The Hogwarts Express is a major attraction for Harry Potter enthusiasts visiting Universal Studios Orlando.
However, with caveats on tickets and often long wait times many are left questioning whether this ride is really worth the hassle?
In our opinion, it’s worth queuing and / or upgrading your park tickets from a single to a park-to-park ticket so you’re able to experience the Hogwarts Express – especially if you’re a fan of Harry Potter!
Luckily we’ve found from experience that there are a number of ways you can minimise the cost of upgrading to a park-to-park ticket alongside how much time you’ll have to spend waiting in line to go on the Hogwarts Express.
Is The Hogwarts Express Worth It?
There are two ways in which you could question whether or not the Hogwarts Express is worth going on during your trip to Universal Studios in Orlando.
The first is whether it’s worth the cost of upgrading to a park-to-park ticket if you don’t already have one. Meanwhile, the second is whether it’s worth your time waiting in line to go on this ride.
Is The Hogwarts Express Worth The Money?
You can not ride the Hogwarts Express with a single park ticket.
Instead, you need to purchase a park-to-park ticket that allows you to enter both Universal Studios Florida and Universal’s Islands of Adventure on the same day.
That’s because the Hogwarts Express transports you between these two parks.
As such if you only have a single park ticket you may be questioning whether it’s worth upgrading to a park-to-park ticket to experience the Hogwarts Express.
For context, upgrading from a single park ticket to a park-to-park ticket costs roughly $60 per person, per day. Although this does vary depending on the time of year and the number of days you’re visiting.
Now, I don’t believe it’s worth upgrading to a park-to-park ticket to ride the Hogwarts Express alone. In that case, you’d essentially be paying $60 per person to go on a ride.
However, since a park-to-park ticket also provides you with the ability to go into both parks and experience both Wizarding Worlds of Harry Potter (Hogsmeade in Islands of Adventure and Diagon Alley in Universal Studios) I’d say upgrading is worthwhile if you’re only visiting for a single day.
That being said, if you’re looking to visit Universal Studios on a budget and are spending two days at the resort you may have opted for single park tickets permitting you to enter one park each day.
In that case, you will be able to experience both Wizarding Worlds of Harry Potter (Hogsmeade in Islands of Adventure and Diagon Alley in Universal Studios) albeit on separate days.
As a result, you would be paying an average of $60 per person to experience the Hogwarts Express (as I mentioned earlier), and in that case, I don’t think the upgrade would be worthwhile.
Is The Hogwarts Express Worth Queuing If You Have A Park To Park Ticket?
I believe it’s worth queuing up to 50 minutes to experience the Hogwarts Express during your visit to Universal Studios.
Luckily, even during the peak summer months, there are a number of ways you can ensure you don’t have to wait any longer than this to experience this incredible ride.
The first is the easiest, albeit most expensive way and that’s by purchasing an Express Pass.
An Express Pass allows you to cut to the front of the line, not just on the Hogwarts Express but also on the vast majority of other rides inside the parks.
Express Passes are additional tickets on top of your traditional park ticket and allow you to skip to the front of the line on all the rides except Jurassic World VelociCoaster, Hagrid’s Magical Creatures Motorbike Adventure and Pteranodon Flyers at Universal’s Islands of Adventure.
The price of an Express Pass varies based on a number of factors including;
- Whether you’d like the pass for one park or two
- The time of year you’re travelling
- Whether you’d like the ability to use the pass on the same ride multiple times
- Whether you’d like the pass to only be eligible after 4pm
While Express Passes generally cost upwards of $180 plus tax per person, they are complimentary for hotel guests staying in a premier resort hotel.
As such during peak travel periods when the cost of an Express Pass is high, it can often be more cost-effective to stay in one of these hotels than it can purchase the Express Pass outright.
If however, you’re looking to visit Universal Studios on a budget, then you can opt to instead avoid high standby wait times for the Hogwarts Express by riding at unusual times.
What do I mean by this?
Well, the majority of people visiting Universal Studios often look to ride the Hogwarts Express just after lunch when they’ve finished exploring the first park.
As such the peak times for the Hogwarts Express are often between 1pm and 4pm.
However, if you’re happy to travel on the Hogwarts Express as the parks open or late into the evening then you can often find wait times can be ten minutes or less!
I recommend downloading the Universal Studios mobile application, available for both iOS and Android to monitor the wait times not just for the Hogwarts Express but for all rides during your trip.