far but it pays to take it slowly and meander. You don’t want to get burn out. Our favorite places to take it easy were the shops and food areas.They are all so gorgeous and detailed and pictures can never do it justice especially if you’re a die hard fan.
What are some suggestions you have for the Wizarding World?