Universal Here We Come - Planning Help Needed

We enjoy Hippogryph as a group but that might be more nostalgia since it was the first ride DD17 did at Universal back when she was about 6. She was too small for Forbidden Journey and she rode Hippogryph about 4 times in a row with DH while her older sister rode FJ with me! I certainly wouldn’t wait for it if it’s a long line. And even the Express Pass line for it can get long at times because it is slow loading.

I think doing Diagon Alley for Early Entry is a great idea if you’re not trying to do Hagrid’s. On most of our trips only IOA has been open for EPA, but the one time we did USF it was much less crowded than IOA at rope drop.


Good point - I should check the calendar closely. I think because its righr before Easter both should be open. I am thinking that Express Pass will help with the lines, but if the crowds are too much, we won’t enjoy exploring Diagon Alley as much (including getting a wand).

I suspect we will skip Hippogryph this time because of lines, but I want to ride it sometime! Barnstormwr is and Dumbo are our nostalgic rides. They were all DD would ride our first trip!

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I would also recommend doing diagon alley one day and hogsmeade the other during early entry. They are both super cool to explore but can be very congested and feel a bit overwhelming when busy later in the day. I usually knock them out first thing then head elsewhere. Sitting on the steps by gringotts with an ice cream from Florian flortiscues is a great spot to kick back for a minute and people watch.

I also usually do hagrids right before close if I’m not at the front of the line at the taps. I think it’s best at night anyway. However, I’m going to try the midday ride when I’m there later next week and see how it goes :crossed_fingers:t2:


That is what I was thinking about doing. If we are front ofntaps day two, we’ll ride Hagrids and then explore Hogsmeade.

Please report back on your riding at mid-day experience! Thrill data didn’t look good, but I know 'posted" time and “actual” are two different things!


It’s on par with Barnstormer at MK. It’s truly a introductory “coaster” for little ones. I only ride it b/c of the single animatronic and b/c I like to ride “everything”… :rofl:

I used to be a person that thought you could only ride Hagrid’s with low waits at RD (if you raced there)

I have tested, multiple times, the Liner suggestion of getting in queue at 11:15am - :11:30am. It has worked every time! I’ve never waited more than 45 minutes when I get into the queue then. (even if it’s posted at 80 - 90 minutes!!)


I’ve become increasingly sus about the ratings. Antojitos is probably my favorite restaurant at Universal. We also enjoyed the sandwiches at Blondie’s, but were kind of mocked for thinking so. My wife and I ate at Antojitos this past May again. The only thing I could say was that the Pineapple Fire and Ice margarita (or whatever it was called) was quite different from what I had a couple years earlier. It was still good…but it was better in 2020.



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All great to know - we will probably end up skipping Hippogryph this time, but someday will ride it because the theming looks better than Barnstormer!

I took a close look at Anjitos - I want to grab dinner at Citywalk before getting our bags at the hotel and heading to the airport. I was also strongly considering Strong Water - but will have to put that on a list for a different trip with a different pace.

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Good reminder to fill this out for my last WDW trip!


Update for @heathernoel
We tried the 11:30 hagrids on our trip one day. The wait time was listed at 90 but was probably more like 60 based upon where the line started. We didn’t end up riding at that time since we hit it the day before and only waited for 26 mins!! Thursday was super slow there which was awesome.

I will say that this past Saturday there was absolutely nuts crowdwise. There were oodles of international tourists in groups or traveling with families. Velocicoaster was up to 160 mins from early afternoon on!

Therefore, I think it wasn’t the best weekend for trying this trick since many of those travelers are coming from different time zones/meal times.

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I am thinking this might be the case over spring break. But I think Thursday will be better than Friday. Friday we can rope drop it, and Thursday we can rey lunch - if its crazy, we can consider at park close.

I would like two rides, but can live with one!

Thanks for sharing your experience!


Hi everyone - the trip is getting closer so I am starting to get into the weeds with planning. I thought they might open USF for early entry because of the Easter crowds but it doesn’t look like that is going to happen.

I’ve set up my days, I am not sure how realistic they are. But I thought I should start with the first place first question.

We will be making rope drop the first day, but probably not early enough to be in the front for Hagrid’s. I was thinking about heading to Olivander’s in Hogsmeade first, to go ahead and get DD’s wand. What are crowds like first thing? Does this increase the chance of her being the person chosen?

Then we would could time in Hogsmeade before jumping in line for Forbidden Journey since we want to see the regular queue.

Also, to help me get a scale for walking at Universal , how long would you say the walk is from Hagrid’s to Escape from Gringotts? (I.e. the furtherst part of one park to the furtest part of the other)

The past wait time data at rope drop doesn’t look bad…maybe a 15 minute wait?

They will most likely have enough guests to fill the room…so no. But wearing an HP outfit boosts the chances.

About 25 minutes.


Okay, thanks. This isn’t bad! Still trying to get a sense of the scale.

Its like when I was in Hawaii, I planned for the Big Island first and then just assumed distances on Oahu were similar. They aren’t Oahu is much smaller, so I ended up not planning things I couls have done because I thought they were too far away. Don’t want to do that here!