Best option for 1 day at Harry Potter/Universal

We are going to WDW for a week in March 2020 and staying at Bay Lake Tower.

Our plan is to spend one day at Harry Potter/Universal. What is the best way to purchase that ticket? Through official site or some other reseller? Also, i know nothing about Harry Potter. Do they have fast pass things that we need to try and book? Thanks!

You would be better off moving this into the Universal category - use the little pencil next to the title.

As far as I know, there is no discount on 1 day tickets but I’m in the UK and others would know better than me.

Universal doesn’t have FPs like Disney. They have Express Pass, which you can buy (on top of your ticket) or get for free if you stay in one of their deluxe hotels, and puts you in a shorter line like a FP, but for everything (except the new Hagrid ride at the moment). The paid version is either once per ride, or unlimited. You don’t need to book anything in advance - you don’t even need to buy it in advance, you can add it on the day if you want to. I don’t think it’s worth paying for personally, but many disagree with me. And if you want to do as much as possible in both parks, not just the Harry Potter areas, in just one day then you do probably need it.


We did the same thing early last December. We bought the one day park to park tickets so we could ride the train also. There isn’t much discount available for one-day tickets, I think we got ours through Undercover Tourist for a few dollars off. Our only snafu was that my husband had planned to take DS10 alone that day, but turned out he couldn’t (work came up he had to do in hotel) so I took him. For some reason the gate agent made a big deal about the name on the ticket printout, didn’t ask for ID but questioned the purchaser’s name being male. Luckily my quick-thinking 10 year old claimed his dad’s name was his and somehow we got through. Next time I’ll just buy tickets same day, close to same price and more flexibility. Maybe we got lucky on our day but there were no long lines for any of the HP rides or much of anything else we rode so we did not miss having express pass. That may be different now with the new Hagrid ride out. HP lands are awesome but we agreed the rest of Universal didn’t hold a candle to WDW!

In both of our previous 2 trips to WDW, we have done a side-trip to Universal. Universal is actually two parks, Universal Studious and Islands of Adventure. If you want to see everything you’ll want park-to-park tickets. Our first trip we did 2 days (1 park per day - this was before the train was there). Last trip we did the whirlwind 1 day/both parks. We have never bought the Express Pass, although I would enjoy having it I just could not swallow the expense, especially given how pricey the 1-day excursion is to begin with.

We are again planning the 1 day/both parks on our January 2020 visit (I would probably skip it, but DH and DS16, DS18 both want to do it). I went out of my way to schedule it on a day with low CL in both parks so we probably, again, won’t do the Express Pass.

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Thanks for the responses. Very helpful.

We will probably buy the express pass and only do island of adventure. If I had my choice, we wouldn’t be going, however the several people in our party want to go.

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But you’ll miss out on Diagon Alley if you only do IOA! And the Hogwarts Express!

If you’re only doing 1 park, you don’t need the Express Pass. Don’t buy it in advance - if you decide you need it on the day get it then. But I really doubt you will.


If the other people in your party want to go because they are huge Harry Potter fans, I could not imagine going to only one park, because you will miss a lot of Harry Potter by not going to the other park. If it is a matter of expense, and you think you’ll be back again, I would encourage those people to either do two parks this time or put the trip off until you can afford to do two parks and have the time to do it. I truly think they will regret doing only one park. Again, this is only if they are big Harry Potter fans.


I recently broke out of the WDW bubble to visit USF / IOA. I highly recommend it. It’s a good mix of “fun” rides and thrills. WWOHP is amazing! It’s worth getting the park-to-park ticket. The Hogwarts Express is an attraction by itself. Some if the best rides in Orlando are in WWOHP.

I really think you’ll be surprised how good Universal is once you experience it.


My daughter and I are leaving for WDW July 24 for six days.I wanted to go for eight days,but she said that was too long. ;0(
I looked into a one day trip to Universal,but they really hammer you for a one day trip,so I opted out. If we were going for eight days,I might have gone there for two days,but I couldn’t justify paying what they wanted for a one day trip.


I am one of those people who likes to have the Express Pass. The downside, especially for Harry Potter, is that you miss some of the queue, which is richly themed: notably for the Forbidden Journey ride — the line passes through the Castle.


We did 2 nights at Universal and the rest Disney just to get unlimited Express Passes. 3 days US/IOA was a bit much for us. Try staying ur first or last night at Universal and getting the Express Pass so u can skip all the lines and see the most.

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Also need the 1 day park to park tix.

I appreciate the advice from everyone. Very helpful…

We are going to get the park to park tix with express pass. We have some younger kids and i think it will allow us to leverage the one day better. Looking forward to it!


You will not regret this decision! Enjoy!


I don’t know exactly what your situation is, but if only some members of your party are excited to go to universal, could you save some money and just send them for the day? The rest of you could do a resort day, Disney Springs, a water park, day trip to the beach—really anything. I’m a big believer that just because you’re vacationing together doesn’t mean you have to spend every waking moment together.


I agree, I’m in love with Disney but enjoyed US/IOA tremendously.