I Would Never Drive To Universal Because The Parking Area Is Cramped And Crowded
I would never suggest driving your own car to Universal Orlando, especially if you’re trying to get to the park for opening. The main entrance is compact and often severely backed up.
Since Universal provides its resort guests with free transportation options, I was able to avoid this.
My preferred method of transportation is the walking paths connecting the hotels to the parks. The 15- to 20-minute walk ends at an entrance that’s reserved for resort guests, allowing for expedited security and smaller crowds.
Florean Fortescues Ice Cream Parlour
Muggles and Wizards of all ages will love the delicious ice cream here. Youll find ice cream in delightful British flavors such as Earl Gray and Lavender, Sticky Toffee Pudding, Butterbeer-flavored ice cream, and more. This is the best place in Universal Studios, Florida, to get delicious pastries here.
How Many Days Should We Stay At Universal
With the addition of Universal’s Volcano Bay and so many great on-site hotel choices, it makes sense to stay and play longer at Universal Orlando. If you plan on visiting Volcano Bay, you may consider adding a day to your visit, or you could tack on water park time in the afternoons or evenings after a day in the other parks. How long to stay depends on many factors, including the ages and interests of your kids, your own interests, whether you are staying on-site, how leisurely you like to tour the parks and how busy the parks will be during your visit. Most families visiting Universal Orlando Resort will want to spend three to four days in the parks. If you’re doing a combined visit to Walt Disney World, you would probably want to do two to three days at Universal.
Consider a longer stay if …
- You and your kids are thrill-seekers and meet the height requirements for most rides
- You want to see and do everything during your visit
- The parks are expected to be busy
- You like to tour the parks leisurely and/or you don’t like to get out of bed early
- You are staying on-site and want more time to enjoy the hotel pools and amenities
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Universal’s Mobile App Was Definitely Less Helpful
Universal’s mobile app left much to be desired.
I mainly relied on it for park hours and show times because many of the attraction wait times on the app were inaccurate.
The app is essential if you’re looking to book any of the attractions using the virtual-line system. But since those rides can change throughout the day, the process can be frustrating and confusing for first-time users.
Exchange Your Muggle Money
Be sure to head over to Gringotts Money Exchange to exchange your Muggle money into Gringotts banknotes that can be used for purchases within Diagon Alley, Hogsmeade and other select locations throughout the resort. Ask the goblin handling the money exchange any question youd like and expect a specific answer.
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Whats The Best Way To Do Harry Potter World
To get the most out of your visit to Harry Potter World, stay onsite at one of the Florida hotels at the Universal Orlando Resort.
There are eight Universal Orlando Resort Hotels: The Portofino Bay Hotel, Hard Rock Hotel, Lowes Royal Pacific Resort, Lowes Sapphire Falls, Aventura Hotel, Universals Cabana Bay Beach Resort, Surfside Inn and Suites, and Dockside Inn and Suites. Here are a few reasons it pays to stay on property.
Early Admission. Of all the Wizarding World of Harry Potter tips, this is the most important. Universal Studios Parks and Resorts guests are eligible to enter Universal Studios or Islands of Adventure an hour earlier than anyone else on select days.
Note that early admission is only for one park each day, so check to see which park has early admission the day you are going. And by early, we dont mean arrive when the park opens, we mean arrive 30 minutes to an hour earlier that the early entry time.
Why arrive so early? Guests are admitted to a holding area until the theme park gates open and then the attendants need to scan your tickets. Ticket scanning is quick, but if there are a lot of people, they can only scan tickets so fast and generally not all ticket booths are open. Plus, depending on who is working that day, they may allow guest in even earlier than the stated time
Tip: Universal hotel guests receive early admission on the day you check-in, as well as the day you check out.
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Buy The Universal Express Pass
Seriously, do it. Remortgage the house if you have to. Its worth it. Universal Express Passes let you zip through the lines on nearly all of the rides at Universal Studios and Islands of Adventure, including all of the Harry Potter theme park rides. Express Passes are pricey, but they are unquestionably worth every pennyespecially if this is your first visit to The Wizarding World of Harry Potter.
Express Passes come in two varieties: Universal Express and Universal Express Unlimited . For me, with a family of four including two children under 11, the Universal Express Passes did more to improve the quality of our trip than everything else combined.
Most rides at Universal have two separate lines: the standard line and the Express line. Express lines are more direct than the standard lines. This means you might wait about 15 minutes using the Universal Express Pass line to board Harry Potter themed rides. In the standard line, the wait times routinely reach 90 minutes to two hours.
For many, visiting the Wizarding World of Harry Potter theme park is a once-in-a-lifetime experience. There are places where it might makes sense to cut corners to save money, but this is not one of them. Pay the extra price and zip through the lines rather than spending most of your day waiting in them.
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What Is The Best Harry Potter Park In Universal Orlando 2023
- Hogsmeade Islands of Adventure
Why did we pick Hogsmeade?:
- Rides To put it simply, no other ride in Orlando can come close to the experience you receive from Hagrids Motorbike Adventure. This ride is worth a trip to Universal alone!
- Food There is nothing like walking into, and dining in The Three Broomsticks. The Leaky Cauldron , is fantastically themed. But any true Potter-Head has always dreamed of sipping Butterbeer in Hogsmeade at The Three Broomsticks.
- Shopping Although Diagon Alley won this round individually, we really like that the shops are more spread out in Hogsmeade. It gives a better shopping experience in our opinion.
- Overall Experience Who could turn down the chance to actually walk into Hogwarts Castle? The fact that theres a really great ride inside just makes it even more fun.
We hope ourHarry Potter World comparison helps you decide which Harry Potter theme park is best. They are both excellent parks and you will have fun wherever you go, but in our opinion, Hogsmeade is the clear winner!
This Universal Orlando Park Has The Best Harry Potter Stuff
Universal Studios has something fun to discover around every corner!
Were already getting excited about the upcoming Halloween Horror Nights Haunted Houses that have been announced, but until then, well keep enjoying everything that Universal Studios has to offer year round. One of our favorite parts of the park is the Wizarding World of Harry Potter! This area has some incredible theming, fun rides, and all of the Harry Potter-themed snacks and wands we could ever want! The Wizarding World is separated into two sections, Hogsmeade and Diagon Alley, but which one do our readers prefer?
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The Wizarding World Of Harry Potter In Islands Of Adventure Orlando
The Wizarding World of Harry Potter in Universal Studios in Florida may be the most interesting Harry Potter-themed park in the world. Aside from featuring replicas from the movies which are available in all of the other Wizarding World parks, this one has a few exclusive attractions.
The first one is Diagon Alley. The most notable set piece in this recreation of one of the most interesting parts of the wizarding world is the Gringotts bank.
The recreation features a roller coaster ride in the dark showing the viewers around the Gringotts bank using 3D technology. The ride is also narrated by Bill Weasley.
One of the most memorable parts of this attraction is the dragon on top of the Gringotts bank that breaths fire every now and then.
The thing that makes this expanded set truly special is the fact that it was built farther away from the replica of the Hogwarts castle while the park was expanding. This provides the visitors with a truly unique experience of actually boarding a Hogwarts Express replica which will take them to the portion of the park which features the rest of the Wizarding World.
The second thing which makes this park special is a ride called Hagrids Magical Creatures Motorbike Adventure. This rollercoaster is located in the Hogsmead part of the park.
The ride is one of the most popular ones in the entire park and has received critical acclaim from both officials and visitors.
What Does Each Park At Universal Orlando Have To Offer Harry Potter Fans
Even though both Universal Studios Florida and Universals Islands of Adventure do an amazing job of bringing The Wizarding World of Harry Potter to life, they each have distinctive features that could sway fans one way or the other.
This section breaks down each parks magical offerings to make the decision easier.
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Which Universal Park Has The Most Water Rides
Islands of Adventure is the only Universal park for water rides.
- Dudley Do-Rights Ripsaw Falls
- Jurassic Park River Adventure
- Popeye & Blutos Bilge-Rat Barges
All three of these rides have a minimum height requirement with Popeye & Blutos Bilge-Rat Barges being the lowest at 42.
Of course, if youre looking for more water rides while at the Universal Studios Resort in Orlando be sure to visit the water park, Volcano Bay.
Marvel Super Hero Island
While Disney now owns the rights to Marvel , they have continued to honour the existing Marvel contracts.
So, while Marvel Super Hero Islands is available here at Universals Islands of Adventure, for now, its unknown how long this might last.
This is one of the largest areas within Islands of Adventure and is made up of three rides
- Storm Force Accelatron
- Doctor Dooms Fearfall
- The Incredible Hulk Coaster
Here youll also find a number of stores selling Marvel and Universal souvenirs alongside a number of dining options including Café 4 and the Captain America Diner.
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Universal Studios Florida Universal’s Islands Of Adventure & Universal’s Volcano Bay Ticket Types
There are quite a few ticket options for the Universal Orlando Resort, including Universal’s Volcano Bay water theme park. As always, as an authorized theme park ticket seller, we’re hoppy to offer Universal Orlando tickets and hotels at a discount.
- TheUniversal Base Ticket entitles you to admission at Universal Studios Florida OR Universal’s Islands of Adventure for each day of your ticket . You have an additional option of adding on Universal’s Volcano Bay for each day of your ticket with the 3-Day, 4-Day and 5-Day base tickets. For example, with a Universal 3-Day Base Ticket, you could go to Universal Studios on Monday, Universal’s Islands of Adventure on Tuesday and then go back to Universal Studios on Wednesday. Another example is the Universal 3-Day Base Ticket with Volcano Bay, which would allow you to visit Universal Studios on Monday, Universal’s Islands of Adventure on Tuesday and Universal’s Volcano Bay on Wednesday. Of course, which days you choose is up to you. And that brings us to another important point: Most of Universal’s tickets are now date-based. That means you must pick a start date for your visit, and will be assigned a usage window.
You now have the option to choose from 1-Day, 2-Day, 3-Day, 4-Day and 5-Day tickets for your vacation. Are you a Florida resident? We’ve even got you covered with the Florida Resident Power Pass! We also now sell Express Passes, which let you skip the regular lines.
More Hopful Ticket Info
Harry Potter World Lands Universal California Vs Florida
One of the most obvious differences between the Wizarding World of Harry Potter Universal Orlando Resort and the Wizarding World of Harry Potter Universal Studios Hollywood are the lands. Both parks offer guests to experience Hogsmeade, which has the Hogwarts castle and the various shops and rides throughout the village. Unfortunately, because of size issues and where Universal Hollywood is located, there was not room for another Harry Potter theme park.
It is important to note that while comparing the two, Harry Potter World in Universal Hollywood is missing Diagon Alley. Harry Potter World in Florida has an entire second theme park where guests can ride the Hogwarts Express back and forth from the two parks with a proper ticket. That is one of the major disadvantages of Universal Hollywood when comparing both Harry Potter parks.
When it comes to the layout of Hogsmeade, it is nearly identical in both parks. Although Universal Hollywoods Hogsmeade is slightly smaller, you cannot tell the difference with the amazing theming. Universal Orlandos Hogsmeade is also located in the Islands of Adventure park, where Californias is in their Universal Studios Hollywood.
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What Harry Potter World Ticket When Visiting On The Same Day
The only ticket that will allow guests to visit both Diagon Alley and Hogsmeadein the same day is the Universal Orlando park-to-park ticket. Its important to note that this is also the only ticket which will allow guests to ride the Hogwarts express!
Its important to note that if you are looking for the least expensive tickets will allow you to visit one theme park per day. We suggest asking these questions when deciding which ticket is the best fit for your family. Do you plan on going and exploring the other rides at each Universal theme park? If so, then you will have plenty to do while visiting one park per day. Or do you plan on spending all of your time in the Wizarding World of Harry Potter? If so, you might be better off purchasing a Universal park-to-park ticket so you can explore both Harry Potter World lands.
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Should I Go To Diagon Alley Or Hogsmeade First
Hogsmeade should definitely be your first destination. Not only does it have more rides, but it also has the most popular rides. In order to beat the rush, you should get there as soon as possible and check it off your list!
However, if you want to do it the way Harry first did it, then you should start in Diagon Alley.
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One Day One Park For A Harry Potter Fan Which One
We only have one day in the area and can only afford one park pass for each family member, which Universal park would be best for my 15 yr old Harry Potter fan? This is her only birthday wish.
Universal. Diagon Alley is way bigger than Hogsmeade. She’ll miss the castle but she’ll have lots of amazingly cool things to see: Knockturn Alley, tons of shops, fire breathing dragon, the Knight Bus, #12 Grimmauld Place and Kreacher, Gringotts…totally fun. Do try and swing buying a $50 interactive wand. It really does make the visit extra fun!
Another vote for islands of adventure 🙂
IOA for a HP fan? Just curious about why. Especially with Dragon Challenge being closed. There are only 2 stores, a tiny Ollivanders, The Three Broomsticks and Hogshead Inn, a junior roller coaster and castle and Forbidden Journey ride. Over in Universal, loads more shops plus all the things I listed.
I admit that I’m partial to the other rides at Universal so I won’t claim not to give those some weight. MIB, Mummy, RRR, Transformers, fun shows, the Simpsons area .
Universal studios has a bigger HP area. but if your 15 year old, in addition to being a harry potter fan, loves thrill rides then IOA.
personally i’d do IOA because of the rides. HP area is bigger in universal. But the best rides are in IOA.
But I would also suggest you take a look at their list of rides/attractions it’ll definitely help you decide.
We were at Universal and IOA last week, both sides were busy in HP
That’s just my opinion 🙂
What Tickets To Buy For Harry Potter World In 2023
Another one of the most common questions we receive is, what tickets do I need for Harry Potter World? As we discussed, the Wizarding World of Harry Potter is in two different parks which means you will need the right tickets to allow you entry to both Diagon Alley and Hogsmeade. We believe the most important aspect if you want to get on all of the Harry Potter rides is to have the Park-to-Park ticket however that is not the only way to enjoy the parks.
Below are the most common questions we receive when purchasing Universal tickets to visit the Wizarding World of Harry Potter.
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