How to use third day?

Hey everyone! We having been planning any way to get down to Florida so that we can go to Universal, and it’s been so hard to choose at time because of cost, scheduling conflicts, etc, and we finally planned to go in early May! It will be a Wednesday through Sunday trip. We were planning on going to the parks ( we will have park to park tickets) on Thursday and Friday, which are CL 2-4, and spend all day at the hotel to swim on Saturday, which is a 5-6. When we got the tickets, we found out we get a third day free. So now we have to decide which day to use as the third day. Originally, we were arriving Wednesday night. If we take an earlier flight to get there by 9 or 10, and arrive at the parks around noon, would that be a better way to use the day with a CL of 2-3, or should we spend it on Saturday? Also, we have gone to the parks the past few years, so not a must to ride everything, just favorites, and taking in the atmosphere at a more relaxing pace. We will be staying onsite at CBBR, so Thursday and Friday we plan on going in the extra hour, and we will not have Express Passes.

Personally, even if you can only use half a day, I’d pick Wednesday over Saturday.

We were just there first week of February and found that even Thursday’s crowds (ranked a 3/4) were significantly worse than Wednesday’s. It was our last day, but wasn’t nearly as enjoyable even though we were, as you are planning, just hitting favorites.

BTW, we had four days, but we broke up trip up into Day 1, Harry Potter. Day 2, Islands of Adventure. Day 3, Universal Studios. Day 4, both parks, favorites.

We were able to get through everything we wanted without the early entry nor express passes by 3:00 pm (when we left each day).

This ultimately depends on you. If the flights are the same price, you could start your day on Wed when it would be less crowded (though be careful of the “I need to get there quick” mentality with airlines, whose flights/weather don’t always cooperate). If not, that 3rd day is a bonus anyway and you can use it Sat to hit a couple favorites. It should be hot, so you can plan the IoA water rides for one day right before you go back to your hotel. I would certainly do HP stuff during extra hour in AM and if you like the coasters, do some of them in the AM as well. We found we did everything we wanted in 2.5 days (and we weren’t close the park ppl). The last 1/2 day we used “for anything else”…basically any re-rides or “not sure if we want to ride but now have time.” I’d probably think of your bonus “day” as a way to spread your vacation into more easy going relaxing time with AM park time, PM pool time.

If the park hours are fairly comparable, I would say do the Wednesday from noon to whenever. However, if the parks are open, say, 2 hours later on Saturday, I would do the Saturday and close out the park. Some of my most successful (and coolest, tempature-wise) touring has been in the last hour or so before the parks close if they are open late. It seems most people leave a bit before close and I am totally a close-out-the-park kind of person. When my family was last there in July 2015, we were literally the last people leaving Hogsmeade. We have tons of empty park pics and my favorites are the pictures of the security guards walking behind us, ensuring that we actually DO leave! :joy:


Not counting flight scheduling issues, I would go for the Wed over the Sat. If you are staying at one of the Uni resorts with Express Pass included, you should be able to do many rides in that first partial day, and you’ll still have two EEs to get to the rides that don’t use the ExPass.

Thanks for the replies! I was really hoping I could get an earlier flight that arrived morning, but a lot of them cost more, and arrive around 1:30- 3:30. I found one that is the same price that left at 5:30, and arrived at noon. I think that would be a verrrrreeey long day. We’ll just have to keep looking, and hope something comes up. If not, we’ll use Saturday! And, if we ended up arriving mid afternoon, we’ll just hang by the pools.

Clearly I’m in the minority here, but I’d pick Sat anyway. I think being able to make park opening or closing is far more important than crowd level, and you should never count on flights being on time.

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So, I was able to get a flight change to very, very late Tuesday night, as in arrive in Orlando after midnight. Would it be a bad idea to arrive at the parks closer to 9:30-10:00 am? Normally, we’re early entry and rope drop people, but I fear that we’ll be very tired from the night before. Has anyone ever arrived to universal parks later in the morning? Has it been an issue?

Bumping the thread up. Is it better to arrive for early entry (8:00) when we arrive at the airport at 12:30 am the day before, or to sleep in and arrive around 9:30 or 10:00? Please, any info would be helpful.

Arriving at 8 for early entry will allow entry to the Harry Potter sections and a few select rides. The parks don’t fully open all rides until the official opening times. If your family is like mine and needs rest ( especially after traveling) I would say get your rest and go to the parks when you are refreshed. It might lend itself to a better experience. It also sounds like crowd levels will be low and in your favor for your visit.


Thanks for the advice. Normally, we are early entry people, so we don’t know what getting into Universal is like after the regular park hours open. However, we’ve never ever arrived so late the night before and I’m scared, lol. I don’t want to miss out on EE, but dragging people around when they’re so tired will be miserable, haha.

We just left today after 3 park days (we were at WDW for 8 busy days before arriving at UOR). This answer is simple to me. If you have early entry, but not express passes, you should go to early entry to experience HP rides with mimimal waits and also to get on other headliners as soon as they open at regular park open. If you have express passes, skip the early entry and sleep in. We only went to early entry at Volcano Bay, there it is essential. For the regular parks we arrived at 9:15 one morning (early entry at 8) and 10:15 the other morning (again early entry at 8). It did not matter at all with express, lines were pretty short for us the entire trip. Standby lines on the other hand…ugh! We would not have been riding much at those times without express.
The lines to get in the park were pretty short both times as well.

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Awesome, thank you! What was the crowd level like at the parks in general? Did it seem like it was accurate to the predictions on this site?

Personally, I find the last hour before park close to also be an ideal time to tour the Harry Potter areas. I would rather sleep in a little bit and be refreshed and energetic and then tour them in the evening than to try and get up for early entry on minimal sleep.

The last few times I’ve gone, the parks closed around 6 or 7, so I didn’t get to really experience HP stuff near the end of the day. However, there was one year where we wanted to ride Gringotts one last time, and when we came out, the park was closed. It looked so incredible at night!! I wished we were able to spend an evening there, but it never happened again, sadly.

Evening is my favorite time, but my family is more the “close out the park” type than anything else. How late is the park open for you on your next trip?

I think US closes at 7 or 8, and IOA closes at 9, but I’m not 100% sure. There is a day where it’s grad night, and they both close at 6. We probably will use that as a swim/relax day.

I need to look at the predicted and actuals, and will let you know. We go to Orlando a lot, but live on the west coast, so we go when we can and don’t worry about crowd levels to much. I plan on every day being a 10, so we are never disappointed in the actual CL.

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Thanks. That’s a good mentality, that way, you’ll never be disappointed.

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