A couple weeks ago we decided to take a little vacation prompted by Peter having a week off at work while I had a free week as well. Last time this happened we had a fun staycation in Atlanta. This time we had a little more money and wanted to leave for a little while.
Back when we moved here they had just opened the Harry Potter installation at Universal and we had to miss it. In subsequent years I utterly refused to go while it’s hot outside. There was no way I was going to let my experience of Hogsmeade in “winter” be a balmy 92ºF with all that humidity. We went during Florida’s winter and I have to say it was the best choice. I cannot stress that enough.
But instead of this post being a boring “Look at us on vacation” post I want it to be useful. So here are some tips that worked out wonderfully for us.
- Go during winter – The crowds are nice and manageable and the weather is absolutely perfect at 70° in the morning and 85 by noon. Humidity is low and rain is way less likely. We rode a couple rides 2-4 times just cause we could because the crowds were low.
- Take the MegaBus – SUPER cheap compared to flying. You don’t have to pay attention and so you arrive nice and rested.
- Bring your headphones – The Megabus was clean and nice enough, but the type of people who ride it don’t have the best noise etiquette despite bus rules.
- Buy the refill cup – There is a cup you buy for about $16 that gets you free refills at Coke Freestyle machines all over the park. This will save you time and $3-5 every time you use it and we used it at least 5 times a day. Hydration made so much difference when it came to fatigue.
- Bring a bit of a snack like trail mix in your pocket – When you find yourself getting peaky enough for a bite but it’s too early to stop your whole day to eat that trail mix is wonderful. We snacked on it a little and went clear until 2PM before we ate.
- If you are an HP fan, bring your costume – A whole lot of people in the park wore theirs and it really added to the fun. I wore mine and got a lot of attention due to it being custom made & unconventional.
- When arriving to the park go the opposite direction of where the crowds are going – When we got there everyone went to the comic book side. We went for the Dr. Seuss side and even rode a ride.
- Leave your camera at home – If you have a decent phone like a Note 3 or similar it takes good photos. It will leave less for you to lug around and look after. Even my Optimus II took decent photos!
- Someone in your party needs decent cargo pockets – you will need to store things you want access to all day like trail mix.
- Bringing a purse? Wear it on your belt – Seriously this was the best. No strap to wrangle as I bent, twisted, sat, whatever. It sat at my waist, out of the way.
- Bring a small poncho – useful for the wet rides so you aren’t soaking wet and just in case one of the afternoon showers gets you.
- Eat outside the park – If you have the foot power or have a park hopper walk back to City Walk and have your meals there. There is a Panda Express and a Moe’s that cost $4-10 less than park food. Have your Butterbeer or Krusty Burger by all means. But if you have done that, go eat at City Walk.
And now, pictures!
Last a little video of the Hogwarts Choir