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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Where to Stay During Your Visit to the Wizarding World of Harry Potter

By Dave Shute


Those simply aiming for a morning at Harry Potter could maintain their Walt Disney World lodging plans

However, families either

  • wishing 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 new Cabana Bay Beach Resort. Doing so gives you special early entry privileges to the Wizarding World of Harry Potter, plus–if at the Royal Pacific–“front of the line” privileges for the rest of Universal Orlando.


 (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.)

Adding another hotel night is expensive. One night at the Royal Pacific will cost you, including tax, $250 to more than $375, depending on the price season (which are similar to Walt Disney World’s price seasons) and any discounts you can find. Rooms at Cabana Bay are much less expensive

However, doing so grants you unique “early access” privileges to the Wizarding World of Harry Potter, letting you in to the park as much as an hour before everyone else.  This can save you hours of waiting.

Universal has given remarkable free “early access” and  “front of the line” privileges to guests staying in one of the three Universal deluxe hotels— the Loews Portofino Bay Hotel, the Hard Rock Hotel, and the Loews Royal Pacific Resort.  Guests at Cabana Bay get free “early access” but don’t get front of the line passes.

This set of privileges, the Universal Express Program for Universal resort guests, allows Universal deluxe hotel guests to move to the front of almost every ride’s waiting line as many times as they wish, beginning as soon as the parks open. (Again–only at the Universal deluxe hotels–not at Cabana Bay.)

However, you can use this privilege neither to enter the Wizarding World of Harry Potter, nor to go to the front of the line of its rides.

For these, you use your privilege of “early entry” instead–you will be able to enter the park up to an hour before non-hotel guests can.

These privileges work from the day of check in to the day of check out—so for a one night reservation, they work for two days. You can check in as early as 7a, and receive then the key cards that allow you to skip to the head of your line. (Your room, of course, won’t be ready then…but your privileges will be!)

Participating in Universal’s other front of the line program, which means not reserving a Universal resort room for a night, but rather buying one or two days of Universal Express Plus passes, is not nearly as good a plan.  These passes can be cheaper–they cost $25-55 per day per person, depending on the season.  But since you can’t use them to enter the Wizarding World, or on Forbidden Journey or Escape from Gringotts, there is much less value to them.

All in, the best way to see the Wizarding World of Harry Potter, if you can at all afford it, is to book a night at the Royal Pacific or Cabana Bay

Note:  All three Universal resort deluxe hotels are terrific, comparable to Walt Disney World deluxes. The Royal Pacific is both the most kid-pleasing, and the least expensive of the three, which is why it is featured here.  Cabana Bay is in between a Disney value and moderate, and its four-person rooms are particularly sound.




1 Alex Newton { 02.21.14 at 12:34 am }

Hello! I love your website 🙂

We’re hoping to stay at Royal Pacific for one night. For the first day, we’re checking in as early as possible. How does the second day work? Can we use the early admission to WWoHP the second morning and stay for the whole day? When would we have to check out of the hotel?

Thanks so much!

2 Dave { 02.21.14 at 8:01 am }

Hi Alex and thanks! Yes, on day 2 yes you can use it all day long even after you check out.

3 Sarah { 06.18.15 at 2:30 am }

Hi! Thank you so much for this article! I’m planning a honeymoon at The Wizarding World so this helps a lot! The only thing I’m worried about is that we are going on the first week of November this year, which happens to be a full week. Why do you specify that as being a not great week to go??

4 Dave { 06.18.15 at 8:53 am }

Hi Sarah glad it helps! See this.

5 teresa robbins { 03.26.17 at 4:45 pm }

can you tell me if there is a BEST place to camp in an RV near Universal Studios Florida. We are considering bring our three teenage grandchildren down from chicago, for 1-2 days, then heading to port st. Joe. Everything I’ve read is daunting, we grandparents don’t like standing and waiting in the hot sun. Maybe thier parents will take them!!!!! Thanks Teresa

6 Dave { 03.27.17 at 7:50 am }

Sorry, Teresa, the only Orlando area campground I track is Disney’s Fort Wilderness, which is not near Universal.

7 Melodie Mooney { 10.02.17 at 11:13 am }

Im a senior with a wheelchair son,he wants to stay at one of harry potters hotel,how much will it cost for 4 days 3 night

stay at one of the hotel at harry potter,we,re a Florida resident

8 Dave { 10.03.17 at 7:53 am }

Hi Melodie, contact Kelly to get your choices and book it for you: or 980-429-4499. (Note if you call today–Tuesday–she may be swamped, as a new deal for Disney World is expected to come out today).

9 Jen Martinez { 07.23.18 at 5:18 pm }

we’re going to Disney world in a few days. but we also wanted to experience universal studios. we’re going back and forth whether it’s worth to pay for a 1 day to park pass or do the 1 day 1 park pass. we’re just not sure if we’ll be able to do both parks in 1 day. not sure if it’s worth the money. some feed back would be great. thanks

10 Dave { 07.24.18 at 7:43 am }

Jen, it depends on your goals. If you want to see all of Harry Potter including the Hogwarts express you need the park to park.

11 Jennifer { 02.10.19 at 9:48 am }

Hi everyone my friend name Jennifer d she wants Harry potter real wand she never to been there before her first time she see there for Harry potter

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