2 Parks in One Day - Is one park better to start in than the other?

Going to be making my Single day 2 Park Touring Plan for Tweens this upcoming Monday and realize that there could be a difference in the overall plan success based on which park i go to first. Is there a strategic park to start in? And also, if not to much to ask, suggestions on the amount to split between the two. Any help would be appreciated.

First post. Sorry if this has been covered, but couldn’t find it.


Do you have access to Early Park Admission (generally because you are staying at a Universal resort hotel)? If so, I would start in the park with the early entry hour. If not, I’d probably start in the park that doesn’t have that early hour for resort guests.

As for the split — what time of year are you going? IOA has a ton of outdoor rides that close for lightning when it storms. So if you are going in summer I might aim to spend the peak afternoon storm hours at USF.

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Is Harry Potter a prime reason you’re going?

If so, I would recommend that you start at Universal Studios, head to Diagon Alley first thing and then do Gringott’s. Take the train over to IOA and do the rides there. Then, either head back to Diagon Alley or start going around IOA and head back to Universal after you get through what you want at IOA.

Getting WWoHP out of the way first beats some of the crowds.

Go to the EPA park, if possible. If not, avoid that one and go to the other. As the WWOHP in the EPA park will already be crowded. Also, look at closing times. Often one park closes a hour or two before the other.

Whichever place you pick, go directly to WWOHP and do all of that. Take the Hogwarts Express to the other WWOHP area and explore there. Do all of the attractions you want in that second park and then ride HE back to the other park and finish the day.

The Hogwarts Express has different shows and etc… in each direction so riding it twice is important if you want to see all the WWOHP stuff.


We don’t have early access, we are staying in WDW and making the day trip.
We plan on being at the park at 8am, even though we won’t get in until 9am.

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Thanks Ryan. HP is a reason we are going but I think our kids will really love all of the rides too. So i’d say its a balance. I do like the thought of getting WWoHP out of the way though.

We found WWoHP was emptiest first thing. A good percentage of folks just follow the parks in order they encounter things. So if you skip all that and head straight there, you get ahead of the crowds. By noon, the crowds in HP get extremely busy. That’s when you want to be done and start focusing on the rest of the parks.

Since you have only a single day, you will not get to do everything or see everything. Just highlights.

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We found this to be very true as well, especially in Diagon Alley (Hogsmeade was less cramped feeling). We didn’t do this ourselves, but I have also heard good things about going to Diagon Alley at night — both for crowds and for seeing the lighting at night. So I would say do the HP areas early or late.


Sorry, and we are going this Monday, July 29th.

I see the plans in premium planning but Part 1 and Part 2 are tough to negotiate. Part 1 is only for USF, is there no Part 1 starting in IoA with the HE to US and back? Otherwise i’ll stick with what i just put together and will just have to start in the park with the EPA and be an hour behind others.

I didn’t realize you were going so soon! Are you going to attempt to ride the new Hagrid’s coaster? If so, be aware that that’s going to eat up a significant chunk of park time, especially if you only have 1 day for both parks.

As for the premium plan not starting in IOA, can you make a personalized plan with the suggested attractions from IOA from the premium plan, and just alter the start time to 9am? And then optimize to see what time it thinks you’ll be finished and ready to head to USF?

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Here are the two different plans i made. Thoughts?

Any reason you are NOT doing HP stuff first? I think you will save time, overall, by doing so.

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No, i want to. I let the TouringPlans choose the best. Was hoping it would optimize with HP first, and surprised it didnt. I figure i’m going to tweak it to your suggestion though.

Looks like one of the plans has you on Hagrid’s at 7:30pm? That won’t be possible unless something drastically changes by Monday. The ride has been closing for the day by 6pm ever since they went to morning openings for it. Most days they’ve been cutting the line for it by 5:30.


One thing I would check is what the estimated wait for Hagrid’s is at RD in IOA versus doing it after you do Gringott’s then taking Hogwart’s Express over. @dunegirl makes a good point about that.

So, I would perhaps try a plan where you start at IOA and go STRAIGHT to Hagrid’s, then Forbidden Journey, then Hogwart’s Express over to Diagon Alley to do Gringott’s.

Later, if you have time in the evening, you can try to fit in Hippogriff…but it is a relatively lackluster ride with a slow queue, so if you have to skip something, I’d skip that.

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Based on a few recent (this past week) rope drop reports, you will have a long wait if you try to arrive on the Hogwarts express for Hagrid’s. Summarizing the reports from our other thread:

-Arrived at IOA gate 8am, ride opened 10-ish, off ride 10:45am
-Arrived at IOA gate 8:30am, ride opened 9am, off ride 10:45am
-Arrived IOA gate 7:30am, ride opened 9am, off ride 9:15am(!)

They have been releasing people into Seuss Landing before about 8:40 each morning. So arriving on the first Hogwarts Express will put you behind all those people.