Welcome to day 5 of Harry Potter Week!
For those of you who don’t know (probably all of you), I’ve been to the Wizarding World of Harry Potter in Orlando, Florida twice. Once for the Hogsmeade portion on a school trip (they didn’t have Diagon Alley back then), and then once for both Hogsmeade and Diagon Alley.
For those of you who hope to plan a trip to the theme park, I made this nice little list of do’s and don’t’s for you to think about on your trip.
Note that this is not a definitive guide to the park and I am most definitely not an expert. I’ve never worked at the park or anything like that, I’m simply a big fan and I hope to go back to make a lot more memories there.
So let’s get started!
1. DO take lots of pictures
This one should be a given.
Between both parks, there is SO MUCH to see. There’s a zero percent chance that you’re going to remember it all. So take a camera (or just your phone, even) and take pictures of everything. I have over five hundred pictures of my day at the park, and I get to relive it every time I look at the pictures. So take as many pictures as you want, no one is going to be judging you for nerding out a little, especially if it’s your first trip there.
2. DON’T be discouraged by the lines
Let’s be real: this place is a popular place. The lines are a bit crazy long, but the park is so well managed that the lines feel like they take ten minutes instead of an hour. I waited in line by myself for two and half hours for a ride and there was so much to look at and amazing people to talk to in line that it felt so much shorter.
3. DO try to ride the rides
I know some people with disabilities aren’t able to ride the rides, but if you are capable of riding the rides, please give them a try.
These rides are my favorite rides of any amusement park I’ve ever been to. When I first went, I thought Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey was the best ride that I’ve ever been on. Now after my second trip, I think Escape from Gringotts is the best ride I’ve ever ridden. I’ve also ridden Flight of the Hippogriff and Dragon Challenge and while they’re pretty typical amusement park rides, they’re still really fun to ride with the rest of the fans there.
4. DON’T be pushy
This goes back to this being a very crowded place. Sometimes people get too close because there is simply nowhere else for them to go. No one likes when someone starts trying to push their way through the crowd to get to a ride or a restaurant before everyone else. Just smile, be kind, and wait your turn. Try striking up a conversation with a fellow fan around you. You might make a new friend!
5. DO visit the shops
Even if you don’t want to buy any souvenirs, or you can’t buy any, you should still definitely visit the shops. They are an attraction within themselves, especially Weasleys’ Wizard Wheezes and Honeydukes. Seeing all of these things brought to life in the shops will make you feel nostalgic for the series all over again.
6. DON’T be afraid to show House pride
Seriously, don’t be afraid of wearing your Harry Potter merch to the park. I guarantee there will always be someone there who is nerding out more than you are. The first time I went, I wanted to be cool (I was in a phase) so I didn’t wear anything Harry Potter themed to the park. That changed quickly because I bought a Gryffindor scarf and a Hogwarts pin so the whole cool phase left at the exact moment that that scarf became mine. So seriously, wear that awesome Ravenclaw beanie or that super cool Slytherin t-shirt. You’ll probably get lots of compliments on it, anyway.
7. DO talk to the Knight Bus conductor
I’m not exaggerating one bit when I say this was one of the highlights of my trip. He was hilarious and so was the shrunken head on the Knight Bus. Seriously, just wait for this guy and have a conversation with him. You won’t regret it.
8. DON’T miss the little Easter eggs hidden throughout the parks
There are tons of little curios from the movies scattered throughout both Hogsmeade and Diagon Alley. Make sure you look out for them so you don’t miss them!
9. DO try the butterbeer!
Honestly, how could you not try the butterbeer? I would recommend trying it frozen, or in ice cream form, but any way that you try it, just try not to leave the park without getting at least one cup (or two…or three).
And those are my nine tips for the Wizarding World of Harry Potter in Orlando, Florida!
I hope that if you’re planning a trip in the near or far future that it’s the best trip of your life and it lives up to every dream that you have about the parks!
Come back tomorrow for day 6 of Harry Potter Week on Reviews by Hannah (we’re in the final stretch! Only four days until Cursed Child!)