Planning stress! Non EE 2 day (whole family) Harry Potter-heavy TOURING plan help needed

Sorry so long. My brain, and my browser tabs are exploding with INFO and ideas as I try to finalize a good touring plan for this weekend. : )

If anyone reads all this, I thank you immensely. And if you even answer just 1 or 2 of my questions, I will raise a glass of butterbeer in your honor!

UPDATE: to clarify, I did copy the 2 day adult plans from the touring plans a couple weeks ago- I added more little kid attractions.

LOOKING for suggestions/help! Love touring plans! Did the dumbo in a day back from a book in 2007. We’ve been to universal/IofA in 12/08, and just IofA in 11/10. (made my own touring plans) So we’ve seen the Hogsmeade/Hogwarts side of things.

Of course the kids are older now, this is all new to the 7 year old and 3 year old. We’re big HP fans, and want to to ALL of that, including browsing for little easter egg details. My oldest daughter, 14, is very excited to finally be tall enough for all the big coasters. The other kids are: 11, 7, 3, and a 7 m. baby. So we’ll need to mix in some Suess land and other kiddy stuff for the 7 and 3.

I’ve been working out a 2 day/park hopping plan. for this Saturday 12/13, and Mon 12/15. (both seem to open at 9AM to the general public, with 8am EE to Universal available both days. crowd levels say 2 or 3.

Loving this new online touring plan thing with wait times and everything-

  1. Would you go to the Superstar parade or the macy’s parade or the mannheim steamroller concert? I’m leaning YES to the 2 parades, and no to the concert. Also, I think the kids will enjoy the grinch show. We’ve seen that before.
  2. Any other SHOWS worth it? They say the Blue’s brothers has Christmas music. I’m sure the 3 year old would enjoy Barney, but I think we may want to skip…I haven’t been to the Poseidon or Sinbad. Would you go to those? Can we skip Shrek and that walk-through earthquake thing?

The Magic Kingdom Crowd level for Saturday RECENTLY rocketed from 2 to a 6 and from a 3 to a 6 for Monday. (with 1 week notice) : ( So I decided to switch MK to Tuesday, which is a Christmas Party day, as the level is still at 3, and we seem to get much more of our touring plan covered even with the shorter hours. I wonder if Universal parks will also be more crowded Saturday and Monday, than the 2/3 predicted. Pop Warner in town.

I’ve decided to follow the touring plan recommendation- and not rush to gringotts or hogwarts. (doing all the main HP stuff both days)

It seems so counterintuitive NOT to go to Gringotts at the rope drop. But I see that unless you are right at the rope drop, the lines are heaviest for the first few hours of the day. Has anyone done (non early entry) rope drop to Gringotts? It’s recommending 7pm Sat, and 12:30 Monday for Gringotts both with a 28 min. wait. When I manually select Gringotts for 9 am, it’s giving me a 29 minute wait.

  1. WHAT would you do? Does it really taper off in the afternoon/evening? I’m just remembering how crazy the LINES to get into the Hogsmeade shops were in early Nov 2010… Seems like I should AVOID Gringotts from about 9:30 to Noon.

  2. I ordered my tickets from undercover tourist- saved some money by ordering ahead- thank you!

  3. Where can I find some souvenir recommendations?

I have a wifi only android tablet- and the LINES app looks awesome.
6) But I’m wondering is the WiFI in the park reliable or spotty?
7) Are there any other apps I should get?
8) Is buying the interactive wand worth it?

Really wondering how I’m going to juggle the baby, the camera, the touring plan, and a glass of butterbeer. But it’ll be awesome! Thanks again fellow planners. :sunny:

Hi Alyn! Lots of questions!!! Please start by reading all the Uni info on, much of it has been updated recently

For a touring plan, make copies of our Universal Orlando Highlights 2 day/2 park plans and delete the rides you don’t want.

You definitely want to buy tix before arriving, check out our new ticket info page:

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Not a lot of recent experience - other than a LOT of planning for a last-minute-cancelled UOR extension to our WDW trip in Nov…

Do you have Express Pass? That can make a big difference in how you tour. I had plans to stay at Royal Pacific, so I would have both ExP and EE. My plans were to RD Diagon Ally and Gringott’s, then HE to Hogsmeade and do everything except Forbidden Journet using ExP - then “finish” out IoA with minimal lines. The next day would be just the opposite; RD Hogsmeade and Forbidden Journey, take HE to Diagon Alley, and spend the rest of the day in US.

Not really being much of a “parade person”, and a HUGE fan of Manheim Steamroller, that choice would be easy for me. Having been a fan of the Grinch since I first saw it on TV in the 60s, I would also check out that show.

I enjoy both Poseidon and Sinbad, but they are not “must do” items for me. If I had to choose, I would choose Poseidon because I think some of the special effects are better. But I wouldn’t wait more than 30 min for either…

I like just about all of the rides there. I don’t do Dr. Doom because I don’t find it all that exciting, and it can eat up a lot of time. Bilge Rat Barges is a LOT of fun; infinately better than KRR at AK, but you WILL get soaked. The theming on Dudley Doright is mostly non-existant, but as a flume track goes, it’s one of the best I’ve been on - definately wetter than Splash. I’ve never gotten more than a little splashed on Jurassic Park; the effects seriously outweigh the water factor.

I had a very bad MK experience on a party day. It was a predicted 2 level (actual 4), and every line I waited in was considerably longer than TP predicted. Also note that although they advertise that the park closes at 7:00PM, they very aggressively start kicking you out at around 6:30. Once 4:00PM hit, waves of people started pouring in for the party; this coupled with the pushing people out of the park who weren’t staying for the party created a horrible gridlock at the hub and on MS. After we finally escaped the MK, we waited over an hour for transportation. Bottom line: Unless I also have a party ticket (not likely), I will NEVER go back to the MK on a party day - unless I had pre-planned leaving mid afternoon for a break or to hop to a different park.

Hope some of this helps…

Thanks so much for the replies, I appreciate the input!

@Skubersky Thanks so much. Feel like I’ve been reading and re-reading for weeks, and still don’t have it figured out. I will re-check to make sure I haven’t missed any reading material. Some of the advice was for summer, some of the current wait times, and the not waiting to get INTO diagon Alley seem different. It’s just confusing knowing what conditions will actually be like. So many people have early entry, and I don’t know that I can afford another $200 for a night at the cheaper hotel. I did use the 2 park, 2 day plans, and added the little kid stuff I wanted. But I still have too many items, and trying to figure out what to skip, and what to include.

@bswan26 Your experience at MK on the party day worries me. But I think I’d rather risk the predicted level 3 on the party day, then the newly predicted 6 on Saturday or Monday… So hard to know what to do. We chose to go down a week prior to Christmas break because of the 2/3 crowd levels, and then they rocketed to a 6 at MK with a week’s notice. The gridlock from 4 pm-6:30 or 7pm sounds terrible… just to exit the park and get back to the parking lot. Wow! I’m so perplexed. Maybe I’ll check how my touring plan optimizes for Monday at MK, and do Tues Gringotts.

I don’t think I want to buy the express pass for 7 people. I’ve been to Univ b/t Christmas/New Year’s, and during the HP Iof A opening year, nov 2010, so I know things will be busy. But I hope with a good touring plan, we will still get to see everything we want.

I think the kids will enjoy the parade much more than the concert. Although my husband would enjoy the concert–

Thanks again.

Do not go to gringotts in the morning unless you have early entry.Subscribe to uni lines and download the uor lines app. It will give you access to the premuim tps The 2 day 2 park plans are in 4 sections so 4 seperate plans.

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I have the 2-day, 2 park plans copied and modified, with additional attractions for the younger kids, those 4 plans are my first 4 tabs on my browser window.

Rather confusing, but I hope I can get it figured out, and fit in everything, and decide what to leave out.

My MK attractions are getting finished by about 7 pm on the Tuesday, party day. When I try it out on Monday, now a 6 on the crowd calendar, it doesn’t get it all done until 10 pm. That’s not going to work with my little kids. It’s hard to decide what to cut.

One thing I like about the TPs is it helps me (more or less) figure out if I need to add or subtract. Better to know now. And, hey, if you can time, you can always re-add on the fly.

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Yes, I love that we can now have the TP all computerized, with wait times predicted, I like to schedule lots of stuff, with the stuff that’s least important to me at the end of the day, so that if the TP falls off the rails, it’s OK. And if we don’t want to go to something, we can skip it and re ride a favorite!

It is so nice to plan it all out to get a good idea of what to do, and have the plan!

Barney was always my favorite as a kid ( over a decade ago), at least according to my parents. I don’t know if id make it a must do, but if you happen to be by simpsons or E.T., and need a break, I would go fo it with the little ones, and take the older ones to simpsons for a ride. I would do shrek if you have the time, Almost your whole family would love it I think, and the littelest ones can sit in stationary seats up front with one of the adults.

I haven’t been to gringotts yet, so I can’t give any advice on that

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