The Spring Break season at Orlando area theme parks ended recently. However, the crowds continue to be higher than historical norms, at least for attraction queue waits. I gathered a large amount of attraction wait data last week at all Orlando area parks. Also, I functioned inside Universal Orlando’s theme park for the last week of April. A few trends regarding early park admission continue. The importance of taking advantage of early park admission at Islands of Adventure shines as an important issue.
This perk continues to be key to lower wait times for Hagrid’s Magical Creature Motorbike Adventure. This attraction still develops some of the longest wait times in the entire theme park industry. During one Spring Break week this year, it declared a posted wait of four hours. Now, I would not expect you to face unless you are brave (or foolish) enough to go Christmas week.
So how did early park admission go at Universal Orlando for the first week after Spring Break weeks ended?
The good news is that a consistent pattern developed so you can plan for it. Of course, every day at a theme park is different so guarantees. Yet, your odds will be better with some of these suggestions.
However, guests need to arrive early to maximize early park admission. Based on last week, guests arriving at least 45 minutes before scheduled early park admission could use two different strategies. Those arriving later than that face more challenges.
First option, if you race to Hagrid attraction at early park admission opening, you can expect a very short wait. If you arrive at ticket turnstiles 45 minutes before early park admission opening but walk to the Hagrid attraction, your average wait for the attraction will be about 12 minutes. However, if you arrive at ticket turnstiles less than 45 minutes before early park admission, your wait for Hagrid attraction could be 30-45 minutes (or more). On average, waits for Hagrid attraction reached 50 minutes by 25 minutes into early park admission time.
If you successfully ride Hagrid attraction in the first groups of people, you can easily enjoy Velocicoaster and Forbidden Journey attraction before official park opening time. If not, the guests without early entry privileges will be added to queues making your day a bit tougher.
Second option, if you are more of a thrill person, I would head straight to Jurassic World Velocicoaster at rope-drop. When I tested this strategy, I rode Velocicoaster three times easily before the official park opening. This enabled me to have plenty of time to get a beverage before queuing for the opening of Marvel Super Hero Island to ride Incredible Hulk Coaster a few times. This strategy means riding Hagrid attraction later in day with a longer queue. However, if you do not arrive early enough to get a first group for Hagrid attraction, this strategy will maximize you time. If using this strategy, I suggest trying to ride Hagrid attraction around noon when wait times usually drops. Yet, be advised that Hagrid attraction still struggles with reliability and fears inclement weather. Also, be advised this strategy will not work May 16th through 18th.
If you do not have early park admission to Universal Orlando parks, I suggest rope-dropping Universal Studios Florida. Until June 13th, 2022, this park does not offer early park admission again. You will experience far lower crowds there. One word of advice though…expect Rip Ride Rock-It not to open with the park. I suggest enjoying the Minion attraction or racing to Diagon Alley instead.
I hope this helps you in your planning. May all your attraction queue wait times be low.
Pirates & Princesses (PNP) is an independent, opinionated fan-powered news blog that covers Disney and Universal Theme Parks, Themed Entertainment and related Pop Culture from a consumer's point of view. Opinions expressed by our contributors do not necessarily reflect the views of PNP, its editors, affiliates, sponsors or advertisers. PNP is an unofficial news source and has no connection to The Walt Disney Company, NBCUniversal or any other company that we may cover.