1. Start Early at Hogsmeade in Islands of Adventure
Don’t let the snowy rooftops fool you. Hogsmeade offers far less shade than Diagon Alley, so you’ll feel the scorching Florida temperatures more in Hogsmeade. Take advantage of the coolest part of the day here.
2. Ride The Forbidden Journey First
When you arrive at Hogsmeade, cut a beeline to the most popular attraction in Wizarding World of Harry Potter. We had two things working for us when we rode Forbidden Journey. We had arrived early and there was this little thing called Hurricane Irma (you may have heard of it?) bearing down on Florida. So, crowds were lower than normal, but given how far we walked through line dividers before we even got into Hogwarts, I’m guessing that wait times can get QUITE long.
3. Get your wands at the Hogsmeade Olivander’s
It would seem that Olivander’s is a chain, as there are locations in both Hogsmeade and Diagon Alley. Here’s the thing, though. The shop in Diagon Alley is PACKED with people, so much so that it’s difficult to move. I’m glad that we purchased our wands in the Hogsmeade location for two reasons:
- In the Hogsmeade location we were able to look through every single box we pleased without being bumped or feeling hurried along.
- Since we started in Hogsmeade, we got to take advantage of the smaller crowds there in the morning when we were standing out in the sun. (Can you tell that we were happy to make it into the shade in the afternoon?)
4. Go to the Shows at Both Olivander’s Shops
The shows at each location are different, and both are so fun.
5. Help Those Magical Wands Along…
There’s definitely a learning curve with the wands. Helpful witches and wizards on staff are there to help at select stations, but if you’re struggling, we found that, in general, it helps to make your wand movements small and slow. Maybe the most helpful tip of all is to find the sensor that your wand needs to be directed toward (though it does sort of spoil the magic). Do you see the eyeball in the above photo that helps the magic happen?
6. Don’t Ingest Any Butterbeer Until You’re Finished with Rides
Also plan on sharing any butterbeer treats you buy. I couldn’t even make it through half of my ice cream. So yummy… but so, so sweet. One member of our party drank a butterbeer before riding The Forbidden Journey and severely regretted it.
7. Hit the Little Wizard’s Room Before Lunch at The Leaky Cauldron
Diagon Alley is severely short on bathrooms, and there isn’t one inside The Leaky Cauldron. That one bathroom, though, it’s pretty cool.
8. Ride the Hogwarts Express Both Ways
You’ll see different things each way. Watch for silhouettes of Harry, Ron, and Hermione as “they” walk through the train. Also, on the way to Diagon Alley, watch closely to see Voldemort appear for an instant in a flash of light in front of the Malfoy estate.
9. Take Advantage of Child Swap
One of my twins was too little to ride The Forbidden Journey, so we took turns sitting with her in the child swap area. As far as child swap areas go, it was pretty nice. Air-conditioning, the first movie playing, plenty of seating… It certainly beats standing outside.
10. Enjoy BEING THERE.
If you’re buying two park tickets ($$$ ca-ching!) because you love riding roller coasters, you’re going to be disappointed. The real fun to be had at Wizarding World is the fun of just being there, inside the book, at least to greatest extent that a muggle can be.
I hope that your day at The Wizarding World of Harry Potter is as magical as ours was. Until then, don’t let the muggles get you down.