EP for Christmas week.

celina14

Mouseketeer
Joined
Aug 26, 2013
Hi! We are going to be going to Universal on 12/27 and have just one day there. We booked the night before at Royal Pacific to get early entry and the EP. This is our first time at Universal and I know it is going to be very crowded that whole week. So my question is, with the EP are we still going to be waiting in crazy lines? I know they will be shorter than the general lines but as an estimate how much shorter are we talking? Will we still be at hours long lines? We will be spending most of our time in the Harry Potter attractions and I genuinely have no clue what to expect. I just want to set reasonable expectations for my kids on what we will actually be able to do.

Thanks!
 

ghtx

DIS Veteran
Joined
May 29, 2012
I have not been there during Xmas week, but I have been during Thanksgiving week, before COVID, when it was pretty crowded. My experience was that on average the wait in the EP queue was about 25% of the wait in the regular queue. E.g. a 2-hour regular wait would be about a 30 minute wait in the EP. So, not a walk-on (like with Lightning Lane/Fastpass), but substantially shorter. Not sure if that has changed since COVID, or if it's much different at Xmas.
 

keishashadow

Proud Redhead...yes, I have some bananas!
Joined
Dec 30, 2004
We will be spending most of our time in the Harry Potter attractions and I genuinely have no clue what to expect. I just want to set reasonable expectations for my kids on what we will actually be able to do.
if spending bulk of time @ HP, with FP in hand during busy holiday times…guessing longest wait for you will likely be the train park to park.

the various wand interaction areas and shops/restaurants will be crowded. Suggest booking dining res.

always good to have the kiddos prioritize attractions Before a trip but, don’t get hung up on an inflexible/specific itinerary as no need with EP.
 

ClapYourHands

DIS Veteran
Joined
Mar 2, 2018
EP will speed things up considerably for you. Keep in mind that Hagrid’s, Velocicoaster, and Pteranodon Flyers do not take EP and the lines can get really long, especially Hagrid’s, so plan accordingly.

Another place your EP won’t help is with crowds in the streets of the Wizarding World. If your kids love HP, they will want to buy a wand (either by getting lucky and being picked for the wand ceremony or just buying at Ollivander’s), and work the magic windows. On crowded days, people will line up at the spots. You may have to wait for 5 or 6 others to do the window before it’s your turn. It’s not a huge amount of time at each spot, but it does add up if you want to do all/most of them. It also loses some of the wonder of it when you’ve already watched other people do the illusion multiple times.

Take advantage of early park admission for sure. And getting there at least an hour before the EPA opening time is key to being at the front. If you are near the front of the IOA line, go directly yo Hagrid’s. If you’re not near the front of the pack, don’t bother - the line will be ridiculous and you’ll waste your early time waiting in that one line. Instead head to Velocicoaster if that’s of interest (it can move a lot of people through so lines don’t get as bad as Hagrid’s which has a lower capacity). Or use the time to get a wand and do windows while most people are running for rides.

Honestly, if you don’t get there early enough to be at the front of IoA for Hagrid’s, you might be better off going to Studios, and spending that time doing the windows of Diagon Alley. That area is much bigger than Hogsmeade, and you can do a wand ceremony, buy a wand, and get through a lot of the windows during that first hour when the crowds are low in the streets. If your kids really want to do Harry Potter stuff, this will be the best time for that.
 

celina14

Mouseketeer
Joined
Aug 26, 2013
EP will speed things up considerably for you. Keep in mind that Hagrid’s, Velocicoaster, and Pteranodon Flyers do not take EP and the lines can get really long, especially Hagrid’s, so plan accordingly.

Another place your EP won’t help is with crowds in the streets of the Wizarding World. If your kids love HP, they will want to buy a wand (either by getting lucky and being picked for the wand ceremony or just buying at Ollivander’s), and work the magic windows. On crowded days, people will line up at the spots. You may have to wait for 5 or 6 others to do the window before it’s your turn. It’s not a huge amount of time at each spot, but it does add up if you want to do all/most of them. It also loses some of the wonder of it when you’ve already watched other people do the illusion multiple times.

Take advantage of early park admission for sure. And getting there at least an hour before the EPA opening time is key to being at the front. If you are near the front of the IOA line, go directly yo Hagrid’s. If you’re not near the front of the pack, don’t bother - the line will be ridiculous and you’ll waste your early time waiting in that one line. Instead head to Velocicoaster if that’s of interest (it can move a lot of people through so lines don’t get as bad as Hagrid’s which has a lower capacity). Or use the time to get a wand and do windows while most people are running for rides.

Honestly, if you don’t get there early enough to be at the front of IoA for Hagrid’s, you might be better off going to Studios, and spending that time doing the windows of Diagon Alley. That area is much bigger than Hogsmeade, and you can do a wand ceremony, buy a wand, and get through a lot of the windows during that first hour when the crowds are low in the streets. If your kids really want to do Harry Potter stuff, this will be the best time for that.
Such great info! Thank you!
 

PrincessWithABlaster

DIS Veteran
Joined
Jan 1, 2016
I’m here now and it’s very busy (although probably not as busy as Christmas). We didn’t wait more than 30 mins in EP lines. In addition to everything @ClapYourHands said, I highly, highly recommend doing spells in Diagon Alley an hour before park closes. It’s much better than during the day for crowds and at Christmas, it’s magical with the Christmas lights and the storefront windows lit. You can also stay in Hogsmeade and do spells right around close which is really nice. Our experience is that they don’t rush you out (people are coming off Hagrid’s anyway) and you can do spells with a lot fewer people around.

The HP areas are really magical at Christmas time. Enjoy!
 

Lynne G

DIS Veteran
Joined
Mar 29, 2009
I’ve been at that week after Christmas and I’ve seen where they had shut down the express line at both Kong and Mummy at times, as way too busy by the mid afternoon.

What we did was use early entry to get a lowest wait for one or two of our have to want to ride, then used our express as much as we could. It’s insanely crowded those days by lunchtime. Pack patience.

I’d get there before parks open, and head to Hagrid’s. While the Dino Coaster is also the only of the two (besides the flyers as limited to kids) without express, Dino is a people eater more than Hagrid’s. Or go to whatever ride you want to ride more than all the others first.

Even with express, it will be tough to do and see everything in one day. And City Walk is no different. Crowds there too.

I’d eat off times, and make a reservation now for any sit down restaurant you want to eat at. Walking up may not even be possible to be seated. Really the only time I’ve done every sit down meal during our stay, by reservation. Other times of year, I only make reservations on the fly, though usually Mythos before we arrive.

Good luck. But it’s a great time of year to enjoy the parks, longer hours, and weather most likely warm most of the time.
 

ruthies12

DIS Veteran
Joined
Dec 30, 2011
Another suggestion is to plan your rides on the Hogwart's express. You want to ride it both ways because it is different each way. But in Hogsmeade it is set up that you walk straight up to the loading platform with your express pass so you can get on pretty easily no matter the time of day.

In King's Cross however the express line joins with the regular line really far back so that can take a long time on busy days. Best to ride it early in the morning if you can, it mostly gets super busy in the afternoon and early evening. So depending on your early morning plans if you start in IOA then you may want to hop on the train and just come right back just to see it both ways, then finish what you want to do in IOA and then go back to US side and stay there the rest of the day. If you start on the US side then just do the HP stuff and then immediately hop over early in the morning, do IOA and then go back to US later. But don't do all of the US side first and then try to get in line at King's Cross thats a bad idea

Kong and Mummy also get long express lines. Kong's always seems to take forever. Do those early or super late.
 








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