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This article is solely meant for the Harry Potter fanatic. It is for the fan that reads the books, watches the movies, and believes that Harry Potter is something special. This article is not for someone that doesn’t know who Griphook the goblin is. Furthermore, the reader needs to have an appreciation of detail and be ready to experience Hogwarts as if he is a wizard. Too many people go to Disney World or Universal Studios and are oblivious to the magic that exists in these parks. If you belong to that group of people, you may as well stop reading and go to Six Flags.
Every trip to Universal Studios and/or Islands of Adventure is going to be a different experience, depending on the group that you are with. Obviously, family trips are going to be different than a vacation with the guys. Therefore, this article is meant to be a general guide to getting the most out of these parks, no matter who you are with. Now that we got this out of the way, we are about to begin our adventure into The Wizarding World of Harry Potter, or as I like to call it, Harry Potter World.
Before going to Harry Potter World, it is a must to buy the Hopper Ticket. The Hopper Ticket is a pass that allows you to experience Universal Studios and Islands of Adventure without paying for a ticket for each park. Just hop onto the Hogwarts Express to take a quick trip between Diagon Alley and Hogsmeade. You can purchase the tickets from Orlando Torah Center for a discounted price, but you need to make sure you have the tickets in hand the day before. Another important note, it generally takes 20-30 minutes to walk from the parking lot to the park entrance. So if the park opens at 9 AM, you need to be there around 8:15 to be sure that you can enter as soon as it opens. It is a great idea to take an Uber straight to Islands of Adventure.
Now, on to the parks… The following statement is the most important piece of the article so make sure to pay attention. It is בעצם ראוי to spend the whole day in Harry Potter World. Meaning, despite everything both parks have to offer it is well worthwhile to spend your entire day in Harry Potter World especially if it is your first visit. Aside from the unbelievable rides, the detail at Hogwarts, Hogsmeade, and Diagon Alley takes a lot of time to soak in. You have to be a Lamdan to appreciate all the intricacies of Hogwarts, Hogsmeade and Diagon Alley. After 120 years you will not only be asked why you haven’t seen the alps of the world but also if you have visited Harry Potter World.
Here is how to do Harry Potter World like a Lamdan.
1. Islands of Adventure is the עיקר part of Harry Potter World. That being said, Universal Studios is no joke. They both are amazing parks and are filled with things to do. The Lamdan’s first experience should be in Islands of Adventure in the village of Hogsmeade, because in the morning you will have the most energy and will be able to appreciate it the most. (This is a controversial opinion as Universal Studios has Diagon Alley, which in the Wizarding World, you would normally start your journey and then take Platform 9 ¾ to Hogwarts. But nevertheless, starting off in Islands of Adventure, then going to Universal Studios is the best route.)
2. Very important – Go straight to Harry Potter World when you enter Islands of Adventure. Do Not Pass Go and Do Not Collect $200. There is a big נסיון (test) to get sidetracked with all the different parts of Islands of Adventure. It may be tough to get the kids through Dr. Suess Land. The more time spent in these parts, means less time in Harry Potter World.
3. Hogwarts – If there is a line with a wait time of an hour and a half, this ride is worth it for two reasons. First, this is one of the only places in the world that it is enjoyable to wait in line because of all the incredible detail there is in Hogwarts. Second, the ride will be the best ride you will ever experience. I have personally waited in line for around an hour with my family. My brother, who is not a Harry Potter fan, said it was the best ride he has ever been on.
4. Hagrid’s Magical Creatures Motorbike Adventure – For all the rollercoaster fans out there, take advantage of this ride. This is your chance to get in your roller coaster experience of the day (also check out the Rocket ride in Universal Studios if you have some extra time). Make sure to take a look at all of the stores in Hogsmeade including Ollivander’s Wand Shop. Before heading to Gringotts in Universal Studios, find a table outside the Three Broomsticks and enjoy your packed lunch while taking in the atmosphere of the hustle and bustle of Hogsmeade.
5. Platform 9 ¾ – Take the Hogwarts Express to King Cross’s Station in Universal Studios and enjoy the ride. Take note – Hogwarts Express may currently be closed. After arriving in the station, exit the train station and continue into Diagon Alley. It will be difficult to locate it since Muggles can’t see it (this is not a joke) and a map of Universal Studios is often needed.
6. Diagon Alley – Walking into Diagon Alley is an experience like no other. It literally is an exact replica of Diagon Alley in the movies, and yes, the Dragon does spit out real fire. After taking it all in, head towards Gringotts.
7. Gringotts – Gringotts is similar to Hogwarts in terms of its attention to detail and the ride is also incredible. The goblins employed by the bank may bite, literally. There are goblins that roam around the bank so be careful. “For those who take but do not earn must pay dearly in their turn. So if you seek beneath our floors a treasure that was never yours, thief, you have been warned, beware of finding than treasure there.”
Enjoy the day in Harry Potter World! Take pictures, videos and whatever you else you need to remember your trip! Send regards to Moaning Myrtle and everyone else you happen to bump into. To end with a word of warning, they do not accept Muggle money in Harry Potter World so you need to exchange for wizard gold before entering. Good luck and Hatzlacha Raba!