Post # 1
I’m heading back to the US in a couple of weeks to visit my family, and we’re planning a trip to Universal Orlando to see the newely opened Diagon Alley. Husband isn’t coming, but he dislikes theme parks and has no interest in Harry Potter, so that’s probably for the best. He’s just happy that this means I won’t be begging him to go with me to the also newly opened Hogsmeade in Universal Studios Japan.
I’m super excited, but it’s going to be absolute madness. Hot as balls with a horrible burning death star trying to light us on fire (plus a bonus thunderstorm in the afternoon), humid to the point where gills might actually be more useful than lungs, and wall to wall people thanks to Diagon Alley being brand spanking new.
For those of you who haven’t been to Universal Studios, most of the big rides require you to store any bags and loose articles in lockers before you get in line. About all you can get away with is a small fanny pack. Hats and things are usually okay as long as you can secure them when you get on the ride. We want to save time and completely avoid the lockers, especially for the new Gringotts ride, since having to fight through the locker line can add a lot to an already long wait time. We’re staying in one of the on-site hotels, which means we’re only a twenty minute walk away from all of our stuff if we end up needing something. The on-site hotel also means we have express passes (which work on just about everything but the Harry Potter rides), early entry into the parks, and we can have anything we buy in the park delivered to our hotel room, so we won’t have to carry it.
With all this in mind, if you were in the same situation, what would you wear, what would you bring with you into the park, and how would you plan to carry everything while still avoiding needing a locker?
I have an idea about what I’m going to do, but I’d love to hear if anyone else thinks of something that I haven’t.
Post # 2
Jabberwocky: Hi there! I’m from Central Florida, so I grew up going to theme parks and trying to “beat the system”. I even had a formula for what to wear: one piece bathing suit under a pair of comfy shorts and a very thin long-sleeved t-shirt. In the early part of the day I’d wear the t-shirt tied around my waist, which you can get away with on the rides. Then around noon we’d go on water rides to cool down, which is why the bathing suit is a good choice (wet bras are the worst). Finally in the afternoon as you’ve noted you can usually expect a thunderstorm, which is where the shirt comes in handy (if you’re damp from a water ride it can get chilly, and it’s just nice in general to have the option to cover up and hide from the sun).
As for what to bring, I’d take my smallest cross-body bag with my ID, a sandwich (park food is crazy expensive), and a small bottle of sunscreen to reapply. Water fountains are free, so no worries there. Wear it tight across one shoulder and it should get by on the rides – plus you’ll reduce the risk of losing it/having it stolen. I’d keep a credit card in the purse and some cash in the pocket of my shorts, in case of emergencies/pickpocketing, though I’ve never had a problem with either.
Get on the most popular rides early and save the water rides for later, even if it means criss-crossing around the park several times. And don’t underestimate the “kiddy” rides, if you have a healthy sense of whimsy – the Dr. Seuss Caroseussal is one of my favorites! 🙂 I hope you have a blast! I went to the original opening of HP World and it was great, enjoy it!
Post # 3
Jabberwocky: We are going in September (so less busy) but i have been reading trip advisor for tips.
Apparently the best thing to do for the HP rides is to go straight to them during the early opening hours.
As for avoiding the lockers I plan to wear cargo shorts that have a deep zip pocket (they are actually the shorts part of my zip off pants) so I can put my ID, cas, small tube of sun screen etc in that and it is secure on the rides (not sure about pick pockets though but pretty sure I would notice someone groping my leg, but a safety pin through the zipper would work too). I could probably fit a granola bar in my pocket as well to combat hunger while waiting in line.
I also plan on wearing a bikini top, tank top and light weight long sleeve t-shirt and a hat. That way things are quick to dry and provide sun protection.
Post # 4
j_jaye: Are there women’s cargo shorts with actual pockets? I’ve been looking, but all I can find are ones with either really shallow or straight up decorative pockets like they think there’s any point to cargo shorts without functional pockets.
September will be a much better time to go. My family always goes in October for Halloween Horror Nights, and it’s great because it’s not nearly as hot or crowded. That’s why I’ve never had to worry about planning around the lockers before. Using them isn’t a big deal when the park isn’t massivly crowded. I’ve missed out on the last couple of years because I moved to Japan, and I can’t take a trip back to the US in the fall, so I’m stuck with summer now.
kgba: It sounds like they’re being really strict on the bags, so even tiny cross body bags are getting sent to the lockers. I think all the girls in are group are going to get one of these running belts that should fit a phone (in a ziplock bag for waterproofing), money and cards, and some travel sized sunscreen. http://www.amazon.com/BANDI-Womens-Pocketed-Running-Black-One/dp/B00CTABX32
I’ve also got an awesome light weight hoodie that’s made of material with UV protection.
Post # 5
Jabberwocky: That’s a shame if they’ve gotten stricter. I can remember sitting on my purse on the roller coasters so I wouldn’t drop it! But the belts you’ve picked out look fine, I’m sure they wouldn’t make you take them off. Also I’ve been in the dead of summer, and just like you said for October, the lockers really weren’t a big deal. There’s always been someone in the group who needs to use them, but we never had to wait for lockers to become available, or to retrieve our things. The worst was a line two people deep to get assigned a number 🙂 either way, good luck and enjoy!
Post # 6
Jabberwocky: I grew up going to Orlando with all the theme park madness and IMO, less is more. You do NOT want to be bogged down with zippers and staps and hidden compartments! You’ll only be gone for a few hours, so just apply a generous amount of sunscreen before getting to the park and wear two layers: a bathing suit and then shorts + tank or t-shirt.
I like to wear these bad boys because they do have pockets that have a zipper big enough for an iPhone and credit card/cash, dry really fast and are very light weight:
Also, wear a hat. Obviously it protects you from the elements, but it also can hold items you don’t want to get wet if you’re on some of the rides where the bottom 1/2 of you gets sprayed a little ( like on the kiddie rides). I just secure my cell phone and cash in my bathing suit strap or under the hat during the ride and put it back in the zipper pocket afterwards.
Post # 7
kgba: I remember several years ago (I think I was in middle school), I had one of those backpacks shaped like a stuffed tiger. I’d just put it on my front instead of back and cross my arms over it for all the rides. Definitely can’t get away with that anymore.
The Gringotts ride is really the only one I’m worried about for the lockers. I’ve been seeing mentions of having to stop for a locker adding an hour to your wait time because so many people pass you. Sounds like everyone runs straight to Gringotts as soon as they let the early entry peope in, and the line can get to a couple hours long before the park even offically opens. Hopefully that madness dies down a little more over the next couple of weeks.
Post # 8
Jabberwocky: I got mine at an columbia outlet in LA. So they must be out there. I hadn’t seen women’s ones like that here in Australia.
Post # 9
- Wedding: October 2014 - Disney
Although I’ve not done universal in years I am a Disney fanatic and in the past we went during the summer. They have baskets under the rides for your stuff or infront of your feet, so I’m not sure about the locker situation. I’d wear a summer dress typically and tevas. I’d carry a small sling backpack. In the backpack I’d carry a small cardigan, waterbottle with filter, lara bar for snacks, phone, camera, and creditcards/cash.
Post # 10
I would just wear shorts with pockets. If you can’t find women’s shorts, just buy men’s…it’s not like you have to impress anyone, right? I’d look at hiking stores, because they’re likely to sell shorts with pockets that both a. exist and b. close securely.
I was at the Harry Potter thing at Universal in 2011, and I think I just wore shorts and a t-shirt. I took pictures, so I know I had my phone with me…I think I just brought a bag. I don’t remember lockers at all…
Anyway, have fun! Butterbeer is WICKED sweet, so try it but make sure you have water handy.
Post # 11
Post # 12
Disney still lets you bring backpacks and purses, they just get checked before you enter the park, but when I go to Universal I tend to wear shorts with pockets and only bring my cell phone, an ID card, $40 cash, and one credit/debit card for buying food. The ID, cash, and card all get tucked into flexible business card holder in my pocket. Bring a hat that you can fold up and put into a pocket.
Post # 13
j_jaye: You’re going to have an amazing time in September. We just got back from our trip and it was awesome. I highly recommend you get everyone in your group lanyards with their Hogwarts houses. I’ve never had so much fun chatting and joking with the staff members all over the park.
Post # 14
Jabberwocky: I take it you had a blast? What was your favourite ride? Was the line for Gringotts terrible? I have been reading trip advisor and using touring plans.com and the wait times are scaring me. On one day it is estimated that the wait is 5hrs just after opening. Arghhhhh.
Any restaurant recs?
We leave in less than 3 weeks for the States and in a weeks time I will be able to do our fast passes for Disney.
Post # 15
I got this bag from Kavu for my trip to Disney and universal
It’s great cause it’s a cross body bag with zippered closures and it lies flat against you, so you can just buckle up with it on rides and you don’t have to worry about stuff flying out or it being too big and having to put it in a locker.
I wore it on all the rides at Disneyland and universal studios and not once did I have to put it in a locker nor did I have any workers tell me to stow it.
*Sorry I didn’t check the date on this, I didn’t realize it was such an old post