Help Planning Please!

I feel overwhelmed. We’re pros at WDW, but this is our first Universal trip and I can’t even figure out which park on which days.

Me, daughter 17, sons 14, 11. Arrive at Hard Rock Hotel Sunday 8/20 around noon - 2pm. Head to WDW on Friday 8/25 (no ticket this day). We have 3 parks, 5 days tickets with Unlimited Express passes.

  1. The first day will be a half day. I am stumped on where to go this day. Just do Harry Potter stuff? Stick to the water rides?

  2. I guess I’ll do one day at IOA, one day at UF, one water park…and then the 4th day we’ll re-visit favorites. Does it make sense to plan full days at one park (usually what I do at Disney) or to plan to hop from park to park?

  3. Early Entry parks - -when do they announce this? Do I plan my day around the early entry park?

  4. We simply must find Scooby Doo. Serious fans here. Will this be very possible or just if we’re lucky?

I will gladly take any advice anyone wants to give me. Thanks for your help.

Honestly with 5 days Express pass you don’t really need to plan anything.

Last August both parks had EE but of course that’s not guaranteed. You are really going to have more than enough time without it anyway, but it’s only the HP areas (and Minions ride) that will be open. If you want to ride Minions without a lengthy wait, do it first when it’s open for EE, then head to Diagon Alley. Forbidden Journey and Escape from Gringotts don’t take Ex pass, so EE is the best time to do these too. Though both have a single rider line.

Try to see the HP areas both in day and night, Diagon Alley especially is beautiful! You will want to get the Hogwarts Express between parks if you are a fan, and even if you’re not it’s pretty cool. It’s different each way so you should plan to do both, but if you’re only going to go one way go from US to IOA so you get to see platform 9 3/4.

As for Scooby Do, we’re not interested in characters so I don’t know if there’s a published schedule, but we always seem to see him. I don’t think you’ll have a problem.

We were at UOR and IOA last week and we used express passes at all HP rides including Gringotts and Forbidden Journey.

Yes they started taking it in July 2017, but they didn’t at the time of this post.

Fail on my part. Saw April and overlooked the year.

We have the same 5 day 3 park unlimited express pass tickets for end of June/ early July. I also can plan WDW, but am stressing over this.
I decided to do what you memtioned. Hp in one day, USF and IOA on days, 1 water park day and the last day to do highlights.
I think that allows time in each park in middle of day for shows, or go back to hotel to rest. It looks like we should be able to get everything in the first 3 park days and have one full one to go back and do favorites.

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I think you will have enough time with the express pass to do everything you want.