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Hypable

With summer upon us, many Harry Potter fans are gearing up for a visit to the Orlando theme park area the Wizarding World of Harry Potter.

Going on it’s third year, the Wizarding World of Harry Potter is not only helping Universal see a dramatic increase in attendance and profits, but also gives the millions of Potterheads a chance to visit Hogwarts, Honeydukes, and Hogsmead.

Here are a few do’s and don’ts to keep in mind during your visit.

Do: Get to the park early

The early bird gets the worm. The earlier you get to the popular attractions, such as the Forbidden Journey and the Olivanders Wand Experience, the less time you will have to spend standing in the blazing heat. In the images above, the one on the left was taken minutes after opening, and the one on the right was taken during mid-afternoon. (Tip: The Three Broomsticks opens for lunch early, at 10:30AM, and stays open until the park closes at 10PM, though, closing hours can vary month to month.)

Don’t: Be surprised when waits reach as long as 60 -120 minutes 

During peak hours, this will happen. If you do find yourself in such a line, use the time to catch your breath and plan the rest of your day. Some lines will put you in direct view of the castle or other eye-catching photo ops. If you’re looking to go on a ride, but also wish to find some shade, consider going on Dragon Challenge.  The entire wait is in a cool tunnel-system which can get you out of the sun for a few minutes.

Do: Eat in the Three Broomsticks and enjoy the atmosphere

There are a lot of tiny details the designers of the park included to create an authentic feel. As you eat, look up towards the rafters where you’ll see shadows and hear the sounds of various Three Broomstick guests and objects moving on their own. After you’re finished eating, head out the back way to the outdoor seating area of the Three Broomsticks for an unobstructed and different view of Hogwarts castle – also a great photo opportunity.

Don’t: Eat then go on Dragon Challenge

The ride is fast and ridiculously fun for roller-coaster enthusiasts, but we don’t know anyone who could handle eating a full meal, and then hopping on the Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire-inspired ride.  You may find yourself being taken to the hospital wing.

Do: Be cognizant of when you buy your Honeydukes candy

If you buy chocolate at 10AM and lug it around till 4PM in the blazing Florida heat, we don’t think your Chocolate Frog will resemble anything more than a melted mess when you try to open it. Buy the sweets later in the day to ensure they keep their form.

Don’t: Buy all your souvenirs from one store

When the WWoHP first opened, Harry Potter merchandise was sold exclusively in that area of the park, making those stores the busiest places from open till close. Now, the selling of HP merch has expanded to stores throughout both Islands of Adventure and Universal Studios, and even the Orlando Airport has a section. For authenticity sake, the stores in the WWoHP are extremely small and thus, cramped, making browsing and purchasing extremely difficult and time-consuming. If you see something you want to buy, but the line at the register looks as long as the line for the ride, try going to a different store or revisiting that store at a later time.

Do: Use the single-rider lane during crowded times/ for popular rides

Taking the single-rider lane may seem silly if you’re with friends and family, however it significantly shortens the wait and you take a different route than the rest of the park attendees. You won’t really be speaking to others during the ride anyways, especially during the Forbidden Journey. Applicable to rides beyond those in the Wizarding World, such as Rip Ride Rockit in Universal Studios, the single-rider lane is always a viable option.

Don’t: Forget to have fun!

Buy a Butterbeer (frozen or liquid – or both) and enjoy the atmosphere the Wizarding World has created. Piped in music plays the movie’s soundtracks on a loop, and there’s incredible detail and animation everywhere you look. Be sure to look in the store-front windows for magical bits and pieces, go on the Flight of the Hippogriff to see Buckbeak and Hagrid’s Hut while you wait in line, and be sure to take a picture in front of the iconic Hogwarts Express with the conductor.

If you’ve been lucky enough to experience the Wizarding World of Harry Potter, what are your do’s and don’ts for our readers who will be heading there this summer?

  • http://www.facebook.com/heather.smith07 Heather Smith

    Good tips! I was just there a couple weeks ago and really recommend the single rider line. BUT, if you’re going to do the Forbidden Challenge or whatever its called (the one inside Hogwarts), I recommend waiting the first time around (because there’s a LOT of cool stuff inside the castle and makes waiting fun (once you get past waiting in the greenhouse area), and taking the single rider the second time around, which is what I did. The wait til for Forbidden Challenge was 40 minutes when I went and did single rider and I was in and out in 10 minutes. 

    But definitely buy a wand from the cart near the Hippogriff ride. Ollivanders line is always long, and you can buy wands from the cart. And I’d recommend buying your merch from different places in the park (such as the general area where all souvenirs are sold on your way out of Island of Adventure). They sell the same stuff and it’s much less crowded. 

    Also, the Durmstrang vs Beauxbatons challenge where the choir usually is is good fun. Wait around for that and you can sit right up close. 

    Have fun! It’s a really magical place, and it’s always good to go there first thing, walk around the other parks and come back again so that you take in what you’ve seen, and then can seem more without feeling whirlwinded. 

  • hpatdh33

    Last time I was there, the single rider line for the Forbidden Journey was ridiculous.  You had to wait in the entire line then when you got to the lockers you split up.  It was ridiculous.  But Just go into Filch’s emporium, then head through the lockers.  Blend into the people in the lockers and slip into the single riders line, that saves you on average an hour.

    • gleefan12

       My friend and I did this! We rode the ride 4 times in under an hour.

      • rdh014

        Did the same! Was so much quicker!

  • Jamie

    Great advice!  I’ve been twice, and both times I loved it.  Great to just sit around and take it all in. 

  • JamesNCleveland
    • https://twitter.com/#!/MaireadNguyen Mairead Nguyen

       STOP SPAMMING.

  • Jenny9764

    I have to admit that I went on Dragon Challenge after eating breakfast at The Three Broomsticks…and let’s just say I didnt feel to good afterwards. XP

  • Heatherleighann

    Don’t dress as a Gryffindor. Me and my boyfriend went in Slytherin gear. We got to go to the front of the line for every ride because the Slytherin workers were so excited to see people who weren’t in Gryffindor garb xD

    DO watch the Beauxbaton / Durmstrang show and the Hogwarts Choir. It’s amazing to see and I know those performers work very hard for the samll crowds they get.

    • Jael

       Looks like the Slytherin tie my buddy bought me when she found out about my Pottermore results will come into good use then. 

  • http://www.facebook.com/ebooboo1 Erica Gipson

    I totally agree with the last one. I know the place is kind of overwhelming but don’t forget to look out for the small things. Grab a butterbeer stroll around and take a second to look at all of the amazing things in the window displays. And don’t forget to look up in the owlery for all of the resting owls! You can even send off a letter with wizarding world postage. 

  • http://twitter.com/FluffyKitten Kiersten

    Here’s a tip if you really want to have the best time- don’t go during the summer if you can avoid it. Florida easily gets in the 90′s during the summer and many times the park is at capacity. You end up squished between people the entire time because the WWoHP is quite small and the lines get outrageous. 

  • http://forgiveyourmind.tumblr.com/ Tariq

    I love this place so much. Definitely take time to enjoy it all! A friend and I spent an entire day at only Wizardinf World, so much fun.

    You forgot to mention the performances by Durmstrang & Beauxbatons and also the Frog Choir! Those are amazing.

  • Alex

    the best hp article i seen this week.

    very funny and instructive and useful.

    thank you kristina!

    (you might want to mention too, to bring Lots of water bottles- since florida during the summer is HELL hot. seriously- and waiting a lot on lines under the florida scorching sun would get people dehydrated.) 

  • rdh014

    1) They sell butterbeer at the Three Broomsticks at ALL hours with the souvenir mug. Where as the lines outside for them are like 45 minutes long, it took me 5minutes to get one in the Three Broomsticks and I got to sit and enjoy it as well. Go straight for it first thing in the morning and then get in line for a ride with your treat. 

    2)Put your stuff in the lockers under the castle BEFORE getting in line. They will force you out of line to put it up, so might as well get it out of the way before hand. 3) Go through the line for Forbidden Journey AT LEAST once. It’s worth it…all of the details and whatnot really make the experience even greater. Then single rider it. I rode through the single rider line with my dad 3 times in 45 minutes. 

  • Isak

    Ah.
    One can only dream. :(

  • https://twitter.com/#!/MaireadNguyen Mairead Nguyen

    If only I knew this two years ago when the park first opened and I was stupid enough to go two days after it opened… :P

  • Adr1s

    DO USE THE SINGLE-RIDER LANE!!! When I went the waiting time on the normal one was 75 minutes, but my cousin and I rode it 3 times in an hour, and 2 out of those 3 time we were in the same cart :) 

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Andrew-Kinkead/759877420 Andrew Kinkead

    Eating at Three Broomsticks is amazing! I felt so into the world of HP then! Its the most underrated thing there too!! 

  • Hugo weasley

    DONT DO THIS!I drank two whole butterbeers just before riding the forbidden journey and i couldn’t walk for a while after.DO THIS!instead of waiting in a long line at the concessions or at the three broomsticks for a butterbeer you can just go through the back entrance to the hogs head and buy a butterbeer at the bar from aberforth.

  • Kristen

    We have annual passes to Universal and go often, so I can say that this article has great advice!  I would add a few things:
    1. If you want to do the Olivanders wand experience (it’s really cool to see), get to the park early and head straight to the Olivanders line.  It’s cooler in the morning and the line gets longer as the day goes on (and hotter since it’s outside).  If you dress in costume (or dress your kids in costume) you have a better chance of being chosen for the wand selection.  Adults get picked sometimes too, not just kids (I did it once).   
    2. You can go through the line for the Dragon Challenge and see all of the displays even if you don’t want to ride the roller coaster (for those with small children). 
    3. The Butterbeer is less expensive with a shorter line if you buy it in the Hogs Head pub, instead of outside at the carts.  And if you are age 21+, try the Hogs Head Brew…it’s fabulous!
    4. Try to sit in the MIDDLE of the Three Broomsticks restaurant for the best view of the shadows of flying owls and house elves.     
    If I think of any more, I will post later.  We love the WWHP theme park!  :)

    • Kristen

      The best times of the year to go with small crowds:  mid-January through the early March (Super Bowl Sunday was the best…no lines), early September (after Labor Day) through mid-November (before Thanksgiving).  Enjoy!  :)

  • http://twitter.com/marypao Mary

    If you have an opportunity to go to a private event in the park jump on it.  Fewer people and usually at night so you don’t have to deal with the heat.  Really looking forward to Ascendio’s park event in July!

  • http://twitter.com/NatashaPeartree Natasha Pereira

    great article and tips from everyone in the comments! this is what being a fan is all about! :) 

  • Guest

    DO stay as late as possible. Even in high traffic weeks (my family went during spring break) once the sun goes down, the park is significantly less crowded. Arrive early of course, but Take a break midday and come back refreshed around dusk when all the small children and heatstroke victims are being carted off. Not only is there now enough room to breath and see the shop displays, but the temperature is also much nicer. You can also usually race through the lines even without being in the single rider lane.
    DON’T count on getting all the wizarding world stuff you want at the big, all purpose store at the exit of the park. Some of the things sold in wizarding world are still exclusive to that area. Scope out all the shops beforehand and see where you can get what. (ex. you can only get cauldron cakes in honeydukes and the special, exclusive to wizarding world wands are not stocked in the carts and universal stores, only in the wand shop and post office)

  • http://twitter.com/ceilidh_brenzzz Ceilidh Brennan

    This is just making me upset that I still haven’t been! I wish it was closer to Canada…

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Seth-Wells/1130513697 Seth Wells

    went to the grand opening, the line for castle was 4 to 5 hours long, and yes i stayed in line for it , there was no single rider line, but have fun

  • Paulinekhan

    Lucky me I got to go BEFORE IT OPENED exclusive passes and a 3d card for like a celebration or something there was NO lines I did EVERYTHING in like 20 minutes and rode forbidden journey like 20 times :)

  • http://twitter.com/travelingheidi heidi(8)

    Ideally, go when there’s a Harry Potter fancon taking place at the on-site hotel with a terrific rate for Harry Potter fans, and a private event in the WWOHP where you can wear your costume, drink all the Butterbeer you want, and skip through Hogwarts castle because all the Muggles have gone home. 

    • http://twitter.com/travelingheidi heidi(8)

      Oops, forgot the link! http://hp2012.org – Ascendio – July 12 – 15, 2012 (Night of a Thousand Wizards is the private Park event on July 12 til 1 AM)

  • Hermione Jean

    DO be prepared for the high prices of everything.  If you want to try all the special foods and drinks and go home with a satisfactory amount of souvenirs, bring more money than you think you’ll need.

    DO use the restrooms there.  They have a feature that no other restroom in the world has.

    DON’T eat at the Three Broomsticks for lunch if you have the option of eating there for dinner.  There was a huge line for lunch when I went, but no line at all for dinner.

    DO wear shoes that are secured on your feet for Forbidden Journey and the Dragon Challenge roller coasters.

    DO be mentally prepared for the crowds.  The park is very small with massive numbers of people in it.

  • Teranel

    Just as a note: if you take the single rider lane in the castle (The Forbidden Journey), the line is considerably shorter, but you don’t get to see as much of the interior of the castle. I’d suggest go to the ride first thing and wait through the full line to get to see all of the intricate details inside the castle, then if you come back, take the single rider line since you’ve already seen it all.

  • Ravenclawrebel

    I went in November for a birthday present (my birthday is Thanksgiving) and I had a blast! One of my favorite experiences ever. I will mention though, that Dad and I got severe motion sickness after riding The Forbidden Journey. I loved the ride, but hated how sick I got.
    Also, I’m wondering if I should get a Ravenclaw robe. I got money for graduation, but the robes are super duper expensive. Yes or no?

    • krislintz

      I would say no, but treat yourself to several Ravenclaw pieces – scarf, shirt, etc. You can wear them more often.

  • hopelesslynerdy

    DO: Stay at the park for as long as possible. If you are going earlier in the summer, it might rain in the mid-afternoon. The first few days we were there, we made the mistake of leaving the park during these storms. Find a cozy place (like Three Broomsticks) to wait out the storm, then take advantage of the smaller crowds once the rain is over.
    DO: Bring your own water bottles. The prices of disposable water bottles throughout the two Universal parks are ridiculous.
    DO: On Forbidden Journey, there is a small compartment in each seat. It is the perfect size for a camera, so you can bring your camera through the line with you and not have to worry about putting it in the lockers.
    DO: There is a section in the back of Three Broomsticks that is outside. It made be hot outside, but there is shade and it offers a beautiful view of Hogwarts.
    DO: Go to the shops early when they are not busy, and take advantage of Universal’s package pick up option. That way, you don’t have to lug the souvenirs around with you, just pick them up on your way out of the park!
    DO: Wait for the first row on Dragon Challenge. It is a totally different ride and much more thrilling!

    DON’T: Attend during the summer (if you can). It is so crowded, and it is worth seeing the park when it is not jam packed.
    DON’T: Try the Olivander’s experience if the line is long.
    DON’T: Forget to have fun!

  • Ben

    We would leave during the busy afternoons and return in the evening (we would always have an item from one of the shops that we would claim we needed to return before we went home so even if they were not letting people in, we would be let it).  The park is gorgeous at night, definitely visit then.  Its a whole other experience.

  • http://twitter.com/ufninja7 Nikki G

    If you mess up (like we did) and don’t follow the first tip, make sure you have a snack and water, maybe even a book, for your long wait in line to get into Wizarding World. At the end of a very long line, there isn’t really food nearby. Universal should really consider putting a food stand or two back there :-/

  • sarahd15

    Great tips! I’m saving some of these in the hope that I will get to go to the park soon!!!!

  • Snapes_girl

    DON’T buy Butterbeer from the carts. The lines get extremely long. Go inside the Hog’s Head and buy your butterbeer there! 

  • Harry Potter World Rocks

    Do: Watch the choir-they’re amazing!
    DO: DRINK THE BUTTERBEER
    Don’t: Drink the Pumpkin Juice-unless you want the bottle as a souvenir.
    Don’t: Be surprised when the candy costs an extravagant sum.

    Do: HAVE FUN!!!

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