We have been home for a few weeks, I have had time to reflect, digest and compile our top tips for visiting Universal Orlando. We had the most amazing day at Universal Studios /Island of Adventures, It has so much to offer the whole family.
So, here are our top tips to have an amazing time at Universal Studios /Island of Adventures.
We only visited for one day, yes you can get round the parks in one day, but honestly you need more time. I would have loved to spend longer at The Wizzarding World of Harry Potter and taken my time ambling around the parks. The staging of Universal is just incredible it makes you want to spend ages taking in every single incredible detail. And when you leave you want to revisit as soon a possible, so for me one day is just not enough.
Use preferred parking, for an extra $8.00 you can get so much nearer to the escalators, which take you to City Walk. We felt it worth the extra as there is so much walking involved, especially at the end of the day when the boys were tired.
We had the Express Pass and wow it was incredible. I know it is pricey, but it enables you to cut down the queues by 90%. On a hot day this makes such a difference. Alternatively stay at Loews Royal Pacific Resort, Hard Rock Hotel® or Loews Portofino Bay Hotel to get free Express Pass access.
Arrive half an hour before park opening. Most of the Harry Potter rides do not offer express pass. So choose a park to start with and make your way to The Wizzarding World of Harry Potter. We started our day in Islands of Adventure at Hogsmead. We worked around the park from there, and when we arrived back Hogsmead we rode the Hogwarts Express across to Universal Studios to Diagon Alley.
If you have smaller children, or one of your children does not like large rides you can access parent swap. This is fantastic, you all queue together and then when you get to the front one of you takes the child not riding into a side room. Whilst the other parent rides the ride, once the ride is over you swap. This worked so well for us as Joe doesn’t like huge rides but likes the interaction of the queues, and Jack got to ride the ride twice.
The refillable park mugs are great value at $12.99 plus tax. We purchased 2, purely because the boys didn’t want to carry them. We used them all day and found there were plenty of stations around the park to get refills.
If you like log flumes and water rides then you just have to go on Dudley Do-Rights Ripsaw Falls and Jurassic Park River Adventure. Be prepared to get wet and plan around this, I honestly don’t think I have ever in my life got as wet on a ride. But wow they are so much fun.
We rode these early in the morning and dried quickly in the hot sun, but I would not have missed them for the world. Maybe next time I will take a shower cap ha ha. Yes, I got that wet.
We had the best time at Universal Orlando and can’t wait to go back, we will most definitely spend a few days visiting next time to enable us to take in the atmosphere a little more. Universal has so much to offer, it feel so magical and atmospheric in a way I just can not describe, you really need to experience Universal Studios to believe it.
And if you are a Harry Potter fan then omg, The Wizzarding World Of Harry Potter will just blow your mind. Check out Carries top tips for the Wizzarding World Of Harry Potter.
24 thoughts on “My Top Tips For Universal Orlando”
Brilliant tips post. We really didn’t make the most of Universal as the kids were younger and wanted to spend their time at Disney. We will definitely take more time on our next visit. And yes, totally agree about the planning. You really have to get there early for that one big ride, and then take it from there and start again the next day.
Helen we had such a fab day, the boys just loved it and Harry Potter wow I was in my element. x
Great tips Sarah. I can highly recommend staying at the Royal Pacific Resort. We decided to stay for 1 night on our very first trip to Florida so we could benefit from the Express Passes. They were an absolute god send for us, and we spent 2 days in the park hardly queuing. We also loved City Walk too, which is smaller than Disney Springs but has some great eating places. Have to agree about the water rides. Absolutely brilliant lol x
I think next time we will do twin Centre between Universal and Disney to get the best of both worlds Tracey xx
So exciting, I can’t wait to do it!! It’s going to be amazing. Counting down to my 180 days now!!! Argh!!!
Oh Karen I am excited for you, we had the best holiday ever x
Looks like you had a great time – my kids would love to go to Universal! We went to Orlando a couple of years ago but we focused on the Disney parks and didn’t have time to go to Universal. We’ll have to go back another time!
Greta we loved it, I think when we go back we will do two centres to get the best of both amazing worlds x
That looks like a lot of fun – especially for one day!! We’ve not been to Universal but I know that the kids would love to go, these are great tips for when we eventually make it there, thanks!
Thank you Katja, we had the most wonderful day and with a little planning Universal is so easy x
Really useful tips – just exploring a different bit of Florida but would love to visit Universal when my daughter’s older.
I must say our two love Universal we are yet to explore outside the parks but that is because when we are there we get so wrapped up in the Park Life x
I didn’t know the Simpsons were part of Universal – looks like some sort of heaven and my children would love it. Refillable drinks are always worth buying in my opinion, especially as they’re always ice cold refills. Love all of your photos – if we are ever lucky enough to visit, I’ll remember my shower cap 🙂
Ha ha, yes i will be taking one next time my poor hair looked horrific, to be honest I was having so much fun I wasn’t bothered but next time I will be prepared x
Sarah, I am so jealous right now! I adore Harry Potter and can’t wait to see all the pics. Sounds like you have had an amazing time. Another thing to add to my Florida wish list. We visited the Sentosa Universal Studios and totally agree that the express passes are well worth it 🙂 fab, informative post and love the pica
Nizbah I was just in my element at the Wizzarding World of Harry Potter it was just so so amazing, I cant wait to go back xx
Harry Potter sounds amazing, I would love to go for that alone. We just did Disneyland Paris, blimey so much organisation is required to get the most from these things! Love water rides too, these sound hilarious.
Penny the water rides are fab, yes we got soaked but we laughed so much. And yes you are so right planning is the key with them park holidays, but this year I really feel all the plaining payed of x
We absolutely loved it when we went. I will always remember running to Harry Potter world as the gates opened! We spent two days there and it was definitely worth it. We could have done more. It’s such an amazing place. My kids especially loved the Harry Potter stuff, Simpsons, Spiderman and Revenge of the Mummy. I enjoyed watching them enjoy themselves 🙂 (I’m not really a rides person…..)
Sarah, I love rides, but Harry Potter wow I was in my element, for a potter fab that first glimpse is just so magical isn’t it, I love moaning Murtle in the toilets too x
I’ve never been to Universal but it looks brilliant. I’m with you on the chucking money at the passes too, hate queues and faffing.
Don’t tell anyone, but I’ve never read a Harry Potter book or seen one of the films 🙂
Yes why queue when you can buy an express pass they are so worth it x
Just re-read am absorbing as much as I can at the moment!
Arghhh I am so excited for you Karen, I cant wait to go back again x