1. Purchase a wand & make magic happen
Be sure to pick up a wand at Olivander's , it's more than just a souvenir. Wands may be used around the park to make magic happen. With every wand purchase comes a map that marks out all the magic making opportunities around the park. There are also staff around to help you make the correct wand movement and say the spell to create magic. You'll love making fountains begin to spurt water, tip over cauldrons and make toilets flush.
2. Lunch at the Leaky Cauldron
There are a number of different dining options available, but without a doubt the best is the Leaky Cauldron. There's a variety of typical English dishes available, plus a number of magical brews for the of-age wizard and witches. Another reason to choose the Leaky Cauldron? It's the most efficiently set up to handle large crowds (and you can bet there will be large crowds). You order fast-food style at the counter, then follow your numbered candlestick to your seat and have your food quickly delivered to you. Even at peak-lunch hours, the service was still fast and seating was available.
3. Free wifi to keep you connected all day
One of the fabulous things about traveling in the US is the availability of wifi everywhere! If you're from outside the country, and have no data while in Florida, just connect to the Universal Studios free wifi to continue sharing your Snaps and Instagrams all day!
Speaking of SnapChat, did you miss my snap story from my visit the the Wizarding World of Harry Potter? Oh no! Want to hang out with my in the South for my last month of grad school at Ole Miss and then be transported to Canada and Europe all summer? Add me!
4. Avoid the lines with the Universal Studio's app
To make the most of your visit, and spend as minimal an amount of time in ride lines as possible, download the Universal Studio's Wait Times app. iOS version here, Andriod version here. Thankfully, the folks at Universal had our sanity in mind when building the park, and made the lines interesting to stand in. You'll get to see sights such as Gringotts goblins at work in line, and before rides there's always a little video intro from the cast to prepare you for what's to come.
Related: Harry Potter Sights of Edinburgh
5. Warning: Shopping opportunities are abundant
The Wizarding World of Harry Potter is basically half a theme park, and half a really oddly decorated shopping mall. Every store you can recall from the books is there, stocked full of Harry Potter themed merchandise.
6. CAA/AAA members receive a 10%-15% discount
If you have a CAA/AAA card, bring it with you, and print this out. You'll receive 10%-15% off many items for sale (including food) at the park.
7. Ride the Hogwarts Express both directions!
To give you a little background info, the Wizarding World of Harry Potter is split into Universal Studios two parks. To get from the Hogsmead section of the park to the Diagon Alley section of the other park you, rightly so, ride the Hogwarts Express train. During the train ride you'll enjoy a video of sights out the windows, and even experience a dementor visit. The ride in each direction is different, so be sure to ride it both ways!
8. Best photo/video op is at Platform 9 3/4
While you might have visited Platform 9 3/4 at the real King's Cross Station in London, England and taken a photo pushing your trolley through the wall (I know I have!), there's an even better photo op to be had at the Universal Studio's Platform 9 3/4. A few light tricks are set up so that it really looks like you're walking through a wall, when in reality you're just walking down a hallway. See what I mean at 1:50 from my Wizarding World of Harry Potter video below.
9. Which to visit first? Hogsmead or Diagon Alley?
There's a few considerations to make to avoid the heat, and crowds as much as possible. (Pssst - Hogsmead is a little smaller, and has much less shade than Diagon Alley). If you're an early bird who wants to head to the park first thing in the morning (9 AM opening time) head to Hogsmead first, then do Diagon Alley in the afternoon when the sun is the hottest, and to avoid crowds as much as possible. If you struggle to get out of bed early, wait until part way through the day, visit Diagon Alley first and Hogsmead second in the evening. Plus, the castle is all lit up in Hogsmead at night!
10. Re-read the book(s) prior to going!
I read the book religiously as a child, however it's been a while since I cracked one open. To get things back fresh in your mind, and remind yourself why you loved the world of Harry Potter in the first place, be sure to re-read a book, or 7 before you go. I had an 11 hour car ride to Orlando, so I downloaded one on Audible, and it made my car ride, and trip to the mark that much better!
Great news, Page by Paige readers can pick up a free Audible book by clicking here!
There you have it! Feeling ready to head to visit the Wizarding World of Harry Potter now? Yes? Perfect!
Tell me, there's Harry Potter related sights, tours and theme parks all around the world. Which have you been to?