Ask any couple or any single person: great dates matter.
At Universal Orlando Resort, a pretty wonderful dating spot in my opinion, everyone is welcome to show up as their authentic selves, which is also the best way to date. Maybe you are in the early stages of dating, trying to get to know different people (and yourself). Or, maybe your relationship is established. Either way, here is your date guide to the theme parks because Universal has plenty of amazing options for first, fifth, fiftieth, or even five hundredth dates.
You’ve swiped. You’ve matched. You’ve chatted. You are ready to meet and — trust me — Universal is the ideal choice for a first date. Your real-talk first-date goals should include: having fun, being safe, making a positive first impression, and being curious about a new person. Universal has you covered on all of these.
Here are a few tips for what to do:
Drive separately and meet past security at Universal’s CityWalk to give you both a chance to shake off some nerves. After hellos, grab a Ring of Fire doughnut at VooDoo Doughnut if you are feeling flirty right from the start. It’ll be good to take a few minutes to enjoy a treat that offers a small boost of peppery sweetness (like you!) as you acclimate to IRL.
Next is a great chance to see how this person rolls. Let them choose your first ride out of these unique experiences at either Universal’s Islands of Adventure or Universal Studios Florida. Knowing where your date wants to start is an important clue to their personality and their priorities. What can you learn?
If you’re heading to Universal’s Islands of Adventure first, have them pick between…
- The Incredible Hulk Coaster (means they aren’t afraid to go big!)
- The Cat in the Hat (they can be playful and colorful!) or
- The Amazing Adventures of Spider-Man (they can take on a challenge!)
Now, if they’re more of a Universal Studios Florida fan, have them go with either…
- MEN IN BLACK Alien Attack (means they have a competitive streak!)
- Race Through New York Starring Jimmy Fallon (they love the big city!!) or
- Harry Potter and the Escape From Gringotts (they are responsible with banking and not afraid of adventure!).
Obviously, any option they pick is an indicator that they have great taste. After all, they are on a Universal date with you — this person knows the best things in life.
After a few rides, take a pause to regroup and check in. A snack is in order to keep you both centered and fueled. If your date chose a ride in Islands of Adventure, impress them with your insider skills by suggesting a Gyro at Fire Eater’s Grill. If you’re in Universal Studios, I recommend the TODAY Cafe’s Egg White Florentine — really good no matter what time of day.
Decision Point: Nice person but not vibing? Or, are you wanting more time with this interesting human?
If you decide this isn’t the one, that’s OK! Give yourself points for having dating courage and call it, knowing you still had a really fun time. If you are ready for more, Universal has plenty to keep the date going strong. This is a good moment to grab the handlebars of the dating bike and suggest E.T. Adventure in Universal Studios. You both will enjoy the unbeatablely cool queue and — more importantly — you just might be laying the foundation for a timeless story, just like this classic attraction.
It has been going well — exciting! Now it’s time to dig deeper and get a better sense of this person. Universal has so many experiences and moments that offer you lots of chances to learn about your date.
Are you ready to make the fifth date the one you introduce this person to your social media followers? Stop at the iconic globe for a photo. You can use the popularity of this shot as an excuse, and it will be great to see how you two look together.
Once in the theme parks, pay attention to these dating moments:
- Can your date discover and appreciate the details in the Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey queue? Green Flag.
- Does your date ask if you’d rather have the motorbike or the sidecar on Hagrid’s Magical Creatures Motorbike Adventure? Green Flag.
- Will your date take playful pictures with Thing 1 and Thing 2 after watching “Oh! The Stories You’ll Hear!” in Seuss Landing? Green Flag.
- When you suggest riding E.T. Adventure for a second, third, or fourth time, because, well, it’s E.T., does your date answer yes without hesitation? Green Flag.
- Does your date eat slightly more than their share of the Potato & Onion Webb at Finnegan’s Bar and Grill? Real talk, Green Flag here too because that’s a life-changing Potato & Onion Webb.
- If your date is pulled from the audience at Universal Orlando’s Horror Make-Up Show, can they play along and laugh? Green Flag.
Decision Point: At the end of this date, do you have a fistful of green flags?
If so, maybe delete those online dating profiles and post that globe picture to make this relationship social media official. Make a smart first commitment together with Annual Passes to let this person know you want to keep meeting them at Universal.
If there aren’t enough green flags in your fist, that’s OK. You remain an awesome human who still had a great day.
By now, you two are an excellent team who knows how to make the most of Universal dates. Why not book a hotel?
Loews Sapphire Falls Resort is a wonderful choice. Check in on Friday night, head to Strong Water Tavern (strong as your bond after fifty dates), to sip rum and plan the next day together. I recommend ordering a minimum of two (by which I mean three or four) bites from different Caribbean regions found on the menu. My combo: Tequeños from Little Havana, Pork Belly Tacos from Mexico, and a Cheese Board to savor from the United States Virgin Islands.
As you nosh on the tasty appetizers, use The Official Universal Orlando Resort App to create a favorites list as you plan your next day in the theme parks. Whatever is on the list will be amazing since it is all Universal, and what makes the list special is that the two of you created it together.
Obviously, the morning plan should include the breakfast buffet at Amatista Cookhouse followed by a complimentary water taxi ride, beautiful and romantic in its own right while providing tempting views of Loews Royal Pacific Resort for future visits. Hold your room keys close because they give you Early Park Admission to The Wizarding World of Harry Potter and resort-wide charging privileges. You are pros now, and you know whatever you purchase gets sent free of charge to your hotel.
But, real talk, how do you know if this is The One The One? The For-Real One?
- They Let You Be You: You can stop sharing those milkshakes at The Toothsome Chocolate Emporium & Savory Feast Kitchen and order your own. No more polite deferrals to what they’d like. They want you to have your favorite flavor all to yourself! That’s “Mint” is mine.
- They Are Themselves: When you share a flume log on Dudley Do-Right’s Ripsaw Falls, they admit they really want the front seat to get splashed, even if it messes up their hair.
- They Own It: When you return to E.T. Adventure (C’mon! You know you have to!), which you’ve ridden dozens of times by now because you never get tired of E.T. saying your names back-to-back, they are up for getting matching T-shirts in the gift shop and throwing them on for the movie-worthy closet photo with E.T. himself. No hiding it now. You are that matching couple.
- They Support You: When you work up the courage to hit the stage at City Walk’s Rising Star, they clap the loudest even if all your notes aren’t perfectly on pitch.
Decision Point: Can you see a future with this person?
If yes, amazing! And, while no isn’t easy, Universal’s always going to be there for you.
Five Hundredth Date
You’ve been together for a while now, and combining your traditions as a couple with new experiences keeps the happiness flowing. It’s time to book that stay at Loews Royal Pacific and you two deserve a suite with extra space and a large table to host some friends and family for a visit.
While looking back on past good times at Universal will warm your hearts, let’s also have some Rest-of-Your-Life Real Talk:
- Let Everyone Know: Stop by Guest Services at the front of any park and pick up a celebratory 500th date pin! Universal Team Members and other guests who are also having the time of their lives want to say congrats to you two!
- Start on a High Note: Walk yourselves right to the Jurassic World VelociCoaster because, together, you’ve got this. And when you reach the “Top Hat,” a full 155 feet in the air, scream loud at the same time and keep your eyes open to take in the spectacular views of what’s to come.
- No Matter What, Enjoy it All: Since this is a day of the best of the best, make reservations at the award-winning Mythos Restaurant. In your shoes, I’d order the Pad Thai because it’s yummy and mild peanut sauce blends sweet and sour notes, just like long-term relationships blending lots of emotions into something delicious and worthwhile.
- Pausing is Wise: Linger in Mythos and order dessert (hello, Chocolate- Hazelnut Crème Brȗlée) because the smooth, curved, gorgeous rockwork walls are a calming sensory reset before getting back to the business of a day (and a lifetime) of fun.
- Traditions Keep Getting Better: Have I mentioned yet that E.T. Adventure is a perfect romantic touchstone? A story about loyalty and dedication and finding your people and going home… This ride has a long and treasured history, just like the one you both are poised to make.
- You Two Are Special: Pace your afternoon and evening strategically, so that you finish with Universal Orlando’s Cinematic Celebration, where you can hold hands and pretend the epic light show is just for you two (it is!).
Decision Point: Is this the trip where you two decide to book a Signature or an Intimate Wedding at Sapphire Falls? After all this time, maybe it’s the right moment to tell your partner Always.
Dating is an adventure that’s best approached with curiosity, excitement, and an open mind to new and surprising experiences… just like Universal Orlando Resort! So, go ahead, ask someone out on a Universal date.
Do you have any date tips for Universal Orlando? Leave them in the comments below!
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