This summer two Vacation Maybe families went to Universal Studios in Orlando. Both families share a love of all things Harry Potter and wanted to reward our children’s great reading habits with a trip to the Wizarding World of Harry Potter. (The moms wanted to go too, maybe even more than the kids!) While we were at the parks we took notes about things that we found that made our experiences even better. Here our our best tips for making your trip to Universal Studios Orlando even more enjoyabe.
9 Travel Tips for Universal Studios Orlando
1. Look Up – everywhere especially in the Wizarding World of Harry Potter – We didn’t get this tip until most of the way through our day from a very friendly park employee. But once we started looking up we found all sorts of special touches that were really cool. For instance, and this is probably the most awesome example – when you are riding “Escape from Gringotts” ride if you look up at Bellatrix Lestrange (and when I say look I really mean keep staring at her) there is a place in the ride where you drop straight down and if you have been staring at her you will see her wave goodbye to you. If you look up in Weasley’s Wizards Wheases Shop you can see fireworks and Dolores Umbridge riding a bike on a tight rope. If you look up while you are in King’s Cross Station you can see people walking on the platform right above you. These are just a few of the things we found, so be sure to look up to find more cool surprises.
2. Do pay the extra $4 for the preferred parking. It is absolutely worth it. And at the end of a long day we are sure you will agree.
3. Don’t pay the extra for the express pass. It’s not worth it. We only waited in line for 2 rides (Minions and Harry Potter)
4. Go to Minion Mayham first thing when you get there. Trust me. This is one of the most popular rides in the park and stays busy throughout the day. We found you could avoid longer lines if you go first thing in the morning. Not sure if this is because this ride is towards the left side of the park and most people naturally head right first or if they are making a beeline for Harry Potty (which is in the back of the park). But either way both our Vacation Maybe families found this to be true.
5. Either do Harry Potter first thing in the morning, or late in the day. Again, I am not sure why this holds true but it did for both of us, with later in the day actually be the best time. We closed the park down in the Wizarding World of Harry Potter and were able to ride several of the big rides without waiting in line at all.
6. Be prepared to put your belongings in lockers for many of the rides. If you are carrying around a purse/backpack for most of the big rides you have to put them in lockers. It’s free, but can be a a it of a pain. To make this easier, know that for some rides you can not even have your sunglasses on or in your pocket and you can’t have a cell phone either. I suggest just putting everything into the lockers then there is no hassle when you get to the front of the line. Also, keep in mind that a smaller backpack or bag is easier to get in and out of the lockers. If you are having trouble ask for help. There are plenty of attendants around to help you figure out the locker system.
7. Wear swim trunks or swim suits under your clothes into the park There are lots of places to get wet and cool off. You will want to enjoy them. If you keep you swim trunks/swimsuits on during the hottest part of the day you will be able to cool off in the water and still dry quickly so you don’t have to walk around in wet clothes. Pack a ziploc bag or two to put the wet suits in when you are ready to stay dry later in the evening.
8. Take Advantage of the Child Swap – I don’t know about you but I love thrilling rides just as much as the next kid, I mean adult. As a parent of two kids, one who is tall enough to ride everything in the park and one who isn’t, we often take turns riding with the big kid. This means one of us misses out on the ride. However, if you take advantage of the child swap offered at most of the bigger rides you can still ride everything. Bonus: your big kids gets to ride every ride twice! How does it work? One parent gets in line with the big kid. The other parent goes to the child swap area (usually accessible by going in the ride exit) and waits with the little kid. After the big kid and parent ride the ride, they come to the child swap area, the parents switch and you get back on the ride. This saves you from waiting in the line twice so that both parents can ride the same ride. Tip: Have a stash of lollipops or other treats for the little kid. Poor guy is the only one who doesn’t benefit from this trick. We made it up to him with special treats and extra turns on his favorite rides.
9. Eat at Three Broomsticks – The Feast for Four has enough food for a small army
I hope our travel tips for Universal Studios Orlando make your experience even better. If you have visited the park recently, please share you ideas and travel tips for Universal Studios Orlando with us!