Sunday, 27 January 2013
the wizarding world of harry potter: a guide
hello beautiful people! as you may know i went on the holiday of my life in early 2012, to orlando, florida. orlando is my second home and very close to my heart, and i was quite surprised to see that i never really posted much about my trip, so i'm making up for that now! so here are some tips on helping you get the most out of your visit to the wizarding world of harry potter at universal studios' islands of adventure.
#1: time of year. how busy this park is very much depends on what time of year you are visiting. peak times like during christmas, summer, and the easter holidays are very busy; the park will be packed (and i mean, packed), and the queues will be massive. if you visit at off-peak times, the park will be a lot more spacious and you'll have a lot more time to browse and really take in the atmosphere.
#2: balancing your queues. there are currently 3 rides at wizarding world; harry potter and the forbidden journey, the flight of the hippogriff, and dragon challenge. if you are visiting at off-peak times then it is highly possible that you could simply walk onto any of these rides at any time of day, but if it's busy, then you need to balance the queues. there is no 'fast pass' or other queue-jumping system at wizarding world so there is no way to get around the queues. the forbidden journey ride is the most popular and will have a steady 2-hour queue during the busiest days, no matter how early or late in the day that is. most people get to the park before it opens and run straight for that ride, leaving the other rides completely empty. if you want to go on all the rides, i suggest taking advantage of the empty queues early in the morning to ride the flight of the hippogriff and dragon challenge, then face the 2-hour queue for the forbidden journey.
#3: a cheeky queue cut. one way to cut your forbidden journey queueing time is to join the queue at the gift shop. the ride exits into the gift shop, and from there you can get your belongings out of the lockers and then leave the gift shop. however, the lockers area also joins onto the queue at a 1-hour queue point, which is when you enter the castle and stash your items away. the locker area is always crowded so it's practically impossible for employees to keep track of who queued for 2-hours and who just waltzed in. walk into the gift shop, put your things into the lockers, and then join the queue inside the castle. this cuts your queue in half!
#4: avoid flip flops! if you're planning on riding the forbidden journey, flip flops are a huge no-no. your feet dangle off of the seat, and the ride really throws you around, and i can guarantee that you will lose at least one shoe on that ride. either take your flip flops off and hold them tight, or wear shoes with laces.
#5: wand buying. one of the main attractions at wizarding world is olivander's wand shop. however, queue's for this can be massive, going up towards the 2-hour mark. only 12 people can fit inside the shop at any one time, and once inside olivander's, there is a show; a light falls on one person, they say their birthday, then a wand 'chooses them'. those wands are based on birth months, and can be purchased at gift shops inside wizarding world. character wands can be bought at olivander's cart in wizarding world, or at any large gift shop at universal studios or islands of adventure. unless you really, really want to go inside olivander's, then i reccomend skipping the 2-hour queue and buying your wand elsewhere.
#6: butterbeer. in my personal opinion, butterbeer tastes gross. it looks like it'll be thick and creamy, but then it turns out to be light and fizzy. if you don't like sweet things (for example, if you hate yankee candles' vanilla scents) then it might not be for you, but you should definitely try it at least once, if not just for the souvenir butterbeer cup.
#7: day vs night. you might think that the best time to visit wizarding world is during the day, but you may be wrong. at night, the queue's are halved, the castle is lit up and beautiful, and there is no pesky sunlight to stop you enjoying the moving wanted posters of sirius black. the only bad point is that the crowd can get a bit rowdy as universal studios has a lot of bars and clubs near, and the air conditioning is not on at night (making sweaty, packed queues almost unbearable - much worse than during the day, in my opinion!).
so, there you go! those are all my tips and tricks for visiting the wizarding world of harry potter. i hope this has helped some of you, and if you've recently been to wizarding world then i'd love to hear about it! xx