Hitting all the crowd levels in one trip!

Planning our first Universal trip. We’ll have four days in the main parks, so that’s plenty of time to do all the things. Honestly, everything. My kid thinks she’s too cool for the Dr. Seuss rides, but I AM NOT. She’s also a total daredevil and intends on riding all the big coasters, even if I take the chicken exit. I do think we’re too tall for the Pteranodon Flyers, unfortunately. It’s been a while since I’ve measured her slouching.

Crowd levels on our park days are 9, 8, 5, and 3, so we have all the crowds right up front. We’ll have express passes the first three days. What attractions would you postpone from the busy days to the lighter ones?

We’re planning on getting an interactive wand in Diagon Alley. Is that a good busy day activity, or does the place get too mobbed to enjoy? I’m thinking the wand won’t come back to the parks after the day we buy it, because I’m told they don’t always fit in the tiny lockers at the bigger coasters.


The only wand I have had trouble fitting into the locker was the Elder Wand. That wand is a bit longer and it only fit in the locker on a diagonal. Actually, it was the box that was the problem. When we came back the next day with just the wand, we had no issues putting it into the locker.

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They were clever enough to take the locker sizes into account when designing wands. They typically fit with their boxes included.

I’m going to recommend a sling bag to carry around the oarks. They are the exact size for the free lockers. I can carry a water bottle, phone battery, phone, sunblock and a few other misc items.

Amazon.com : WATERFLY Crossbody Sling Backpack Sling Bag Travel Hiking Chest Bag Daypack : Sports & Outdoors

I swear by these Lands End drawstring bags.

They are big enough to hold lunch and snacks for each person, and a water bottle and wallet, but not so big that they get too heavy to carry. I have never had an issue fitting this into the lockers for Hulk, Rip Ride Rockit, Mummy, or any other ride with the small lockers. Also the strings are wider than other string backpacks, so its more comfortable to hold and wear.

You can do everything in 2-3 days with express passes, so no need to postpone anything!

We got wand holders (straps wand to leg) off Etsy so we weren’t dealing with boxes and everything fit just fine in free lockers.

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It is best to do the wand spells early. As you approach 11 am or so, the place is so mobbed, the crowds and lines just to do the spells gets to be overwhelming.

Last trip, I actually got up early and took my son to Diagon Alley at opening JUST to do the spells. So much better.

Having said that, you CAN do them later in the day as well…just know the crowds will be much more significant.

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I’d put off Hagrid’s and Velocicoaster to days 3&4, when crowds are lighter. They don’t take express pass, so there’s some extra synergy for you on day 4, when you don’t have it anyhow.

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Thanks, this is exactly the kind of useful information I didn’t know!

I’m so glad to hear the wands fit. I was worried about it because I’d specifically read otherwise. I don’t want to tell my kid which wand to buy because it doesn’t fit in a locker, but I have no problem making her throw out the packaging if it comes to that.

Keep the box! It’s a great way to store the wand while walking and when you get home!


This was notes I made before our first trip from research

  • Get video of us going through the wall at the King’s Cross train station

  • Knockturn Alley

    • Place your map under the Blue light of the stars, this will reveal hidden footsteps on the map
    • Don’t miss looking at the sky, It has a nice dark effect, showing clouds and stars.
    • As you exit the place don’t miss the moving “Wanted photo of Bellatrix Lestrange”.
  • Send mail from the Owl Post

  • Talk to the Knight Bus conductor and the shrunken head – right outside entrance to Diagon Alley.

  • If you stop by the Knight Bus, make sure to go around the back and take a peek inside.

  • Go into any phone booth and listen. Try calling “magic”. If you dial 62442 (MAGIC) in the phone booth outside King’s Cross, it will connect you to the Ministry of Magic.

  • Exchange muggle money at Gringotts Money Exchange. Talk to the goblin and ask him questions. Sometimes has a long line

    • ask him about his favorite color
    • ask him his name
    • We asked if Gringotts has dental plans and he gave us the death stare and shook his head in shame.
    • Ask about the dragon
  • Watch for Kreacher the House Elf at 12 Grimmauld Place. Rumor is that sometimes it is Dobby that peers out. Look up at the window above the door and see Kreacher, the house-elf of Harry’s uncle, Sirius Black, parting the curtains and peering out. So many people pound-knock on the door that is heavily braced on the backside (rumor)

  • Listen in the bathroom for Moaning Myrtle. In the bathrooms at Hogsmeade near The Three Broomsticks. She says different things in each bathroom.

  • Be in Harry Potter land at night

  • Stand in front of the mirror at the robe shop. It will comment on clothes

  • Dervish and Banges is home to the Monster Book of Monsters.

  • Wand Ceremony –

    • Hogsmeade location more likely to select children.
    • They might ask questions of the child. They want someone who isn’t shy because it makes a better show.
    • there is a main choosing and then they’ll pick a straggler after the main choosing. So once the ceremony is over be the LAST group to leave the ceremony in Olivanders and you’re more likely to get chosen for the second, practically private ceremony. It happened to us twice for our younger kids.
  • at the Magical Menagerie shop is a snake. If you stand outside the window, it will speak to you in Parseltongue, and then English. (might be outdated)… It is said that the glass separating you from Nagini is enchanted with parseltongue, and you can hear the snake talk to you.

  • If you look on the second floor of Weasleys’ Wizard Wheezes, you’ll find the Peruvian Instant Darkness Powder.

  • At Borgin and Burkes

    • is the Vanishing Cabinet. If you listen closely, you’ll hear a bird chirping from inside like in Half-Blood Prince.
    • In Borgin & Burke’s, there’s a boggart that rattles in a trunk!
    • Insert a candle into the hand of glory (This seems to be old info)
  • (In a nod to the source material, Universal has placed a replica of Leaky’s door from the films in the muggle London section, in between the bookstore and record shop. While you can’t open it, it does make for a nice photo-op.)

  • You’ll also find the Hand of Glory from Chamber of Secrets.

  • Diagon Alley was designed to have cooler areas and is more comfortable to walk around in when the temperature is really hot.

  • Look up at the windows of Dominic Maestro’s Music Shop and you’ll see a cello playing itself.

  • And when you stop by Gladrags Wizardwear, you’ll see a cat made out of measuring tape. Its tail also moves!

  • At the Hog’s Head pub (inside Three Broomsticks), you can see the talking heads from Prisoner of Azkaban.

  • If you look at the top of the Owlery in Hogsmeade, an owl will pop out every now and then like a cuckoo clock.

  • The Daily Prophet (Diagon Alley), where you can hear the wizard reporters inside working away.

  • Take photo of family in Hagrids motorcycle next to Gringotts bank. (Diagon Alley)

  • There is a nonfunctional Owl post is Diagon Alley too. It makes noise, observe closely you will see Owl shit everywhere on it. (Diagon Alley)

  • There is an ATM inside Hogsmeade which says Gringotts Bank.

  • Wand – secret locations

    • In Diagon Alley, the sharp-eyed witch or wizard will find that there are a few that have been left unmarked. Head over to Scribbulus Writing Implements and wave your wand across the enchanted parchment to reveal a hidden message (which varies depending on your wand), or enchant the vat of dragon dung at Slug and Jigger’s Apothecary to reveal a wonderful… earthy fragrance.
    • Keep an eye out for four red dots arrayed around the sensor to discover where to aim your enchantment on these secret spells. Spell is a triangle for secret locations.
  • Look up for multiple minutes at each entrance to knockturn alley (I can’t remember which one)! You may just see an ad for fire whiskey with a Phoenix bursting into flames and disappearing! inside the entranceway, you physically have to cross the threshold into knockturn alley but it’s like 5 feet or so in and like 20ft up. It’s a few steps in and not in the darkest part of knockturn.

  • See the owl pop out of the tower at the Owl Post in Hogsmead

  • you can listen to the wizarding wireless radio outside the magical menagerie! Best time to listen is at night after the shops have closed

  • Trying the Leaky Cauldron door nestled between the record and book stores.

  • HP - FUN FACT! If you mention Voldemorts name to any of the actors in either Harry Potters worlds, they freak out​:rofl::rofl: Especially the guy by the bus with the talking voodoo head. It was hilarious! (This was old info, I guess they got tired of freaking out)

  • The knight bus was so top heavy that 4 tons of weight had to be added to the added so it didn’t fall over.

  • If you wait long enough you’ll see a rabbit under Weasley’s hat

  • Ask the employees in London’s King Cross station how to find Platform 9 ¾ (We found them all delightful and would stop and chat.)

  • Wizards names are carved over the fireplace in the Hog’s Head.

  • UNCONFIRMED: In the third story window to the left of the Three Broomsticks entrance, if you look close, Peter Pettigrew is in the window.

    • UNCONFIRMED: If you look above the Hogsmeade arch you will see a crooked tower. An owl comes out and hoots the hour! Stand in front of the Hogwarts express ticket kiosk entrance you will see it on the left if you face the arch.
    • Cho Chang’s Yule Ball gown that was worn in the movies is in one of the store windows.
    • The desks and chalkboard in the defense against the Dark Arts room are the ones from the movie.
    • These is also a “Bank Tour” and a “Castle Tour” you can ask to take on Gringotts or Forbidden Journey. The one in Forbidden Journey gives you time to take as many pictures in the queue as you would like without being hurried along. It also has an unobstructed view at Dumbledore’s Office. This is subject to staff availability and how busy it is.
    • If you take the train over from Hogsmeade to Diagon keep on the lookout for a Tardis in the grass right before you get into London.
      • Behind Honeydukes, there is a passageway that you can hear and see dishes being magically washed in the Three Broomsticks.
  • As you are walking through “London” look for the Leaky Cauldron sign between the bookstore and the record shop, that is the “book door” into Leaky Cauldron. Walk along the sidewalk and enter through the opening to the right of Leicester Station.

  • Outside the Magical Menagerie shop down the “alley” is Voldemort’s snake Nagini who you can talk to in English or parsletongue. NOTE: We also like that bench for quiet and shade while we enjoy our beer.

  • Try to “buy” one of the horcrux objects in Borgin & Burkes. The staff reaction is hysterical. (I think this is old info too)

  • The top of the Wiseacre’s Wizarding Equipment there are a lot of telescopes those were made using the piping from the Jaws ride.

  • All of the platform Attendants in Kings Cross are “Muggles” so ask them questions (How do I get to Platform 9¾?) or show them your wands. NOTE: You WILL need a park-to-park pass to get on.

  • As you come up the stairs in King’s Cross, you will see a luggage cart, watch as people “disappear” into 9¾. If you want to take a video of this, park yourself in the far-left corner before the turn and tell people behind you to go on. Keep in mind that this has the potential to become a bottleneck, so don’t be surprised if a TM tells you to move on, just get the video and move on.

  • What truly makes Islands of Adventure’s rendition of Three Broomsticks so amazingly faithful to its big-screen counterpart is the fact that it served as the model for the films instead of the other way around. That’s right – Stuart Craig, the art director for the movies, had only built the smallest of sets for the pub prior to The Wizarding World of Harry Potter – Hogsmeade’s opening in 2010, and when it came time to properly feature the location for the sixth installment (in 2009’s Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince), he ended up using the theme-park blueprints as the basis for the newly-expanded sets. So that means, yes, that exact table you were sitting at next to the giant fireplace with all the mounted antlers is precisely the same one that you’re now looking at on screen.

  • Wands –

    • We recommend beginning your interactive wand experience in Diagon Alley to develop some magical expertise before heading over to Hogsmeade. It seems that there are not as many team members on-hand to assist at the latter, so London is the perfect place to start.
    • Our number-one tip is to keep and use your map. Many of the off-the-beaten-path spell stations are often empty because many folks don’t know that they’re there – all the better for you, wise magic user!
    • When in Knockturn Alley, check out your spells map under the blacklights.
    • At 19 inches, the Rowan, Oak, and Alder boxes are too long to fit in the free lockers, which are 11.5 x 5.5 x 16.5d.
    • A map provided with each wand purchase details the location and movement for most effects, but there are some secret ones to discover on your own. (Hint: one is in Scribbulus’ window, and another in the Slug & Jiggers storefront.) Look at your map under the UV lights in Knockturn Alley for another surprise.
    • Also, some of the interactive spells don’t work as well in full sunlight (like the water feature over the bathrooms).
    • At Olivanders, more likely to be selected if wearing ‘house’ colors.
    • People hide stuff for others to find, started as painted rocks.
    • When casting the aquamenvi spell at the frog fountain, it will dump a lot of water on the caster.

That’s probably the best and most comprehensive WWOHP guide I’ve ever seen!



You could say Diagon Alley :rofl::rofl::rofl::roll_eyes::roll_eyes::rofl::rofl::rofl:


I think we had issues in Hogsmeade though

Thank you so much for all these tips! We will be trying every single one of them!

OMG Grinchmas Who-liday Spectacular! This is not in any of my touring plans, and I must see it! Should I go on a crowded day or a slow day?

It’s a big theatre, so would be fine on a busy day. Especially as a mid day break.