Customizing a Universal Orlando Touring Plan with Hogwarts Express

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Here at Touring Plans, we allow guests to create customized touring plans that allow guests to pick and choose the attractions they wish to see throughout the day. Universal throws a special wrench into our software with the Hogwarts Express – an attraction that starts in one park and ends in another! In this article, we will cover how to create customized touring plans using the Hogwarts Express.

Why Create a Customized Touring Plan?

Our customized Touring Plans save guests time by reducing your waits in queues, getting you on more rides in a day. This is done by using real-world data and patented computer software to analyze crowd patterns and help you zig when everyone else zags. Choosing which attractions to experience, when to eat, and your break schedule can help you see more attractions each day or take more breaks.

Hogwarts Express
Hogwarts Express ©Universal

Why Experience the Hogwarts Express?

If this attraction requires special direction for adding to a custom touring plan in addition to having a park-to-park ticket, then why ride it? Hogwarts Express is more than transportation between the parks, it is a fully themed experience that matches the books and movies. Guests entering Kings Cross will walk through the wall into Platform 9 3/4, board the iconic steam train, and see famous Potter sights and sounds. Plus, it is a people pleaser, ranking around ★★★★ 1/2 for all of our age groups.

How To

All right, let me show you how to set up a custom Touring Plan with the Hogwarts Express. We will start in Universal Studios Florida then transfer over to Islands of Adventure, but this same procedure works vice versa.

First, start by going to the customized Touring Plan page to create a new plan. Give you plan a name, date, and which park to start in. Below we will be taking the familiar path of Harry and starting at Diagon Alley inside Universal Studios Florida.

Next, select if you are participating in Early Park Admission and which entrance you are using. Since we are starting in this park we will choose the Main Entrance.

Keep the start and stop time at the default park hours. We suggest adding a note about which plan to use first and other information in the plan summary and additional instructions.

Ok here is the fun part! Select the attractions you would like to see! For this example we are selecting only the attractions in the Wizarding World at USF. Click Proceed.

(If you return to this park later in the day, include other attractions you would like to see here. We will cover how to return in the Notes below).

Let us eat! Add any meals or breaks in the next section. We are adding a lunch at Leaky Cauldron plus an hour to explore Diagon Alley for its shows, shops, wand stations, and more. Once complete click “Proceed to Evaluate & Optimize”.

Review your plan’s starting park, date, park hours, and plan time here.

Next, you can choose Advanced Options for the plan. Do you smell the flowers as you walk? Do you want to minimize waiting? Using Express Pass? Here is where you can adjust your options. We will be sticking with the defaults and no Express Pass.

Here is your list of attractions! It is unoptimized, unevaluated, and out of order. Review this list then scroll down the page and click “Optimize”.

BOOM! Here is your optimized touring plan! As you can tell we did do some small adjusting to the Potter Shows break and lunch at Leaky Cauldron, these are easily done by pressing the “Edit” button in the middle. If the Hogwarts Express is not listed at the end of the plan, manually drag the plan down to the bottom and then click the “Evaluate” button.

Ok, with our optimized plan make a note of the Hogwarts Express -Kings Cross Sation end time (arrival + wait + duration) which will tell us when to expect to be in Islands of Adventure. Based on the above example the time would be 12:13 pm, which we will round up to 12:15.

We now created another new plan, this time at Islands of Adventure. But we will make two important changes – first, we will choose the Hogwarts Express Arrival for entrance.

Then we still chose our start time for when we are expected to arrive in Islands of Adventure – 12:15 pm.


Select the attractions you want to experience in Islands like at Studios, but DO NOT include the “Hogwarts Express – Return Trip” attraction.

So you know the dance now – optimize the plan, make adjustments, and evaluate.

Ta-da, you are done!


If you are returning to the first park in your plan make sure to include the “Hogwarts Express – Return Trip to ____” attraction in your original touring plan (the Pt 1 in this example). This will alert the first touring plan you have returned to the park and want to continue touring. Set the return time as the estimated attrition completion from the second plan (which would be 3:48 pm from the above example).

Touring Tips

  • Make sure to schedule midday breaks and plenty of rest. The Wizarding World of Harry Potter can wear out even the most dedicated of Hogwarts students.
  • Stick with the plan if your day is dedicated to Harry Potter – you will be much happier waiting 10 minutes for ice cream than the 90 minutes for Hagrid.
  • But most of all – have fun! Live your wizarding fantasy and enjoy yourself.

Do you have tips for creating a customized touring plan? What are your favorite aspects of the Wizarding World? Leave them in the comments below!

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Joseph Matt

Avid amusement park and video game fan. Enjoys picking up rare beers at breweries, exploring cities, cooking, and sports.

3 thoughts on “Customizing a Universal Orlando Touring Plan with Hogwarts Express

  • March 18, 2022 at 3:52 pm

    Thank you SO much for this tutorial! I was trying to figure out how to do it the other day and couldn’t. My only questions is how do I have a single rider option?

  • March 21, 2022 at 12:04 pm

    Do you think at some point you will be able to have USF/IOA/HWEx in a single plan? One of the things I struggled with was how to optimize between the parks.

  • March 28, 2022 at 10:28 pm

    Yes, I completely agree with DWJoe! Please offer a two park option at Universal.


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