Since this post, Universal has made adjustments to help with long lines. We still stand by our tips noted at the end of the article

This theme park within Universal’s Islands of Adventure has encountered some hiccups since its official opening. LONG LINES – that’s the number one issue – if you’re visiting lines of as long as three hours to get inside the Wizarding World of Harry Potter are not uncommon. Universal Orlando offers 3 on-site Hotels: Loews Portofino Bay (my personal favorite), Hard Rock Hotel and Loews Royal Pacific Resort. Stay at any of these hotels and you get admitted one hour earlier to the Wizarding World of Harry Potter. These hotels are all delightful and have VERY high rates. What’s the next best way to avoid the longest of the lines? Well, unless you are at a Universal Orlando Hotel, I do not recommend trying to beat the crowd in the morning. I suggest going later in the day when lines are shorter to get inside.

Once inside you will find that Universal did not plan well for the HUGE crowds descending upon its newest land in Islands of Adventure. Buying a souvenir will cost you dearly both in dollars and time spent waiting in lines to get into the shops with equally long lines to check out. Due to the high demand, Universal has added Harry Potter merchandise in shops all over the park. If you want the real deal of the shopping experience as described in the novels and shown in the movies, then you must brave the lines. People wanting to taste Butter Beer (non alcoholic beverage featured in the novels and movies) prepare for both sticker shock and long lines. The pub that serves Butter Beer originally had a full service liquor bar, but due to efficiency, you can no longer savor your favorite cocktail. There are only 3 rides within this small area, so again, patience is key to enjoying your visit to The Wizarding World of Harry Potter.

Orlando Tourist Tip: My personal recommendation is to wait for fall to visit when crowds all over town are much lighter. Three-day weekends, holidays and summer are peak periods for families wanting to visit, so if possible avoid those times. January and May are also months you can expect lighter crowds. Also, you don’t have to rush to visit in the first year as based on the success look for fast expansion of The Wizarding World of Harry Potter.