HP Priority: Which Park First?

30 days out and ready to start TP details. Which park do we start with on our first morning? Really HP is priority but we have park to park passes. Looking to avoid missing any part of the “story” that’s woven between the two.

1 Like

IMHO - if you have access to Early Park Admission just go to that one first.

However, I think Diagon Alley is simply stunning. My first time there I started in that part. Then I went to Hogsmeade and was a bit disappointed. Don’t get me wrong, Hogsmeade is pretty nice! However, Once you’ve seen the dragon breathe fire everything else doesn’t measure up!! :rofl:


I am trying to link the screen shots from Universal chat of a plan that follows the book timeline.


Is that posted ahead of time? I suspect it’s in the TP like at WDW which parks have EMH. We are at Sapphire Falls so will have early admission. So far crowds don’t seem horrific so I’m encouraged. A bit worried that it’s our first time and it seems so different from WDW.

It’s posted on the Universal website about a month in advance. Here’s a link to what is scheduled now.

FYI - Universal is notorious for changing the park hours right up to about 5 - 7 days before your trip.

I’m going next week and just started “updating & finalizing” the plans I made about a month ago. The hours have changed at least 2 times over the last 2 weeks.

Argh. That’s infuritating. We start 3/6 so IOA is the early park (as of now).

I totally understand. My first trip was 2018 and I felt the same. However, it’s soooo much easier and smoother than WDW. It really doesn’t need as much hardcore planning. The parks are much smaller than WDW. It’s more on the scale of Disneyland, if that helps. Also, the Universal App is pretty easy to use and actually helpful - unlike Disney (IMHO)

Plus, a “busy” day at Universal is no where near as crazy as a busy day at WDW due to the lower capacity.

Well then you’re in luck! You’ll start in Hogsmeade! (They both have an Olivander’s Wand shop if you are buying them. I am a bit of a “continuity snob” and only stop in the one in Diagon Alley. (where it actually is in the books!)

1 Like

This is great! I just learned our first morning is IOA early admission. Shall I just do what we can and not waste the time, or should we do something else at IOA before HP and then start at 9 in USF?

If you like “big” coasters, you can do Velocicoaster during EPA at IOA


Will it be disappointing to ride the train from IOA to USF for the first time? Meaning should our first ride be USF to IOA rather than the reverse? In which case we make our way to the exit of IOA on foot and enter USF from the main entrance and do it that way? I think we’ll be ready to head over shortly after lunch that first day. Obviously the train is faster…and yes we will ride both ways but I’m wondering about the first ride. Is it different?

Actually…it’s not. At least, when you factor in waiting in line, it is actually faster to walk from IOA to USF (and back) than taking the train. A lot more walking, of course, but if it is purely a matter of time, walking is faster than taking the train. Exception would be if there is minimal wait.

The visuals during the ride on the train are, in my opinion, better when coming from USF to IOA. It is worth doing both ways, though.


Excellent to know. Thanks. So we don’t “exit” and have to re-enter security lines? It’s seamless to park-to-park? With tween/teen we are not slow walkers but definitely want to do everything HP unrushed!

If you really want to do it continuity-wise I’d start at Kings Cross Station (USF). Keep your eyes open in the queue for the moment you see people walking through the brick wall. I admit the first couple of times I walked right by and missed it because there wasn’t any wait!

Correct! They will scan your tickets / passes when you board to make sure you have a valid park-to-park ticket (park hopper)

1 Like

I mean, if we walk out of IOA into USF. It seems security etc would make walking take longer than train.

Because the first two days (at least…I haven’t checked past that we are lingering for 4 days) of our trip are early admission IOA…we will be starting there. So I’m struggling with continuity. Trying to decide how to fix that.

AHHH… I misunderstood… It’s a bit of a hike, especailly with kids. I’ve walked it when the queue for HE is 60 minutes.

It was the late afternoon with no wait at security and it took me 15 - 20 minutes. (I was walking fast & solo though)

IMHO - It’ll be a pain to do if you do it right at park open - depending on crowds. (Obviously, a Wednesday is going to be faster than a weekend date.)

1 Like

Note, I was merely clarifying that walking rather than taking the train is usually (or can be) faster. I wasn’t actually suggesting you do so unless timing is an issue.

For example, when it matters would be if USF is the early entry park, and you wanted to get onto Hagrid’s ahead of the normal crowds. In such a scenario, it is best to hit USF for early entry, do Gringott’s, then WALK (don’t ride HE) over to IOA. You will likely beat out most of the crowds who are waiting for HE. This will get you in line for Hagrid’s ahead of most of the other folks. If, however, you wait for the train, then the Hagrid’s line will likely have gotten quite long by the time you get over there.

Since it sounds like IOA is the early entry park, I would be less concerned, and just go ahead and take the train, even if it is ultimately longer.

1 Like

Thanks for finding this. I’ve thought that would be a really fun way to tour, but to be most accurate, would involve a lot of park hopping. I found an article pretty much mirroring the chat screenshots, but it’s a little dated, so remove Dragon Challenge, and insert Hagrid’s as probably one of the first things after taking the train to Hogsmeade since a lot of the Forbidden Forest, Devil’s Snare, etc. is in the first book/movie.

I don’t know if I’d have the discipline to actually carry this out though, since most immersive isn’t most efficient.

1 Like

I think it is really designed for people that are only going to Universal for HP (that is not me).

If you have a TP Universal subscription there should also be a Harry Potter ebook on the website that highlights everything (but it is pre-Hagrid’s).

1 Like