Help with Spring Break crowds and access to HP worlds with 1 day/2 park TP

Hi everyone,

Universal newbie here. I’ve been reading the UG 2017, which was published prior to the inclusion of the Harry Potter attractions in the Express Pass system and I’m wondering what impact that has had on touring plans and the recommended order.

Also, we are going during Spring break and the UG says that access to Hogsmeade may be limited for part of the day. The one day-2 park TP for non-resort guests has us arriving at 11 AM for 5 hours, then returning to Universal. I don’t want to waste time queuing to get in, or have a return time foil our plans since we’re trying to do this in just one day.

Should we plan on doing IOA at RD instead, stick with the 1 day/2 park touring plan (Uni to IOA to Uni, or start at Uni, but stay longer and go to IOA in the late afternoon?

I’m a WDW TP veteran, but I’ve never experienced a situation like this before. Sure, a ride may be down, but I’ve never experienced a park or a “land” closed to capacity with return times. I’m not sure what do with this information.

Thanks for your help!

Are you staying on property? That will make a big difference, because it will allow you access to one of the Wizarding Worlds an hour early. If so, I’d absolutely make use of that to get the HP attractions out of the way, and the EPs that come with staying on property will help tremendously with lines.

If that’s not the case, then I’d follow the touring plan that the site gives you. Start with the 1 day/2 park plan, take out anything that doesn’t interest you (and add anything that isn’t there already) and then optimize it for that date. It’s going to be very similar to WDW from a touring perspective: the limited capacity at the Wizarding Worlds is going to be similar to what happened at Pandora in the early days.

Hopefully that helps! If not, fire back and we can help further.

It is my understanding that the closure and return times for Hogsmeade has not actually happened in several years, so you probably don’t need to worry about that.

Hi! Thanks for your advice! We were not planning on staying at a Universal resort, but I’m contemplating it. I have to crunch some numbers and see if it’s worth it. I’m all about EMH at WDW, so it pains me to arrive at regular park opening at such a busy time of year. Plus, they’ll be parking to contend with too.

Thanks @rebeecky! Good to know! I’m hoping that inclusion of HP attractions in the EP system might help ease the crowds. At least the people that purchase them won’t feel compelled to make a beeline for HP.

One difference between WDW and UO is that the on-site resorts are within short walking distance to both parks. There are water taxis if you’d rather not walk, but we’ve found the walks to be relaxing and easy. Just another little thing to consider when you do your cost analysis.

I think vast majority of onsite guests with express pass and early access still head for HP

Indeed in July when we were there at least several other parts of the park weren’t open to do the rides until the early hour had finished

I would still head to HP first thing and you will get lthe rides done in the first hour

My biggest tip for HP is do olivanders first chance you get

We were first into that and the only family in there so both my kids were the stars of the show so to speak as a result

It’s only 5 mins and the express pass means you still don’t queue for any of the other HP rides

There are also tuk tuks if you don’t want to walk

Thanks @interested!

If I may offer one piece of advice with regard to early entry…

The two times I used EE (once in June 2015, once last month), everyone flooded to the Harry Potter rides (obviously, as they are almost the only ones open), so the lines got long-ish. I found the best use of EE on my most recent trip to be for casting spells. If you have any intention of buying wands and doing spells, this is the best time to do it. The lines to cast spells get long in both parks, even during slow times. When I went to EE at USF last month, everyone was heading into Escape from Gringotts. I wandered Diagon Alley and Knockturn Alley and did spells at my leisure, browsed the uncrowded shops (do you have any idea how rare it is to actually be able to move around Borgin & Burkes with no one in your way?), and generally enjoyed the atmosphere. I got pictures of a virtually empty Diagon Alley and really soaked everything in. For me, this was the best part of my entire trip.

Thanks @rebeecky! That is GREAT advice! We’ll have unlimited express pass, so we shouldn’t have to worry “as much” about waiting in long lines later. I would really like to see the Gringott’s queue though. Should we try standby at the end of the day instead? If we use EP, will we completely miss seeing the bank?

When I went, we missed nothing of the regular queue using Express Pass at Gringotts except the unthemed outdoor part. We saw all of the bank. On one of our rides, however, they were not taking pictures in the EP line, only in standby. The other three times, we got a picture in the EP line as well.

Forbidden Journey, however, is a different story. You miss quite a bit doing only EP, so I would do standby through the castle at least once.

Awesome! If we do Olivanders and Diagon Alley during EE, will we be able to jump on the HE and beat the crowds to Forbidden Journey or at least wait in a relatively short line? Or should we wait and ride it in the latter part of the evening?

My understanding is that they don’t open up the line for the Hogwarts Express until Islands of Adventure opens, so by the time you get there, the people arriving on foot would have beaten you to Forbidden Journey. The line may still be relatively short, however.

If the parks will be open late when you are there, I always find the last hour before park closing to be the most efficient for touring.

I’ve done the Harry Potter warner brothers tour UK and universal HP

The warner tour is good to be fair but I think they could take to the next level if they invested in some kind of 3d ride as well onsite

For US visitors who visit UK there is also a Harry Potter locations walk you can do in London and a JK Rowling walk you can do in Edinburgh

As well as being able to visit Alnwick where they did a lot of filming for Hogwarts castle I believe?

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Also there is an Oxford University walking tour where one of the university dining rooms is used for filming of the dining room in Hogwarts (imagine being a student at that University and dining there every evening!) and there’s a tree in the grounds where one of the scenes from one of the films was shot

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Took a picture of Platform 9 3/4 at King’s Cross Station in London last year! Neat gift shop there as well.

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March 24-31 they have Early hours at BOTH parks we are going March 27th, 2018 and doing only HP any suggestions since we are not staying on site?

If you are only doing HP, I assume you are big HP fans, and therefore, I would start at USF and go to Diagon Alley and take the journey in the same order that Harry did. Also, if you are getting wands, I would think you would want to get them early on and the Ollivanders in Diagon Alley is bigger.

A bit off topic, but I read somewhere they they were closing one of Ollivanders’ rooms in DA to make room for the Globus Mundi space. Should still have two rooms over Hogsmeade’s one, but the advantage will probably shrink some.