Our Guide on Mistakes to Avoid at Walt Disney World is one of our most popular posts. Therefore we figured it would be useful for a similar post on Mistakes to Avoid at Universal Orlando. There is a lot less tips online to have a great time at Universal Orlando in comparison to Walt Disney World. While many of your strategies for visiting any park in Orlando is the same, there are some specific things to note when visiting Universal Orlando. If you avoid these common Universal Orlando Mistakes, you will have a great vacation.
Attempt it all in 1 day.
Pace yourself Universal Orlando is not small. While it might be smaller than Walt Disney World there is still a lot to see.
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.
Not getting tickets in advance or only getting vouchers.
Ticket lines are often very long at Universal, often over 1 hour, and if you don’t buy in advance be ready to wait in line.
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.
Not getting a Park to Park Ticket
To ride the Hogwarts Express you must have a Park to Park Ticket. Missing this fantastic attraction in our opinion is a big mistake. Only consider buying a Single Park ticket if you have previously ridden the Hogwarts Express.
Not Riding the Hogwarts Express to get between the parks
The Hogwarts Express is a great attraction, but also it saves your legs. While you can walk easily between Universal Studios & Islands of Adventure it does take time. Take a break from the heat and ride the Hogwarts Express.
Not recording your ticket numbers
What do you do if you lose your ticket? It is easy if you have recorded your ticket number, Guest Services will reissue you a ticket.
We learned the hard way and had to phone the UK to get our ticket numbers.
Not Getting an Express Pass if the Parks are going to be busy
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
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. Visit our Guide to learn more about Express Pass and the other ways to obtain a pass.
Not using the Single Rider Line
Does it matter who you ride next to?
Many attractions at Universal have a Single Rider Line and waits are usually significantly less.
If you decide against purchasing an Express Pass use the single rider line.
Not downloading the Universal Orlando Resort App
Make the Universal Orlando Resort App your best friend when visiting the parks.
The Universal Orlando Resort App allows you to store tickets, access wait times, showtimes 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.
Free Wifi is available throughout Universal Orlando, so you can access the App anywhere! The Universal Orlando Resort App is available at both the Apple App Store & The Google Play Store.
You forget the sunscreen.
A lot of the attractions at Universal Orlando are inside, but you will spend considerable time under the Orlando sun.
In summer many of us will find our skin will burn & the Orlando Sun can be unforgiving. Plenty of sunscreen and a good hat is required when visiting the parks.
Our Guide to Orlando Weather has plenty of tips and tricks.
Wearing new shoes.
Make sure your shoes are worn in and comfortable you will be doing a lot of walking. Did you know the British Queen hires someone to wear in her shoes?
Not having a break.
Many people will take a break during the mid-afternoon when the parks are at their busiest and hottest. Consider returning to your hotel for a few hours. If you decide to stay in the parks, make sure you take plenty of time out & don’t skip meal breaks.
Not bringing park essentials
Make a list of what you need, e.g. camera, autograph book, poncho. Pack your bag the night before and recheck it in the morning. Don’t bring too much into the park as you will have to carry it all day, also make sure your bag isn’t too big.
Don’t bring a large bag into the park!
Many of the attractions at Universal Orlando make you use free lockers to store your belongings before you ride.
However, the lockers are not very big, and recently they became even smaller at many attractions. If your bag is too big, there are larger “expensive” lockers available. Avoid using 1 bag for the whole family and split your belongings into several smaller bags.
Not arriving early
Parks are quieter in the morning and waiting times will be less.
In addition, mornings are cooler & you can avoid those daily summer afternoon storms.
Not using Child Swap
Most attractions have height restrictions at Universal Orlando. However, this does not mean you can’t ride!
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 an air-conditioned waiting room, with a parent while the rest of the family ride. Once the first group is 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.
Visiting Poseidon’s Fury
Last year we wondered why we had not done Poseidon’s Fury for over 10 years.
We now know!….. Skip it. It is the worse attraction at Universal Orlando.
Not using Early Park Admission
Universal Orlando Hotels are fantastic and one of the best perks is early park admission. Each day either Universal Studios or Islands of Adventure opens for one hour before the scheduled opening for Hotel Guests and Select Groups.
We often advise avoiding Extra Magic Hours at Walt Disney World but Early Park Admission at Universal attracts much smaller crowds. Early admission is a fantastic opportunity to see the Wizarding World of Harry Potter with fewer guests.
The park opening early does vary, and so does the attractions which open. Click the link to get the latest information.
Buying more than one Butter Beer
Have you tasted a Butter Beer? They are an acquired taste!
Going straight to Harry Potter
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 elsewhere when everyone else is visiting Harry Potter.
However, remember Hagrid’s Magical Creatures Motorbike Adventure might change this advice.
Not looking up the latest information on Hagrid’s Magical Creatures Motorbike Adventure
Hagrid’s Magical Creatures Motorbike Adventure is probably the hottest attraction in Orlando. However, you probably will have seen that Universal has been having a few teething issues since the attraction launched.
Hagrid’s Magical Creatures Motorbike Adventure has been having issues with reliability and at the time of writing is still not running at maximum ride capacity. Have a look at forums, including this one, to see the latest advice.
Read More about 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
Have a look at our Top Tips when Visiting Universal Orlando in 2019