Universal Crash Course - Help!

Two local adults, friends visiting us. So four of us total. They totally threw me for a loop when they decided they wanted to go to Univeral instead of Disney.

We will have park-to-park tickets for a couple of days - no express passes and no early entry. They have some rides they want to ride, but they don’t seem to be the do-or-die, open-to-close style travelers. So, I think we can be pretty chill.

I’ll obviously use the touring plans app, but I’m looking for any tips, must dos, insider info for four adults at Universal. I’ve only ever done it as a single day, park-to-park, with express passes, open to close. So, this will be a very different way of traveling for me lolz. What do I do when I’m not rushing from one thing to the next?!


The street shows are all good fun so if you’ve never taken the time check out those. Like Blues Brothers and the two stage shows in Diagon Alley and the Beat Builders. And the big shows are easy to get into without express when it’s more crowded. I have a scavenger hunt as well. let me go get you that link.


Not really necessary. I think making a plan ahead of time just gives you an idea of what you can accomplish, but every time I’ve tried to use the app in the parks (at UOR) it just wasn’t worth it…and the wait times the TP app gives were almost always off by more than the actual Universal app’s wait times.

Two days, depend on when you are going, is that awkward time frame where you can get a lot done, but not necessarily everything…but not long enough to be more relaxed and focus on the ambiance, etc., as much. We usually do 3 to 4 days, no express pass.

I would be inclined to not really focus too much on the park-to-park except for your WWoHP time. So, perhaps choose one-day to be your Harry Potter day, where you start at one side or the other, and take the train between the two…but then spend the rest of the day focused on a single park. Alternatively, just focus on one park on each day, and split WWoHP across those two days. (Personally, I probably wouldn’t bother with Park-to-Park for only two days.)


Let me know if that link does not work.

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Thanks for this - that sort of reinforces what I was thinking. We are going tomorrow and Thursday (gasp! when I say our friends coming are super chill I mean it - they are very last minute on decisions). With early entry happening at IOA, I was thinking rope drop at UOR for Gringotts and taking in Diagon Alley, then take the train to IOA and spend the majority of the rest of our time there for the first day.

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Thank you so much!

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OMG I’m reading through it now. This is amazing!

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This seems like a reasonable plan to me.


It may be worthwhile to ask if a TM is available for a tour at one of the attractions your friends have interest in.

Free Guided Backstage Tours
  • Men in Black Immigration Tour
  • Race thru New York Studio Tour
  • ET Forest Tour
  • Revenge of the Mummy Production Tour
  • Escape from Gringott’s Bank Tour
  • Fast and Furious Garage Tour
  • Transformers?
  • Incredible Hulk Gamma Tour
  • Dr. Doom’s Fearfall Villains Tour
  • Reign of Kong Temple Tour
  • Velocicoaster Paddock Tour
  • Forbidden Journey Castle Tour (self-guided)

Ask at the attraction entrance. Tours are not always available, more likely on less busy weekdays.

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Hey! This sounds like fun!!!

IMHO - For a super chill group of four adults where some have not been to UOR I’d recommend the following…

Start at USF, as IOA will already be busy with Early Park Admission (EPA)…

Definitely go to Diagon Alley / Gringott’s first. It will give them that big “Whoa!!” moment! Ride Gringott’s & Explore… If they are big Harry Potter fans I’d recommend seeing one of the two street shows in DA. Otherwise you can skip. (They are good though!)

I wouldn’t rush right to IOA though…

If you want to spend the majority of the time over at IOA I’ll recommend you “must-do” Revenge of the Mummy first…

I’d “suggest” strongly, that you try to catch the first showing 10am-ish of the Bourne Stuntacular.

Plus, IMHO, USF is the more “chill” park. More street shows, walking around foods - including the Mardi Gras items and parade. If your friends are “party” types that would enjoy a couple Hurricanes / Bloody Mary’s and then have beads thrown at them the parade is fun…

Food at USF to recommend - Central Park Crepes, Minion Café - “Otto’s Pet Rock” everything else is average, Mardi Gras booths, Freeze Ray Pops

Recommended IOA Attractions -

Hagrid’s - of course! I haven’t been on GotG, but even other Liners that have done both like Hargid’s as much - if not more.

VelociCoaster is amazing, but not for the faint of heart. That’s going to be an individual choice.

Jurassic Park River Adventure - My favorite flume ride. Splash was my second favorite. You don’t get soaked on JPRA, but may get a little damp if you sit closer to the front.

Raptor Encounter - Even if they don’t like character meetings, this one is fun. It’s one of the Icons of UOR. You always see Blue in every commerical jumping out at guests.

Kong - Really fun. I wouldn’t wait more than 25 minutes - maybe 30. I only say this because the Kong post times are habitually incorrect - IME. If it’s posting 30, you’re gonna wait 40!! :stuck_out_tongue_winking_eye: :innocent:

Spider-Man is one of the best dark rides anywhere! Haunted Mansion is obviously the GOAT of dark rides by miles! Spider-Man is a a distant second place, but still second!! :smiling_face_with_three_hearts: :rofl:

Dr. Doom’s FearFall - I love it, but 90% of people won’t try it! It’s so fun! It just shoots you straight up. That’s it, but it’s so exciting every time!!

Recommends IOA food - Green Eggs & Ham Tot stand, Three Broomsticks, Thunder Falls Terrace, Confisco Grill, Mythos

I haven’t eaten at the reopened Circus McGurkus yet. However, I have had the “Roast Beast” sandwich and the Hot Honey Chicken & Biscuit when they were seasonal items. I LOVED both of them. I can’t wait to eat there!

I know you aren’t going all day, but don’t forget CityWalk for food! There’s a lot of fun there too, but you aren’t going all day & night…

Maybe catch a dinner at Antojitos, Hard Rock, Toothsome’s (not my fav, but fun) or Margaritaville! I’d pick Antojitos out of those three. I actually truly like Hard Rock too. The flatbread pizza is great and a value price. The burgers are OK as well

I could probably write all day… Let me know if any of this is helpful and/or you want more / have questions!!


This is so helpful! Thank you so much!!

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Okay. You have good advice…but really?. Exciting? This ride can be described as…relaxing?..at best. (Not to mention hokey.) Even as a guy is has a fear of heights, each time I ride this I go, “Oh yeah. Really boring.”

I wouldn’t waste my time on this one unless you have a lot of time in the parks.


If I remember correctly, you also do Cedar Point? Is it like Power Tower?

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Kinda… not as tall, and only like the side that shoots you up. Power Tower has the side that shoots you down, which is far more exciting.

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After riding Doom more than any other attraction at UOR, I can say that I find it somewhat “relaxing” as well. I giggle and laugh the whole ride out and while enjoying the view. However, my first dozen rides I was still pretty scared and nervous!! :scream: :scream:

It’s not a complicated ride. It gives you exactly what it promotes. Plus, there’s rarely more than a walk-on wait time… I’d rather do a relaxing Doom a couple times than Hulk any day. I don’t need a concussion with my thrills!! :rofl: :rofl:

Now, I mostly “people watch” during loading and before launch to see how freaked out others are!

Those are TOO exciting for me. I have a crippling fear of those heights! You can launch me up there, but I can NOT do the slow crawl up and then wait to drop!! I’ve done it before and loved it. However, I was a so freaked out in the queue and such that I can’t do another.

(Plus, I know some of the crippling “incidents” drop towers have had at various parks. Doom has a 100% clean incident record. That’s how I got the confidence to do it! :stuck_out_tongue_winking_eye: :innocent:)

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Interesting. This has never been my experience. Even when the line is short, it was usually a 20-30 minute wait.

To each their own, I guess. I will ride it when we there several days. Mostly for the brief views you get.


I concur :+1:t4:


Ha I always request the front and the TM usually gives me the side eye for it - I’m like c’mon we both know what we’re doing here. Don’t pretend like riding somewhere else is okay :joy:


Former Ops person here!

Any TM that does that is being lazy. The exception is if they have instructions from their lead to not let anyone do it at all that day. (That does happen with rides that don’t have a separate “Front Row” queue)

They just don’t want to change their sorting or have to pull you aside for a cycle.

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