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Need advice on touring Universal Orlando

Universal Orlando: I'm spending two days at Universal Orlando in early May 2012 with two friends. I'd like some advice on how to tackle both parks.

From Chris S
Posted April 22, 2012 at 9:07 PM
This is not my first time to Universal Orlando, but since I last went in May 2008, there has been some changes, particularly with the opening of the Wizarding World of Harry Potter. I'll be in Orlando with two friends (all three of us are in our 20s) from May 3-10, staying off-property, and will be spending two days at UO, probably May 7-8. (I definitely want to be there to see the new nighttime show at USF, which is opening on the 8th.) Hopefully, people won't be packing UO for the opening night. If not, maybe May 9th will be our other day spent at UO.

I've heard conflicting reports about when to visit the WWOHP. Some say go first thing in the morning, others say go in the evening, since a lot of the hotel guests go in the morning. Any thoughts on that? I would especially appreciate advice on how to tour the WWOHP, since that is what we are most excited to see.

For both days that we're there, should we go to IOA in the morning, then USF in the afternoon? I found that worked well last time, when we had passes that let us into IOA at 8am, but I will probably not have those this time around. Regardless, based on my experience from my last trip in May 2008, it didn't seem USF ever got unbearably packed.

Any advice would be appreciated!


Comments in chronological order. Most recent at the bottom. Scroll down to respond.

From Sylvain Comeau
Posted April 28, 2012 at 11:37 PM
Two days is enough time to do both parks. As for WWOHP, I would show up in the morning the first day. If that's unsatisfactory, try the evening.

From Zack McDonald
Posted April 29, 2012 at 11:40 AM
At IOA they let Resort guests in at 7 am and then start letting the public in at about 7:45. Be there by 7:30 and when they gates open go ride Hulk and Spiderman first without any wait. Then walk back to the Potter ride and get in the single rider line (It will take less than 10 minutes at that point to ride) after the ride get in line for Butter Beer.

From Peder Smith
Posted April 29, 2012 at 2:16 PM
Get a VIP tour, it does both parks in 1 day. That's how i do it.

From Mike Gallagher
Posted April 29, 2012 at 4:00 PM
^But what if Chris doesn't have a money tree in his/her backyard?

From Mark Fairleigh
Posted April 29, 2012 at 4:17 PM
I suggest the morning. That way you're fully charged up. If you wait for the evening you might be tired by then and it won't have the same impact. Of course being in your 20's that may not be an issue. ;)

From Manny Barron
Posted April 29, 2012 at 5:45 PM
My advice is...Don't worry about it!

The specific dates you mentioned in visiting the Resort should be relatively uncrowded. IOA closes at 7 for those dates and USF at 9(because of the upcoming night show). From previous experiences when IOA closes at 7 the park is uncrowded and the Wizarding World is extremely enjoyable without the mobs of people. When the park closes at 9 or 10, then you should have a plan as they expect huge crowds for that day. Historically the first two weeks of May are some of the least busiest times at the parks.

Even though crowds won't be much of an issue, if you plan on re-riding HP and the Forbidden Journey try visiting the Wizarding World after 4. Last time I did that I experienced the Forbidden Journey 3 times in half an hour.

From Chris S
Posted April 30, 2012 at 5:33 PM
"Don't worry about it!" I like your advice Manny! :) And Mike, me and the guys definitely don't have money trees in our backyards... but if anyone knows where I could find seeds to grow my own, I'd appreciate that advice too!

I'm not too worried about crowds, since summer vacation season hasn't started yet. As long as there aren't a bunch of other theme park fanatics like me trying to see Universal Studios nighttime show during its opening week, I don't think we'll have much trouble.

On our first Universal day, I'm thinking about getting other attractions (like Hulk, Spider-Man, etc.) out of the way early on, then spending the rest of the day at WWOHP and just soaking in the sites. I would hate to have to rush through it in the morning, knowing that we also wanted to see other great attractions. True, we might not be quite as energized later in the day, but I think the anticipation will keep us going. If worse comes to worse, a ride on Dragon Challenge will probably rejuvenate us! And if it happens to be unbearably crowded that first afternoon, then we'll go there first thing in the morning on the second day that we go.

Thanks for the advice everyone! Of course, if anyone has anything else to add, they can feel free to do so.

From Thomas tskogg
Posted April 30, 2012 at 8:08 PM
Definitely late afternoon for Harry Potter. You can do Universal in one day and have time to make a run at Potter as well.

From Doug Jenkins
Posted May 1, 2012 at 12:55 PM
Early or late, but don't forget the single riders line. MUCH shorter and you don't see who you are riding with anyway once you are in the car. You will bypass much of the cool line exhibits, so use it for your 2nd and 3rd times riding.

From Doug Jenkins
Posted May 1, 2012 at 1:14 PM
Actually since you are staying off property you should consider all the single lines. At least if the regular lines are too long. Don't forget to check out the Simpson's Ride and the new coaster in Universal Studios

From chris cona
Posted May 1, 2012 at 8:26 PM
If you have a tight schedule you can get the hopper pass and do two parks in one day. I done it before and repeated attractions to and you don't even need the express pass. Just go early to ioa and finish off at universal so you can see the show.

From robert morris
Posted May 2, 2012 at 5:04 AM
Family and I go up to three times a week (check foursquare and lands and bars for proof) Go to IOA be at the gate early(they will let you in early) first but do Spiderman,Doom,Hulk first in Marvel. The lines will be 5 minutes each (while everyone else waits an hour for Mr. Potter. Then do the three Water Rides and change clothes (bring a change of clothes)..lines should be minimal at best as you don't have kids the flyers are off limits. Now head to Harry Potter line will be about an hour same as in morning except you've already done have the park. After FJ do Hippogriff good kiddie coaster, If dragon challenge is under 5 minutes cut through child swap and ride both versions without the walk. Now grab lunch at 3 broomsticks and shop for about and hour. Now fill in the rest of your day with Seuss and Lost Continent or sightseeing in JP

From robert morris
Posted May 2, 2012 at 5:13 AM
Continued from previous for one day: Or head straight to studios and head right for MIB and Simpsons then back for ET and Horror Make Up Show(must do). Then head to Mummy (do single rider) and Rip Rockit (single rider). Then check out Shrek Twister T2 as time permits. Then see the night show.

So on Day 2 do the shows you missed, rides you liked play in Camp Jurrasic (its like TSI but advanced)or Discovery Center. Or just in enjoy a day in the park with Barney all day

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