Tips for Visiting Universal Orlando

We’ve compiled our top tips for visiting Universal Orlando to ensure you maximize your time in the parks and get the most out of your vacation.

Getting Your Ticket

  • Purchase your tickets in advance to save time during your trip.
  • Purchase your tickets either directly from Universal Orlando or from a trusted retailer.

Where to Stay

  • If your budget allows for it, stay at a Universal Orlando on-site hotel. Each hotel features fantastic accommodations, amazing pool areas and other activities, and its own unique theme, making them truly special. Additionally, you’ll enjoy benefits like early park admission and complimentary transportation at all on-site hotels. Staying at a Universal Orlando Premier on-site hotel allows you to take advantage of complimentary Universal Express, so you can skip the regular lines at participating rides and attractions.
  • If a Universal Orlando on-site hotel doesn’t match your budget, browse hotels nearby and take note of online reviews. Some hotels may provide complimentary shuttles to Universal Orlando.

What to Pack

  • Bring a small bag to the parks so that you can pack your belongings, including personal items, snacks, water, etc.
  • Bring an empty reusable bottle so that you can refill it with free refills of water in the parks.
  • Always pack a poncho when visiting. They provide more overall coverage than umbrellas and are easier to use in heavy crowds. Florida may be known as the sunshine state, but thunderstorms are common, especially during the summer. It’s better to be prepared for the weather; otherwise, you may be spending money on more expensive ponchos in the parks.
  • Pack a portable fan to keep cool in the heat, especially during the summer.
  • Bring sunscreen to protect your skin from the effects of the sun.
  • If you’re visiting during wintertime, keep track of the weather in the area at least a week prior to your trip. If cool/cold weather is expected, pack warm clothing.
  • Be sure to bring comfortable shoes. You’ll probably be walking all day your entire trip. Comfortable shoes are essential to getting through the day.
  • Consider packing a portable charger to keep your phone charged throughout the day.
  • Adults should always carry their passport or ID when visiting Universal Orlando. They may be required for park entry or to purchase alcoholic beverages.
  • If you plan to visit Volcano Bay or go on a water ride at a regular theme park, bring towels and flip-flops.

Avoiding the Lines

  • Use our FREE Universal Orlando crowd calendar to determine which days are best for your trip.
  • Use our FREE touring plans and resources to get the most out of your trip.
  • Download the official Universal Orlando Resort mobile application on the App Store or Google Play Store to view wait times for attractions in the parks. You can use the app to easily view which attractions have short lines and long lines. You can use this information to decide which attractions to ride.
  • Arrive ahead of park opening to be one of the first to experience the attractions and shows in the parks. If you’re staying at a Universal Orlando on-site hotel, you can take advantage of early park admission.
  • Consider using the Single Riders line to experience shorter wait times for some attractions. You may be separated from your group, but you can reduce your time in line for popular attractions.
  • Consider purchasing a Universal Express pass during the busiest days to skip the regular lines at most attractions. If you’re staying at a premier Universal Orlando on-site hotel, you’ll receive complimentary passes (these passes are not valid for Halloween Horror Nights).

Saving Money

  • Select annual passes are eligible for discounts at various stores and dining locations throughout Universal. If your pass offers such discounts, simply show your card at a participating location.
  • Bring a small snack to avoid purchasing unnecessary food. Ensure the food you pack complies with Universal Orlando’s policies and restrictions. Click here to learn more about food items prohibited in the parks.
  • Don’t purchase water. Rather, bring an empty bottle and enjoy free refills at Coca-Cola Freestyle machines and select dining locations located throughout the park.
  • If you plan to have soft drinks, consider purchasing a Coca-Cola Freestyle cup at select stores and dining locations throughout Universal Orlando. With an activated Coca-Cola Freestyle cup, you can enjoy refills for an entire day. Afterward, your cup can be reactivated for a fee to receive additional refills.

Getting Through the Day

  • Try to limit the number of items you bring to the park. It can be a hassle to carry a lot of items all day long. If needed, consider renting a locker for a fee. Free lockers are also available at attractions that prohibit loose articles.
  • Dress comfortably for the day. Be sure that the shoes you’re wearing provide enough cushion and aren’t tight.
  • Take short breaks throughout the park, if needed. Walking and standing all day can be tiring. Sitting down and stretching can help relieve your discomfort.
  • Drink cool beverages throughout the day to stay hydrated. You can take advantage of free cups of water at any dining location or purchase a Coca-Cola Freestyle cup for refills of soft drinks throughout the day. Bottled water, however, is an additional charge.

Traveling with Children

  • Assign a designated meet-up location where your child is likely to remember and locate. Should your child get lost, you can meet them at that location.
  • You and your child can alert a Universal Orlando team member should you become separated. Doing so will help locate your child.
  • Take advantage of Universal Orlando’s Child Swap service. The service is designed to accommodate those traveling with younger guests. If a child does not meet an attraction’s boarding requirements or doesn’t want to experience an attraction, all other members can still experience that attraction with no hassle. With Child Swap, at least one guest waits with non-riders while the rest of the group enjoys the attraction. When they return, the supervising guest(s) can then experience the attraction without waiting in the regular line again while the other members watch after non-riders. Child Swap is available at select attractions. Check with a team member at the entrance to the attraction you’d like to experience to see if this service is available for that attraction. If so, you can inform the team member that you’d like to utilize it, and they will provide additional information.
  • Experience the various kid-friendly areas located at all parks. These areas feature experiences specifically created for children.

Going on a Water Ride

  • If you have a lot of items with you, consider renting a locker when visiting a water ride. Although these lockers charge a fee, they’ll keep your valuables safe and prevent any water damage.
  • If you aren’t visiting with many items, bring waterproof sealable bags. You can use them to prevent your items from getting wet. Simply place them inside the bag and seal them.
  • Pack a towel so that you can dry off afterward.
  • Wear flip-flops on water rides so your shoes aren’t soaked all day. You can switch to your shoes afterward.
  • Consider bringing extra clothes to change out of your wet ones.

Have a tip you’d like to share with our readers? Submit it to [email protected] with the subject titled “Universal Orlando Tips.”