Are y’all sick of hearing about the ONE DAY I spent at the Wizarding World of Harry Potter yet?!? No? Oh good! Because I’m back with MORE!!!!!!! I just had so much fun! And even though I was only there for one day, I seriously did everything there was to do. (If you don’t believe me, check out my recaps of Hogsmeade and Diagon Alley!) I even did things that I forgot to take pictures of, like eating ice cream at Florean Fortescue’s Ice-Cream Parlour and and stopping at the Hog’s Head for the most refreshing glasses of water I’ve ever had in my life.
I seriously think that you only need one day to see and do everything at the Wizarding World of Harry Potter. Yes it will be a fast-paced, packed day, but you’ll be surprised at how much down time you’ll have, too! There were plenty of times we just sat down to rest our feet and have some water, and I got to ride the Hogwarts and Gringott’s rides approximately 4-5 times each.
Here are some of the tips and tricks I used while there that would be helpful if you’re planning on spending ONE DAY in the most magical place on earth (which I refuse to say is Disney World because Harry Potter is about actual magic so it makes sense…)!
– get the multi-park pass –
Even though you’re only going for one day, you really need to get the multi-park pass so you can see BOTH parks. Yes, it’s a lot more money, but it’s 100% worth it.
– get there right when the park opens –
Set your alarm and head over RIGHT when the park opens!! The crowds are actually pretty small right at the beginning and you’ll feel like you have the whole place to yourself. I didn’t stay at the park, so I missed out on getting in the park an hour early, but I thought getting there for the officially opening was more than great enough.
– ride the Hogwarts Express both ways immediately –
This was something my friend made us do and it was totally worth it. There was NO line (seriously, like 5 people in front of us) and so we got to ride the train immediately. The experience is different both ways, so you’ll want to see them both! There can be up to a 2 hour line for the Hogwarts Express, which is totally not worth it, in my opinion. We skipped the line later in the afternoon and just walked around to the other park and it took about 20 minutes. Another bonus of riding the train immediately – you can get a video of you walking through the brick wall without annoying a TON of people in line behind you!
– single. rider. line. –
If you only remember one thing from this post- THIS IS IT!!! Seriously. 99% of the time you don’t need to wait in the “real” line because it’s long and dumb. Just do the single rider line and you’ll only wait maybe 10 minutes. Maybe. (Seriously, there was a 2 hour wait to go on a ride and we waited 10 minutes in the single rider line.) You won’t be guaranteed to sit with your friends, but unless you are planning on buying a souvenir photo from the ride does that really matter? Nope!
– don’t wait more than 45 minutes in any line –
It’s just not worth it! Definitely DO wait in the “real” lines to get to see all the cool stuff through the bank and the castle, but any more than 45 minutes is just not bearable in my opinion. Go through the real line at the very beginning of the day or at the very end of the day – that’s what worked out best for us!
– eat at all the restaurants –
They’re all great and a different experience! Most of the plates are big enough where you can share a meal (my friend Kate and I split breakfast and it was the perfect portion size). Also be sure to try all of the non-restaurant foods! Get some Bertie Bott’s Ever Flavor Beans to try later! Eat ice cream at Florean’s! Have the butterbeer! If you’re only there for a day, make sure you get your fill!
– do the wand experience at Olivander’s –
This was actually pretty cool, and I’m really glad that we got to go in and experience this little show. People might tell you that it isn’t worth the wait, and they’re half right. It isn’t worth waiting in line for… but there are times during the day where there is NO line! The line wraps around the side of Olivander’s so just keep an eye out for when there aren’t any people outside. We did that and headed in and got to go see the wand ceremony almost immediately – and it was the middle of the afternoon, when you’d think the line would be crazy! Just keep your eyes peeled and you’ll be fine.
– don’t get an interactive wand* –
*unless you really REALLY want to. Just know that it’s $50 and there are only like 13 interactive spots and I think it is 100% just as fun to watch kiddos swishing their wands around. So again, I think it’s something you can skip, but if you REALLY want to have that experience then I say go for it!!
– stop for shows if you can –
I got to see two of the shows while walking around (the Deathly Hallows one was awesome!!) and I highly recommend stopping to watch if you see that one is starting up close by! However – if you are only there for one day, I wouldn’t rearrange your whole day/schedule/plan JUST to see the shows.
– stick around for the Hogwarts light show –
THIS WAS SO COOL!!! Do what you want, go where you want, but SERIOUSLY try and end up by the Hogwarts castle at the end of the night! The light show was incredible and I wished it was like 10 minutes longer. I can’t remember what time it started (I’m sure the internet could help me here… oh the internet tells me it is “ongoing from dusk to park close”) but definitely try to catch it if you can!
– share a locker when you can –
This just makes everything easier. One person can go in and compete with the CRAZY CROWDS and throw all the stuff into a locker. They’re a pretty good size, and I think we were able to fit 3 people’s stuff into one locker. (This is JUST bags, no souvenirs.) These lockers are SUCH A GOOD IDEA and I love that your fingerprint is what unlocks them! Too cool!
– save your souvenir shopping for the end of the day –
If you’re staying on the property, you can apparently buy souvenirs and have them sent to your room (or maybe it’s your hotel?) for you to pick up at the end of the day. However, if you’re NOT staying on the property, just save the shopping for the end of the day! You’ll have less stuff to cram into a locker, less stuff to walk around with, and there really is plenty of time to get everything you’ve been eyeing throughout the day. (I made a little note on my phone whenever I saw something in all the shops I’d want to get later, like a Christmas tree ornament, a chocolate wand for coworkers, etc. Some of the items are ONLY available in one shop, so make note of that, too! But some things are available in lots of shops. Just keep your eyes peeled!)
– pace yourself with the butterbeer –
This stuff is SO GOOD but man it is SO SWEET!! I got a little bit of a stomach ache because I had so much of it at once (worth it, lol) so it might be a good idea to share it, if you can. That way you can have more later (or try the slushie kind!) and not have your day ruined by a sugar overload.
– take breaks –
I know there’s so much to do and so much to see and it’s all so exciting, but sit down and take a break if you need to. You’ll be going going going ALL DAY and it’s nice to give your feet a little break! Sit in the shade, have some water, and relax a little. (We went to the Hog’s Head and had free cups of ice water and sat in the shade on the patio and it was glorious!)
– enjoy yourself –
You’re there to have fun, so have fun! Be a tourist! Take ALL the pictures! Be excited! And most of all enjoy the most magical day of your life!! (Until you go back, that is!)