How Many Days Are Needed at Universal Orlando?
A common question when planning a trip to Universal Orlando is how many days it takes to experience the resort, and that’s a solid question to ask. Universal Orlando has been expanding its resort over the years, adding new attractions, themed areas, and more. With so many things to do and places to explore, it can be a bit overwhelming to determine how many days you’ll need.
Many sources may tell you that you need a specific number of days to experience Universal Orlando, but we think this question is best answered on several factors: what you’re interested in doing and your budget. That’s because everyone has different interests and budgets, which will ultimately determine how many days you—and whoever you’re traveling with—need.
To best answer the question of how many days you need at Universal Orlando, we broke this guide down into scenarios/sections so that you can select which one best matches your case.
Experience it All: 3 Days or More
Universal Orlando is home to 2 theme parks (Universal Studios Florida and Islands of Adventure), 1 water park (Volcano Bay), and 1 dining/shopping/entertainment complex (Universal CityWalk). To experience them all, you’ll need to purchase the appropriate tickets that grant entry to each theme park and water park. It’s worth noting that this, of course, comes at a higher cost; however, the price tag may be within your budget. As for the Universal CityWalk complex, that’s free to enter, if you’re interested!
If you’ve determined that doing it all is within your budget, you’ll need at least 3 days at Universal Orlando’s destinations as a minimum.
How’d we get that number? 2 theme parks + 1 water park = 3 days. We consider all of Universal Orlando’s parks to be full-day experiences when taking into account all of the rides, shows, themed areas, and additional attraction offerings. Some of the parks can even be considered 2-day experiences if you wish to go at a leisurely pace, revisit attractions, and truly do everything.
Plus, there’s also Universal CityWalk located just outside the gates of Universal Studios Florida and Islands of Adventure (you’ll actually walk through the complex to get to the 2 theme parks). Universal CityWalk’s close proximity to the theme parks makes it easy to get to and serves as a great way to spend the evening and night after a day in the theme parks. The complex has some pretty awesome dining locations, entertainment offerings, and shops.
As you can see, Universal Orlando has quite a lot to do. 3 days is simply a bare minimum in order to visit all destinations, but your priorities can easily extend that. If you wish to do more than 3 days, a Universal Orlando annual or seasonal pass may be a better value for you than regular park tickets. We advise comparing the costs between the two to determine which option may be the most cost-effective. To further enhance your trip, you can use our free Universal Orlando planning guide, equipped with planning resources and information about the resort.
The Common Trip: 2 Days or More
Universal Orlando’s theme parks are often the main drawing point for visitors, and the resort has 2 of them. If theme parks are your priority, not water parks, we recommend the common trip length of at least 2 days—so 1 day per park.
We consider the parks full-day experiences, so we recommend spending the entire day in each park, especially if you want to get your money’s worth. Additionally, we recommend not purchasing a park-to-park ticket unless it’s within your budget and/or you wish to ride the Hogwarts Express, which requires this ticket type.
In most cases, 2 days total gives you adequate time to experience many of the parks’ offerings, but if you want to do everything in the parks, you may want to consider spending an extra day at each park. Doing so will give you ample time to re-visit your favorite attractions and take things more slowly so that you can better appreciate the themed areas, live entertainment offerings, and more. This comes at a slightly higher cost, but the cost per day gets reduced with each additional day.
As a free bonus, you can also visit Universal CityWalk, a dining, shopping, and entertainment complex. The complex is just in front of Universal Studios Florida and Islands of Adventure, making it easy to get to and serving as a great way to spend the evening and night after a day in the theme parks.
No matter how many days you ultimately decide to do, our free Universal Orlando planning guide will help you get the most out of your trip.
Just for the Day: 1 Day
It’s not feasible to experience Universal Orlando in just a single day, but time and money may prevent you from extending your stay. To help you maximize your time, you can use our free Universal Orlando planning guide, equipped with planning resources and information about the resort.
If you’re unable to visit Universal Orlando for more than a day, we highly recommend visiting Islands of Adventure. It’s arguably Universal Orlando’s best theme park, featuring incredibly themed ”islands,” world-class rides and attractions, and more. If it’s within your budget, a park-to-park ticket may be a good option for you so that you can get a taste of both theme parks (Universal Studios Florida and Islands of Adventure). The theme parks are located right next to each other, making it easy to park-hop. A park-to-park ticket will also grant you access to the Hogwarts Express, which can be used to park hop.
To conclude your day, you can spend the evening and night at Universal CityWalk. The complex is located just in front of Universal Studios Florida and Islands of Adventure and has a variety of fantastic restaurants, entertainment offerings, and shops.
If you can budget for more than one day, we highly recommend doing so. It may be less costly than you think since the cost per day is less when you add more days. You simply cannot truly experience Universal Orlando on such a short trip. Our other scenarios may be a better fit for your trip.