Harry Potter fans, do you want to learn how to save money at the Wizarding World of Harry Potter? Located in 2 parks at Universal Studios Orlando, The Wizarding World of Harry Potter brings the beloved series to life! Spend a magical vacation escaping Gringotts, sipping butterbeer, eating at the Leaky Cauldron and so much more!
When planning your trip, it may feel impossible to stay within your budget. Traveling to Orlando, booking an affordable stay, purchasing tickets, plus all the extras you & the kids inevitably will want in the park.
This is why we have compiled the list below with easy hacks to help you save where it counts!
Savings so great it will feel just. like. magic.
Universal Studios & Island of Adventure
If you are unfamiliar with The Wizarding World of Harry Potter, it is important to know that Hogsmeade and Diagon Alley are in separate parks.
Hogsmeade is within Islands of Adventure and Diagon Alley in Universal Studios. You will need a Park-to-Park pass to access both on the same day. Or you can purchase one-day tickets for each park.
However, to board the Hogwarts Express, you must have a Park-to-Park ticket, Annual Pass or Seasonal Pass. The Hogwarts Express travels from park to park and cannot be ridden with the one park-a-day pass.
*Hogwarts Express is currently closed for maintenance from 06/09/22-06/18/22
Hogsmeade can be accessed through Islands of Adventure, as well as the Forbidden Journey ride in Hogwarts Castle. Here visitors can feast at the Three Broomsticks and get specialty wizard drinks at the Hog’s Head.
Don’t miss out on riding Hagrid’s Magical Creatures Motorbike Adventure!
This was by far our favorite ride in Hogsmeade! Fly at top speeds on the magic motorbike through the forbidden forest and face rare magical creatures along the way.
Diagon Alley is located on the Universal Studios side, walk the streets of London, see Kreacher peek his head out at 12 Grimmauld Place, and enter through the secret brick wall. Inside Diagon Alley, eat at the Leaky Cauldron, explore tasty treats at Honeydukes and escape Gringotts and the fire-breathing dragon.
Table of Contents for How to Save Money at the Wizarding World of Harry Potter
- Best Time to Visit
- How to Book Cheaper Flights to Orlando
- Where to Stay Near the Park
- The Best Way to Get Tickets
- Transportation to the Park
- Food & Drink
- Saving on Souvenirs
- Misc. Wizarding World Harry Potter Park Tips
1. Best Time to Visit
I planned our trip to the Wizarding World of Harry Potter for my husband and I’s 5th wedding anniversary. This was back in November 2020, so we’ve updated prices and tips to bring you the most current information.
The best time of year to go to the park is in September. By this time, kids are back in school and it’s after the height of the summer vacation craze. For the best experience, try to avoid holiday weekends and spring/fall breaks.
We went to Orlando in November, and it was during the pandemic, so there were fewer people in the park. Masks were required, but the mandate has since been lifted. In September, the weather in Orlando has highs of 89 degrees with lows of 74. There are occasional rainfalls, so I recommend bringing a light jacket to avoid buying one in the park.
2. How to Book Flights to Orlando
Flights may be the biggest cost for your trip. To save many at The Wizarding World of Harry Potter, flights are where you can start!
One of the best ways to find cheap flights is to book about 2-3 months before you go. The cheapest days to book flights are Sundays and the cheapest days to fly out are Tuesdays. Keep this in mind when planning your trips.
Another option to save money on flights is to become a rewards member for an airline. We really enjoy the Southwest rewards program and were able to get companion passes for a year. The companion pass allows you to basically get a 2-for-1 deal on any Southwest flight.
If you earn enough points, you can use your points on flights and your companion can fly for free! Southwest customer service is incredible, and you can get refund flights if you need to change plans last minute. For more information visit the Southwest website.
3. Where to Stay Near the Park
Westgate Resorts & Spa
There are several options to save money on your stay in Orlando. However, booking a stay with Westgate Lakes Resort & Spa is where the big money savings come in! To start, Westgate offers diverse and customizable packages for your vacation.
Customize your stay with 3,4 or 5-night packages. What’s great is the booking doesn’t just come with a room… Westgate gives you a prepaid visa after booking to use towards park tickets! This is a HUGE amount of savings since you are combining the cost of stay with park tickets.
Since we booked a 5-night stay for $480 (plus tax), we received $300 on the visa. Current pricing is located on the Westgate Website. The 4 Day/3 Night Package to Universal starts at $239! If you are a Disney fan, there are deals for Disney World with booking at Westgate as well! Call 1-800-611-2863 or visit the Westgate Website.
Westgate Lakes Resort & Spa is a destination for relaxation. The luxurious and spacious suites provide the perfect base for your Wizarding World adventure. The resort provides incredible pools, kayaks, and paddleboards on the lake, and all kinds of activities for children and adults.
How to Book a Stay
To book at Westgate, there are a few things to keep in mind.
You will need to be at least 28 years old and provide proof of address. You can bring something like a utility bill with your name on it.
There is also a required 2-hour preview, a salesman will give you a tour and talk about the benefits of owning with Westgate Resorts. There is ZERO requirements to sign up. So if you can sit through it and say no thanks at the end, you will save TONS on your trip. You can schedule your preview at any time during your stay. For any questions, you can reach their customer service # at 1-800-218-4363.
After booking, there is a window to cancel for a full refund. And you will have 7 days after to switch dates if you need to. I recommend asking a lot of questions, there are different pricing options and it can be a little confusing on the website.
4. The Best Way to Get Tickets
If you booked with Westgate, your tickets can be purchased in the lobby with the prepaid visa card. We were able to get 2 one park per day tickets with the card. Tickets online for one day are $109 each, so we saved $218!
Since the resort gave us one park per day ticket, we decided to purchase tickets for another day at Universal. We visited Islands of Adventure (Hogsmeade) Hogsmeade on Thursday, and Universal Studios (Diagon Alley) on Friday. The only thing we missed out on was riding the Hogwarts Express. You can only access the ride if you have a Park-to-Park pass. You can buy the Park-to-Park pass for $164 to access Islands of Adventure and Universal Studios.
5. Transportation to the Park
Another great benefit of booking with Westgate is getting free transportation to Universal. The resort provides a shuttle that you can ride to and from the park. Check departure times at the front desk, we left early in the morning and only had a 10-minute wait.
If you stay at a Partner Hotel, many of the locations are a quick walk to the park, so this is another great option.
Turo is a great way to rent a car for less if you need to travel to other destinations. For more information visit our detailed blog on Why You Should Use Turo for Car Rental.
6. Food & Drink
To save money at The Wizarding World of Harry Potter, keep in mind food and drinks. I suggest eating your main meals for the day outside of the park. That way you can try the famous butterbeer and Florean Fortescue’s Ice Cream instead of wanting to save your money. There are lots of choices just outside the park that will have cheaper options.
We ended up eating at the Leaky Cauldron and it was a fun experience, but I didn’t particularly love the food. The Fish and Chips at the Three Broomsticks were my favorites! But try to avoid eating at peak meal times to avoid crowds.
Check out Tripadvisor for great food options at Orlando City Walk.
ANOTHER great thing about booking with Westgate (we aren’t sponsored or anything, we just had such a great experience with Westgate) is that you can purchase a meal card for the park. You will then have a designated amount of money to spend, and hopefully won’t be tempted to go outside your limit. Get the meal card in the Westgate Lobby, we spent $50 each and got a meal, several drinks and snacks included.
You can choose from several types of butterbeer, frozen, normal, and hot, and it’s such an experience sipping butterbeer while you walk to Hogwarts or take a rest under the owlery.
To get the most bang for your buck, plan on sharing food and drink items. You can ask for “no ice” to get more of the actual drink. Bring snacks into the park to help stay energized as you explore.
Simple steps like this can help you not miss out on the fun, but be smart about spending.
7. Buying Souvenirs
Save money on souvenirs by purchasing items like robes and wands beforehand.
You can find great deals on Amazon since prices in the park are much more expensive. We bought our “We Solemnly Swear” and “We Are up to No Good” shirts on Etsy a few weeks before our trip. You can also put some thrifty DIY skills to test and create your own! There are also some great options from amazon that are linked here.
Take pictures and turn them into Christmas Ornaments or mugs to remember your trip. Determine what will bring you the most joy and follow that! Journal and record experiences to keep the memories with you forever.
8. Misc. Wizarding World of Harry Potter Park Tips
Download the Universal Orlando app beforehand, there you can see wait times for lines and access maps to the parks.
Print tickets and bring them to the park for quick entry. Have a bag that fits in the ride lockers.
Wear comfortable clothes and shoes for walking and standing for long periods of time.
Check for Kreacher peeking through the curtains at number 12 Grimmauld Place!
And my personal favorite, cool down in Knockturn Alley, where you can escape the sun and feel the cool air bouncing off the dark brick walls.
Take advantage of the shows on each side of the park and pay attention to the beautiful themed details all around you.
Lastly, stay late at the park, the crowds will empty and you can explore the shops and get in one last ride with little to no wait.
Most of all, have fun and feel the magic!
We hope you’ve enjoyed How to Save Money at the Wizarding World of Harry Potter! For more unforgettable travel ideas check out more from The ExplorList Blog