A Few “Insider” Tips On Not Wasting Any Time At The Wizarding World Of Harry Potter

The Wizarding World of Harry Potter put Islands of Adventure, sister park to Universal Studios Florida, on the map as muggles flocked to Hogsmeade to walk in the footsteps of their favorite wizard. Harry remains very popular, which means long lines in the summer to ride the rides or go into Ollivanders Wand Shop. Luckily, you can shorten your waits by following a few tips:

1) Get to Islands of Adventure very early or very late. Orlando vacations are exhausting, so many families get a late start. That means that lines are shorter right after the park opens. You can take advantage of that temporary lull if you roll your family members out of bed early and are at the gates as soon as they open. Head to the Wizarding World of Harry Potter as soon as you get into Islands of Adventure, and do Ollivanders and the Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey ride in Hogwarts Castle first. Those are the two attractions that always get the biggest lines.

This strategy also works if you head to the Wizarding World about an hour before closing time. People who come early get exhausted by the end of the day, so even though there might still be a crowd, it will be considerably pared down.

2) Visit the Wizarding World of Harry Potter on a stormy day. One of the few things that cuts down summer crowds at the Orlando theme parks is a miserable, stormy day. You can use this to your advantage if you’re willing to equip your family with rain ponchos, wear suitable shoes, and head out into the downpour. Outdoor rides like Dragon Challenge and Flight of the Hippogriff might be closed, but Ollivanders Wand Shop and Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey are both indoors, although you’ll have to wait in line outside for the wand shop. You can also linger in the stores and browse without fighting a crowd. Places like Zonkos Joke Shop, Honeydukes, and Dervish and Banges are attractions in their own right.

Harry Potter is a huge attraction for kids at Universal Studios

Harry Potter is a huge attraction for kids at Universal Studios

3) Buy an Express Pass. Islands of Adventure sells a special pass that lets you enter an express line for most of the park’s major attractions, including Flight of the Hippogriff and Dragon Challenge. It’s pricey, but the expense can be worth it if you’ve got limited time to spend at the park. You get to use the express line on rides in other areas of the park, too, like the Hulk roller coaster, the Amazing Adventures of Spiderman, and even the rides on Seuss Landing. You can’t use this pass at Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey or Ollivanders, so combine it with an early arrival strategy. See those two attractions, then use your pass on the other rides once the park gets crowded.

4) Use the single riders line. Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey has a single riders line that’s often much shorter than the standby wait. If your children are old enough to ride by themselves, this line can be a real time saver. Each of your family members will be used to fill an empty spot in a ride vehicle, so you won’t get to ride together, but that’s a small price to pay when the wait is 20 minutes as compared to an hour, 90 minutes, or more in standby.

You can find hotels near Islands of Adventure and get great bargains by visiting www.orlandovacation.com or calling 800-641-4008. If you stay at a place like Hawthorn Suites by Wyndham Orlando Convention Center, you’ll be close enough to get an early start and have a great time visiting the Wizarding World of Harry Potter before the crowd descends.

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