Preliminary Questions as I Plan our First UOR Trip

Hi everyone. We are going to UOR for our first time this March. Hotel/ticket package booked, app downloaded, and I’ve been reading the Ultimate Guide–but it seems like there have been some changes since the 2022 UG was published (didn’t want to wait for the new one to come out to start planning!), so hoping someone here will be able to answer a few questions:

  1. Virtual Queues. Are these still a thing? The UG mentioned they are sometimes used on certain rides, but I couldn’t find anything about them on Uni’s website or app. If they are being used (or sometimes are), is there a webpage that provides info on which rides use VQ?

  2. In the ride descriptions, the UG provides suggestions for when to ride (e.g., in the first hour of park opening or the last hour before close). Is that only for people not using an Express Pass? We will be staying at Hard Rock, so we will have UEP included. Can I disregard these timing recommendations if using EP and just go whenever we want, or does timing still make a difference with EP?

  3. I looked at TP’s projected park hours. I know that these could change, but they are predicting that EPA will only be for USF while we are there (park days are March 6-9). Since the two major rides that do not accept EP are in IOA (Velocicoaster and Hagrid’s), do people recommend skipping EPA at USF during some of our days in order to get to those rides early? Or is it better to wait until end of the night? Other advice on riding these two with short waits?

  4. The UG listed the following rides as ones that the EP entrance will cause you to miss important parts of the queue/preshow (so you should ride them for the first time using standby): Revenge of the Mummy, Men in Black, Dr. Doom, and Skull Island Reign of Kong. Do you agree that these would be worth doing the first time without EP, even if that means a longer wait? Others that you would also suggest not using EP when riding for the first time?

Thanks for your help!


No. They’re not being used.

Generally yes. EP is truly magical. Just turn up and ride.
That said, it doesn’t eliminate your wait completely, so the longer the SB line, the longer your EP wait will be, but it’s still priority access, so unless there is ride downtime, you shouldn’t have to wait long.

Probably, but I’ll let someone else answer that one because I’ve only experienced EE at IofA.

If the SB wait is less than 10/15 minutes then it’s probably worth giving it a go if queue theming is important to you. Longer than that and I don’t think it would be worth it.

Hope you have a great trip!


Timing generally doesn’t matter with EP, but you’ll want to take advantage of early entry if it’s at IOA to ride Hagrids and Velocicoaster. They currently do not allow express pass. Of course, that could change by March. You would be waiting before park open but will usually get on both in a decent time and be able to use EP the rest of the day.

Edited to Add: We like to arrive 1hr to 45 minutes before the early entry time to be among the first to ride those two rides. I personally would skip early park entry at Universal Studios to be at IOA first. The rides on the Universal side all take express pass so you can ride them whenever.



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TP is predicting that only USF will be open for EPA while we’re there. Maybe that will change, but if IOA isn’t opening early, we may be sleeping in some of our days instead of taking advantage of that perk (which might be a nice change–we are a RD family at WDW).

This is not even a good guess. Not sure why TP would project that. In March of this year, either both parks had EPA (most days) or just IOA (some weekdays), never USF alone.

Looking at Touring Plans historical data really helps with self-forecasting hours and schedules. But you’ll have to wait til January when Universal sets the schedule for March to really know.


Great suggestion to check the historical data. Looks like in early March 2022 (and 2021) they were doing EPA at IOA everyday and doing it at both parks on the weekends (and this appears to be true much of the year, at least the days I checked). And thanks also for the info on when Uni releases park hours!

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Congrats! You will love UOR!

I’ve been scanning everyone’s replies so I’m not redundant. I agree with pretty much what everyone wlse says.

Here’s what I’ll add…

Typically, with the Express Pass (UXP) you’ll only wait about 33% or less of the posted standby wait.

I’d only skip EPA at USF if you have no interest in interactive wands / WWOHP. Diagon Alley is so impressive and has the better wand spells and is IMHO the better WWOHP area. If you go to EPA you can do the spells with no wait and be able to enjoy the area itself.

I’d definitely go to EPA there at least once so you can actually enjoy the area before it becomes busy.

If that doesn’t interest you and all you want is big thrills, then I would skip EPA at USF to wait for Hagrid’s / VC. You’ll have to still arrive at the gates one hour before the park opens to have any chance of riding Hagrid’s with minimum wait. (That’s the hour you could’ve already been riding & doing things at USF, but at least you can sleep in a bit longer!)

If you have the opportunity to ride Hagrid’s after sunset - DO IT!! It’s a totally different experience!! Nothing on the ride changes, but there are no lights out there except the headlamp of the motorbike and it’s amazing!!

Hagrid’s will never have a short wait. You’ll have to make your peace with that! The only way to get on in under 20 minutes is to be in that crowd that runs all the way there at RD. (I speak from multiple experiences!! :man_running: :dash: :dash: :dash:

VC doesn’t get as bad because many people will refuse to ride it. It’s the smoothest coaster I’ve ever been on, but it’s not for the feint of heart! They often have 2 - 3 trains going and that queue moves really well. Just keep your eyes open for when it’s under 30 minutes and you’ll be fine.

IME - The only attractions worth going through standby are Forbidden Journey - NOT TO BE SKIPPED AT ALL!! and Velocicoaster (no choice anyway!)

The others you listed have a couple cute stationary figures and/or movie props, but I’m not waiting to see them. When you don’t have UXP it’s nice to see all the skulls on the walls at Kong, the MIB neuralyzer / noisy cricket and such. However, I’d rather just get on the ride. You’ll figure out the ride’s “story” pretty easily without having to watch the same video play on repeat as you wait in a long queue.

If you must see the queues you can as for a “tour”. A TM will take you along the queue and then you’ll exit without riding. They can only do this when they have enough TMs at the attraction. It’s not a guaranteed thing! I’m still trying to get to do one for MIB where they let you go down to the floor and pose at the MIB work desks!

I would never wait in the Mummy queue if I didn’t have too! There’s a couple things you can touch, but that it. Doom is my favorite “off-the-shelf” ride at UOR, but there’s nothing in the queue to get excited about unless you are a 9 year old uber Dr. Doom / Fantastic Four fan.


First some disclaimers:

  1. I’ve only been to Universal one time
  2. These folks that already replied are way smarter on Universal and most
  3. I only have a single point in time experience to draw on
  4. Most are not going to like my reply or perception

We went from Aug 22 (Mon) - Aug 27 (Sat), 2022. We did park days on Tue, Wed, and Fri and Volcano Bay on Thu.

I hoped UXP was going to be like a LL and no matter what the SB wait was, I’d be on and off in 15-20 minutes. THAT did not happen.

We did find the UXP queue wait time = 33% - 50% of the posted SB queue wait time accurate. I knew that going in, because of folks like @darkmite2 letting me know, but I didn’t plan around it as well as I wished I did.

What do I mean “I didn’t plan around it”. One of the days my wife wanted to do Jimmy Fallon, and we walked up to a 1 hour posted SB wait. I asked the TM what I should expect for the UXP wait, they told me 30 min. It was 30 min. This happened to be true and play out very much the same way for ride after ride. Not at all terrible. But lots of room to be better and more efficient.

If I was to do it over again, I would heed all of the recommended ‘ride times’ and try to order the rides attempting / simulating the shortest SB waits like a proper tour plan. At least for half the park. I would have much preferred to hit some of those with 15-30 min SB waits and be out and heading to the next one 7 min later. Especially when you think about all the money you just paid for that deluxe room with free passes. I started feeling like I wasted money on that Deluxe room. But I don’t regret it, it was a learning experience.

Trade offs, these trips a rife with trade offs!


Hmmm, I didn’t realize this as I’ve never used UXP.

So if an attraction is posted 90 minutes, that would be an approximate 60-65 minute wait with standby and 25-30 minutes express lane.

But this would mean 30-45 minute wait. That sucks.

I waited 2 minutes on a CL 3 day at 10:30am on a Wednesday :smirk:


You win!! That’s impressive!! I only got that wait when I was hanging out nearby after a rain delay.

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Thanks for the tips and insight! I’ve been reading your recent trip report (didn’t comment since it was more than a month ago) but really enjoyed following along!

Good point! We will want to cast some spells! 3 out of 5 of us are big HP fans

Does EP skip much in that queue? That wasn’t one mentioned in UG as missing much

Thank you for raising this! Now that you mention it, I recall hearing that the EP wait would vary with standby more than ILL at WDW but hadn’t really considered it much. Will definitely keep this in mind, especially for rides that tend to have longer waits.

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Don’t think we’ll have that luck since it’s the beginning of spring break season when we’re there, but one can hope…

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Yes, I just said that yesterday!! :rofl::rofl::rofl:

Yes, it takes you straight into the castle, so you would miss out on the greenhouses. Maybe a couple of statues and corridors. IMO it’s maybe worth going through SB if you’re there early and the line is short, but personally I would choose the EP line as you’ll still get to go through Dumbledores Office, the classroom and past the moving portraits etc. You don’t skip the best bits, you just move quicker through them.


That you did! Somehow I missed that, or at least it didn’t sink in for me just how long certain lines might be even with EP. :crazy_face:

I love HP enough that I like seeing the Herbology greenhouses and the extra smaller stuff. You will see how your House is doing in the school ranking and your house icons and such…

But again… This is me… I’m “that” guy.

To be fair I only “liked” HP, before going to WWOHP. Once I saw Diagon Alley I was blown away and love it now!


Great photo!! :heart_eyes:

I think at this point you are our resident expert! You could probably give better tours/advice than most team members there.


My laughs because I miss working in theme parks so much that I spend a lot of time just wandering WWOHP helping others with spells and giving directions around the park!!


I think we’ll have to see how long the wait would be. I would wait for that and so would DD, but not sure about the rest of the fam. (Also May depend on how hot it is. UG said the greenhouse can be miserable in the heat.)

I saw in your trip report that you helped people with spells. So lucky for those visiting when you are there! We may look as ridiculous casting spells as people trying to get statues to react to their MB+ (no shade there; we were waving our arms around looking silly at the golden statues on our last WDW trip too!) but we will be trying the spells all the same!

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