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  1. #1

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    Talking A quick guide to survive the Holidays at Islands of Adventure with Harry Potter

    So you decided to spend this Christmas in Orlando! First I want to say WELCOME to Central Florida! And while here you decided that you were going to enjoy the wonderful Holiday offerings at Universal Studios, and especially see that brand new Harry Potter land known as the Wizarding World of Harry Potter at Islands of Adventure. But much to your surprise you find out that people are waiting 3 -6 hours just to get into the land, let alone ride a ride!

    Now you might be freaking out. Who waits 4 hours to get into a land? Well if you follow my quick and easy guide, to Islands of Adventure for the Holidays, not only are you going to be able to experience the Wizarding World of Harry Potter, but you will also have an enchanting Holiday experience that your family will cherish!



    1. Make the Wizarding World of Harry Potter your number 1 Priority! This sounds like a no brainer, but you need to make this the central focus of your Islands of Adventure Park Strategy. During the holidays Islands of Adventure will be open from 8:00 am - 10:00 pm/12:00am/1:00am While that may seem like a lot of time, you really don't want to spend 4+ hours of your day waiting in line to enter a land. Get to Islands of Adventure at 7:00 am. When I say get, I don't be arrive at the parking structure. I mean be in line at the physical gate with tickets in hand, and ready to enter. While you will wait an hour to enter the park, it is 3 hours of extra things you can do later in the day! Once the park opens walk briskly to the Wizardy World of Harry Potter via Seuss Landing. Once you are in the Wizarding World of Harry Potter, you can take a breath, they can't kick you out once you are in! lol So go first to Olivandra's Wand Shop, while this might seem counter intuitive, because you want to ride the big ride you will thank me for this. Go through Olivandra's buy your wand, then go ride Dragon Challenge. After Dragon Challenge the line for the Forbidden Journey should be about 75 minutes, and that is the perfect length of time. The Forbidden Journey at the Wizarding World of Harry Potter is about an hour long attraction. You will spend about 15 minutes outside hogwarts, then about an hour of queue inside Hogwarts, and in the end, it will feel like you didn't have enough time to enjoy it. So a longer wait is a bonus! After the Forbidden Journey, take a ride on the Flying Hippogriff, then explore the shops, get lots of photos, and maybe ride the Forbidden Journey one more time. Before you leave the Wizarding World, make sure you have all your photos because you probably won't becoming back in.

    2. SLOW DOWN. You are at Islands of Adventure during the Holidays, and it is time to enjoy it! After you are done with Harry Potter it should be around 11 am. At this point you should enjoy the stroll through the Lost Continent, and stroll away. It is time to take this park nice and slow. While in the Lost Continent, enjoy Poseidon's Fury, and then Lunch at the comfortable and affordable Mythos Restaurant.



    3. Enjoy Grinchmas. Islands of Adventure's Holiday Offering is Grinchmas at Seuss Landing. After lunch, stroll on over to Seuss Landing, and get in line to see "How the Grinch Stole Christmas" over by Circus McGurkus. Shows are on the hour, but there is ample seating, so you won't wait very long in line, and there is lots of "streetmosphere" for you to enjoy with Whovillians all over the place interacting with guests.

    4. Relax, and enjoy. After Grinchmas just enjoy the park, there are going to be decent lines, but most of the people are going to be occupied in the back of the park, waiting to get into the Wizarding World of Harry Potter, so in all honesty you won't need Express Passes.

    5. Buy Ponchos. Just because it is chilly doesn't mean you can't enjoy the 3 stellar water attractions at Islands of Adventure. Invest in some Ponchos, and then go experience the Jurassic Park River Adventure, Dudely Do Right's Ripsaw Falls, and Popey and Bluto's Bilge Rat Barges. There will be 0 lines for these, so ride the over and over, just go crazy! There are some full body dryers near the exits for all these attractions, so after you are doing going crazy on them, you can warm up a bit if necessary.

    6. Appreciate the smaller attractions. Island of Adventures true charm comes when you appreciate some of the smaller attractions. Make sure you explore "If I ran the Zoo" at Seuss Landing and Staying Dry on "1 Fish 2 Fish Red Fish Blue Fish" is a fun challenge. Then at Jurassic Park the newly reopened Triceratops Discovery Trail is a MUST experience, and Camp Jurassic is also a place that needs to be explored along with Popey's Ship at Toon Lagoon.

    If you follow this advice, you should really be able to have a stress free, fun filled day, that is enchanting and awesome!
    Last edited by KingEric; 12-21-2010 at 07:47 AM.

  2. #2

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    Re: A quick guide to survive the Holidays at Islands of Adventure with Harry Potter

    Thank you Eric! And I totally agree with your schedule. We did more or less the same exact thing during the last MiceChat invasion and it really worked!

    One note, many days, the cast members will force you to go left - through Marvel and Toon Lagoon - to get to Wizarding World. There is a virtual queuing setup at this spot as well.

    Here's a photo from Kevin Yee in his Orlando update today on MiceAge:



    Would you happen to know how this setup is working and how early in the day they start using it?

    Cheers and thanks!

    Dusty
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  3. #3

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    Re: A quick guide to survive the Holidays at Islands of Adventure with Harry Potter

    Quote Originally Posted by Dustysage View Post
    One note, many days, the cast members will force you to go left - through Marvel and Toon Lagoon - to get to Wizarding World. There is a virtual queuing setup at this spot as well....

    Would you happen to know how this setup is working and how early in the day they start using it?
    I just confirmed with Guest Services at UO. Valet Parking Opens at 8am, the Parking garage opens at 6:45 AM. If you are an onsite guest at any of the Universal Orlando Resort Hotels, you have early access to the Wizarding World of Harry Potter starting at 7am.

    As far as the queuing via Jurassic Park that begins to happen as attendance picks up mid morning. If you are there as I recommend right at park opening you can go straight back, and follow my guideline. Being there at Park Opening is KEY!

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    Re: A quick guide to survive the Holidays at Islands of Adventure with Harry Potter

    Great post! Im headed to Orlando first week of January. Hoping the crowds will be gone by then. We're hitting IoA on Tuesday, January 4th. How bad do you think the crowds will be at Wizarding World? Or will the park be empty that day?

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    Re: A quick guide to survive the Holidays at Islands of Adventure with Harry Potter

    Quote Originally Posted by mkm1998 View Post
    Great post! Im headed to Orlando first week of January. Hoping the crowds will be gone by then. We're hitting IoA on Tuesday, January 4th. How bad do you think the crowds will be at Wizarding World? Or will the park be empty that day?
    Historically theme park traffic at all the Orlando area theme parks drop off like a rock after January 2nd. But if there is 1 thing I have learned this year at UO is that things aren't performing like they have historically. lol

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    Re: A quick guide to survive the Holidays at Islands of Adventure with Harry Potter

    You say to cut through Seuss Landing to get to Potterland. When I visited (and I was there right when they park opened at 9am that day), they made everyone who wasn't staying on property to go ALL THE WAY AROUND THE PARK from Marvel Island. Only on property hotel guests could cut through Seuss Landing until 10am or so, then they started letting anyone through.

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    Re: A quick guide to survive the Holidays at Islands of Adventure with Harry Potter

    Quote Originally Posted by aimster View Post
    You say to cut through Seuss Landing to get to Potterland. When I visited (and I was there right when they park opened at 9am that day), they made everyone who wasn't staying on property to go ALL THE WAY AROUND THE PARK from Marvel Island. Only on property hotel guests could cut through Seuss Landing until 10am or so, then they started letting anyone through.
    Interesting. when were you there? I spoke to a friend in Guest Communications who confirmed that you could access via LC. However, in the event that you can't you can use the "blow out" bridge from LC to Jurassic Park to get to Toon Lagoon licitly split.
    Last edited by KingEric; 12-21-2010 at 08:32 PM.

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    Re: A quick guide to survive the Holidays at Islands of Adventure with Harry Potter

    This may not apply to the holiday season, but when I went on a weekday in September, the stand-by line for Forbidden Journey was over 60 minutes mid-day.

    Right before closing however, it was a walk-on.

    If you're itching to experience the attraction or any part of Wizarding World, a return visit in the last hour before closing might be worthwhile.
    My Micechat cruise trip report, Part 1:http://micechat.com/14795-disney-wonder/

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    Re: A quick guide to survive the Holidays at Islands of Adventure with Harry Potter

    Quote Originally Posted by BC_DisneyGeek View Post
    This may not apply to the holiday season, but when I went on a weekday in September, the stand-by line for Forbidden Journey was over 60 minutes mid-day.

    Right before closing however, it was a walk-on.

    If you're itching to experience the attraction or any part of Wizarding World, a return visit in the last hour before closing might be worthwhile.
    They closed down the standby line for the WWoHP at 630/700pm for the park closing time at 10pm lol it is insane lol

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    Re: A quick guide to survive the Holidays at Islands of Adventure with Harry Potter

    Another couple of things that may help - If you are comfortable paring down what you carry with you into the parks, that may save a lot of time, allowing you to bypass some if not all of the lockers on the thrill rides that require use of them (for items like purses, backpacks, bags o' merchandise). As a local I've done that, whittling down to the essentials from my purse, which I switch over into pockets on a pair of cargo pants. I also forgo a thicker jacket on cooler days and aim for a thick, zip up hoodie, and I carry cotton balls for my ears (to avoid any possibility of earache or related illness).

    Something else to be aware of is specifically at Forbidden Journey - the line on the right is for folks aiming for lockers. They have a line on the left that should always be open for "non bag folk", but it isn't always mentioned by TM's. Definitely ask about it, and they'll direct you to a door at the front left of the main entrance. From there, you can go to the main queue, or if it's open, the single rider queue. (Note: I think most of the other thrill rides at Universal have clearly marked queues for this, but in case they don't it's always good to ask a Team Member.)

    Any folks heading to the parks...I hope you have fun, exercise a bit of patience getting around, and remember, it's the holidays. Enjoy!

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    Re: A quick guide to survive the Holidays at Islands of Adventure with Harry Potter

    Quote Originally Posted by aimster View Post
    You say to cut through Seuss Landing to get to Potterland. When I visited (and I was there right when they park opened at 9am that day), they made everyone who wasn't staying on property to go ALL THE WAY AROUND THE PARK from Marvel Island. Only on property hotel guests could cut through Seuss Landing until 10am or so, then they started letting anyone through.
    I would bet this depends on the day and the TM guiding guests around the park. Every time I've headed in (with an aim to visit Hogsmeade) I've never encountered any corraling towards Marvel Island, and have always headed through Suess Landing. But, that's not to say it doesn't happen.

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    Re: A quick guide to survive the Holidays at Islands of Adventure with Harry Potter

    Quote Originally Posted by Trinitys Ghost View Post
    Another couple of things that may help - If you are comfortable paring down what you carry with you into the parks, that may save a lot of time, allowing you to bypass some if not all of the lockers on the thrill rides that require use of them (for items like purses, backpacks, bags o' merchandise). As a local I've done that, whittling down to the essentials from my purse, which I switch over into pockets on a pair of cargo pants. I also forgo a thicker jacket on cooler days and aim for a thick, zip up hoodie, and I carry cotton balls for my ears (to avoid any possibility of earache or related illness).

    Something else to be aware of is specifically at Forbidden Journey - the line on the right is for folks aiming for lockers. They have a line on the left that should always be open for "non bag folk", but it isn't always mentioned by TM's. Definitely ask about it, and they'll direct you to a door at the front left of the main entrance. From there, you can go to the main queue, or if it's open, the single rider queue. (Note: I think most of the other thrill rides at Universal have clearly marked queues for this, but in case they don't it's always good to ask a Team Member.)

    Any folks heading to the parks...I hope you have fun, exercise a bit of patience getting around, and remember, it's the holidays. Enjoy!
    These are GREAT TIPS!

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    Re: A quick guide to survive the Holidays at Islands of Adventure with Harry Potter

    Another tip is to remember that you can ask for packages to be sent to the front of the park for pickup. If you're traveling lean and trying to avoid lockers, having your packages wait for you saves you from the endless locker stops.

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    Re: A quick guide to survive the Holidays at Islands of Adventure with Harry Potter

    Quote Originally Posted by SkittleKicks View Post
    Another tip is to remember that you can ask for packages to be sent to the front of the park for pickup. If you're traveling lean and trying to avoid lockers, having your packages wait for you saves you from the endless locker stops.
    YES! How could I have forgotten this one?

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    Re: A quick guide to survive the Holidays at Islands of Adventure with Harry Potter

    Quote Originally Posted by KingEric View Post
    Interesting. when were you there? I spoke to a friend in Guest Communications who confirmed that you could access via LC. However, in the event that you can't you can use the "blow out" bridge from LC to Jurassic Park to get to Toon Lagoon licitly split.
    This was back at the end of July, so it might have changed since then. But yeah at that time they made all non-on property hotel guests go all the way around starting from Marvel Island, through Toon Lagoon & Jurassic Park and start queueing up for Forbidden Journey in Jurassic Park. I discovered the "blow out bridge" between Lost Continent & Jurassic Park/Toon Lagoon later in the day while I was walking through Lost Continent trying to decide what I wanted for lunch (and ended up at Confisco Grille).

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