I did my waiting! 10 years of it (Sirius Black reference)! But really though, I heard Harry Potter World was opening in 2007 and had been waiting since then to come. IT. WAS. AMAZING. For any fan as obsessed as I am, you will definitely want to know about how it is and what is the best plan of action.
I read up and did my research on many blogs and websites to see the best parts of the park, general wait times, plans of action, and what the MUST HAVE items were. This research combined with my love of EVERYTHING in The Wizarding World of Harry Potter drove me to create this post!
Insider Tips for the Wizarding World of Harry Potter
Before I left, I knew I wanted a Harry Potter t-shirt. I had planned to wear my Ravenclaw (whoop whoop!!) one with a cute Harry Potter skirt, but in the grand tradition of me not thinking, I accidentally ordered a child size 6.
Being the seamstress I am, I cut open all the seams and made a cute collar with it! I used Simplicity pattern 1727 and was very happy with the result! My shirt is from Etsy (they have many cute Harry Potter tees) and the golden snitch pin I bought the night before at one of the shops. It added the perfect touch!
Planning Out the Rides:
The biggest thing we had to decide on was which portion of the park to start in: Hogsmeade or Diagon Alley. We heard that Hogsmeade was a better option to start with so we planned to begin there. That being said, an attendant mentioned that if you want the best Harry Potter experience to start in Diagon Alley like Harry did in the book and movie. This was a GREAT idea and I’m very glad we did so.
The wait time for Harry Potter and the Escape from Gringotts was awful, but only because the first day we got there an hour early, waited for 40 minutes, and they then told us the ride wasn’t working. We tried again the next day and it was still messing up but it was honestly worth it!
3D rides make me kind of dizzy now especially when combined with moving rides. That happened to me on Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey, I had to close my eyes and center myself at one point. The good thing? The wait was a lot shorter at about 10-15 min max. So if motion sickness is a problem definitely go for the Gringotts ride! It’s almost a 4D experience and it’s great.
Front of Gringotts:
Gringotts Dragon Breathing Fire:
I was not prepared for the Dueling Dragons ride. I thought it would be calm and fun but it was a legitimate rollercoaster. Going on it first thing in the morning and being unprepared was HECTIC but worth it. The entrance to the ride took about 5 minutes just to walk to the ride and that’s about the entire wait time too. This remains true through almost the entire day on both weekends and weekdays.
Flight of the Hippogriff is very short so unless you’re going with small children or the wait is less than 10 minutes (which it often is in the mornings) don’t bother! It was good for me though because we rode after Dueling Dragons which made me dizzy so it was a nice ride to calm down to.
The last “ride” was the Hogwarts Express which is like a simulation train ride combination. We rode back and forth 4-5 times in two days and many blogs grossly over-exaggerated the length of the ride. Most said the trip took 30 minutes but the walk to it is 5-10 minutes and the actual train ride is about 5 minutes from park to park. Make sure to ride it there and back though because the little videos are different!
Hogwarts Express Hogsmead:
Inside the Hogwarts Express:
Wizarding World Foods:
They were the one thing I really wanted to try more than anything else. I wanted to try Pumpkin Juice, Butterbeer, and a Cauldron Cake the most. The Butterbeer is SO GOOD but very very sweet. I could not finish a whole cup but I definitely recommend going with one that is NOT frozen to get the full experience.
For Pumpkin Juice, think about apple cider but with a pumpkin twist. This was also very delicious but again, very sweet! I could honestly not finish the bottle it was so sweet, but for anyone with a sweet tooth, this is the drink for you!
Cauldron cakes are DELICIOUS. They come in cute reusable cauldrons with a recipe on the box you can use to re-make them for yourself at home. The icing/frosting is the perfect amount of sweet and the cake underneath is very moist chocolate cake.
I did stop in Honeydukes and I, of course, had to get a chocolate frog. Very good but large portion of chocolate. I would have gotten Bertie Botts Every Flavor Beans but a small container was $10 and I knew I’d probably hate most of the flavors so I decided against that. If you do really want them, I suggest getting a bag of them.
Other Cool Things:
The last few things I’ll mention are other cool things I saw/did while visiting Harry Potter World. The dragon on top of Gringotts breathes fire every 12 minutes and it’s really cool! You can also buy “Gilly Water” and add “elixers” into it which are like little potions (flavors like fruit punch).
There is a money exchange where you can exchange your “Muggle money” for Wizard money at the Gringotts office a little bit away from the ride. They only take $10, $20, $50, etc bills so come prepared! There’s also a replica of the Knight Bus outside Diagon Alley and a replica of Number 12 Grimmauld Place (take a peek in the window). Definitely worth checking out.
Weasley’s Wizard Wheezes & Wand:
Gringotts “Wizard Money”:
I know many people are wondering about wands and they are a bit pricey at $45 (+ tax). If you want one then definitely come prepared, but they are very fun to use! Many store fronts have spells to use to have some fun tricks happen! The interactive wands will have an “O” sticker on them or a gold sticker. (Tip: Skip the wand ceremony where the “wand chooses the wizard” because they only pick one family member and you’ll have to wait for a long time!)
Overall, I had such an amazing time at Harry Potter World in Universal. It was everything I had hoped for and dreamed of in my childhood come to life. I planned to go all out because I had waited for this for so long. If you’re a super fan as I am, make sure you plan and budget ahead! I hope you enjoyed this post and I hope you want to go to Harry Potter World now too! You won’t regret it.
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