Universal Orlando tips

by Female Abroad

My biggest tip is to download the Universal Studios Orlando App.

This app will let you place mobile food orders, allow you to grab Virtual Line spots (select attractions) which means you do not have to physically wait in line to ride and you can go do other things, provides maps, accurate ride wait times, if you drove you can enter where you parked so you can remember, notifications on schedule changes (example: a ride goes down, a line is super short, a show is about to start), you can set a “to-do” / “to ride” list, and so much more. This really helps you not only determine what your must do items may be but also plan routes to it and also so you do not forget to cross it off your to-do list. If you are wanting to also do some extra planning, Apple Podcasts features the Discover Universal podcast which provides tips, behind the scenes info, and more. A great way to kill sometime in lines is also to check out the app to try to plan what you want to do next or later in the day as there are usually things you miss in the early planning stages or maybe you did not think you had time to do them.

With the app downloaded and looking into Florida’s seasons I usually skip looking at a crowd calendar. When I was a travel agent, I was always asked “when is the best day to visit Universal Studios Orlando” and that question has a multifaceted answer. Typically holidays, anytime kids are out of school, and weekends will be busy. Hurricane seasons, midweek (Tuesday - Thursday) and when kids will be in school will be quieter. Earlier in the day will be quieter than later in the day except the heat of the day / lunch time when people hide or eat. If one park has the early morning, go to the early morning, and then hop over to the other park as most people will stay in the park in the early morning. If I can, I usually travel in mid-January to the end of February, May, or September as this means I miss Spring Break, Summer Break, and then the ramping up of the fall holidays that lead into Christmas.

If you have to go during peak season then make sure to plan out what rides you want to do and get to the park early. Once there, try to do any rides in the back left of the park and work your way forward. This is because most people go to the right and try to do the rides closest to the park gates then move towards the back. Use the app and keep an eye on ride times. Rides near shows usually have shorter lines during shows and if there are any big events like parades or fireworks then the ride lines will also shorten. Another thing to note is if you are going in peak season or for a special event (Halloween is a lot of fun if you like horror!) then make sure to get a skip the line pass like the Universal Express Pass especially if you are there for only one or two days. It really makes a huge difference in the quality of your trip if it is something you can afford.

Travelling with smaller kids? There is a Child Swap program where a person can stay with the child, the rest of the party rides, and then the person who waited with the child then they get their chance to ride. Plan a Meet Up spot in case the group gets separated and also give your child a note with your contact information or you can get temporary tattoos that allow you to fill in the information with a sharpie; then you know they won’t lose it. Diaper changing stations are found in all restrooms in the park and the first aid locations featuring a nursing station where mom and baby can find a relaxing spot to rest for a while. You can bring your own stroller or rent them in the park and make sure to bring an extra change of clothes and snacks!

Whether travelling with kids or not, make sure to bring a sunscreen that works in humidity (like a waterproof or active/sport one) and reapply it often. Also make time to take breaks in the shade and keep hydrated. Sun and heat stroke are no joke and also you may not even realize you have it until it is too late.

Things to pack: sunscreen (and put it on before you go!), a change of clothes if you are going on the water rides as they get you soaked, check the weather and dress for it, comfortable shoes, sunglasses, bottled water, snack bars, medication (Health Services can help with storing medication like insulin), if you can skip the backpack or purse as security has to check it before you enter and depending on the ride you may have to put it into a locker which are both things that slow you down.