Best Tips for Visiting the Wizarding World of Harry Potter in Orlando Florida for the first time! Everything you need to know including what ticket to buy, what rides to prioritize, and what butterbeer to try! Universal Studios Orlando | Islands of Adventure | Harry Potter Land | Harry Potter World | Hagrid’s Magical Creatures Motorbike Adventure | Hogsmeade | Diagon Alley | Butterbeer ice cream | Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey | Hogwarts Express | First time guide | first time tips |
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Visiting The Wizarding World of Harry Potter for the First Time

Despite my countless number of trips to Orlando, my first trip ever to the Wizarding World of Harry Potter was this past December! It has easily been 10+ years since I had set foot in Universal so I felt like a beginner tourist during all the planning. After hitting a Harry Potter phase right at the start of the pandemic (as in reading through the books for the first time since I was in elementary school), I was especially looking forward to visiting the Wizarding World of Harry Potter for the first time. I will be sharing all of my tips, lessons learned, and overall thoughts and opinions on the land!

Best Tips for Visiting the Wizarding World of Harry Potter in Orlando Florida for the first time! Everything you need to know including what ticket to buy, what rides to prioritize, and what butterbeer to try! Universal Studios Orlando | Islands of Adventure | Harry Potter Land | Harry Potter World | Hagrid’s Magical Creatures Motorbike Adventure | Hogsmeade | Diagon Alley | Butterbeer ice cream | Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey | Hogwarts Express | First time guide | first time tips |

1.Buy a Park-to-Park Ticket

Since our priority for trip was the Wizarding World, we spent more money to buy the park-to-park tickets. To ride the Hogwarts Express and to be able to see the entire world, you need to have the Park-to-Park ticket. Diagon Alley is located in Universal Studios while Hogsmeade and the Hogwarts Castle is located in Islands of Adventure. If you have several days in Universal, I think just having the single day pass is a great option to save money. In my opinion, the Hogwarts Express is not a must do at all (to be explained in detail further down).

Best Tips for Visiting the Wizarding World of Harry Potter in Orlando Florida for the first time! Everything you need to know including what ticket to buy, what rides to prioritize, and what butterbeer to try! Universal Studios Orlando | Islands of Adventure | Harry Potter Land | Harry Potter World | Hagrid’s Magical Creatures Motorbike Adventure | Hogsmeade | Diagon Alley | Butterbeer ice cream | Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey | Hogwarts Express | First time guide | first time tips |

2. You Really Only Need One Day to Explore the Wizarding World

Again, you must have the park-to-park ticket to do this properly. When doing our research, most places recommended two days, but we found one day was more than enough to enjoy the world and see the rest of Universal Studios and Islands of Adventure. We also visited during one of the busiest times of year, and we found one day to be more than enough time.

Best Tips for Visiting the Wizarding World of Harry Potter in Orlando Florida for the first time! Everything you need to know including what ticket to buy, what rides to prioritize, and what butterbeer to try! Universal Studios Orlando | Islands of Adventure | Harry Potter Land | Harry Potter World | Hagrid’s Magical Creatures Motorbike Adventure | Hogsmeade | Diagon Alley | Butterbeer ice cream | Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey | Hogwarts Express | First time guide | first time tips |

3. Try to Visit the Wizarding World either Early in the Morning or Late at Night

We did not start in the Wizarding World of Harry Potter in the morning, and I think we would have waited less time if we had started there in the morning, especially riding the Hogwarts Express. Since the Wizarding World is located in the very back of both parks, we knocked out some other attractions towards the front of the park first. If you are someone who doesn’t like waiting in lines, I would highly recommend hitting up this area first. Also if you are wanting to get pictures of yourself, get there early. We did close out the park in the Wizarding World, which made for a truly magical experience.

4. You Do Not Need an Express Pass

We went during one of the busiest times of the year and managed to do every attraction in the Wizarding World as well as most of the attractions in Islands of Adventures and Universal Studios. If you are wanting to do every attraction in both parks, buy the express pass. But I do not think it is necessary or needed to fully enjoy the parks.

Best Tips for Visiting the Wizarding World of Harry Potter in Orlando Florida for the first time! Everything you need to know including what ticket to buy, what rides to prioritize, and what butterbeer to try! Universal Studios Orlando | Islands of Adventure | Harry Potter Land | Harry Potter World | Hagrid’s Magical Creatures Motorbike Adventure | Hogsmeade | Diagon Alley | Butterbeer ice cream | Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey | Hogwarts Express | First time guide | first time tips |

5. Do Not Skip Butterbeer. And Try It Both Hot and Frozen!

We almost skipped the butterbeer on this trip. The Wizarding World was packed the entire day, and it was hard to even find a place to stand. We ended up heading back at the very end of the night to The Three Broomsticks to finally try the butterbeer! We did stop at one of the kiosk stands first, but these kiosks (at least when we were there) were only offering frozen butterbeer. Most of the recommendations I had prior to the trip were to try the frozen, since it is probably the most popular, but we definitely enjoyed the hot butterbeer the most of the two!

Best Tips for Visiting the Wizarding World of Harry Potter in Orlando Florida for the first time! Everything you need to know including what ticket to buy, what rides to prioritize, and what butterbeer to try! Universal Studios Orlando | Islands of Adventure | Harry Potter Land | Harry Potter World | Hagrid’s Magical Creatures Motorbike Adventure | Hogsmeade | Diagon Alley | Butterbeer ice cream | Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey | Hogwarts Express | First time guide | first time tips |

6. Try the Butterbeer Ice Cream

Florean Fortescue’s Ice Cream Parlor offers all the best ice cream flavors the Wizarding World has to offer. We tried the butterbeer flavor, and it was truly a magical experience.

Best Tips for Visiting the Wizarding World of Harry Potter in Orlando Florida for the first time! Everything you need to know including what ticket to buy, what rides to prioritize, and what butterbeer to try! Universal Studios Orlando | Islands of Adventure | Harry Potter Land | Harry Potter World | Hagrid’s Magical Creatures Motorbike Adventure | Hogsmeade | Diagon Alley | Butterbeer ice cream | Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey | Hogwarts Express | First time guide | first time tips |

7. If It’s Your Visiting the Wizarding World of Harry Potter for the First Time, Ride the Hogwarts Express at Least One Way

I was expecting a lot more with the Hogwarts Express. It was one of our longest waits of the day, and while I loved the nostalgia of riding in it, it was a lackluster experience. You are crammed into a small area with other parties. The ride is very short, and it felt more like you were watching a movie screen then actually feeling like you were on the train. Each way on the Hogwarts Express is a different scene, so if you love the ride, make sure to take it the other way. For us, we will probably not ride it again, but it was a cute experience if the lines are very short. Also if you don’t mind spoiling the ride, highly recommend watching the ride throughs on Youtube to determine if it is worth it to you.

Best Tips for Visiting the Wizarding World of Harry Potter in Orlando Florida for the first time! Everything you need to know including what ticket to buy, what rides to prioritize, and what butterbeer to try! Universal Studios Orlando | Islands of Adventure | Harry Potter Land | Harry Potter World | Hagrid’s Magical Creatures Motorbike Adventure | Hogsmeade | Diagon Alley | Butterbeer ice cream | Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey | Hogwarts Express | First time guide | first time tips |

8. If You Get Motion Sick, Do Not Ride Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey

While Universal is known for their 3D attractions and rides that can often cause motion sickness, I was truly unprepared for this specific attraction. It is a 3D simulation ride where you are “riding a broomstick” on the Hogwarts grounds. This ride queue does go through the Hogwarts castle, which makes it a really fun experience. For those who are Disney fans, it is somewhat like Soarin’ in the way you are strapped in, but just a lot less smooth. It is a very jerky ride, and it will make you motion sick, so if you are prone to motion sickness, medicate before or plan this ride for your last stop of the day. It was our first attraction of the Wizarding World, and it definitely put a damper on our experience in general.

Best Tips for Visiting the Wizarding World of Harry Potter in Orlando Florida for the first time! Everything you need to know including what ticket to buy, what rides to prioritize, and what butterbeer to try! Universal Studios Orlando | Islands of Adventure | Harry Potter Land | Harry Potter World | Hagrid’s Magical Creatures Motorbike Adventure | Hogsmeade | Diagon Alley | Butterbeer ice cream | Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey | Hogwarts Express | First time guide | first time tips |

9. Make Riding Hagrid’s Magical Creatures Motorbike Adventure a Priority

This is the Wizarding World’s newest ride, and it was probably our favorite attraction of the whole park! This is a rollercoaster, and it is more intense than most of the Disney rollercoasters. This rollercoaster is high speed with one freefall drop. It is open to air making it a really fun experience, and the simulations along the ride are incredible. We ended up riding this attraction during one of the rain breaks in the afternoon and only waited about an hour to ride. It was worth every minute of the wait! We saw several people try to save this ride for their last attraction of the day, but then they did not have time to run over to the queue before it was shut down at park close. So if you want to ride it, and it is your first time, go earlier in the day!

Best Tips for Visiting the Wizarding World of Harry Potter in Orlando Florida for the first time! Everything you need to know including what ticket to buy, what rides to prioritize, and what butterbeer to try! Universal Studios Orlando | Islands of Adventure | Harry Potter Land | Harry Potter World | Hagrid’s Magical Creatures Motorbike Adventure | Hogsmeade | Diagon Alley | Butterbeer ice cream | Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey | Hogwarts Express | First time guide | first time tips |

10. Watch the Nighttime Show

Year round, you can watch a nighttime projection show on the castle. It was probably my favorite part of the entire day, and it brought all of the nostalgia from the books and movies into one show. Check your app to make sure it is happening the day you visit, but if I remember correctly they were playing the show every 15 minutes once the sun set till park close. It was very easy to walk up and find a spot to watch. We watched from the bridge that leads into Hogsmeade.

11. Download the Universal Resort App

This app is very important for your trip going smoothly. With the mobile app, you can make mobile orders, see a park map, check ride and show wait times, and check park hours.

Best Tips for Visiting the Wizarding World of Harry Potter in Orlando Florida for the first time! Everything you need to know including what ticket to buy, what rides to prioritize, and what butterbeer to try! Universal Studios Orlando | Islands of Adventure | Harry Potter Land | Harry Potter World | Hagrid’s Magical Creatures Motorbike Adventure | Hogsmeade | Diagon Alley | Butterbeer ice cream | Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey | Hogwarts Express | First time guide | first time tips |

12. Walk Into Every Shop

While a lot of the merchandise is the same in the post ride shops and shops around the world, Universal made sure to include so many fun details in each of the shop. The shops are small so it can get crowded during peak times of day, but truly walking into each shop was an experience in itself.

13. Finally, Lower Your Expectations

As a big Disney fan, I was expecting incredible attention to detail and worldbuilding during visiting the Wizarding World of Harry Potter for the first time. While they did do a great job and some areas have that “wow factor” (like your first view of Diagon Alley), a lot was left to be desired. I found most of the areas were much smaller than I expected, so if it wasn’t entirely empty in the park, it did lose some of it’s magic. Hogsmeade in particular was so much smaller than I could have imagined in terms of scale. A lot of the areas were packed with people and strollers, and there was nowhere you could go to just enjoy the ambience and all the world has to offer. I think the Wizarding World can be a truly magical experience, but I found that it was not what I envisioned after seeing photos and videos and hearing so many compliments about the world. Still a must-do for all of you Harry Potter fans out there, but try not to go in with any expectations if you can!

 

 

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