The most valuable perk available to all Universal on-site Resort Hotel guests is Early Park Admission (EPA, also sometimes referred to as Early Entry), which grants entry to The Wizarding World of Harry Potter 1 hour before the general public. This perk is given for free to all guests staying at a Universal Orlando on-site hotel guests, including those staying at Cabana Bay. In addition, guests holding certain designated "vacation packages" purchased through Universal Orlando Vacations (Universal Orlando Vacations or 1-877-801-9720) involving both accommodations at a Universal partner hotel and theme park admission are also allowed in early. (Early Park Admission is also occasionally offered to Annual Passholders.)

Which park you may enter on any particular day, and which attractions will be operating, are at Universal’s discretion and will vary with the attendance seasons, as described below. The turnstiles to the park(s) participating in early entry will open between 60 and 90 minutes before the official opening time. Both hotel and day guests will be admitted to the park, and each EPA-eligible guest (including children) will need to show his or her own room key to pass beyond the park's entry plaza during the early admission hour. Guests not eligible for early park admission will be held in an alternative area to await the official opening time.

During early park admission, all of the attractions, shops, and restaurants in the participating Wizarding World area should be open, along with select attractions outside the Harry Potter area. Early entry is by far the best time to ride Escape from Gringotts without waiting over an hour in the standby queue. However, if the attraction is not operational when early entry begins, skip Gringotts and try again late in the day; by the time it begins running in the morning, there will be a huge backlog of riders.

Standard Early Park Admission

During most of the year, only Universal Studios Florida (and not Islands of Adventure) will admit eligible guests for early park admission.

The following attractions should be available during standard early park admission:

Universal Studios Florida

The Hogwarts Express train from King's Cross Station will not begin running to The Wizarding World of Harry Potter - Hogsmeade in Islands of Adventure until ten minutes before both parks have officially opened for the day.

Peak Season Early Park Admission

Universal Orlando only guarantees early admission to one park per day, but during the busiest times of the year -- primarily Thanksgiving Week and Christmas Week -- Universal offers early park admission to The Wizarding World of Harry Potter areas at both Universal Studios Florida (Diagon Alley) and Islands of Adventure (Hogsmeade).

However, only the front gates of USF are open during early park admission. In order to enter IOA during early park admission, guests must use a park-to-park ticket to ride the Hogwarts Express train from USF to IOA.

When both parks are scheduled open at the same time, the Hogwarts Express will begin running when early park admission starts. When one park opens later than the other, the train will begin running ten minutes before the second park opens for early park admission. For example, if USF opens to the public at 8 a.m., and IOA opens to the public at 9 a.m., the first train from USF to IOA will depart King's Cross Station at 7:50 a.m.

The following attractions should be available during peak season early park admission:

Universal Studios Florida

Islands of Adventure

Annual Passholder Early Park Admission

On certain days during slower times of year, Universal Orlando historically has allowed its Annual Passholders to enjoy some form of Early Park Admission. Check Universal's Annual Passholder website for current promotions.

In Fall and Winter 2014, all Passholders can utilize Early Park Admission to Universal Studios Florida on weekdays (Monday through Friday) from September 1-30, November 3-14, November 18-21, and December 1-18.

Last updated by Seth Kubersky on November 30, 2014