How to Navigate the Crowds in the Wizarding World of Harry Potter at Universal

It’s no secret that Universal Orlando Resort can get pretty busy around the big holidays.

It’s a busy day in Diagon Alley!

In the past, we’ve seen the parks reach capacity super early in the morning over the winter holidays, and recently the parks have been at capacity with spring breakers flocking to the parks. And, for many travelers, the main attraction is the Wizarding World of Harry Potter. But, you don’t have to be any average muggle in the crowds! With a few tips and tricks, you’ll be navigating Hogsmeade and Diagon Alley like a pro sipping Butterbeer!

Here’s How To Navigate Crowds at The Wizarding World of Harry Potter!

Look for the Virtual Line Earlier Than You Think

At Universal Orlando, there are three different Harry Potter rides that you can potentially line up for virtually (depending on how long wait times are). This includes Harry Potter and the Escape from Gringotts in The Wizarding World of Harry Potter –- Diagon Alley. Plus Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey and Hagrid’s Magical Creatures Motorbike Adventure in The Wizarding World of Harry Potter –- Hogsmeade.

Wizarding World of Harry Potter

And, it can be a bit harder to get a spot in the virtual line when crowds are heavy at Universal! So, instead of waiting until the time that the parks open, start looking about 20 minutes or so before and keep checking! 

Harry Potter Ride Virtual Line Confirmation

We’ve been able to get in line as early as 7:50AM when the park was scheduled to open at 8AM. By the time the clock hits the hour, the virtual lines tend to be full on a busy day.

Virtual Line Sign-Up

This is a tip you’ll definitely want to use if you’re planning to get on any of the big Harry Potter rides!

Ranking the Rides at Universal Orlando’s Wizarding World Of Harry Potter

Ride The Train Early

One of the cooler things that you can do at Universal Orlando is travel between the two parks via train. And, not just any train — the Hogwarts Express! And, your heart isn’t the only one that skips a few beats out of excitement when you hear that! LOTS of people want to catch a ride on the train which can cause some major lines throughout the day. If you’re hoping to avoid a long line for transportation between parks, take the road less traveled!

All Aboard!

Start your day in the park that you DON’T want to begin your day and take the train over to the other park! This puts the train as your first ride of the day and you can usually walk right on because no one else is as smart as you! When we’ve done this before, the Hogsmeade train was only a 5-minute wait.

Ride the train FIRST!

And, if you’re feeling crazy, you can start in the park you want to be at and hop aboard first thing so you can get the experience of riding BOTH ways before the line becomes long!

The Best Harry Potter Quotes for Your Wizarding World Instagram Captions

Score Butterbeer at a Discount Without a Line

Now onto one of our favorite afternoon sips in the Wizarding World of Harry Potter — Butterbeer! Sadly, the world has not normalized Butterbeer as an appropriate meal, so you’ll probably want to order some food to go with your cold (or hot) breakfast. Save some cash and order a kid’s breakfast meal at the Three Broomsticks! Seriously!

Butter Beer!!

Kid’s breakfast meals come with a drink and you can substitute the frozen or regular Butterbeer! The total meal costs about $12, which ends up being a pretty good deal when you factor in a Butterbeer typically costing $8.

Line for butterbeer

This is also a great way to skip the long line for the Butterbeer cart! You’ll be thanking us as you skip the wait with your delicious Butterbeer in hand!

Mobile Order

Now, onto some more food tips! If there’s one thing we want to teach you it’s that lines for food CAN be avoided! Over at the Hopping Pot you can mobile order and skip the line entirely!

Mobile Order here!

There aren’t any signs letting people know about this secret but it is available!

Here’s the Way Universal Orlando is Beating Disney World at Mobile Order!

Skip the Wand Ceremony

We know that you really want a wand but on busy days the line can be 90+ minutes for your hand at the Wand Ceremony in both parks. But, there’s still a chance for you to find your wand!

Hogsmeade Crowds

Skip the wand ceremony and head over to Ollivander’s in Hogsmeade! The line for the shop is usually half the wait.


Plus, all you Slytherins will be happy to know that there is an even better way for you to shop for wands. Borgin and Burkes in Diagon Alley have dark wizard wands so you can usually find an even shorter line and start putting your wizarding skills to the test!

A Comprehensive Guide to the Interactive Wands of the Wizarding World of Harry Potter!

Use the Wait Time Alert Feature

And, the last tip takes us back to getting on those popular attractions when the park is crowded! The Universal Orlando Resort App has a Wait Time Alert feature and using it can really help you cut down on the time that you spend in line!

Wait time alerts for popular attractions

Select the ride that you want to set an alert for and choose the time that you’re willing to wait! When the line dips to that you will be notified and you can high tail it over for a shorter wait!

How Accurate are the Wait Times at Universal Orlando? Let’s Find Out!

So there you have it! Our top six tips for making the best of a busy day in the Wizarding World of Harry Potter! We’ve put these to the test so we know they can help cut down on your wait times so you can spend more time studying for your O.W.L.

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Have you been to Universal Orlando Resort on a busy day? Let us know in the comments!

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One Reply to “How to Navigate the Crowds in the Wizarding World of Harry Potter at Universal”

  1. Hi! Great tips! My husband saw you in line for butterbeer ice cream. You mentioned virtual lines for Gringott’s and Forbidden Journey, but I think these options are seasonal or not offered every day. Just a friendly heads up!