So we are heading to Universal for three full days (will be there four days -staying on site - but have three full days for parks). We have early access and the skip the lines tickets. Our daughter is 13 and loves all rides - we do too. We aren’t huge Harry Potter fans (but want to at least experience it). How do I even begin to plan this? Our daughter is a big Jurasssic Park girl - if that helps. Any and all advice is VERY much appreciated! THANKS
Honestly, you will have plenty of time to do everything you want with the express passes! I am going to tag @rebeecky for help!
Universal is really relaxing to tour. There is lots to see and do but if you have express passes with the onsite hotel, you will do it easily. Even though you are not big HP fans I think you will be amazed by the HP theming in the parks.
If you want to do an actual plan, you could create a personalized touring plan adding in the different attractions that sound interesting to you. If you need help with that, just ask!
However, you could also just show up and do what you want to do when you want to do it. With the Express Pass, this is very easy to do. The Jurassic Park area has one ride (unless you have a child under 51" then it has two), a couple restaurants, the Raptor Encounter, a play area and the Discovery Center. You can spend a couple hours there if you really take it all in, but shouldn’t need more than that. I would suggest you do the River Adventure in the dark, if possible. It makes it even more creepy!
Here is my additional advice from my June 2017 UOR trip as a newbie.
I went in June 2017 with my parents (in their 60s), 23 yo younger sister and significant other (we’re in out early 30s). My family had early entry and onsite express passes, but insisted on having a plan as well (which was pretty much ignored in the park ). However, the planning process was helpful to learn about the parks.
I used 2 different touring plans for our park time from Touring Plans (when we were at UOR the HP headliners did not have express access. They do have express access now.)
Day 1 - Wizarding World of Harry Potter Comprehensive Touring Plan for our first day (We are big HP fans).
Day 2 - 2-Day 2 Park Plan with Early Entry - Day 1
Day 3 -2-Day 2 Park Plan with Early Entry - Day 2
One important thing about UOR is that they have mandatory ride lockers on several thrill rides. These lockers are free to use for the duration of the standby wait time and ride. Additionally, they enforce a “no loose items” policy on the big coasters (Hulk and Rip Rockit); riders need to pass through a metal detector prior to boarding.
In addition to Touring Plans, Orlando Informer is another unofficial planning website that is very helpful for UOR information. I really appreciated OI’s photos of things like turnstiles and ride lockers as I really had no clue about the park layout prior to visiting.
OI has a 3 day park-to-park touring plan for onsite guests
If dining selection is important to you, here is a thread on Universal Dining.
Also adding that the Harry Potter areas in both parks get physically congested even when overall crowds are low. To explore Hogsmeade and Diagon Alley with lighter crowds, visit during Early Entry or in the last hour of park operation if possible.
This is me! I spend countless hours preparing touring plans that I know will be disregarded the minute I get there, but it makes me feel like I have a handle on what’s going on. Maybe I should tour with your family!
I’m with @rebeecky on this one. No plan necessary. Make one if only to see what you might want to do, but we found it wasn’t necessary at all once we arrived.
IOA is fairly “planned” for your, since you have to go around in a circle. Pick a starting point and then go around!
US is a little bit trickier only because you can “randomize” your ride pattern a lot more.
Thanks everybody - no plan it is! LOL! I feel a huge weight lifted!!