Orlando in general can be pretty overwhelming because there’s so much to see and do. I’ve put together my top tips for visiting the Wizarding World and making the most of your trip. But there’s lots of little touches and surprises all over the parks, so keep your eyes open and see what else you can spot!
Buy both park tickets
There’s no doubt that if rides are what you’re after Islands of Adventure is the best park. But if you want to experience the whole of the Wizarding World (including the Hogwarts Express), you will need tickets for Universal Studios too. For most Potter fans, only seeing half of the places you’ve dreamt about won’t be enough, so make sure to get both tickets.
Any day at a theme park is tiring, so you’ll want to make sure you get there early; not only to give you plenty of time to see everything, but also to make sure you can take your time and not have to rush. Depending on the queues, you could be waiting a while to get on rides, or to take your journey on the Hogwarts Express. There are also lots of little performances to catch around Diagon Alley and Hogsmeade throughout the day, so you’ll want to have time to stop and watch these.
Visit Universal first
I wanted my experience to be in the right order, so I made sure to go to Universal Studios first and make my way through Diagon Alley and King’s Cross Station, before heading to Hogsmeade. It also means you can purchase your wand from Diagon Alley, just like Harry. Don’t rush your Diagon Alley experience to get to Hogwarts though – there is plenty to see and do here before you board the train.
Call the Ministry (62442)
When you first arrive outside of King’s Cross Station, you will see a red telephone box, the Knight Bus, the Ministry of Magic fountain and Grimmauld Place. You might be instantly attracted to one of the iconic items, but don’t pass by the telephone box without stepping inside. If you dial 62442 (MAGIC), you will be connected to the Ministry, which is pretty cool!
Don’t just take your photo in front of 12 Grimmauld Place, make sure to hang around long enough to see Kreacher peering out from behind the curtain.
You’re going to want to make Ollivanders the first place you visit once entering Diagon Alley. The Ollivanders experience is one not to be missed, but the fun doesn’t stop once you have your wand. Some of the wands are interactive and there are points all around the parks where you can cast your own magic spells. The earlier you have your wand, the more time you’ll have to practice your spells!
Another must visit in Diagon Alley is Florean Fortescue’s Ice Cream Parlour where you can buy Harry’s favourite strawberry and peanut butter ice cream. However, what makes this even more fun, is going to Gringotts first and exchanging your Muggle money for galleons. Then you can go to Florean Fortescue’s and buy an ice cream with your very own galleons!
You may have already been to the Harry Potter Studio Tour in London and sampled Butterbeer, but make sure you try the different options to find your favourite! Previously, I had only had the standard, but I fell in love with frozen Butterbeer this time around.
Go to the bathroom
This might seem like a very random tip, but make sure you go to the bathroom in Hosgmeade. Moaning Myrtle haunts these toilets and it makes for a fun edition to a rather mundane activity!
Take the train both ways
Although I definitely recommend taking the train from Kings Cross to Hogsmeade, if you can, you should also take it back in the other direction because the experiences are different each way.