Guides and Tips

Guide to the Best Photo Spots at Universal Orlando Resort

December 6, 2023
Woman Standing at USF Bridge

Did it even happen if you didn’t get the pic?  

A getaway to Universal Orlando Resort should be nothing short of thrills and adventure, with photos to capture the awesome moments along the way.

Whether you are a frequent visitor or plan to visit Universal Orlando Resort for the first time, keep reading for the perfect Instagram feed — we’ve got the roundup of our best photo ops, favorite hidden gems and iconic spots.  

Universal Islands of Adventure  

Islands of Adventure Lighthouse 

*Cue the beginning of the best day ever* 

The most exciting start to your vacation is approaching the lighthouse with a huge plaque that reads “Islands of Adventure.” You just know it’s going to be a great day! Head to the end of the bridge closest to the entrance, prop your arm up on the railing, and grab a shot in front of this iconic beacon of adventure. 

Oh, the Truffula Trees! in Seuss Landing

TruffleTreeForrest

One of the first lands past the entrance to Islands of Adventure is Seuss Landing, where you can get lost walking among Dr. Seuss’ stories and characters brought to life. For a pop of color and fun, capture a photo in the walkway among trees unlike anything you’ll ever see — the famous Truffula Trees looming high overhead.  

Bridge to Hogwarts Castle in The Wizarding World of Harry Potter Hogsmeade

Photo Credit: @ccurto and @runwithchels

If you are looking for the perfect shot with Hogwarts castle as your backdrop, this is an incredible spot to capture it. With the right angle, you can capture the view of the entire castle as well as the breathtaking scenery For your shot, we recommend grabbing a frozen Butterbeer or …sporting your favorite Hogwarts house gear. 

PRO TIP: A couple of other great photo ops in this section of the park are in front of the Hogwarts Express with the conductor, or at one of the many picturesque storefronts in Hogsmeade.

Raptor Encounter at Jurassic Park 

Raptor Encounter

If you’re a “Jurassic Park” and “Jurassic World” fan, you have to add this to your list of stops. This is as real as it gets as you’ll get to see a dinosaur up close and personal. But watch out — Raptors do like to steal the spotlight! 

PRO TIP: Now that you’ve met a dinosaur, race alongside the whole Raptor Pack at Jurassic World VelociCoaster! On-ride photos are some of the best photos you can get in the theme parks.

Entrance to The Amazing Adventures of Spider-Man 

Spider-Man
Photo Credit: @mybeachytribe

Photo Credit: @mybeachytribe

All of Marvel Super Hero Island looks like it is straight out of a comic book, but one of the coolest parts is the entrance to the Spider-Man attraction. Crouch down and extend your arms into web-slinging position for a fun action shot. 

HONORABLE MENTION

The archway entrance from Jurassic Park looks exactly like the one in the movies and makes for a great photo op location. And, as you make your way to Toon Lagoon, be sure to keep your eyes peeled for some quirky comic strip backdrops and signage for photo ops. 

Universal Studios Florida  

New York’s Central Park 

Everywhere you turn in this theme park is a picturesque movie-scape, from New York City to San Francisco. When you stroll through New York, be sure to take a few minutes to head to Central Park and take a break on the lawn. If you position your camera just right, you can capture Hollywood Rip Ride Rockit in the distance. Your picture will look like a New York scene, only with the added bonus of a really cool roller coaster in the background.

Alleyway of Delancey Street 

In between your favorite thrills and right across from fan-favorite The Mummy, walk through some of the park’s alleys like Delancey Street in the New York area! Find a doorway and footstep among the brick buildings reminiscent of the streets of New York and sit along the doorframe. Instagram Stories’ lovers: this is a great vertical shot!

PRO TIP:  The key here is to create triangles in the angles of your pose or photo to elevate what the result looks like. Bending your legs does the trick!   

Transformers Meet and Greet

Transformers character meet and greet

This has to be one of the coolest opportunities for a photo in the park. If you want your moment to meet AND pose alongside Bumblebee or Optimus Prime, head over to Transformers: The Ride —  3D. You can get a long shot with a Transformers bot towering above you, or even take a selfie with one. They love the camera! 

Hollywood Rip Ride Rockit  

Not only is this one of the best roller coasters in the entire resort, but it also makes for a neat photo op, across from the “subway station”. It is not in a crowded area, and if you time it perfectly, you can capture the coaster zooming above you.  

New York Subway 

This low-key subway photo op has to be one of my personal favorites. We recommend getting a side angle shot of you walking up the steps as though you just arrived at your dream destination. It makes for a perfect New York moment.

The Wizarding World of Harry Potter – Diagon Alley & Hogwarts Express: King’s Cross Station

Photo Credit: @ michaelkielphoto

There are so many options here for Potter fans, I just had to share a handful! As you curiously peruse through the many wonders of Diagon Alley, be open to some unique sights and plenty of photo ops.

  • Once you enter, be sure to stop and get a photo with the “Wayfaring Wizards Welcomed” sign. 
  • Time your picture just right and you can catch the fire-breathing dragon above the wizarding bank before on into Harry Potter and the Escape from Gringotts.
  • Pose with your Butterbeer next to one of the many immaculately themed walls or doors throughout this bustling shopping district.
  • On your way to King’s Cross Station in London, step inside the phone booth and capture the moment. You can even snap more photos at Platform 9 3/4 before hopping aboard the Hogwarts Express.

Springfield, U.S.A. Donut with a View 

Photo Credit: opticalindavisionplus

Probably one of the most iconic desserts at Universal, “The Big Pink” is a must-try over at Lard Lad Donuts. It is truly large enough to split among your crew, but before diving right in, hold up the glorious pink donut for a cute photo.  

Lombard’s Seafood Grille Dock 

This seafood spot not only boasts great eats, but also lakeside views and photo spots in the San Francisco area of the theme park. After munching on Fisherman’s Basket or some Baja Mahi Tacos, head down to the dock and get a waterfront picture with your favorite rides in your backdrop. For a cute, candid shot, put your back against the fence at the end of the dock, place your elbows on top of the railing, and look away from the camera,  rather than directly at it.

JAWS Shark at Fisherman’s Wharf 

As you make your way over to Chez Alcatraz for drinks, be sure to take advantage of the popular shark photo op. Try crouching in front of it for a fun pose under its massive gaping mouth or grab some friends and hold up your shark-themed drinks! 

Honorable Mention

With the opening of the new Minion Land, be sure to stop by the entry marker for a playful pic with our favorite minions! Another great option is taking a pit stop on the bridge closest to Men in Black: Alien Attack for a great view of the park including TRANSFORMERS: The Ride 3-D and Hollywood Rip Ride Rockit.

Universal Volcano Bay  

Volcano View from Waturi Beach 

VB Splash

Get lost in a tropical retreat on Waturi Beach at Volcano Bay Water Theme Park. Lay back on a lounger along the sand and embrace being a beach bum for the day. Head to the water and kick up your foot to make a splash in front of the volcano for a live-action shot. Any picture from our piece of paradise will be postcard worthy. 

Waturi Fusion Ice Cream from Koka Poroka Ice Cream Kona in the Wave Village

Waturi Fusion Ice Cream from Volcano Bay

For a beautifully refreshing concoction of tropical flavors, get yourself this rainbow ice cream and hold it up in front of the volcano for a bright, aesthetic island-shot. Your ice cream may be eaten quickly, but you’ll be able to savor that sweet moment forever with the photo!

Float, Ride, Snap, Repeat

Whether you’re making your way down the Kopiko Wai Winding River or chilling at Puka Uli Lagoon, there are plenty of opportunities to capture your Volcano Bay day selfies, or even have someone take a picture of you making a splash from the Ohno of Ohyah & Ohno Drop Slides.

Universal CityWalk  

THE Globe 

We’ve all seen this one, but it still deserves its own spotlight on this list. Avoid larger crowds for this photo by making your way down the steps and standing on the side closest to the water  so you have the arches of the entryway to Universal Studios Florida behind the globe. Throw your hands up to point at the globe above you and request that your photographer time the picture perfectly so that when the globe rotates, “Universal” is centered above you.   

Pat O’Brien’s Courtyard  

This New Orleans-inspired dueling piano bar makes both a great hangout spot and a fun photo op. Walk straight to the back, and you will see that it opens to a courtyard area with a fountain and overflow seating. Find a place to sit with a view of the fountain behind you for a secret-garden-themed photo. 

Voodoo Doughnut 

Grab a donut — or a boxful — and take your place on the donut throne right outside the shop and pose for a perfectly pink photo op with your treats. This famous sweet-tooth’s delight is a must-visit at CityWalk. 

Lone Palm Airport Seaplane 

Head to the Lone Palm Airport for a refreshing drink and cute photo under Jimmy Buffet’s very own seaplane, the Hemisphere Dancer. Take a seat at one of the high tops and ask your photographer to tilt the camera back so your photo has an upward-facing angle, better spotlighting you and the seaplane. This will definitely  result in an Instagram-worthy shot! 

Water Taxi Ride 

Two woman enjoying the water taxi

The water taxis are a must-ride, whether you are going to and from your hotel room or heading to one of our hotels for lunch. As you depart the dock from CityWalk, have your personal photographer take a picture of you sitting and enjoying the view of Islands of Adventure or Universal Studios. This is a great photo op for a candid boat moment.  

Toothsome’s Chocolate Emporium & Savory Feast Kitchen

Toothsome Chocolate Emporium

Any of Toothsome’s famous giant milkshakes are a great photo prop for your meandering through CityWalk. Be sure to satisfy your sweet cravings with a milkshake or sundae from here; the grandiose desserts truly deserve their own photo moment. 

HONORABLE MENTION

On your way back to the parking garage, hop on the surfboard outside Quiet Flight Surf Shop with your friends and strike your best surfing pose! 

Universal Orlando Hotels 

Bar 17 Bistro at Universal’s Aventura Hotel 

Bar 17 at Sunset

What’s better than a swanky, modern art deco hotel with rooftop views of Universal Orlando Resort? While you try to muster an answer (HINT: there is nothing better!), we’re taking the elevator all the way up. For optimal views and lighting in your photo, head here around sunset. Try to catch Volcano Bay in your backdrop for that added tropical element. Sip on your favorite drink, sit back on the comfortable loungers, and enjoy the peaceful ambiance!  

Lazy River Courtyard and Pool at Universal’s Cabana Bay Beach Resort 

A person in a pool with a pink hat

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Photo Credit: @ myheartbeatsdisney

Kick it by the lazy river and pools of Cabana Bay Beach Resort where you can throw it back in time by taking a photo with the retro signage and façade of the hotel. Drift along on a float or turn your back to the camera as you look out at the 50s-forward destination for some Pinterest-inspiring shots.  

Italian Riviera of Loews Portofino Bay Hotel 

A young child taking a picture of a family sitting on a bench

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Loews Portofino Bay Hotel is a beautiful replica of the Italian Riviera. The Italian-scape is jaw-dropping, so you can’t go wrong with photos across the entire hotel. We suggest finding an alley for a photo that is reminiscent of the streets in Italy, or even pose in front of the docked boats with the colorful buildings in your background. People may not even be able to tell the difference between your photo and one from the actual Italian Riviera! 

Polynesian Escape at Loews Royal Pacific Resort 

A person sitting on a ledge near a pool

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Photo Credit: @tami_rogers

So much about this Polynesian-style hotel is photogenic. Head down to the lagoon pool at Loews Royal Pacific Resort and lean against a palm tree. Or walk through the lobby out to its beautiful central courtyard and sit amid an outdoor tropical retreat, marked by a large fountain with majestic statues inspired by the South Seas. 

OK those are my favorite photo ops around Universal Orlando, but I just know you have some of your own that I missed! Drop them in the comments below or share them with us on social media by tagging @universalorlando on Twitter and Instagram.

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2 Comments

  • Reply Caitlin Busscher December 6, 2023 at 11:50 am

    I will be adding ALL of these to my list! I love some of the lesser known shots!

    • Reply Arianna Medina December 15, 2023 at 2:39 pm

      Thank you, Caitlin! Definitely give them a try! They make for the BEST Instagrammable moments.

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