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Planning a vacation to Universal Studios Orlando in 2019? Here are 5 reasons why riding the Hogwarts Express between parks is worth it! (PLUS how to get to the front of Hagrid’s new ride!)
Before we get into the main reasons why the Hogwarts Express tickets are worth it in 2019, here’s some fast information on how to get to the front of Universal Studios Orlando’s newest and hottest ride in Harry Potter World!
How to be first on Hagrid’s Magical Creatures Ride
In 2019 Universal Studios Orlando opened Hagrid’s Magical Creatures Motorbike Adventure. Hagrid’s, as it’s come to be known, is the latest and greatest ride in the Harry Potter World of Universal Studio’s Island of Adventure. Since it’s opening on June 13, Hagrid’s has grown to extreme popularity. Some call the ride the “best [they’ve] ever ridden”, and “totally worth waiting in line for hours.”
But waiting in line for hours? Up to 8, to be exact.
That’s right- Hagrid’s Magical Creatures Motorbike Adventure is currently so popular that lines form as soon as the park opens and wind back toward Seussland.
The EXACT steps to get to the front of the line at Hagrid’s ride:
You actually don’t want to wait for the Hogwarts Express to get you to Harry Potter World for Hagrid’s ride. It may be tempting to enter through the other park and skip to the front of the Hagrid’s line (since the Hogwarts Express drops you at the entrance to Hagrid’s), but it actually doesn’t work.
The park opens around 8:40 a.m. and the train doesn’t begin to run until 9:00 a.m. Even if you are first in line on the train, you won’t arrive at Harry Potter World until after 9:15 a.m. By then the line from Islands of Adventure guests is already reportedly 200+ minutes long, and park employees honor those guests, first. Riders from the Hogwarts Express will be escorted to the very. back. of. the. line.
Instead you want to make Islands of Adventure your first stop of the day and head straight to the action!
- Be ready for the first transport bus from your hotel to the park, around 7:00 a.m. Yes, you’ll be waiting at the park until gates open, but getting up early and waiting at the park is preferable to losing hours of time later in the day!
- Get in line at the Islands of Adventure gates around 7:15 a.m.
- Go straight to Seussland once park gates open at 8:30 a.m.
- Wait at the designated spot in Seussland until around 8:50 a.m., once enough people are waiting to fill the ride.
- A Universal Studios employee will walk you from Seussland to the back of Hagrid’s. *Note: Be sure to listen to the park guide! Stay in line, don’t cut, don’t shove, and don’t try to push kids towards the front of the line. Any rule breakers make everyone else miserable and hold up the process!*
- If you’ve followed these instructions and are willing to run you should be one of the first people through Islands of Adventure once it opens and also one of the fist on Hagrid’s. This method should get you on and off the ride by 9:15 a.m., when the line is already reportedly 4 hours long!
Is the Hogwarts Express Worth it?
As almost lifelong residents of the American Southeast we were never farther than a 9-hour drive to Orlando, Florida. Translation: we went to Disney World and Universal Studios a lot.
Considering the amount of time we would visit these parks and the hefty cost of such a trip, there’s one thing we had never actually done: a park hopper pass for Universal Studios to ride the Hogwarts Express between Harry Potter parks.
Each park hopper pass is an extra $50 per person, and it’s the only way a guest can ride the Hogwarts Express between parks.
We were at Universal Studios Orlando frequently enough to do a single park on different days, so we weren’t sure the Universal Studios Hogwarts Express is worth it just for a train ride.
Well, call me a Dumbridge Muggle because I didn’t get it. But now I do. I promise.
Yes, essentially it is just a train ride. But it’s a really freakin’ cool train ride- especially if you’ve ever even heard of Harry Potter!
1. You Can Get Away From the Harry Potter Crowds
My #1 reason why any Universal Studios Harry Potter park may not be worth it is the crowds.
Potterheads be everywhere!
Honestly, I get it. I love Harry Potter (I even took a college course on Harry Potter, as taught by none else than my mother). I love being immersed in his world.
The unfortunate part is not being a nerd, it’s the fact that each Harry Potter park is so incredibly crowded you can hardly see your hand in front of you, much less that super cool dragon on top of Gringott’s.
The entrance to the Universal Studios Hogwarts Express is a crowded mess, but once you pass the ticket counter you’re shown in to the train station in neat lines. Ahhhhhhh, order.
The fact is that only a percentage of Harry Potter goers have the Hogwarts Express park hopper pass, so it’s bound to be the one attraction that’s less crowded than any other in either Harry Potter park.
2. Become Immersed in Harry Potter
This should go without saying, but I don’t know you so I’ll go ahead and just say it: the Hogwarts Express waiting area and train ride really make you feel like you’re on your way to the famous wizarding school!
The details of each side of the train station are exact matches to those shown in the movie. There are signs for Platform 9 3/4, suitcase carts, the decor of each train stall, and real life cloaked train conductors showing you the way!
To bring your childhood hero’s world to life is probably what brought you to Universal Studios to begin with, so you may as well pay up to make the experience even more mind blowing.
3. It’s a Once-in-a-lifetime Harry Potter Experience
You can actually become a Hogwarts student while waiting for the Hogwarts Express! Don’t just see it. Do it!
Your fandom can really shine as you appear to actually walk through the wall between platforms 9 & 10, thanks to a little-known muggle magic called reflecting glass and lights.
You’ll see Hedgwig all set in her cage, ready to follow Harry to Hogwarts, carefully eyeing and hooting at the other passengers.
While on the train you’ll come ear-to-ear with our 3 heroes, and shadow-to-shadow with some hungry dementors.
It’s the closest you could ever come to making those dreams of becoming a wizard a reality!
4. Well, The Hogwarts Express is a Really Cool Ride
Let’s pretend you’re not a die-hard Potterhead. That’s ok! Harry Potter taught us all to be a little more accepting of the
filthy I mean, super cool Muggles!
When it comes to the Universal Studios Hogwarts Express, the fact is it’s just a really cool ride. And that’s probably the other reason you came to Universal!
You’ll ride on a real train with amazing special effects playing all around you the entire time.
Universal Studios attractions are all about making the guest feel like they are part of the Hollywood movie experience. Whether or not you’re familiar with the nuances of the Potterverse, the Hogwarts Express definitely delivers!
State-of-the-art effects marry old school technology to make this an unforgettable experience for anyone!
5. Access Both Universal Studios Parks
Another reason that should probably go without saying, but, again, I don’t know you.
Depending on who you ask, the best reason for upgrading to the Universal Studios Hogwarts Express is being able to access both parks. And not just access them, but to sit down and take a really cool ride between them instead of walking back and forth like a chump.
To any Potterhead or theme park fan, this reason is enough to splurge for the upgrade. The fact is, each Universal Park is not quite enough on it’s own. The parks just aren’t as big or as full as Disney. They just aren’t.
Each is really fun, but you’ll probably feel done by early dinner time. Getting the park hopper pass means one really full, really amazing day of experiencing the best from both parks and riding the Hogwarts Express to get between them.
Yes, it’s also one expensive day, but probably a better overall experience and cheaper than 2 individual park tickets to visit each park on different days.
Still not sure if the Universal Studios Hogwarts Express is worth it? Watch this video of the full ride to see for yourself!
Planning your own vacation to Universal Studios and want to ride the Hogwarts Express? Pin this article for later!
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