I always think about the sweets and decadent food choices when we start talking about our next vacation, and particularly when we know we’re heading back to Universal Orlando Resort. But then the second I start to feel like we’ll just be throwing our fitness goals away, I remember how easy staying healthy at Universal Orlando actually is.
That might sound a little ridiculous when you start thinking about all the dessert you’re going to consume, but just go with me for a minute. Staying healthy on vacation is a breeze with a couple of simple choices that will give you the energy to have fun.
1. Getting Your Steps In
I’m just going to start here because it’s the most simple thing you can do and you won’t even realize it’s happening. If you’re a person that uses apps and equipment to track your steps throughout the day, or if you have activity goals, you’ll almost immediately meet them. Just look at our step tracking. We weren’t even thinking about it and we were killin’ it!
You’ll cover more ground than a Autobot chasing down a Decepticon if you stay on your feet and actively seek out your next moment of excitement,. You’ll earn that delicious cheeseburger trekking from the back of the parks to The Cowfish in Universal CityWalk.
Best Ideas for Extra Steps
Either start or end your day by walking back to your hotel instead of using the provided shuttle bus or water taxi.
Plan to walk all of the way around the lagoon of CityWalk to cover a little more ground. And the same goes for getting between the hotels and parks: you either walk or you take a complimentary shuttle.
And you can’t forget that Universal’s Volcano Bay can be a part of your Universal Orlando vacation. Get in your extra steps and really work the glutes by climbing the volcano to do the drop slides. The slides aren’t the only way to get your heart rate up!
2. Staying Fit at the Universal Orlando Hotels
Have you ever gone on a vacation with the family and snuck out of the hotel room early to do a workout, even just a short one? We try to do this whenever and wherever we’re traveling and being at Universal it’s easy.
One of the benefits of staying in a large, beautiful hotel is that you’re guaranteed a few key amenities. Universal Orlando’s hotels are no exception as each hotel has a fitness center.
And seriously, starting the day with just a short, dedicated workout does really make a difference in the day. You’re more alert, have a little extra energy (surprisingly), and you’ve had some time alone to clear your mind.
Tip: Start this early workout habit while you’re traveling and you’ll be inclined to do it more at home too. At home you’ll be able to do your exercises or go for a jog and remember that you started this awesome habit while you were on vacay.
Rock Om: Hard Rock Hotel Yoga Program
If you’re staying at the Hard Rock Hotel, you’re in for an extra special treat. I love practicing yoga, whether in a class or out in the world. Hard Rock Hotel has the perfect system in place to support a continued yoga practice while at Universal.
Rock Om is available through the in-room television and is so simple. Here’s how you enjoy the quality yoga instruction from the comfort of your room:
- Request the Rock Om yoga kit from guest services
- Turn on the television and select your in-room programming
- Choose which of the yoga sessions you’d prefer depending on time and skill level
From gentle poses for relaxation and stretching to a full series of vinyasa flow, you’ll be able to pick and choose the pieces you need for a complete (or quick) yoga practice. Love this program!
3. Universal Running Routes
Many people either don’t know about it or just forget to ask, but many hotels have running route cards available through the front desk. Universal Orlando’s hotels have these at the ready. When you first check in, or once you know you’re ready to go, check with the front desk for a running route. They’ll be able to provide a small map with clear instructions directing you on a three mile loop around Universal Orlando.
Tip: Even when you’re using a running route map that’s provided, always be aware of vehicles and pedestrian rules. Safety first, always.
If the guest services desk at your hotel doesn’t have the running route maps available, ask for assistance planning out your route. Universal Orlando maps are available online or on paper nearly anywhere on property.
4. Stress-Free Dining Choices
So you don’t want to think about the active side of staying healthy while at Universal Orlando – that’s totally okay. All you have to do to keep health in mind is elect to make a few smart choices at meals and snack times. Luckily for anybody who wants to make some health-conscious dining decisions in advance, Universal Orlando has their dining locations’ menus online, including info about food allergies. This is a great way to evaluate which lunch choices will fit the fun food requirements of the kids and the healthier choices for anybody looking for them.
Tip: One of the most delicious and healthiest options we found at Universal Orlando was actually the Steak Salad at the restaurant inside Galaxy Bowl at Universal’s Cabana Bay Beach Resort. Fresh greens and hearty protein in a fun atmosphere. And I mean, bowling while eating salad just sounds healthy.
Something to consider when you’re plotting out your family’s dining options is that sit-down restaurants will typically have a wider variety of health-conscious choices than a quick service restaurant will. Taking the time to sit together and enjoy a meal instead of eating on-the-go will provide a chance to relax, connect about the fun you’ve all been having, and have some great menu items for all tastes.
Tip: Restaurants such as Mythos (Universal’s Islands of Adventure) or Lombard’s Seafood Grille (Universal Studios Florida) take reservations. If there are shows you want to catch or if your party is splitting up during the day, having a reservation will help to keep you on point for the experiences you want to have.
5. Be a Kid: The More Fun the Better
This goes without saying, but laughing and having fun burns calories like there’s no tomorrow. There are plenty of thrills and big-kid attractions all around Universal Orlando, but take time to act like a little kid too. Be crazy and get soaked at Curious George Goes to Town. Do the ropes course with the kids in Camp Jurassic. Climb the stairs to all of the tallest slides at Volcano Bay.
Basically, say yes to having all the fun. The happiness hormones start to flow and you feel better and more alert as you let go. Dopamine and oxytocin make you alert and energetic. Serotonin helps you get a good night’s sleep. Put the fun together with your body’s physiological response and you have no reason to not act like a kid.
6. Best use of Calories at Universal Orlando
Planning on just going for the gusto since you’re going to be on vacation? Awesome! That’s what we do, and we still feel like we’ve done a good job staying healthy. Our favorite caloric investments—meaning that we just enjoy them no matter how unhealthy we know they are—are still pretty smart choices (except for some obvious indulgences):
- Crazy fudge flavors throughout both theme parks – Sweet shops in Universal Studios Florida and Universal’s Islands of Adventure
- All the Neapolitan pizzas at Red Oven Pizza Bakery – Universal CityWalk
- Hot Pressed Cuban Sandwich at the Hideaway –Universal’s Cabana Bay Beach Resort
- Döner Kabobs at Atomic Tonic – Universal’s Cabana Bay Beach Resort
Doesn’t it feel great knowing that staying healthy at Universal Orlando Resort isn’t difficult?! Spending time at Universal Orlando has proven to be, time and again, an active family experience… and we come home in better shape than when we arrived!