Adding WWoHP to WDW trip


#1

Considering a first trip to UOR. DH, MIL and DSs (9) heading to WDW July 2019. I had not planned anything at UOR as neither of our boys like the bigger thrill rides and hadn’t gotten into HP yet. Well that changed this week. I suspect by July they will be all in HP fans so I am not thinking of best way to add WWoHP onto our trip. Seems, from my read of past threads,like folks recommend adding it to the front not back end of your trip. Those that ended there seemed to feel it was a letdown after the magic of WDW and would have been better to start at UOR and end at WDW. Other questions I have:

  1. How much time do I realistically need to do a not rushed (but probably not every last little detail) tour of WWoHP? Could I add it on our resort check in day so that we start at UOF at park open and are done by check in time at our WDW resort and can still enjoy the resort for the late afternoon and dinner?
  2. Do I need to do a TP or is that really not necessary? Right now I just have the WDW TP and not sure if I need to add the UOR upgrade.
  3. I see I need the park to park tickets but do I need the express pass?
  4. Are the interactive wands worth it? Thinking they might be a good Christmas present from my MIL if they are worth it.
    I want to add this in a meaningful way but also want to limit the budget and time additions to the pretty full trip to WDW we already had planned.
    Thanks in advance for your helpful advice.

#2
  1. I’ve done all UOR and IoA on a single day. Rushed and a bit maniac but it can be done. This is staying offsite. I’d recommend one day per park for a nice pace. Please note I travel in low crowd September.
  2. No TP really necessary but it will make your day flow better than without TP. Take one along just in case! If you do need it, you’ll have one up your sleeve.
  3. Park to park are essential to ride the Hogwarts Express. And you HAVE TO ride that. Express pass sends you to the front of the line like a FPP. You can survive without it, but it’s a nice perk if you have one. I’ve never been able to have one.
  4. Yes, they are SO cool!! However please know that if you buy them you have to put them in lockers for every ride that has lockers. Some younger users report it being hard to cast the spells but there are wandering witches and warlocks who help you out if you get stuck.

#3

WWOHP is amazing. I cannot begin to understand anyone who says that it’s a letdown compared with Disney. It is easily as good as Pandora and — frankly, in my view — better. It’s a deal-breaker for me: if I’m coming to Orlando I’m going to WWOHP. It’s extensive and immersive and utterly magical. Literally.

If you’re into HP, you need to do it justice. Not squeeze it in. Ideally you need to see it during the day and at night. Since much of it is outside, you ideally want a dry day. And you need a two-park, park-to-park ticket because, as @quicha said, you have to do Hogwart’s Express. It’s an integral and hugely immersive part of the experience.

I’ve never used a touring plan at UOR but that’s because . . .

I’ve always had the Express Pass. It’s an expensive luxury but it means your visit to UOR is utterly stress-free. You don’t need to plan in advance at all. It’s like having an FPP for everything.

What I would do is get an EP and if the weather is good, I’d make the most of it and do WWOHP. If the weather is not so good, I’d use the EP to ride other (indoor) rides in the parks. As soon as it cleared, I’d dive into WWOHP.

HOWEVER if you are only thinking of doing WWOHP and not the rest of the two parks, then it may be a waste of time. Yes, your waits in line for the rides will be longer, but they are richly themed and — frankly — you don’t want to be rushing through them.

I bought one. I’m a grown-up. I felt hugely self-conscious using it and couldn’t get the spells to work. Kids seem delighted and beguiled by them. They’re nicely packaged and are a great souvenir. As @quicha points out the two main rides at WWOHP (and others in the rest of the parks) have compulsory lockers, but you may well be carrying other things you have to put into them, too. The locker areas at WWOHP are shockingly poorly designed and are somewhat irritating to use. And I don’t really understand why they’re there to be honest. Disney seems to manage without them.


#4

I’m shamelessly reposting this from another thread because I’m quite proud of it. It’s my idea for touring WWOHP. The idea is to cover things in the order they appear in the books.

Start at Diagon Alley (in UOR). It’s huge and immersive and incredible and you could spend hours there. Have lunch at the Leaky Cauldron. The food isn’t great, but the experience is. Don’t have a dessert. (There’s a reason for this!)

Don’t ride Escape from Gringott’s because that’s Book 7. Take the train to Hogsmeade. (You are now at IOA.) There’s less to do here, but you have the castle to explore as you queue for Forbidden Journey.

Depending when you visit, the new Harry Potter ride (which is next to the castle) may be up and running. Ride that next. And Flight of the Hippogriff, where you’ll see Hagrid’s hut.

Then take the train back to London. It’s a slightly different experience to the outbound journey. Dive back into Diagon Alley and it’s time for Escape from Gringott’s. Once you’re done with that, it’s time for dessert! Check out Florean Fortescue’s ice cream parlour.

As a bonus, if you’re feeling wealthy, visit Ollivander’s and buy yourself an interactive wand. You can do this at either location and both have spots for casting spells.

If the weather and crowds permit all this, that’ll be an incredible day. And if you don’t do it, I will certainly be doing it next year. Doing things in this order never occurred to me before.

Oh! But I’m not finished — and nor are you! You should do all this during daylight. And then go back and revisit both Diagon Alley and Hogsmeade at night for a whole new experience. End at the castle just in time for the Nighttime Lights show. Don’t forget to have dinner at the Three Broomsticks (Hogsmeade side).

Don’t forget also that both sides have shows to watch — I’ve never managed to see the Tri-Wizard Spirit Rally, but really want to. There’s also the Frog Choir, Celestina Warbeck and the Banshees, and the Tales of Beedle the Bard.


#5

Thanks so much! This is very helpful.


#6

Thank you!


#7

You didn’t state when you are going and so much depends on the crowds. Everything everybody states above is true and good but sometimes I don’t feel they answer your questions in the mood/mode that you are in. So let me add a few thoughts.
You are right, universal can never compete with Disney magic. Try to do Universal first. (The only people who disagree are those who don’t “feel” the Disney magic).
If you are concentrating on HP only, you don’t need express passes. You will be able to do do both parks worth of HP in one day BUT…
Universal has soooooo much more to offer, you may find that Hp is only a part (but important part) of your day. So read up on what Universal has to offer. I have found IOA to be as immersive, “themed” and as magical as Disney sometimes.
Diagon Alley is the penultimate HP. There is so much there, it makes Hogsmeade and Hogwarts Castle seem “less”. BUT before people protest, the Forbidden Journey is the BEST ride I have ever been one. The technology is amazing!
So if you truly are going to Universal for HP for one day only, You can fit in both HP’s in both parks without Express Pass, even in the crowded season (but it will be pretty frustrating).
If this is going to be the “trip of a lifetime” and you don;t know when you’ll go back, then this will work.
But Universal has so much more to offer that you will miss. But so what? You can save the rest for another trip. Who does it all in one trip?
My daughter and I are “mild” Harry Potter fans. We didn’t need to see every detail not experience ALL that the two parks had to offer. And we did both parks (everything) in two days.
We didn’t buy a wand. We didn’t buy a robe, we didn’t buy much except photo pass to capture every experience on film.
We rode the rides twice (but we went in 2 out of 10 crowds in September) and had our fill. But everyone is different. So I’m just trying to give you a slightly different view from those who answered above.
Whatever you decide to do, it will be great and it will work out! Have a great trip!


#8

I also wanted to mention we ate at both The Leaky Cauldron one day and at the Three Broomsticks the next. It was pretty crowded, even in the slow September period so I can’t imagine eating there in the crowded seasons. I found the food, better than I expected but expect $25 per person minimum. I had lamb and beef stew served in a bread bowl at the leaky cauldron and shepherd’s pie at the three Broomsticks. I would order both again.


#9

I actually have to disagree! I used to feel this way (we go to both UOR and WDW every spring break and definitely feel the magic of Disney), and we always wanted to end with Disney. Over the years though, ending at UOR is better for us, because we can sleep in everyday after hitting it hard for 7-8 days in WDW. Also there are no transportation issues, you can walk everywhere. We even skip early entry now as there is no reason really to get up early, with express passes the waits are minimal all day long. We can sleep in, take afternoon breaks to get out of the heat, return for the evening with zero stress. Also, after you experience express passes, Disney’s FPP system is so incredibly frustrating. We love Disney, but will always end with the relaxing, low stress part of the trip.


#10

strong text


#11

I’ve never done both parks in one trip but we’ve gone to both. Yes there are more thrill rides but there are also lots of rides that aren’t rollercoasters that you may all enjoy. I think 2 full days with the express pass is plenty of time. You can get the Express pass included if you stay on sight. We stayed at royal pacific and loved it! You get the pass for check in and check out day so for the price of one night you get two days of express. Enjoy!


#12

I agree with you.


#13

Thank you so much. We are going in July. I pretty much had in my mind (so completely changeable but…) the Disney vacation I was confident our family would love. Now my sons’ sudden interest in HP has me questioning how best to fit it in without totally messing up the Disney part of our trip or our limits on time and budget. You read my mood well :slight_smile:


#14

The way we do WDW sounds much less stressful than the hard hitting approach you take. We have full resort days where we don’t do a park at all just to relax and enjoy. We take mid-day breaks on our park days and rest for hours. Our kids sleep no later than 7 on their most tired days so we are up anyway and early mornings are every day life for us. But I think as ours get older, if they continue to want to go to Disney, I suspect it will become more and more like what you describe. I am actually worried that if I try to fit in UOR that our vacation will become like what you describe “hitting it hard for 7-8 days” and we will be stressed and exhausted. But I can’t bring myself to drop one of the 4 WDW parks or miss taking them to WWoHP right when they are super excited about HP. The choices of a very blessed life I suppose. Glad to even be able to consider these options. Thank you for offering a different perspective than the others I had read.


#15

Interesting, thanks!


#16

Yes, ultimately you have to decide what is best for your unique family. There is no wrong way to do it, whether you go to UOR first, UOR last, or you decide to do a separate trip completely just to experience UOR.

This!


#17

This is because I suffer from FOMO, fear of missing out. :smile: So much to do, and so little time to do it. We do sleep in every third day now at WDW, but never take a full rest day from the parks. Otherwise it is early mornings and late nights for us.


#18

Haha! I have fear of trying to do so much that we don’t enjoy any of it. Really like the balance we’ve had in recent WDW trips. Wanting to fight to keep that as we expand to more things they kids will now want to do. Time and money constraints are fighting back :joy:


#19

And I am not sure what this “sleep in” thing is that you keep referencing. But I would pay a lot for that kind of magic :wink:


#20

It happens with age, so your time is coming! My kids are almost 15 and 17 now, my 17 year old can easily sleep until 11am or noon after going to bed at 11pm.