“Yell a wizard, Harry!” – Hagrid probably
What a wonderful trip! We decided to check out Universal Studios and Islands of Adventure in January this year. We stayed at a resort at the park for the first time, which we truly recommend.
Day 1: Fly Seattle to Orlando – Uber to Hotel – Dinner at CityWalk
Day 2: Full day in the park – Start at Islands of Adventure and park hop using the Park-to-Park pass.
Day 3: Full day in the park – Start at Universal Studios and park hop
Day 4: Full day in the park – Start at Islands of Adventure and race to the Velocicoaster, then park hop
Day 5: Uber to airport – Fly from Orlando to Seattle
We planned for January after learning about cheaper park prices due to the off season. Going a week after New Years worked out really well for us! There were no Christmas decorations, but the park still felt as magical as ever.
Since we stayed on property, we were able to take advantage of Early Park Admission which made for some almost-sunrise pictures. It was lovely walking through a early morning Hogsmeade – and being first on the Velocicoaster!
Part of my Christmas gift/wish was to have as much butterbeer as I wanted… and I would say that made my trip feel luxurious to the 100th degree. I think a Butterbeer Budget will be added to every trip from now on!
Did we get wands? Absolutely! This trip was our first time getting wands, and it was far more fun than we expected. We took them everywhere and tried all the magic spells. We saw young and old wizards alike trying their hand at magic spells. It was such a truly giddy experience.
The wand quality has improved greatly since the park’s first opening. These wands have weight to them and each one has a cool little detail about them. We were impressed at how they felt like wood vs plastic and were painted to look like wood as well. Such fun little details!
Zach got me this Tri-Wizard Tournament shirt for Christmas. Ravenclaw Champion over here!
These Harry Potter book shirts were so fun to wear! We each picked our favorite book in the series to wear during our days there. Out of Print doesn’t sell these anymore, but they do have other cute bookish merch.
The weather was splendid during our trip. Coming from Washington state to Florida made for a nice sunny break.
The details of the park are what make the experience so special. Half the fun is looking at all the thought and care that went into the details. We loved Hagrid’s hut and all his items in the ruins of the castle on the grounds. Be sure to check out the graffiti on the Hagrid’s Magical Creatures ride! There are some fun easter eggs in there.
After Hogsmeade we took the Hogwarts Express over to Diagon Alley for more butterbeer, magic, and dragons! Be sure to buy the “Park to Park” pass to ride the Hogwarts Express!
The park was fairly empty in the morning as everyone was rushing to ride Harry Potter and the Escape from Gringotts, so we had the whole street to ourselves!
We had a magical time at Universal. I highly recommend visiting in the off-season and staying on-site! It was so great to take a shuttle from our hotel to the park. No driving for us!
While January had less options, some of the rides were closed, and some of the merch had not yet been restocked, we really enjoyed the lower crowds. This trip was far more relaxing than expected even if we did not get to do every single little thing. 10/10 experience. 🙂