Harry Potter Thoughts and strategies needed for Touring Plans! 3 days Th DEC 1 - Sa DEC 3

I’m traveling with 2 people who have never been to Universal:
my Mom, who is in her 60’s, has read Harry Potter.
my Sister, who is 32, and a fairly big Harry Potter fan.
In addition, we have my other sister, age 30, who came to Hogsmeade back in 2010, but hasn’t been to the London side. She’s also a big HP fan.
The rest of our group is me, and 2 of my daughters, age 13 and 16. Who are pretty big HP fans. The 3 of us have been in 2010 and 2014!

The crowd levels listed for our trip are:
Th. 1 DEC: 4 IOA. 2 US. (park hours 9-7)
F. 2 DEC: 2 IOA. 2 US. (park hours 9-7)
Sa. 3 DEC: 5 IOA. 3 US. (park hours 9-8)

We don’t have EE, and I just found out it’s at US every day. I made out a bunch of touring plans, switching between the 2 parks every day. I thought EE was at IoA, so I may need to rethink my strategies.

Q#1: Looking at these crowd levels, what kind of strategies would you employ?

I was thinking most shows on the Saturday, and water rides. And trying to maximize time at IoA on Friday, when the crowd level is lowest.

I want to take the HEX back and forth 2-4 times!
I want to make sure and be in Hogsmeade for one park close, and London for 2 park closings.
I don’t have a need to consolidate the Harry Potter stuff, as I’d like to visit the Harry Potter stuff every day. Q#2: But has anyone done exclusively HP stuff in one day? Was it a good experience?
I would love to visit London before Hogsmeade to follow Harry’s journey.
Q#3: We will likely buy an interactive wand, and want to figure out the least busy time to cast those spells? right before park closing? (Maybe consolidate the wand waving to one day to cut down on locker needs?)

According to my first draft of touring plans, we have time to visit everything, twice to our favorites, and more than that to the Harry Potter stuff.

Q#4 Also, how would you approach the Hogwarts que with people who’ve never seen it before? If we arrive at a non-busy time, we would go so quickly through the line, that we couldn’t see all the details and preshow. Would you do a “castle tour” first? Or go on the ride first, and then back through a castle tour? Or is there a better way to experience this for first time visitors?

Thanks for any ideas and thoughts you can offer!

I would do Dec 1 - US, Dec 2, IOS (hit HP first on the respective side) then branch out. Dec 3 Start out in IOA to hit HP and then move over to US

As you have the hopper you have some flexibility.

My suggestion as well would be hit the water rides all at once, bring a change of clothes and be done with them. They are fun - but you get wet - not a “freshing” wet - a deluge wet.

For the wand - we bought it the first day and had the box shipped back to the hotel - if you are staying off site - they can send the box to front gate I believe. I would not “restrict” it to one day as the wands are expensive. Also though - the effects are fun - but not awesome.

If you man draw is HP - just hit them first and enjoy until you are done and then move onto whatever. We just loved hanging out and “messing” in the HP areas


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There are a lot of questions here, but I would like to touch on just one. I like to do most of a day dedicated entirely to Harry Potter. I like to start out in Diagon Alley, just like he did. I do everything there that I want to do and then take the Hogwarts Express over to Hogsmeade. I feel like there is so much to do and so much detail that I can completely get lost in the Harry Potter story and forget I am even in a theme park. As a huge Harry Potter fan, I feel this deserves as much of a day as possible in order to have full immersion.

We were on our way out and then got diverted into noctern alley for an hour. SO MUCH FUN. Didn’t bother with plans - just enjoyed following our noses and exploring

Would lightweight ponchos and maybe spare socks be enough to survive the SOAKED wet? Maybe do it towards the end of day? What do you recommend? In the past we’ve avoided the water rides, and I want to try them.

Thanks for the tip about wand boxes and Thanks for the reply!

Any answers and opinions are much appreciated. Your reply is making me consider dedicating the first day entirely to Harry Potter! Then maybe the 2nd day mostly IOA, as the crowd level is a predicted 2, instead of 4 or 5. Then maybe mostly Universal shows the 3rd day. I am a HUGE Harry Potter fan, so I think this might be a fun way to do it for 1 day! I love exploring all the shop windows and details, and I think the interactive wand might be a fun addition to that. Are there any times of day when the wand waving might be less crowded?

Knockturn alley is so fun at night! We loved that last time! It felt much less crowded than most of the day. In fact I want to explore Diagon Alley and that area for 2 of the park closings that we’ll be there. It is so fun to explore the details! Thanks again for the input.

This is just the my opion

New socks, new shoes and certainly a poncho. We did it near the end of the day when we were planning to get back to the resort anyway.

They do have “dryers” that are expensive (worth it though) - but you never really get dry again. So if that bothers you - I would do these rides as you are making your way out of the park.

They are however FUN

We went for the first time this last summer at the end of June for 3 days/4 nights. The crowds were in the 7/8/9 range. When it came to the touring, we made a list using the personalized touring plans, but then checked the current wait times on the app after getting off of each ride instead of going strickly by the plan. That caused some things to temporarily to get skipped, but they were made up later in the day when the crowds shifted to another area of the park. There were only a couple of minor shows missed, but we got to all the major attractions (some more than once) and still had time to soak in HP - we ended up traveling to both sides each day.
Considering the crowd levels you are expecting, I would say that you will have no problem to enjoy things as you feel like it. But I would check the app on occassion because it gives you up-to-date facts as to where the crowds are in the park.
Have fun!

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And new pants! I can’t even explain how soaked we all were! Unfortunately we did the water rides before lunch…so unpleasant!! We won’t make that mistake again!!

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I am a big fan of evening touring, for both rides and casting spells. On our trip in the middle of the summer, we got in line for EFG one hour before park close, waited in line, rode EFG, walked to HEx, waited in line then rode HEx over to Hogsmeade, got in line for FJ and rode FJ all before the park closed. It was our most productive hour. Of course, this was when the parks closed at 10, so many people left before park close. On days when the park closes earlier, I’m sure it would be a little more busy in that last hour, but still better than midday. As an HP fan, I think you will enjoy a day of nothing but HP!

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That sounds like a wonderful last hour in the parks! I wish the parks were open late, but as we’re visiting on low crowd level days they close at 7pm and 8pm the last night! It’s so nice before close, because it’s so much less crowded than the crush of midday!

You heard about Forbidden Journey being closed Dec 1 - Dec 18, right? Not sure if the castle tour will be open, but the ride won’t be.

Sorry if that bursts your bubble. I’ll be there the next week. Planned a whole trip around HP and pretty upset the centerpiece of it all will be closed.

I did hear about it last week, I think 2 days after they did it. I was optimizing my touring plans, and so shocked and sad to find out that they’d announced a closure so soon before it happened. Very devastating. I wrote an email to customer service about it. We arrive to town Nov 30th, so we now are rearranging several things to drive down the day early to see the castle and ride. (I’ve been before, but my family flying in from Arizona haven’t seen it, and this is likely the only chance they have. I’m contemplating a mad airport run from them landing at 4:30 trying to get them to the Hogwarts ride before it closes. On Nov. 30th that is an early close at 6PM! Not sure if it’s worth trying for or not, but since the customer service offered to upgrade our 3 day tickets to 4 days free of charge, we’re going to TRY! And if we don’t make it, we’ll be out the adrenaline, the cost of parking (possibly valet parking) but we’ll have hopefully 1 hour to browse Diagon Alley from 6 to 7 on Nov 30th…)

It was very sad and disappointing news, considering that’s the main attraction for any Harry Potter fan. In fact, over the 3 days we were planning, I was hoping to visit the castle ride at least 6 times! I imagine they are getting lots of upset emails. When is your trip scheduled? So sad for every Harry Potter Fan who is saddened by this news.:cry: