What a mad morning! We were raring to go at 8am, only to discover that Islands of Adventure didn’t actually open until 9am. At least the sister theme park opened an hour earlier, so we could power-walk over for an hour of fun before our morning properly began. We managed to get on every ride we wanted before we even stopped for lunch. Yes, we were two sisters on a mission.
Watch our exploits in today’s vlog and then read on for my tips and tricks.
Ride order in Islands of Adventure
If you’re mad Harry Potter fans like us, then the obvious decision is to rush over to Hogsmeade as soon as the park opens. We tried a different tactic this trip and it majorly payed off.
Instead to hurrying to the right with the rest of the crowds, we went clockwise around the park. Starting with a walk on at the Hulk, we crossed off big attraction after big attraction without having to wait more than five minutes for anything. Spider-Man was a walk on, and even after doing these two rides the newest attraction in this park, Skull Island: Reign of Kong, still only had a ten minute wait. We looped back to do all three of the water rides without waiting for a single minute.
After all that, the wait for Forbidden Journey in Hogsmeade was only 40 minutes, while all the other rides were reporting wait times of over 30 minutes each by lunchtime. It worked like a charm and we will definitely follow this route on future trips as well.
Get up early
I can’t stress this enough. The Universal Resort is very popular with locals who visit so often that they would rather have a lie-in than a full morning in the parks. A lot of people stay in the Disney area and have to travel slightly further to reach Universal, so they also tend to arrive a bit later. CityWalk places a higher focus on nightlife than Disney, so others will choose to sleep off their hangovers rather than get to the parks for opening.
We discovered that the parks were very quiet, especially in early mornings, but this completely changed once it was time for lunch. The queue times skyrocketed after midday.
Getting up early on holiday is a chore, but it will buy you so much time later in the day. You might even have time for a mid-afternoon nap!
Universal park food is pretty poor and overpriced. I recommend going out to CityWalk for lunch whenever possible. We ate at Circus McGirkus and Captain America’s diner and both of these locations were disappointing with slow service and fatty food. Lunch was a lot better when we went out to make a stop at my favourite Chinese food chain – Panda Express – in CityWalk.
And so ends our last full day in Universal. The thought of leaving was sad, but it also meant that we were so close to moving to Disney. Stay tuned to find out how our move went.