Summary of Instructions for Your First Family Visit to the Wizarding World of Harry Potter
By Dave Shute
(These instructions are for fitting a visit to Universal Orlando’s The Wizarding World of Harry Potter into a first family trip to Walt Disney World.)
The general advice this site provides on when to go to Walt Disney World also applies to Universal Orlando.
(The Wizarding World of Harry Potter is located not at Disney World. Rather it is at Universal Orlando, a completely different set of parks. Hogsmeade is in Universal’s Islands of Adventure, and Diagon Alley at Universal Studios.)
Note that with the opening of Diagon Alley in July 2014 crowds will likely be quite high for some time…
2. How Long to Stay at the Wizarding World of Harry Potter:
Universal Orlando is a remarkable place, and easily repays a three or even four day visit, especially if your kids are 12 or older, and/or love thrill rides.
If you are simply trying to fit Harry Potter into a trip otherwise spent at Walt Disney World, use two mornings of your trip for the Wizarding World of Harry Potter.
See this for more on how long to stay at the Wizarding World of Harry Potter
3. How Old/Tall Your Children Should be for Harry Potter:
Pretty much any school-age kid will find be able to find something to enjoy at Harry Potter. Younger kids, or kids without a deep engagement in the books or movies, may find it less interesting.
In Hogsmeade at Islands of Adventure
- The Dragon Challenge attraction is a very intense, very cool coaster, and has a minimum height requirement of 54 inches.
- The signature ride, Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey, has a 48 inch minimum height requirement
At Diagon Alley in Universal Studios, Harry Potter and the Escape From Gringotts has a 42″ minimum height
4. Where to Stay at Universal Orlando:
Families wishing either to guarantee access to Harry Potter’s rides without long lines, or contemplating spending more time at Universal Orlando, should consider adding a night at Universal’s Loews Royal Pacific Resort or its Cabana Bay Resort. Doing so gives you special morning entry privileges for your visit to Harry Potter on both your check-in and check-out days (and all days in between–but even with a one night stay you get two days of early entry.)
They should do so even if—to preserve their Magical Express airport transport, FastPass+ scheduling, Extra Magic Hours access, etc—this means being double booked one night, at both a Disney and a Universal resort.
5. How Much to Budget for the Wizarding World of Harry Potter:
It is impractical to see both parts of the Wizarding World in one day. Moreover, the train ride between the parks requires a “two park” ticket. Two day, two-park tickets are (online pricing) ~$175 plus tax for adults, and about $10 less for kids.
If you can afford it, budget more for a night at the Royal Pacific or Cabana Bay (the best way to do Harry Potter)
6. When Your Plans for Visiting Harry Potter Need to be Firm:
If you are simply planning to visit Universal Orlando’s Wizarding World of Harry Potter during two of the mornings of a trip otherwise spent at Walt Disney World, you don’t need to worry beyond your Disney timing requirements about when your plans need to be firm. Note that crowds will be wild likely until January 2015.
If you are planning to reserve a night at the Royal Pacific or Cabana Bay, you should do so as soon as your dates are firm. .
7. How to Spend Your Time at the Wizarding World of Harry Potter:
- If checking in to the Royal Pacific, or another Universal Orlando resort, be at its front desk by 7.15a to check in and get your hotel keys, which are also your early entry passes. Immediately proceed into the park
- If not a hotel guest, be at the park entrance to by 60-120 minutes before opening
8. What to do When to Get Ready for the Wizarding World of Harry Potter:
- Pick your dates as soon as possible
- Set your approach—hotel or not
See this for the rest of the details of What to Do When to Get Ready for the Wizarding World of Harry Potter
LINKS FOR THE WIZARDING WORLD OF HARRY POTTER
- Review: The Wizarding World of Harry Potter
- When to Go to the Wizarding World of Harry Potter
- How Long to Stay at the Wizarding World of Harry Potter
- How Old/Tall Your Kids Should be for the Wizarding World of Harry Potter
- Where to Stay During Your Visit to the Wizarding World of Harry Potter
- How Much to Budget for the Wizarding World of Harry Potter
- When Your Plans for Visiting the Wizarding World Should Be Firm
- How to Spend Your Time at the Wizarding World of Harry Potter
- What to Do When to Get Ready for the Wizarding World of Harry Potter