Her jaw dropped open, offended. "YES!"
Look, I love JK Rowling. She's wonderful. She's giving. She's witty. I just simply could never get into the books or movies. I tried. Many times.
My daughter isn't obsessed with Harry Potter or anything. But her teacher is obsessed with Harry Potter, and her entire room is decorated with it. She even organized the class into different houses. Natalie is HufflePuff. She reads the books to the students when there is free time. So Natalie knows about it.
"It's just, we can't get an express pass for any of the Harry Potter rides," I explained.
Natalie shrugged. "Well, I want to see everything!"
So I came up with a plan. Natalie could pick ONE Harry Potter ride and we'd go there right when the park opened.
"Hmmm," she said, tapping her chin. "Hmm. Which ride do I want?"
Traveling with kids can be frustrating.
In the end, she picked the Gringott's ride. So true to my word, as soon as the park opened, we rushed back there. We only got lost twice.
TIP #1: Go to Harry Potter right when the park opens. It's less chaotic. If you only have one day, pick one ride. If you want to do multiple rides, do them all in the morning. You cannot get express passes for any of them. The rides are in different areas. Gringott's is in the Universal Studios section. The others are in the Islands Of Adventure.
I won't lie, I didn't know what anything was in the ride.
I didn't know what was going on in the ride either. Who were all those wizards? I recognized Harry at least. But there was a redhead who didn't look like Ron--I think his name is? Maybe it was Ron? There was some redhead wizard helping us.
But it was fun! And we got to ride up front.
We explored the Harry Potter area. I was glad Natalie didn't care about Ollivander's because the line was long. Get there early if you want to do it. The line was like 50 people deep when I saw it.
TIP#2 Get Express Passes! There are two options: one where you can go on a ride one time, or one where you can go on a ride unlimited times. We just did the single ride since we only had one day.
Most of the express lines were fairly quick. The longest one was the Despicable Me line. I think we were there for 30 minutes, but it beat the 80 minute wait others were doing. Skull Island: Reign of Kong was also about 30 minutes, but was an hour for everyone else.
TIP #3: Eat lunch early and beat the crowds. We walked over to Toothsome Chocolate Emporium at 11 and there was NO wait! It's located on the Citywalk and was between Universal Studios and Islands of Adventure. I'll have more a review on this soon!
TIP#4 If you want to watch the parade, sit where it first comes out. Seriously, ten minutes before it started, the was still sitting space, because not a lot of people were there. And then when it ended, we could easily walk off to another ride since it wasn't super crowded.
TIP#5: It helps if you're a wimp. We only went on the 4D rides, the 3D rides, the ET ride, the Kong ride, plus the one Harry Potter ride. Oh, and the Jurassic Park ride. You WILL get wet. We also didn't bother with any shows. We would have done the Beetlejuice one, but they got rid of it. Boo.
TIP#6: Like lunch, eat dinner early. We ate at 5. There were still lines, but it wasn't as crazy. We ate at Mel's diner. It was basic, but good enough. Burgers and fries! Located in the Universal Studios side.
TIP#7: Do the raptor encounter but bring your patience! We waited for like an hour, because the raptor has to switch out. They only let so many people in. If we did this again, I'd go earlier and hope that the line was shorter. It's amusing though, the raptor acts like she's going to eat you. She'll sniff your hair and all that and sometimes will snap right near your ear. She wanted to eat my daughter.
TIP#8: Wear a fanny pack. I know, I know, people think they are uncool, but there are rides at Universal where you aren't allowed backpacks or purses. The Gringott's ride, for one. You had to put everything into a locker first. I found this fashionable fanny pack at least!
TIP#9: Leave an hour before the park closes. You'll beat the insane crowds. We took an Uber back, and it was still chaotic. Text your Uber driver and tell him or her what you are wearing. Trust me, the pick up area moves quickly, and security moves vehicles along. If you miss your ride, you're out of luck.
I felt like we did everything we wanted to do. If we went back, we'd probably follow the same plan, only there are some rides we'd skip. The Shrek ride, for starters. Next time we go, we might stay two days, only because we're curious about the hotels there. We were staying at Disney property.
So have you gone to Universal Orlando? What hotel should we stay at?