#879443 by VS075
03 Aug 2014, 17:21
So, after a gap of 12 years, we will be heading to Florida next month for just over 2 weeks y) and the final 5 nights will be spent in Orlando with the specific intention of doing both Universal parks in addition to act as a base to explore that part of Florida and inevitably a bit of shopping.

The plan is to do 1 park per day (Universal Studios one day, Islands of Adventure the other day) and I've seen various crowd calendars floating about. Great from a planning perspective as this never existed when we went all those years ago and will help in our planning of time to ensure it's spent wisely, but the confusing thing is they're all offering conflicting information. For example, Undercover Tourist reckons Monday 15th September (one of the days we're in Orlando) is a 'moderate' day to go to IOA but The Dibb says it's a 'most recommended' day to go. The only day/park they all seem to get right is USF on Fridays and Sundays, but the Sunday is the day we arrive in Orlando and the Friday is the day we fly back so may have a job convincing the others to wait till then, especially if there's thunderstorms (probably less of an issue at USF as a lot of the rides I want to do are indoors).

So, can anyone provide a recommendation on which site has the best crowds estimates for Universal, as well as what days of the week in general to go to which parks?

Btw, we're in Orlando 14th-19th September.
#879444 by CHill710
03 Aug 2014, 17:43
I can't reccomend a croud calendar but I have found that universals parks are very quiet in the mornings when they first open last time I was there we hit the studios as they opened and only waited 15 mins for most rides. (April 2012)

One thing to bear in mind is that universal studios has just had a Harry potter expansion so may be crazy busy in that area!
#879445 by marshy11
03 Aug 2014, 17:52
I can't recommend a calendar either. But if you book at one of the Loews hotels on site, even for just one night you will get fast pass tickets for the day you check in and the day you check out, ie two days......book a club room and get all those benefits too!
#879450 by VS075
03 Aug 2014, 18:55
CHill710 wrote:I can't reccomend a croud calendar but I have found that universals parks are very quiet in the mornings when they first open last time I was there we hit the studios as they opened and only waited 15 mins for most rides. (April 2012)

One thing to bear in mind is that universal studios has just had a Harry potter expansion so may be crazy busy in that area!


Yes, the plan is very much to get there for when it opens. The next tactic, depending on how busy it's likely to be, is to decide on the order of doing things. Thankfully two of the rides for IOA on the list, the Hulk coaster and Spiderman, are practically at the front so are low-hanging fruit.

It's a fair comment about Harry Potter. I've been following developments on Orlando Informer of the new Diagon Alley area that's just opened and for one or two of the rides the queue times there have been over 4 hours. :0 I've got family out there at the moment who are going to both Universal parks, so it'll be interesting to see what they have to say about the Harry Potter areas.

marshy11 wrote:I can't recommend a calendar either. But if you book at one of the Loews hotels on site, even for just one night you will get fast pass tickets for the day you check in and the day you check out, ie two days......book a club room and get all those benefits too!


Do you happen to know if it's possible to buy the Express passes on the day? We're not staying in any of the on-site hotels and my research so far on the passes seems to be you have to commit to a time/date in advance.

Just thinking whether the single-rider queues might be the way to go instead for some of them if the queues are lengthy.

Luke12 wrote:Check out the Orlando Informer crowd calendar, I've tended to find this the most accurate.

http://www.orlandoinformer.com/universa ... -calendar/


I saw the OI calendar earlier. It has all the days as 'Moderate' which on first glance isn't the most helpful, unless that's an apt reflection of how it is?
#879453 by Luke12
03 Aug 2014, 19:48
I've been on Orlando on your dates for the last few years. Last year I was in IOA on 17th and US on 18th, both parks were quiet. Apart from WWoHP, all other rides had low waits, many were walk on (Hulk, Dudley, JP, Spiderman).

I expect OI has put the dates as moderate as, unlike the past few years, the new HP expansion will make the parks much busier than the last few years. Last year, the dates were all listed as 'slow'.
#879454 by VS075
03 Aug 2014, 20:13
Luke12 wrote:I've been on Orlando on your dates for the last few years. Last year I was in IOA on 17th and US on 18th, both parks were quiet. Apart from WWoHP, all other rides had low waits, many were walk on (Hulk, Dudley, JP, Spiderman).

I expect OI has put the dates as moderate as, unlike the past few years, the new HP expansion will make the parks much busier than the last few years. Last year, the dates were all listed as 'slow'.


Yeah you're probably right about the Harry Potter expansion making the predictions busier.

That's good to know the dates you went last year were fairly quiet. Harry Potter aside, that's a good barometer for me! y)
#879571 by VS075
05 Aug 2014, 22:24
Trekkie101 wrote:September will be the quietest you'll get the parks.

I'd avoid the Friday, Halloween Horror Nights start then, and the locals will be out in force. The Wednesday and Thursday will be fairly quiet. Thursday exceptionally so.


Yes I noticed that HHN starts on the Friday. Part of me did wonder whether it would be busy if locals/tourists make a whole day and night of it, so that's a good point! I can't really risk missing my flight because of the higher than usual crowds.

Thanks for the advice about Wednesday and Thursday. I'll bear that in mind.
#879574 by Trekkie101
06 Aug 2014, 00:17
VS075 wrote:
Trekkie101 wrote:September will be the quietest you'll get the parks.

I'd avoid the Friday, Halloween Horror Nights start then, and the locals will be out in force. The Wednesday and Thursday will be fairly quiet. Thursday exceptionally so.


Yes I noticed that HHN starts on the Friday. Part of me did wonder whether it would be busy if locals/tourists make a whole day and night of it, so that's a good point! I can't really risk missing my flight because of the higher than usual crowds.

Thanks for the advice about Wednesday and Thursday. I'll bear that in mind.


Also worth a note: ignore the dibb, the majority of it I'm fairly certain they make up.

Harry Potter's going to be a long wait regardless of what you do, an express pass may be an idea if your set on doing the HP rides.

The bonus to potter-mania is that it strongly detracts people from the rest of the park. You can easily get the majority of IOA done in less than 5 hours excluding the original HP ride.

Waits will peak lunch time and go down from there (2pm onwards). Later is usually better. Early is always good for the first hour but gets busy quickly.

Have a great lunch plan, somewhere nice to eat, and sit out of the peak sun and waits. Get a wait times app. Big roller coasters in IOA rarely have long waits.

Disclaimer: I write a crowd calendar for Disneyland Paris :P
#883711 by VS075
21 Sep 2014, 20:31
Luke12 wrote:I've been on Orlando on your dates for the last few years. Last year I was in IOA on 17th and US on 18th, both parks were quiet. Apart from WWoHP, all other rides had low waits, many were walk on (Hulk, Dudley, JP, Spiderman).

I expect OI has put the dates as moderate as, unlike the past few years, the new HP expansion will make the parks much busier than the last few years. Last year, the dates were all listed as 'slow'.


As it happened, OI revised down the calendar on the day I left and my experience with wait times were the exact same as yours. I went to Universal Studios on the 17th and it opened at 8am so I went straight to the Harry Potter ride and within the space of 90 minutes I had been on it twice! However when I got off the second time the waiting time had gone up to 60 minutes. All other rides had wait times no more than 30 minutes, so for quite a few of them I was able to do them 2 or 3 times. I went to IOA on the 15th and back to Studios on the 19th before heading to MCO for the flight home - the park was a bit busier as that was the first day of HHN.

If anybody thinking of going to the parks in September is reading this, my suggestion will be to go for it. y)
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