Magic Kingdom or Epcot for Solo Traveler, Early 30s?

Edited: January 30, 2018, 11:14 AM

Hello,

So I have one, full day to spend in Orlando (a Friday) and I want to experience either Magic Kingdom or Epcot. I've read a ton about both, and honestly, I'd probably really enjoy either.

While I have been to Disney Land when I was a kid, I've never been to Disney World.

I'll also be by myself, traveling solo.

I'm a pretty big kid at heart, so am really drawn towards the fantasy, quintessential Disney aspect of Magic Kingdom. A ton of kids and families wont bother me in the least. I'd probably walk around, take in the sights, ride some rides, and get lost in the magic.

But at the same time, Epcot seems like the better park for a single man in their 30s...traveling solo?

Haha, so I guess the choice is Childhood Fantasy Magic VS Adult Culture and Science?

But yeah, just curious if anyone had thoughts for a solo traveler trying to get the most out of Disney World in one day.

Thank you so much!

~Michael

p.s. My other thought is to do both, Epcot in the morning right at rope drop. Monorail to Magic Kingdom in early afternoon and stay til closing. I know it's a lot, but I think I could do it. Found this blog by a couple who did that very thing:

http://bellebrita.com/2016/08/disney-world-two-parks-one-day/

Replies (28)

January 30, 2018, 10:14 AM

You can do multiple parks in 1 day (we've done all four in a single day before), but it's a terrible decision from a cost perspective if you're only going to spend one day at WDW during your trip. You're already going to pay up the wazoo for a single day admission ticket (FWIW, MK is actually more expensive for a single day ticket than EPCOT), but when you add park hoping to that single day admission, you're going to pay at least $162. That price goes even higher if you're visiting on a peak day, because Disney has started charging more for single day admissions based on time of year.

From a value perspective, I think you're far better off visiting a different resort (Universal, Sea World, Fun Spot, or Busch Gardens Tampa) if you only have a single day to tour a theme park. WDW is not a great place to go if you only have a single day to spend there, or if you don't have old non-expiring passes from years ago.

January 30, 2018, 12:33 PM

You don't say which Friday ? .... a Friday on a holiday weekend will be much busier than any-old Friday during a 'normal' week. I ask, because if it's a holiday weekend, you may be better off keeping well away from MK (especially as you won't have any Fast passes). I'm actually going to Epcot tomorrow (31st) on my own, and I'm really looking forward to wandering round in relative (for Disney !!) calm. So I suppose I'm saying, MK if it's not a holiday weekend, otherwise Epcot. Have fun wherever you go, but be prepared for a mass of humanity at any of the Disney Parks ... !! If you want to ride coasters, then as Russell suggested, try Busch Gardens or SeaWorld.

January 30, 2018, 2:29 PM

Thanks for the advice Makorider and Russell!

So it'll be a non-holiday Friday in March.

Well I def think I'm gonna do either Epcot or MK (or both)...even though, yeah, it's pretty pricey to get a hopper for one day.

So I think I'm leaning towards either full day Epcot...OR, morning Epcot with afternoon/evening in MK. If I did second option, I'll save my 3 Fast Passes for rides in the MK.

Hope you have a blast Makorider! Love traveling by myself!

Edited: January 30, 2018, 2:58 PM

"So it'll be a non-holiday Friday in March."

Are you sure? March is a very busy month at WDW as different school systems around the country have varying weeks for "Spring Break". Not every public school has Spring Break the week before Easter, so I would consider virtually every Friday in the month of March (except maybe March 2nd) as a peak day. Disney considers every day between March 18th and April 8 as a "Peak" day, so expect heavy crowds throughout (Easter is April 1). There may not be a formal holiday (unless you consider Good Friday/Easter a holiday), but the parks are extremely crowded throughout mid/late March and early April.

Understand that if you do choose to book your 3 FP+ reservations for MK and start at EPCOT, the FP system will be completely blocked out to you while you're in EPCOT unless you cancel all of you MK reservations. You might be able to get a short wait to ride something at rope drop, but the other EPCOT headliners will have 60+ minute waits within 20 minutes of opening. If you are dead set on park hopping (I personally think you're crazy spending $174 - $55 more than it would cost to just go to EPCOT - for just one day of theme park admission), I would highly recommend making your first three (3) FP+ reservations in EPCOT (rope drop Soarin', TestTrack, or Frozen, and get your tier 1 FP for whatever one you don't want to race to at park opening - then fill your other FPs with Mission: Space, Spaceship Earth, Nemo, and/or Turtle Talk). Once you finish those, you can either get some more FPs for EPCOT before you hop, or grab what's available for MK at the time you've used your 3rd FP. I can almost guarantee that you won't be able to get any FP+ reservations for 7 Dwarfs Mine Train ahead of time, so unless you really need to ride Peter Pan, most of the other MK rides should have day-of FP availability. Also, beware of Magic Hours. MK has early magic hours on Fridays, so the park will automatically be more crowded because all of the on-site guests will flood MK.

January 30, 2018, 4:05 PM

It’s a pity you are having to go on a Friday, as they are some of the busier days. But do not be deterred, as long as you have a plan and use the FP+ to your advantage you should do OK. Test track and Soarin’ are grouped, so you can’t have both. I have Soarin’, Mission Space and Figment for tomorrow, but I’ll be there early so I’m hoping I won’t have to wait in line too long for test track. Although once I start using them I’ll get my single FP+ to play around with.
7DMT is a bear, and I’m still living in hope of a FP+ for next week when I go into the MK for a day. I check every day, 2 or 3 times, for one to appear. It will, I’ve just got to hope I catch it when it drops.
Other than that I’ll be at MK for rope drop, so I’ll go there first.
I really enjoy going to theme parks on my own ... do what I want when I want. Perfect :)

January 30, 2018, 11:24 PM

This may not be what you want to hear, but it is my honest opinion after visiting Florida for the first time last year.

1. If you only have one day and you have never visited Universal Orlando, opt to spend a day there rather than anywhere at Walt Disney World. It is impossible to even scratch the surface of WDW in just a single day, and you're potentially setting yourself up for disappointment if you attempt it. On the other hand, while you can't see everything, you can still see a majority of the two Universal Orlando parks in a single day (or you can stick to one park and do virtually everything), especially with an abundance of single rider lines scattered throughout both parks. The one caveat to this is that Universal's attractions are a bit more thrill-oriented, so if something like Space Mountain would be too intense for you it might not be a good choice. However, if you're okay with some intensity, UO is by far the better choice.

2. If you absolutely insist on Walt Disney World, pick a single park and stick to it. Attempting to visit two parks in a day will leave you only getting a taste of both rather than getting to fully enjoy one. Add in the extra expense and the fact that you will burn around an hour hopping between the two parks, and it just isn't worth it. No matter what, you're going to miss some stuff, so minimize the amount that you miss by focusing on one park and exploring it as much as you can rather than trying to squeeze the highlights of two parks into a day without really taking the time to appreciate either.

3. Based on my experiences at the parks, I highly recommend you go with the Magic Kingdom over Epcot. I say this for a few reasons: First, to many people the Magic Kingdom IS Walt Disney World, and even if you've visited other similar parks it has enough uniqueness to be worth a visit. Secondly, Epcot in its current state is not what it once was, with only a handful of attractions still tying into the science and culture themes the park originally had. Third, the Flower & Garden Festival will be in progress during your visit, which will significantly amplify crowds at Epcot. Lastly, in my opinion Epcot's attractions actually lend themselves more to group participation, while much of the Magic Kingdom can be enjoyed equally as well on your own or with a group.

4. If you are visiting in early March, crowds shouldn't be too much of an issue. However, mid to late March is spring break season, and the parks are likely to be packed. If you will be visiting during this time, you must accept that you will likely only get to experience a small portion of what the parks have to offer. I'm not going to say that you absolutely shouldn't go, but just know that it will likely be very difficult to get your top Fastpass+ attractions and wait times will likely be 90+ minutes for headliners. Another advantage to Universal here...they offer Universal Express, an upcharge service that will let you get onto almost every ride with minimal waiting.

If you want any advice on a specific park, I'll be happy to share some tips based on my experiences after you've decided what you're doing. No matter what you choose, you'll likely have a great time, I just recommend that you consider alternatives that may yield a more enjoyable experience.

January 31, 2018, 7:23 AM

EPCOT for sure!

You might even make some friends in Mexico, or Germany, or France, or.....

I have done EPCOT solo. Its the best!

Edited: January 31, 2018, 7:34 AM

I'd also note that if you choose to visit EPCOT by yourself, TestTrack has a single rider line that can significantly expedite your wait time. The configuration of the ride vehicles (2 rows of 3 across) allow the single rider line to move very quickly with the only drawback being that you cannot participate in the full vehicle design lab - you can only choose from a series of pre-designed vehicles instead of the full customization allowed through the standby and FP queues. Since TestTrack is one of the three (3) Tier 1 attractions (meaning you can only hold one FP+ reservation for this group of rides), it's probably wise to grab a FP+ reservation for either Frozen or Soarin', then plan to ride TestTrack through the single rider line, assuming that you don't mind missing out on the vehicle design process. That would allow you to experience all three EPCOT headliners with minimal wait (either Soarin' or Frozen at rope drop, the one you don't rope drop via FP+, and TestTrack via single rider). The only attraction in MK with a single rider line is Splash Mountain, and that line is not always open (typically depends on staffing and crowd levels).

Again, I'd second AJ's comments, and reiterate my suggestion to NOT visit WDW if you only have a single day in Orlando, even if you're planning a visit in early March when crowd levels won't be quite as crazy as during Spring Break season.

Edited: January 31, 2018, 12:58 PM

This all makes sense, thanks for the info! Well, I'm definitely not going to try and do both Epcot and MK in one day anymore. Sounds like while I'd get a nice taste, I'd miss out on so much and not get the true experience of either.

I'm specifically going on Friday, March 9th. So that's potentially high crowd Spring Break time...

I'll be honest and say I'm not the biggest thrill ride seeker. Like, the thought of roller coasters at Six Flags make me squeamish, cuz I'm kind of a baby when it comes to having my body whipped around at intense heights and speeds.

Guess I'm more of a "get lost in a fantasy land" kind of guy. I mean, a few rides would be nice, specifically rides that are experiences (like what Soarin seems to be) as opposed to just straight up roller coasters. But in addition to rides, I love walking into different worlds, having my imagination captured, seeing shows, meeting people, experiencing different foods.

Like, a day dressing up and getting lost in a Ren Fair and dancing to music with new friends is more enjoyable to me than standing in lines waiting to ride coasters at Six Flags, especially if I'm by myself.

Which is why I thought WDW would be more enjoyable for me than Universal.

And then, specifically, Epcot or MK.

That said, I've never been to Universal Orlando...so I'm definitely going to research it more now. I'm totally open to going there instead of Epcot/MK, especially if it has that "imaginative" experience I'm looking for, above and beyond just thrill rides.

BUT, like I said, I will NOT try and do two parks in one day anymore. Just gonna choose one and experience the heck out of it from opening til close.

Thanks again for all of the wonderful advice ya'll!! :)

January 31, 2018, 3:52 PM

"Guess I'm more of a "get lost in a fantasy land" kind of guy. I mean, a few rides would be nice, specifically rides that are experiences (like what Soarin seems to be) as opposed to just straight up roller coasters. But in addition to rides, I love walking into different worlds, having my imagination captured, seeing shows, meeting people, experiencing different foods."

I hate to veer things off just as you were getting close to a consensus, but... this is like straight-up Animal Kingdom blurb, no? Best shows, best food (particularly if you build in a quick hop to the Lodge), most immersive environments, and probably Disney's best modern ride. Right? I get it's a little shy of a packed full day, but less so for a first-timer.

If not, I'd definitely +1 the Universal discussion. The two parks make for an incredible (and incredibly full) day, and the Harry Potter stuff absolutely ticks your "get lost in a fantasy land" box.

January 31, 2018, 4:09 PM

I love thrill rides, and I love Universal, but based on the comments, "the thought of roller coasters makes me squeamish" and I am "get lost in a fastasy land," I am going to say Magic Kingdom. Universal is great, but the Potter rides are fairly intense thrill rides. I have soloed DL, on a fairly busy day, too. I think it can be done. Many things at MK can be walked on such as the Carosel of Progress, the Country Bear Jamboree, and the Tiki Room, and they are fairly fun. Depending on the time of day, and the proper luck with the FP+ crowd, Pirates and Haunted Mansion can be managed. Just meandering around the park with only your own initiative can be fun, and if the crowds are going to be insane, EPCOT is an option, but I would personally rather do that with a group than solo. The other huge problem with that time of the year and EPCOT is dining reservations. The food at EPCOT is amazing, and getting the reservation can be difficult.

January 31, 2018, 7:57 PM

Epcot was relatively quiet today ... Soarin was 80min standby at one point but most of the day it was 30min or less. I rode test track via the single rider line and it was a walk on. It’s the first time I’ve spent 8hrs+ at the park for many years, and even though I had a great day, it wasn’t the Epcot I remember. I liked the old Soarin much better, and even orange on mission space is a shadow of what it used to be. Figment is awful with Eric Idle and the seas is just a kids ride with Nemo .... Nemo .... and even more Nemo. The art festival was a good diversion, although for anything 1/2 decent you needed to spend far more money than I could justify. It wasn’t all bad though .... the fish and chips at the UK area was as good as ever .... :)
From what you’ve said I’d say MK is the park to visit.
Fast passes were easy to come by at Epcot.... I somehow don’t think I’ll be saying that after my MK visit next week .... ??

February 1, 2018, 7:02 AM

That being said, I consider EPCOT an oasis and the most unique theme park in existence. The rides there are an afterthought for me, and I am a ride-a-holic. I love a long WDW vacation, and a day at EPCOT where all I do is wander through the world showcase without any need for rushing around is so peaceful. Get a Guinness at a pub, a crepe in France, and watch a 360 travel film with basically no wait. The shops are nice, and the food is fantastic. While most people flock to the Canadian, French, or Japanese restaurant, I adore the Moroccan and German ones.

Edited: February 1, 2018, 9:37 AM

Thanks so much for the additional info ya'll!

Ok, so looks like I'm choosing between Universal Orlando VS Magic Kingdom for the Friday, March 9th I'll be in Orlando.

Sounds like in general, WDW is better if I have a full 4 or 5 days to really experience all of WDW in one go. My concern was that I might not ever be back to Orlando...BUT, at the same time, maybe this would be a reason to come back. AND, seems like WDW would be best experienced with someone special.

SO, I'm going to go with Universal Orlando. Haha at 33 years old, maybe it's time I finally getting over my dumb fear of thrill rides and coasters. Plus, looks like there's a ton of fantasy in US and IOA beyond just rides to capture my imagination.

Was looking at the tickets...$165 total for Universal Studios AND Island of Adventure. Yikes, kind of a lot. But worth it, yeah? Other option would be $110 for just Universal Studio. Then, on top of that, the express pass is $90. So, $165 + $90 would be $255.

Do you all think $255 is worth it for a day in both US and IOA with the express pass? Guh, a tad steep. Although, maybe I don't need the express pass, and I can just utilize the single rider lines. In general though, does sound like getting the hopper between US and IOA is worth it since they're so close...and I can ride the Hogwarts Express!

AND, there's going to be a Mardi Gras party happening in the evening at Universal while I'm there, so that seems like it'd be a blast.

Either way, thanks again for all of the advice! This has been extremely helpful in planning my trip!

February 1, 2018, 11:05 AM

If it were me I'd need to do Hogsmeade and the Hogwarts Express so the park-to-park would be a must. If there's nothing at IoA that you absolutely would love, you could probably make a whole day of USF alone since it's a Mardi Gras night. I guess it comes down to do you want to spend the extra $55 to hit 3-4 more top notch attractions or pay no more and spend that time wandering Diagonal Alley and seeing something like Fear Factor or the animal show.

February 2, 2018, 2:58 PM

Since you are picking Universal, and IF you do not have a hotel room, look into one of the three hotels that offer the Unlimited Express Pass. One of them should be about $195-205 a night, and the Royal Pacific is usually the cheapest and the Portofino is the furthest from the parks. The layout is like the Disneyland hotels where you can walk. I do recommend a park hopper, as the Hogwarts Express is great. Staying in one of the hotels gets you into Islands of Adventure and hour early, which allows you to go to the Fantastic Journey. That will let you know if you can stomach other attractions. Then you hop the Hogwarts Express with the Park Hopper ticket and you are in Diagonal Alley before the crowds and can do the Gringotts. Now that you have an UNLIMITED Express Pass, you will not stand in a line for the rest of the trip. You are solo, and many things also have a single rider line. Despite being there during spring break, unlike Disney, no lines. If you are a Harry Potter fan you will not believe the level of attention they put into those areas.

Edited: February 2, 2018, 4:34 PM

Got it! Well I got a cheap hotel nearby that’s only a 20 minute walk from US. (And only $40/night) So I’ll get there right at open with my pre-bought ticket at 9am.

Then I’ll have til 7:15pm when the Mardi Gras parade starts. So I’ll have ten hours for US and IOA, which sounds pretty doable, yeah? Then I’ll end my night at the city walk after the parade.

I’ll nix the express pass (don’t wanna spend an extra $90 on top of the $165 for the hopper)...and take my chances with single rider lines. Plus, since I’m solo, I should be able to move quickly.

That said, thank you all so much for the advice. This has been incredibly helpful in planning my trip!

February 2, 2018, 5:22 PM

I will say I rode the Fobidden Journey four times in 30 minutes near closing time in the single rider line during peak visiting time. They didn’t even make me get out of the car.

February 2, 2018, 5:22 PM

I will say I rode the Fobidden Journey four times in 30 minutes near closing time in the single rider line during peak visiting time. They didn’t even make me get out of the car.

Edited: February 2, 2018, 6:25 PM

Hey Michael. Interesting conversation you started here. Just want to add my 2 cents about Universal Express passes. When the wife and I took our 8 yr old grandson last Thanksgiving, we got the Express Passes that are much lower in cost and not highly publicized. They sell "after 4 pm" express passes for either park that cost around $40 each. Yes, they are limited to only 1 use on each ride. But it allowed us to make a complete lap around Universal Orlando and blow through all their rides in about 2 hours. This was after waiting in lines all day at both parks. The nice thing about these passes is having the flexibility to get them later in the day. So, if you feel a need to cover more rides due to long lines, you can purchase these passes later in the day. Long lines at Universal sometimes last into the evening for Simpsons, MIB, Mummy, Minions, Transformers, Rip Ride Rocket, HP Gringrotts, etc. The other tip I would offer is to ride MIB during the final 60-90 mins of the day. The lines really go down and single rider line is quick or nonexistent. Grandson and I rode that one 4 times in about 20 mins one evening. it was a blast. Have a fun time !!

February 3, 2018, 8:06 PM

I think you made a great choice. Universal doesn't see the same level of crowds found at Disney, so you should be able to see a good portion of both parks in one day. I'm guessing you'll probably be okay without Universal Express on March 9th, but if crowds are overwhelming you can always purchase one that day.

As far as thrill rides go, Universal does have a couple of major roller coasters, but most of their rides are of the simulator variety. If you're okay with a ride like Star Tours, you shouldn't have an issue with most attractions found at Universal. The more extreme thrill rides can be skipped if you don't feel like riding them, though I will say that the Incredible Hulk is one of the best coasters I've ridden.

To see the most in one day, I'd recommend the following:

1. Start your day at Universal Studios Florida. If you would like to ride Despicable Me, do so first thing as that ride gets long waits. It's fun, but not the best simulator, so feel free to skip it if you don't care for the IP.

2. After Despicable Me, go in the following order: Hollywood Rip, Ride, Rocket (if you decide to ride it), Race Through New York Starring Jimmy Fallon, Transformers, Revenge of the Mummy, Men in Black Alien Attack, Simpsons Ride, E.T. Adventure. All of these except Jimmy Fallon and E.T. Adventure feature single rider lines, so you should be able to complete this list by noon.

3. Take the Hogwarts Express over to Islands of Adventure, then grab lunch. If you're up for a full service meal, I highly recommend eating at Mythos, but if you want something quicker the Three Broomsticks is a great option as well.

4. After lunch, do a clockwise loop of the park to take in the theming and experience the top attractions. Cat in the Hat, Incredible Hulk, Amazing Adventures of Spider-Man, Skull Island, Jurassic Park River Adventure, and Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey are the main rides to hit here (all except Cat in the Hat and Jurassic Park River Adventure offer single rider). If you see anything else of interest, feel free to ride it as well. One word of caution...the two water riders in Toon Lagoon will leave you soaked to the bone, so avoid these unless you're willing to be dripping wet for the rest of the day.

5. Once you get back to the Hogwarts Express, take it back over the USF. Check the show schedule and see any shows you'd like to see (The Horror Make-Up Show is really good), then spend the rest of your day touring Diagon Alley. This area is the single most immersive themed environment I've ever experienced, and if it weren't for the crowds of tourists it would feel just like you've stepped into the movies.

If you get to the park at opening, you should be able to complete the above as long as you move at a reasonable pace. Definitely take time to enjoy the parks and don't just run from ride to ride, but as long as you don't stop to rest frequently it shouldn't be too difficult to see everything. Lastly, have a great time!

February 4, 2018, 8:26 AM

Holy Moly!

Thank you so much for taking the time write out this epic schedule AJ! This actually sounds pretty perfect. And Ed, I'll totally look into the mid-day express pass if it seems necessary.

Really excited about making the most out of my day at Universal and IOA!

Then next time, I'll take a full week to do Disney World proper.

Thanks again ya'll! I'll report back on my day. :)

February 8, 2018, 5:50 AM

Couple of quick points, not meaning to throw a wrench into the plans, but having soloed these, I have to depart from AJ slightly. I would recommend starting at Forbidden Journey first. You do not want to do that or Gringotts as a single rider line only initially, as you miss the queue, which is almost as good as the rides. I say start at Forbidden Journey, the ride the Express, do Gringotts, not as a single rider, because the castle and bank are amazing, then you can get after it. Later, you will be amazed at the single rider on these. They basically plop you out at the 15 minute mark even on heavy days. Again, at about an hour before closing, the single rider lines will be walk-on.

The other slight disagreement is meals. I would suggest one of the Potter restaurants, or both. I find Mythos to be overrated and overpriced. The food at Universal is not on par with Disney, but the Potter restaurants at least have amazing atmosphere and have no wait, so I would skip Mythos, but it is good, but not great.

Edited: February 8, 2018, 8:54 AM

@JC - Actually, Universal re-aligned the Forbidden Journey single rider line to go down the old "Castle Tour" queue with Universal Express guests, so single riders can still see almost the entire queue, including the staircase with the talking photos that not even regular riders can see. The only part of the queue that the single rider queue skips now is the greenhouse, which is typically truncated from the regular line first thing in the morning anyway, because that part of the line is not needed.

I do agree that Gringotts has a critical part of the queue that is missed by going through the single rider line (but not Universal Express). You definitely don't want to miss that, especially on your first ride (part of the story is dependent upon going through the pre-shows)

I still think Mythos is a solid recommendation. It was one of the first high quality table service restaurants inside an American theme park other than EPCOT, and has far more reasonable prices than those in Disney parks. Is it as good as some newer, fancier establishments (particularly ones located at resort hotels), probably not, but considering the table service options inside of the Universal parks and CityWalk, it would still be near the top of the list. I recommend reviewing the menu beforehand to see if anything there strikes your fancy, and ask the host before making reservations if they know what the specials are for that day (I'm typically drawn to the risotto of the day). If there's nothing there that interests you aside from items you can get from other places, by all means go somewhere else. I do think both main WWoHP restaurants are very good, but I don't think there's a need to do both, so eat at one for one of your meals and then either Mythos or one of the other Universal or CityWalk restaurants for your other meal.

February 8, 2018, 12:46 PM

That is cool. The last time I was there they sometimes sent you that way and sometimes did not. I did not know it was a permanent path. I will say that I LOVE the Universal hotels, but every restaurant has been poor. We have enjoyed the city walk spots, but my take is I am there for the park, so I will stay in the parks as long as I can. Since Universal closes so early, Mythos cuts into that quite a bit. I am also a Potter fan, and the attention to detail is wonderful to me, so I am certainly biased.

Edited: February 8, 2018, 1:50 PM

That was the way they were sending single riders when we were there most recently, but you could always ask for a tour of the Castle if they're shooting singles up the stairs on the left.

Mythos might not be ideal for someone on a single day visit, but on a long vacation, it's nice to sit down and eat a meal occasionally. If you make reservations ahead of time, the total time to eat a meal at Mythos can be less than it takes to eat at Three Broomsticks or the Leaky Cauldron on a busy day once you add in the time waiting on line just to order at the counter service establishments.

I'm finally going to get a chance to explore Portofino Bay in June (might even carve out some time to eat at Bice), but have enjoyed the table service options at Hard Rock (The Kitchen is quite good) and Royal Pacific, though Tschoup Chop has gone away. I actually miss NBA City and its quite diverse menu and reasonable prices. I haven't personally tried it yet, but I've heard Toothsome is not worth it for an actual meal and should just be considered for dessert. Cowfish seems like style over substance, and the NBC Grill's menu didn't really interest me when we were there last October - certainly a downgrade in my book from the NASCAR Cafe. Pretty much everything else in the parks is some type of spin on traditional theme park food, though Finnegan's is always good for classic pub fare and a great beer selection. Mythos for me is unique in that respect, and worth a try if you see something on the menu that looks interesting.

February 8, 2018, 3:27 PM

The plan I posted is mostly similar to what I did on my first day at the resort and it worked pretty well. I do agree with the above that Gringotts must be experienced in the regular queue for your first ride, as the queue like is arguably better than the ride itself. Since it is not uncommon for this to have an hour wait, you'll either want to hit it first thing in the morning or wait until after you've done the other major attractions. This is also one of the few attractions that seemed to get a lengthy single rider queue...I found it generally took 20-30 minutes vs. the 5-10 at other rides.

For Forbidden Journey, you will see most (but not all) of the queue from the single rider pathway, so it is not necessary to wait in the standby line. If you have time, stand off to the side in each room to watch the full preshows, but if time is tight you can just walk through at a slow pace and take in the atmosphere. Many of Universal Orlando's attractions have great queues, but the two Harry Potter attractions are among the best.

For food, if you have time it is absolutely worth dining at Mythos, but if you're rushing a bit it is not a must do. The restaurants in the Harry Potter areas are great, and the Simpsons area in USF is also a good option if you want something fast. Out in CityWalk, I ate at Toothsome and the NBC Sports Grill. Toothsome is a must for dessert, and while the food itself is not top tier (though still pretty good), if you've got the time and the concept interests you it is well worth dining here. NBC Sports Grill was average...not bad, but nothing special. If you want to eat in CityWalk, I recommend leaving that for your dinner to avoid cutting into park time. I didn't make any dining reservations for Universal, but in my experience the full service restaurants were generally 15-20 minute waits to get a table.

February 9, 2018, 6:56 AM

@AJ - I'll note that the in my experience, the length of the single rider queue for Gringotts depends greatly upon the operations crew. Unfortunately, there's no way to tell until you get in to see how long the line is going to be since there's no sign outside posting the current wait. A general rule of thumb is that if the single rider line is at the bottom of the spiral staircase, plan on waiting about 20-30 minutes to get on. If it's before the point where you pick up the glasses, plan on waiting 45-60 minutes.

I don't know if some of the ops have disdain for those riding in the single rider line (there does appear to be an inordinate number of guests that go through that line looking to ride with friends that have also gone through the single rider line, and/or are insistent upon riding in specific rows), or if the dispatch times are so tight when the coaster is running optimally that queue managers tend to ignore the single rider line for long stretches of time even when there are obviously clear single seats available. I've seen instances where the queue managers fill an entire train with single riders instead of meshing the two lines together to fill every single seat just to try to shrink the line when it gets past the bottom of the stairs. Just my observations though, which appeared to be more prevalent when the coaster first opened in 2014 than when I recently experienced the ride last fall.

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