3 day plan advice

Hi Everyone

We’ll be at Universal in July - we’ve got a 3 day park to park ticket.
(four of us, me, dh, dd8, dd10)
We’re staying on site, so also have early access.
Days we’ll be there are July 11, 12, 13 (sat, sun, monday)

Harry Potter part of the park is important to us so we’ll definitely use the early entry all three days.
How would you go about maximising the time in the parks? Looking at the calendar both parks will be open early for our dates, so i’m a little confused as to which would be best to do first.

I’ve had a look at the two day two park to park plans - am I best to just follow these exactly as they are? If I optimise they do all sorts of weird things…

Any help you can send my way would be great, I can’t get my head around these parks, my planning has been deeply immersed in Disney to date!


I did a lot of planning for a UOR trip that I ended up having to cancel last min. We were going to stay at RPR, had EE, and also ExPass.

On day 1 I planned on starting at US; go to Diagon Ally, ride Gringott’s, then take the HE to Hogsmeade and spend time doing as much of the area as I could (saving Forbidden Journey for the next day). After HP, I planned on doing (at least most of) the other major attractions at IOA. On day 2 I planned on starting at IOA and hitting Forbidden Journey first thing, and then taking the HE to Diagon Alley. The rest of the day would be spent a full investigation of Diagon Alley and (at least most of) the other major attraction at US. Day 3 was “unplanned”; time to catch attrations that we missed on the first 2 days and revisit favorites, do some shopping, etc.

CLs were predicted 7s and 8s, and according to TP predictions, using express pass, my first two days would be done by 3 or 4 PM.

But as I said, I had to cancel, so I can’t report on how successful this plan would have been…


Hi @Quattro

I’ve never used a proper touring plan for Disney or Uni, so I’m not much use on that score, but I just wanted to say -

Although you have early entry for the Harry Potter bit, make sure you set aside some time to spend there after dark too (especially Diagon Alley and Knockturn Alley) the atmosphere and lighting effects at night are fantastic. Also I can’t emphasize enough how much you will probably just want to spend time eyeballing Potter world (again esp Diagon and Knockturn Alley.) I could have spent hours there - the theming is that good!

There is no express pass in Potter World (except ride of the Hippogriff), but we have always had good luck walking straight on using the single rider line for Forbidden Journey, despite the main wait time being upwards of 60 mins. Single rider for Gringotts seemed to be just as long as the main queue.

You’re going to love it!

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Thanks @Ellen1976 and @bswan26

It looks so awesome. I can’t wait.
@bswan26 that’s what I’m looking at doing at the moment. The thing that is throwing me is the hogwarts express - both parks will have early entry for our dates. I’m wondering if it makes sense to leave an area and land in one that will likely be busier by the time we get to it. Or if we should just stay and explore the area we start in as much as possible until it gets crowded.
But then when do we ride the hogwarts express? From what I’m reading that gets as long a line as anything else.

@Skubersky if you’re around - any advice on how to tackle this when both parks have early entry?

We will all ride forbidden journey and gringotts but likely Dh will be the only one to ride dragon challenge.

@bswan26 I’m sorry you had to cancel your trip.

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Hi Quatro!
For starters, we are assuming that both parks will have early admission in July but nothing has been officially announced yet.

If you have 3 days & are primarily into Potter, I would do the 1-day/2-park Wizarding World plan first, then the 2 day/2 park comprehensive tour. The plans are marked either “early entry” or “without early entry” so pick the ones you want. The plans are hand-tuned and may get a little wonky when you optimize, you are better off editing by hand & evaluating if you need to make a change.

Early entry is by far the best time to ride FJ & Hippogriff. Gringotts can be ok 1st thing but often has a delayed opening which can throw everything off; the line is usually shortest around lunchtime and in mid-afternoon. HEx rarely has a long line in the morning, but can get up to 45+ min late in the day; if the wait is over 20 it’s quicker to walk.

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Brilliant! thanks for this, I’ll have a look at those plans and keep an eye out for announcements re the dates. Thanks for taking the time to reply.

I myself am planning a trip for June 29-July 1, right before you. I am taking the hubby and three boys, ages 3, 6 and 10. We are Potter-obsessed and I am struggling with the same issues. We are staying onsite and have ExPass. Given the times we have to arrive and leave, we will be at the parks for about 2.5 days with access to early entry on two of those days. I will try to remember to report back on what we did and how it worked to help give you some guidance. If I forget, remind me! I also have another question…can fanny packs/hip packs/whatever you want to call them be worn on rides like FJ or must they be put in a locker? I want to be able to take pictures in line but don’t want my camera in my pocket!

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Exciting! I can’t wait.
I’ll be sure to check in here before we arrive to check your feedback.
I have no idea about Fanny packs. hopefully someone else can help in that regard.

We have the 3 day tix. Used 1 as a half day to just wander. Yes you can just wander w/o a plan w EP! So nice! Tomorrow I think we’ll try arriving at USO an hour prior to non EE opening. Should open half hour early anyway. Then we wait at DA I guess. If not running we’ll try again near noon and 7p parade. Other than that following 2 day plan but putting HP rides 1 st. Will optimize if Issues at RD.

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thanks for the update. Hope you had a fun day today!

We just got back from our trip and I have one piece of advice to help you maximize your Harry Potter time. Early entry was good, but I found that evenings were better if you were trying to get on rides. We literally entered the Gringotts line a few minutes after 9:00, waited about 10 minutes, rode the ride with child swap, walked to the train station, got on the Hogwarts Express, rode the Hogwarts Express to Hogsmeade, got off the train, walked to Forbidden Journey, and got in line for Forbidden Journey a few minutes before 10, with about a 5 minute wait. Doing it this way, we knocked out the three most important things we wanted to do in less than an hour and with almost no waiting and slightly cooler temps. Having three kids in tow, this was BY FAR a better use of our HP time than EE!


thanks for this, that’s great to know. We’re at WDW at the moment and definitely finding the night temps easier to manage and get more things done!