I’m going to shoot straight with you – I have always disliked Universal Studios (and Six Flags, but that’s irrelevant as of right now). To me, Universal Studios falls short in everything that Disney World excels in (aka theming, ambiance, and general atmospheric excellence). Unfortunately, I am also a huge Harry Potter nerd. The Boy Who Lived holds a very special place in my heart. I’ve read the books multiple times, watch the movies every fall come Halloween time, and feel myself beginning to cry anytime the name Sirius Black gets brought up. Suddenly, Universal Studios had something that we wanted, nay, needed in our lives – The Wizarding World Of Harry Potter. We needed to experience this magical recreation of the Wizarding World that we had come to love through books and movies, even if it meant betraying Disney and going to Universal Studios. Today, we’re compiling our list of top ten tips to make your time at The Wizarding World even better.
10. Get there early
Did you really think we were going to say anything else? Do you know us at all? Hogsmeade and Diagon Alley are VERY SMALL areas of the park, and especially during busy times of the year, they will fill up and reach capacity very quickly.
9. Stay on property
If you have limited time at The Wizarding World Of Harry Potter, we strongly recommend staying on property, even if it’s just for one night. We stayed at Cabana Bay (and had a great experience). The main reason you’re staying on property is because you will be allowed into The Wizarding World an hour before anyone else – even though in our experience, they left us in the parks even earlier than that. We showed up at at 6:30 am and got in.
8. Get a Park Hopper Ticket
Diagon Alley and Hogsmeade are not in the same park – one is in Universal Studios, and the other is in Islands of Adventure. The Hogwarts Express runs between the two areas, and was our favorite attraction in the park – but you can only experience it if you have tickets for both parks.
7. Eat Candy At Honeydukes
You know what you want to eat? A peppermint toad from Honeydukes. It’s delicious, it’s magical, and it will make you feel like Harry Potter, sneaking out of Hogwarts on a blustery day.
6. Drink Butterbeer in all forms
Hot, cold, frozen – give them all to me! Butterbeer is not only essential to the Harry Potter experience, but life itself. Our favorite way to drink butterbeer is cold, but we’ll take any form given to us. This butterscotch flavored, sweet but not too sugary drink is phenomenal.
5. Ride The Rides
I don’t like 3D – it hurts my head, and makes me dizzy. Because of this, I was hesitant to ride the two rides at TWWOHP. I’m glad I did though – they’re incredibly well done, and should be experienced by any Harry Potter fan. The walk-through of Hogwarts while you wait in line for the ride inside the castle is worth the price of admission alone.
4. Go shopping
One of the key experiences at The Wizarding World is exploring the small shops, filled with detail and charm, that are up and down both Hogsmeade and Diagon Alley.
3. Watch a wand pairing ceremony
Don’t want to spend a ton of money on a wand? That’s okay – neither did we! But even if you don’t, you still should watch a wand pairing ceremony in Olivanders, to see the ‘wand chose the Wizard’. It’s a lot of fun, and really makes you feel like you’re a part of the novel.
2. Grab a meal at The Three Broomsticks
I’m not going to pretend like the food at Universal Studios is the best – it’s not. But it’s decent, and eating at The Three Broomsticks is a great experience, especially for diehard Harry Potter fans.
1. Watch the dragon breathe fire
This is just plain cool – the dragon on top of Gringotts breathes fire. It especially looks cool at night when you’re standing on the streets of Diagon Alley. It’s a magical Harry Potter moment like no-other, in our opinion.
Your day at Harry Potter World is going to be magical (you are in a world of Wizards, after all!). We hope our top ten tips help you enjoy your time there even more!