I’ve never read or watched any of the Harry Potter series. But before you form an angry mob and try to shank me, you should know that it’s not as if I didn’t try. I tried to read the first book in middle school, but I just found myself reading the same line over and over. I tried to watch the first movie but fell asleep after the first half an hour. Don’t get me wrong – I’m sure the books and movies are amazing, but I guess they’re just not for me.
Even so, I still wanted to see what the ‘Harry Potter and the Escape from Gringotts’ ride at Universal Studios was all about. And of course, try butterbeer. But so does everyone else and their Moms. So the trick to avoiding the ridiculous lines for this ride (which can be more than an hour, thanks to a tip from my cousin) is to go straight there as soon as the park opens. Don’t stop for other rides you may see along the way because that’s what everyone is doing. You’ll have plenty of time for that later. While you’re on the Harry Potter ride, all of those other suckers are still waiting in line for Despicable Me or Shrek 4-D, since those are the first two rides when you enter the park.
Other than the Harry Potter ride, the max amount of time that I waited for any ride (when I went at the beginning of May) was probably about 20 minutes.
Universal Studios is very doable within a day. If you go at the right time during the year, you won’t have to wait long for rides. Try to avoid June-August, when all of the kids are off from school, as that’s peak season. If you go any other time, flights will be cheaper and you might not even have to wait for rides at all!