When it comes to visiting the Orlando theme parks, this is always our top tip. It’s so important to arrive early if you want to make the most of your day, and when we say early, we mean before the park opens. We’d recommend arriving around 30-minutes before opening time, so that you can be one of the first through the gates. This is when the park is at its quietest, so it’s the best time to ride the most popular attractions without having to wait in long lines!
Visit the Wizarding World of Harry Potter first
When you walk into Universal’s Islands of Adventure, there’s so many amazing things to see that it can be easy to get distracted. While it may be hard to walk past the huge coasters, we’d recommend going straight to the back of the park and starting here, because this is where you’ll find the Wizarding World of Harry Potter- Hogsmeade.
Potter fans will want to go here straight away to experience the amazing Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey ride. This is one of the most popular rides in the park, so make sure you come here first if you want to avoid waiting in line. If you can’t get to the park early, leave this ride until the evening.
Book your tickets in advance
If you want to save yourself some money (who doesn’t?) you should definitely book your Universal theme park tickets in advance. By booking your tickets before you travel, you’ll save money on the gate price, plus you’ll be able to save time as you won’t have to wait around in line to get tickets when you arrive. Our Universal tickets are gate ready, so you can just walk straight in.
Consider purchasing a Universal Express Pass
Depending on the time of year that you’re visiting and how much time you have to spend at the park, it might be worth considering a Universal Express Pass. You can purchase different types of passes and these will allow you to skip the line for the park’s top attractions, like the Incredible Hulk Coaster, The Adventures of Spider-Man, Skull Island: Reign of Kong and Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey.
Look out for super heroes
If you’re a big super hero fan, we’re sure you’ll be looking out for your favourites. Universal’s Islands of Adventure has an entire area inspired by the heroes you’ve seen on screen called Marvel Super Hero Island. Throughout the day, when you least expect it, a swarm of super heroes will race across the island on huge motorbikes. Look out for the likes of Captain America, Spider Man and Wolverine to name a few.
Get your Butterbeer at the Three Broomsticks
Harry Potter fans will know that this is the place where Harry, Ron and Hermione have spent a lot of time enjoying mugs of Butterbeer. If you want to try this famous drink for yourself, there are lots of places you can find it in Hogsmeade. There can often be a long queue at the Butterbeer carts, so we’d recommend heading to the Three Broomsticks to get yours.
There’s a secret entrance at the back, which leads straight to the bar, so make sure you go in this way. You can get several different varieties, but our favourite has to be the frozen Butterbeer- it’s the perfect refreshing drink for when you want to cool down from the Floridian heat.
Lets the kids cool off at Camp Jurassic
While we’re sure you’ll appreciate the sunny weather in Florida, a day exploring the park in the heat can get tiring. That’s why we suggest making time to take a few breaks throughout the day. Camp Jurassic is a great area where kids can have fun in the shade. This multi-level playground has dark caves, huge dinosaur capture nets, suspension bridges and themed slides. The kids will definitely be kept entertained here.
Bring a small bag with you
Universal’s Islands of Adventure has some pretty big rides, so you’ll have to store your bags in lockers when you go on. That’s why we’d suggest bringing a small bag, so that you can fit it into the lockers easily.
Ask for a castle tour
Not many people know that you can actually get a tour of Hogwarts Castle! All you have to do is ask a team member when the next available tour is. You’ll then be able to step inside Hogwarts where you’ll see Dumbledore’s Office, the Dark Arts Classroom and much more. You’ll still get to see all of this if you’re riding the attraction, but with a guide with you, you’ll get to learn lots of interesting facts as well as some of the best kept secrets.
These fantastic tours only run at certain times, so if the park is really busy you might find that there are no tours on. It’s always worth asking though, so make sure you do during your visit for a sneak peek inside the castle.
Leave shopping until the end of the day
This might sound like an obvious one, but no one wants to spend the day carrying around a bag full of souvenirs, so it’s a good idea to leave your shopping until later in the day. That’s not the only reason for shopping later though. If you want to explore the shops in Hogsmeade (and we’d definitely suggest doing this!) it’s best to go when the park is quieter.
The shops are fairly small and can get really busy, so head to Hogsmeade in the late afternoon to get your Wizarding supplies. You might be lucky and find that there’s not much of a queue for Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey too!
Pack a poncho
At Universal’s Islands of Adventure, there are several rides that are guaranteed to give you a serious soaking! Jurassic Park River Adventure is a must-try, but it does have an 85-foot drop so prepare for a big splash! Pack a poncho and you might just be able to save yourself from a soaking.
Pick up the phone
Look out for the phones in Marvel Super Hero Island. Lots of people walk past without even noticing them, but if you see one, make sure you pick up the receiver because you never know who’s going to be on the other end!
Try the snacks!
There are lots of restaurants to choose from at Universal’s Islands of Adventure, but we’d always suggest saving some room for the snacks. Potter fans will want to head to Honeydukes to try the delicious sweet treats. Everything here is inspired by the Wizarding World and you’ll find Cauldron Cupcakes, Chocolate Frogs, Bertie Bott’s Every Flavour Beans, Chocolate Wands and much more.
The croissant moon bakery is a great place for lunch, with lots of sandwiches, pastries and huge cookies to choose from and we love the gourmet cotton candy at Honk Honkers in Seuss Landing. The birthday cake flavour has to be our favourite!
Ready to start planning your holiday? Click here, to view our Universal Orlando Resort tickets.
For more blog posts like this try…
- Top tips for visiting Universal Studios Florida
- Exciting rumours for new attractions coming to the Universal Orlando Resort
- 6 fun things to do at the Universal theme parks- apart from the rides
Find out all the latest news from Orlando in our BLOG