If there’s one thing most people are aware of, it’s that a trip to Orlando’s theme parks can cost a small fortune. Regardless of what you may think, there are always ways to make ANYTHING more affordable. So today we are here to show you how you can save some serious cash while visiting the Wizarding World of Harry Potter.
- 1 Stay Off Property at Universal Studios Orlando
- 2 Plan Early Park Admission
- 3 Don’t Eat Meals in the Parks
- 4 Buy Your Hogwarts House Robe BEFORE Your Trip
- 5 Buy Your Tickets Online
- 6 Grab a Universal Studios Special Offer
- 7 Skip the Universal Express Pass
- 8 Take Uber to Universal Studios
- 9 Don’t Buy A Wand…Or Maybe Do?
Stay Off Property at Universal Studios Orlando
This one tip saved us hundreds on just a short trip. Most people think you need to stay on-site to receive the benefits of Early Park Admission at Universal Studios. This is just not true. One thing that is true, however, is that you can receive the benefits of staying onsite by staying at a Partner Hotel featured through Universal Studios Vacation Packages.
These packages change throughout the year, but many times these hotels offer shuttle transportation to and from the theme parks, which will also save you the $20 they charge you to park. If you have hopes of walking to the parks, these are the partner hotels within walking distance.
- Doubletree by Hilton at the Entrance to Universal Orlando
- Holiday Inn and Suites Across From Universal Orlando
- Hyatt Place Orlando
We stayed at a Partner Hotel and had Early Park Admission included in our package, which was great because we could beat the crowds while still saving money. And we were literally 5 minutes from the Park. Check out the complete list of over 40 partner hotels. While your vacation package will have some options, it’s good to know where you’ll be staying so you can stack loyalty points.
Plan Early Park Admission
While we highly recommend Early Park Admission so you can tackle the Wizarding World of Harry Potter in One Day, if you’re not an early bird, there are other options to save money.
If you’re NOT interested in Early Park Admission, you can always try your luck on hotels.com to find off-property hotels for less or even Universal Hotels at a discounted rate! Or, why not check out an Airbnb? AirBnBs are available at all price ranges and Orlando has a huge selection of available properties. Want to save more money? Sign up through this link and save $20 off your next stay!
Don’t Eat Meals in the Parks
With the exception of Butterbeer of course and the ice cream from Florean Fortescue’s, which you absolutely must have on Your First Visit to Wizarding World, the food in the Wizarding World of Harry Potter is expensive and really just not good enough to justify the cost. True, it is food and it will hold you over, but you’re better off eating outside of the Parks. You’ll get better food for a lot less money. We did try a few meals within The Wizarding World of Harry Potter and honestly, we didn’t love any of them. The Butterbeer on the other hand…..get the Butterbeer. All of them, they’re delicious and worth experiencing. Of course, if you need to eat somewhere close head over to Universal CityWalk. We were able to find some great pizza at Universal CityWalk and didn’t feel like we were getting robbed at the same time over at Red Oven Pizza Bakery. There is a really good variety of restaurants at CityWalk that can help save you some money on food.
And if you are set on eating inside the Parks, don’t forget that Universal Studios annual passholders get discounts on most food at Universal.
Buy Your Hogwarts House Robe BEFORE Your Trip
Guys, the Hogwarts robes are $100 in the parks! They’re high quality and beautiful robes, but that’s a lot of money, especially if you have a few people you need to buy them for. Check out Amazon. We found one less than $30. It was lightweight, durable and had a pocket for your wand. It was perfect for what we needed! We also recommend checking Amazon for Hogwarts house scarves, tees, and any other fun accessories before your trip. Less money spent on apparel means more money for your hotel, food, tickets or to save!
Buy Your Tickets Online
Convenience is everything, and thankfully also a bit cheaper. By buying your tickets beforehand and online, you can save up to $20 per ticket. If you are going multiple days and are traveling with even just a few people, these savings can really add up! Not only will it save you money, it’ll also save you time when you get to the Parks. You can grab tickets to Wizarding World from Get Away Today as they have deals all the time. Or on the Universal website.
Grab a Universal Studios Special Offer
Visit the Universal Studios Tickets Page to see what kind of special offers you can take advantage of during your trip. Currently, they have a special offer where you can get 2 days free when you buy a 2-day 2-park ticket! Not too shabby and can save you hundreds, especially if you’re traveling with a family. These offers change all the time, so always check that out before you go!
Skip the Universal Express Pass
A lot of people will want to fight us on this BUT if you’re only interested in visiting the Wizarding World of Harry Potter, it’s important to know that the Express Pass isn’t worth your money, in our opinion. When we went, the Express Pass actually wasn’t valid on the WWHP rides and we had no choice but to do without. We were able to see all of the wizarding world in one day without the Pass. Now, if you’re going during a peak period, like summer or the holidays you may want to consider it. But in order to save a little money we plan to stick with the strategy of getting there early, and always prefer to travel when it’s not as crowded anyway.
Right now, you can use Universal Express Pass for most rides in the Wizarding World of Harry Potter except Hagrid’s Magical Creatures Motorbike Adventure. Since Hagrid’s is the most popular ride in the Wizarding World, getting Express Pass might not help you as much as you’d like.
Take Uber to Universal Studios
Depending on how close you are staying to Universal Studios, it may be cheaper to take an Uber. It will cost you $20 to park otherwise and Uber can sometimes be cheaper. Although if you’re staying at a Partner Hotel that offers a shuttle, most of them offer those for free!
But check out all the Parking rates for everywhere you may be staying because at the end of the day it can really add up! Here are the current Universal Studios parking fees across the property.
Don’t Buy A Wand…Or Maybe Do?
Who do you think we are?? Of COURSE, you should buy a wand at Wizarding World! In all seriousness, though the interactive wands are $50 and in our opinion are well worth it for the experience and souvenir. A wand from Amazon just doesn’t provide this kind of experience. Being able to perform magic within the Wizarding World of Harry Potter makes the entire experience so much more magical. But it is an expense that can add up quickly, especially if you’re traveling with a lot of wizards. And if that is the case, maybe just grab a special wand for the family in the parks and individual wands for everyone ahead of time.
And keep in mind, if you’re not planning on performing spells while in the Wizarding World, then you don’t need to buy a wand from Universal Studios. Simple prop wands are pretty easy to find one Amazon for under $20.
Whether you choose to use all of these strategies to save you some money or even just one or two, it is definitely possible to vacation to the Wizarding World of Harry Potter without breaking the bank! Have you visited the WWHP on a budget? What tips do you have? Be sure to check out our Wizarding World of Harry Potter Guide for everything you can do on your trip!
Melanie Renee is a photographer, writer, designer and mom. Visiting Disney destinations since 2010, she is also an Authorized Disney Vacation Planner. When she's not creating her next coffee recipe, or designing apparel at Polka Dot Pixie Shop, she's seeking beautiful sunsets and planning her next trip .