10 Incredible Tips for the Best Trip to Universal Studios Florida
Plan your vacation the right way. Check out these 10 Incredible Tips for the Best Trip to Universal Studios Florida. Great advice for a fantastic vacation!
Are you planning a trip to Universal Studios Florida? We love it so much we got passes! There are so many tips and tricks to having a great trip that you don’t want to miss.
10 Incredible Tips for the Best Trip to Universal Studios
Stay On Property
STAY IN A UNIVERSAL EXPRESS PASS HOTEL – ROYAL PACIFIC, HARD ROCK, OR PORTOFINO BAY
Not only are the Universal hotels convenient, but your room at specific resorts includes TWO fabulous perks that will more than double what you can see in the parks: You get to enter either Islands of Adventure or Universal Studios one hour earlier than the general public (on really busy days both are open early), and every guest in your room gets a Universal Express Unlimited pass.
You get these perks for every day you are at the hotel – this means including the day you check-in and the day you check-out. Plus there is a ferry boat that takes you right to City Walk from the hotels along with a smaller security line, which means more time in the park! If you are going to take a trip to Universal Studios this is the way to do it!
Another added bonus is you can use your hotel key to make purchases in the park, so you don’t have to carry a wallet.
Check out why we loved the Cabana Bay Resort (even though it doesn’t come with the Express Passes)
Arrive Early & Stay Late
The parks peak time for visitors is from 10 am – 4 pm. So, if you really want to take advantage of everything the park has to offer, go early and stay late. This is much easier when you stay on site because of the 1-hour early entry. It is also nice to take a break in the afternoon back in your hotel or at City Walk and then come back to Universal from 4 pm till close to enjoy the park with fewer crowds.
Best Time of Year to Visit
Like every theme park, there are peak times of year for crowds. The best time of the year to visit Universal Studios Florida is September! The kids are back in school and it is hurricane season. This slows down the visitors at the parks. However, keep in mind that Halloween Horror Nights begins mid-September so Fridays and weekends get a little busier because of that.
Other great times to visit are January, October (minus Halloween Horror Nights), November (pre-Thanksgiving), and the first half of December.
Single Rider & Child Swap
If you don’t have an Express Pass, chances are you are going to have to wait in line for rides. However, if you don’t mind splitting up your party try the Single Rider lines on select rides. This will move you right to the front. They use the single riders to fill empty seats quickly. This means your wait times will decrease drastically!
Also, child swap is a fantastic feature if you are traveling with a little one that is too small or scared. Wait in line once and your spouse or partner can sit in a designated waiting area with your child. When they are done, you swap and your spouse goes to the front of the line.
Get the Photo Package
Don’t carry your camera around all day. Take advantage of the photographers that are all over the park. Snag a Universal Photo Package and get all of your photos for a low price. You will get unlimited digital downloads of all your theme park photos, and more. This is a great offer considering one picture can cost around $20.
Chances are you will buy a souvenir or two while you are at the park. Don’t get weighed down with your purchases. If you are staying on site have your items delivered to your room free of charge. If you do this, your package will arrive in your room between 9:00 am and 4:00 pm the next day. Because in-room package delivery occurs the next day, this service is not available the day before or the day of your check-out. However, you can still have purchases sent to the front of the parks on those days.
You can also have your purchases sent to the front of the park for pick up later in the day. If you would like to take advantage of this complimentary service, you just have to allow three to four hours for the package to be delivered to the shop adjacent to each park’s exit turnstiles.
Bring a Backpack
(update: Universal now charges for large lockers that are big enough to hold a backpack. Consider a small backpack or a fanny pack if you really must bring items into the park. They also have lockers near the entrance of both parks that are available for an ALL DAY rental. This is better than purchasing them individually at the rides if you need to bring a change of clothes or bigger items.)
A backpack is a lifesaver at Universal. You don’t want to pack too heavy, or it might not fit into a locker when you are riding rides. Think about including things like a refillable water bottle (filled for free at any restaurant in the park), sunscreen, hat, portable cell phone charger, and maybe a change of clothes (for after the water rides).
There is a lot of walking involved in Universal Studios and Islands of Adventure. The last time we went from Open until Close my Fitbit said we walked 7 -8 Miles that day. INSANE. Comfy shoes are a must! You don’t want to walk a blister on your feet. If you are going to do any water rides toss a pair of flip-flops in your backpack so your shoes don’t’ get squishy.
Download the App
The Universal App is a total lifesaver when you are in the parks. Not only does it include an interactive map so you know where you are, but you can get wait times, show times, and more. If it has to do with Universal you can find it on this app. It includes City Walk and Islands of Adventure info too!
Florida gets hot, and you don’t want to get dehydrated. The bottles of water in the park cost around $5 each. CRAZY! Little known fact is you can go into any restaurant at the park and ask for a cup of ice water. They will give you one for FREE! Plus, you can take a refillable water bottle with you, and they will fill it up at no charge. This is a huge tip for those hot Florida days! Learn more about where to get free water in Universal!
I hope that these tips help you have the BEST trip to Universal Studios. If you have any questions, feel free to drop them in the comments below.
Do you know if this is still true about water at the restaurants? I noticed that this article is from 2019. Do you have to rent a locker or can you just leave your bag at the loading area for the rides?
Small lockers are free for the rides. You only have to put your belongings in a locker on the rides that are a bit more rough; roller coasters, Harry Potter’s castle, Men in Black. It is for the saftey of the riders. As far as the water I know that all restaurants will still give you a cup of water for free if you ask. However I am unaware if they are still putting the carafes out. I am going to assume they are not.