A Twenty-Something's Guide to Planning A Trip to the Wizarding World of Harry Potter

11 April 2016

As a huge Harry Potter fan, a trip to the Wizarding World of Harry Potter at Universal Orlando was one of my most memorable travel experiences last year. To help you make the most of your time,  this is my guide for any twenty-something planning a trip to the Wizarding World of Harry Potter.

A Twenty-Something's Guide to Planning A Trip to the Wizarding World of Harry Potter | The Brave Little Cheesehead

KNOW WHICH WORLD IS IN EACH PARK
Universal Orlando consists of two theme parksUniversal Studios and Islands of Adventure. Here's the catch: part of the Wizarding World of Harry Potter is in each park. Hogsmeade, the original Harry Potter park, opened in 2010 in Islands of Adventure. Diagon Alley opened more recently in 2014 as part of Universal Studios. If your main desire is to skip the rest of the park to spend as much time as humanly possible among witches and wizards, sipping on pumpkin juice and frolicking around Hogwarts, then you really only need one day—but we loved having two!

GET A PARK-TO-PARK PASS
With this ticket, you can visit both Universal Studios and Islands of Adventure in one day, and unlike Disney parks, they are so close in proximity that you can literally walk from one into the next. A one-day park-to-park ticket will set you back only $155, just $50 more than a one-day single-park ticket. The park-to-park pass is the only way we muggles can ride the Hogwarts Express. This ride is one of the coolest parts of the Wizarding World of Harry Potter, and make sure you ride it at least once each way for a bit of a surprise!

A Twenty-Something's Guide to Planning A Trip to the Wizarding World of Harry Potter | The Brave Little Cheesehead

ACCIO UBER!
If you're staying on Disney property, the cheapest option to get to Universal Orlando is Uber at about $16 one-way. When your day is over, have an Uber pick you up from the park if you head out to the pick-up area past City Walk and drop your pin there.

PRACTICE MINIMALISM
You'll do well to heed this advice for all of Universal Orlando, as stashing your belongings in a locker before getting on rides is mandatory for most. The lockers are quite smallthough long enough to hold your wand if one chooses you at Ollivander'sand really only fit my tiny purse, wand and a water bottle. But if you can avoid using lockers altogether, you'll be better off. Shoving your way through crowds of people to get one may make you feel like you're being kissed by a Dementor—like all of the hope and happiness is being sucked from your body!


A Twenty-Something's Guide to Planning A Trip to the Wizarding World of Harry Potter | The Brave Little Cheesehead

HIT UP DIAGON ALLEY FIRST
Escape from Gringotts is by far the best ride at Universal Orlando, and it has wait times to prove it. Make this your first item of business and start your day in Diagon Alley. We were lucky enough to visit during a slow couple of days and managed to ride three or four times, and the longest we waited was 15 minutes. If you do find yourself in a long wait, the journey to the ride platform is full of recognizable details from the movies that any HP fanatic will appreciate if you pay attention. My favorite part was noticing the newspaper with the enchanted photo of the Weasleys in Egypt from Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban laying on a table.

ARRIVE HUNGRY
I know you may be trying to save money, but trust me when I say that today is not the day to fill up on that box of cereal you brought from home. There are so many delicious things to eat in the Harry Potter themed parks—many plucked right from the books! From sweets like Chocolate Frogs at Honeydukes to frozen Butterbeer and Sticky Toffee Pudding at the Leaky Cauldron, make room to sample it all!

Stay tuned for tips (and lots more pictures!) that every Muggle-born should know before visiting the Wizarding World of Harry Potter—or wind up a squib!

Are you planning on visiting Disney World while you're at it? Check out our tips and tricks!

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19 comments

  1. I loved it in Orlando! The train journey was truly magical. Fun for kids, adults, fans and non followers!

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    1. So true! The Hogwarts Express was one of my favorite experiences at the park. Next to the butterbeer of course!

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  2. I can't wait til my kids are a bit older so I can get them into Harry Potter -this looks like great fun!

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    1. I bet your kids will love it! I'm nearly 30 and I was enamored!

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  3. My sister is a huge Harry Potter fan and we sent her and my niece and nephew there last year for spring break so they could see it for themselves. They loved it!

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    1. Oh my gosh what a wonderful thing to do! It's so crazy how it's so close to the movies and what you imagine in the books. Truly captures the magic!

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  4. We just returned from the wizarding world, and absolutely loved it. The crowds were a bit nuts, but the pumpkin juice made up for it :)

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    1. So true! I think I lucked out by having such little crowds.

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  5. LA just opened a WWofHP and I'm dying to go! This post is so clever and totally has me even more psyched about going. I love how you weaved in bits from the books into your writing. Great post!

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    1. Thank you! YES ever since I heard of WWofHP opening in LA, I'm now dying to go! I hope it's just as wonderful as the one in Orlando!

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  6. I live in Los Angeles and I'm SO excited the new park is now open here! I can't wait to go. Great pics, thanks for sharing.

    Happy travels :)

    -Lauren Meshkin @BonVoyageLauren

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    1. Hey Lauren! I hope you're able to go check out the one in LA. I've heard from friends out there that it's wonderful!

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  7. I'm not a huge Harry Potter fan, but this looks fun. I'll be in Orlando this summer and planning to visit Universal.

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    1. I'd highly recommend giving both the Harry Potter lands a try! My boyfriend and I agreed they're so much fun for everyone... even people who might not be into the books or movies. We'll have some more content about Universal coming up soon as well!

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  8. I'm not a big theme park person, but I would like to visit this park as I love Harry Potter. Great tips. I'll be saving this!

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    1. You know, I'm not a huge theme park person either. I just love Disney World, and am a huge Harry Potter fan. I would definitely recommend a visit to the park. It's more of an immersive experience than a bunch of rides, to be honest!

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  9. Not a huge Harry Potter fan, but I'll definitely check out Universal when I visit Orlando this summer.

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  10. Of all the Disney stuff going on, this is the one that seems the coolest to me! Thanks for the tip on knowing what is each park, because I have no clue how everything is spread out!

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    1. It's pretty challenging to navigate, truth be told! But so wonderful once you get the hang of it.

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