Before muggles get a chance to experience the new Harry Potter-themed Diagon Alley at the Universal Orlando theme park in Florida on July 8, Natalie Morales took her family on a tour of the attractions — with the help of "Travel Mom" Emily Kaufman.
Kaufman, who is paid to host travel videos for NBC's sister company, Universal, gave the inside scoop on how to save money and time and avoid long lines when visiting the park.
- Print your tickets out at home ahead of time. It lets you skip the line to buy tickets and just go right into the park.
- Stay longer: A one-day ticket to both parks, Universal Studios Florida and Islands of Adventure, costs $136, but a three-day multi ticket averages out to just $62 a day.
- Get there early. If you stay at one of the four hotels at Universal Orlando, you get access to Diagon Alley an hour earlier than regular park guests.
- Buy an express pass. It lets you skip the line at most attractions, and it's free when you stay at one of the three deluxe hotels at Universal, or you can buy one.
- Buy a meal plan rather than paying for individual meals in order to stick to a budget.
- Download the Universal mobile app. It allows you to check out showtimes, find out how long the wait is for certain attractions and learn where to meet characters.