Should I ride Hogwarts express from IOA to USF first and then explore park

I’m a first timer to Universal. We are going in September and will have 2 days with Park/Park tickets. We plan on getting to park before opening. I was thinking about going to IOA and ride Hogwarts to USF and then explore Wizarding World and rest of park at USF. Would it be a good use of my time or should we go directly to the Wizarding World to explore the park and ride Hogwarts later? Hope you understand what I am asking. Thanks.

If you’re already going to IOA first, it might be better to explore the area then take the train. Hogsmeade is more narrow than Diagon Alley, so you might want to do things there first before it gets more crowded: the rides, spells, etc. Personally, I like Diagon Alley a lot more than Hogsmeade, and was happy that I saw Hogsmeade first for that reason. Is there a reason why you want to get on the Hogsmeade train to get to Diagon Alley as opposed to just starting in US for Diagon Alley?

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I plan on exploring both parks, but was trying to figure out the best way to work the train into our plans. Usually, it is recommended to go directly to WWoHP, but I was thinking we could get the train out of the way before everything got crowded.

Definitely don’t waste prime touring time getting the train.


I wouldn’t worry too much about making sure you go on the train in the morning. The early mornings are best to experience things in the parks without the huge crowds. When I explored and found it getting crowded or I wanted to see the other park, that’s when I would head to the train. You may even find yourself needing to take the train both ways in one day. If not, that’s not a problem either. You could maybe one day, start in one park, and take the train to the other. Then, the next day, start in the other park, and take the train back that way you see both train experiences.

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Thank you. I’ll put off the train until we do everything else or feel a need for a break. Looking forward to our trip!


I personally have not been, but my husband went with our two kids a little while back and they did all the OTHER stuff first — and it was all walk-on — and headed to Harry Potter stuff later.

They did have that express pass so that may have helped their afternoon some, but they were very happy wiht how things turned out in terms of touring and recommend that way to everyone.

The only problem with this plan is that the Harry Potter areas are narrow and get extremely congested in the afternoon. They’re much more enjoyable to tour in the morning or the evening, when the crowds are smaller and you can actually move freely.

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IDK they had no trouble.

I agree that the train rides (both ways) are fun, unique and worth doing, it is better to enjoy each park’s area and then use the train to get from one to the other. Diagon Alley in USF has more to do and takes more time than Hogsmeade at IOA. That doesn’t mean you have to start at Diagon Alley BUT realize it will “crowd up” faster. Personally, I chose to do one park one day (USF and do Diagon Alley. And then do IOA the next day and ride the train in both directions to end up where I started. So wherever you choose to start, enjoy and exhaust that “land” before you worry about
riding the train.

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We had 2 days in Univeral, park to park. We went before opening (both days they opened 15 minutes before posted time) and hiked back to WWoHP. Day one we started in UOR, rode Gringotts, explored Diagon and Knockturn Alleys, had a butterbeer, and then hopped the train to IOA around 11:30. We went on a VERY uncrowded day, so by that time the line for Hogwarts was only 30 min. We rode Hogwarts, skipped Hippogriff (35 min line is NOT worth it for that tiny rollercoaste) and wandered Hogsmeade, which I didn’t think was as immersive as the UOR side. Then we had a reservation at Mythos at 1, so we did Dr. Seuss rides and lunch, more Dr. Seuss, and the rest of IOA.

Day 2, we switched. We did rope drop at IOA, did Hogwarts and Hippogriff, hopped the train, did Gringotts and reexplored Diagon Alley, and then did UOR.

I also wanted to do this as well, but my trip during September, IOA was the only early park offering, and there was a lag of 90 minutes before the other park opened. Take advantage of Hogsmeade rides while you have the opportunity and check out the stores or even grab breakfast, there will be a rush when the train does begin operation.