Help making a 2 park plan

Hi, it’s been quite a while since I’ve been on the forums but I’ve used it with much success with both Disney and once at Universal. I haven’t been in 7 years (crazy, I know) but I am so overwhelmed trying to plan our 1 day trip - April 24th.

We are 2 adults and have a 2 park/one day pass. We are staying at Cabana Bay and I know we have early entry to Wizarding World - but which one? US or IAO?

Also, any tips on how best to make a TP that combines both parks? I’m one of those people that needs a printed plan even though I have the lines app.

I do plan to read up on all of this, I just figured I’d introduce myself before I started jumping in on the forum :slight_smile:

I am a HUGE Harry Potter fan and my hubbv loves the thrill rides.


Welcome! Ask anything & as often as you like!!

There a core group of people here that are big Universal Orlando Resort fans! (I’m one of them…duh! :rofl:)

Both! With your 2 park (a "park-to-park pass) you can visit both Universal Studios Florida AND Islands of Adventure. All activities and Lands are included with your park ticket. You will get to see both Hogsmeade with Hogwarts and Diagon Alley!! Plus, you can even board the Hogwarts Express to shuttle you between parks and sections of WWOHP!! You will get to see both Hogsmeade with Hogwarts and Diagon Alley!!

Fun tip! There’s a “show” as you ride and it’s different each way!!

You will have to make a touring plan for each park separately. You make a plan for your starting park. Then when you are ready to park hop insert a “break” into your plan for as long as needed…before returning (if you do go back to the park you started)

I like to put my break as a “meal” in a restaurant at the front of the park, like Today Café. this will calculate the time it takes me to leave the park by walking to the restaurant near the gates. Then I can pick-up where I left off after a “long meal break” and it will calculate the walking time / distance to the next attraction within that park.

If that’s too confusing I can make a fake plan to show you what it looks like!

I’m a AP who goes often & I still take a “paper” plan with me!! A lot of us do!!

I’ve stayed at Cabana Bay a few times too!

If interested in reading any of my past trip reports you can look for them here by using the term
“Universal Addict” in the forum search!

(Oh! I hang out on the forums all day while at work, but once 5pm gets here I’m gone for the night! So if you ask anything soon I’ll see it in the morning!)

Me too!!


Most likely, IOA will only have Early Park Admission on April 24. Here is a comparison of park hours from last year on the Wednesday of the same week: Universal Orlando Crowds - Wednesday, April 26, 2023

Universal will release park hours for April in about 2 weeks. You can find them on the website or the official app. The EPA schedule can sometimes take longer to be released.

I would check out some of TP’s pre-made one day two park plans. They will help to show you how to use two park plans together in 1 day.
USF Touring Plans
IOA Touring Plans

Click here for a hypothetical itinerary focused on Potter and thrill rides:
  1. Arrive at IOA gates 45 minutes before EPA (7:15)
  2. Hagrid’s
  3. Three Broomsticks Breakfast
  4. Forbidden Journey
  5. Honeydukes
  6. Hogwart’s Express to USF
  7. Knight Bus
  8. Escape from Gringott’s
  9. Gringott’s Money Exchange/shopping
  10. Beedle the Bard
  11. Ollivanders Experience
  12. Knockturn Alley
  13. Leaky Cauldron Lunch
  14. Hogwarts Express back to IOA
  15. Honeydukes
  16. VelociCoaster
  17. Kong
  18. Spiderman
  19. Hulk
  20. Exit IOA, walk to USF
  21. Rip Ride Rockit
  22. Transformers
  23. The Mummy
  24. Diagon Alley or other?

Below are Wizarding World maps to refresh your memory of the lands:

Diagon Alley Map.pdf (5.9 MB)
Hogsmeade Map.pdf (6.4 MB)


Opps! I didn’t see that the WWOHP stuff was for EPA!

In my defense, I was ending my work day and trying to leave! :flushed::flushed::innocent::innocent:

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Two heads are better than one :wink:

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Thank you so much, love the maps! I will try to look at the plans later today. I haven’t figured out how to access the forum on my phone (it’s been a while!) but I hope to be more active on here.

We were lucky to get free tickets from a friend who works at the park and it doesn’t look like it will be very crowded so we aren’t going to get the express pass. I believe we can opt to buy it day of if we think we need it, but with just the 2 of us for a full day/night I think we will get to everything we want.

After the last 5 years of going through Orlando airport and NOT going to the parks I’m super excited to go even if it’s a short amount of time.


I highly recommend single rider lines when you do approach something that has a long standby wait and has that option. Also, in my experience you don’t really need EP before 11am BUT often times by then it’s sold out or partially sold out day of. It’s also more and more and more expensive as you get closer to your travel dates and the most expensive day of. I went to purchase it in the afternoon one trip and the only one left available was the post 4pm one for Universal Studios park only and it was a very high price (one where if I had just bit the bullet earlier I could have gotten much more out of that same amount of money). So just something to consider about that day of option.

BTW that day there was over a 2 hour line for Shrek (which still existed at the time) so it was a busy day. If your day is not so busy you will probably be just fine.

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Sure thing!

From your phone, go to the TP website home page. You’ll see options on the left side, including the Discussion Forum. After going there, you may get a popup asking if you’d like to add the forum app to your home screen. If not, open the settings on your browser and you should see an option to download. It’s a progressive web app, not a normal app, but appears like one on your phone home screen.

Yay for free tickets! :star_struck:


Right now TP has us at a CL4. I will have to research which rides have single rider. I know I would want to ride Hagrid’s together for sure.
I am the planner in the family. My cousin turned me on to TP about 10 years ago, I haven’t been since 2017 and I’m a little rusty but I’m super excited to start playing again!

Great info below from @josephmatt

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Yes, the free tickets were a VERY nice surprise! She’s my daughter’s BFF :slight_smile: :blush:


I know sometimes the best wait times can be found criss-crossing the parks but we aren’t really I fan of that. I usually make a few plans and keep tweaking and checking them. I always choose average pace and both balanced & minimal walking. DH has ZERO interest in planning and usually will ask the day before but he is well aware I’m already planning! So I like to be able to show him well if you are willing to walk a around a bit more we can save ## minutes in line but sometimes it’s just not worth it for us to have an enjoyable day.
So I am thinking if IOA is the park that will be open first I would start there, then should I ride the train to the other park, do all those rides and then ride back OR stay with IOA most of the day then ride the train and end the day at US?
I’ve been watching YouTube videos on my TV all day and I am really looking forward to exploring both HP worlds. My last trip I had my 80 year old mom with me in an ECV - around Christmas time - so it was pretty crowded and I missed SO much. Prior to that my only trip was in 2011, and that’s also last time hubby was there. As long as I get DH a drink at one of the pubs he will totally tag along while I geek out over HP. He has read all the books, but only once (crazy right?)
And another question I have - I looked at the CL and what the wait times are estimated at around different times but I’m thinking it will be best to ride Hagrid’s then? I read in a few posts that 11:30 am is a sweet spot for it but the link on the TP page doesn’t seem to support that.
I have the app, I linked our tickets and I plan to try to watch the times a bit if I can while I’m at work. I’m sure I’ll have many more questions along the way and I thank all of you for your responses so far!


Oh & 1 more question for today… where exactly will the shuttle bus from a resort leave us for IOA? I’ve only entered through the massive gateway to City Walk and I’m trying to visualize where it will leave us & haven’t had much luck googling.

I agree, especially on a low CL day, no huge benefit to criss-crossing the parks.

Did you click on my “hypothetical itinerary” I shared up thread? I had quickly typed up IOA to USF to IOA to USF in 24 steps.

But I just looked at the hours from last year on the same Wednesday, and IOA closed at 9pm but USF closed at 7pm. If that is the case again, just stay in USF and do the few thrill rides before going back to IOA and staying there. (Switching parks twice will give you the benefit of riding Hogwarts Express both ways, as the experience and scenery are different)

I wouldn’t worry about the wait times for Hagrid’s too much. You already have a big advantage of CL 3/4 and it being a Wednesday.

You’ll be dropped off right near an escalator that will take you up to the security hub, then onto the moving walkways, and a walk through CityWalk. Bare left to Islands.

The first bus at Cabana Bay will arrive around 6:50.


I totally misinterpreted your hypothetical itinerary - I thought it was a list of all the things I should attempt - insert Homer’s Doh! here…
I have a bunch of plans copied to my DB and I am going to add yours now and play around with them. Once the hours come out I will know better.
I really appreciate all the help!

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Actually just started to enter it and I think that’s too much back and forth between parks for us. I do appreciate the help though!

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If you ever want to make your plan public we can look at it and give any tips or recommendations! :smiley:

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Yeah. Probably just IOA Potter :arrow_right: USF Potter + USF Thrill :arrow_right: IOA Thrill.

Thank you, as I said I’m a little rusty making my plans & I am still getting confused as to what attractions are in which park. Once I get some better plans and a better idea on how best I’d like to tackle the day then I will share the plans. They are way too “messy” right now if that makes any sense.
This is what I know for sure:
We will have made coffee in our room and will have purchased a grab & go breakfast the night before to eat while we are waiting to get into the park, so no sit down breakfast needed for us. I do want to eat lunch at the Leaky Cauldron & I’m totally flexible with the time.
I am just trying to see if it makes sense going back and forth and getting all the HP stuff done first then do all the other stuff or to mix it up and do all of IOA, then US. I have several plans going to see what’s best.
Not being familiar with the layout of the parks is super frustrating. With Disney, even though I haven’t been in the same amount of time, I know where almost everything is and it’s easier for me to visualize in my head.
Your HP maps have been incredibly helpful! I did print out the full maps of the parks too.


A little late to the thread, but I have found that the TP plans really only give a general guideline, but I wouldn’t count too much on the wait times being accurate day-of. In my experience, the Universal app has almost always been more accurate than the wait times predicted in the TP app. (This isn’t the case at Disney, but was my observation at UOR.)

Regardless, making a plan ahead of time does give you a feel as to how ot might play out. But with just a single day to go, you will have to make some choices.

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