The Wizarding World of Harry Potter at Universal Orlando Resort has been wildly successful, but with great success comes two very populated theme-park lands.
Continuously drawing enthusiastic crowds, both Hogsmeade at Islands of Adventure and Diagon Alley at Universal Studios Florida offer an incredible experience that can be a bit overwhelming for guests to navigate. Fear not, as we’ve compiled our top tips to help you make the most of your magical journey!
1) Stay at a Universal Orlando hotel
If possible, stay at one of Universal Orlando’s hotels when you visit, as an on-site room will give you the dual advantages of access and proximity. All resorts offer Early Park Admission to their guests, and since you’re staying just a short walk, boat ride, or shuttle bus away (depending on your hotel), you can be one of the first in line to get into the parks.
Keep in mind that Early Park Admission is available to you on both your check-in and check-out days, as well as every day in between (though paid admission to the parks is required). Even if you get a hotel room for just one night, you can get into the Wizarding World an hour early on both your arrival and departure days.
(Need help figuring out which Universal Hotel best fits you? Our helpful guide can assist in your decision!)
2) Book a Universal vacation package
If you can’t stay at a Universal resort, book a partner hotel vacation package to gain Early Park Admission without the on-site price tag.
Discover the perfect blend of comfort and excitement with our basic package, seamlessly combining your hotel room and tickets. Now that Universal has more than 20 off-site partner hotels, there’s a perfect match for every budget. Just like the Universal Orlando hotels, when you book a Universal vacation package, enjoy Early Park Admission on both check-in and check-out days (and, yes, paid admission to the parks is still required, but it’s likely already included with your package).
Please note that Early Park Admission will be valid for guests who book a vacation package through Universal. This perk is not available when booked directly with the partner hotel.
3) Go early and stay late
If you can’t stay at a Universal property, make the most of your visit by arriving early and staying late. With the cozy charm of shops and attractions, Hogsmeade and Diagon Alley can fill up fast, even with just a handful of visitors. To beat the crowds, it’s best to go to the parks during the non-peak times – early mornings and right before closing (most guests visit theme parks between 10:00 am and 3:00 pm).
Keep in mind that we strongly recommend planning on going first thing in the morning and again in the evening; The Wizarding World of Harry Potter lights up at night, and it’s spectacular.
(If you’d like to see pictures of the Wizarding World at night, check out the photo gallery below!)
4) Go during a special event
Throughout the year, Universal throws epic events like Mardi Gras and Halloween Horror Nights. It’s worth mentioning that some of these annual extravaganzas, like Horror Nights, require separate tickets, while others, like Mardi Gras (although certain annual passes might be blocked out on concert nights), are included with regular park admission.
When Universal hosts its Mardi Gras concerts at the Music Plaza at Universal Studios Florida, they tend to draw crowds with well-known, popular acts. Luckily for us, these concerts pull guests toward the front of the park and away from Diagon Alley!
At Halloween Horror Nights, most attendees are there for the scares. However, if you need a break from the fright, Diagon Alley remains open for those seeking a breather. Sneak behind the London facade to find a nearly empty land and a short line for Harry Potter and the Escape from Gringotts.
To identify Mardi Gras or HHN nights, visit our crowd calendar. You can plan on beating the crowds by heading to Hogsmeade or Diagon Alley on those evenings (depending on park hours and your ticket entitlements).
If you love these tips and want to read more, check out our advice to ensure your trip to the Wizarding World is a success!
The Wizarding World of Harry Potter at night – photo gallery
- Butterbeer at Universal Orlando Resort – Complete Insider’s Guide
- Diagon Alley & Harry Potter Return Tickets – Complete Insider’s Guide
- Early Admission to The Wizarding World of Harry Potter (at Universal Studios & Islands of Adventure) and Volcano Bay
- How to Ensure Your Trip to The Wizarding World of Harry Potter is a Success!
- Interactive Wizarding Wands & Spell-Casting in the Wizarding World – Complete Guide
- Shopping and Merchandise in Diagon Alley – Complete, Up-to-Date Guide
- Shopping and Merchandise in Hogsmeade – Complete, Up-to-Date Guide
- The Leaky Cauldron at Universal’s Diagon Alley – Complete Insider’s Guide
- The Specialty Drinks, Meals, and Desserts of Diagon Alley
- The Three Broomsticks & Hog’s Head (quick-service) at Universal’s Islands of Adventure
- Wizarding World of Harry Potter: 4 Ways to Beat the Crowds