Today is all about The Wizarding World of Harry Potter!!!!!
Before my trip to Orlando I did a ton of research to come up with the perfect itinerary for a one day trip to both Harry Potter parks. Not to toot my own horn (but toot toot) my itinerary was awesome! We saw both parks by 5pm with lots of time to spare!
First - let's talk logistics. There are two parks - Diagon Alley which is in Universal Studios and Hogsmeade which is in Islands of Adventure. The two parks are connected by the Hogwarts Express. In order to see both parks in one day you will need to purchase the Park-to-Park Tickets.
Both the parks have a lot to offer, in my opinion you have to go to both in order to get the full experience! As for our itinerary at the park, I checked to see what the park hours were for that day (9am-7pm), per all the blogs I read it said to arrive about a half hour before official opening time. There are two reasons for that: 1) the parks are already opened an hour earlier to guests staying at Universal Hotels so things are already up and running and 2) it takes some time to get through security, get your tickets and actually enter the park. Getting to the park early allows you to beat the crowds and enjoy the park before the masses arrive. One piece of advice I will give is to download the Universal Wait Time App on your smart phone in order to keep track of the wait times for the rides. The wait times are pretty accurate!
Here is the rundown of our itinerary at The Wizarding World of Harry Potter:
Snap a photo at The Knights Bus and step inside the phone box and place a call to the ministry of magic - dial MAGIC (62442)
-Enter Diagon Alley and head straight to Gringotts Bank - it's hard to resist all the shops and wandering off but I promise you the first thing you need to do is go to Gringotts Bank and ride the Harry Potter and The Escape from Gringotts before the lines get too long.
-After the ride exit Diagon Alley and go to King Cross Station to take the Hogwarts Express to Hogsmeade (don't worry you will return to Diagon Alley in the afternoon to explore!) - be sure to snap a video at Platform 9 3/4!
-Upon arrival at Hogsmeade then head to Hogwarts and ride Harry Potter and The Forbidden Journey, I will note that once we arrived we were actually a bit hungry since we woke up so early that we grabbed a bite to eat at Three Broomsticks. This ended up being a blessing in disguise because we beat the entire lunch crowd! We enjoyed some yummy fish n chips and butterbeer!
-After Hogwarts based on the wait times take a ride on The Flight of the Hippogriff and Dragon Challenge. For the Dragon Challenge we sat first row, which meant a little bit longer wait time, but it was totally worth it! Such a fun a ride and definitely not for the faint of heart.
-Now that you have been on all the rides it's time to enjoy Hogsmeade - stroll around, snap photos, drink lots of butterbeer, and checkout the shops! At Hogsmeade there is Ollivanders and Owl Post, Dervish and Bangers, Filch's Emporium, and Honeydukes.
-Once you have thoroughly explored Hogsmeade take the Hogwarts Express back to Diagon Alley.
-Check out the shops at Diagon Alley - I saved all my shopping for the end of the day at Diagon Alley (mostly because I didn't want to be carrying stuff around all day).
-Be sure to head down Knockturn Alley and checkout Borgin and Burkes all the other Death Eater shops! Grab a bite to eat at Leaky Cauldron and yummy ice-cream at Florean Fortescues Ice Cream Parlour.
It is definitely possible to see all both parks have to offer in one day as long as you stick to a plan and manage your time. It definitely was easy for us - being 4 adults - and we had a lot of time to spare and just wonder and goof off. If you are going with a group be sure to coordinate outfits, it makes for great photos! See my Ravenclaw outfit details here. As far as photos go - I brought my DSLR with a 35mm lens and my iPhone. A big shout out to my sister who was a champ that day and snapped all these amazing photos! She kindly took ownership of the camera and took photos all day while I was busy running around like a kid enjoying the park - thanks B!
The most important thing while you are the park is to ENJOY the experience and HAVE FUN!!!
If you are planning a trip to The Wizarding World of Harry Potter and need insight or have any questions feel free to reach out - I consider myself an expert on the park now!!
Have a lovely day!