December, 1-day, park hopper...doable??

Discussion in 'Universal Studios/Islands of Adventure Forums' started by TexanInBrazilandBackAgain, Aug 9, 2018 at 1:33 PM.

  1. TexanInBrazilandBackAgain

    TexanInBrazilandBackAgain Earning My Ears

    Joined:
    Aug 8, 2018
    Messages:
    16
    We're going to be in Orlando for a few days in Dec (week before xmas), focused mostly on WDW, with 1 day for Universal, focusing mainly on HP.

    We'll do park hopper tix, be there for "rope drop" (or whatever the Universal equivalent is), will NOT have express pass, will stay until closing. I used UT's crowd calendar to pick a day that is a 6/10 *but* has both IA & US as days with a green check-mark.

    All that said -- if we are 1st-timers, me, DH, 3 DS ages 21, 18 and 13 at time of trip, want to see the shops/ride the rides in the HP section (but activating all the wand specials not necessary), will we also have time to ride RRR, Hulk, and maybe Spiderman &/or Kong?

    Assume we'll pop into all the stores in the HP section, but not do all the interactive wand bits, will skip the show at Ollivander's, have one who will probably linger as long as allowed in the Hogwarts castle before/after FJ (but may split the family up and have one hang with him while others ride RRR or Hulk, whichever is on that side of the park), and are aiming for enjoyable, hit the highlights, not be insanely rushed.....

    Thoughts? Tips? Suggestions? Helpful hints?

    Thanks in advance!
     
  2. skylock

    skylock Mouseketeer

    Joined:
    Sep 2, 2010
    Messages:
    213
    It might be possible to do all of that. Without express pass, you will need to have a very good plan.

    I highly suggest the express pass for one day touring. If you were only doing HP stuff, it would be possible, but you have young adult boys and I am sure they will want to do the other stuff you mentioned, and the very things you have mentioned will have the longest waits no matter what the predicted crowd level will be.

    You can get a throw away room at one of the three high end hotels for free express pass for everyone.

    If you can swing it, the EP will make your visit so much more enjoyable.

    One day is tough.
     
  3. Avatar

    Advertisement


  4. CAPSLOCK

    CAPSLOCK Mouseketeer

    Joined:
    Jul 22, 2017
    Messages:
    263
    You should be able to use single rider lines effectively. Especially for Hulk, Spiderman. FJ or Gringotts you could do single rider for re-rides, as I'm assuming you want to see the queues for those. Kong theoretically has a single rider line at times also.

    Download the Universal App for ride wait times.

    If you're not already planning to eat at one of the HP restaurants, at least stop in and check them out.
     
  5. sandam1

    sandam1 Mouseketeer

    Joined:
    Apr 19, 2016
    Messages:
    223
    We did a Universal trip the weekend before Christmas last year and it was VERY busy. Based on that experience, I would be pessimistic about your ability to do HP and do much else in the parks. The lines just get too long (there was even a line outside to get into the 3 Broomsticks) and even single rider wasn't helping us at points (particularly on Spiderman - not sure why). We had the advantage of multiple days, which helped out a bit, and we were primarily there to experience the Christmas stuff (Grinchmas, the HP light show, the parade, etc.) so it worked out in the end, but I would recommend thinking about adding another day, express pass or being very realistic about what you can get done.

    P.S. Even if you don't get a wand, you might still want to do the Ollivanders experience (aim for Diagon Alley) and watch some other people do the wands. It is a very cool experience for a true HP fan.
     
  6. macraven

    macraven Proud Redhead Moderator

    Joined:
    Apr 21, 2003
    Messages:
    88,113
    When you say "rope drop" does that mean you are staying onsite in one of the UO hotels?

    Anyone staying on site is allowed early entry of one hour prior to park opening.

    Maybe if you are not staying onsite, do the park that does not have the early entry.

    I would check out the map of the parks and get an idea of the layout of the rides in the parks.
    It will save you time when you know which direction to head for the rides on your list.

    The week before Christmas has some days that will have more in the park.
    Crowds build up the closer you are to the 25th.

    Weekends will be crowded.
    Many locals go to see the parks for the holiday decorations.
    Maybe aim for a weekday, M-Th for decent crowds you can work with.
     
  7. TexanInBrazilandBackAgain

    TexanInBrazilandBackAgain Earning My Ears

    Joined:
    Aug 8, 2018
    Messages:
    16
    Sorry, using Disney terminology to mean being there before they open so we're let in the park asap. I have read (someone correct me if I'm wrong) that they'll let you in the outside entrance to where the main shops/entry area/bathrooms/etc. and then into the park closer to opening time...? Similar to how MK lets you onto Main Street, but not into the park itself....? So, we're planning on doing that and being one of the first non-on-site folks into the park (and staying till closing).

    We do plan to be there on a Weds, a week or so before Christmas, so that should help. We'll be leaving Orlando on Friday before Christmas so we are there ahead of the worst of the Christmas crowds (not that it will be uncrowded....)

    We'll definitely have a map, plan our route, etc. ahead of time. We're heavily debating either doing a throw-away room to get the EP-Unlimited, or dropping one of the parks from Disney and doing 3 days there, 2 days at Universal (but would drop park-hopper at Uni) in order to have time to do more. Also considering the wise words of a friend, "You always want to leave while you still want to do more...." and figuring it won't be *horrible* to save some for the next trip.....
     
  8. macraven

    macraven Proud Redhead Moderator

    Joined:
    Apr 21, 2003
    Messages:
    88,113
    At uo, you will see people lined up to enter the parks before nine

    Some days peeps show up an hour prior to opening

    I have passed those wait lines when I go before 9
    Show the room hotel card and allowed into the parks

    Days I have done that, have not seen peeps being held inside the park to wait for the 9:00 openings

    That might just be based on the date I do the early entree as a hotel guest


    Many do the fhrow away room at the deluxe as it is cheaper then to buy the unlimited ep for the family

    Two days of that free perk
    Might as well pack an overnight bag and spend the night there

    Do an early start the next morning

    You should be fine having two full park
    days and be able to cover it all on those week days with the free ep

    Play with the numbers and do what is best for you

    If you have 4 in your party, go for it !
     
  9. skylock

    skylock Mouseketeer

    Joined:
    Sep 2, 2010
    Messages:
    213
    If you have 2 days at universal, maybe you would not need the express pass.

    Let me put it into simple numbers.

    If there are 1000 people in the park, 750 of them are going to be in potterland. And which ever the early admission side is will be packed by the time you get there even if you camp outside at 5am.

    I also agree, when I have made it to early admission (rarely), the people were waiting outside the gates and there were lots of them. I look up and my group are getting in line behind them and I am saying, no, no, we get to go in now. They thought I was magic.

    The real beauty of EP for me is I no longer have to be in that crowd at 0 dark thirty hours.

    I would honestly drop something else to get the express pass. It changed my life.

    I went to the parks for I guess 20 years without it. I don't mind standing in line really, so I saw no advantage for it.

    Did a VIP tour a few years back that had express pass after the tour was over, 1 time each ride, and it hooked me. Next year bought the tickets with express pass and haven't looked back. Except now, I book a hotel room. Well this year 2 because we have 9 people.

    I have never done another VIP tour, but I am not going if I don't have express pass.

    Get to see and do everything I want at a leisurely pace. I think that alone makes whatever the cost worth it to me.

    No offense to your friend, but that sounds like something someone without EP would have to say to themselves to justify the price they paid, but not getting to do everything she wanted to.

    There will be something new on your next visit.

    And those green check days are kind of like the weatherman saying no rain this week and you get flooded on Wed. Nothing you can do about it. Not even a sorry from the weatherman because that was his best guess. Same with these crowd prediction people. I am sure they make a good faith effort, but I would not bet anything of value on it.

    I was there last Thanksgiving. The whole week was predicted as red and I have never seen such a low crowd day for a holiday.

    I was looking at one of the crowd predicting places last week because I am thinking of shifting my park visiting time next year so I can do HHN and I will do mickeys trick or treat too.

    They had their crowd prediction numbers for last year and what they actually turned out to be and I honestly don't think they got anything right. I decided by experience I will just give it my best guess for next year. I am sure I will come as close as they did. They predicted a 2 and it was a 9. Opppps.

    Really, I think my kid would be getting express pass for Christmas this year.

    In fact, I think my plan would be one day park hopper tickets with a throw away room for the EP. You should get everything important done in Universal and still have your disney time.

    I don't go to disney anymore, but trying to decide what park I would skip would be painful.
     
  10. TexanInBrazilandBackAgain

    TexanInBrazilandBackAgain Earning My Ears

    Joined:
    Aug 8, 2018
    Messages:
    16
    This is helpful; thank you.
    We're pretty sure we'd skip AK if we switch to a 3-day WDW and a 2-day Universal set-up, so that part's easy. Harder is deciding if we still do park hopper at Universal on the 2-day pass.

    The best plan would be if I could convince DH and oldest DS to go ride all the thrill rides while the rest of us explore the Harry Potter sections. DH is reluctant to do that, so now it's playing with all the various iterations of cost-benefit ratios (and dh says yes, if we book the throw-away room, we'll stay in the room). Gah. It makes my brain hurt, LOL! The cost variations are nuts to try and calculate. :sigh:

    BUT, DH watched videos today of top rides at all the parks, and his list at Universal keeps growing (and his WDW list shrinking, but too bad), so lots to think about. We'll figure it out. Looking like at this point a 2-day, park-hopper, with express pass is going to be required/beneficial.....
     
  11. skylock

    skylock Mouseketeer

    Joined:
    Sep 2, 2010
    Messages:
    213
    Whatever you decide, I am sure you will enjoy Universal. Come back and let us know how it worked out for you.

    And nobody should miss the HP part. Esp the rides.
     

Share This Page