If you haven’t read my last blog post on Disneyland Parks: Hacks & Tips for getting the most out of your trip, first and foremost, you’re missing out. However, I’ll spare you the read and sum up my last intro: this past Christmas I received my Hogwarts Acceptance Letter, so Matt and I planned a Disneyland and Harry Potter vacation to celebrate our anniversary and my upcoming 30th.
Similar to Disneyland, we looked up tips for making the most out of our visit. Unlike the advice we found for Disneyland, I followed (almost) absolutely none of the advice we found for Universal Studios. I thought I knew better than those seasoned bloggers and vloggers. So don’t be like me — read on if you want to avoid missing out on a lot of cool aspects of this park.
Incase you did miss my Disneyland post, this website is a MUST for planning your trip. It shows you a crowd forecast for the dates you’re looking at. It was pretty accurate (unfortunately for us since it was crazy busy) and uses information about the area and park history to predict the crowd turnouts. Unlike Disneyland parks, this place does not have blackout dates. Head to www.isitpacked.com to see what the crowd forecast looks for your upcoming trip.
Expert Tip: September is suppose to be the best time to go.
I really wish we had splurged on this because we ended up waiting TWO hours to ride Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey. What is cool about this is that it allows you to skip the line and get on the rides relatively fast. However, it is only good once per ride. So if you’re wanting to explore the whole park and not just Harry Potter, this is a huge help (especially when the park is packed). Otherwise, they do offer a single-rider line, but expect to be separated if you’re with another person.
Oh, you thought vacation was for sleeping in? False. This is a place that when it’s busy, you want to get here early so that you’re not waiting in long lines for everything (including buying wands and Fizzing Whizbees). You get early access for Harry Potter with this park, so don’t be a fool — wake up early to get there on time. The blogs I came across said to arrive 30 minutes at the latest before the park opens, especially for predicted busy days.
Order of Rides
I naively thought if we waited until later the line for Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey would go down. When I made this decision it was at a 65 minute wait. When we finally got in line because I realized this was not going to happen, it was a 120 minute wait.
Here is the order that is recommend (and after defying this order, I can concur from my own experience that this would of been the best):
Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey:
The wait only gets worse, so get this in first.
Flight of the Hippogriff:
While it’s not as long of a wait as HP & the Forbidden Journey, it’s long and never goes back down in wait time. It is more of a children’s ride, which if you do right after #1 you’ll miss a lot of kids because they’re at Ollivanders getting fitted for their wands.
This place gets busy first thing then dies off after everyone has gotten their wands and is running around Hogsmeade casting spells left and right. They only select children for the wand fitting, but it is the best thing ever to watch. I may have teared up when the kid in our group got his wand.
If you want to buy a wand from Olivanders, then by all means do that. However, expect to wait in a very long line. If you want to buy a wand (especially an interactive wand) and not wait in a devastatingly long line, head to the wand cart in-between HP & the Forbidden Journey and Flight of the Hippogriff.
Expert Tip: Wait to purchase until after riding the rides, but before Olivander’s. This way you can use the wand when you’re traveling down the street in Hogsmeade and not have to worry about it on the rides. The interactive wands are only able to be used in Hogsmeade.
Wait to buy your Fizzing Whizbees and Robes until after you’ve conquered the rides. HP & the Forbidden Journey does not allow any items on your person, which is why they have free, albeit small, lockers for you to put all your items in. Don’t worry, it’s fingerprint activated so you don’t have to remember a pin (just which finger you used).
Expert Tip for HP & Forbidden Journey: Use your flashlight on your phone to make sure you grabbed everything from your locker. It’s very dark in the locker area.
Other Must Do’s
The Hogs Head
Avoid around lunch time, when it’s busiest. We did not get to try the food, but we did get a Butterbeer and Pumpkin Juice here.
Butterbeer & Pumpkin Juice
Grab yourself a Butterbeer or Pumpkin juice while you’re there! If you want to try both, purchase a Pumpkin juice from Honeydukes to try later and a Butterbeer from one of the many carts (where you can also purchase a novelty mug) or inside the Hogs Head.
We LOVED the Fizzing Whizbees! Get yourself a box or a jar worth, they’re like chocolate covered pop rocks!
Do you have any tips or advice for making the most out of your Wizarding World of HP adventure? Share below!