Help deciding which park to start at!

My daughter (age 9) and I will be at Universal next Friday. We wish to do both parks in 1 day, open to close, with our main priority being WWOHP but also hoping to get in a couple of other headline attractions in the parks. We are staying at WDW so will not have early access or express pass. USF has early entry for hotel guests at 8:00. I was thinking it would be smarter for us to start at IOP for normal 9:00 opening (we will be there at least 30 min early of course), bang out FJ and Hogsmeade and possibly several other IOP attractions before talking the Hogwarts Express to DA at USF later in the morning/early afternoon. However everything I’ve read says to start with the Gringotts ride at USF. I know from Disney experience that typically coming in behind the early access hour is not a good choice. Can anyone give me any advice. I’ve only been to Universal once, in 2012, when only the Hogwarts side was open, no DA. I would appreciate any advice. Thank you.

I agree with starting at IOA for regular 9 am opening for touring efficiency. DA will already be busy with early entry guests. Then at 9 am all the day guests will head to DA. On my June 2017 trip (CLs of 5-7), DA was busiest in the morning and early afternoon. After 6:30 pm, it was relatively uncrowded (the park was open until 10 pm at this time).

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Thank you, so much. I appreciate your confirming of my thoughts. We have all day so could try to do DA the last few hours before closing. We plan to stay all day. I believe the CL level is a 4 or 5. It’s a value ticket price day so I’m not planning on insane crowds, but know it will be decently crowded.

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Sometimes Gringotts closes the queue before park closing if the Standby line wait exceeds the time to park closure by more than an hour. I haven’t seen this happen, but it is something to be aware of.

Also, you are there during Mardi Gras festivities which include a parade (6:15 pm) and food booths (which open at 4 pm) in the NY section of the park. This may help pull people from the DA area in the late afternoon/evening too.

I agree with starting with IOA, as you only have 1 day and no express pass you need to tour smartly, however much your daughter wants to start in Diagon Alley