Guides and Tips

5 Tips on How to Maximize your Universal Orlando Trip

March 17, 2017
Meet a Despicable Me Minion at Universal Orlando Resort.

Often when planning a big family/friend vacation to theme parks like Universal Orlando Resort, you want to maximize your trip to see and do everything that is possible.

But sometimes you only have a couple of days, and doing it all too quickly can lead to exhaustion if you don’t plan appropriately. Here are some of the best tips from someone who has experienced it first hand, on how to maximize your Universal Orlando trip.

1. Arrive At Least One Day Ahead

Depending on where you’re flying or driving in from, always try to arrive at least one day ahead. That way you give yourself time to acclimatize, catch up on sleep and keep you at your very best for when it’s time to hit the parks. It also allows you to adjust to the time zone change if there is one.

If your flight arrives late at night, I highly recommend giving yourself a buffer day the next day before going to the parks as well. The more time for adjustment and to relax the better—after all, you’re on vacation!

Relax in a tropical paradise at Loews Sapphire Falls Resort at Universal Orlando.

2. Stay At One Of Universal Orlando’s Hotels

One of the best things about staying at one of Universal Orlando’s hotels is it gives you early access into the parks. That gives you one whole extra hour for exploring.

At Loews Portofino Bay Hotel, Hard Rock Hotel and Loews Royal Pacific Resort, Universal Express access is included in your stay. This is another great benefit of staying on-site.

All of the hotels are also connected by water, shuttle or walking path to the main gates of Universal Studios Florida and Universal’s Islands of Adventure through Universal CityWalk. You can use the complimentary water taxi, shuttle service or walking path as transportation to the parks each day so you don’t have to worry about your car.

Drink a cold Butterbeer in The Wizarding World of Harry Potter at Universal Orlando Resort.

3. Have A Park Map And Plan Out Your Day

Before you arrive, have everyone check out the Universal Orlando website and blog to see which rides and attractions interest them the most. Once you have everyone’s “must sees” and “must do’s,” plan out a mini itinerary for the order of which rides you’ll hit first, which park when, etc.

If you’re a big Harry Potter fan, I definitely recommend visiting The Wizarding World of Harry Potter – Diagon Alley and Hogsmeade first thing in the morning. This will be when they’re the least busy and the ride times will be shortest.

You can also download The Official Universal Orlando Resort App for real-time attraction wait times and as a guide to find your way around the parks and Universal CityWalk. It includes a detailed, interactive map that makes navigating around the parks even easier.

Eat a big pink donut from Lard Lad Donuts in Springfield U.S.A. at Universal Orlando Resort.

4. Eat Your Breakfast

Start your day off right with a full belly. Eating before you hit the parks means less time searching for food once you arrive there in the morning. Also, it gives you energy to start your day off right and puts everyone in a good mood!

If you prefer to hit the parks first and like a later breakfast, there are several places in each park and Universal CityWalk to grab an early morning bite. There is a Starbucks in both parks and in Universal CityWalk that have great breakfast snacks. Or you can swing by the Leaky Cauldron in Diagon Alley or Three Broomsticks in Hogsmeade for a full, sit-down breakfast. Visit Springfield U.S.A and don’t miss The Simpsons themed food and drinks – the only place where you can grab a Homer-sized helping of donuts at Lard Lad. There are also other great spots throughout the parks to fill up before you start the fun.

Eat a turkey leg from Universal Orlando Resort.

5. Snack And Drink Lots Of Water

Drinking lots of water throughout the day is so important, especially on a hot sunny day. It’ll keep you from getting too tired and cranky as well. If you’re sweating a lot, you might even want to have some sports drinks to help replenish your electrolytes.

To keep you energized, have a couple snacks to enjoy while waiting in line for a ride. There are plenty of refreshing options such as fruit cups, ice cream and maybe even a famous Universal turkey leg—whatever floats your boat.

By following these simple tips, you’ll have the best time at Universal Orlando Resort. If you have any tips to share that help you maximize your time at Universal Orlando, please share them in the comments below!

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  • Reply Ana Paula Vasquez March 18, 2017 at 4:43 pm

    If you have few days in Orlando or if you live far awway from there, by the express! It isnt cheap, but it worth every cent! You dont spend time on the lines, your husband and sons dont complain with you and it will be a wonderful day! Spend your time with the tracctions and your fa,ily, not in lines !!

  • Reply Lee March 19, 2017 at 7:00 am

    Staying at one of the Deluxe hotels on site is more important than you think. The Express Passes are given to everyone in your room so it is not a per person charge. Also when you walk up to Minions and you see 120 min wait time but the express is only 15 mins, you will be happy you stayed on site. It can be the difference maker in your vacation. Also, a big tip should be, get there as soon as the parks open and sometimes they open a few mins early. This will allow you and your family to pick two of your must do rides and knock them out more easily. Finally, take at least one day and leisurely enjoy the resort! They are quite nice.

  • Reply James Gray March 23, 2017 at 10:35 pm

    As a Florida resident I can get a hotel discount. Can I also get a discount if I have an annual pass?

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