Tips for Visiting the Wizarding World of Harry Potter in Orlando

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There are a few things that are on every Harry Potter fan's bucket list: to visit Platform 9 3/4 at Kings Cross Station (the real one), to check out the “Making of Harry Potter” studio tour in London, and to geek out at both “Wizarding World of Harry Potter” parks (Hogsmeade and Diagon Alley) at Universal Orlando.

It's so secret among people who know me that I am kind of a big nerd. I had already ticked off the Harry Potter sites in London and the rest of the UK, but I had yet to enter the ultimate fan realm in Florida.

So when Universal Orlando offered me tickets to visit their two theme parks during a special “Celebration of Harry Potter” event, I kind of couldn't say no.

Hogsmeade at the Wizarding World of Harry Potter
Snowy Hogsmeade
Wizarding World of Harry Potter - Diagon Alley
Dragon atop Gringotts

My friend Stephen and I spent 3 days at Universal Orlando and, whether consciously or not, spent the majority of our time in the Harry Potter parks. (What can I say? Once a nerd, always a nerd.) 

Even though I've seen pictures of both the Harry Potter sections of the Universal parks, I wasn't fully prepared to see them in real life – and let me tell you: they are AWESOME!

Wizarding World of Harry Potter - Diagon Alley
The dragon breathes real fire!

After three days of park-hopping, butterbeer-drinking, and imaginary spell-casting, I've come up with this list of 10 things you MUST do if you visit Universal Orlando's Harry Potter parks.

10 Things to Do at the Wizarding World of Harry Potter

You can technically fit all of this into just one day if you have a Park-to-Park ticket, or you can spread it out over two days since Hogsmeade is at Islands of Adventure and Diagon Alley is at Universal Studios. (I will say, though, that a Park-to-Park ticket for at least one day is worth it, because it's the only way you'll be able to ride the Hogwarts Express between the two parks!)

Buy your Universal Orlando tickets here.

10 things to do at the Wizarding World of Harry Potter

1. Exchange money at Gringotts

Gringotts Money Exchange
Goblin inside Gringotts Money Exchange

You'll find Gringotts in Diagon Alley (complete with fire-breathing dragon on top), but the Gringotts building itself is home to a (really cool) ride. Not far away, though, you'll find the Gringotts Money Exchange, where you can exchange your Muggle money for Gringotts bank notes.

I was slightly disappointed that you don't get handed a bag full of galleons, but it was fun nonetheless, especially since there's a goblin inside to interact with (ask him about his favorite color). And don't worry, you can use the Gringotts “money” just about everywhere within the Universal parks.

2. Ride the indoor rides

Hogwarts Castle at Universal Orlando
Hogwarts Castle

There aren't a *ton* of rides in the Harry Potter parks – in fact, there's only ONE in Diagon Alley and 3 in Hogsmeade. Meaning it's pretty easy to ride them all if you want to. My personal favorites? It was the innovative indoor rides that really blew me away.

The “Forbidden Journey,” located inside Hogwarts Castle in Hogsmeade (in Islands of Adventure), is a grown-up motion simulation ride in which you feel like you're following Harry around on a broomstick, dodging dragons and dementors.

And the “Escape From Gringotts” ride in Diagon Alley (in Universal Studios) is a mixture of an indoor roller coaster and a 3-D ride where you get chased by Voldemort and Bellatrix through the vaults. Both were unlike any ride I've ever been on before!

*Be warned: The Forbidden Journey ride made me feel a bit sick, so if you're prone to motion sickness, I'd definitely take some Dramamine for this one!*

Hogwarts castle at night
Hogwarts Castle at night

And, pro tip: don't be scared by wait times. Wait times of up to 30 minutes will seem like nothing once you get inside, because the lines have you winding your way through Hogwarts and Gringotts respectively, complete with talking photos, animatronic goblins, and some appearances by Harry Potter characters.

The first time we went on the Forbidden Journey the line was only 10 minutes long – and I felt like we actually missed out on part of the experience because we went through the line so fast!

There's also a kid-friendly coaster in Hogsmeade (Flight of the Hippogriff), and the new Hagrid’s Magical Creatures Motorbike Adventure (a more adult roller coaster) in the same area of the park.

RELATED: Universal Orlando: Which of Its Three Parks Should You Visit?

3. Go inside all the shops

Wizarding World of Harry Potter - Diagon Alley
Weasleys Wizard Wheezes
Wizarding World of Harry Potter

Especially in Diagon Alley, make sure to allow enough time to explore all the shops. Just like in J.K. Rowling's version of the magical shopping street, you'll find everything from Weasleys' Wizard Wheezes joke shop to Madame Malkin's robe shop to Florean Fortescue’s Ice-Cream Parlour to Quality Quidditch Supplies to Ollivander's wand shop (if you have kids, definitely wait in line for the whole experience at Ollivander's!).

You can even shop for “dark” objects in Borgin and Burkes down Knockturn Alley.

Wizarding World of Harry Potter - Diagon Alley
Inside Weasleys' Wizard Wheezes

Yes, most of the shops sell souvenirs and t-shirts instead of actual wizarding goods, but it's still really fun to wander through them all anyway.

And keep an eye on the “fake” shop windows, too (i.e. the ones that don't lead into actual shops) – these are often animated in fun and magical ways.

4. Buy an interactive wand

Diagon Alley at Universal Studios Florida

Don't think this one is just for kids! If you're going to go to Ollivander's to get a wand of your own, be sure to get the interactive version!

Throughout both Diagon Alley and Hogsmeade, there are interactive shop windows, fountains, and statues where you can wave your wand and bring something to life.

Casting spells at the Wizarding World of Harry Potter

It was so fun to watch faces – of both kids AND adults – light up when they made something “move” or made a fountain spring to life with the correct flick of a wand.

I didn't know about this feature of the parks before arriving the first time (and had no plans to buy a wand), but thought it was genius and a fantastic way to make people feel like they were really “part” of the magical world.

Diagon Alley at night
My wand at Diagon Alley at night

Once I got a wand of my own, it only made the Harry Potter parks feel more magical. I had so much fun following my map to all the spots where I could cast a spell and cause it to rain or make a feather float. So. Much. FUN.

5. Eat at either the Leaky Cauldron or Three Broomsticks

The Leaky Cauldron in Diagon Alley
The Leaky Cauldron in Diagon Alley

There's one restaurant in each Harry Potter park (along with various stands selling drinks). You'll find the Leaky Cauldron in Diagon Alley and the Three Broomsticks (and attached Hog's Head Pub) in Hogsmeade.

Both serve “traditional British pub food” – I had a plate of mini meat and fish pies – and a range of Harry Potter-inspired drinks and beers. The prices actually aren't terrible, and it's a fun atmospheric thing to do.

My tip? Go for lunch instead of dinner and the lines won't be as long.

6. Drink butterbeer

Hogsmeade at the Wizarding World of Harry Potter

Speaking of those HP-inspired drinks, you HAVE to try butterbeer. There are three different ways to try it – hot (offered seasonally), cold, and frozen – so pick one and have at it. (For the record, the warm butterbeer was my favorite.) The drink is incredibly sweet, though, so be warned that you may not be able to finish it.

If you want to try something that's not quite so sweet, order a Green Fishy Ale from The Hopping Pot in Diagon Alley. It's a take on bubble tea: a green, cinnamon-y drink with blueberry bobas that pop in your mouth. It doesn't LOOK particularly appetizing, but I loved it!

Fishy Green Ale in Diagon Alley
Green Fishy Ale!

The drink stands and restaurants also sell things like Pumpkin Juice, Otter's Fizzy Orange Juice, Tongue Tying Lemon Squash (lemonade), Peachtree Fizzing Tea, and Gilly Water (just good ol' bottled water), along with assorted alcoholic beverages.

7. Get candy at Honeydukes, or ice cream at Florean Fortescue’s

Honeydukes in Hogsmeade at the Wizarding World of Harry Potter

You of course can't go to Hogsmeade without visiting Honeydukes, the famous wizarding candy shop. Pick up a Chocolate Frog, some Fizzing Whizzbees (chocolate-covered pop rocks – my favorite), and of course some Bertie Botts Every Flavor Beans.

Play a fun game with your Every Flavor Beans: don't look at the flavor guide, and simply hand them out to your friends and have them guess the flavor! (Warning: There are more gross ones than good-flavored ones…)

Inside Honeydukes

If ice cream is more your speed, be sure to stop into Florean Fortescue’s Ice-Cream Parlour in Diagon Alley – they even sell butterbeer-flavored ice cream, which is very popular.

8. Take the Hogwarts Express between parks

Hogwarts Express at Universal Orlando

If you're going to Universal Orlando mostly for the Harry Potter parks, you want to make sure to get a park-hopper (park-to-park) ticket so you can visit both parks in one day. Then you can take the Hogwarts Express between Diagon Alley and Hogsmeade!

Get on at Kings Cross Station in Universal Studios, and get off at Hogsmeade Station in Islands of Adventure. (And be sure to take the train the other way, too, as the experience is slightly different depending on which way you're going!)

Hogwarts Express at Universal Orlando

It's a fun way to “travel,” and actually can save you some time walking between parks (assuming the line for the train isn't too long).

The ride itself is fun, too, but I won't give away why – you'll have to ride it yourself to see!

9. Stay at Universal for early park access

One of my biggest tips for visiting Universal Orlando is to stay at one of the park-associated hotels. There are six of them — the Cabana Bay Beach Resort, Loews Royal Pacific Resort, the Hard Rock Hotel, Loews Portofino Bay HotelLoews Sapphire Falls Resort, and the new Aventura Hotel.

Staying at any of these hotels will give you access to both Universal parks one hour before they officially open – meaning this is the best way to see Diagon Alley without any people, or to get in line for the Gringotts ride when there's no wait.

Wizarding World of Harry Potter - Diagon Alley
Empty Diagon Alley is truly magical!

We stayed at the Cabana Bay Beach Resort, which is a funky, family-friendly hotel that opened in 2015. It has two pool areas, a lazy river, a Starbucks right inside the hotel, and a free shuttle bus to take you to CityWalk and back that operates from 7 a.m. – 2 a.m. every day. And the prices are more than reasonable – we paid an average of $125 per night.

Check out Cabana Bay reviews on TripAdvisor | Book your own stay at Cabana Bay here!

Any of the on-site hotels are great choices, though. If you can't decide which one you want to stay at, compare prices of hotels near Universal here.

10. Visit the parks at night

Diagon Alley at night
Diagon Alley at night

Lastly, early park entry is great, but there's also something magical about visiting Hogsmeade and Diagon Alley after dark.

This won't be possible every night (especially during the summer months when the sun doesn't set until much later), but be sure to check the opening hours of each park for every day of your trip to see if you can catch either of these parks after dark.

I promise it's worth it! (Plus, if you stay right up until closing time, you'll have the places almost all to yourself!)

Hogsmeade at night at the Wizarding World of Harry Potter
Hogsmeade at night

You can read Stephen's post about our weekend here.

Looking for more Universal Orlando content?

Check out these posts, too:

Check for Universal Orlando ticket deals here.

And check out these guides to help you make the most out of your time in Orlando:

Are you as nerdy as me? Is going to the Harry Potter parks in Orlando on your bucket list?

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*Note: I did receive complimentary park-to-park tickets for the weekend from Universal Orlando. However I paid for everything else myself and all nerdy opinions and tips are completely my own! 

"It's a dangerous business, going out your door. You step onto the road, and, if you don't keep your feet, there's no telling where you might get swept off to." - JRR Tolkien

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86 Comments on “Tips for Visiting the Wizarding World of Harry Potter in Orlando

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  1. All of the fan girling

    All of it!

      Yup, that was more or less the whole weekend for me! Haha.

      I dont know whats better, these cool explanation or the name of the site. Loving it!

    I will be there in just over a week, SO EXCITED. Disney World is the focal point of the trip so we only have one day set aside for the Harry Potter parks in Universal – crazy I know, but I plan to make the most of it!

    Would you say that you can get a jist of everything mentioned above in one day? With a really fast paced attitude of course.

    Love this post! 🙂

      As long as you get a park-to-park pass, yes, you can definitely see it all in one day – it just might be a long day! Haha. I would suggest downloading Universal’s app so you can keep an eye on wait times for the rides, because they are SO worth it!

        Awesome, we are for sure getting the park to park pass, the deal breaker was getting to ride Hogwarts ha ha. Thanks for the tip on the app!

          Yeah no problem! I would allow more time for Diagon Alley since there are more shops to go in and more to see (and the Gringotts line seemed to almost always be longer than the line for Forbidden Journey in Hogsmeade).

    I’m quite behind on Harry Potter. I just watched the movies for the first time last year, and I still haven’t read the book, but even I think the Wizarding World of Harry Potter looks pretty cool. I definitely know a few people who would love to go here.

      As a huge fan, I was expecting it to be pretty cool – but I had no idea it would be THAT cool. I loved it!

    Love this post! Everything looks so magical. I can’t wait to visit someday 🙂 PS the part about interactive wands just blew my mind.

      I KNOW, right?? I hadn’t heard about the interactive wands beforehand, but I thought it was SO COOL. And it really was fun watching people “make magic” throughout both parks.

    It is literally like my life dream to go to Harry Potter World in Orlando, it sounds so amazing! I joke with my partner that its where we will go on our honeymoon one day haha

      Haha that would be such a fun honeymoon! I actually went with a fellow blogger who is male (but who I am NOT dating), and people at the parks kept asking if we were newlyweds! Lol! So going there on a honeymoon must be pretty common!

    Seems like going there off-peak season when there aren’t as many tourists around helps!

      For sure! I mean, there were still plenty of people there, especially since it was a special event weekend. But it wasn’t nearly as bad as it would be during the summer! (We saw how long some of the lines COULD be – *shudder.*)

    Oh absolutely! Both my son and I are Harry Potter nerds and I would love to go to Harry Potter at Orlando. We’re not due to go to America until 2017 though! Hopefully, there will be something special going on! You lucky, lucky girl!

      The parks will definitely still be there in 2017! They’ve been such a huge hit!

    This is so on my bucket list! 😀 Before reading this post, I honestly had no idea just how many cool things there are to do there and now I’m ever more convinced that I need to make it to Orlando one day, just to visit the Universal Park! Probably silly to say considering that I live in Europe, but no journey is too far if you love Harry Potter! 😉

      Never say never! 😉

      And yeah, the Harry Potter sections of the parks are bigger and WAY more detailed than I was expecting!

    We just got back from Orlando as well–although I’m not necessarily a big fan of Harry Potter (and thus am not especially familiar with it), I did have a great time exploring the world of Harry Potter and enjoying the rides. The fire breathing dragon was pretty awesome, and I particularly enjoyed the 4D simulator ride where you fly along with them in the castle. Fun stuff! Universal rocks.

      I loved that the dragon breathes fire! And yeah, I thought the rides were great – glad you enjoyed them!

    OMG. Interactive wand?!?! I love it. Definitely adding this to our to-do list for the next time we are back in the States!

      Yes, interactive wands! Pretty cool, right? They looked really fun.

        I also wanted to add that reading “The Historian” directly led to me accepting a month-long housesit in Bulgaria in the middle of winter and then to Tom and I taking the Orient Express overnight to Istanbul. Though a memorable experience it turns out that sometimes things are better in books than in real life. Though I firmly believe that we should also someday go to Svalbard on the off-chance that we run into Iorek Byrnison…

          I LOVE that book! My first trip to Europe was to Eastern Europe because of the Historian – but I mostly stuck to larger cities, so I’m sure my experience was much different than your housesitting one.

    It looks pretty cool, and that is coming from someone that doesn’t like Harry Potter (despite my name being the same as one of the minor characters: Katie Bell)

      Haha, oh that’s unfortunate! At least your name isn’t Hermione. 😉

      It WAS really fun, though. I’m a huge fan, but I honestly wasn’t expecting it to be as cool as it is!

    Sadly the queues to go inside the shops were enormous when I went there so I didn’t get to do that! Still loved it the park though. Need to go on the Harry Potter studios tour in London next!

      Aww bummer! The trick, we found, was to go early, or to go late if you wanted to spend time in the shops.

      And YES, that studio tour is amazing! Definitely go if you get the chance!

    So beautiful. I was surprised that they have managed to bring this to life. It is a great place to stop by. I know they also have this in Japan.

    That is some serious fire breathing dragon! Going to include this on my next trip. Thanks for sharing Amanda.

      Yeah, and you could feel the heat from the fire every time it went off! It was very cool.

    Nothing wrong with being a nerd, hehe!

    Love the photo’s, brings back lots of memories of my trip when I was there last October. I’m a Disney fangirl but even I can’t resist the lure of the HP franchise after the Universal section opened this year.

    Have to say, I was really pleasantly surprised how good it all was, loved the fire breathing dragon, and the interactive wands looked great fun, lots of people were doing it when we were there.

    Universal have really upped their game the last couple of years and provide something of a challenge to the Disney monopoly of the region.

    Which is good for people like us as we reap the rewards of the competition and investment it create.

      I was pleasantly surprised by how good the parks were, too, especially Diagon Alley! It completely blew me away.

    Great post, gave me a lot of help! But I’m still wondering about one thing… Is it possible to visit both parks at the same day without having to stress and hurry? I’m a HUGE Harry Potter fan (I’ve been it for maaaany years now), and I’m planning on seeing everything, take every ride, visit every shop (and spend some time in it) and eat at a restaurant with my family. So basically; I’m planning on doing everything without having to hurry and stress. Should I spend one full day at Diagon Alley, and then one full day at Hogsmeade? Or is it enough to buy a park-to-park ticket and do both the same day? Also, how much does an interactive wand cost? Thank you! 🙂

      You CAN definitely do both parks in one day (and I would highly suggest a park-to-park ticket so you can take the Hogwarts Express!), but I would only suggest trying that if you don’t want to visit any other parts of Universal Studios and/or Islands of Adventure. I would probably recommend getting a 2-day park hopper, just in case!

      And I’m not entirely sure how much the interactive wands were since I didn’t buy one, but I’m almost positive they were around $40-$50.

    Also, the flavor-changing potions for water bottles at the stand by Gringotts are cool too! And even if you don’t stay in a Universal hotel it’s worth trying to go early because both of the last times I went we got in early (when only universal hotel guests were supposed to be allowed in) anyway! Saves a lot of waiting time.

    Thank you so much for this! I am actually going to be there this weekend and was looking for some tips on what to see and do! I also saw someone’s comment about possibly getting in early even though we’re not a universal hotel guest. I’m staying at the Doubletree outside the gate, so I’ll be right there! Thank you again!

      Good luck – I hope you have a great time!

    I am taking my 8 year old, 3 year old, and my parents who are in their 70s around Christmas time there. Should we plan on a 1 day or 2 days if the Wizarding World of Harry Potter is the only part that we want to visit? I will be purchasing the Park to Park, plus hoping there is still the express pass I can buy. Thanks!!!!

      Hmmm you can definitely do both Harry Potter parks in just one day. But if there’s *any* chance you want to see other parts of the park(s) (and there are other very cool sections, especially for kids), then I would go with 2 days!

      Just one thing to keep in mind, the express passes don’t include most of the big Harry Potter rides, and when I went a few years ago right after Christmas we had over a 2 hour wait for the Hogwarts ride. So if you’re only interested in Harry Potter world, you might want to look into whether the express passes would actually save you time on any of the rides you’re interested in.

    We are planning a trip to the US in August 2016, and plan to visit the new Harry Potter world that’s opening at Universal in Anaheim (along with a trip to Disneyland). We are sooooo excited to be going there, but I’m interested to know if you know if it will be of the same scale as the Orlando HP world? I’m currently trying to plan how many days we’ll need at each place, and I’m starting to think 2 days at Universal and 3 at Disney… the trip is expanding in length (and cost) the more I think about it!! lol

      I’m afraid I don’t know much about the plans for the park in California! I *think* that they’re starting out by adding Hogsmeade, which was the first Harry Potter-themed section they added in Orlando. I’m not sure that they’re building Diagon Alley in California yet, though, so it sounds like there may be half as many HP attractions there in 2016.

    I am a little apprehensive about the rollercoaster type ride. I really do not like those kind of rides. Any options?

      Unfortunately those are the main types of rides at Harry Potter world! The ones indoors aren’t *really* roller coasters, though – they’re 3-D experiences!

        Thank you Amanda for your quick reply. Love this site! One more question, if its ok. The 3D experiences; do the sits remain still or do they go up and down also?
        (My problem is motion sickness).

          Ahhh yes the seats move, too. I wouldn’t recommend the Hogwarts ride at all if you suffer from motion sickness – I took Dramamine and it still made me feel a bit funny! (The Gringott’s one, on the other hand, was fine for me since it was closer to a roller coaster.)

    […] when we were staying in Puerto Escondido on the Oaxacan Coast of Mexico I stumbled across another traveler’s blog post about her visit to The Wizarding World Of Harry Potter at Universal Studios O…. I had never heard of such a place! I truly had no idea that a Harry potter theme park existed. I […]

    I’ve now been to WWHoP four times (twice to Diagon Alley), and this makes me excited for a fifth (hopefully later this year)!

    Hey, I wish there were more female nerds! Your blog’s name drew me in immediately.
    My husband and I are older travelers and always end up at WDW. I was a bit worried about the ride at Universal, but you have made it too inviting for us to miss next time.
    Apps, however is something that we really try to avoid like the plague. Its very sad to see the kids at WDW immersed in their 4 by 4 inch universe and missing the moment.
    Love your blog!

      I would definitely say give it a go! The Gringotts one is more like a roller coaster, and the Hogwarts one more like a 3-D motion ride (so if you’re prone to motion sickness, I would recommend the Gringotts ride more).

    Wow! As an Florida expat (who worked at Universal Studios Orlando) living in London, I really enjoyed reading this. On my blog, I’ve written a comparison post between the London studio and Islands of Adventure’s attraction. One thing to add for anyone visiting London over the Christmas holiday is seeing Hogwarts in the Snow. It’s beautiful and includes the Warner Bros studio sets and castle being decorated for Christmas.

      I’ve been to the studio tour in London, too, and LOVED it! I think the parks at Universal are very different, though. The London tour is so unique because it’s the actual sets and costumes!

      I’m really excited to be going to London this summer and plan to go see the WB Harry Potter studio tour, and do the muggles tour in London. Is there any reason I should bring my interactive wand from Orlando with me? Will it work anywhere in the WB studio tour or anywhere in London?

    I love this post Amanda! I am going to the HP World for the 2nd time on THURSDAY! I couldn’t be more excited… the last time I went Diagon Alley had not been built yet. So this is really exciting.. so much new stuff to do 🙂

    And your post made me even more excited 🙂

      Oooo you are going to LOVE the new Diagon Alley part! It was my favorite bit. 🙂

    Loved your article! I am planning to visit both WDW and WWoHP in November but, I am stressing out about how much time to spend at HP especially since the hours are reduced in November. Can I do both HP parks in one day or should I plan for two?

      You definitely can do both parks in one day, but that’s only if you aren’t planning to visit any other parts of Universal. If you want to see more, then I would suggest two days!

    Hi! I’m heading to the parks early februrary (Just a day after HP Celebration 2017 – bummer!) and I was wondering how crowded is the park during the celebration. As I’m not actually getting to enjoy itself, I’m hoping for a emptier park! I got the entire Harry Potter experience, with a photoshoot and breakfast at both restaurants… but I really wanna shorter lines! Can I hope for that a week after the celebration? Thank you!

      It was fairly crowded during the celebration, but I’m honestly not sure what it’s like outside of that time period since it’s the only time I’ve been there! I would guess it would be less crowded, though. And a tip is to get to the park(s) as early as possible. When my friend and I went early in the morning, there were hardly any lines!

    I’ll be going in May! Can’t wait, it looks absolutely fantastic (and great tips too, thank you!).

      It’s SO much fun! I’ve been twice now, and it was just as magical the second time around.

    I really enjoyed your insight into the park I’ve been dreaming of visiting since it’s opening! Really great photos!

      Thanks! I think these are definitely my favorite theme parks!

    I went in March and I already want to go back. I wish I got a wand …

    But I guess, my next goal is to go to the one in London 🙂

      Next time you definitely have to get a wand! They’re so fun!

    We are hoping to get to the USA in 2019 and would love to go to the Harry Potter theme parks. I have 2 kids – they will be around 8 and 11 by then, do you think the rides will be ok for them? My son is tall and lanky at the moment but my daughter is a tiny little fairy! Because we have never been to the US and perhaps there might be other stuff at the parks we want to see I am thinking a 2 day park to park might be best. Which hotel that gets you in early would you say would be best for a family eg serve brekky and have nice rooms etc? Thanks for the reply in advance ?

      I think those are excellent ages to visit Universal! If your daughter isn’t tall enough to ride all of the rides, there’s still so much to see and do, even outside of the Harry Potter sections of the parks. A 2-day park to park ticket would definitely be best! And as for on-site hotels, my favorite is Cabana Bay. They have family rooms, two pools (and a lazy river), and multiple places to eat breakfast (though the breakfast doesn’t usually come free with the room – but this hotel is the most affordable of the on-site hotels!).

    Hey Amanda! I just wanted to let you know that I just started a blog for myself and it’s kind of like a travel blog. My first post is about The Wizarding World of Harry Potter and I shared this blog in my post because I remember reading it when I took my first trip to Universal Orlando Resort. It was VERY helpful and gave me great suggestions of what I should visit during my time at The Wizarding World of Harry Potter. Please take a look at my blog as well if you get time. Thanks again!

      I’m glad you found this post so useful, Dillon!

    Believe it or not, my daughters took me to Universal to celebrate my 70th birthday because I had wanted to see the Wizarding World of Harry Potter since it opened. You’d think 70 years old wouldn’t want to do such a thing but oh no, that is far from correct. I had a ball. We went on every ride at least once and some of them twice. The animatronics were simply amazing. I took photos of everything I could possibly take a photo of. And we had the frozen butterbeer everyday. Sadly, Universal is the only place you can buy it. I have wonderful memories of my 70th birthday and, it wasn’t in the Harry Potter park, but I even rode The Hulk roller coaster – twice! I forgot how much fun roller coasters are. I thank my daughters over and over for making my birthday absolutely the best and one I will always remember.

      Sounds like you had an amazing time, Diana! What a fun way to celebrate your birthday!

    Pretty horrible experience with my special needs child. Historically, this park has had very very negative reviews(experiences) with families with special needs.

      I’m sorry to hear that, and hope you were able to bring you concerns up with the park itself.

    Thanks for the detailed advice! I’m getting really excited for my trip.
    Also just wanted to say that I love the Tolkien-inspired concept of your blog and your on-theme tattoos!

    Thank you for sharing all these tips! Wonderful read and awesome photos!!! My family and I will definitely be using your suggestions when we visit in a couple weeks!

    Thank you for sharing your experience, My family and I are taking my mom for her 61st birthday. This was a weird request being that she does not ride roller coasters. I think HP would be a great fit for her. Out of curiosity how did you get free tickets?

      She can certainly enjoy the Harry Potter parks (and Universal as a whole) without riding any rides! (The Hogwarts Express train would be fun, though, if she’s a Harry Potter fan.) As for how I got free tickets, I often get media passes for events or to specific attractions in order to cover them on the blog.

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