Universal Orlando is full of amazing things to experience and the sheer size of this theme park can be overwhelming for first time guests. Universal Orlando consists of two theme parks: Universal Studios Florida and Universal's Islands of Adventure. In addition to two theme parks, it also has its own water park called Volcano Bay. Whether you are spend one day at Universal or more, we have some of the best Universal Orlando tips to help you plan your vacation!
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1. Plan in Advance
This is takes our number one spot of Universal Orlando tips! This is a must for guests that may only be spending a day or two at Universal Orlando. Sit down with your group and decide what your priorities are. Between the rides, shows, dining, and entertainment you should plan in advance on what you absolutely need to do first and then make your way down the list throughout your day. Read our full guide to Universal Orlando to help you decide what you want to see and do first.
2. Consider Staying On Site
Guests that stay on-site at Universal Orlando hotels can enjoy great perks like early entry access, Universal Express Pass for select hotels, easy walking distance, character wake up calls, and room-key purchasing. If you want to do Universal Orlando right and want to make it the focus of your vacation, these perks are going to really maximize your experience. Staying on-site is a great way to achieve all of our Universal Orlando tips because of all the perks you receive.
3. Visit One Park Per Day
If you really want to see everything that Universal Orlando has to offer, spending two days enjoying the theme park is the best way to do it. Spend one day at Universal Studios Florida and one day at Universal's Islands of Adventure. This way you can arrive at both parks early and make your way throughout the day enjoying the rides and attractions of each park. Or for those that are really into Harry Potter, you could spend one day devoted entirely to Harry Potter and one day seeing everything else at both parks. Either way, two days will really help you experience it all making it one of the best Universal Orlando tips!
4. Splurge for Express Pass
If you only have one day to spend at Universal Orlando then consider splurging to purchase the Express Pass. The Express Pass at Universal gives you special access to a shorter line for major attractions and priority seating for shows. This can be a great time saver if you only have one day to spend! If you have more than one day, you can usually skip this if you're not going at a peak time of the year. But if you have the extra cash and want to avoid the lines, this can be one of the most popular Universal Orlando tips.
5. Universal Orlando Tips for the Potter Heads
If your main focus is the Wizarding World of Harry Potter then you definitely need to buy a park to park ticket which is the only way you can ride the Hogwarts Express! Find out how to get the best discount Universal Orlando tickets in our guide so you can get the best deal. The Wizarding World of Harry Potter is split up between the two parks with Hogsmeade located in Universal's Islands of Adventure and Diagon Alley in Universal Studios Florida. For guests that are visiting with Harry Potter as their main focus, you have to get that 2-park ticket to make sure you can see and enjoy everything.
For guests dedicated to Harry Potter and want to see the rest of the park, two days might be a wise choice so you can spend one day devoted just to Harry Potter and a second day to the rest of the parks.
If you have your heart set on Ollivander's, make sure to head there first thing in the morning as the lines for this experience will stay long throughout the day.
6. Arrive Early
Make sure that you arrive early so you can spend your morning focusing on rides! Decide which park you want to start your day off at and head there first thing in the morning before the gates open. Work through the park with your priority rides first on your list and then spend the afternoon enjoying park entertainment, dining, and shows. Similar to Walt Disney World, mornings are always going to have the lowest ride times for top attractions.
7. Use the Single Rider Line
If you don't mind being split up from your party consider utilizing the single rider line to bypass the long lines for the attractions. The single rider line is used to fill up gaps in ride vehicles meaning that you will jump quickly to the front of the line by using this option rather than sitting by your group.
8. Download the Universal Orlando App
Download the Universal Orlando app to help you plan your day while you're at the park. The official app will show you wait times for rides, shows, and allow you to plan your itinerary. You can also set alerts on the app so it'll notify you if popular rides have lower wait times!
9. Don't Bring Giant Backpacks
Most of the rides at Universal Orlando will ask you to lock up your belongings in lockers before you ride which can make traveling with a giant backpack a bit of a pain. And plus you really don't need that much gear for one day at a theme park, travel more light while still carrying the essentials to make the day much more relaxing.
10. Use Child Swap for Small Kids
For parents that want to ride thrill attractions but have kids that don't meet the height requirements, they can utilize the child swap rooms at Universal Orlando. The process is pretty easy, just tell the ride attendant you want to use child swap and one parent can ride while the other stays in the child swap room with the kiddos. Then once that parent is done riding, you can switch and the other parent can ride! This way you don't have to wait in line twice which is a great way to save time.
Plan Your Universal Orlando Vacation Today!
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You can discover more about planning your trip from these links:
- Walt Disney World Cheap Food Guide
- Discount Walt Disney World Tickets
- Walt Disney World Character Guide
- Guide to Epcot Food and Wine Festival
- Guide to Walt Disney World Transportation