Touring Plan Recommendations for Harry Potter Fans?

My DS is 9 and my DD is 7, and we are basically going to Universal for Harry Potter. We’ll be there one day in Oct. with a regular park-to-park pass, not doing express pass or early hours. In addition to HP, we have a couple of rides in each park we’ll do, like the Seuss stuff, E.T. and Spiderman (and maybe the mummy?), but basically just want to do everything in HP, including all the shows, shops, wand spells, etc.

USF will be open 8am-5pm and IOA 9am- 8pm. My questions:

  1. I’m thinking HP in both parks will be about 5-6 hours total- does that seem accurate?
  2. Is there any strong reason we should plan to get there right at 8am? We’ll have done MK from about 8am-midnight the day before and I don’t want to send my family over the edge.
  3. We really want to stay immersed in HP, so should we plan to do all the other rides before or after (if I want to minimize wait times)?
  4. To make touring plans for this day, do I need to do four separate ones? ie separate TPs for USF and IOA non-HP rides, and then TPs for HP at each park?

Thank you for all your help!

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To provide more context for question #4: when I do the one-day two parks touring plan, it has us going in and out of WWOHP throughout the day. We were really hoping to stay immersed for that portion of our visit. Perhaps this is a bad idea?

I’ve been thinking more about #2, and since it’s a party night, the park will only get more crowded throughout the day, so it probably does make sense for us to arrive early and do that first, but I swear I read/ saw on the TP videos that it can be super crowded right at opening…

Yes. We did both HP sides starting at 9 and were done by 3:00 in February (no Express pass). Crowds in Oct. should be about the same.

The earlier you get there, the shorter the waits will be, particularly in HP. You can get through the attractions with the longest waits fastest early on. I suggest starting at USF rather than IOA and do Gringott’s, Olivander’s, and then take the train over to IOA.

Definitely do HP first. The rest of the park at both IOA and USF stay fairly stable in terms of crowds, but HP grows to extremely crowded very quickly. By noon or so, crowds in HP will be quite bad. The rest of the parks will be much better. But if you do the stuff other than HP first, then you will be hitting HP when it is busiest.

I found the Touring plans for UOR to be somewhat worthless. I quickly abandoned them. I also found that the Universal App provided ride wait times that were far more accurate than the TP app. The Universal App had waits that were usually within 5 minutes of actual wait time. The TP wait times were often 25 minutes off! I kept trying to use the TP wait times, but my family eventually kept mocking me because it was wrong most of the time whereas they were using the Universal App and it was right (or in the very least far less wrong) to reality.

The Mummy is, honestly, one of my favorite rides there, other than Rip Ride Rocket. My DS8 was a little freaked out by a couple of scenes in the ride after the fact, but eventually we talked about it and then he was able to ride it two more times.

E.T. is really, um…dated. Kind of reminds me of Peter Pan’s Flight. But for their ages, it would probably be worth it if you have time.


Thank you so much for taking the time to answer all my questions! I will plan on going to HP at USF at 8am, head over to IOA when it opens at 9 for FJ and then spend as much time as we like then between Diagon Alley and Hogsmeade. Sounds like mid-afternoon we can do the other rides in the parks if we’re up for it, and if we’re exhausted and ready to leave, we’ve done HP, which is why we are there anyway.

Good info about the lines app vs universal’s- I won’t make a hard and fast plan for that day, then. I’ll just enjoy our time in WWOHP and decide the other stuff based on energy levels and wait times.

I will tell you that the HP area is what you make of it. I am a huge HP fan, and my sister and I spent 5 hours just in Diagon Alley one year. We rode Gringotts several times, we looked in every shop, we watched the shows, we ate at Leaky Cauldron and we really took our time just enjoying everything. However, if you just want to get a taste of everything, you can certainly get everything HP in both parks done in a much shorter time.

And you definitely have the right idea with focusing on everything HP in one big chunk. Staying immersed makes it much more enjoyable!

Thank you for your insight. We’re going for HP, and my son will be getting an interactive wand, so I won’t put a limit on our time (my daughter might not be as sold on the idea, but we’re inducting her in with the audio books as preparation and she probably could easily be swayed with a visit to Honeydukes :slight_smile:).

Also, if you’re doing the HP rides be prepared to leave all of your belongings in a locker. I feel like this was the most insane part of the trip because there’s no streamline to this. It’s just crowds of people pushing trying to get from/to their locker! Everything else was awesome and we saw both parks in one day.

I think that a lot of the shops sell the same merch, so we didn’t spend too long in each one.

The locker situation is extremely annoying! For this reason, I wear a fanny pack with my essentials in it and I’m able to wear it on all of the rides in the Harry Potter areas and avoid the lockers altogether.

This is good to know. I will have a small bag- does it have to go around the waist to be ok, or is cross-body ok if it’s really small? My mother will have the stroller with my daughter, so the backpack will be with her while we ride.

I think it pretty much has to be a fanny pack. If you have a cross body bag could you leave it with the stroller as well?

@paulasc is right. A crossbody bag couldn’t go on. :frowning:

@paulasc and @rebeecky thanks! I can add a strap to make it fanny-pack style, so will probably do it for those parks.

Some rides may not allow fanny packs either.

But the lock thing isn’t as annoying as it sounds. We ended up using cargo shorts to avoid it most of the time, but the few rides where they didn’t anything, even in cargo shorts, we used the lockers. They are right there at the entrance and free to use for the duration of the ride. Just don’t make the same mistake we did. On one of the rides, I realized that it needed to use your ticket to re-open the locker. The problem was, I left the tickets in my wallet, and my wallet in the locker. So, we didn’t have a way to open the lockers.

Fortunately, there was an employee there and they opened it for us. But I discovered after not to do that again! (Some of the lockers, however, do not require your ticket to open…just your fingerprint and/or code.)

Fortunately, there was an employee there and they opened it for us. But I discovered after not to do that again! (Some of the lockers, however, do not require your ticket to open…just your fingerprint and/or code.)

umm… with all due respect, that does sound kind of annoying :smile: It’d be nice if they were at least the same system.

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That was just me being stupid, though. Not the lockers’ fault. :slight_smile:

This is true for the Hulk and Rip Ride Rockit, but not any of the Potter rides, just to clarify.
Fanny packs or cargo shorts are definitely the way to go!

Are you staying onsite? Is the park opening at 8am for everyone, or only onsite guests?

No, I’m not onsite. It opens at 7 for onsite guests and 8 for the rest of us.