By the co-author of The easy Guide to Your Walt Disney World Visit 2020, the best-reviewed Disney World guidebook series ever.

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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 Wizarding World of Harry Potter1. When to Go to the Wizarding World of Harry Potter:

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.)

See this for more on when to go

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

At Diagon Alley in Universal Studios, Harry Potter and the Escape From Gringotts is scary, and has a 42″ minimum height

See this for more on How Old/Tall Your Kids Should be for the Wizarding World of Harry Potter.

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 Beach 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.)

See this for more on where to stay during your visit to the Wizarding World of Harry Potter

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)

See this for more on what to budget for 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.

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. .

See this for more on when your plans should be 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

See this for the rest of the guidance on how to spend your time.

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


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1 Mike { 01.06.17 at 9:14 am }

Hi Dave

Brilliant site, full of great info !

We are travelling from the UK in October with our kids aged 8 and 5. We have already booked 5 nights each at Polynesian and Animal Kingdom. We were wondering if its worth trying to do a day at Seaworld and Universal during our stay as 10 nights might be too long for just Disney ? If so is it best to just book day tickets and get taxis ?



2 Dave { 01.07.17 at 10:48 am }

Mike, see this for an example 8 night WDW itinerary. With your additional nights, I’d add first add a day off, and then either a Sea World or Universal day–your 4 year old would likely greatly prefer Sea World.

3 Krista { 03.14.17 at 1:12 pm }

Hi Dave,
If we had to choose between the two Islands of Adventure and Universal which would you choose? My daughter 9 is a big Harry Potter fan, whereas my son 6 hasn\’t reached the same level of interest (yet) :). We only have one day to be there traveling from Wisconsin. Thanks!

4 Dave { 03.14.17 at 8:12 pm }

Krista, you’ll find differences of opinion on this, but I think both the Harry Potter material and the rest of the park is a little better for young ones like yours at Islands of Adventure.

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