· Go to the Wizarding World and ride the rides before you've shopped and when you're carrying the least. This is because two of the ridesthe Forbidden Journey and Dragon Challengerequire you to deposit everything but what's in your pockets into small lockers. The Lockers will fit a messenger bag or backpack, or a purse and a couple wand boxes. They are also easy to use with fingerprint recognition, and they're free during the time you ride. If however you want to store stuff in them all day, you'll be paying up to $20 for the pleasure.
· If you keep your wallet and phone in your pockets, but bring along a small point-and-shoot camera for the Forbidden Journey ride, you will have to put it (or indeed anything small that doesn't fit well into your pockets) into a small pop-out compartment in the back of your seat. Don't forget to empty it when the ride is over!
· Don't be discouraged by the line to experience Ollivander's Wand Shop. Groups for each Ollivander's "performance" are around 15 people, so the line moves quickly. No rush to go to this, in other words.
· To avoid the long lines at the Butterbeer cart, know that you can order it with your meal at the Three Broomsticks.
· Buying chocolate frogs at Honeyduke's is a bit of a Catch-22. If you buy them early in the day, they could melt in the heat and you'll have to stow them in the lockers when you go on rides. But, if you wait until the end of the day, they could be sold out.
· Have a pet name ready if you buy a Pygmy Puff toy at Zonko's Joke Shop, as they'll announce to the whole store that one has been adopted.
· Leave room in your luggage for souvenirs. A wand box can easily be as tall as your carry-on, and pumpkin juice bottles and Butterbeer mugs take up more space than magnets and keychains.
· If you buy postcards from The Owl Post, ask to have them stamped (for free) with the Hogsmeade postmark. They'll do it right at the cash register. When you have addressed yours, written your messages and added stamps (either bring your own into the park or pay $14.95 for 10 44-cent stamps), walk in to the Dervish & Banges door next to The Owl Post to find the mailbox for sending them.
· Totally check in to the various locations in the park on Foursquare! Almost every shop and ride has its own location, and we dare you to become mayor of Hogwarts Castle.
· Last but not least, flip through our photo galleries and reports from inside the opening days of the park here:
NEW for 2014: Our Survival Guide for just-opened Diagon Alley
[All photos: Jaunted]
Disclosure: We're at The Wizarding World as a guest of Universal Studios, but all views expressed here are completely our own.