Attractions, Guides and Tips

Guide to Universal Orlando Resort for Music Buffs

April 25, 2024
Image of the stage in Universal Studios Florida.

Now, you likely already know that Universal Orlando Resort is a place for guests to ride the movies, but it is also a place for music lovers to indulge. From dueling pianos to jukeboxes, there are many aspects here that music fans can enjoy.

PRO TIP: Before guests even arrive at the resort, they can pick up the vacation tempo with some playlists featuring sounds from iconic movies like “Men In Black” and “Jurassic Park.” Whether you want to use this to set the vacay vibes ahead of time or relive it once you leave, it’s the right idea.

Now, let’s press play on my guide to enjoying the sounds of Universal Orlando Resort…

Intro — Universal CityWalk

Universal CityWalk_sydneymbush


Guess where the familiar melodies start? That’s right, where you park your vehicle after driving to the theme parks! Each area of the parking garage has its own designated theme, in both sight and sound. You will not only remember your “E.T. 262” parking spot, but also those classic movie melodies you heard while stepping out of your car.

Once out of the garage and on your way to the start of your day, Universal CityWalk is guaranteed to play some bops, no matter the time of the day. One of my personal favorites spots for good music is Pat O’Brien’s, where you can witness dueling pianos (which I promise is less aggressive, but just as entertaining, than it sounds.) While this venue offers some great seating both inside and out, you’ll want to grab a table inside to see the piano players put on a show. You can also submit song requests for them! Fingers crossed they’ll play your favorite while you enjoy your cocktail of choice.

CityWalk’s Rising Star will not only have you jamming out on the floor, but also on stage (voluntarily of course)! Warm up your vocal chords and put those notes on display for the audience with a live backup band — I repeat, live backup band (subject to availability). And don’t worry, the lyrics to the songs will also be displayed for the crowd, just in case you need some additional back-up. The venue has two levels which truly amplifies the entire atmosphere and makes for a one-of-a-kind experience.

Want to dine with live music rather than be a part of it? A live mariachi band entertains Antojitos Authentic Mexican Food on select nights, where the artists put their own twist on today’s popular music. Or, a live reggae band shines nightly at Bob Marley — A Tribute to Freedom, which enhances the overall experience (make sure you order the Oxtail Stew!)

Hard Rock Cafe allows fans to see some iconic memorabilia. My favorite part of the Cafe is located inside the Rock Shop. As soon as you enter, make sure you look up:  there’s a whole band setup located on the ceiling — it will literally turn your world upside down!Be sure to also keep an eye online for your favorite musicians, comedians and other artists that hit the stage throughout the year at Hard Rock Live Orlando!

First verse — Universal Studios Florida

Universal Studios Florida Arches - kristynemarie
Photo Credit: @kristynemarie

At Universal Studios Florida, you can always count on a music moment to start your day off! As you walk through the iconic arches,  you can already hear the emblematic music playing — whether it’s the Holiday hits from November to December, the spooky soundtrack of Halloween Horror Nights, or the classic tunes during the rest of the year.

My first stop is usually Mel’s Drive-In, a feel-good, throwback-vibes kinda place. It is even complete with jukeboxes and hits that bring back the nostalgia alongside a tasty milkshake.

Photo Credit: José Atalah

The streets of New York are the place to be if you’re a music fan. Hang around long enough to experience some of the best entertainment Universal Studios Florida has to offer. From the high-energy percussion Beat Builders show, to the choreographed dance numbers and Latin Flair of ¡Vamos! – Báilalo, to the jazz groove of The Blues Brothers, and the Ragtime Gals barbershop quartet in Race Through New York Starring Jimmy Fallon. It’s music heaven!

As you make your way to London, there is a Record Shop that offers a super cute photo moment — see if you can spot an album by the Quint Trio, a fun nod to the Jaws attraction. While you continue through the streets of London, enter The Wizarding World of Harry Potter – Diagon Alley. Pay attention to the soundtrack around the land (Harry Potter fans, IYKYK!) and make sure you catch Celestina Warbeck and the Banshees performance in Carkitt Market, one of my favorite live performances!

PRO TIP: Download the Official Universal Orlando App to catch all these performance times!

Next stop: E.T. Adventure and its classic soundtrack! Whether it’s the sounds within the queue or the classic movie notes you’ll notice throughout the attraction, this ride will spark so much nostalgia to movie and music lovers alike.

Photo Credit: @polimoon9

Now, it’s time to take the music to the rides! Hollywood Rip Ride Rockit is an obvious choice, but also a must. Who wouldn’t like a musical twist with a side of popular hits from throughout the past few decades. Okay, maybe just me but still worth the mention! The roller coaster’s playlist features some fantastic hits to go with your thrill.

Second verse — Universal Islands of Adventure

Photo Credit: @attraction.faction

I have to admit: the entrance music to all Universal parks is pretty iconic. But I do have a soft spot for Islands of Adventure — there’s just something about walking through Port of Entry, grabbing an eclair at Croissant Moon Bakery and vibing to the park’s background music.

My heart always guides me to Jurassic Park when searching for a lunch spot, as I love to dine along to the soundtrack of this iconic franchise. The Burger Digs fulfills both my movie soul and music soul, as the immersion inside The Discovery Center is incredible. I recommend getting a burger with fries and actually eating it out on the patio overlooking Jurassic World VelociCoaster — great shade, thrilling coaster sounds, and a jaw-dropping view.

Jurassic Park River Adventure also is a must-do for movie lovers and music fans! The mixture of the story and sounds makes for a feeling that cannot be replicated. You’ll understand, too, once the Jurassic Park gates open.

Because I prefer my music with a side of thrills, it’s not hard to guess that The Incredible Hulk Coaster is my forever favorite. Not only does this attraction feature some, dare I say, incredible twists and turns but also a great soundtrack. Fun fact: the music for this coaster was composed by Fall Out Boy front-man Patrick Stump, which makes the fan experience that much better.

Over in Toon Lagoon, Betty Boop can be seen sitting on a massive piano, which makes for a cute photo moment.

In Seuss Landing, the music you hear throughout the land adds so much more immersion to the already immersive land. Hop on the lyrical High in the Sky Seuss Trolley Train Ride! before heading to Oh! The Stories You’ll Hear! for a storytelling session that ends with classic songs that the kiddos will enjoy. It also is a great way to meet and greet some of Dr. Seuss’ characters!

The score in The Wizarding World of Harry Potter – Hogsmeade immerses you almost instantly into our favorite wizarding village.

Bridge — Universal Volcano Bay


When I think of Volcano Bay, the first thing that comes to mind is the obviously iconic theming throughout this park, and, over time, I have paid more attention to the tropical soundtrack that helps set the tone of this park. It’s the music and water sounds that transport you to paradise while you’re chilling on Waturi Beach or floating through the Kopiko Wai Winding River. I always love a getaway, and this vibrant blend of Polynesian cultures and architecture that draws on influences from all over the South Pacific is everything I need on my days off. A fun hidden detail is over in Puka Uli Lagoon, where they have bongo drums at the pool!

PRO TIP: This is admittedly unrelated to music (or is it?), but I always end my day on a high note by getting the Waturi Fusion soft-serve. This photogenic and tasty treat can be found at Koka Poroka Ice Cream Kona and trust me, your tastebuds will hit a new octave with this one.

Encore — Universal Orlando Hotels

Hard Rock Hotel Orlando Future Rockstar Kids' Suites

Want to fine-tune your stay? Hard Rock Hotel might just be the perfect place. You can add some sound to your vacation by having a guitar or record player delivered to your room (a true music-lover hack.) And if you’re like me and tend to enjoy chilling in your suite, make sure to download some curated playlists to enjoy throughout the stay. You will truly not miss a beat while staying here — the pools even have underwater speakers!

Outside of the amenities, there are additional options that’ll change the tune of your stay, in the best way. Make brunch reservations at The Kitchen during the live Acoustic Brunch, that happens on Sundays from 10:30 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. If you’re there for breakfast any other day, make sure to stay on theme by ordering The Elvisfrench toast, baguette slices topped with bananas, peanut butter and caramel sauce.

Alt Text: A woman with an acoustic guitar stands at a mic and performs live music for a small crowd inside the Velvet Bar.

A late-night stop at the Velvet Bar is also a must-do for me — there’s amazing cocktails, small bites (Pork Belly Bao Buns for me, please!), rockstar vibes and even some live entertainment! The lobby at Hard Rock is also home to the Velvet Sessions and Velvet Unplugged —Velvet Sessions bring some incredibly talented artists to the hotel lobby, while Velvet Unplugged adds another layer with acoustic sessions that typically occur a few times a year. No matter what your music taste is, you are bound to enjoy something here, which makes me love it even more.

Finally, a hidden gem offered at this hotel is Wine Riffs. The best way to describe it is as  a multisensory, six-course dinner experience that includes music, food and wine. A must-do!

PRO TIP: One last note — be sure to swing by the front desk as you check out so they can turn your room key into a guitar pick! Sounds crazy but it’s legit and such a cool memento!

No matter which hotel you choose to spend your vacation, you are bound to enjoy some incredible sounds.

Royal Pacific Luau Dancers

Remix — Events

Thought you knew the rhythm? With so many special events happening throughout the year, there are plenty of new beats to appreciate. Universal Mardi Gras: International Flavors of Carnaval not only features some amazing food offerings, but also truly brings out the best music within Universal’s events throughout the year. With the wide array of concerts that are offered with park admission, I mean it when I say, “Feet don’t fail me now!”

Holidays at Universal Orlando Resort is a time where we bring out all of the cheer! I love being able to sing along during Grinchmas and Universal’s Holiday Parade featuring Macy’s!

Halloween Horror Nights is my forever mood, and the music throughout the event is the touch of spooky I look forward to each event season. I love that each year there is different music and sounds which lurch around the arches, as well as throughout the park. If I could live in the aesthetic of Halloween Horror Nights 29 for the music alone, I would in a heartbeat.

With this in mind, I challenge you to put your vacation on shuffle and throw in some of these music-lover moments. After all, who does not like to round out their visit with a music moment to match? What was your favorite? Share it with us on social media or in the comments below.

Must be 21 years or older with valid identification to purchase or drink alcoholic beverages.

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  • Reply Tyler Petty April 26, 2024 at 10:03 pm

    Great article

    • Reply Digital Guest Communications April 26, 2024 at 10:09 pm

      We love that you enjoyed learning more about the music around our park, Tyler, and can’t wait to welcome you to our Universe!

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