We are going to be at Universal in a few weeks. We are devoting one whole day to Harry Potter activities and another day to everything else. We are staying on-site and will have express passes for doing so. However, we want to walk through the castle for Forbidden Journey once and then probably use express pass at least one other time. When would be the best time to do this “stand by” with minimal wait time? We can start our day at 8 on the Diagon Alley side.
Lines start to pick up in HP around lunch time. So the earlier you do it the better. After doing Gringott’s, take the train over and do Forbidden Journey. After that, start actually touring around. But the line for FJ will be fairly short up to that point.
I have always heard that early is better. When it first opens, everyone has express pass so that line builds first.
So if we go to Diagon Alley first at 8 and do Ollivanders to get a wand and then Escape from Gringotts, we should have time to ride Hogwarts Express to get to Hogsmeade a little past 9 to do Forbidden Journey as stand by to walk through the castle, yes? I’m thinking after we do those two main rides then we will have literally all day to do whatever else we want in either park that is HP related-magic spells with wands, any shows, shopping, etc. Don’t think we’re even going to try Hagrid’s roller coaster given the wait times the last few days since opening!
The last few times we’ve gone, we went to FJ in the late afternoon with little to no wait (without express passes). However, I’m not sure with the Hagrid ride opening what the crowds with be like in that park.
In my experience if you don’t do it first thing you’ll experience a wait of at least 30 minutes in the mid-morning and late afternoon / early evening. It can go up to an hour + in the middle of the day.
I have always had my best luck riding Forbidden Journey with a short wait in the last hour before park closing. However, I don’t know if Hagrid’s ride will change this.