What park to start in?

Discussion in 'Universal Studios/Islands of Adventure Forums' started by ktate82, Jun 19, 2017.

  1. ktate82

    ktate82 DIS Veteran

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    We have been to Disney many times, but this is our first trip to Universal. We have 3 day two park to park tickets that we are planning to upgrade to seasonal passes on our last day (except one that we are going to upgrade to the power pass or preferred pass the first day for discounts at the hotel). We have one night in July for a Sunday-Monday at Portofino for the express pass and early entry. There will be 4 adults (MIL in an EVC) and two tweens. Two adults and the tweens are HP crazed. I know in July both parks have early entry every day. My questions is where do we start? Is one park better for first timers to start in? I have read it's best to do HP rides without express pass options first then get in line for the Hogwarts express as the park opens. I was thinking we would start in one park, do HP, ride Hogwarts over to the other park and focus on that park that day. Then do the opposite the next day. Any other advise?
     
  2. bchbetha

    bchbetha DIS Veteran

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    Your plan is good. Start with Universal though you can do the journey like Harry does
     
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  4. sandam1

    sandam1 Mouseketeer

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    Definitely plan on doing Hogsmeade one of the days (which day is up to you) for early entry. It tends to get much more crowded much more quickly than Diagon Alley and is sooooo much more pleasant without the crush of people. I've done EE at both parks and prefer the Universal side, but I think that's because I like the other rides at Universal more than the Islands side.

    Also, keep in mind that the two big HP rides don't use EP (Gringotts and Forbidden Journey). However, the Flight of the Hippogriff and Dragons roller coaster in Hogsmeade DO accept EP.
     
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  5. ktate82

    ktate82 DIS Veteran

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    Thanks! I was thinking that, but I didn't know if doing the main part of IOA before Universal would be odd or not (I do believe I'm probably over thinking it though).

    Sorry, but I'm not one of the HP adults, lol. Is Hogsmeade the HP part in IOA? Also is both rides that don't use EP on one side or is it one in each park? I would assume that when they open, we should go to those first?
     
  6. Disxuni

    Disxuni Mouseketeer

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    Hogsmeade is the WWOHP on the IoA side. Normally, I would say start on Hogsmeade side (since as it's previously stated it can feel quite crowded and claustrophobic rather quickly), ride FJ, and jump on HE and ride Gringotts. Then go as you wish from there (since everything else you can essentially EP). However, since you are going to have a little more time to enjoy since you have a few days and you're going to upgrade, I would say start on the Universal side. It's personally my preferred side (Universal in general has more to do), it's more close to "Harry's experience" going through DA first, as well as the fact that Gringott's has a tendency to fill up quicker. FJ is the other non-EP ride, but is on the Hogsmeade side.

    Just so you know, Hogsmeade is more ride driven, where as Diagon Alley is more store and refreshment driven, meaning Hogsmeade has more rides (they have a couple of shops, but the rest are display windows), Diagon Alley has more places to shop and enjoy drinks, or food (only one ride, not including HE). Also, if you have to pick an Ollivanders, go the Diagon Alley one, as it has more rooms for the "wand show" (less likely to wait in the sun), as well as a much bigger shop.
     
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  7. ktate82

    ktate82 DIS Veteran

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    So is it realistic to think we can start at Universal, ride Gringotts, see the wand show at Ollivanders, then ride HE (it doesn't open till the park opens correct?), and then ride FJ? Or would it be better to start at Universal, stay in Universal to experience it, then ride HE over to IoA in the evening when it's not as crowded?
     
  8. bchbetha

    bchbetha DIS Veteran

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    You can do them both in the morning AND go back in the evening. :)
    FYI- the patio at the Hogshead Inn is a great place for a break in IOA. The bar sells multiple versions of Butterbeer plus alcohol like Fire Whiskey and other HP drinks.
     
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  9. shanew21

    shanew21 Mouseketeer

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    HE should be open early if both parks have early entry that day. Last time we went, we did Gringotts, Ollivanders, then took the HE over to IOA and rode FJ. This was all within that first early hour.
     
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  10. GoldmanTrust

    GoldmanTrust Mouseketeer

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    I would start at Universal, do DA and just relax and enjoy it. When the park opens I would do other Universal rides and stay in that park.

    You can see the HE waiting times in the Universal app. Just find a nice time during the later part of the day to jump over to IoA.

    Cramming it in - doing both parts of wwohp in the first few hours at your first visit might be to much. I would just focus on one side and not only focus on the rides. I did that mistake the first time I went. It is just as much about the experience as it is about the rides.

    Universal is a great start - then head over and maybe the last hour before closing ride it back to Universal to be there during closing time (really beautiful).

    Have a wonderful time whatever you decide to do. My main advice is just "let it flow". Universal is easy.
     
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  11. shanew21

    shanew21 Mouseketeer

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    While I agree that it's more about the experience, I would do the rides as early as possible as the waits build through the day.
     
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  12. Disxuni

    Disxuni Mouseketeer

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    Either plan is good. I would say however, I wouldn't be too worried about hitting all the WWOHP (non-EP) first thing in the morning if you're going to be staying more than one day there. That would be the case if you were only staying one day, but since you have multiple days, either plan would be good for you, as you would get to it eventually.

    Take your time and enjoy, especially since like you said, you could enjoy all the fruits of Universal and eventually ride HE to Hogsmeade to enjoy it in the evening, as it would be less crowded by then. Either plan will honestly work for you since you're going be staying multiple days and you said you plan on upgrading to a pass. Just remember, if you do not get to it, there is another day. You will get to enjoy it all, I promise with either plan. The more you visit, the more details and little things you'll get to see and enjoy.

    General tip, if you want to take pictures and not want to have so many people involved, or feel crowded, it's best to do it as early as you can in the morning. So, if you want to do that, you could start at DA one day, then Hogsmeade the next day.
     
    Last edited: Jun 20, 2017
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  13. anricat

    anricat DIS Veteran

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    Diagon Alley, in my opinion, was much much more impressive than Hogsmeade. Don't get me wrong, Hogsmeade was also awesome, but Diagon Alley was truly something to behold. I'm glad we started at Universal Studios just to have that jaw dropping experience.

    Our flight the night before got in terribly late (and then was delayed and got in even later) and we didn't use early entry that first day. We came into Diagon Alley later in the morning and enjoyed a leisurely time going to Ollivanders (which was such a fun thing to do right out of the gate), enjoyed some Butterbeer and took in all the amazing things there. We didn't ride any HP rides until later in the day (evening/after dinner) and it was perfect. I actually really liked experiencing it that way. We're normally a rope drop family at Disney, but we only used early entry for Volcano Bay! (It's like I didn't even know myself anymore!)
     
    Last edited: Jul 2, 2017
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