• Welcome to the WDWMAGIC.COM Forums!
    Please take a look around, and feel free to sign up and join the community.You can use your Twitter or Facebook account to sign up, or register directly.

First Time visit in July - Need Advice

Captn EO

Well-Known Member
Original Poster
Hello,

My wife and I are going to a family event this July and want to stop by Universal for a few days as we have already done Disney World twice.

How many days would you recommend for visiting the parks?

We were thinking 3 days but all the deals seem to be for 4 day passes. Are hoppers necessary? I'm leaning towards not getting hoppers.

We don't want to rush through everything and want to be able to enjoy our time there. Having only been to Universal Hollywood, which is a half day park, I'm unsure how much time is needed in Universal Orlando.

Some background, for Disney World we stayed 6 days with one day being a down day and it was the perfect pace.

Thanks!
 

PostScott

Well-Known Member
If you're thinking of getting the 4 day pass, it's not a necessity to get the hoppers unless you really really want to go on the hogwarts express. I mean, its cool but it's up for yall to decide if you wanna spend extra money for the ride and ability to go to both parks in one day. 4 days should be enough to do everything in both parks without a hopper.

I'd also recommend going to volcano bay if y'all are water park people, but even if you aren't it's still a delightful park with great theming.
 

Captn EO

Well-Known Member
Original Poster
If you're thinking of getting the 4 day pass, it's not a necessity to get the hoppers unless you really really want to go on the hogwarts express. I mean, its cool but it's up for yall to decide if you wanna spend extra money for the ride and ability to go to both parks in one day. 4 days should be enough to do everything in both parks without a hopper.

I'd also recommend going to volcano bay if y'all are water park people, but even if you aren't it's still a delightful park with great theming.
Thank you! I never even considered Volcano Bay.

Is 4 days overkill or would 3 be a better number of days to visit.
 

Captn EO

Well-Known Member
Original Poster
4 days laid back, 2 days with hopper for commando and three is the medium tour. At least one day should be a hopper, with the parks side by side it gives you freedom to move where the crowds are less. Will it be crowded in July? Yes.
Thank you! Looks like 4 days it is! We will buy the non hoppers as a 4 day pass and upgrade one on the spot (if possible). Thanks for the help.

Any restaurants there you'd recommend?
 

JoeCamel

Well-Known Member
Thank you! Looks like 4 days it is! We will buy the non hoppers as a 4 day pass and upgrade one on the spot (if possible). Thanks for the help.

Any restaurants there you'd recommend?
I am partial to Mythos in the park and any of the "name" places in citywalk. Pretty much all the food (except NBC grille) is very good and the signatures in the hotels are very good if you want high end.
Universal will gladly sell you an upgrade if you find you really want to ride the Hogwarts express. If you are any sort of Potter fan you will want to.
 

Weather_Lady

Well-Known Member
Thank you! Looks like 4 days it is! We will buy the non hoppers as a 4 day pass and upgrade one on the spot (if possible). Thanks for the help.

Any restaurants there you'd recommend?

Just a thought: you might compare the price of the tickets you're considering with the price of a "Power" Annual Pass, which is $320 per person at the non-Florida-resident rate and it's good for 15 months from first use, applying a "3 months free" promotion currently in effect. (Seasonal annual passes are even cheaper, but they have July as a blackout month, so that wouldn't fit your plans.)

Not only would an annual pass allow you to come back again as many times as you wanted in that 15-month period without paying for more tickets (subject to blackout dates: for the Power Annual Pass, they're the weeks just before and after Christmas and Easter), but you could park-hop between the two main parks with impunity, take advantage of 50% off parking and special event discounts, and if you're staying onsite, save up to 30% on your hotel.
 

JoeCamel

Well-Known Member
Thank you! Looks like 4 days it is! We will buy the non hoppers as a 4 day pass and upgrade one on the spot (if possible). Thanks for the help.

Any restaurants there you'd recommend?
One thing that hasn't been mentioned is if you stay in a deluxe onsite you will get express passes for the day of check in and the day of departure with all days in between. In July you will be very glad you have them. Weighed against getting express ala carte it usually makes sense to stay onsite. Pretty nice hotels plus a lot more reasonable compared to WDW.
 

1HAPPYGHOSTHOST

Well-Known Member
Hello,

My wife and I are going to a family event this July and want to stop by Universal for a few days as we have already done Disney World twice.

How many days would you recommend for visiting the parks?

We were thinking 3 days but all the deals seem to be for 4 day passes. Are hoppers necessary? I'm leaning towards not getting hoppers.

We don't want to rush through everything and want to be able to enjoy our time there. Having only been to Universal Hollywood, which is a half day park, I'm unsure how much time is needed in Universal Orlando.

Some background, for Disney World we stayed 6 days with one day being a down day and it was the perfect pace.

Thanks!
Hope you have a fun trip and enjoy the parks there. please share some photos of your trip.
 

jeanericuser001

Active Member
Here is a few tips.
1. Make sure you know which parks are going to be open early and which are not. The early access option allows for you to visit some attractions early like the harry potter areas as well as a couple other rides. You will need to be either staying at one of the universal hotels or have an annual pass.
2. At IOA the longest waits typically fluctuate depending on the time of the day. The water rides typically do not open immediately and when they do its not always full immediately. My advice is hit some of the bigger rides ie Hagrids and Hulk immediately then as it gets hot and the park opens further hit the water rides to cool off. Then you can hit some of the smaller lesser attractions while everyone else goes for the big rides. Then as it gets dark you can hit the big rides one last time as the crowds thin out.
3. Keep an eye on your dehydration. The heat during the summer can be especially ugly on some days and don't resist the urge to cool off any chance you can.
4. Use the phone app if you need information or food options. The wait times on the signs are not always accurate but the phone app is some what faster updated. Ordering food in advance is especially fast at some locations and just being able to grab then go without having to wait for it to be cooked is nice.
 

"El Scorpion"

Premium Member
In the Parks
No
If you're looking at 3 days and you're staying off property, I'd suggest getting EP for one day. Make it "ride day" - its worth the money and you'll get on everything. The other 2 days you can be selective on the rides you choose to stand in line for. And can shop, eat, and stroll - all at a more leisurely pace.
 

OCPlanner

New Member
Since you are going in July, the heat should likely be a factor in considering Express Passes. With the Unlimited Express Pass, you are not standing in the hot sun for more than 15 minutes (in many cases there is little to no wait). If masks are still required then, not having to stand in the sun wearing a mask for a long time can make a huge difference to your comfort and enjoyment, in my opinion.

Regarding Mythos and most of the sit down restaurants, making a reservation can cut your wait down considerably. You don't have to do much pre-planning. About 15 to 20 minutes before you want to go to the restaurant, go to the Universal website and follow the links to make a reservation. Reserve the nearest available time for that restaurant (it most cases there are many openings). If you can show this at the check-in desk at each restaurant, you will often be seated shortly and can bypass the significantly longer waits.

If you do go to Mythos, one minor attraction that you should stop by to see is the nearby Mystic Fountain. It is often manned by someone with a hilarious sense of humor and it is funny to watch kids interact with the talking fountain. It is a similar experience to chatting with the Gargoyle at the Denver airport. Sometimes the line to Hagrid's motorbike adventure goes past the fountain and he has funny conversations with those waiting in line. Unfortunately he is not always "on" - the indicator is whether or not you see a green light in the eyes.
 

Captn EO

Well-Known Member
Original Poster
I am partial to Mythos in the park and any of the "name" places in citywalk. Pretty much all the food (except NBC grille) is very good and the signatures in the hotels are very good if you want high end.
Universal will gladly sell you an upgrade if you find you really want to ride the Hogwarts express. If you are any sort of Potter fan you will want to.
Thank you so much! So can you buy separate tickets for the express or do you have to upgrade to the park hopper?
 

Captn EO

Well-Known Member
Original Poster
Just a thought: you might compare the price of the tickets you're considering with the price of a "Power" Annual Pass, which is $320 per person at the non-Florida-resident rate and it's good for 15 months from first use, applying a "3 months free" promotion currently in effect. (Seasonal annual passes are even cheaper, but they have July as a blackout month, so that wouldn't fit your plans.)

Not only would an annual pass allow you to come back again as many times as you wanted in that 15-month period without paying for more tickets (subject to blackout dates: for the Power Annual Pass, they're the weeks just before and after Christmas and Easter), but you could park-hop between the two main parks with impunity, take advantage of 50% off parking and special event discounts, and if you're staying onsite, save up to 30% on your hotel.
Good point! I never evem considered this option! I will have to do some calculations on what it would cost for a hotel with our without an AP and if it makes sense.
 

Captn EO

Well-Known Member
Original Poster
Here is a few tips.
1. Make sure you know which parks are going to be open early and which are not. The early access option allows for you to visit some attractions early like the harry potter areas as well as a couple other rides. You will need to be either staying at one of the universal hotels or have an annual pass.
2. At IOA the longest waits typically fluctuate depending on the time of the day. The water rides typically do not open immediately and when they do its not always full immediately. My advice is hit some of the bigger rides ie Hagrids and Hulk immediately then as it gets hot and the park opens further hit the water rides to cool off. Then you can hit some of the smaller lesser attractions while everyone else goes for the big rides. Then as it gets dark you can hit the big rides one last time as the crowds thin out.
3. Keep an eye on your dehydration. The heat during the summer can be especially ugly on some days and don't resist the urge to cool off any chance you can.
4. Use the phone app if you need information or food options. The wait times on the signs are not always accurate but the phone app is some what faster updated. Ordering food in advance is especially fast at some locations and just being able to grab then go without having to wait for it to be cooked is nice.
Thanks so much!

Looks like our trip may just be 2.5 days so we may do the express the entire trip. I greatly appreciate the game plan advice, that kind of information is never out there and will be so helpful for us. I'll have this thread bookmarked for our agenda :).

I will definitely get the app based on your advice!
 

Weather_Lady

Well-Known Member
Good point! I never evem considered this option! I will have to do some calculations on what it would cost for a hotel with our without an AP and if it makes sense.

FYI, APH rates usually come out 2-3 months ahead -- I think currently they've been released through May. What we usually do is go ahead and book the room we want, and then when APH rates come out, either call and have our reservation modified to the APH rate, or if our room isn't offered with one, switch to a different room category or resort that does. (We like the unlimited express pass, so we limit ourselves to the 3 resorts that offer it as an amenity). There's a DISboards thread that keeps an eye on when new rates come out and gives some additional guidance, if you're interested: https://www.disboards.com/threads/o...for-universal-loews-hotel-properties.3771155/

ALSO, note that you do NOT need to have annual passes in hand yet if the APH rate becomes available and you want to book your hotel. Anyone can book the APH rate: you just to have purchased annual passes that you can present to the front desk during your stay, to prove that you are entitled to the passholder rate. I've read that if you buy them online but haven't picked them up yet (I think the new rule is that pre-purchased annual passes can only be picked up at park entrances now), you can simply show your e-mailed receipt for the annual pass purchase to the front desk at check-in.
 
Last edited:

Disneyhead'71

Well-Known Member
By far the best way to experience Universal is to stay at one of the deluxe resorts. As @JoeCamel mentioned, you get "complimentary" Expess Passes for each day of your stay including check in day and check out day. They are the closest resorts to the parks and being deluxes they have great amenities. If you are only doing 2.5 days, the close proximity, early entry, and express passes would make your visit a lot less stessful and you will get to experience more with less effort.

Locals even go as far as getting 4 friends together and get one night at a deluxe just for the express passes. 4 express passes for 2 days (8 Expess Passes total) in Summer is much more expensive than one night at a deluxe. Something like $800 for 8 express passes vs $350ish for one night at a deluxe.
 
Last edited:

KCheatle

Well-Known Member
Hello,

My wife and I are going to a family event this July and want to stop by Universal for a few days as we have already done Disney World twice.

How many days would you recommend for visiting the parks?

We were thinking 3 days but all the deals seem to be for 4 day passes. Are hoppers necessary? I'm leaning towards not getting hoppers.

We don't want to rush through everything and want to be able to enjoy our time there. Having only been to Universal Hollywood, which is a half day park, I'm unsure how much time is needed in Universal Orlando.

Some background, for Disney World we stayed 6 days with one day being a down day and it was the perfect pace.

Thanks!
First piece of advice, watch Rix Flix on youtube (https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCzE3pN_ERlRPodYsAkeL6FA) He does tons of videos on Universal with tips and tricks. We are also planning a trip in July, and I have found him very very helpful.

We have been to Universal in the past, and only did 1 day for both parks. Our kids were little, so the thrill rides were a bit too much for them. We did a lot, but knowing what I know now, I know we missed A LOT! I wish I would have done some better research before we went. I would have maximized our time better. I think you can do a "highlight" tour in 1 day, but to actually enjoy everything, I would say at least 3 days, and possibly 4 if you're going to Volcano Bay.

I would absolutely recommend a 2-park ticket (and again, maybe a 3-park if you're considering Volcano Bay). Yes - for Hogwarts express. But, because the parks are so close. If rides are down at IOA, you can easily hop over to Studios.

Studios has a lot more shows that Disney. The Bourne Stuntacular (which I'm super pumped for), the Horror make up show (which I hear is hilarious), they have shows just one the walkways that are worth watching (Blues Brothers, Marilyn Monroe), and there are several shows in Diagon Alley and Hogsmeade. So, there's more than just rides (and more shows that Disney offers). The shows are worth watching and will take up some time. Plus, in DIagon Alley and Hogsmeade you can go to the Olivander's show, do spells with your interactive wand, exchange money with the Goblin for wizarding money, etc.

In the summer, the lines for the rides will be long. Even with express pass, the average wait time is half the normal wait time. So, if the ride is at a 60 minute wait, you should expect to wait 30 even with express pass. You will not be able to breeze through things. Universal also has some good restaurants that are worth sitting down and enjoying. I think Studios is easily a full day park alone, IOA is also a full day park, but IOA is more rides and less shows. That's why hopping between the two of them is nice. Do some rides at IOA in the morning, hop over to Studios for a show and good meal when its hot in the afternoon, back to IOA for some night rides,.
 

JillC LI

Well-Known Member
Thank you! Looks like 4 days it is! We will buy the non hoppers as a 4 day pass and upgrade one on the spot (if possible). Thanks for the help.

Any restaurants there you'd recommend?
Staying at one of the hotels that includes the Express Pass and early entry has always been key for us to do as much as possible in a short period of time. Two park passes enable you to ride the Hogwarts Express (which is different in both directions). Our favorite restaurant there was Three Broomsticks.
 

Register on WDWMAGIC. This sidebar will go away, and you'll see fewer ads.

Top Bottom