Not everyone using EP? Is this done? Universal newbie, help!

macraven

Proud Redhead
Moderator
Joined
Apr 21, 2003
Check the park calendar for hours late August
If parks close before 9 pm, you might not need the ep
Late August usually does not have high crowds

No idea if this pattern will continue as UO keeps growing in interest
 

MyTwoPrincesses

DIS Veteran
Joined
Sep 1, 2009
  • martikus

    Mouseketeer
    Joined
    May 13, 2010
    I personally would wait until the kids are older. That is a lot of money for one day! And the Harry Potter rides are pretty intense. I always think kids need to be 10+ to enjoy the parks and 3+ days for it to make financial sense. Just my thoughts. There just isn’t a ton for smaller kids.
     

    Penmac

    Mouseketeer
    Joined
    Mar 31, 2017
    I personally would wait until the kids are older. That is a lot of money for one day! And the Harry Potter rides are pretty intense. I always think kids need to be 10+ to enjoy the parks and 3+ days for it to make financial sense. Just my thoughts. There just isn’t a ton for smaller kids.
    Totally valid advice. We have been avoiding Universal for the past 4 trips for this reason, but I think it's time. Normally we are a very cost-conscious family. It's how we have been able to visit Disney multiple times despite our larger family size and middle class income. We usually drive from the Northeast (we are actually flying this time direct- for under $700 RT for ALL 7 of us), find reasonably-priced offsite condos, pack own lunches, and limit the amount of $$ we spend on frivolous -in-park purchases (you want mickey ears? You are getting them on Etsy in advance for $10 instead of $30 in the park). Aside from visiting Disney, we are pretty down to earth in terms of gift-giving. No one has an iPhone/ iTouch (amazed at how many of their peers do have these items), or gets tickets to a Taylor Swift concert. They don't wear matching Lilly Pulitzer dresses at Easter. I am not criticizing those who do spend $$ on this stuff (especially smaller families), but it would make it impossible for us to travel if we gave our kids these things. We find ways to budget in other areas of our life so we can give our kids experience gifts, and they love that.

    My 10 year old has read all 7 Harry Potter books plus The Cursed Child, and my 9 year old is starting book 4 now. My 7 year old has read book 1. I feel like that alone is enough of a reason to take them. My oldest was very diligent all through the school year reading these books in addition to her homework and extracurricular activities. In my book, she earns a day at the WWHP. I don't know if she will re-read these books as she gets older and I think seeing the park when it's all fresh in her mind will make the experience even more enjoyable. I also turned 40 this past year and I have been a HP fan for almost 20 years. I would love to finally get a day to explore and who knows what life will bring down the line- YOLO. There will never be a cheap time for us to go and I am trying to take advantage now since we likely won't be back in Orlando for a few years. :::Sigh::: Typing that makes me so sad!

    Thanks for the advice on the intensity of the rides. I know my oldest 3 will be fine. I am sure my younger two will be happy to explore Diagon Alley, eat a large donut, meet a few characters and visit the Seuss attractions.
     
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    Penmac

    Mouseketeer
    Joined
    Mar 31, 2017
    You should consider scratching the last day of hotel at WDW, and stay 1 night at RPR, check in night before, than early AM you can go straight to the parks. This way it’s not really a throw away room.

    Something to think about.
    We are in a rental home and already paid so we would not need to cancel any hotel nights. A family our size can't stay in hotels for more than 1 or 2 nights for any reasonable value so we always get a condo or home. I would consider having one adult drop off older kids with second adult and stay the night before so they can take advantage of early entry. We would save on the hotel parking since other adult could just pay to park at the Universal lot with the younger kids the next day. Not sure yet.
     

    marcais

    Mouseketeer
    Joined
    Feb 22, 2018
    If your main focus is WWHP then I'm not sure you need an EP. The only place you'd need it would be on Escape from Gringotts.

    If this is your one and only visit to WWHP, and your kids are HP fans, then you'll definitely want to do the standby queue for Forbidden Journey, cos there's a lot to see there, and the wait time is usually in the 60-75 minutes range. Flight of the Hippogriff is a short wait even without an EP, and there's nothing else in Hogsmeade that requires an EP.

    At Diagon Alley there's only EFG. The wait can be up to 90 minutes at its highest. It's usually a lot less than that.

    You might find it limiting if you want to do other rides in your one day without an EP, but if you & your family are comfortable doing open-to-close in the parks then you can definitely get round all of the HP-related stuff in one day without an EP.
     
  • Legolas813

    Earning My Ears
    Joined
    Jul 18, 2019
    The Express passes are not nearly as important at Universal as they are at Disney. And this sounds like it will be after the summer season. Universal does get quite empty. (I'm a local passholder that goes to Universal year round)
     

    PrincessBelle39

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Mar 6, 2007
    We were there in June. We booked 5 of us - 2 adults and 3 teens (2 of them 17) into a room at the Royal Pacific. This gave all of us Unlimited Express pass. 3 of us slept at the Royal Pacific and we booked a 2nd cheaper room at the Rosen for the other two to sleep. If you booked a throwaway, you could do this for all five of you and then the 2nd adult has the option of single rider or express if quicker when they ride.
     

    toonaspie

    Just a poser
    Joined
    May 30, 2010
    To me this all sounds like too much trouble with iffy guarantee of success (as well as a lot of money on something you may or may not even need). Plus as one person pointed out, only half the party would be able to take advantage of the 1hr early admission which means one adult would have to stay behind for an hour to watch the other kids (who arent listed in the hotel room). I guess they could hang out in City Walk until then.

    If you really think it's worth the money, then that is up to you. Crowd calendars are predicting your day to be moderate. I would recommend just getting to the parks like 30 mins (or more) before they actually open and get a Touring Plan in place with the Touring Plans site.
     

    damo

    Proud Redhead
    Joined
    Jan 1, 2001
    If the youngest are under 3, they don't need tickets and can get in for early admission.
     
  • mickeyluv'r

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Feb 14, 2005
    We go to Universal quite often. If you want to do the room, you could, but I don't think you need it. Would it save you some times in line? Yes, but if you are focused on seeing HP, then the amount of time saved for one day probably isn't worthwhile. If you were going for two days and everyone would be going on all the rides ,then it would be more worth doing. We've done US both with and without EP.

    Ug! you don't need an elaborate touring plan at Universal, it isn't Disney, especially fi you do decide to get the Express Pass and arrive early.

    If you DO get the room....I know you said you'd only go to the Universal parks one day, but you could potentially use the hotel pool the next day (check out day), or at least the family members that are listed on the hotel. Depending on the condo location, that might be a fun activity for the older kids - maybe while the two little ones nap?

    another plus of the throw away room- in August- is that you could most certainly use it during the day - again- if the little ones need a nap, or everyone wants a break from the heat.

    If you DO get the hotel, you need to visit the hotel to check-in and get the Express passes. That shouldn't take long, but if you are stopping by the hotel, you might as well park there. The one night parking fee would allow you to park there both on arrival day and departure day.

    I suggest maybe thinking through which rides you actually plan to ride. If you are going to do SR, then you don't need express pass for the SR lines. Early in the AM, the EP and standby lines are almost the same. Late at night, the park also quiets down a bit.

    For the little ones, there is actually quite a bit they can do: Barney, Animal actors show, Seussland, Curious George play area, Minion Mayhem (non-moving seats if too short), ET (if over 34' w/adult), Hippogriff (over 36' w/adult), Fievel's playland (In the area is a ballroom that's fun for everyone, and a water play area that would be fun for everyone), Kang and Kodo's (Dumbo but with alien theme), Pteradon Flyers (read out whoca n ride...mostly kids basically need kid+adutlt to ride), Olivaner's, Shrek, Blues brothers show, Sinbad show (expect to get wetif in splash zone), the Dino exploration building, character greets, and the night time fireworks show.

    Everyone can explore both HP lands, including the HP shows. Everyone can explore all the gift shops. Everyone can explore Citywalk (at least the non-bars) and use the frequent hotel shuttle boats.

    The Harry Potter interactive wands at about $50 each, but with them the kids can go around both lands doing all the spells. they come with a map that shows all the locations If I was in your shoes, and you think you will go back to Universal- and I was deciding how to spend my $, I'd choose wands over paying for the throwaway room. There's no Express pass for doing spells; everyone has equal access. Mostly though, wands are best for kids that are around age 8/9 and up. To do the spells, you have to be able to hold the tip of the wand straight. Smaller kids don't quite get how to do it, and then they can get frustrated. The staff helps at many of the locations, and the younger kids will enjoy watching the spells almost as much. The younger kids could even TRY using their big sister's wand (without buying their own). Universal makes it sound like you need your own wand, but really you can share. the wands are fun for adults, too. If you need to explain WHY the little kids are too little...just tell them Hogwart's students get their first owl post invitation on their 11th birthday!

    Oh, if you think you'll do the wet rides- they are VERY wet. Dress accordingly, or wear a suit under your clothes. Again, access to an onsite room might actually be useful. Again, especially if anyone wants to take an afternoon nap in the AC, or escape an afternoon downpour. Universal isn't Disney. Royal Pacific is only a short walk (10min from park gate) or boat ride from the parks, and boats run more frequently than they do at WDW. Even if you don't get the room, you can opt to visit one of the hotels for access to the lobbies/AC/quiet. it will almost certainly be much closer/faster than going all the way back to your condo.
     
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    CPanther95

    Mummyketeer
    Joined
    Aug 4, 2000
    I personally would wait until the kids are older. That is a lot of money for one day! And the Harry Potter rides are pretty intense. I always think kids need to be 10+ to enjoy the parks and 3+ days for it to make financial sense. Just my thoughts. There just isn’t a ton for smaller kids.

    I've never viewed Universal as a park for only older children. My kids and/or grandkids have enjoyed 10 day vacations through all ages from infant through adult over the past 20 years. In my experience, little ones will have a lot more fun riding just the 4 rides in Seuss Landing twice each in less than 90 minutes than they will riding 8 different rides over a 6 hour period.

    ... and Parents and/or Grandparents will have more fun with kids that have spent 4 1/2 hours swimming/relaxing/sitting down to eat/etc vs standing in lines.

    Adults don't get bored riding their favorite rides multiple times. However, they do find kiddie rides monotonous, so there's a perception that there needs to be a wide variety of children's rides to prevent bordeom from setting in if they are in a park with little kids. But don't assume that is a viewpoint that little kids share. Just like adults, they would rather be having fun on a ride they enjoy than standing in line and also like adults, they have no problem riding a ride they enjoy multiple times.

    Little kids also prefer 2 1/2 hours at a park than 5 or 6 (or 8), regardless how much fun they are having - or you think they are having - or (more likely) you tell them they are having.
     
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