IOA Rope Drop this Saturday - Can't decide based on data

I’m trying to decide if I should go to Kong or Hulk first this coming Saturday. Most days it seems Hulk takes a while to build, but Saturday it was somehow immediately at 40 minutes and stayed there all day, whereas Kong stays under 15-20 minutes in the first hour most of the time. My hope is to do Kong, Hulk, and Spider-Man by 10:30 so we can then do JP and Ripsaw Falls before the crowds build there (which happened pretty quickly Saturday), then head to Hogsmede for an early lunch around 11:30.

We will be coming from the Hogwarts Express (Is this a better idea than trying to do Gringotts and then walking over to IOA for a 2nd rope drop?), so hopefully a 9:05 arrival. So we’ll either head through Seuss Landing to Hulk or through JP to Kong. Either way we should get to our first ride around 9:10. It’s a predicted crowd level 6, but IOA has been consistently being an 8-9 even when 5s are predicted lately.

I was wondering if anyone could give me a little clarification on how to read wait times on the app, vs what is posted on the website.

Is the “expected wait” on the app normally more accurate than Universal’s posted wait? Or is the expected wait simply what the crowd calendar predicted for that time even before the day began? I’ve also noticed when trying to do a custom touring plan, the wait times given for the plan don’t really match up with what the touring plans app says. For instance, even if I put Spider-Man first thing in my plan, it tells me it will be a 20+ minute wait, despite the fact that the “expected wait” and posted wait are 5 minutes or less most of the first hour.

When comparing the graphs of individual rides previous days, I’m also not sure how to read those. What is the red line of adjusted predictions? Basically I’m wondering what data is actually the most accurate representation of what happens on a given day. Is it a certain line of the graph? Or should I use screen shots of the “expected waits” from throughout the day?

Please forgive all my questions. I don’t have much Universal experience and am just trying to get a good sense of what to expect Saturday. I’m used to Disney and have a good idea of their crowd patters and what their wait times mean.

Any help or advice would be greatly appreciated.

Hulk builds faster than Kong simply because, once you enter IOA, it is the first ride you come to if you head to the left. Kong is much further around the circle. Since you are coming from Hogsmeade, it makes sense for you to do Kong. You would head counter-clockwise, where Kong comes first (well, second, technically, since there is the JP River Adventure as well). I personally wouldn’t head to Hulk from Hogsmeade. Then come around to the super hero rides a little later, as those initial crowds move toward HP.

By “the app”, do you mean Universal’s app, or the TP app? In my experience, the TP app was WAY off most of the time, but the Universal wait times app was pretty accurate. Neither are perfect, but I kept trying to use the TP wait times whereas my son used the Universal wait times, and 9 times out of 10, my wait time was completely off and his wait time was accurate to within 5 minutes. So, after two days, I abandoned using the TP app and just used the Universal one. (This was altogether unfortunate, because now my family is hesitant to trust my TP planning I’m doing for Disney, even though I assured them at the time calculations for Disney is far more accurate than for Universal.)

TP app. But the TP app lists the posted Universal wait time and their expected wait time. The Universal wait time they post usually matches what the Universal app says, though it may be 5 minutes behind.

Unless they changed something, that wasn’t my experience at all (a year ago). The wait times in the TP app were completely different from the posted wait times in Universal itself, and the Universal App (which matched the posted times in the park).

Generally, how were the TP time off? Too long or too short?

Too short, most of the time. Once, for example, the reported time for the ride in TP was ~10 minutes, but actual wait time was closer to 35 minutes, which was about what Universal App had predicted.

I don’t know if they’ve changed something, but pretty much every time I look they match. I just checked several right now and they match up. My question is what is the “expected” wait time that they post along with it. The bigger number in blue on the top row.

You will not be to IOA by 9:05 if you take the Hogwarts Express. My understanding is when IOA opens at 9, they don’t open up the Hogwarts Express until 9. You will then have to walk through the line, board the train, and ride the train over, which will take more than 5 minutes. People who have been waiting at the entrance to IOA will get to the attractions before you will. This may not affect the rest of your time estimates, but I wanted you to be aware.

My understanding is that it does not open until 9, but we will be allowed to queue before that, meaning the first train will begin boarding at 9. So maybe 9:10 instead of 9:05. I thought about possibly leaving USF after riding Gringotts and Olivanders and heading for IOA port of entry, but I figure by then we could find ourselves behind a huge bag check and entry line and be behind everyone being let in early anyway. We also want to ride HE so I figure that’s a good time to do it.

I agree that you might as well do it. I have never personally taken the Hogwarts Express over when a park opens, I just know people have mentioned that they arrive later than people coming from the gate and they were not expecting to be as far behind as they were. It sounds like you have a firm understanding of it, so you should be fine!