Our family dream has been to go to The Wizarding World of Harry Potter at Universal Theme Park in Florida for years. We kept saying, yeah we will get to it but just never did. You know those things that you promise to do when you have more free time? Well… we went and had a blast! I even got my brother to laugh and dance with the Grinch at Seuss Landing! Here is my guide to Universal Theme Park with what to do, how to not wait for rides and a lot of photos! Enjoy 🙂
We always wanted to go on a family vacation where it was warm in the winter months, but our schedules never allowed it. With my flexible work schedule, I was able to take seven days off of work and we went to Florida to visit my brother where he is currently living. We finally had the time to take a vacation and adventure. When we booked the flights, we didn’t really know what we were going to do. We just knew we would spend seven days in warm weather. My brother lives right outside West Palm Beach, Florida so we flew in on Wednesday morning and spent two days in West Palm Beach at the cutest boutique hotel! We then drove the two hours to Universal.
Before we booked our trip to Universal I did a lot of research and talked to friends who had gone before.This is what I learned…
- What I did not know was that there are two parks. On the website, it looks like there isn’t much to do but it is almost impossible to see and do everything in one day. I highly encourage you to get the Fast Pass. I knew on the weekends the park would be busy, so when we got to the park around 3pm on Thursday, there was very few people at the park. No line at security, no lines for the rides, and no crowds at The Wizarding World of Harry Potter. If you want to do everything, plan on at least two days at the park.
- Park Passes were a bit confusing because there are two parks next to each other at Universal but require different tickets to get to each. Your best option is to get the Two Park Pass because you can go back and forth to the other parks. Another perk, is that you can take the Hogwarts Express to the other park. The highlight of our trip was taking the Hogwarts Express because it really did look like the one in the movie. The windows in the train are actually screens that show a video of the train ride from London to Hogsmeade showing the ndscapes and different characters are featured. The train was enchanting and a must do! We did it multiple times during our trip because it never lost its magic!
- Purchasing theme park tickets was a bit confusing. The more days you are there, the cheaper it gets. We got the Multi-Day Ticket (3 Days) because it is cheaper than the Single Day Pass. We chose not to go on the third day, but still had the option if we wanted to. Two days gave us plenty of time to get everything done, however it is because we went during the week. Avoid going on the weekends as much as you can!
- Food is expensive at the park and we didn’t want to waste time sitting around eating when there was fun to be had! On our first day there, we ate a big breakfast and lunch before heading to the park. We ate lunch at the Leaky Cauldron at Diagon Alley and that is a must do! On our second day we ate a big breakfast and split a turkey leg for lunch. It was fun to watch each other eat it and it was enough food for everyone. Instead of wasting time sitting down to eat, we ate it while in line for a Jurassic Park attraction, how appropriate!
- Florida is hot and we found ourselves to be parched throughout the day. I brought little water bottles in my purse but we found quickly we needed some soda to keep our sugar levels up! There is a travel cup you can buy for $14 with free refills and I highly suggest it. There are refill stations everywhere so it was great for our family of four to have.
- Most importantly, get a map! This was our first time at the park and we were a bit lost. When we first walked into the park, we realized we didn’t have one. My dad saw one in the garbage can and we ended up using that one. We kept laughing because we kept getting lost because Universal is similar to Ikea, you have to walk through everything to get to each attraction. On our second day as soon as we walked into the park, I was so excited to find a map on the ground, unfortunately it was in Spanish so it did not help us much! There is an app you can download that has a map and up to the minute wait times for rides.
- Invest in a battery pack so you can charge your phone at the park. On our last day there, all of our phones died which was bad when all of us got separated while leaving the park.
- Harry Potter is a wizard and there is a lot of magic at the Harry Potter attractions. Knockturn Alley is hidden in Diagon Alley just like the books and I found by accident . Being a big Harry Potter fan, I have to give Universal a lot of credit for paying attention to the little details in the buildings and the theme park. I really did feel like I was at Hogwarts or Diagon Alley.
If you have any questions please feel free to leave a comment and I will answer them for you! We did a lot of planning before we went to Universal to ensure we were able to have fun every single minute we were there! At the park there is so much to do making it is so important to plan before you go.
There are a ton of photos below making it a ridiculously long post, but we had so much fun I wanted to share the magic with you guys!!