Planning your trip to visit the Wizarding World of Harry Potter
Potterheads who haven’t yet made it to the Wizarding World of Harry Potter at Universal Orlando Resort: This post is for you.
There are many considerations to make before you ever step foot into Hogsmeade or Diagon Alley – and yes, even where you plan to stay is important!
Here are my top tips for planning your trip to visit the Wizarding World of Harry Potter:
Stay onsite at a Universal Orlando Resort hotel: All hotels onsite at Universal Orlando Resort include a pretty great perk – Early Park Admission! With Early Park Admission, guests at these hotels have an opportunity to enjoy entering an hour earlier than the general public. Early Park Admission is offered at either Islands of Adventure or Universal Studios, so depending on which park has it during your stay, you can hit either Hogsmeade or Diagon Alley early! Plus, you’re much closer to the fun staying onsite. Depending on the resort you select, you can take a water taxi, bus, or even walk to CityWalk to enter the parks.
Include the Park to Park option on your theme park tickets: Park to Park is the ONLY way to access the Hogwarts Express, and what Harry Potter fan doesn’t want to experience that?!? Park to Park allows you to go between the parks as many times as you want during a day. My pro tip? Head to the Hogwarts Express just before the end of Early Park Admission. This will put you first in line, and have you in the other part of the Wizarding World before the crowds arrive. More on this in my next tip!
Skip Ollivander’s in Diagon Alley and go to the Hogsmeade location instead: I know, I know …. Everyone wants to be just like Harry, which is why the Diagon Alley location of Ollivander’s has such long lines. During our most recent visit, we headed to the Hogwarts Express just before “normal” hours were set to begin, arrived in Hogsmeade before the general public made it back, and were second in line for Ollivander’s. And, as luck would have it, my oldest son was chosen for the wand choosing ceremony! I truly think this was because we were there early and he was the only child (except for his brother, who was too young to care) there.
Buy a wand ahead of time*: You can purchase an interactive or non-interactive wand at various stores around Universal or even online ahead of your trip. By doing so, you can begin to cast spells throughout the Wizarding World immediately upon arrival! *If you or your children are selected for the wand choosing ceremony, you’re given the option of purchasing the wand that selects you. My son was very upset when we wouldn’t purchase this wand, because we’d already bought a wand and didn’t need an extra one.
Take time to really explore: Yes, the rides in the Wizarding World are AMAZING. And Ollivander’s and Butter Beer are for sure things. But don’t be in such a rush that you don’t immerse. Stop and look at the various store names in Diagon Alley. Take a trip down Knockturn Alley to see what spookiness is there. (If you visit in the heat of summer, Knockturn Alley provides a respite from the sun and humidity.) Stop at the Knight Bus. (STOP AT THE KNIGHT BUS. You will thank me!)
Add an extra day to your trip just to enjoy the Wizarding World: To truly appreciate all of the things, set aside one day to do nothing but the Wizarding World. Skip everything else. Trust me.
Book a Wizarding World of Harry Potter Package: This vacation package includes breakfast reservations for both The Leaky Cauldron and Three Broomsticks, a photo session at ShutterButtons, and a special keepsake. Your Wishes agent can help you with all of this!
If you’d like to explore the Wizarding World of Harry Potter, it’s as easy as saying “Accio, Allison!” You can reach me via email or by calling 828.289.7658. For more travel-related tips and information, follow me on Facebook and Instagram.