USF Early Park Admission--Ollivanders or Escape from Gringotts?

We will be going to USF/IOA in late October with 7 am early opening for USF/Harry Potter. We will have the Universal Unlimited Express pass. Should we head straight for Escape from Gringotts, or instead do the wand ceremony at Ollivanders first? I have a feeling it may be hard to rip my kids away from wanting to explore Diagon Alley to rush to a ride and so Ollivanders may make more sense, but do wait times make one choice an obvious one? DH, DD7, DS5, Potterphiles.

Probably doesn’t matter with the Express pass.

But if you do Olivanders, you aren’t any better off than Escape from Gringotts. In either case, you aren’t doing any exploring! :slight_smile:

So Ollivanders is towards the back? I don’t know the layout of Diagon Alley it’s quite possible that my question was falsely premised as you point out. :wink:

It isn’t that big. They are like a few steps away from one another.

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It is probably worth mentioning that if you PLAN to get an interactive wand, then it makes sense to do Olivanders first and get your wand so that as you explore, you can do the spells.

Ah, cool, thanks for that. Do you think we’d be safe getting in line for Gringott’s anytime before regular park opening hours (i.e. up to 45 minutes or so after early entry)?

When we went, we didn’t have Early Entry, nor the Express pass, but we did all of Harry Potter…both Hogsmeade and Diagon Alley…and were done before 3:00 pm. (Okay…not ALL…we could have done more. We only ate at Three Broomsticks, for example, and if we wanted to, we could have spent more time actually exploring. But we didn’t feel the need, particularly on the Hogsmeade side since we’ve been before.)

Not sure what your entire plan is. Are you planning to do HP and the rest of Universal all in the same day? Or are you going multiple days? We could have easily done everything across both parks in 3 days (possibly two) even without the Express Pass nor Early Entry. We dedicated first day to HP, one day to IOA and one day to USO. We went four days total, though, so our last day was revisiting anything we wanted to do again.

We left by 3:00 each of the four days.

Just keep in mind that once you have the wands, you have to carry them with you everywhere you go, or stop to put them in a locker. I, personally, like that early entry time for doing spells because the lines back up quickly at the spells. I would do Ollivanders and the spells during early entry and hop in line for Gringotts right before the main park opening time.


Good point.

I would also add that I agree with @ryan1 that with the Unimited Express Pass, your lines shouldn’t be too terrible at any time. Anytime before, say, 10 a.m., I think the line would be fairly short with the Express Pass. Therefore, I partially amend my prior statement and I would say that you take your time doing all the spells first and then get into line at Gringotts whenever you’re done.

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Okay, many thanks! @Ryan, we will be there two full days and another half day (flight departs at 6 pm on third day), and wanted to make the first day a HP day, and the 1.5 days hitting all of the USF/IOA rides that my 42" and 46" kids are tall enough to do, with the exception of a few (not sure if Kong or F&F will be good for them).

Just a matter of opinion, but my family are fairly big F&F fans, and I would say that ride is one and done for us. It is not good at all. The line is very interesting to walk through and is for sure the best part of the entire attraction, but if you are up in the air about it or are running out of time, skip it unless you are huge fans. Kong is a fun attraction, but can be scary, depending on how sensitive your children are.

I wouldn’t recommend Kong for those ages, personally.


That’s what I’ve read. How is MIB on the scary-scale? For reference, my kids have watched the first four HP movies without being too spooked.

MIB is not scary at all, unless weird alien-looking creatures might scare them. Basically the same as Buzz Lightyear Space Ranger Spin at MK, but better.

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As far as rides and age-appropriateness…obviously, only you can know your own children, so this is only a guide from one parent’s point of view. I’m merely talking from a scariness factor here, not necessarily height restrictions, etc.

Rides that are fine for younger kids:

  • E.T. (although, admittedly rather dated looking)
  • Dudley Do-Right’s Ripsaw Falls
  • Everything in Dr. Seuss land
  • Twirl and Hurl
  • Bilge-Rat Barges
  • Woody Woodpecker
  • Flight of the Hippogrif
  • Storm Force Accelatron

Rides that MIGHT be scary from a high-action viewpoint (could go either way):

  • Spider-Man
  • Transformers
  • The Simpson’s
  • Despicable Me
  • Forbidden Journey
  • Escape from Gringotts
  • Dr. Doom’s Fearfall

Most likely scary:

  • The Mummy (a couple moments in particular)
  • Kong
  • Jurassic Park River Adventure

Edit: I’m amending my list above. I would move Jurassic Park River Adventure in the “most likely scary” category. I forgot about a couple moments in that ride that might scare younger kids.


DH’s workmate just got back and found Flight of the Hippogriff scary :joy::joy::joy:

Hey, on my last trip, I rode Flight of the Hipppogriff in the last car by myself and I was literally thrown from one end of the car to the other. It was much more aggressive than I had thought but I was cracking up!