First things first
Book your tickets online through Universal’s website. This way you get to go into the park an hour earlier and can go into Hogsmead and Hogwarts before most people arrive. Bring your own food and water bottles to save money. Wear sun protection, comfortable shoes and clothes you can move in easily. Get the app so you know where what is, you can even use it to create a schedule – even if you do not have a local phone, the Wi-Fi in the park is super fast and free for visitors.
Good Morning Harry Potter World
Head into Hogsmead, have a quick look around, take lots of photos (trust us, you won’t get another opportunity to do this without lots and lots of people in your pics!) and get yourself in line to Harry Potter’s Forbidden Journey or ride The Flight of the Hippogriff. If you made it in as early the wait times will be minimal. Use the lockers at HPFJ to store your bags – its free! Just put a reminder in your phone so you don’t go over the allotted time. The system uses your fingerprint as a key and you each only get 90 minutes of free storage so try to put your entire group’s belongings into one locker so you can use other members’ access to store stuff later.
Get yourself a Butterbeer, queues for them will be massive later on. We shared one; it was great to get a taste but not really for us, so we’d recommend you also share just in case you don’t enjoy drinking liquid butter cola. Check out Olivander’s wand shop – the little show is really cool. We also enjoyed Zonko’s and seeing all the sweets.
Time to find some dinosaurs!
The best thing to do next is to go to the lower level – we found the crowds did not make it down here this early. Do Revenge of the Mummy – The Ride and use the lockers there to store your things again. Lines should still be quite short, but you can also do the Single Rider Queue here. We were lucky and got to sit next to each other even when we chose that option!
Head over to Transformers – The Ride 3D. As a rule – ALWAYS opt for the Single Rider Line. It is so worth it. Don’t forget to take a photo of / with the super awesomely done Transformers characters outside before it gets too busy to do so!
Next, check out the velociraptor at Jurassic Park (if it is out there already) and get splashed by Jurassic Park – The Ride. We’d only recommend sitting in the front if you are really keen to get soaked!
Back to the beginning
It is most likely much busier now – before you take a break for lunch, try to knock over some more things. We did the Simpsons Ride next – you cannot do the Single Rider Lane but the wait is super entertaining. You might even get to meet Homer and co. outside! Either stroll past Hogsmead next to check out just how crazy busy it is now, or head to Despicable Me Minion Mayhem to keep cool and out of the sun. Single Rider Lane is available for this one. The Walking Dead fluctuates a lot – we recommend using the app to check out wait times so you can make your way there when it is not too bad; there is no way to skip the queue.
Shaded areas are prime property and not plentiful, unfortunately. We had lunch at Moe’s, got a Krusty Burger to share and sat in the bar to eat it. The burger was surprisingly decent and definitely enough for 2 adults (we had crackers and fruit for snacks throughout the day as well) All other restaurants we saw in passing looked nice too, so you are spoiled for choice. They all seem to be self-serving places so don’t plan for anything too fancy. We got a beer at the Mulligans Pub later on, great people watching but steep prices.
All we did after lunch was watch the WaterWorld show (it is awesome!) and we took the Studio Tour. We were super lucky and got picked out from the massive queue for the bus – there is no Single Rider Lane but we somehow managed to skip the queue after standing in the sun for all but 5 minutes. Really no idea how this happened – we recommend to be extra smiley and nice to everyone around you!
We left the park at 3 PM to head to the pool because we were super happy about having been able to do all the rides we had planned to. You could definitely see the other shows as well or spend more time taking pictures with the characters etc. but if you get up early and plan your day based on this itinerary, you can most likely even beat the traffic when leaving the park.
Let us know in the comments if you have visited before, if this guide was helpful for your future visit and if there is something we missed.