Tips for maximising a 3d Universal stint (EP, HRH)

We’re in Orlando for 3 weeks, mostly doing Disney. We’ve booked 2nts in the middle at HRH (Rock Royalty) to give us a 3-day “get everything done” opportunity. We’re not checking out of Disney, so we’ll have (hopefully) a reasonably small amount of luggage to cart.

My plan was to get a taxi over to HRH c6am to enable us to check in and collect EPs etc before heading over to UOR for about 7ish to hit Early Park Access for 8. Haven’t yet got rides prioritised, but the kids are interested in doing VC and DS10 wants to get a wand at some point.

Hopefully if we can smash our EPs to best opportunity after using EPA, we can head back to HRH mid-afternoon to nosh down the free food in the Rock Royalty lounge and let the kids (DS10 & DS12) muck about in the pool. Rinse & Repeat for IOA the following day, then mop-up our favourite rides across the 2 parks on Day 3.

Does this seem like a sensible/realistic plan? Any thoughts or tips for getting the best out of our few Universal Days?

All help appreciated :slight_smile:


This is how we do Universal (except in standard rooms). You’ll have loads of time for everything.


This is a pretty typical outline for guests staying at a premiere hotel using Express Pass (UXP)

The UXP will, typically, get you through a queue in about 33% - 50% of the posted wait times…

Some general tips:

If your son really wants to do the interactive spells then during Early Park Admission (EPA) is the best time. I know this may seem counter intuitive as this is supposed to be when you go do rides with low waits. However, all the spell locations are on the “honor system”. They are not monitored and every person can talk as long as they want to attempt the spell. This means some locations might have a queue that’s 4 - 5 people waiting. If each person takes 5 - 10 minutes attempting the spell, then you can spend 20 - 50 minutes waiting to do a single spell. If you go do these in the morning, you’ll have almost exclusive access. I enjoy the spells and this is about the only time of day I’ll do them unless I’m walking past a window with no one using it.

There are rides / shows I can recommend or tell you to avoid, but for now I’d recommend watching a few YT videos about the parks. I enjoy The Frugal Brit and VincentVision for more “introductory” / general topics. Heck, even the Universal Orlando Podcast has some fun and useful information…

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Thanks! I’ve been watching a few Rix Flix videos so I have a sense of the rides and shows we want to hit, but I’m hoping the Express Passes will mean we don’t have to plan too strictly. I will check out the vids you shared.

I’ll have a think about the spells, thanks… that might be an option for day 3 once DS10 has the wand… I think we might try and get into Ollivander’s during EPA.

I guess if Day 1 doesn’t go to plan we can always regroup and replan for days 2 & 3!

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I was going to recommend Rix Flix, but he definitely goes “in-depth” about news and rumors going on in the parks. I didn’t want to scare you away or overwhelm you with their channel!!

They’re great! I got to meet them last year. Nikki is as nice as you hope she is!

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We never plan, just know what times the shows are because they don’t run late.

What are your UOR dates? Asking because sometimes the hours are weird. And also wondering about crowd level. Even though you have EP, on extra busy days it’s still smart to have a plan for the best attractions, which may still have a moderate wait.

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16-18 August.


Local schools will already be back in session so that will help!

It will still be summer season though. I went right about this time last year. It was insanely hot and pretty busy - not packed or crowded, but every ride was 30+ minutes without UXP.

I think you’ll be fine with it. I will say the water park is where it was packed at that time. I did buy us UXP for that day!

Having just done nearly everything in 1.5 weekend days, with all the big stuff twice and only using early entry one day, I’d say you’re fine. Your predicted crowd levels are very close to what mine were on Saturday and if you read my post (Last minute trip to see Posiedon one last time! - #65 by Nikkipoooo ) you can see what I managed to get done using early entry and UXP in just that day, with a 4 hour break in the midday, in-park breakfast at Leaky Cauldron, and sit down dinner at Confisco Grille.

Now, I do walk fast and I didn’t do wand stuff, but I did a fair amount of just moseying and wasting time, and also spent over an hour on Posiedon, plus I did some things multiple times.


We did WDW in August 2019 and the heat was BRUTAL (I’m from UK) - hence why I’m imagining we’ll be ready to hit the pool by early afternoon!

thanks for all the tips/info :slight_smile:

thanks, seems like you had a great time! No AP for me, but I’m encouraged by your experience!

We were there August 19 too from UK! It was too rainy so we did July last year instead.

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I want to see the Bourne stunt show and the makeup show, so noted!

I may or may not consult my family on what shows they want to see :innocent:


I love the make up show. I couldn’t persuade DS to see Bourne and I wasn’t that arsed so :woman_shrugging: It was just the two of us.

I don’t remember much rain, apart from the…erm…hurricane. But that was, as you might say, a storm in a teacup :face_with_hand_over_mouth:

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We only made it to the pool once, at 9pm at night and it was still bloody raining. But no lightning so it was open.

I’m from Michigan, and I absolutely need my midday pool time for August/September trips! I also just like to change clothes and relax a bit even if it’s not good pool weather. Fresh clothes just makes me feel a little more energized when it’s all swampy and gross out.

I don’t think you’ll suffer at all for not having a special AP entry, especially not if you’re getting there at 7am. I’d guess the people who got to the regular gate by 7am probably went in ahead of me anyway. There likely won’t be an AP entry in August anyway because it was a May thing, though they sometimes do passholder appreciation at the end of the summer too.

If I hadn’t wanted to prioritize Posiedon and the Hogwarts show because they were closing I probably would have gone back to the Studios side and finished all of the rides I hadn’t already done there. That was a CL 8 day, by the way. The only thing I really ever waited more than 5-10 minutes for with UXP was the Mummy.

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