Universal Orlando is a popular tourist destination that is famous for its thrilling rides, attractions, and entertainment. From Harry Potter-themed lands to world-class roller coasters, both theme parks at the resort – Islands of Adventure and Universal Studios – have something for everyone. In this article, we will cover a my essential tips for visiting Universal Orlando parks.
Be an Early Riser
If you’re staying at a Universal Orlando hotel, take advantage of the resort’s early entry program. It’s a really great way to beat the crowds and enjoy some of the park’s most popular areas and attractions before everyone else arrives. Check the resort calendar for the park participation schedule.
Know When to Hold ‘em
If you’re using Early Entry at Islands of Adventure, save your ride on Hagrid’s Motorbike Adventure until later in the day. The reasoning is simple – the attraction open is often delayed, and lines build quickly. Instead, experience nearby attractions with minimal waits during this time and ride Hagrid’s later in the day when waits are likely nearly the same or less.
You’ll find single-rider lines at a majority of Universal Orlando attractions. The single-rider line is a separate queue for people who are willing to split up from their group to fill empty seats on rides with height-restrictions. This line often moves much faster than the regular line, so if you don’t mind sitting with strangers, it’s worth considering. You can find the single-rider line designation at each participating attraction entrance.
Use the Express Lane
If you’re visiting at a particularly busy time, it may make sense to consider purchasing Universal Orlando’s version of line-skip. Learn more about Express Pass.
Enjoy a Weekday
This can be a great way to beat the crowds and enjoy the park at a more relaxed pace. A higher percentage of locals visit Universal Orlando on weekends, so visiting on weekdays can potentially offer shorter wait times for popular attractions.
Swap Your Children
When traveling with littles, Universal Orlando’s Child Swap prevents a family from waiting multiple times if an adult has to stay with a child that can’t ride an attraction. Unlike Disney Parks, however, everyone goes through the line, and the waiting adult and child branch off to a waiting area once the party reaches attraction boarding.
Universal Orlando’s mobile app is absolutely essential to have if visiting the resort. You get things like wait times, show times, and mobile ordering. Another feature of the app is the interactive park map, which can help you navigate through the different themed lands and find your way to your favorite attractions. Download it ahead of your visit so you are familiar.
Go Mobile (Pt 2)
Speaking of the mobile app, on our last visit to the resort, Universal Orlando’s mobile ordering worked flawlessly. We were able to skip lengthy ordering lines at eateries and had our food upon arrival in no time. Mobile ordering is simple to use and is really helpful during the busy lunch and dinner time frames.
Buy and Ship
If you’re planning on doing some shopping or buying souvenirs at Universal Orlando, then you might want to consider using the package pick-up service that’s available on-site. Using package pick-up is easy. When you make a purchase at one of the Universal Orlando stores, simply ask the cashier about the service. They’ll provide you with a pick-up location and a time frame for when your packages will be available. More details here.
One of the more unique experiences Universal offers is the ability to take free, unpublicized tours of attractions
For example, the Men in Black Immigration Tour is a backstage tour of Men in Black: Alien Attack at Universal Studios. During the tour, guests get an exclusive look at the attraction’s detailed queue area and learn about the ride’s backstory and creation.
Other attractions offering backstage tours include Revenge of the Mummy, Race Through New York – Starring Jimmy Fallon, Reign of Kong, Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey, Incredible Hulk, and Velocicoaster. Inquire about availability with a team member at an attraction entrance.
Hogs Head is an iconic pub located in the Wizarding World of Harry Potter at Universal Orlando’s Islands of Adventure park. This popular spot is named after the popular Hogwarts house mascot and is located next to Three Broomsticks in Hogsmeade. Hog’s Head is where you want to head if lines at Butterbeer carts grow long. You’ll typically find shorter wait for the same thing inside of Hog’s Head.
Best Tip of All?
Whether you’re a first-time visitor or a seasoned theme park pro, these tips for visiting Universal Orlando parks can help you make the most of your time and money. And if you’re planning a Universal Orlando vacation, might I suggest the best tip of all?
Consider a theme park travel planner.
I’ve spent years learning the ins and outs of theme park vacation planning and would love to help you plan your next visit to destinations like Walt Disney World, Disneyland, and Universal Orlando. I can also help with non-theme park vacations like Disney Cruise Line, Adventures by Disney, and Aulani Resort.
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