Last minute questions about UOR

We (me and my DD10) will be doing 4 days at UOR Jan 24-27. I feel woefully unprepared compared to prior Disney trips - partly cause we’re crazy busy and partly because UOR is so different. So a few questions we have:

Details - we will not have express or early access. We have park-to-park and VB access. All week there is early park admission for IOA but none for UOF. Friday is a special event at UOF and they will be closing at 6 for it (Rock the Universe) -which we will not be attending. Most days the crowd level is a 4 for both parks except it bumps up to an 8 on that wednesday though I have no idea why. We won’t be doing too many intense coasters and likely a lot of Harry Potter.

  1. I’ve run the touring plans but do find it a bit confusing with the park-to-park. Is there a general flow through the park that makes the most sense? What’s been your favorite way to tour when you don’t have express? Even with 4 days of parks (which is a lot) I’m still hoping to avoid long lines.
  2. Any thoughts as to why wednesday seems so busy?
  3. I’ve seen mixed messages about going to Hagrid’s first thing in the day and with us not having early admission, we will leave it for later. What time might you suggest?
  4. how do you VB in the winter?
  5. have you needed to take mid-day breaks at Universal the same way you have as Disney? The park hours seem more reasonable (closing at 7-8pm) but don’t want to exhaust us.

Thank you!

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We generally dedicate one day to WWoHP across both parks, one day dedicated to IOA (without WWoHP) and one day dedicated to UOR. No problem getting through almost everything this way even without EP (which we have never had). A fourth day then would be about hitting up favorites, or anything you may have previously missed.

I don’t think a TP is needed, for the most part, although it is worth playing around ahead of time so you get a feel for wait times.

It is VERY important to hit WWoHP as early as possible. Crowds grow quickly, and we prefer to be done there after lunch when it seems like half the people are in there!

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Oh…as far as breaks, we usually have finished each day by 3:00 pm and then headed back to our rental for the rest of the day. But if you want to come back for evening, it is probably a good idea to head out for an afternoon break.

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Hi! I have an AP and have gone frequently this year. (I’ll be there the week after you too!)

This is the best part! It’s soooo much smaller. It’s on the scale of Disneyland than WDW. You can get around so much easier. Plus, UOR transportation is a million times better!

There is plenty to do other than coasters at UOR! Although they have the reputation for being the “grown-up” park they offer a variety of attractions. If Harry Potter is your passion I highly suggest doing a single day visiting both sections of WWOHP. The Hogwarts Express is a fun way to get back & forth and it’s a different experience each way!

I rarely use Express - especially in Jan. / Feb. unless it’s a holiday weekend! The WWOHP get filled first in each park. First, it’s because they are the main attractions during EPA and the thing most people run to in the morning.

If you plan a whole day of WWOHP you can “live” there and do it all a few times. Then use the other 3 days to see the rest and repeat a couple WWOHP things, you’ll be able to avoid crowds. With IOA being the EPA park I like to go to USF first at least one day. It will feel like a empty place for the first hour or so! Everyone is at Hagrid’s and VelociCoaster!

You can do so much if you go to USF first - including Diagon Alley. However, use this time to ride everything until close to 11am. That’s when the shows start! You can go see Bourne (a MUST-DO!!!) or Animal Actors.

Depending on the heat and my traveling partners, we take a midday break around 12:30pm. We grab something to eat in CityWalk and go back to the hotel to shower / nap. I’m typically leaving my hotel by 3:30pm to be back all the way inside the parks by 4:15pm.

If I’m solo and the weather is cooler I can go all day.

Basically, my advice is understand that Diagon Alley & Hogsmeade are going to be the busiest areas. Use the app to monitor wait times and make sure to use the App’s wait time notification alerts for those areas so you’ll know when those rides wait time is at the time you like.

If I’m not planning on taking the Hogwart’s Express to park hop, I like to walk all the way to the back of each park and work my way to the front. Then walk through CityWalk, about 5 minutes, to the other park’s entrance and go back to front.

Check out the shows and street entertainment! There’s so much and it’s so great! I arrange a lot of day around those show times!

No… I see the same thing the week I’m there. I really think it’s a weird glitch. I could be wrong. However, I’ve been there before this time of year. Unless a school group or something is coming I don’t understand why it is so high either once each week

I’d set an alert with the App. Anytime it’s around 60 minutes you should head over there. It doesn’t dip below that often. I’d even consider a notification at 70 minutes. If you don’t know how to use the app’s wait time notifications, let me know. I’ll walk you through it.

If you don’t have EPA, don’t go in the morning. The wait will “level” off after the park has been open for a couple hours.

The water is heated to 80­°F. It’s nice in the water, but cool if windy. You just grin and bear it! :rofl: I’ll be there and I know my teeth will be chattering :cold_face:

For me it depends on the heat. Since you are traveling with a DD10 I’d suggest it no matter what. Mostly because it’s so quick & easy to get on a bus and be back in your hotel room in less than 30 minutes!

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This is great advice, thank you. I’m trying to think about a good first introduction to WWoHP for DD10. I’ve read some difference of opinion about doing the world chronologically or just practically. I like the idea of our extra day being a day to shop and explore the stores (rather than the first day when everything will be overwhelming). If we don’t have early admission (it’s at IOA), do you have a favorite way to tour that land?

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Wow. Thanks for all the detail. I’ve read a ton of your advice and trip reports :slight_smile: :grin:
Ok, let me see if I have some of the main ideas

  • back to front touring for the parks
  • WWoHP will be very busy in the afternoon so good to go early
  • we should have plenty of time to do everything
  • go to shows (I will have to drag my DD10 kicking and screaming to those as she’s a ride-a-holic) but we will go!
  • use the app (I have it and have practiced and found the time alerts - thank you for the offer to help)
  • take a mid day break
  • Hagrids later in the day (once time has leveled off and assume 50-60 min wait

Couple questions I forgot:

How is Hagrid’s single rider line? We’d be ok splitting up if it meant she got to ride more.
How early is rope drop as USF and IOF (without early admission)?

Thank you again!!!

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Just do it practically. It’s sooooooo much better to go into Diagon Alley. You really get the “WOW” factor of WWOHP. There are so many Easter eggs and references that I still find new things!

Besides, DA is over in USF which won’t be as crowded because most people are over at IOA doing Hagrid’s.

I like to do DA until about 11am, then take the HE over to Hogsmeade. The wait for the train is usually still low before lunch. Any time the train is above 50 minutes you may want to reconsider. I don’t take it if it’s past 40 minutes. It’s a long walk, but I can go all the way from one DA to Hogsmeade in about 20 - 25 minutes. I’d prefer to ride the train as it’s very cool and saves my feet!! So I am willing to wait somewhat.

Hogsmeade is very nice and you get to see Hogwarts. However, it’s so spread out and “out in the open”. You don’t get the thrill of going through a tunnel / entrance into a “separate” land like you do in Diagon Alley. You can see Hogwarts from a lot of other areas of IOA.

(Sorry! I’m a big fan of WWOHP and love it)

If you are getting a wand, you should do those early in the morning. First, the waits are low. (There are no Team Members assisting. Everyone is on the honor system to not take too long - which doesn’t always work!) The later in the day you’ll have little queues in front of each shop window. Second, the “magic” doesn’t work as well when the sun hits the glass windows. It interferes with the wands ability to do spells. So, I do my spell in the mornings and in the evenings.

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There are pros & cons… Let’s get the bad stuff out of the way first…

Cons

Each vehicle on Hagrid’s seats two people. There is a motorcycle seat and a side car seat. EVERYONE wants the motorbike seat! No one is assigned a place. You have to negotiate it with the stranger you’ve just met. To ensure DD10 gets to sit where she wants you need to go together.

Any single rider queue that goes to a ride with an even number of seats takes longer than an odd number of seats. Since Hagrid’s seats two people you can sometimes be waiting a while. I have waited as long as I would’ve in standby. Not always, but it does happen.

If the preshow is running, which doesn’t happen often, you don’t get to see it in SR queue. It is really good though. Most TMs at the queue entrance don’t really know if it is running, but I still ask. Every once in a while they were just inside the show building and can tell you.

PRO

The standby queue for Hagrid’s is awful and so under themed! The single rider queue is goes directly to the ride. (It just moves slowly often)

You spend a lot of the time in a air conditioned hallway that leads to a stair case. I ALWAYS just sit down on the stairs. I really don’t mind if single rider takes about as long because I sat down most of my wait. (If you don’t mind sitting on a cold stone floor!)

The wait will be shorter, but I not a giant amount. If the standby is 60 minutes I’d expect to wait 40 - 45 minutes.

They open the gates to IOA for everyone at EPA. Then once inside the park you can’t go past the roped area unless you show your hotel key / AP

At USF since it’s not doing EPA, you can expect it to open about 10 - 15 minutes before the posted hours - unless they have an unexpected delay.

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Thanks! I like that this frees us up to do 2 WWoHP days - one where we get the big reveal of DA and riding Gringotts and HE and another where we can focus on the shops and wands without big crowds. Then we can do Hogsmeade and Howarts more in the evening (which was my plan for riding Hagrids). That still leaves us a day at VB and another focused on the rest of the parks.

I now need to organize all my notes!

Thanks you again!!

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I love VB too! If you have any questions let me know. It’s a bit awkward the first time - especially with the Tapu Tapu system

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Please feel free to disregard if you’re already happy with your current plan, but I did a different approach. I chose to divide up WWoHP by park in the mornings, because if you do both in one day, the 2nd park will already have longer lines by the time you get there. I recommend the following mornings, in any order:

  1. USF - Gringotts & Ollivanders
  2. IOA - Hippogriff & Forbidden Journey
  3. USF - Minions & Transformers
  4. IOA - Spiderman, Kong (if not too scary), water rides

I would use VB as your afternoon break, going there in the afternoons at the warmest times of day. Other good afternoon options are Seuss, shows, shops, play areas. Our favorite play area was Jurassic Park, which was good for a range of ages.

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Thank you @felicia3333. This is really great advice and a lot for me to think about. I’m not used to the idea of park hopping (we never did it at disney) so this brings another level of touring that I don’t think about.

VB in the afternoon is a great idea. Do you normally just bring a backpack or are you trying to go to your hotel before going to VB? I just realized VB doesn’t provide free towels so we would need to carry them, go back to our AirBnB, or rent them.

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I hate to be “that guy”, but going to VB in the afternoon is a really bad idea in my experience.

Here’s why… Tapu Tapu!

You are required to use a “magic band” at VB to get on the slides. You can have one slide scheduled at a time. By midday most slides have long waits, especially Krakatu. You kill time in the wave pool or lazy river. When you go in the morning you can get on slides with low waits. I’ve seen Krakatu with a 200+ minute wait by 1pm.

You could arrive after lunch with most slides at a 30 - 40 minute wait. You can’t get in another queue to “wait”.

I hope this makes sense. It’s early and I just woke up.:laughing:

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Hmm. What about for winter - we will be there in 10 days? Do you think it will still accumulate long wait times? I was thinking it might get us past the cold morning if we go in the afternoon. I’m assuming if there’s a heat wave perhaps we might need to go in the am then?

With low to moderate CLs, mid-week, and mid 70’s forecasted, waiting til mid day is fine to visit VB.

We were there before with the exact same circumstances as you. Spent a LOT of time in the cozy Fearless River. There were no crowds. But there will still be waits for the headliners.

The Lazy River will be closed for refurb.

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Thanks for this! Yes, I saw about the lazy river and was bummed but at least the fearless river will keep us warm. We’re used to YMCA pools that are about 84 degrees. I’m a little worried about 80 degrees :cold_face:

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It was definitely mid 80’s+ when I was there on a 74 degree day. I know what 80 feels like from the swimming pool, and that water was pretty cozy.

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The water is going to feel great. Sorry to worry you. I think Tapu Tapu is great, but can be frustrating when you want to ride something and aren’t even allowed to get in queue.

It will be a lower CL in 10 days. You’ll be fine. Going in the morning is just my preference for non-stop fun. Then I’m asleep in a shaded chair with a Tiki drink by 2pm!

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Awesome! I’m keeping my eyes on the weather and have all my plans written out. Thank you everyone for the help. @bebe80 I have your maps and cheat sheets ready to go for our trip. Hopefully the parks and weather comply. Watching the wait times today was horrifying - Gringotts opened late and is at 175 min, Mummy is at 120, Transformers is at 180, Hagrids is 115 etc. That doesn’t seem normal but yikes.

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It’s MLK weekend which is always super busy - :crossed_fingers: your days won’t be anything so extreme :+1:!

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