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Universal Orlando 3-Day Touring Plan for Hotel Guests: Day 2

The purpose of this plan is to give families staying at a Universal Orlando Resort hotel a framework for the best way to experience Universal Studios Florida (USF) and Islands of Adventure (IOA) – and The Wizarding World of Harry Potter – over the course of three days. This plan incorporates Early Park Admission (EPA), Express Pass access, and park-to-park admission, and it provides a break time in the middle of each day.

IMPORTANT: if this is your first time viewing this page, we highly recommend that you learn our overall strategy and let us answer some of the most common questions regarding Express Passes and whether you actually need to stay at a Universal hotel to use this plan. To view this important information, skip to our FAQ at the bottom of this page.

Finally, Universal features free resort-wide wifi and an updated mobile app that provides wait times for the rides and performance times for the shows. To download the app, follow these links: Android or iOS.

You can review day two below, jump back to day one, or skip ahead to day three.

Skip to: COVID | Day 2 | FAQ

The globe at Universal Orlando Resort
Your day of adventure at Universal Orlando awaits!

COVID-19 note

Ever since Universal Orlando reopened after its initial COVID-19 closure, changes have been implemented that will impact your touring of the parks. Most pertinently, all single-rider lines have been closed (even though we still have those attractions that normally feature them marked as such), and there has been a greater emphasis placed on Virtual Lines, whether these are used exclusively or in conjunction with standby lines. This last point means that you’ll have to secure a return-time slot before you’re able to go to the ride at all, and it’s also important to note that the roster of Virtual Line-enabled experiences can change on a daily – or, even, hourly – basis, depending upon the overall crowd levels. (For more on this, please see our insider’s guide.)

You can read more about how the parks operate in a COVID world here.

Day two of the three-day touring plan

Before we get to our tour, we need to chat a little bit about Early Park Admission. Throughout the year, EPA may be offered at Universal Studios Florida or Islands of Adventure. The interesting thing is, in a post-Diagon Alley world, it really isn’t necessary to visit Hogsmeade in IOA during this early admission period, because so much of the overall Wizarding World crowd is being drawn over to Diagon Alley at USF all day long.

Knowing this, we have a choice to make about EPA on day two – we can either use it again or we can skip it and sleep in an extra hour.

So, now you must decide.

1. Entrance to Islands of Adventure
If you decided to skip Early Park Admission, we recommend that you arrive at the IOA turnstiles 20 minutes before the park is scheduled to open to the general public.

Once you get through the turnstiles, be sure to pick up a park guide map, which covers both theme parks and includes times for the live shows and many of the character meet-and-greets.

2. Hagrid’s Magical Creatures Motorbike Adventure – SR
The Wizarding World of Harry Potter – Hogsmeade

Restrictions and access: 48 inches; has a single-rider line. Summary: a thrilling, perfectly immersive outdoor roller coaster that takes you through the Forbidden Forest.

If Hagrid is using a Virtual Line that day – which is a pretty sure bet – you’ll need to use this time to grab a return-time slot instead of riding through the Forbidden Forest with the Hogwarts professor. Start trying to get your virtual spot as soon as possible, and slide it into wherever you can in the touring plan – everything else can be molded around what is arguably Universal Orlando’s flagship attraction!

Whether you managed to hop on with Hagrid or just nab a return time, we’re next heading to the mysterious Skull Island.

3. Skull Island: Reign of Kong – EP (Express Pass) SR (single rider)
Skull Island

Restrictions and access: 34 inches; has Express Pass access and a single-rider line. Summary: board a large expedition vehicle and travel deep into Skull Island in the search for King Kong.

Upon exiting Skull Island, it’s time to visit Marvel Super Hero Island.

4. The Incredible Hulk Coaster – EP/SR
Marvel Super Hero Island

Restrictions and access: 54 inches; loose articles must be stowed in free lockers; has Express Pass access; also has a front-row line. Summary: one of the best high-speed, outdoor roller coasters in Orlando, featuring a story centered on the Hulk and a soundtrack provided by Fall Out Boy’s Patrick Stump.

5. The Amazing Adventures of Spider-Man – EP/SR
Marvel Super Hero Island

Restrictions and access: 40 inches; has Express Pass access and a single-rider line. Summary: combining 3D film, ride movement, and special effects for a completely convincing simulator ride experience.

6. Spider-Man photo op
Marvel Super Hero Island

Your favorite webslinger has his own indoor meet-and-greet space in the building directly across from the Amazing Adventures of Spider-Man attraction.

7. Dr. Doom’s Fearfall – EP/SR
Marvel Super Hero Island

Restrictions and access: 52 inches; has Express Pass access. Summary: sit back and enjoy as you are thrust up a 200-foot-tall tower.

While you’re enjoying the attractions at Marvel Super Hero Island, make sure you spend a few minutes in the gift shops, where you’ll find some of the most unique and fun merchandise in all of Universal Orlando.

8. Storm Force Accelatron – EP
Marvel Super Hero Island

Restrictions and access: none (children under 48 inches must be accompanied by an adult); has Express Pass access. Summary: a Marvel spin on the classic egg-beater carnival ride.

Now it is time to go to Toon Lagoon and hit the water rides! Ideally, you will go on the next three attractions in a row because you will get soaked for sure on the first two and most likely on the third.

9. Popeye & Bluto’s Bilge-Rat Barges – EP
Toon Lagoon

Restrictions and access: 42 inches. Summary: traditional raft ride – you will get soaked.

10. Dudley Do-Right’s Ripsaw Falls – EP/SR
Toon Lagoon

Restrictions and access: 44 inches; has Express Pass access and a single-rider line; there are lockers nearby for convenience. Summary: the ultimate flume ride – you will get soaked.

11. Jurassic Park River Adventure – EP
Jurassic Park

Restrictions and access: 42 inches; has Express Pass access. Summary: a dino-filled boat ride that ends with a plunge – will get you wet depending on where you sit.

12. Free time
It should now be right around noon. Head back to your hotel to dry off and relax, or take another swim, perhaps, or maybe eat lunch, shop at Universal CityWalk, etc. If some people in your party wish to stay inside the park, we have these dining recommendations for lunch:

Mythos is an award-winning restaurant located in The Lost Continent, and it’s considered by many to be the best full-service restaurant inside Universal’s parks.

Not interested in full-service? Thunder Falls Terrace, located in Jurassic Park, is the best quick-service restaurant at Islands of Adventure – excluding The Three Broomsticks, that is.

13. Return to Islands of Adventure
The time you return to IOA will be based on park hours. If the park is closing earlier – say, at or before 7:00 pm – you will want to return by 2:00 pm. If the park is closing after 7:00, you can return at 3:00.

Upon entering IOA, take a right and visit Seuss Landing.

14. Oh! The Stories You’ll Hear
Seuss Landing

Summary: Dr. Seuss’s books come to life in song and dance as this small stage show invites us to read along. When the production is over, your little ones will have an opportunity to meet the characters.

*This is a live stage show and the showtimes will vary – verify the schedule in your park map. It’s not necessary to arrive more than a few minutes before this show start.

15. The Cat in the Hat – EP
Seuss Landing

Restrictions and access: 36 inches; has Express pass access. Summary: dark ride that takes you into the Cat in the Hat story. Entertaining enough for everyone in the family.

16. The High in the Sky Seuss Trolley Train Ride! – EP
Seuss Landing

Restrictions and access: 40 inches; has Express Pass access. Summary: the trolley takes you on a leisurely ride around Seuss Landing as you are entertained by fanciful sounds and effects.

Now it’s time to make our way once again to The Wizarding World of Harry Potter and Hogsmeade Village. As with yesterday’s plan, depending on your family’s interest in Harry Potter, you should have three to five hours left before park closing.

Remember that one of our goals is to embrace the Wizarding World’s one-of-a-kind “centrally themed, multi-park” experience. To do so, you’ll see that we’ve essentially split our first two evenings between Universal Studios Florida and Islands of Adventure. It’s our belief that doing so is the only way to fully appreciate how Universal has brought Harry’s story to life.

17. Hagrid’s Magical Creatures Motorbike Adventure – SR
The Wizarding World of Harry Potter – Hogsmeade

Restrictions and access: 48 inches; has a single-rider line. Summary: a thrilling, perfectly immersive outdoor roller coaster that takes you through the Forbidden Forest.

Just in case you didn’t manage to hop on Hagrid’s Motorbike Adventure at all earlier, now might be a good time to run over and see if the ride’s Virtual Line is done for the day – if so, you can just walk right into its queue! (And even if you have already ridden it previously, you can still try and sneak in one more jaunt through the Forbidden Forest. Go ahead – we won’t tell anyone.)

18. Sights and sounds of Hogsmeade
Just as we experienced with Diagon Alley, much of the amazement to be found in Hogsmeade is simply in admiring the intricate details of the land, from the sitting area behind The Three Broomsticks to the interactive spell-casting locations scattered throughout the land. If you have the time, be sure to explore all the nooks and crannies you can, and keep your ears open for the live entertainment in Hogsmeade – the Triwizard Spirit Rally and the Frog Choir – which performs on the stage near Hogwarts Castle.

19. Interactive wands and spell-casting
The Wizarding World of Harry Potter – Hogsmeade

Summary: display your wizarding talents with your new interactive wand as you magically affect the displays in various storefronts and, possibly, other secret areas. Note: you’ll need to purchase an interactive wand at Ollivanders Wand Shop to participate.

20. Flight of the HippogriffEP
The Wizarding World of Harry Potter – Hogsmeade

Restrictions and access: 36 inches; has Express Pass access. Summary: outdoor kiddie coaster that offers fantastic views of Hogwarts Castle and Hogsmeade Village.

Now, it’s time to experience a trip back to London on the Hogwarts Express!

21. The Hogwarts Express – EP
The Wizarding World of Harry Potter – Hogsmeade (Hogsmeade Station)

Restrictions and access: none; even wheelchairs and ECVs are allowed. Summary: the famous train takes guests on a magic journey from muggle London to the wizarding village of Hogsmeade and back (note that each ride is one-way; guests wishing to return to IOA will need to exit the train, queue again, and re-board).

Exit King’s Cross Station and enter Diagon Alley.

We now have two possible goals: if you’ve already experienced Harry Potter and the Escape from Gringotts, you can proceed with simply enjoying the evening atmosphere of Diagon Alley. If you haven’t been on Escape from Gringotts yet, you’ll want to head directly to it.

22. Harry Potter and the Escape from Gringotts – EP/SR
The Wizarding World of Harry Potter – Diagon Alley

Restrictions and access: 42 inches; must stow loose articles in free lockers before the attraction’s entrance; has Express Pass access; usually has a single-rider line. Summary: impressive tour through Gringotts Wizarding Bank followed by a multi-dimensional, multi-sensory 3D track-based motion ride (remember, single-rider line skips the bank tour and entire pre-show).

23. Sights and sounds of Diagon Alley
Catch the live entertainment in Carkitt Markett (Tales of Beedle the Bard and Celestina Warbeck), taste the treats of Florean Fortescue’s Ice-Cream Parlor, and slink your way through the creepy corners of Knockturn Alley. And before you leave, make sure you’ve seen the sights of the London waterfront, including the Knight Bus with its conductor and interactive shrunken head, and 12 Grimmauld Place (keep an eye out for Kreacher!).

24. Dinner time – The Leaky Cauldron
Taking quick-service theme-park dining to its pinnacle, The Leaky Cauldron offers a variety of British fare set in a beautiful dining hall full of whimsical, wizarding decor.

This brings us to the end of day two. It’s been spectacular, hasn’t it? As you leave Universal Studios Florida, start thinking about all the stuff at Universal’s parks that you want to do one more time. Tomorrow, you’ll get that chance – plus, we’ll make sure you have the opportunity to see any of the attractions we passed on during the first two days.

You may skip ahead to day three, jump back to day one, or review our important information below.

Understanding our three-day touring plan

Here, we provide an explanation of our goals and the overall strategy of our three-day plan.

First and foremost, it’s important to know that our three-day plan is just that – a plan for three days at Universal’s theme parks. As such, one of our primary goals is to spread out the best experiences at Universal Orlando Resort over this time period, so your second and third day can be nearly as exciting as your first.

Another goal of ours is to embrace the Wizarding World’s one-of-a-kind “centrally themed, multi-park” experience. To do so, you see that we’ve essentially split our first two evenings between Universal Studios Florida and Islands of Adventure. It’s our belief that doing so is the only way to fully appreciate exactly how well Universal has brought Harry’s story to life across its two parks.

Adding to our desire to have you experience the Wizarding World at its best, we’ve also planned our visits to Diagon Alley and Hogsmeade in the evening. It’s almost universally agreed – and certainly our belief – that The Wizarding World of Harry Potter is even more magical once the sun goes down.

Finally, because we’re able to spread our touring over three days, we’ve included free-time in our plan, when you can return to your hotel or do as you please.

What if I don’t have Express Passes?

This plan is written for guests with Express Pass access. It’s likely you already know that unlimited Express Passes are a benefit guests receive when staying at the top three of Universal Orlando’s eight hotels.

So, can you still use this plan if you’re not staying at those three properties in the premier category? Yes, you can, but with this extra condition: understand that during busier parts of the year, you will encounter long waits at Universal’s most popular attractions. During these times, in an effort to make our plan work best – and to help you really enjoy your vacation – we recommend that you consider purchasing Express Passes. The most convenient option is Universal’s park-to-park ticket + Unlimited Express, which you can learn all about in our complete guide to Express Passes. In addition, you will also want to view these pages: our 12-month Universal crowd calendar and attraction wait times based on crowd levels.

Note: if you’re staying at the other five Universal hotels and visiting when crowds are forecasted to be moderate or slow, we do not consider Express access necessary to complete this three-day plan – you might just need a little hustle in your step, is all.

What if I’m not staying at a Universal Orlando hotel?

Yes, you can still use this touring plan if you’re staying off-site. Just keep in mind these important factors: first, depending on your travel agenda, you may or may not have access to Early Park Admission, so you’ll need to adjust the plan accordingly. (If you’re not sure about EPA, see our guide.)

In addition, the same advice we offered to guests staying at the non-premier Universal resorts also applies to your situation: understand that during busy periods, you will encounter long waits at Universal’s most popular attractions. During these times, in an effort to make our plan work best – and to help you really enjoy your vacation – we recommend that you consider purchasing Express Passes. The most convenient option is Universal’s park-to-park ticket + Unlimited Express, which you can learn all about in our complete guide to Express Passes. In addition, you will also want to view these pages: our 12-month Universal crowd calendar and attraction wait times based on crowd levels.

Finally, make sure you’ve coordinated transportation so you can arrive at Universal early enough to take advantage of the lighter morning crowds. If you’re parking and walking, allow yourself 20 minutes from the time you enter Universal property to walk to either park’s turnstiles.

Thanks again for using our touring plans. You may jump back to day one or skip ahead to day three.

Do you have a question about the information on this page, would like to provide feedback, or did you spot an inaccuracy? Please let us know by posting in our Orlando Informer Community on Facebook.
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