By the co-author of The easy Guide to Your Walt Disney World Visit 2017, from the best-reviewed Disney World guidebook series ever. Paperback available on Amazon here. Kindle version available on Amazon here. PDF version available on Gumroad here.



yourfirstvisit.net—Disney World Instructions for the First-Time Visitor



How Long to Stay at the Wizarding World of Harry Potter



By Dave Shute

OVERVIEW: HOW LONG TO STAY AT 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.

MORE DETAILS ON HOW LONG TO STAY AT THE WIZARDING WORLD OF HARRY POTTER

(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. Click here for the Summary of Instructions for visiting Harry Potter.)

Universal Orlando is a completely separate enterprise from Walt Disney World.

  • All it shares with Disney is an Orlando location and a devotion to providing a great theme park experience.
  • Just to be absolutely clear…your Walt Disney World park tickets don’t work there, and Walt Disney World buses don’t go there!

Universal Orlando has two theme parks: Universal Studios Florida and Universal’s Islands of Adventure.

The Wizarding World of Harry Potter is not its own theme park, but rather is in two areas in Universal Orlando–Hogsmeade is in Universal’s Islands of Adventure theme park, and Diagon Alley in the Universal Studios theme park.

Even before Harry Potter, each of these parks took more than a day to fully experience, especially for families with older kids who love thrill rides and extreme, world-class roller coasters.

With the opening of Harry Potter, visitors could easily spend three busy days, or four easier days with breaks, experiencing these parks.

Families seeking just to see the Wizarding World of Harry Potter can do so in two mornings–especially if they follow this site’s advice to get a room at the Royal Pacific or Cabana Bay Beach Resort, which allows early entry to Harry Potter.

Hogsmeade contains two major rides–the all-new Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey, and the re-decorated roller-coaster ride Dragon Challenge.

It also has a minor ride, The Flight of the Hippogriff, and a number of physical spaces themed after Hogwarts and other key settings of the Harry Potter books and movies.

Hogsmeade is connected to Diagon Alley via the Hogwarts Express.  This is a one-way trip, and to ride it you need a two park ticket. (You can return to your original park on the train, but need to wait again).

Diagon Alley has in addition another major ride, Harry Potter and the Escape from Gringotts, plus tons of fun shops and dining.

(For more on these rides and attractions, see this page.)

You can see all or most of this in two mornings, if you follow this site’s advice on where to stay.  If you don’t, you can likely still see it all in two mornings, but only if you arrive at the gates 60-120 minutes before opening time.

LINKS FOR THE WIZARDING WORLD OF HARRY POTTER

 

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6 comments

1 Lisa { 03.03.11 at 4:03 pm }

We will be coming to Islands of Adventure March 5-March 9. We have early admission ticket to the parks. If the park opens at 9am, how early can we get in?

2 Dave { 03.03.11 at 6:11 pm }

Hi Lisa!

Officially, you can get in an hour before the opening. Unofficially, you may be let in earlier than this. I’d show up at the park entrance no later than 90 mins before official opening.

3 Aneet { 06.04.11 at 2:55 am }

I am going to Orlando soon and am staying at the only resort on Disney property that does not belong to Disney, and I was wondering how early we could hope to get into the Wizarding World of Harry Potter. You mentioned getting to the gates at Islands of Adventures 2 hours early in advance, but would they really let us in then or shortly after we arrive? I have a few complainers in my group who would hate to wake up extra early just to have to wait to get into the park. Also, I am still torn between visiting the WWoHP early in the morning or late at night. We want to try and do most of Islands of Adventures in one day, but the main reason we are going there is for the Forbidden Journey. I have heard that the lines die down in the evening at the WWoHP. So while the lines start to build up in the morning at WWoHP, we could enjoy the shorter lines among the rest of the park. But on the other hand, should we take the chance of getting there extra early in the hopes of reaching the WWoHP with short or moderate lines? Even though some websites say that the WWoHP is less packed in the evening, I am just a little nervous that if we wait until the evening to visit the WWoHP, there may not be enough time to do everything (Forbidden Journey, shops, Butterbeer–we’re not really rollercoaster fans). What should we do?

4 Dave { 06.04.11 at 7:40 am }

Hi Aneet!

First the “2 hours before” is probably not necessary anymore, and certainly not for your group, as you won’t be let in then–you’ll just be ahead of everyone else in line when you are let in (2 hours later!!).

Suggest you target arriving at the turnstiles to Islands of Adventure 30 mins before opening–that’s the best comprpmise between being too far back in line vs your “complainers”!! If you are driving from WDW that means leaving your hotel a little more than an hour before opening, to account for the time it takes to drive there, park, and walk to the turnstiles…

5 Sass { 06.27.14 at 11:08 am }

Hi! Any update on Diagon Alley and how they’ve decided to get from Hogwarts/Hogsmeade to there? Will visitors have to buy two tickets to the two different parks to see both? Thanks. 🙂

6 Dave { 06.27.14 at 12:26 pm }

Sass, I am so embarrassed that I have not updated this stuff for Diagon Alley. Shame on me…

To see both, you will need a two-park ticket; to use the train that goes between, them, you’ll need a two parks in one day ticket.

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