Universal Studios Harry Potter
#1
Has anyone been there?
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#2
Not since each of them opened.

I went to the Hogsmeade set about 4 years back, and loved it. But even the stage snow on the roof did not make July in Florida any cooler.

I went to the London set about 2 years back, and loved it even more.

This was a three day weekend trip. DEFINITELY GET THE PARK TO PARK PASS so that you can take the Train from one park to the other.

It was OK to bring in a bottle of water & if you have little kids, pack some small snacks. All of this is on the Universal web site under Questions.

Irene's Tips: Stay in one of the Universal hotels. The admissions passes are part of the package. You get a bus to the main gate, and early admission to the HP theme parks.
I chose the cheapest hotel, (then the Universal's Cabana Bay Beach Resort). With the hotel is an included "early entry" to the HP worlds. This is admission to the HP rides, and a walk past the lines of people waiting for the normal park entrance.
Meals, purchases and stuff (including butter beer & Gilley water) could be Paid on the room (bill). Items could be picked up on the way out of the park. OR with delivered to your room in 24 hours. Note: I purchased some more tiny minions at the Hotel store, same price as everywhere.

Each day we started with coffee & a snack, and then on to the biggest attraction: Hogwarts in one and Gringots in the other. Then we had breakfast in the on site HP restaurant/cafeteria, i.e.Three Brooms or Leaky Cauldron. I'm not a roller coaster person, so my travel companion did those alone. We did a snack, rather than lunch, each day, and went back to the hotel to swim & later dinner (Cabana has a cafeteria so everyone gets what they want burgers, pizza, salad and other foods.) Each day we started in one of the areas, and took the train to the other. This meant we didn't need to walk back to the main gate & back out to the HP area.

Rather than scalp the guests on stuff, the inner tube that my niece got for the hotel lazy river, was reasonably priced (?$15?), inflated for her, and later deflated & brought home.
The prices for standard HP and other stuff, was the same as on the web site - and would be delivered to either the Hotel or to the shop at the main gate.

The best piece of magic was the entrance to the HP set from the London set. We only found the secondary entrance as we felt cold air coming out from a wall. Later in the day, they put a "conductor" at the main entrance.

The most amazing bit of magic was the train between the parks. I had hoped for a 10 minute ride across the Florida landscape. We got an odd wait at each station, to watch the train pull in. On board there was a shadow show on the windows with HP voices for that 10 minute trip, and then the train pulled into the other station.
I have no idea if or how the train backed (?) out of the station, or how the train turned around. Since I also looked at the Google Earth of the whole park - between the two sets is lots of flat roofs. Real Magic?

The second trip, we were minions. I pre-purchased minion ball caps & we wore yellow shirts. The denim aprons that I made, never got worn - way to hot.

Both trips my travel companions seemed to want to get me on the Jurasic Park ride, I think to make me get wet. (it poured on us that second trip). I liked the So You want to be a Minion ride, and I LOVE the Men in Black ride.

Back then the, "Front of the line" pass didn't work for HP worlds - but now they have a web app to tell you how long the lines are.
Look for cool places to sit to wait for other members of your group.
In the Hogsmead set - There is a train station waiting room like triangular roofed area. This has a huge clock & evaporative cooling.
In the London set - the Diagon Alley area is completely inside an Air Conditioned area, but is mostly dark. But like I mentioned - the entrance to the Wizarding World can be found by feeling the AC.

Last point: You need to check your bags & Parcels into a locker at Hogwarts, Gringotts and roller-coasters. Select a locker and a number as your combo & WRITE THEM DOWN!!! I was so excited that I tossed my bag into the back of a locker & used my thumb print. When coming out, I couldn't remember the locker number & my thumb print no longer worked (after an hour where we search every single locker with a costumed assistant & a guard) the bag was WAY at the dark end of a locker).

Remember to put all of your loose stuff like sun glasses, hats, coins, etc into a back pack. Walking under some of the Hulk roller coaster & look up at the stuff that comes out of peoples pockets.


PS: If you are traveling alone, or don't mind being separated from your travel mate, look for the Singles lines at the attractions. This is way faster that other lines, and for some rides (Men In Black) allows you to shoot at your travel companion.
PPS: If your under-10 companion will be purchasing a wand anyway. Talk to the costumed person doing line control (quietly) at Olivanders (at both Sets). They usually select a child to be chosen by a wand. Expect to be purchasing that wand.
Irene
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