Orlando Trip Next Month

October 10, 2014, 6:45 AM

I will be visiting Universal Studios and Islands of Adventure next month and I am quite excited about it. It's has been a while for me since I have visited and they are my favorite theme parks. What I am looking forward to the most is checking out Diagon Alley I have been wanting to see that since it opened. Is there any good advice that you guys can give me something that I may be unaware of? I might be going the day after thanksgiving is there a way for me to beat the lines beyond the express pass? are there any good apps to use while I'm there?

Replies (10)

October 10, 2014, 7:25 AM

Universal Express won't help you in Diagon Alley, as Gringotts is one of the three rides not included on the pass. But early entry from the hotels will help you, if that's an option for your stay.

Even with hotel guests getting early entry, it's still your best bet to arrive early and go straight to DA, getting into line for Gringotts immediately. There's sometimes a single rider option, which might also help save some time.

Uptime and capacity on Gringotts have improved significantly since the summer, so people are no longer facing those horrific six-hour waits. But with a big crowd expected over Thanksgiving, I would expect mid-day waits of at least a couple hours for the ride.

All that said, don't miss the shows at the Carkitt Market Stage. Those have been the sleeper hit of the new land.

October 10, 2014, 7:26 AM

Also, we have a "Wizarding World of Harry Potter" guidebook that's going on sale on Amazon next week. I'll post the links once it is available.

Edited: October 10, 2014, 7:54 AM

Bobby - You wrote a new Book?

Alec - have a great trip.... Butterbeer is on me...

Edited: October 12, 2014, 4:31 PM

Hey just wanted to put in my 2 cents on the matter. First of all that is so exciting that you are going there, it is also my favorite theme parks! The one thing I will recommend you do is make sure you pick up some butter beer ice cream! That stuff is awesome, usually the line for it is pretty long but it is well worth it. The place where you get it is very hard to miss. Its a little ice cream parlor right in front of the Gringots bank :)

My other tip to you is as Robert said. Make sure you go directly to DA first thing in the morning. This is certainly a way cut down on the wait times. I just got back from 2 weeks in the central florida area, and getting to DA 1st thing in the morning, I only saw lines up to 30 mins during that time.

Anyways, I hope you have a great trip. I wish you the best on your quest at Diagon Alley. Please do report back and tell us how your trip went!!

October 13, 2014, 5:28 AM

Thank you guys. Well I did know about the butter beer ice cream which your both right, it is awesome. Also, yes Robert I was planning to tell my family let's go to DA first thing in the morning given it will be probably the busiest ride there. I am buying the annual year pass though since my family just recently bought so it looks like I'll be visiting more than once :)

October 22, 2014, 7:02 AM

We will be there the first week of November and have never been. we are actually staying in WDW and purchased 2 day passes with round trip transfer from WDW to US. Do they upgrade regular passes for early entry if you aren't staying at a Universal hotel? If not, how bad would the crowds be say November 5th or 6th with regular entry? I'm sure it's wise to head straight to DA. Any other tips you can provide seeing that we are newbies?

Edited: October 24, 2014, 12:12 PM

Honestly debbie, as long as you are not going during thanks giving, which you arn't, You shouldn't have too much of a problem with the crowds. I am so excited to hear you are going for the first time too. I think the number one thing I can recommend to you as new people to the Universal scene is to make sure you try to do everything there! I know it sounds simple, but I have talked to so many people that have told me they did not get to do everything while they were there. Mainly because of time crunch or other reasons as well. So since you have two day tickets you should be fine. Just make sure you pick up a park map for both places, that way you know every single attraction! Anyways, I hope you have a wonderful time! Please do report back when your trip is over, would love to hear about your experience. Alec, I still wanna hear yours as well!

Corey Mathery

Edited: October 24, 2014, 8:53 PM

Make sure you do the Hogwart's Express both ways. It's a fabulous attraction. The lines are usually longest in the middle of the day when people are park hopping, so try the train early or late for the shortest lines. Also, budget enough time in Diagon Alley. You can easily spend days there. Knockturn Alley is a must see as are all of the interactive windows, especially the talking heads. Buy an interactive wand and you'll have a blast. And make certain to go into the money changing store. They have an interactive goblin AA that will carry on a discussion with you. Two days is really no longer sufficient time to do everything at IOA and the Studios. You'll miss a lot of the excellent shows in the parks plus the new Diagon Alley shows. and only have time for the headline attractions. Even a disinterested Potter fan could spend a day just doing Diagon & Hogsmeade. Be prepared to be wowed by Diagon Alley. There's really nothing to compare it to, it's so far above any other land in a theme park. it's pure immersion. And the dragon is a great icon.

October 25, 2014, 4:18 AM

Well. I was at Diagon Alley the week after it opened, but basically if you wanted to ride gringotts with less than a 4-hour wait, you were at the front gates by 6. This probably isn't true anymore now that it's been around a little longer, but you should probably still be there at opening. I actually liked the Hogwarts Express more than gringotts and walked right on in the morning. I don't know if you'll ne able to hit all the big stuff in two days without Express Pass, though.

Edited: October 25, 2014, 7:32 AM

Gringott's in September, off season though, was always less than an hour and usually 25 to 30 minutes. Single rider was usually a walk on. They have both tracks running now. I would agree that you'll probably need an Express Pass for the non Diagon attractions. There's a heck of a lot to see in those two parks. I also liked Hogwart's more than Gringott's. But they're both great rides. Gringott's gets better the more times you ride it. You miss a lot of the sets and action during the first couple of rides. There's a lot going on. And seat placement on Gringott's makes a major difference. Last row of second car for thrills. First row outside left seat second car for best screen views(except the first screen). Big tip on Gringott's line...It gets backed up after the elevator exits, so, slide next to the exit doors during the Weasley scene, then get front of the elevator next to exit doors. Run off the elevator and grab the glasses that will be on your left. If you do this you will save about 10 to 15 minutes of line time.

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