Universal Parks - need more than 2 days?


#1

Our family has four spare days at the end of our WDW trip in which to fit Universal Studios, Islands of Adventure and Seaworld into. These dates are 20th, 21st, 22nd and 23rd August. I think US children may be back at school for 22 and 23rd, not sure, but if so, then crowds may be less on those two days.
So, my question is, do you think it would be better to save the Universal Parks for 22nd and 23rd on lighter attendance days and if so, do you think two days are enough to see it all? Or for a small extra price, would I be better to get a 3 day park to park ticket to have an extra day to cover all the things we don’t get to do in a day? On 20th, I do have still have access to the Disney parks and have an ADR for 6.30pm in Epcot. But generally, this day is flexible and could be used either in Disney or at the Universal Parks. We’d just have to leave mid afternoon to get back for that reservation.
I am guessing it would be better to do Seaworld on Sunday 21st since that day is predicted to be busier in the Universal Parks, keeping 22nd and 23rd for Universal ones.
Anyone been in peak season (not having priority early park access since staying at WDW) and been able to do everything, including the Harry Potter rides? Or should I use that 20th spare day to see the parks also? What do you experienced guys think? (We have a 14 day Disney theme park ticket so will pretty much have covered most of WDW by 20th probably - but there’s always favourite rides to re-visit on our last day in the parks?)


#2

Don’t have any info for you but I am glad you asked. Our first day of 14 is Aug 21 annd we are aslo planning on sneaking in a little Universal and were like you wondering if 2 days is enough or if we should go for three!!! We are basing out od Disney for our entire trip!!!


#3

We are planning on visiting IoA specifically for WWHP for one day during our trip in April, today I’m stressing:sad:, here’s why. I just had a friend call last night. A co-worker just returned yesterday after returning from WWHP. She was there on Sunday.
They got there first thing in the morning, and WWHP was full because all the Universal Resort guests get in an hour early. They were handed a pass to come back between 1-2pm. By the time they got in, there was a two hour line up for each ride, and every store! :ohmy:She said the wand shop was lined up down the street and around another building.
Now I’m completely stressed. I’m worried it is going to be too overwhelming for our kids, but DS8 has read all the books and has his heart set on going. I’ve purchased the Express Passes so that we can at least fast pass the rest of the park while we wait for our time-slot to enter. I checked the IoA crowd calendar and it looks like of the 5 crowd levels, last week-end was up to a 4, but the week we are going is down to a 2.


#4

Yes, I did wonder that about the Universal accommodation people having that extra first hour. If I could turn back the clock, I would have put us in accommodation there for the last couple of days because its worth it to get in an hour early and get all those rides done first. If we have to return at 1pm, then I guess its not too bad if we can fit other rides in and go back, but I still reckon we’d probably need a third day in the parks with big crowds.


#5

We have done both parks in two days. I would check the days when they are open longer and go on them days during your 14 days in orlando. shuffel your other days around a little.

I usualy slip sea world in as a relaxing day.

I would also advise you to get the express ticket at universal rather than going for a third day. we used the express ticket in june a few years ago and it was so worth it.

we visited in september a cople of years ago (adults only) and did both parks in one day. it was a long day but the ques were only 10min long for most rides. we also took in blues brothers, the film make up show and other bits that we had never had time to see before.

Good luck and enjoy:wub:


#6

Also not all the USA children are back at school end of August- different states have different return dates for school- and the British kids are still off too, and then of course there is the South Americans- the parks are never quiet- there’s never really a quiet time to go.


#7

Two days are ample for Universal and IoA, under normal circumstances.

This the second post we’ve had about the huge crowds at WWOHP. Perhaps it was because the past weekend in the States was a holiday. When we were there in September we had absolutely no problem getting into HP. I hope someone keeps us updated on the crowd situation there. As for going back to school; the kids in Florida should probably be back in school by the middle of August, but as Dixie says, that doesn’t mean kids in other States,(although I think it’s pretty much the norm in the US for kids to be back in school in August now), Canada, UK etc. are. Our kids used to go back the middle of Sept., so we always took our holidays the end of August. It is definitely one of the quieter times at WDW.


#8

I think 2 full days is enough for Uni/IOA. My sister purchased a 4 day pass last year and by the end of the 3rd day, we were bored, lol. (This was just before WWoHP was open)

The theme parks do tend to quiet down the last weeks of August but they’re will still be moderate crowd levels. I think if you want to hit everything in the parks both days and go at it hard, you can do it. But if you want to relax and not stress about missing some things, give yourself the extra day.

As for your concern about WWoHP ~ I was there on Monday this week and experienced the same problem as mentioned. However, if you plan your day around it, you can still do the whole park and IOA.


#9

I think two days is a good amount of time. When we went in Nov. we did both parks by 3:30. We got to IOA around 7:45 and they let us in around 8:35. We only had to wait 25 mins for Forbidden Journey. The Flight of the Hippogriff was a 5 min wait. We also ate at 3 broomsticks for lunch with no wait. The only thing with a very long line was Ollivanders. I hope its like that when we go back in May…but I doubt.
I hope you have a great trip!


#10

We’ve always only ever taken 2 days out from our trip to go to Universal (The exception being my non-disney holiday) and even with WWoHP which we visited in September 2010, we had no problems. Forbidden Journey had the longest wait, around 40mins, but that was because it kept breaking down, nothing to do with crowds. Dragon Challenge was never more than 25minutes - and that was mostly due to people stopping the queue area to have a picture taken with the Weaslys flying car! (Have to admit I was amongst the stoppers lol).
We tended to hit WWoHP first both days, then wandered between both Universal and IOA then having one last go around WWoHP before leaving around 5.30pm - we’d been there since opening too.
In all the years Ive been to Universal, I think only once, the first EVER time we went did we spend a full day on each side (but thats a few years ago now). Even when I went in June 2 years or so ago, we found we could do all our favorite rides from both sides by just after lunch time!

Make sure you try the ButterBeer! yum


#11

[QUOTE=Mickey Mom;1067974]We are planning on visiting IoA specifically for WWHP for one day during our trip in April, today I’m stressing:sad:, here’s why. I just had a friend call last night. A co-worker just returned yesterday after returning from WWHP. She was there on Sunday.
They got there first thing in the morning, and WWHP was full because all the Universal Resort guests get in an hour early. They were handed a pass to come back between 1-2pm. By the time they got in, there was a two hour line up for each ride, and every store! :ohmy:She said the wand shop was lined up down the street and around another building.
Now I’m completely stressed. I’m worried it is going to be too overwhelming for our kids, but DS8 has read all the books and has his heart set on going. I’ve purchased the Express Passes so that we can at least fast pass the rest of the park while we wait for our time-slot to enter. I checked the IoA crowd calendar and it looks like of the 5 crowd levels, last week-end was up to a 4, but the week we are going is down to a 2.[/QUOTE]

Just curious about the Express Passes you mentioned here.

Are these something you get from Universal Studios? DH and I haven’t been in a long time to this park and are planning 2 days also for our trip in May but didn’t know about this option? Can you share more?


#12

[QUOTE=Toriadavis;1068150]Just curious about the Express Passes you mentioned here.

Are these something you get from Universal Studios? DH and I haven’t been in a long time to this park and are planning 2 days also for our trip in May but didn’t know about this option? Can you share more?[/QUOTE]

You can purchase express passes for an additional fee. They work like fast passes, but you can only use them once for each ride that has the Express pass access. I looked up all the rides and a lot of rides do offer the pass. If you stay at a Universal Resort you get the Express Pass included with your stay. The price depends on the popularity of the day that you are going. They only offer a limited amount of passes to be purchased on each day.
After hearing about the crowds at WWoHP, and because we are only spending one day there, we though this would be a faster way to get through the rest of the park so we have more time in WWoHP.

Here’s a link to the Express Pass Info and Rates:
https://secure.universalstudios.com/webstore/shop/ViewItems.aspx?CG=UO&C=IUEP


#13

[QUOTE=Mickey Mom;1068154]You can purchase express passes for an additional fee. They work like fast passes, but you can only use them once for each ride that has the Express pass access. I looked up all the rides and a lot of rides do offer the pass. If you stay at a Universal Resort you get the Express Pass included with your stay. The price depends on the popularity of the day that you are going. They only offer a limited amount of passes to be purchased on each day.
After hearing about the crowds at WWoHP, and because we are only spending one day there, we though this would be a faster way to get through the rest of the park so we have more time in WWoHP.

Here’s a link to the Express Pass Info and Rates:
https://secure.universalstudios.com/webstore/shop/ViewItems.aspx?CG=UO&C=IUEP[/QUOTE]

Thank you so much mickey mom- I never would have known:laugh::laugh: Now we have something else to occupy our pre-vacation planning hours:laugh:


#14

Yes, they vary in price depending on how busy they anticipate the park being. As our day is only a $25.99 rather than nearer a $50 day, I’m guessing I’ll be ok. Note to Toriadavis though - there are lots of rides you can’t use the fastpass with, including the Harry Potter rides, so do make sure you will get good value. I’m going to take a risk, get there early and try and make our way through the park in a Touringplan fashion.


#15

Thanks Lindat- we will be going on a Tuesday and Wednesday just after Mothers Day so I think we will try it without the extra passes. Since it’ll be our first trip there in many years I think it will be fun regardless of how many rides we may end up getting to ride. But I’ll chat with the DH about it too. Most likely we’ll be risk takers like you though :laugh:


#16

we are going one day in October - is there a best day of the week to go?

i am not sure we want to do a lot other than WWoHP, so how long will that take us? if we plan to get there by opening, eat lunch at 3 Broomsticks & do all 3 rides/visit shops, get butter beer -will we be finished by 5 do you think? I’m not sure there is much else at IoA for our family (doesn’t look like it) and we thought about going to DTD that evening or even popping into AK (if it is open late enough) or DHS.

or…should we plan on the entire day/night at WWoHP?


#17

[QUOTE=emamasa;1069929]we are going one day in October - is there a best day of the week to go?

i am not sure we want to do a lot other than WWoHP, so how long will that take us? if we plan to get there by opening, eat lunch at 3 Broomsticks & do all 3 rides/visit shops, get butter beer -will we be finished by 5 do you think? I’m not sure there is much else at IoA for our family (doesn’t look like it) and we thought about going to DTD that evening or even popping into AK (if it is open late enough) or DHS.

or…should we plan on the entire day/night at WWoHP?[/QUOTE]

I think you should not rule out having a good time in the rest of the park until you see it for yourself. Relax, look around and get your money’s worth out of your admission. There really is a lot to see and do at Universal.


#18

FYI, I copied this from the Universal Orlando site, it’s regarding the express pass:

* Allows you to bypass the regular lines by providing Express Access to most attractions at Universal's Islands of Adventure® theme parks.
* Express Access is a separate line with a shorter wait time at each valid attraction.

RESTRICTIONS:

* Ticket is valid for one (1) entry per participating express attraction to the theme park of your choice.
[COLOR="Red"]* Express Plus access is not available at Harry Potter and the Forbidden JourneyTM and Pteranodon Flyers®.
* Universal Express Plus ticket is not valid for admission to either theme park.
* There are only a limited number of tickets available for sale for each date.
* Print@Home tickets are only valid for the person listed on it (you will be asked to enter each ticket holder's name).
* Your ticket may not be copied, transferred, or resold.
* Tickets are non-refundable.

Available delivery options: Print@Home, Will Call Kiosk & Federal Express[/COLOR]


#19

[QUOTE=emamasa;1069929]we are going one day in October - is there a best day of the week to go?

i am not sure we want to do a lot other than WWoHP, so how long will that take us? if we plan to get there by opening, eat lunch at 3 Broomsticks & do all 3 rides/visit shops, get butter beer -will we be finished by 5 do you think? I’m not sure there is much else at IoA for our family (doesn’t look like it) and we thought about going to DTD that evening or even popping into AK (if it is open late enough) or DHS.

or…should we plan on the entire day/night at WWoHP?[/QUOTE]

Just my opinion, but I don’t think you should dismiss IoA so quickly. We are huge Potter fans, were there at opening, rode The Forbidden Journey twice, visited Olivander’s Wand Shop, all the shops, had lunch at the 3 Broomsticks and were probably done by noon. We didn’t do the rollercoaster. That thing has always terrified me. But the rest of the park is a lot of fun and if you are done by noon or one at WWoHP, then I’d at least take a walk around the rest of the park. There’s plenty of entertainment there. Your kids would probably love Dr. Seuss.


#20

Jay and I were in Universal in December, we were there for 5 days which is WAY too long. you can do both parks in two days. Please keep in mind, get to Island of Adventure early, we stayed on property so we were able to get into the park an hour early. When the park opens people run to Harry Potter so be prepared.