Universal Deluxe Hotels

If you were planning on staying in one for the two days of express passes, is it better to do it during the beginning of a long weekend trip (ideally arriving early Thursday) or the end of one (leaving Monday)? We’ve gone to Cabana Bay many times, but never else on site for express pass, and was thinking about doing it for a possible next trip.

I suspect that crowd levels would be higher on Thursday-Friday than on Sunday-Monday, so the EP is probably more helpful at the beginning. However, it also depends on how you tour. Are you more likely to want to hit a lot of things “one last time” at the end of your trip? If so, it may be better at the end.

Thanks. We have usually gone during a slower time, so lines were not usually more than 20 min. We usually just hit as many rides as we can, with Gringotts, the Mummy, and a couple others as redos. When we went last year, the crowd level was very low, so we didn’t even need EP. However, or last park day was a Saturday, and it was noticeably busier. That’s the one day in my last year trip report that I need to still post, lol. If I went over a long weekend, it would probably be in October or November. Are parks usually busy during Columbus Day or Veterans Day weekend? Plus, I’m sure they close early because of HHN, which we’ve never attended before, either.

I have never gone during Columbus Day or Veterans Day, but I can tell you that only USF will be closing early for HHN. IOA’s hours are not affected.

I will go a bit further and tell you that if you do end up going during HHN, be aware that Thursday through Sunday, and possibly Monday, night, USF will be closing at about 5. This means you will not get any night time in Diagon Alley, which, to me, is a major downside to travel during that time. Of course, if you do attend HHN, you have access to Diagon Alley.

Oh, I didn’t even think about that! I looooooove Diagon Alley, especially at night! Horror isn’t my cup of tea, if I did brave HHN, it would be only for Diagon Alley, lol. Is there any way to pay for HHN, but just stay in Diagon Alley?

That’s why I bring it up. It is not worth the tradeoff for me. You can certainly buy an HHN ticket and just stay in Diagon Alley, but I is pretty crowded with all the (often drunk and boisterous) HHN people. If you have no intention of actually attending HHN, but love Diagon Alley at night (who doesn’t???), I would make sure at least one of your days includes a non-HHN night when you can be in USF past 5pm.

Sorry to jump in on this but are there particular things to do in Diagon Alley at night?

We have very limited evening time in Universal when we are there next week as both parks are closing early due to Grad Bash for 2/3 days of our stay. I’m trying to work out a touring plan of night time experiences across the two parks and it would be great to know how much time to allocate. - We’ll drop the Mardi Gras parade in favour of maximising Harry Potter after dark experiences!

Any insights?

There is nothing to do in Diagon Alley at night that you cannot do during the day. However, that being said, the overall atmosphere is so amazing that I, personally, wouldn’t miss it for anything. But I am a Harry Potter fanatic and seeing the shops lit up against the backdrop of the night sky and seeing the dragon breathe fire in the darkness are incredible to me. But fear not! If you cannot do Diagon Alley at night, you will not miss any rides/shows/spells or anything other than the atmosphere of Diagon Alley in the dark. In Hogsmeade, the nighttime show on the castle is pretty fantastic, so that would probably be more of a priority as far as “night specific” things.


Thank you, we’re big fans here too. (Well most of us are!) And I’d definitely like to soak up the atmosphere if we have time.

Do you think you need to see the Hogwarts lights when it’s absolutely dark or are they good when they start at dusk? We will be very tired after a long flight so I’m not sure how long everyone will manage to stay awake for but I’m really keen to see them if we can! :smiley:

I don’t think they start running them until it’s dark enough to appreciate them, so I think you should be fine catching even the first show.

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Yes, they play it when it is dark enough. When we went last year, they started them at 8:45, and played them every 15 min. Also, riding the Flight of the Hippogriff was another awesome way to experience the lights, we rode five times with no wait.