Which hotel first?

Hello! It’s been awhile since I’ve jumped on these forums. I could use some advice from experts! . I’m squeezing in a short vacation with my 2 boys (8 and 14) to Universal Orlando on the heels of attending a family reunion in NH. Nonstop flights from Manchester to Orlando and then Orlando back to Denver were pretty reasonable.

This means we arrive on Tuesday July 4th around 2pm (I know, crazy busy) and leave at 9.55pm on Friday, July 7th = 3 full days plus our arrival afternoon/evening of park time.

FWIW: My boys have been to Universal Hollywood for one day in in early ‘22. They are big time HP fans, and thrill seekers too, but my youngest has already had the Ollivander wand experience (he was chosen!). We took my oldest to UOR when he was 6, also too has a wand from ollivanders, but he doesn’t remember too much from Orlando.

With that said, I’m planning 2 nights at a premier (likely HRH) for EP benefits and 1 night at Aventura (for proximity to Volcano Bay and cheaper to defray costs).

Which would you do?
Arrival Day: Tuesday (July 4th) check in to Aventura. Go to Volcano Bay around 4.30pm.
Wednesday- early AM- check in to HRH, Early Entry whichever park has EE. OR, EE Volcano Bay in AM and go to one of other parks in PM.
Thursday: early AM, Early Entry whichever park has early entry.
Friday- EE whichever park has EE OR if didn’t do EE on Wednesday, do Volcano Bay early entry, PM back at HRH hotel pool and/or go to one of parks


Arrival Day: Tuesday (July 4th) check in to HRH. Go to one of parks around 4.30pm.
Wednesday- early AM- EE whichever park has EE
Thursday: check out, early AM, EE whichever park has early entry. Consider going to Volcano Bay in early evening.
Thursday PM: check in to Aventura
Friday- Volcano Bay early entry. Stay all day and/of hang at Aventura pool till our late flight.

I will likely get a Preferred AP for me as it’s not much more than a 4 day park hopper and see if I can snag some AP rates on hotels by checking daily.

Any thoughts on which makes more sense?

Doing Aventura first gives you more Express Pass time in the parks. But gives you a shorter trip to Volcano Bay.

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I think you are right - and better hotel last l.

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I agree with @mousematt. I think doing HRH first, you are almost throwing away half a day of Express Pass.

Although…I guess it depends on when you plan to leave on your last day. If you are heading out early, you are losing a half day or more on the backside of the trip.

I imagine being July 4 time frame, it will be very busy. Not to mention hot. So maximizing your Express Time should weigh into your decision.


Thx for advice. I’ve gone ahead and changed my reservations.

We are leaving super late on Friday - 9.30pm, so we have essentially 3 full days plus arrival evening.

I’m dreading the heat no doubt.

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