The BEST Universal Orlando Tips from a Local Orlando Pro – read on to find out my top tips for visiting!
Living in Orlando, FL means that we are SO close to Universal Orlando as well as all of the Walt Disney World parks. We visit the parks more than I can keep track of, and we LOVE it!
Over the years of visiting Orlando and living here for a few years means that we have collected tons of tips and tricks tips & tricks to help us avoid crowds, save money and have fun. Today I am sharing those secrets with YOU! Read on to learn our best Universal Orlando Tips and Tricks for 2019.
The BEST Universal Orlando Tips from an Orlando Pro (and local)- including Universal Studios Orlando Hotels
1. Stay on property – We recently had the chance to stay on property at Cabana Bay Beach Resort and it made ALL of the difference in the world when visiting Universal Orlando. Yes, you can certainly get a cheaper hotel in Orlando nearby to the parks. However, staying on property at some of the Universal resorts gives you FREE Universal Express Passes which allow you to front of the line privileges at many of the most popular attractions. Those three hotels are:
Loews Portofino Bay Hotel
Hard Rock Hotel®
Loews Royal Pacific Resort
All of the Universal resorts include Early Park Admission to The Wizarding World of Harry Potter™ and Universal’s Volcano Bay one hour before the park opens.
We recently had the chance to stay at Cabana Bay Beach Resort on Universal property and had a blast! You can read more about it here.
2. Get the Park to Park tickets – There’s SO much to see at both Universal Studios Florida and Universal’s Islands of Adventure. If you want the full experience, including the Hogwarts Express, you have to visit both parks. Even if you only have one day, it’s possible to have a great time at two parks without feeling overwhelmed. We’ve done both in one day and it’s always a great time!
3. Get there early and leave late – If you’re staying on property you’ll have access to the parks earlier than regular guests. Even if you’re not staying on property you’ll want to plan to arrive early so you can avoid the major crowds that will start to happen as the morning goes on. You’ll be able to breeze through lines on some of your favorite attractions by getting to the parks early and staying late (when most people have gone back to their hotels for dinner and bedtime).
4. Plan for at least 4 days – If you don’t live local like we do, it would be your best bet to stay at least 4 days at Universal Orlando. This will give you enough time to visit not only Universal Studios Florida, Universal’s Islands of Adventure, and CityWalk, but also allow you time to visit Volcano Bay – which is the newest water park at Universal. They have amazing water rides, two lazy rivers, and so much more!
5. Plan to enjoy your hotel’s amenities and pool – The resorts at Universal have SO much to offer. When we stayed at Cabana Bay Beach Resort we allowed ourselves one whole afternoon away from the parks simply to relax and enjoy the pools, waterslide, lazy river, drinks, food, bowling (yes, there is a bowling alley at Cabana Bay), and more! Each resort is unique in what it offers to guests so I definitely recommend planning for one “down” day to relax at the resort – it is a vacation, after all.
6. TAKE LOTS OF PHOTOS! – I mean, I am a blogger and a photographer here in Orlando (and available to come to the resorts/parks with you!), so I am partial to taking ALL of the photos. But seriously, take them, print them and reminisce about all of the fun you had at Universal.
7. Bring a power source – Universal Studios Resort app is amazing, and you’re going to want to use it to help you navigate through the parks. Definitely bring a power bank to help keep your phone charged while you’re at the parks.
8. Take advantage of Child Swap!! – One of my favorite ways to beat the crowds when traveling with infants and toddlers is by utilizing the “child swap” program at Universal. It’s seriously the BESTHow this Universal Orlando Tip . The “child swap” allows families traveling with little ones to wait in the queue together once while allowing both adults a turn to ride.works is one parent stays off the ride and waits in the designated “child swap room” with the child who is not tall enough to ride. The rest of the family goes on the ride. When they are finished the parents swap roles and the parent who initially stayed back is given a chance to ride without having to wait in line again. Instead, they simply walk to the front of the line in the “child swap” designated area. The BEST part of this is the added benefit of using the “child swap” is the second parent can take up to 3 guests with them. Which means several people in the family get to ride twice! SCORE!
9. Visit the Wizarding World of Harry Potter later in the day – the first thing that most people do is RUSH back to the Wizarding World of Harry Potter as soon as they get to the park….and it’s CROWDED. I would advise going later in the day/early evening when people start heading back to their hotels for dinner to try to avoid the crowds.
10. PLAN out your route before you go – This is especially helpful if you’re traveling with a group of varying ages. Little ones will enjoy Suess Landing, KrustyLand, and other areas with rides designated for smaller children. Meanwhile, older kids, teens, and adults will want to hit up The Incredible Hulk coaster, Hollywood Rip Ride Rockit, and other rides for taller/older guests. Planning out your days will help to ensure everyone in your group has a great trip to Universal Orlando!