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10 Magical Tips for The Wizarding World of Harry Potter

The Wizarding World of Harry Potter changed the game when it comes to theme parks! This interactive and fully immersive section of Universal Orlando Resort is on every Harry Potter fan’s bucket list! Here, Harry Potter fans can leave their normal life behind and enter into their favorite book or movie. Universal welcomes muggles to tour Hogsmeade and Diagon Alley where they will be able to cast spells, explore Hogwarts castle, and indulge in all the butterbeer and chocolate frogs they can handle!

I will never forget the first time I visited the Wizarding World at Universal Orlando. I had been waiting and planning for YEARS and the day had FINALLY arrived! For some reason, I found myself too nervous to go straight to the Harry Potter section of the park. My husband and I started off at the front of the park and slowly made our way back. Next thing I know without even realizing it, I had stumbled into Hogsmeade village! At this moment I was so overwhelmed that I turned around and ran right back out. Yep, you read that right…I was so overwhelmed by walking into this place that before only existed in my head and in movies that I turned around and didn’t return until the end of the day. My dreams had just come true! I had been planning for years and I couldn’t handle the magnificent sight of Hogwarts castle! Since then, I have been to The Wizarding World many times and it has quickly become my happy place! I have become somewhat of an expert on the Wizarding World of Harry Potter and I am going to share with you my top ten must-know tips for when you visit this magical place!

1. Drink All the Butterbeer!

This is a must-do when visiting the Wizarding World! Butterbeer is the signature non-alcoholic drink of the Wizarding World! It is offered in multiple different forms, the most popular being frozen, cold, and hot. I personally prefer the cold version; however, most people enjoy the frozen version because it tastes a bit sweeter and it is perfect for those hot Florida days! You have the option to purchase a souvenir cup like the one pictured above, however, purchasing the cup does NOT get you a discounted butterbeer. You can, however, get discounted soda in your butterbeer souvenir cup anywhere in the parks. Another great option and a must on all of my visits is butterbeer flavored ice cream at Florean Fortescue’s in Diagon Alley! I highly recommend trying this soft-serve version it’s sooo delicious!  I highly recommend budgeting for this delicious Wizarding World staple on your next vacation!

2. Stay at an On-Site Universal Hotel

Universal has eight on-site hotels. Guests of these resorts get early access to the Wizarding World of Harry Potter which means you get to visit the Wizarding World one hour before the parks open to regular guests. Soooo I guess you could say you get…extra magic hours…(sorry Disney!). Having this extra hour can be amazing during the busy season due to how popular this particular area of the park is. There are so many benefits to staying on-site and close to the action. Universal has eight hotels with options to fit everyone’s budget! I know this is one of the more generic tips, but Universal experts swear by it for a reason! Trust me! There are three premier hotels on site. When you stay at these hotels you get additional benefits. This includes free unlimited fast passes and priority seating at select restaurants. Staying at a Universal on-site hotel will ensure that you have a relaxing and fun vacation!

3. Get to the Parks Early

If you aren’t staying at a Unviersal hotel, I highly recommend getting to the park as soon as it opens and heading straight for the Harry Potter section. Crowds really start forming around noon so enjoying your morning in the Wizarding World is the best way to go! I would even recommend taking a mid-day break to avoid crowds and keep your sanity in check. Depending on the time of year you chose to visit crowds may be very low or extremely high. There are free crowd calendars available through other websites that will allow you to choose the best time of the year to visit. If you are wanting to visit during slow season a general rule to help with this will be to go while schools are in session. Team members also suggest to visit the week following a holiday. I have been told these are usually the best times to go for low crowd levels. 

4. Stay Until the Parks Close

One of my favorite things to do is hop on the Hogwarts express last minute and enjoy Diagon Alley completely EMPTY. Yes, you read that right, empty. Of course, the rides aren’t running, but you are able to wander around and perform all the magic spells without a line forming behind you. It is truly magical. Plus, you can get some awesome photos of Diagon Alley at night without a soul around! Of course, it might get a little eery after a while when everyone has gone home and you’re all alone, but this is by far my favorite memory from my first trip to Universal Orlando! My first trip there was no security urging us to leave, however, my second trip security was trying to corral is towards the park entrance. If this happens go ahead and grab your pictures in an empty Diagon Alley, they won’t mind, just don’t loiter. 

5. Buy an Interactive Wand

I know  I know. It is so expensive but SO worth it. Just the experience of choosing your wand is worth the cost of the wand! You could also do the Ollivander’s wand choosing ceremony experience as I did and Mr. Olivander himself will help find the wand that is best suited for you! Throughout both sections of the park, there are interactive shop windows, fountains, and more that you can bring to life by using your wand. It really does bring the entire Wizarding experience together. I have become attached to my wand (because it chose me of course) and I once went into full-on freak out mode when I realized I forgot to pack it for one of my trips! Having my interactive wand is a major part of what makes my vacations special, so I highly recommend taking the leap and purchasing an interactive wand! 

6. Watch the Hogwarts Castle Lights Show

Many people don’t know there is an amazing light projection show on Hogwarts castle every night. It is a wonderful celebration of Hogwarts and the four houses, Gryffindor, Slytherin, Hufflepuff, and Ravenclaw. It is one of those things you certainly don’t want to miss! They have shows every 15 minutes during the last hour of operation so there are multiple opportunities to get a good viewing spot for this celebration of Hogwarts! (Update: Due to COVID-19 the Hogwarts Nighttime Celebration is not happening until further notice)

7. Ride The Attractions During the Lights Show.

I know what you’re thinking. “But you just told me to watch the light show!” By no means am I telling you to not watch the castle projection show! There are multiple shows in one night to make sure everyone gets the opportunity to see it. So I am suggesting that you watch the first show and then head straight for either The Forbidden Journey or Hagrid’s Motorbike Adventure. This is a must for my husband and me! During the show, the wait times are always little to nothing. We once rode Forbidden Journey three times in a row with no wait! This isn’t a must but if these rides are your favorite this is a great way to ride them back to back!

8. Plan for Shopping

Most of the Wizarding World experience is wandering through the shops of Diagon Alley and Hogsmeade village. There is so much exclusive merchandise it is very hard not to want everything in sight! You will also want to buy candy and sweets from Honeydukes or Sugarplum’s Sweet Shop (a chocolate frog is a must). The Wizarding World merchandise can run on the expensive side so if you plan to do some shopping keep that in mind. A great way to ensure you don’t over-spend in the Wizarding World is to shop merchandise on the Universal website. This way you can plan your souvenirs before going to the parks!

9. Visit Shutterbuttons in Diagon Alley

Shutterbuttons is a store located in Diagon Alley. Here you and your family are able to record a video on a green screen! You will be instructed to act through different scenes and the end product is an amazing video of you in the wizarding world having a blast! This is an amazing keepsake to remember your time in the Wizarding World of Harry Potter! A visit to Shutterbutton’s is included in the Wizarding World Vacation Package. This is a great package if you love HP!  

10. Find the Secret Interactive Wand Spots

In Diagon Alley, there are a couple of secret wand spots (and by secret I mean they are not marked on the map or by an emblem on the ground). The first is located at the Scribbulus store. There is one marked wand spot in front of this store but in the other window, there is a hidden spot! All you have to do is form a triangle with your wand and a secret message will appear on the scroll. The second secret wand spot is at the Slug and Jiggers Apothecary, which is across from Olivander’s. You can find it on the left side of the storefront and you will actually make a bucket move up and down and release a smell.

There are so many more tips and secrets I could share with you about the Wizarding World of Harry Potter! I hope that I was able to give you a few useful and unique tips for your next Universal Orlando vacation! If you want more tips and secrets for Harry Potter World and Universal Orlando subscribe to my newsletter! I frequently post updates and information on Universal Orlando Resort. If you subscribe you will also get a FREE printable Walt Disney World & Universal Orlando Planning Checklist sent straight to your email!

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Please note: Theme Park Informer does not represent The Walt Disney Company or Universal Studios in any way and is not employed or affiliated with The Walt Disney Company or Universal Studios.

10 Magical Tips for The Wizarding World of Harry Potter

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