Early entry - worth it?

I’m doing a Disney trip in October with 1 day at USO/IOA (getting 2 park pass). We are debating doing 1 night at a Universal hotel, primarily to take advantage of early entry. I haven’t been to these parks in years so my questions are:

  1. How much of a difference does early entry make in terms of what you can accomplish? On a day ranked 3-4 for crowds, is it still worth it (weighing slight inconvenience of switching hotels for one night)? If it matters, we are planning to spend most, if not all, of our time doing the Harry Potter stuff (although if we have time at the end of the day we might do other attractions).

  2. I know USO usually opens about half an hour before the official opening - does this only apply at the main gate, or to people arriving on Hogwarts express? We’d be doing early entry at IOA (assuming that’s still the early entry park), hopefully at least doing Forbidden Journey, then not sure if we should hop right onto Hogwarts express (assuming it’s open?) to get in line for Escape from Gringotts?

Thanks so much for any tips!

Early Entry only applies to HP Attractions, the Train (only if both parks open early) and- in UO anyway- Dispicable Me. It may include other attractions over in IOA. The two big HP attractions do NOT work with express pass so these would be your primary advantage in leveragaing early entry. These attractions- especially Escape from Gringots over in UO- are some of the most popular at the resort and can have significant lines. Obviously TP can help you figure out how much time might be saved by using EE but I’d guess it at the 1/2 hour range or possibly even more time if you can hit Escape, jump on the train, and hit Forbidden Journey all in an hour. You’d want to be at the gates 45-60min before opening.

Also, 3 of the 4 hotels come with express pass privileges which is a massive bonus; my wife and I went on every attraction in both parks in a single day a couple weeks ago with the pass…and that was a level 9 day.

Again, we were at UO a couple weeks ago, and they did let us onto Escape right away when the park opened…which was maybe 15min early.

Edit: Reread your post and saw that only IOA is early. Bummer. You can’t take the train unless both parks are open. So, Earrly Entry isn’t as great a bonus as it would be if both parks were open.

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Something else to keep in mind. I am also going in October and saw that early entry is for IOA only at 8, but regular opening time is at 8 for USF. If USF continues to open a half hour early, it will actually open earlier than the early entry time for IOA. Given this, if you are at rope drop by 7:00 at USF, you don’t need early entry or the inconvenience of switching hotels and will still be in the park by around 7:30.

The 8 am openings are only on the Halloween horror nights when park shuts at 5. But it is is interesting. On these days IOA could open at 8 for Early entry but US could open at 7.30. IF ??? they follow the current pattern. Can’t remember what they did last year.
Was there not some bizzar route to enter 1 park to get to another as both were open but they only opened 1 gate so onsite did get early entry over offsite.

Assuming early entry is at IOA only and begins 1 hr before USF opens, USF should open 30min early via both the front gate & Hogwarts Express from IOA.

Hi. I’m a bit confused about this also. So, if IOA opens at 9am and has early entry and USF opens at 8am, wouldn’t USF then open at7:30am, a half hour before IOA Early Entry at 8am?

Oops, sorry for the confusion. USF’s regular opening being the same time as IOA early entry is a very rare situation and no one knows for sure yet how they’ll handle it. Our assumption right now is that there will be no 30min early entry at USF those days, but only time will tell…