One day, both parks, no express pass

parith1114

DIS Veteran
Joined
Mar 14, 2007
My son and I are considering doing Universal for one day on our early July trip this year. We'll be staying at Disney, as that is where most of our vacation will take place. We love thrill rides, and he has never been to Universal. Do you think it is possible for us to do all the "big" rides in one day without the express pass? We are fine with open to close, and eating on the go if necessary. What is your honest opinion of this idea?
 
I would do a separate trip just for Universal another time if you can afford it. Maybe wait until Epic Universe opens and go after that. There will be even more thrill rides for him to experience/enjoy.
 
I think it is possible. Try to go on a weekday. You won’t be eligible for early park admission, so your rope drop plan is one of two options. 1) Start at Studios and rope drop Gringott’s (if riding because it’s honestly not a “big” coaster), then do Mummy and Rip Ride Rocket before leaving for IoA. 2) Get to IoA early during early park admission. You can scan into the park but will not be able to access Hagrid’s or Velocicoaster until regular time. Hagrid’s will have a ridiculous line by the time you get there, so don’t bother. You might be able to sprint to the end of the early park crowd for Velocicoaster, but once the park opens the wait balloons because express slows down standby (not as badly as at Disney). The better choice might be to turn left instead and walk on Hulk right at opening. You can probably ride it a couple of times before there’s much line because so many people are on the other side of the park.
 
Depends on what you consider the "big" rides - you will not get to everything but you can do a lot. Plan some priorities & don't get frustrated if you can't get to a certain ride.

I would suggest doing a sit down lunch, just to get a little bit of a break. Not necessarily table service, but at least a solid sitting in AC lunch break where you can recharge. Better to lose an hour or two in the middle of the day when lines are longest, than to Peter out and lose the last hour or two of the evening.

Download the UO App so you can start to get an idea of wait times.

If you don't have early entry, go anywhere but Hagrids first. Hagrids tends to have less of a wait in the early afternoon, or hop in line right before the park closes.

For 1 day, skip the 2 water rides that will drench you, Popeyes & Dudley Dooright. Jurassic Park River Adventure will get you somewhat wet but not soaked like the other two, and is more of a unique ride with a storyline than them. I'd also skip Hogwarts Express unless you can hit it at a low wait, it's frequently a longer wait than just walking between parks.
 
Are you both willing to ride as single riders as opposed to together? You may even end up in the same car (just not sitting together). If you are willing to do some single rider lines as it gets really busy then yes I would definitely go.

Some single rider lines are usually very fast (Hulk) some are notoriously slow (Velocicoaster). Do some research on which ones are usually faster, you can always just wait in the stan-by lines for the ones that are slower.

Between the Two Parks Universal has 15-16 Single rider line attractions!
 
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I also agree with the above poster, you will hear over and over again “the Hogwarts Express Train is a mist-do” BUT if you are in the parks for one day and are concentrating on thrill rides and you don’t have a huge Harry Potter fan with you, you can definitely skip the Hogwarts Express as the lines get really long (90 minutes plus) when it’s busy.
 
My son and I are considering doing Universal for one day on our early July trip this year. We'll be staying at Disney, as that is where most of our vacation will take place. We love thrill rides, and he has never been to Universal. Do you think it is possible for us to do all the "big" rides in one day without the express pass? We are fine with open to close, and eating on the go if necessary. What is your honest opinion of this idea?
DD and I would totally try this! (we normally stay on UO property though before heading to or from WDW) but we would do it. How much you can do will really depend on crowds.

If you want to do Jurassic Park River Adventure without getting wet, ask to sit toward the back. Normally, that's not an issue, but the front row will get you soaked.

Agree with @CAPSLOCK to walk between parks instead of taking Hogwart's Express unless this attraction is really something you want to see. DD and I have done HE, so even though she's a huge HP fan, she'll prefer to walk from park to park to avoid the wait.

Agree with @AJA about single rider. In our experience, single rider line is excellent at UO and you can get a ton done. Great attractions for this are Gringotts' (mostly), Mummy, Men in Black, Forbidden Journey, and Hulk. DD has had good luck with Velocicoaster (that ride was a one-and-done for me!). Hagrid's ended up wayyy too long to use single rider... we would have been better waiting in regular standby and won't try that again.

Some of the rides we actually end up seated together or at least in the same car.
 
Spider-Man & Transformers also have very productive SR lines. Gringotts & FJ you miss the backstory in SR line but if it means you get on another ride that you would have skipped, it's a fair trade off. For Gringotts, if the SR line is backed up into the hallway & you can't see the spiral staircase, figure at least 30min and consider bailing on SR.
 
My son and I are considering doing Universal for one day on our early July trip this year. We'll be staying at Disney, as that is where most of our vacation will take place. We love thrill rides, and he has never been to Universal. Do you think it is possible for us to do all the "big" rides in one day without the express pass? We are fine with open to close, and eating on the go if necessary. What is your honest opinion of this idea?
I say do it and have a great time! This may end up being your preview to making a return visit or even becoming a UO annual pass holder. Granted, we are passholders, but a little over a year ago we flew down for literally one day for my 50th birthday (and wrote a Trip Report about it). It was so memorable!!

I agree with many other posters that most SR lines are very doable if you’re up for that. We get so much done in very little time, but if it’s a first visit and/or depending on the age of your son that might not be desirable. I also recommend ubering from Disney to Hard Rock Hotel which is very convenient and an easy walk to the parks from there.
 
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I would go for it! Even if you don’t get all the thrill rides done, y’all will have a blast. Universal is sooo much easier to visit than WDW.
And the 2 new nighttime shows look fantastic!
 
Nope, not at all a fun plan.
Barely possible with Express unless it's a slow day.
Been there.
Hagrids is occasionally quicker late than at rope drop. That's the real holdup usually.
Then Velocicoaster, Gringots and Mummy.
 
















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