Universal 2 parks one day plan

Hi- we are doing one day, two parks at universal on Wednesday without express… and we’d like to do Hagrid’s… I’m not sure how to choose which park when!?
-It is a Halloween horror night so USF closes early at 5.
-Most of the rides and attractions we like are at Islands of adventure.

Here are my initial thoughts re options for an overall day outline:

-USF am (thus not there with horror nights crowds that i suspect will be arriving in arvo)
-Islands of Adv pm- open to 8pm.
But this will probably mean we have a two hour plus wait for hagrid’s in afternoon?

Or 2.
Islands of adventure 9-2 to do Hagrid’s early then pop to USF for a couple of hours then back to I O A when USF closes by 5… get the Hogwarts’ express back the other way.

Could anyone suggest which you think seems more do-able? I wish we had a day each park but we are mostly focussing on Disney… and I’ve really put most of my time into planning that! I’d appreciate any tips- thank you so much!

They are intentionally closing Hagrid’s early each day, so if you are dead-set on riding it, I think you would be better off going straight there. HOWEVER, does IOA have Early Entry that morning? If so, you might not get ahead of the crowd much and still end up waiting a lot.

The other issue with a Hagrid-focused day is what happens if Hagrid’s isn’t actually open first thing?

So, here is my suggestion:

  1. Start at IOA and go STRAIGHT to Hagrid’s. If it is open, get in line. If it isn’t open, ride FJ.
  2. Take train over to Universal and then focus on the things you want to do at Universal until some pre-determined time that allows enough time at IOA.
  3. Take train back (or walk over if you are near the front) to IOA and finish out the rest of what you want to do. If you didn’t get to ride Hagrid’s earlier, get in line NOW.

I’d go with Option #1.

Prioritize what rides you “must do” at USF. If you get there early for RD - go knock out WWOHP first. Otherwise, and it may seem counter-intuitive, do the other rides like The Mummy, RRR, Simpsons first and then head over to Diagon Alley after 1pm. The majority of people at USF go to WWOHP first, so if you aren’t ahead of the pack you will have the same waits as if you show up midday. However, all the other attractions, typically, have low queues in the morning.

(If you want to ride the Hogwarts Express do it before 3:30pm. That last 60 - 90 minutes before USF closes everyone wants to ride to IOA. The queue can be 40 - 60 minutes. (You can walk all the way around CityWalk and go through the turnstiles at IOA in about 20 minutes - if you walk at a “good” pace.)

Oh! I don’t know if this is your first visit to Universal, but they do Single Rider lines at a lot of attractions. It’s my favorite way to knock out as many attractions as possible. Saves a lot of time!

This is the case no matter the time of day. It’s still that popular.

Nope. USF is the EE park for the month of October- not IOA. (They didn’t say there exact date, but since they mentioned HHN I assume it’s this month)

This is happening frequently and is going on this week. (I have a friends in Orlando for fall break right now) They didn’t get to ride at all because it was down in the morning & closed early. It was only open for a few hours in the middle of the day. You have to sacrifice doing other attractions just so you can “hover” around Hagrid’s waiting to see when it will open.

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I would go with option 1. Hagrid’s has been horribly unreliable, often not opening at RD and people are wasting primo touring hours waiting for it to open. If you had more than one day, my advice might be different, but with one day AND HHN closing USF early, I would go with what @darkmite2 said. There has been a lot of tracking of Hagrid’s operating hours and wait times, and around 1pm seems to be a good time to try and ride. For some reason, it has a lower wait time and tends to actually be open fairly consistently at that time of day. I would start in USF and do whatever you want over there, starting in Diagon Alley and working your way out, and then head over to IOA in the early afternoon and check out the line for Hagrid then. If riding the Hogwarts Express both ways is a priority for you, I would suggest that after you check out the line for Hagrid, you do some more attractions in IOA and then ride the HE back to USF, do anything else you may want to do and then walk to IOA when USF closes. As mentioned, the line for HE backs up quite a bit on HHN nights.

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Option 1. USF is not very pleasant on HHN afternoons - they close some pathways early, so you have to circle the entire park to go from Mummy to Diagon Alley.

If when you arrive on the HE Hagrid’s is closed, look at it. If they have cars running they are probably opening soon, if not it isn’t.

You can skip locker lines (that get surprisingly long and confusing) by using a running belt or pockets that close (except on Hulk and RRR, for those you will need to use lockers). SR also usually works well at Universal, if you are willing to do it.