Universal 2 park 1 day on a weekday vs weekend

Hi everyone,

I’m going to orlando in mid September. I’ll be mostly at WDW but will move to a universal hotel for two nights. Is there a big difference in lines between a weekday like Friday versus a Saturday??

Any other tips to make it a great park day? It’s just my fiancé and myself (33F). We like rollercoasters and didn’t get to go on Hagrid’s last time so really looking forward to that one. Rest of the rides we have done before so not as much of a priority.

Regarding hotel, I think we are staying at Aventura. Seems like a great price and we don’t care much about the theme/pools.


Yes, you will notice a difference with Saturday having more people and longer waits. There is usually a bigger difference at Studios compared to Islands. So you may want to focus on Studios more on Friday, but remember that park closes early for HHN.

I would make some touring plans to help make your time more efficient. Maybe book a TS restaurant mid day. Don’t miss some great shows like Bourne and Horror Makeup.

You will have plenty of opportunities to ride Hagrid’s with only moderate crowds that time of year. If you don’t arrive at the gates 45 minutes before EPA, just wait til late morning on and the waits won’t be bad.

Make sure to visit Bar 17 one night. Also, feel free to walk over to Sapphire to use the Water Taxi.


If you’re only doing 1 day at Universal then yes, definitely Friday is the lower crowd choice. During HHN they tend to have early park entry at IoA and Studios just opens earlier, so you can get in and get Hagrid’s done early, then do your Studios stuff before stay and scream guests start arriving in the late afternoon. Then you hop back to IoA and finish up there, and maybe they’ll have Dark Arts at Hogwarts running by then. It started on 9/16 last year.


Both of the previous posters have nailed it with their responses.

I can add that I’ve stayed at Aventura and LOVE it. It has a more “mature” / quiet theme. It’s a lot of glass and metal with few / no kids around. I love it so much I’ll be there for 10 nights in mid-Sept / late-Sept! Can’t wait!!


I’ve definitely seen plenty of kids there (I had one of them) but it’s not “fun” so I think it’s just less loud. The food options are good, but I thought the food service took a LOT longer than Cabana Bay.


This is a very good way to phrase it!

Thanks!! I’ll stick with Friday then.

Is the boat or bus better for early in the morning? Or maybe driving?

I’ve heard Bourne is amazing. I’ve never seen it so will definitely add it to the plan!


The boat is better. The bus or car will take you to the same spot, where you have to go all the way through the big structure and main security at CityWalk. With the boats you just have security to get on the boat.


Yes, definitely the boat if you aren’t walking. The boat unloads closer to Studios, so you will have a few minute walk to the Islands entrance.

You do have the option to walk via the Garden Path. It would be about .75 mile/15 minutes. It will bring you to just outside the entrance to Islands. The security opens 60 minutes before EPA near the end of that walking path.


Price out a room at a Premier hotel for a weekday, I think the Express Passes could come in handy for a one-day plan. That being said Aventura’s rooms are nice and relaxing.


If a premier is in the budget then I say go for it. Do I think it’s necessary at that time of year? Maybe not, but it will definitely reduce your stress levels and make the day more relaxed.

You also get 2 days of express with one night stay (you can pick up your room keys early and start using it as soon as the park opens on your check in day, and use it until park close on check out day), so that gives you some flexibility when it comes to weather as well.


The premier hotels are actually cheaper on the Saturday than during the week for some reason. Is it better to go on a weekend with an express pass or weekday without it?

We are also okay using single rider when it is available (and makes sense, I hear Hagrid’s single rider isn’t worth it…)

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So, here are the wait times from Friday and Saturday in the middle of September last year. I just so happened to be there that Friday and Saturday :rofl:


So you can see where the waits go up on Saturday they do go up substantially… if you were hoping for 2 rides on Hagrids (no express there) then you’d for sure want to go on Friday, unless you’re willing to get in line right at close and wait upward of 90 minutes (but probably closer to an hour in reality, because they do inflate at the end of the night) for that second ride. Nighttime rides on that one are pretty good, so that’s a valid plan as long as you’re willing to take the chance the ride goes down and you don’t get that second ride.

Also, that data doesn’t reflect Velocicoaster having Express, which it now does.

And that data includes HHN attractions, which you don’t seem to be interested in.


Yeah that was a big difference last year. Here you can see that USF was +5 CL and IOA was +3 CL compared to Friday.

But for whatever reason, the difference isn’t expected to be as much this year:

I would say @danis456 , if you do in fact only have one day at UOR and can afford the extra cost, it’s always recommended to get the Express/Premier.

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And being in the parks it was definitely something you could feel, even just in the street-level crowds. We lucked into UXP for the day because my BFF ended up booking Portofino for herself and her brother while we were waiting out the storm in line for the Weeknd house the night before (a random AP rate showed up so she decided they’d stay the night rather than driving back to their condo late) and we paid the extra $20 or $30 to add another adult.

Also, if I recall correctly, the difference wasn’t predicted to be that much last year, but the weather that week was very wet for several days, and Saturday was the first day it wasn’t going to be raining the entire day. That’s why the flexibility of staying Friday night at a premier is fairly valuable… you get 2 chances at using the UXP even if you only have one day of park tickets.


What do you mean by this? Sorry I’m a bit of a newbie for premiers, I have never stayed in one.

I will keep watching the prices and try to stay on a weekday then if something opens up. If not, I take the risk of a Saturday with express pass. We have ridden everything except for Hagrid so if we ride that at least once, we will be happy and everything else is a bonus.

Is it easy/possible to add an extra day to a ticket? Can we do that the day we are in the park?

So, when you stay at a premier you get the express pass from the time the park opens on your check-in day until the time the park closes on your check-out day… one night stay gets you 2 days of express pass that way. You’d just have to go to the hotel desk to check in and get your keys before the parks open on your check-in day, which is totally allowed (and expected).

With the September weather being as unpredictable as it is, if it looks like rain one day or the other then I’d use my one day of tickets on whichever of those two days looks like the better weather, regardless of the predicted crowd levels. I personally don’t mind being in the parks when it’s rainy, but rides go down and you get less out of the day, in general.

They have a desk at the hotel that can help with any changes you need to make as far as adding days or whatever (and they have that at all of the hotels, no matter what level), but if you buy it from a third party then they may limited and I don’t know if there’s really a benefit to adding a day to a single day ticket… you’d just be buying a second day.

If you think you want to add a second day then I’d go ahead and buy it now, just because there’s a ridiculous promo going on where you get 3 days free with a 2-day 2-park ticket… even if you’ll only use 2 of the days for sure, the big bonus is that you get an 8-day window to use the 5 days and they don’t have to be consecutive, so A. you have a window to pick the cheapest start date and B. you have some more flexibility if the weather sucks or if one day at a premier ends up being a much better deal.


Thanks for all the help!

I’ll take a look at all the prices and see what I can do!

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I may have missed it, but what are your hotel rates? I can’t afford the premieres, so I’ve had to learn to navigate the parks without Express Pass (UXP)

I’ll be at Universal the same time as you 9/14 - 9/24. I go at this time of year for HHN, but also because crowds are lower.

If the upgrade to a premiere isn’t going to break you, then consider it. You’ll do so much more regardless of the date. However, you’ll have a great time with or without it.

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