Here’s how I walked onto Escape from Gringots (no wait): I stayed at Cabana bay which got me a 7am EE into Universal. I got to the turnstile before 6am which necessitated a cheap cab ride. This was key b/c the buses start at around that time so I was ahead of those taking buses. All turnstiles will open so don’t (as usual best to zig while others zag ESP in theme parks and on busy days) line up with the masses in the middle. Head to the rightmost turnstiles. The park (but not attractions) will open 15-30min before the posted time. When it opens (you should be the first in line if you do the above), stay with the rope that will go all the way to Diagon Ally; you won’t have to run but do be sure to walk aggressively and stay with the rope. And, voila, you’ll be on the first ride of the day. If you leave Diagon after Gringots, the line into Diagon Ally was non-existent at night but hours long (this is in addition to the wait for Gringots) from the am to afternoon. Suggest you go at night anyway as it’ll give you a whole different feel of the area. Feel free to send any questions! Oh, and I separately purchased express for both parks (need the hopper for the train anyway) and was able to enjoy EVERY attraction in both parks (except kiddy rides and a few shows) in one day with max 15-20mim waits! Suggest you hit outdoor attractions first as those will temp shutdown if there’s lightening in the area and- anyway- these will have short express waits in the am as most will be at Diagon Ally waiting and waiting.
Excellent advice! Thanks!
Sounds like fun!
Great stuff - thanks for posting!
Sounds like a great day! Thanks for sharing the strategy.
My cousin is going tomorrow (staying at Portofino) and I’ll be sure to show her this and report back. The cab advice seems especially helpful! Thanks!
Hey @weasus Your cuz may be able to walk from Portofino. Not sure. But, it’s closer than Cabana which is where I stayed. Still, getting there before the masses is key as we all know.
Any advice as to…what to do immediately after Gringots? Sounds like you are saying stay in DA unless you want to wait to get back in until the evening.
But does this make any sense:
Take the train to IoA
Ride Forbidden Journey
Return to DA in the evening
We are going Oct 28 and 29…can’t wait!
Have you seen this?? http://blog.touringplans.com/2014/07/23/new-universal-orlando-wizarding-world-two-park-touring-plans/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=new-universal-orlando-wizarding-world-two-park-touring-plans
After Gringots, I ended up hitting most of UO starting with Rip Ride Rocket (best coaster in Orlando IMHO) and much of UO (very fast and easy with express although you may not need that in Oct…not sure), took the train to IOA and did single rider on Forbidden Journey, circled IOA (no issue with Express), trained back to UO, walked into DA and took my time exploring the land. I finished with their nighttime show which- umm- left me wanting more. No WDW style show for sure.
Thinking this through, may be better to single ride Forbidden after you circle IOA. Waits should be lower later in the day.
My cousin who stayed at Portofino last Fri night definitely took my advice about Rope Drop and after a trial run the night before took the pedi-cab and arrived at 6:02am. They were first at the front gate, DA, the bank and EfG (even the front car!)! Nicely done! Thanks for all the great advice!!
Awesome! So glad that worked for someone else! Very excited that I could help. Funnily enough, I did a trial run the night before too and collected as much intel as I could get from guests and Team Members. Was your cousin impressed by DA? I’m hoping WDW will bring that kind of theming to Avatar and the hopeful Star Wars Land. The closest comparison I can think of is Cars Land which likewise blew my mind. Seems like a great time to be a theme park fan.
We’re there the third week of August and it looks like the park opens at 9, we get early admission which makes it 8 for us. So we should get to the turnstiles at 7?
Great advice! We’re def going to do this one morning, i just want to make sure we have our timing right.
Looks like 9am for non-EE guests starting 8/17. Just a couple things to consider: triple check a) which park (maybe still both?) has EE, b) the operating hours as that may change (moved from 9 to 8 for non-EE a week or so before my trip). The next thing is to stay ahead of the crowds. So, getting EE is great plus beating those with EE to the turnstiles is key too. Seems buses start 1hr to 75min before EE so get to the gates before those folk. If you’re at Cabana (and until they have the walking bridge done) this means taking a cab. Pretty sure the deluxes are walkable or maybe consider a pedi-cab as @weasus mentioned. Next step is to walk with a purpose and be as close to the rope as possible as the Team Members walk to DA. The rest of UOR was super manageable with DA out of the way and express passes in hand. Ask any questions!
Awesome! thanks I’ll make sure we’re at the gates by 7 so we’re ahead of the rest of the early crowd
Also, did you know that you get EE on both the day of check-in and the day of check-out?
What’s the situation with lockers at Gringotts? If we are bringing a bag for the day, how much will it slow us down to get one? We are definitely going to be at the park for rope drop, and we don’t want to totally waste that if the lockers are going to put us behind the crowds (the wait at 8:30 is projected to be 120 min).
Correct me if I’m wrong, but if you’re staying at Cabana Bay, you get EE but not the Express service, correct?
Also, some advice: we’re staying the night of 8/20.
First, we get EE both mornings, right? 8/20 and 8/21? EE looks like 8am, so we should try to get there as early as 7?
Second, we’re shuttling over the morning of 8/20 from the Wilderness Lodge. I think Mears’ earliest shuttle is at 7:15, which sucks. We’ve never done car rental before and I don’t really want to pay for more than the morning of the 20th to the evening of the 21st. Anybody have any other suggestions so we can get there by rope drop on the 20th? Or should we just suck it up and plan Diagon Alley and Gringott’s for day 2?
I had everything in my cargo shorts. I did notice people using the lockers. I was in the first group, first to ride. The team members held us up just before the bank lobby. Guessing we got there before 8 as they let us into UOR around 7:30 and Gringots probably starts at opening time. There was time for people to use the locker before they let us into the lobby: seemed hectic for them. Guessing (again, don’t know for sure) that if you’re in a longer line, maybe you can have someone go ahead of you? Don’t know.
Yes, you get EE through Cabana day of check-in and day of check-out. First bus out of Cabana was around 7, one driver told me 6:45. I hoped a $5 cab at 6:30 to be ahead of the bus folk. I was first in line at the turnstiles by 6:45. I thought the key was to be ahead of the hundreds (?) on the bus. Worked for me. No wait at all on Gringots. Well, there was some wait as we waited a few minutes for DA and then Gringots to open.
If you take Mears from the WL, figure a half hour or more to Cabana. And still more time to check-in. You have to have the room key to use EE. So, if you stick w Mears, you’ll be behind the crowd which’ll guarantee no Gringots walk-on. Not ideal. Too bad you can’t check-into the much cheaper Cabana the night before and maybe enjoy CityWalk, the lazy river, etc and get two EE days? Otherwise, I’d suggest saving Gringots for a day when you can get to the turnstiles early. Day 2 in your case. I had no issue w a car rental by the way: only way I travel to the World and UOR.