One Day for both parks. What are your must do's?

Will only have 1 day for Universal for our trip coming up in October. Plan on doing both parks, mainly because of HP. Will be myself, husband, 2 year old & 7 year old (who loves coasters and is 49" so can do most of the rides). HP in general is a priority. The day we are going TP has projected crowds of USF-3 & IOA-2. Would you recommend express passes? However, it’s our first time and I know that will cause us to miss the amazing theming in the queue’s. All that being said, what are your “must do’s” if you only had 1 day in the parks?

I’d wait and see whether you need Express Pass on the day.

My must dos are:
US - Rip Ride Rocket (but this is 51")
The Mummy
Men in Black
IOA - Hulk
Cat in the Hat (more from a love of Dr Suess than for the ride itself.

And obviously all the Harry Potter stuff.

I agree - would wait to see if you need them. I do however suggest (if possible) if you can do one night at US at a delux - see how much that is as compared to your current accommodation cost - it very well could be a lot cheaper to upgrade to a single night and get the express passes.

However - if HP is you main focus - I would crush it on HP. Flight of the Hippogriff is a bit lame - but if the line isn’t long - do it.
I also suggest doing the Hogwarts express both ways. I would think you would spend the majority of your time in HP for sure. Other than that I agree with @missoverexcited - would also add the Jimmy Fallon ride - haven’t done it as it is new - but it is cool. Also MINNIONS - that was fun.

Oh I keep forgetting about the Jimmy Fallon ride - I don’t know who he is which doesn’t help! I believe you have to go and get a time to come back for that one, like an old paper fastpass for Disney, but I don’t know how that really works.

We just did a day in June CLs 3/4 for HP only. If the CL is accurate, you will not need Express Pass. We basically walked on rides all day without any problems. It sort of turned into our rest day. Got there at about 10 and left at about 4:30.

Outside of HP we did ET and Jurassic Park for nostalgia purposes. Wish we had had the energy to do Hulk and Mummy too.

I would use the Universal one day, two parks touring plans on this site. There are plans for both early entry and not early entry. That should tell you the highlights and give you a good way to get through everything.

So prior to going - I was always - “don’t associate with people that go to US” kind of guy. After going - I am 180 degree switch. We LOVED US. I hope you enjoy your one day there - but do suggest to others that you actually spend more time there. We did 2 1/2 days (this was before the water park opened. LOVED it - found it a nice, relaxing, but fun time. I really liked how compact it was - it was a pleasant 7 minute boat ride to the main gate - you could WALK anywhere. That made it a much more relaxing time. ENJOY!!


I have to agree, my heart sinks a little when people try to do it in 1 day. We did 4 last year, it was great.

I tried to book us AFTER our WDW days and thought it would be a nice way to still do things but relax a bit. Unfortunately we ended up doing US first as it was significantly less expensive. Additionally we stayed at Portafino (FIRST) and then at the SWAN - to say it was a letdown is an understatement. I have to say that US was a GREAT park and now the kids want to go there as compared to WDW. I have to say I kind of agree. I like WDW - but until WDW builds out all the new rides - it is a bit tired.

HP is absolutely awesome and a lot of the other areas are great as well. so US is well worth two days at least in my opinion.


Thanks! I totally overlooked that one. I was focusing on the ones with kids and didn’t even think to check the adults only for that.

Thanks everyone! I appreciate the advice!

If you are an HP fan, I would say do all HP. If you have time, throw in one or two other rides. I, personally am a HUGE Potter geek and spend my first day focusing on just HP. Rides, spells, shows, butterbeer. I fully immerse myself, wear myself out and fall asleep with a big smile on my face and visions of the Dark Mark dancing in my head. (Admittedly, this touring style is not for everyone!) No matter what you do, though, you will love it!

I will throw another idea in

With 2 young kids why don’t you stay in the Royal Pacific in a family room for 1 night the day before you go in the parks

Get an extra magic hour and walk straight in olivanders. We did that last week and were the only family in there at 8am. Both our kids were like VIPS doing the experience together.

You can do that not worrying about queues growing anywhere else because your room key is your fastpass for all the rest of the rides

With Harry Potter fastpass you still walk through vast majority of the theming. You just don’t have queues whilst you do it.

Then get the train to the other land and again visit everything with no need to hurry. Then back again and do the HP rides again with the express pass. The train ride is a different experience both ways so you need to do both ways

The jimmy fallon ride ride fun
Spiderman is great
Mummy not as good as I remember from before
Men in black is good
Jurassi park ride is great
Kong is amazing but maybe too scary
Hulk and ripride rocket great but way too big for your kids I’m sure
Simpsons is great and then all the suess rides for young kids

When you cost up a night in the royal pacific agaisnt the cost of fatspasses how does it work out

But that extra hour in the park at the start is fabulous - especially if you take them to olivanders first whilst the rest are on the rides. That’s special.

You would have a magical unhurried day you will remember forever rather than having an eye on where you need to be next and how quick you need to be there