5 Tips for the Wizarding World of Harry Potter in Orlando


As one of the newest attractions in Orlando, Florida, the Wizarding World of Harry Potter at Universal’s Islands of Adventures is one busy place.  Opened in June 2010, it continues to attract visitors from around the world who want to experience life in Hogsmeade and at Hogwart’s.  As HUGE fans of the Harry Potter book series and movies, we were thrilled to be able to visit the Wizarding World of Harry Potter in 2012.  It did not disappoint in any aspect, as we took in all of the sights, attractions and rides. We spent many hours in this section of Islands of Adventure!!

Orlando - Wizarding World of Harry Potter at Universal Islands of Adventure

The Entry to Wizarding World of Harry Potter!

Even over two years after its opening the crowds are still incredibly large.  So we wanted to share with you some tips and tricks for how to avoid some of the insane lines and get the most out of your experience in “Harry Potter Land”.

1. Go early & ride “Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey” first

Try to get to Universal’s Islands of Adventure just before the park opens.  As soon as the gates open, head immediately to the Wizarding World of Harry Potter (fastest route is probably through Seuss Landing and then through The Lost Continent).  Do not get distracted and stop at any of the attractions along the way, you can return later and these attractions do not usually see large line-ups unless you are there at peak times (ie. Christmas, March Break, etc.).  As you enter the Wizarding World of Harry Potter, walk through Hogsmeade as quickly as you can, heading for Hogwart’s at the top of the street. 

 We recommend going on the ride Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey first as it is the most popular ride and line-ups can be several hours in length if you wait to go later.  When you reach the entrance to the ride, check out the line-up times listed overhead, there are two different line-ups.  One line-up takes you through many of the rooms of Hogwarts such as the Defence Against the Dark Arts Classroom, Dumbledore’s office, the Room of Requirement and the Gryffindor common room.  The other line-up is for single riders and bypasses all of these rooms.  If the regular line-up regular line-up is less than 40 minutes, we recommend jumping in this line if you are a Harry Potter fan, to experience all the rooms – there are some really cool effects that occur but we won’t tell you them so as not to spoil the surprise. 

If the line-up is already quite long, jump into the single rider line, even if you are a couple or family to get on the ride within about 10 minutes.  The way the ride is designed, you can’t really see the person sitting next to you, so if you don’t end up on the same “flight”, it doesn’t really matter.  Then, return to the ride after 2pm when line-ups die down and go in the regular line-up to experience Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry to its fullest extent.

2. Where to get Butterbeer

On the main street through Hogsmeade, you will see many street vendors (often red trucks) selling Butterbeer and other snacks.  These vendors can get quite long line-ups as everyone wants to try this delectable drink for the first time.  To avoid these line-ups, head into the Three Broomsticks or the Hog’s Head pub next door and order your Butterbeer much quicker. 

Orlando - Wizarding World of Harry Potter in Universal Islands of Adventure

3. Frozen Butterbeer & Pear Cider (both non-alcoholic)

In the Wizarding World of Harry Potter, they offer two varieties of Butterbeer, cold or frozen.  We highly recommend the frozen Butterbeer as it is a great way to cool down on a hot Florida day.  You can also opt to purchase your Butterbeer with a souvenir glass which may come with the added perk of discounted refills for the day. 

Orlando - Butterbeer at Universal Islands of Adventure

The Pear Cider is also worth a sample, although not frozen, it is served chilled with ice and is absolutely delicious and refreshing.  It is perhaps a little less sweet than the Butterbeer, so those who do not have a sweet tooth may prefer the Pear Cider.

4. Have lunch or dinner on the patio at the Three Broomsticks

The Three Broomsticks is a rustic tavern serving up delicious food right in the middle of Hogsmeade.  It can get very large line-ups for the lunch rush but if you make sure to arrive just before noon, you can avoid the worst of the line-ups.  With a good variety of menu options, we found that it was a great dining spot.  Once you have ordered and grabbed your food, you have a choice between two seating areas.  You can dine inside under the large vaulted ceilings with rustic wood beams or head out to the back of the restaurant to their patio.  We would recommend sitting on the patio under one of the umbrellas as it is a nice quiet oasis away from the crowds.  You will be rewarded with a view in one direction over the lake towards the rest of Islands of Adventure and in the other direction you will see Hogwarts towering above you.  It is a quiet and peaceful spot to take a break from all the craziness in the Wizarding World of Harry Potter. 

Orlando - Wizarding World of Harry Potter at Universal Islands of Adventure

Orlando - Wizarding World of Harry Potter at Universal Islands of Adventure

View from the pation of the Three Broomsticks

5. Ollivanders Wand Shop

If you would like to experience the wand selection process in Ollivanders Wand Shop, then head over and get into the line up to the left of Ollivanders Wand Shop.  Here you will be brought into the shop in small groups and one lucky individual will be selected by Ollivander to go through the wand selection process (the “show” takes about 5 mins.).  Although this is a unique experience, the line-up can be long so you will need to decide how important the “show” is to you.  If you’re not interested in the “show” in Ollivanders Wand Shop, head to the back door of the shop, enter and get your wand there.

Orlando - Wizarding World of Harry Potter at Universal Islands of Adventure

Do you have any other tips when visiting the Wizarding World of Harry Potter or Islands of Adventure?


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10 Responses to 5 Tips for the Wizarding World of Harry Potter in Orlando

  1. That sounds like a cool place. I never got into Harry Potter, but that would definitely be a fun place to visit. Interesting! 🙂
    Debbie recently posted..Templatic Ecommerce themes, now with more WooMy Profile

    Debbie October 4, 2012 at 11:09 am Reply
    • We actually didn’t get into Harry Potter until our first trip to Orlando when we saw the Wizarding World of Harry Potter being built. There was such hype that we thought that maybe we should read the books to find out why there was such a huge craze for it. We weren’t disappointed!

      evan&tracy October 4, 2012 at 8:05 pm Reply
  2. I’ve been longing to visit…i’m a huge Hogwarts fan! And love the shot of the Butterbeer…gosh I SO want to drink that!
    Charu recently posted..In Kenya, Text Messages and Twitter are Paving the way for Fair TradeMy Profile

    Charu October 15, 2012 at 8:50 pm Reply
    • Thanks Charu!

      We definitely had a great experience there. It is not to be missed for any true Harry Potter Fans. Buttebeer is delicious (although it is sweet)! We recommend the ice butterbeer (the one in the picture), as it is less sweet.

      evan&tracy October 16, 2012 at 9:26 pm Reply
  3. This is great advice! I’m a HUGE Harry Potter fan and have been wanting to visit since it opened. I’m not a huge fan of theme parks and the crowds/lines that come with it, but this seems worth it! 🙂
    Sarah recently posted..Photo of the Week: Sunset in SeattleMy Profile

    Sarah November 4, 2012 at 5:36 am Reply
    • We’re glad you enjoyed reading our tips, Sarah. Visiting the Wizarding World of Harry Potter is definitely worth braving the crowds especially if you keep a few of these suggestions in the back of your head to get the most out of the experience and get away from the crowds at times. Hope you make it there soon!

      evan&tracy November 4, 2012 at 9:12 am Reply
  4. A lot of my students in Korea are big Harry Potter fans. It’s actually caused me to get more interested myself. I would enjoy checking this out and especially like trying out the butterbeer 🙂
    Samuel Jeffery recently posted..Jaipur ‘The Pink City’ Travel PhotosMy Profile

    Samuel Jeffery November 5, 2012 at 9:42 pm Reply
    • We are both teachers as well and it was through our students excitement that we were drawn to read the books and watch the movies. It didn’t take long for us to become huge fans as well. The butterbeer is definitely worth trying, very unique! 🙂

      evan&tracy November 7, 2012 at 7:40 pm Reply
  5. I have been wanting to go here ever since it was opened. I am a huge HP fan and would like to make it there someday. You post really makes me want to go more now than ever!
    Angela recently posted..What Happens When a Country Does Not Have EnemiesMy Profile

    Angela January 14, 2014 at 2:28 pm Reply
    • It was such a incredible experience to visit the world of “Harry Potter”. Universal did such a great job of recreating the books and movies that it definitely does not disappoint even the hugest of fans. Hope you get to visit soon and see the new section they are opening up this Spring in the Universal Orlando park.

      evan&tracy January 15, 2014 at 4:34 pm Reply

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