Hi, we will be spending 3 days in the parks with early entry and no express pass on April 3-5. The first day, we will have grandparents along, so my expectations are not high. However, I would like to have the website build me a plan for the second 2 days. I have a subscription to the website. How do I set it to create a plan to optimize both parks and both days?
Everything I can find is either a single day or a single park.
We are most interested in HP but also want to see the rest of universal. None of us have ever been there so I can’t really give input about what we want to see!
You have to do each day/park separately. I thought there were 2 day plans, but maybe not. If you’re new to Touring Plans, it’s probably easiest just to choose a one day plan for US and a one day plan for IOA.
the whole point is that I want the program to tell me what order makes the most sense, and I am sure there are ways to park hop to optimize the time and minimize the crowds. Help!
I did find a 4 part 2 day, 2 park touring plan with a little digging, and it SEEMS to allow me to set it to use early entry, but then the plan lists our first activity at 9:18, which is 18 minutes after REGULAR entry… anyone know what I should do?
I would love to help as we go to Universal every year and will be there 4/5-7 this year…but we always have express passes so only ever have a loose plan. Is buying Express in your budget? Being Easter week it will be packed. If not, can you use single rider lines? My good friends did well there Easter week without express by using single rider lines for whatever rides they could.
As for your plans- one day I would start at Universal Studios, and the other at Islands of Adventure. Both parks have early entry during this week. Visit the HP areas immediately during early entry and head straight to the headliners. Cast spells and look around either right after the rides, or not until later in the evening. The only ride outside of the HP areas that I would definitely plan to hit early is Despicable Me. For some reason that line moves super slowly.
Personally with two days I like to start at one park, take a break after lunch and then return to the other park. The next day, switch the order. I wish I could help more, but don’t know how to effectively tour after the first hour or two without express passes.
Can you post the links to your plans? Then we can see what the issue is.
Thank you! I have been experimenting and i have pieced together tentative plans by jumping back and forth as you suggested. Also, when I went to edit the plans to post the links, I reset the start times and then applied the early entry for 8 am, and reoptimized my plan, and it adjusted the start time! It looks like we are going to use the first day (with grandparents!) to get the lay of the land and knock out some shows and slower moving rides, allowing us to barrel through on the next 2 days. We will want to do the slow lines for all the HP attractions, but are there other rides where the queue does not matter as much? For this it seems like single rider is the way to go.
Have you used the touring plans/lines app? it seems a little unlikely that the wait times listed at the moment will be true. Here are some examples:
Since we have always had express, the only rides we have gone through the regular queues are Forbidden Journey and Escape from Gringotts. Those 2 rides only got express pass in the last year or so. I can’t tell you about the single rider lines and missing out on a great queue, but personally I would choose shorter single rider liners over a neat queue anyday. We don’t like lines.
I do use the app and have been making and using Touring Plans for quite a few years now, mostly at WDW and Disneyland. I agree, the wait times look way too short for Easter week. I like to make personal plans instead of using the premade ones, and then evaluate instead of optimize. Optimize moves everything around, which may be just perfect for a busy day at the park. I have never tried it, we just follow our plan and don’t tend to be spontaneous at the parks. This comes from many years of going though, it is much harder when you have never been to know what you want to see, and in what order. Just beware that with optimizing you may spend a lot of time going from one side of the park to the other, and then back. Personally I would rather not backtrack as that wears us out in the Florida heat and humidity. Make sure to set your walking speed to slow to allow for time to get a snack, or go to the restroom.
The second 2 plans are completely personalized, and I did optimize them, so the wait times are supposed to be based on historical data for the dates I entered. (Maybe since spring break is a different week each year the wait times average shorter?) The first link is to a plan started with a template and I just started tweaking it. I personally do not like riding anything remotely scary, so for the roller coasters the line is the part I am interested it! (In our house child swap is more like parent swap!) I will definitely change my walking speed and so far the plans do seem to group the attractions but I will keep an eye on it. I guess I’m going to have to update with real time data on the actual day. The plans for tuesday have us finished before 5 so that gives us plenty of wiggle room. I just wanted to head to the right attractions at the right time… if something is busy, maybe we will insert our break/meal there.
How do the food lines tend to be? Mostly interested in counter service but also how are the sit down places? I see we cannot make reservations at the chocolate emporium.
I think this is definitely the case. Hopefully your times will be accurate, but if you enjoy the lines it won’t be so bad.
We eat a mix of counter service and sit down. For counter service, try to eat either early or late as the lines can be long at peak times. We usually eat at Fast Food Blvd in Universal Studios as there is something for everyone. We like to go right when it opens so no line. I think it opens at 11am which is perfect for us after an 8am early entry. We have eaten at Leaky Cauldron twice, it is decent but we mainly go for the atmosphere. It can be very crowded, definitely eat early or late. In Islands of Adventure we like 3 Broomsticks, they have this great feast that feeds 4 and feels healthier than most of the theme park food. Again, eat early or late as it is always busy. Also if you want Butterbeer and notice the very long lines outside at the cart, head inside 3 Broomsticks and go to the Hogs Head Bar. They serve butterbeer without the lines.
We usually eat sit down/table service meals in Citywalk, not in the parks. I hear Mythos is really good though. We also are going to try Toothsome this trip, they don’t take reservations so we are planning to go around 5pm at the latest. We also like Cowfish, Bubba Gump seafood and Margaritaville.