Book Review: Intrepid Traveler’s “Universal Orlando 2015”

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If you’ve been to Universal Orlando, you know how amazing and overwhelming Islands of Adventure and Universal Studios can be. If you have yet to make your trip, you may be anxiously awaiting your first visit, desperately wanting to make the most out of your time there. In either case, you may want to consider purchasing a travel guide to help you plan your next visit. For those Ravenclaws who like itineraries and lists, Intrepid Traveler’s Universal Orlando 2015 by Kelly Monaghan may be a worthwhile investment!

Monaghan goes deeply into detail about what you can expect to find in both Hogsmeade and Diagon Alley – everything from what to expect from each seat on Forbidden Journey (where to sit if you want the most motion vs. the best view) to the rough cost and types of merchandise available in each magical shop. It’s an excellent resource even for those who have visited before – especially if you haven’t been since Diagon Alley opened last summer – since the 2015 guide provides tips about what has changed in Hogsmeade since then.

But I think the real value of this guide is, to a Potter fan, the information about what can be found in the rest of the park. Although you definitely won’t want to miss a single part of Orlando’s Wizarding World (and Monaghan’s guide is good about ensuring you won’t!), there’s also a whole lot of other attractions at Universal! In my experience, you’ll spend a large portion of your day just in the Wizarding World itself, leaving just a couple of hours for the rest of the park. With the Intrepid Traveler guide in hand, you can decide what you won’t want to miss and what you can live without.

All in all, Monaghan’s guide is a well-researched and helpful handbook for making sure you get the most out of your Orlando visit. It’s not indispensable – those who aren’t inclined to use travel guides need not make an exception for this one – but it is quite well done and is an excellent choice for visitors looking to make the most out of their Orlando stay!