What I Wish I Had Known Before Visiting The Wizarding World of Harry Potter at Universal Studios - Rachel Teodoro

What I Wish I Had Known Before Visiting The Wizarding World of Harry Potter at Universal Studios

It's kind of a running joke that if you live in the Midwest there is a pipeline that you take to get to Florida. When I lived there, we vacationed in Florida. A lot. Since moving to the west coast, 17 years ago, I haven't been back to the sunshine state but when a blog conference landed me in Orlando, I knew I wanted to go to Universal Studios and visit The Wizarding World of Harry Potter. My kids were beyond jealous that I was going without them, so I tried not to rub it in too much {I only sent minute by minute pics of me in the park throughout the day...I'm sure it could have been worse!}. As an avid reader, Harry Potter holds a special place in  my heart. It's one of the first books I've shared with my kids that didn't have pictures. Knowing that I would like to take them back sometime to experience the books coming to life, I wanted to make a list of the things that I wish I had known before I went. I'm hoping to have the opportunity to go again, but if you only have one shot for a perfect visit, you are going to want to make the most of it. 

harry potter, universal studios, orlando, universal orlando, jk rowling

What I Wish I Had Known Before Visiting The Wizarding World of Harry Potter at Universal Studios

harry potter, universal studios, orlando, universal orlando, jk rowling

You can visit the owl post office in Hogsmead to get your letters postmarked and mailed. Purchase postcards and special Harry Potter themed US postage stamps that have the Ministry of Magic Logo, Owl Post Logo or Hogwarts crest. You can also bring in your own letters or cards to be mailed with no need to purchase anything. 

harry potter, universal studios, orlando, universal orlando, jk rowling


If you visit the restrooms in Hogsmead be sure to listen for Moaning Myrtle. I went in, but didn't hear her, but I think it's because I didn't know I should be listening for her. 

If you stop in the phone booth outside of King's Cross, dial 62422 {MAGIC} and speak to the Ministry of Magic. 

harry potter, universal studios, orlando, universal orlando, jk rowling


You can exchange your muggle money at Gringotts Bank in Diagon Alley. You can use the Gringotts bank notes just about everywhere inside Universal Parks. Take time to interact with the goblin inside. If you ask him a question {any question} he will answer you. 

harry potter, universal studios, orlando, universal orlando, jk rowling


Make sure you stop and explore all of the shops. This shopping experience really makes you feel like the book is coming to life. 

harry potter, universal studios, orlando, universal orlando, jk rowling

Speaking of shops, buy a wand. They aren't cheap {about $50}, but it's such a cool interactive experience and you aren't going to want to miss it! Stop into Ollivander's early in the day to get your wand. The lines can get long throughout the day. If you purchase an interactive wand you can wander through Diagon Alley and Hogsmeade where you will find interactive shop windows, fountains and statues that will come to life with the flick of your wrist. When you purchase a wand, you will feel like you are really a part of the magical world of Harry Potter.

harry potter, universal studios, orlando, universal orlando, jk rowling


When you purchase a wand, you will receive a map. The map has some secret figures that show up under black light. Go to Knockturn Alley to see them.

harry potter, universal studios, orlando, universal orlando, jk rowling


There are several different versions of Butterbeer to try. I loved the frozen version. I've heard people say that they thought the drink was sweet, so share one first before buying one for the whole group.

If you don't like the Butterbeer, try the Green Fishy Ale from The Hopping Pot in Diagon Alley. It's like a bubble tea. Or try the Pumpkin Juice or Gilly Water.

As you walk from platform 9 and 10, you will pass through a mirror on the outside that will give you the illusion that you are walking through the wall to 9 3/4. Have someone in your group stand back and record you walking through. 

Stand in front of the mirror at Madam Malkin's and prepare to receive some wardrobe advice. I have a teenage daughter. I'm not sure I could handle any more advice in that department! 

harry potter, universal studios, orlando, universal orlando, jk rowling


Be sure to ride the Hogwarts Express both directions. It's a different experience both times whether traveling to London or to Hogsmeade. I rode the train a few times and there was something new that I caught each time. It really does feel like you are part of the movie during this experience.

harry potter, universal studios, orlando, universal orlando, jk rowling


I will warn you that the ride in the Hogwarts castle will make you sick if you are the slightest bit prone to motion sickness. I full on broke into a sweat and thought I was going to throw up on the screen and I had my eyes closed through most of it. You can tour Hogwarts even if you don't ride, simply let the attendant at the bottom know you are just touring the castle and you will be able to walk right in and take pictures and explore the building.

Stop by the Knight Bus outside of King's Cross Station and meet Stanley and Dre Head. It's not only a great photo op, you will be regaled with jokes and stories as you visit.

I had so much fun exploring Universal Studios and not just The Wizarding World of Harry Potter. I'm beyond grateful that we have one on our coast and look forward to taking my kids there soon. I think they would love it! I know I didn't hit on all the tips. Feel free to leave your favorite in the comments below.

disclaimer: I received two tickets in exchange for a review of Universal Studios Orlando. All opinions are 100% my own. I wouldn't share something I didn't love and wouldn't recommend.

3 comments

NaDell Ransom said...

I haven't been there yet, but we are planning to go in the next few years, so I'll have to file this blog away! Thanks for the tips!

Anonymous said...

I went in 2015! I became a Harry potter fan because of a grand daughter! She read the book when she was about 10.Loved it...so it was our connection. Had always wanted to go to the park. Went to Florida with a couple friends who are not Harry Potter fans but went because of me! Nice of them because it was quite expensive. It was a very hot day and very crowded. I enjoyed the rides...but...it would have been so much more fun to have gone with my grand daughter...or at least someone who enjoyed it! Maybe I will get to go again..before I get much older!

kevin Luther said...

First time I am visiting this blog. I found so many entertaining stuff in this blog, especially its discussion. From the tons of comments on your articles, I guess I am not the only one having all the leisure here! Keep up the excellent work. Check for essay writing service reviews

Back to Top