I just returned from a Disney World trip which included a one day hop over to The Wizarding World of Harry Potter™ at Universal Theme Parks in Orlando. Before our trip, my husband and I did lots of debating whether to throw in that one day jaunt to see Harry Potter and his world. We would be staying in a hotel close to the Disney Parks and would only be visiting Universal Parks for that short time.
If you are considering such a visit, the following are the pros and cons of this arrangement.
- The Wizarding World Of Harry Potter Is Just Plain Neat. And that is saying something coming from this Mom who has only read three of the books in the series. The exacting detail with which Diagon Alley and Hogsmeade have been constructed really transport you into living versions of the books. Everywhere that you look, you discover fascinating things. Technological innovations are well integrated into the experience. And you can feel the die hard Potter fans excitement.
- The Rides Play On All Your Senses.-The latest 4-D Technology surrounds you in the Harry Potter experience. The queues for the rides are an integral part of the overall experience. All sorts of animated characters, articles from the The Wizarding World, and hidden surprises await. They sure make the wait times feel shorter. Even, the train ride between Diagon Alley and Hogsmeade provides you with a one-of–kind experience.
- The Stores and Restaurants Really Cap Off The Experience-Being able to purchase some peppermint frogs at Honeydukes, an interactive wand at Ollivanders, and boxing telescopes at Weasley’s Wizard Wheezes makes for huge fun. And if you buy an interactive wand, there are more than 20 spots throughout Diagon Alley and Hogsmeade where you can use it to make magical things happen.
- Visiting The Wizarding World For A Day Is Quite Expensive. For 3 members of our family to do both Diagon Alley and Hogsmeade (which are located in two separate parks) for a day cost nearly $500. In order to access both of these major sections including the Hogwarts Express train, you must purchase park-to-park tickets. You do get access to all of both Universal Studios Florida and Universal’s Islands of Adventures this way, but pay dearly for it. No Universal Express (fast passes) come with these tickets. These Express passes are not good for the vast majority of The Wizarding World attractions anyway.
- Unless You Stay At A Universal Resort Hotel Or Have An Annual Pass, you are generally not eligible for early park admission. Early admission attendees do have the distinct advantage of being first in the parks and first to the attractions and shops. Since, we went during peak summer season, we did find that we were allowed into Diagon Alley 15 minutes before usual official park opening without early admission rights. This helped keep this con from being too detrimental.
- The Number of Rides In The Wizarding World Of Harry Potter Are Limited . Harry Potter and Escape from the Gringotts, Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey, and the Dragon Challenge are the major headline rides and are all pretty intense. All are not recommended for anyone who gets motion sickness. My husband and I do not usually get motion sick on the rides, but Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey about did us in. I would definitely save that one for last. The Flight of the Hippogriff Coaster is about the tamest of the the rides, but still may be kind of difficult for those individuals who don’t roller coasters.
- During Peak Seasons, The Wizarding Word of Harry Potter Becomes Very Crowded. Diagon Alley and Hogsmeade are not expansive places, as they are designed to be true to the stories. By 11:00 a.m. on peak days, these areas become packed wall-to-wall with people. Accessing the stores and interactive wand stations can become challenging. And the line for Harry Potter and Escape from the Gringotts can become prohibitively long.
What’s The Verdict?
Based upon our experience:
Yes To A Day At The Wizarding World Of Harry Potter If:
- You are a big Harry Potter series fan (Adults or children late elementary and up).
- This is your one big visit to the area and do not foresee coming back again any time soon.
- You will not go into debt doing this. Figure up not only the cost of the park admission tickets, but food/snacks and any souvenirs. The interactive wands I mentioned above are easily $50 and even the candy is not cheap.
No To A Day at The Wizarding World of Harry Potter if:
- You will incur debt adding this visit on to your other planned activities. See above for costs to expect in addition to parks admission tickets.
- The bulk of your group is prone to motion sickness or does not like confined spaces.
- Your group consists of mostly small children. For most of the rides you must be 48 inches or taller to participate. Frankly, these rides might be terrifying to young kids anyway.
Hope you find this information beneficial in helping you decide whether to add that hop on over to Universal Theme Parks for an escape from the world of Muggles (humans) to The Wizarding World.