TP and early park admission: what's up?

I’m headed to UO next week. When I plugged attractions into a TP and said I’d be at early park admission, it didn’t have me riding anything during that time… But velocicoaster and hagrids will be open… Does TP just not know? Or are the lines just as atrocious at EPA so why not sleep in?

Also I haven’t really don’t UO since the before times. The last time I was at a conference, and they’d rented out wwohp OI-style, so I didn’t need a plan.

This time, I’m bringing two first timers and a super fan. We have a full day as well as a morning and afternoon (prob need to leave parks no later than 4p Sunday).

There’s also an OI event this weekend that we won’t be attending. We def want to eat at 3 broomsticks and leaky cauldron. Dinners late outside the parks (toothsome and mamma Della’s?).

We will have EP. Staying at PBH. Anyone wanna venture how much of a plan I actually need? I just don’t wanna wait in line 2 hours each for velocicoaster and hagrids.

We went that weekend last year and the crowds were manageable enough with UXP that we didn’t need a real plan, but my experience has been that this year is considerably busier at Universal all around. We also were all AP holders and didn’t have a lot of must-dos.

Early Park entry for Hagrid is a good plan only if you can commit to getting to the gate early enough to be right at the front on the pack (think like an hour or more before early entry starts) and can walk with real purpose back to the ride. You’ll still be waiting the same amount of time, but you won’t be wasting park time on the wait. The wait builds very quickly during that hour, and may not actually save you any real time. One other good reason to do Hagrids during early entry is if the weather looks sketchy later on in the day… that’s one way to make sure you get your ride in.

I know that in the past they were switching to virtual queue once the line reached the end of the portable queues, which was around 2 hours, but the times have been inflated this year and I haven’t been watching to see when that starts lately… the line was over 2 hours several times this Saturday, though.

Velocicoaster seems to actually have a longer line at that time than later, just due to the lack of other things to ride after the initial wave of riders gets off Hagrid. That said, if you’re arriving later then you may have better luck with that. The line for that was never over 80 minutes this weekend, that I saw. Most of the time it was around 45-65.


Thanks so much this is really helpful

This is always our game plan. Be some of the first ones at the turnstiles and on Hagrid (and hope it is running on time!) and then head straight over to Velocicoaster for a fairly short wait, usually about 20-25 minutes. We like to get these two over with first and then you can use express pass the rest of the day. Hagrid’s has not used a virtual queue in a while.

ETA: we usually don’t have a plan except for the early entry stuff I mentioned and an idea of what rides we want to get in. We almost always eat lunch at least once at Leaky Caldron and we go early (10:30ish) to get ahead of the lunch crowd. We don’t get our food til almost 11 and we are hungry after getting up so early.


Thanks so much. So do you guys get to the gates an hour before early admission to do that?

We try to leave our room at RPR at 6:45 for an 8am early entry. You will be stopped at the security at the hotel. When we went last month, there were usually a few groups in front of us at security when we arrived. They open the hotel security (both sets, the RPR and HRH ones) at 7am. Then head to the turnstiles at IOA and you can be near the front at that time. If early entry is 8am, they will open up at 7:45 and you will people sprinting to Hagrid’s. We try to “walk with a purpose” and it still gets us there in good time.


So you’re still waiting an hour, just not of park time, yes? Trying to figure out if we can time it to wait an hour before close or as the TP says late am, instead of getting up so super early


Be warned, I have noticed a few times lately where Hagrid’s says “at capacity” on the app before closing and they won’t let anyone in line for it.

Agreed with previous poster, prepare to be at early entry an hour before it opens to get to the Hagrid’s line asap. There have also been mornings where it won’t open for EPA because it’s not working. It seems to have quite a bit of downtime.


This is especially true before a special event closing… I think it was “at capacity” by 5:30 on Saturday before Informer last weekend.


Oh wow good to know.

This trip may end up not happening anyway. My uncle, a liver transplant recipient and dialysis patient, had a heart attack last week. They did a diagnostic catherization to see if they could use stents. Local hospital says no, too risky, you need open heart surgery. Which would be extraordinarily difficult to survive. And he is a full time caregiver for his girlfriend who had a stroke a couple years back and needs full time care. They live in a barely habitable single-wide and have zero resources. While he’s in the hospital my aunt is watching her, and she has a major drug issue (I’m frankly shocked she’s still alive) and is consequently exceptionally unreliable.

Luckily, DH happens to be the expert in complex coronary catherizations in the area. Like his colleagues that finished med school before he was born bring cases they can’t do to him. But the emotions that go along with your DH about to stick sharp wires in your favorite uncle’s heart … my mom, who was supposed to watching the kids Wednesday and Thursday and then joining me Friday, while DH had DD for the weekend, is a mess. Not to mention that she drove 6 hours RT on Wednesday to pick up my cousin who lives in a group home and bring her for Thanksgiving because her dad is a POS and doesn’t give a sh!t where she spends the holiday… And though she is wonderful, she can sometimes be difficult to manage, just due to how her cognitive differences impact behavior… And at some point mom has to take her all the way back to her group home.

So, yeah. Now instead of having a couple days to relax before I leave her w my kids for 2 days and then my DH w DD for 2 days, mom is freaking out and DH is going in on his much needed day off to do a high risk procedure on my medically fragile family member.

If all goes beautifully, my dad will drive my uncle back home (3.5 hours but only 20m from where dad is going anyway) Sunday while mom drives my cousin to Maryland and comes back. Then we will relax Monday and Tuesday. I was supposed to leave Wednesday morning but I may push to Thursday afternoon. Then mom and DS will join Friday.

But that’s assuming a dialysis and transplant patient has zero complications from a heart procedure that, if DH’s hand slips, could easily kill him. That alone makes me want to preemptively cancel the whole thing, but mom said wait. She needs an escape, just finishing reading HP for the first time, and really wants to go.

So ya know, we’re all doing great over here. No emotional turmoil at all! Smooth as buttah.


Praying for you and your family, for wisdom for DH, a successful surgery for uncle, and for unity in your extended family during this holiday season.


Thanks so much for your prayers and kindness.


Supportive heart. Your family will be in my thoughts.



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I’m so sorry this is happening to you. :people_hugging:


Oooof! Wishing good luck and healing to everyone! You all need a break, for sure!

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