Are you planning to visit Universal Orlando in 2019? Here is our Universal Orlando Resort Tips & Tricks to get the most from your vacation. Universal Orlando is a growing resort and now features two theme parks, a water park, several hotels and an entertainment district. Due to the size of the resort, it is easy to get overwhelmed. Our helpful Universal Orlando Tips & Tricks will make sure you have a great vacation.
Don’t attempt it all in one day
Once upon a time, you could do Universal in one day. However; in recent times the parks have expanded rapidly. You will now struggle to complete either park in 1 day even with an Express Pass.
We think three days minimum is now required to enjoy Universal Studios & Islands of Adventure fully. Plus, if you plan to visit Volcano Bay make it 4.
Get an Express Pass if the parks are going to be busy
We prefer the Disney free Fastpass+ system, but if you want to skip the queues at Universal, an Express Pass is essential. Universal Express Pass allows you priority boarding at the majority of attractions at Universal Orlando Resort. Just present your pass at participating attractions to bypass the regular lines. You will join a shorter Express Pass line and have a reduced wait compared to the regular line.
In quiet periods an Express Pass is probably not required but during summer and holidays, it is a necessity. However; it does add a lot to the cost of your vacation. Several other options can get you in that Express Pass line
- If you are visiting on more than one occasion during the year or you will be visiting for several days, it is worth checking out Univeral’s Annual Pass. Some of the passes come with a limited Express Pass option.
- If you are booking one of Universal’s VIP experiences, these come with Express Pass.
- Consider staying in a select Universal Resort Hotel…read our next tip.
If you decide against purchasing an Express Pass, you can still have a great time. In our opinion, you should arrive early and don’t head straight to Harry Potter. Other attractions will have much shorter waits in the first few hours. Complete as many rides as possible before heading to Harry Potter. Make sure you also use Single Rider lines where these are available.
Spiderman Islands of Adventure Universal Orlando Resort Tips & Tricks
Most attractions have height restrictions at Universal Orlando. However, all rides at both Universal Studios and Islands of Adventure have a Child Swap facility. Child Swap allows the rest of a family to ride an attraction when a child is either too small or young to experience the ride.
The young child sits, usually in a dedicated waiting room, with a parent while the rest of the family ride. Once the first group are off the ride, parents swap supervision and the rest of the family ride without waiting. To use Child Swap at Universal Orlando speak to the cast member on the entrance to the ride.
Download the Universal Orlando Resort App
Free WiFi is available at Universal Orlando. The Universal Orlando Resort App is available at both the Apple App Store & The Google Play Store. You should download the App before you visit. The App will help you have a great time while at Universal Orlando.
The App allows you to store tickets, access wait times, show times and more. There are handy interactive maps, and the app will even save where your car is parked. You can now preorder food from select restaurants using the Universal Orlando Resort App.
Stay in one of the Universal Resorts
Universal Resorts are great fun, and you get early admission into the Wizarding World of Harry Potter as part of your package.
Also, if you stay in Portofino Bay, Hard Rock or Royal Pacific an Express Pass is included in the price. Often this can work out cheaper than buying an Express Pass for each member of your party. Indeed, if there are 3 or 4 of you in the same room, this can be a very cost-effective option.
Get tickets in advance
Tickets are always cheaper in advance for everyone. Exclusive tickets are available for specific countries if you buy before you travel. These often work out a lot less expensive than you can buy in the US. We live in the UK and tickets purchased in the UK offer a considerable saving.
Whatever tickets you decide to purchase, get a hard ticket, not a voucher. Vouchers have to be exchanged on arrival at Universal and this can mean joining a very long line at the ticket booths.
Ticket lines are often very long at Universal and if you don’t buy in advance be ready to wait in line.
Use Single Rider Line
If you decide against purchasing an Express Pass use the single rider line. Guests ride apart, but waits are usually significantly less. Often these waits are even less than the Express Line.
Record your ticket numbers
What do you do if you lose your ticket? It is easy if you have recorded your ticket number.
We learnt the hard way and had to phone the UK to get them back.
Buy a Park to Park Ticket
It is surprising that Universal still sell single park options. However; if you want to ride the Hogwarts Express, you must have a Park to Park ticket.
Skip Poseidon’s Fury
In July we wondered why we had not done this for over 10 years.
We now know!…..Skip it.
Avoid Harry Potter first thing
Crowds are larger, and waits are longer in the early morning at the Wizarding World of Harry Potter. Visit in the afternoon when crowds will have reduced. Plus you will get more rides done when everyone else is visiting Harry Potter.
Remember if you are staying in one of the Universal Resorts you get early entry to Harry Potter before the crowds arrive.
Read More from Universal Orlando
Our Guide to Universal Orlando is a great place to start planning any vacation
Here is our list of Must-Dos at Universal Orlando for 2019