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Hagrid’s Motorbike Adventure vs Early Park Admission

Discussion in 'Trip Reports, Planning, & Questions' started by qbacreative, Aug 12, 2019.

  1. qbacreative

    qbacreative Newcomer

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    Hi,

    We are planning our first Universal vacation for December, We will be staying on Hard Rock Hotel or Royal Pacific Resort. We already purchased a 5 days park to park tickets and will start using them on Monday 16 to Friday 20, in what should be a very busy time. We don’t mind showing up at 6:00 am to beat the crowds.

    We want to do Hagrid’s Motorbike Adventure at least one time per day during those 5 days, So what should the strategy be?

    1- Ignore our early park admission hour that comes by staying at the hotel, since we have the unlimited express pass, and try to be the first every morning at the gates of Island of Adventure, so we can ride the Hagrid and start our day that way?

    2- Do early park admission at Universal Studios and wait till the queue are lower during the day or night and try to do the Hagrid?

    We were told that Universal could change the early park admission at any point to Island of Adventure. So we booked both hotels and are planning to keep them both until we are around a month away, in case we decide to go with strategy number two, we can be staying at the hotel that is closer to the park with the early park admission at that time.

    We are discarding using the boats to arrive at the parks because we want to beat the crowds. So walking will be our approach.

    So far this is what we know. So please correct me if I got something wrong.

    There are 3 security checkpoints that start letting people through at 6:30 am:
    • City walk for the people that are driving in, or are being driven on a bus from the other hotels.
    • The bridge right before island of adventure, where the walking path ends for the guests at the Royal Pacific Resort and other guests from the other Universal’s hotels that shared the same walking path.
    • Right beside the entrance of Universal Studios for guests from the Hard Rock Hotel and Portofino Bay.
    So in case we go for strategy number one. We will be staying at the Royal Pacific Resort, because even though RPR and HRH are about the same distance to IOA, RPR security checkpoint is right beside IOA and therefore should be the first crowds to arrive at IOA.

    Maybe there is a 3rd strategy I haven’t thought of.

    Sorry for the long post but I’m so confused with all of these and I hope you guys can help me come up with the best strategy.

    Thanks a lot

    Alex
     
    Last edited: Aug 12, 2019
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  2. 1.21Gigawatts

    1.21Gigawatts Rookie

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    I would keep your Royal Pacific reservation and go in early before the park opens to the general public, (if they are still doing it)! Its my favorite resort, and its very close to islands. Club level at RP there is the best of any onsite Lowes. I don't have any info however with regards to early entry or what it will be like later this year.
     
  3. qbacreative

    qbacreative Newcomer

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    Thanks for the reply 1.21Gigawatts
     
  4. Joe

    Joe aka TestTrack321 Staff Member Moderator

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    Welcome to the forum!

    You'll love both resorts, I haven't been to HRH yet but Royal Pacific always hits a good "price for value" for me.

    Seems like riding Hagrid is important! If USF is participating in early entry then ignore it and head to Islands for Hagrid in the morning. But keep an eye on the Uptime thread on the forums as you'll see if they're running the ride for the full day.

    I don't know if you'll need to be up that early for Hagrid in December that is a good strategy. I'd hold on and see how things are looking operations wise before making any choices. Hagrid could be running at full capacity all day by the time you are at the resort.
     
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  5. qbacreative

    qbacreative Newcomer

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    Thanks for the insightful reply Joe!

    I’m not a harry potter fun, and my kids are barely into it. I just heard so much about this coaster that we don’t want to pass the chance to do all the rides we like at least once a day. Otherwise I feel we are not taking advantage of all that the park has to offer.

    Joe can you please confirm that this is how the crowds enter the park?

    There are 3 security checkpoints that start letting people through at 6:30 am:
    • City walk for the people that are driving in, or are being driven on a bus from the other hotels.
    • The bridge right before island of adventure, where the walking path ends for the guests at the Royal Pacific Resort and other guests from the other Universal’s hotels that shared the same walking path.
    • Right beside the entrance of Universal Studios for guests from the Hard Rock Hotel and Portofino Bay.
    So since the security checkpoint for RPR is right beside the bridge before IOA, guests standing at that checkpoint should be able to reach IOA before any other crowd, right?.
     
  6. Joe

    Joe aka TestTrack321 Staff Member Moderator

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    That's how it works. I did the 630am crowd rush from the parking garage.
     
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  7. qbacreative

    qbacreative Newcomer

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    Thanks a lot Joe! I really appreciate your input
     
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  8. Joel

    Joel Premium Member

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    As Joe said, I highly doubt a 6:30am wake up call will be needed by December. Besides the fact the ride will be running on most (if not all cylinders) by then, the lunch hour lull has proven to be a shorter wait than showing up at park opening recently.
     
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  9. qbacreative

    qbacreative Newcomer

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    Wow Joel, my wife and kids will love is they could do the ride without having to wake up at 6:00 am. Thanks
     
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  10. Joel

    Joel Premium Member

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    I will be riding for the first time next weekend as my original birthday weekend trip was postponed due to familial reasons; we will be waking up around 8 to head over for park opening for the initial ride, and then wait until lunch hour lull for the second.
     
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  11. qbacreative

    qbacreative Newcomer

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    Cool, please let us know how it worked out with that approach when you come back. Thanks!
     
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  12. Skold

    Skold Rookie

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    Hi @qbacreative

    You may be over-planning a bit. This is not like WDW at all. However, the inconsistency of this ride being open, coupled with the lack of Express Pass, makes it an odd duck and one that should be definitely be rope-dropped if you have a limited number of days at the resort.

    I did some live reports of my rope-dropping on July 22, 23, 24 (and you really should read that thread if Hagrid's is a must do).

    Waits and Uptime Reports - Hagrid’s Magical Creature Motorbike Adventure | Page 16 | Inside Universal Forums

    Waits and Uptime Reports - Hagrid’s Magical Creature Motorbike Adventure | Page 18 | Inside Universal Forums

    Waits and Uptime Reports - Hagrid’s Magical Creature Motorbike Adventure | Page 18 | Inside Universal Forums

    To sum up: for a IOA 9:00 opening, leave RPR by 7:30 and walk the Garden Way. You'll be in line at the IOA turnstiles by 7:45, which is the sweet spot.

    The left lines and center gate seem to be the best, because a new line opens at the left late, and no TMs are at the center early so people don't realize that those lines are actually open. They'll open the gates at 8:30 - make sure you're tix are in order, and do not get behind people that do not look like they know what they are doing. Get behind APs if you see peeps with lanyards. Avoid people hanging on to their paper tickets (this is a generalization, I know, but we do lots of rope drops and getting hung up on some family in front of you sucks).

    On our 3rd try, we had a pretty awesome plan: I got in line, and my wife and son went to CityWalk Starbucks and came back with breakfast sandwiches. Now, the whole "people joining parties in front of you" is not cool, so be sure to let the people who file in behind you know this if you decide to do it. "I have two people joining me", for example. At this point in the morning, everyone is counting turnstile clicks, so we made sure to be open and actually made a few "that day at the park" friends that we ran into a few times.

    Once they open the gates, it is a flood. They'll hold you up at Seuss, so aim to get in line at the left side of the crowd. The TMs direct you to take the short-cut behind Green Eggs and Ham while some people think they can outrun you (and try!) going through the whole land.

    It is a very uncool rush, but once you make the Seuss turn into the shortcut you are good. Don't run. Please, everyone, do not run.

    If the ride does not break down first thing in the morning, it will be a continuous walk on to it and you'll be out by 9:30.

    Then you can do everything else (especially with Express) with no problems at all.
     
    Last edited: Aug 15, 2019
  13. qbacreative

    qbacreative Newcomer

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    Skold, Thanks a lot for taking your time and give me such a detailed replied.

    7:45 is the sweet spot? It seems too late for me, I want to avoid doing lines at the ride if I can. I want to be one of the firsts at those turnstiles. We can be at the security check point by 6:10am or 6:20am, but if being at the turnstiles at 7:00 is acceptable that will be amazing.

    I know what you mean about the crowds. At the rope-drops at the Disney's parks we experienced. I can be first all I want in one of the turnstile, but once they let the crowds in, being part of the first group that reach the ride is the best you can hope for, because the dynamic of a moving crowd is so unpredictable.

    We went to our first Disney trip last year during Christmas week, and we pretty much walk in every ride, the only wait was for the fast passes queue later on the day, We did our favourites rides at least twice including flight of passage, but some even 3 or 4 times.

    We accomplished this with the strategy of virtually being the first at every park (I got pictures to prove it). We made sure each park had early magic hour. We were staying at a Disney’s hotel with free transportation to the parks, but we took Uber to every park and were there before the hotel busses, so we virtually did a one long early queue outside of the park, and that opened every ride for us without waiting lines. So even during extra magic hour we were ahead of the crowds going from ride to ride. The kids loved it!.

    I know this is not really necessary at Universal because the lower crowds, our unlimited express passes and us being there for 5 days.

    I love your tip of lining up on the turnstiles without TMs because people think they may not open at rope-drop, that is priceless :)

    Thanks for the Starbucks tip as well, my wife can go and get her morning coffee and some stuff for the kids, we got a panini press that we brought with us at Disney, because the was not place to grab breakfast that early in the morning outside of the parks, so we made grill sandwiches before waking up the kids for the wait.

    I have walked the Seuss land many times in google and walking on the left side of the land, following close to the water seems to be the faster way.

    I'll read your 3 days rope-dropping post for more tips, because maybe as you say I’m used to the Disney’s crowds and I'm over reacting.
     
  14. qbacreative

    qbacreative Newcomer

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    Skold,I just read your 3 drop-roping reports, very interesting, if your are at the gates at 7:45 like your said, there is none stop movement through the queue all the way to the ride, if it doesn't have mechanicals issues of course.

    I was planning to take the first day to do the early hour so my kids could get the wand at Diagon Alley without to much of a line, but if you are saying that we could be done with the Higrads ride by 9:30, I could just do the Higrads even the first day, and right after the ride, take the train around 9:30am to Diagon Alley and should it should be empty enough for my kids to get their wand without being too crowded.
     
    Last edited: Aug 15, 2019
  15. soma27

    soma27 Newcomer

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    You also should not have much or a crowd to buy wands. Since they expanded the olivanders capacity 3x with Diagon, it is rare to see a significant line. Maybe a few quick show cycles.
     
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  16. qbacreative

    qbacreative Newcomer

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    Oh thanks soma27, so I won't need to skip riding the Hagrids in the morning then :)
     
  17. qbacreative

    qbacreative Newcomer

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    I heard that the best experience to buy the wand for my kids is at the Diagon Alley store, is this true?
     
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  18. DR S

    DR S Newcomer

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    You can go to either Olivander's location (Hogsmeade or Diagon) and experience the same show. In my experience the Diagon location has much much shorter wait times, and a bit cooler set design leading up to the show itself.
     
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  19. qbacreative

    qbacreative Newcomer

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    Oh thanks DR s, I thought it was just a regular store at hogsmeade and an only an interactive one with the show at Diagon Alley.

    But I guess is the Diagon Alley has a cooler set design I'll buy it there
     
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  20. Joel

    Joel Premium Member

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    You will have very little or no wait at Diagon's wand show if you rope drop Hargride. @Mad Dog is an avid wait time watcher and noticed a drop in wait times at Gringotts when Hagride opened (while all Hogsmeade ride wait times increased)
     
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