16 Feb

RVFTA #129 Greetings from the Wizarding World of Harry Potter at Universal Studios Florida

RVFTA #129: Greetings from the Wizarding World of Harry Potter at Universal Studios, Florida

On this episode of RV Family Travel Atlas, we are talking about our recent trip to the Wizarding World of Harry Potter at Universal Studios in Orlando, Florida. Harry Potter is a pretty big deal in our family right now, so we decided to cheat on Mickey and spend a day exploring Diagon Alley and Hogsmeade.

We will walk you through planning your trip to Universal Studios, plus discuss some strategies for enjoying a theme park known for long lines and expensive ticket prices.

Segment One: Planning and Preparation

Universal Studios is a 30 minute drive from Fort Wilderness at Walt Disney World. There are two theme parks: Universal Studios and Islands of Adventure. The parks are ticketed separately, and the Wizarding World is split between the two, so you MUST buy a 2-park pass in order to visit both Hogsmeade and Diagon Alley. Tricky, right?

Here are the topics we discussed in the planning and preparation category:

  • Buying Tickets
  • Early Park Admission
  • Upcharges
  • Wait Times for Universal Orlando App (MUST DOWNLOAD!!!)
  • Planning the order of your parks visit
  • Ride Swap Strategy

Segment Two: Universal’s Islands of Adventure, Hogsmeade

In this segment we explain why we visited the parks ‘backward’, going to Hogsmeade before Diagon Alley. We weren’t sure if the strategy would pay off, but we ended up being more than happy with the decision.

Here are the topics covered in this segment:

  • Ollivanders and wand buying
  • Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey
  • Flight of the Hippogriff
  • Dragon Challege
  • Dining: Hogs Head and Three Broomsticks
  • Riding the Hogwarts Express

Segment Three: Universal Studios, Diagon Alley

There are more rides in Hogsmeade and more shopping and spells in Diagon Alley, so plan accordingly. Here are the topics discussed in this segment:

  • Harry Potter and the Escape from Gringotts
  • Ollivanders
  • Knight Bus
  • Gringotts Money Exchange
  • Performances
  • Dining–Leaky Cauldron

Plus, we give a complete review of every Butterbeer option available, including frozen, hot, and ice cream. Serious stuff here, folks.

The bottom line is that visiting the Wizarding World of Harry Potter is an expensive day to say the least. However, the boys swear that it was their very favorite experience of our entire Florida trip. So in spite of the fact that we had some ‘feedback’ about Universal Studios, the visit was more than a success. We had to drag them out of the park at 6 pm, having arrived at around 8 in the morning.

Other podcast episodes with content on our Florida/Disney trip:

Other topics discussed in this episode:

Thanks so much to our sponsors for supporting weekly content for all our RV  and Harry Potter fools:

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