Ever since it opened I have been anxious to visit Universal Studios to see the Wizarding World of Harry Potter. And YES it lived up to all the hype and then some. I didn't have time to do alot of research on what I was going to see I just knew I wanted to see it.
Here is my advice...
HP is on the Island of Adventure at Universal. Find out when the park is going to open and get there early...Run don't walk to the Castle and get in line. AVOID looking at all of the fabulous shops...Hurry Hurry to the line. I did this and I had about a 45 minute wait....Did I mention I am 5 months pregnant...soooo between the stop to the bathroom and the walking not running I didn't get there in time for there to be NO LINE. It is one of the most amazing lines. DON'T USE A FAST PASS your first time in line....You will miss all of the amazing things....Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey has lots to see so keep that camera handy. I have a 15 year old who is a HUGE Harry Potter fan and my husband isn't a fan at all....both said the ride and was worth the wait. I couldn't ride...I was so sad...but my daughter and I had fun just waiting in line and seeing everything....Since we were not interested in the ride we got lots of amazing photos....to many to share...If you are lucky enough to get a fast pass (the pass that lets you avoid the lines) use it on the second trip on the ride. Note Universal only lets you use your fast pass one time for each ride. It was kinda funny on the other rides when the wait time was just 5 min and folks were using there fast pass. It seemed like a waste of money. This ride is really scary. My 4 year old was not tall enough (you have to be 48 inches), but my husband said it was super scary even for him...My son said it was scary. Lots of things jumping out at you...maybe something not for anyone too young...but you know your kids so you decided. There is a child swap line. Again my daughter and I had a blast just standing in line. It moves really fast so it makes you feel like you are going somewhere. and there is alot to see in the line and you would never get these angles of view if you were not in line. I hate to ruin suprises so I hope I gave you information without giving away to much information.
Tip #1 No bags of any kind allowed on the ride...Strollers either....they provide you lockers...for a fee. This is another reason to avoid shopping before the ride. No drinks allowed either. Keep your cameras don't leave them in your bag....put them in your pocket....Make sure they will stay there. This ride really MOVES you around...
Tip #2 Did I mention get to the line as soon as possible. As soon as the park opens if possible. I am told that some of the Universal resorts allow access to the park before it opens....They maybe the reason for some of the long lines...but who knows.
There are five shops full of Harry goodies, some of which carry outrageously high prices, the Three Broomsticks restaurant and Hogs Head pub sell food. I didn't eat at any of the restraunts. I did however love the butter beer. It taste like a cream soda with butter scotch added. I had the frozen version, they also sell a non frozen version in a sovineer cup or without...the price is $3.75- $13 depending on the cup you choose. Also they have fresh fruit stands everywhere...I LOVE IT. I really can't stand processed food. It gives me a tummy ache. They do not sell any sodas in HP area. The staff does a great job of keeping the integrity of the world JK has created.
To enter any of the shops is nearly impossible they have long lines. They only allow a few people to enter at a time. Since I couldn't ride any of the rides...I stood in the lines to check out the shops. (Honeydukes, Zonko's, The Owl Post, Dervish and Banges and Filch's Emporium of Confiscated Goods) There was a 1 hour and 30 minute line to Ollivanders wand shop, the only shop I didn't viisit. I didn't really need to purchase a wand but they start at $30. They have koisk of wands to purchase but lots of folks I talked to say that the experience in the shop was one that was worth the wait. I made it into all of the stores....and I didn't see anything I needed to have. I saw lots of folks purchasing the chocolate frogs...but I kept thinking it's flordia....It is going to melt....The small frogs are $10 and the big chocolate frogs are $14...Cloaks are about...$100 and I saw some official Hogwarts patches for only $7 that could be applied to anything (it was at Dervish and Banges shop)...I didn't purchase any suovineers, neither did any of my kids. I offered but they seemed so happy just to LOOK. The quill pens and a journal was something my niece purchased and it was super nice and well made. I didn't see the quill pen she purchased online...but the journal is there..
My daughter and I mailed postcards from the Owlery to ourselves at home and a friend. It was really inexpensive you will get a Hogsmead postmark.
I hope this was helpful. Let me know if you have been and have ANY advice or information to add