It’s time I come out of the closet and declare that I am a Harry Potter Super-Fan! I took the How Big Of A Harry Potter Super-Fan Are You Actually? and got 56 out of 100. My results declared:
“You’re a half-blood and there’s nothing wrong with that! Some of the best and bravest wizards are half-bloods. You’re dedicated to the cause but have yet to really dive in. There’s still plenty of time to further your studies. If there were an O.W.L. for Harry Potter knowledge, you’d get an E.”
If you have not read a book or seen the movies, just close your browser now and read no further….you won’t get it.
Sweetie needed some R&R, we pulled out our bucket list and figured out what we could do on the cheap for a few days using air and hotel miles. Well, there was no question in my mind…. The Wizarding World of Harry Potter at Universal Studios in Florida. This would be the perfect time of year, mild weather and no crowds. It was serendipity that it was the third annual A Celebration of Harry Potter event at Universal Studios. It was everything I thought it would be and more! I wanted to share my tips for visiting.
Tips for muggles visiting The Wizarding World of Harry Potter (I’ll refer to as WWHP from now on) at Universal Studios in Florida:
- Arrive early….. be at the entrance of either park about 30 minutes before the scheduled open time. They usually let you in before the park ‘officially’ opens.
- There are 2 parks within Universal (Islands of Adventures and Universal) and each has a section of the WWHP. Hogsmeade and Hogwarts are located in Islands of Adventures. Diagon Alley is located in Universal Studios.
- The Hogwarts Express takes you between Hogsmeade and Diagon Alley but you must have a Park to Park ticket to ride. It is worth the extra $$$. Make sure to ride it in both directions. It is a different experience each way. You can take food and drinks on the train, so grab a Butterbeer and enjoy the ride.
- Dress up in wizards robes, a favorite character or at least a HP t-shirt. Otherwise, everyone will know you’re a Muggle. People wathching was a big part of the experience. Wizards robes are $109 at WWHP, plan ahead and order one online ahead of time.
- The entrance to Diagon Alley from Universal is not marked… on purpose to keep Muggles at bay. Enter at the red brick wall in front of the Knight Bus
- If you followed Tip no 1 and arrived early…. go ride Escape from Gringotts in Diagon Alley or HP and the Forbidden Journey and Flight of the Hippogriff in Hogwarts. Later, ride again. The lines will be longer but you will have time to absorb all the detail as you wind thru the line. For the ones that don’t want to ride…they should stand in line with you to see all the cool stuff. They can take the exit before boarding time. The ride itself is only half of the experience for true HP fans as you wind thru the castle, see Dumbledore’s office or the Sorting Hat.
- Flight of the Hippogriff – is a small roller coaster and cannot accommodate a lot of riders, so wait times are long after 11. Ride it…it is the only way you can see Buckbeak and so worth it!
- It is worth the wait to go to Olivander’s (in Diagon Alley and Hogsmeade) for the mini show. You may purchase a wand ($50) in the shop. They come with a map of locations you can visit, cast a spell to make something happen…. very cool and not just for kids! Sweetie especially enjoyed drinking a beer by the statue of a Merpeople and watching wizards cast spells on unsuspecting Muggles in Diagon Alley.
Buy a Butter Beer! You can buy one in a collectible mug for $13. Soda refills are $1.00 and Butter Beer refills are $6.95. Or you can buy one for $6.95 in a plastic cup. There are 2 kinds, cold or frozen.. frozen are by far the best and both non-alcoholic.
Buy regular beer! There was a good selection of draft beers.. about $8.00
Go in all the shops. Look up while in the shops…. there is so much to see from Delores Umbridge on a unicycle at Weasleys’ Wizard Wheezes to the Monster Book of Monsters at Dervish and Bange’s.
Go to Knockturn Alley. It is not well marked, there is one entrance by the restrooms. Small children may be scared as it is dark and soooo cool. Inside you’ll find Borgin and Burkes, make sure to check out the vanishing cabinet by the register.
We did not eat at the Leaky Cauldron, but just walked thru. Again so much to see including the wanted poster of Sirius Black.
Download the Universal Studios AP. This gives
you a list of shops, attractions, dining and even ride wait times.
Read or watch Harry Potter and the Prisoner from Azkaban before you go to ‘refresh your memory’ and make anyone in your party do the same especially if they have never read the books, it will make their experience so much more enjoyable.
The attention to detail is simply amazing at The Wizarding World of Harry Potter. While there are not a lot of rides, true HP fans will be ecstatic to step inside the beloved books and simply wander about the shops, people watch and make new friends. While there are other attractions at Universal, we only spent a short time at those and only wanted to stay at WWHP.
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