We were extremely lucky to visit The Wizarding World of Harry Potter at Islands Adventure part of Universal's resort Orlando, Florida in its first week of the official opening. Was it busy? Yes Did we enjoy our visit? Yes, very much Did the new ride 'Harry Potter and The Forbidden Journey' live up to our expectations? Yes absolutely, this ride is amazing. If you are planning a visit I hope that you find the following tips useful:
* Plan your visit for later in the day (I suggest 4pm onwards). Everybody appears to be heading here first on arrival at the park, plus guests at Universal resort are granted early entrance (before the park officially opens) so trying to beat the queues in the morning, currently appears impossible. In the morning we visited there was a queue just to enter the Harry Potter section; we returned much later in the day and walked straight into this section.
* If you are going to ride 'Harry Potter and The Forbidden Journey' you will need to put bags, loose items in the lockers before queuing to ride (there is a small pocket to store phones, wallets etc on the ride but you have to be quick as boarding is fast) so perhaps plan to ride before making any major purchases as the lockers are not that big (eg you couldn't fit a wand in the lockers!).
* If there is a queue for the lockers use the other entrance: go through Fitch's Emporium to the right of the Castle.
* If you are wearing flip-flops be prepared to grip on with your feet when riding 'Harry Potter and The Forbidden Journey'.
* If you don't get time to visit the shops you can buy Harry Potter Merchandise at other shops in Islands of Adventure, Universal Studios, Orlando International Airport and Universal's Online shop.
* Butterbeer: There is a Butterbeer wagon in Hogsmeade Village, if the queues here are long try The Hog's Head Pub, where you may find the queues shorter, they also offer regular and frozen options whereas the street wagon only offers regular Butterbeer.
* Owl Post - If you buy a postcard at Owl Post ask the cashier to stamp your postcard with an official Hogsmeade Village postmark.
* The Three Broomsticks: there is outside seating to the rear with fantastic views of Hogwart's Castle, which also makes a great photo opportunity.