Packing for a vacation can be stressful. You can find yourself overpacking or forgetting something crucial you may not have thought about (I know, I’m guilty of both.) Add in multiple days of theme park thrills and the temperamental Florida weather and your head may start spinning. You may even have an added layer of making sure the kids have everything they need, too!
You’re not just packing for the theme parks when you’re coming to Universal Orlando Resort. You’ll want to plan for all the different activities and outings at Universal’s resort hotels, Universal CityWalk, and the other vacation plans you have in Orlando. We’ve broken it down and put together our packing list of things to bring for your next trip here.
What to Pack for Your Orlando Vacation
- First things first, go ahead and throw your cell phone charger in your bag (your carry-on bag if you’re flying). There’s nothing worse than realizing you forgot it and your phone’s battery is almost dead. Oh, and of course, you’ll want to make sure you have your wallet, keys, etc.
- Layout outfits for different occasions. Comfortable clothes and shoes for the parks, swimsuits for the water activities, and dressier options for a night out.
- One thing I always do before I leave home is to make sure I have all my printed copies of my travel and/or ticket confirmations. You never know when technology may fail and you’ll need a good ol’ fashion printed doc. to save you time and stress.
- Sunscreen, aloe gel, hats, and sunglasses. You’re going to be outside a lot, and Florida isn’t called the sunshine state for no reason. Pack plenty of sun protection. Oh, and lots of deodorant!
- If you’re traveling with a child, here are a few recommended essentials (outside of the obvious diapers, wipes, etc.) to add to your packing list and make travel easier:
- Small stroller – Great for the airports and navigating the park crowds. However, if you don’t feel like hauling a stroller with you, there are stroller rentals available at the parks and hotels.
- Disposable dishware – Not having to clean dishes while on vacay! Also, those disposable placemats are perfect for easy cleanup.
- Sun protection – It can get warm, so it’s key to protect your child with plenty of sunscreen, a wide-brimmed hat, and light clothing.
- Light jacket / blanket – We blast the A/C here in Florida to make up for the warm weather. A light jacket or blanket will help with the sudden change in temperature.
- Need more recommendations on what to pack for the kiddos? Click here to see suggestions on what to pack for kids of all ages.
- Check the weather and consider bringing an umbrella or poncho for those afternoon rain showers.
- An extra suitcase for all those souvenirs (I recommend carry-on size to save some $$.)
- Bring some entertainment like cards, mobile games, or a good book. Also helps to pass the time when waiting in line for rides.
- Throw in some fun outfits to wear like a Hogwarts house robe or matching family Dr. Seuss Thing shirts. Check out our online merch store for fun finds you can order before your vacation.
- Grab a portable charger for your phone (your battery is going to drain from the tons of vacation photos you’re taking!).
- Speaking of photos, if you have one and the skills to use it, pack a nice camera to capture all those insta-worthy pics. Don’t forget an extra memory card!
TIP: We have what’s called “Florida Winter” here, which means it actually gets cold for a few months, primarily December – March. Pack a light jacket and layers for chilly weather. There can also be this weird temperature flux where it’s warm midday and then cold in the morning and evening.
What to Bring for the Theme Parks
All you should have to worry about in the theme parks is having fun, so ease and comfort are key. You’re going to do a lot of walking outside, a lot of standing, and a lot of experiencing different rides and shows. Here’s what you need to bring:
- Small bag or fanny pack – Hauling around large backpacks can be tiring, and certain rides require you to put them in lockers. If you can swing it, bring a small bag that can fit in one of the free small lockers. Or better yet, a fanny pack with a 3-prong clasp can be brought on certain rides to avoid locker time.
- Sun protection – Remember that sunscreen, hat, and sunglasses you packed for your Orlando vacation? You’re going to want to bring that with you to the parks.
- Refillable water bottle – Staying hydrated is key, especially on a hot summer day. Bring a refillable water bottle to fill up on the go and stay cool. You can fill up at any water fountain or ask a Team Member at a food and beverage location.
- Waterproof gear – There are water rides in Universal Islands of Adventure that you won’t want to miss. Consider bringing waterproof bags or plastic zip bags to carry your gear in if you don’t want things to get wet. Also, don’t forget a poncho for both the rides and potential rain showers. You may want to consider packing a change of clothes for comfort.
- Snacks – You can bring in your own snacks to stay energized in the parks, or if you need any food for special dietary needs or medical purposes. I usually pack away some candy for a sugar boost in the afternoon.
- Stroller or wheelchair – If you need a stroller or wheelchair while at the theme parks or hotels, you can bring your own or take advantage of our rentals. We’ve got options for you to choose from! Just ask a Team Member when you arrive and they’ll direct you where to go.
- Hotel room key – If you’re staying at one of Universal’s hotels, don’t forget to bring your room key. You’ll need it for Early Park Admission, Universal Express (available at select hotels), and to take advantage of charging privileges. While you’re tucking that into your wallet, double check to make sure you have your photo ID and any additional cash or credit cards you may need!
- Essential medications – You can bring in any prescriptions or medications you or your family may need during your vacation. You can even stop by Health Services at each theme park if you need help with storing them.
There are some do’s and don’ts when it comes to what you can and cannot bring into the parks. Click here for a full list of both acceptable and prohibited items.
TIP: Are you celebrating a special occasion or birthday? Make sure to swing by Guest Services to pick up your celebration button!
What to Bring for Universal Volcano Bay
When it comes to a theme park that’s all about water and relaxing in the sunshine, there are a few consistent FAQs that pop up on what to bring.
- Towel? Yes. I recommend bringing your own towel (not from your hotel room) for ease, however, there are towels you can rent.
- Water shoes? Yes. I’m a huge fan of water shoes, so I recommend putting them on your packing list. You can wear them throughout the theme park and on the majority of the slides.
- Cooler? Sure. You can bring in a small soft-sided cooler for snacks and bottled water.
- Tubes? – No need to bring your own tube. We’ve got you covered.
- Bags? – You’re going to need a cute beach bag to throw in the towels, water shoes, and extra pair of clothes. I also recommend throwing in a plastic bag for your wet clothes later. If you don’t feel like hauling your stuff or leaving it out in the sun all day, you can rent a locker to store your gear in.
- Hotel room key? – Yes, you’ll still need to bring this with you in order to take advantage of the perks we listed above (Early Park Admission, etc.).
TIP: Leave your wallet dry at the hotel by setting up a virtual wallet through the Universal Orlando Resort App. Then, all you’ll need is your TapuTapu wearable when you arrive at the park to pay for your food, drinks, or merch with just a simple tap. I would still recommend bringing your photo ID, especially if you’re looking to purchase one of the adult umbrella drinks.
What to Pack for the Hotels
If you’re staying at a Universal hotel (which you totally should!), you definitely need to make sure the following are on your packing list.
- Swimwear – Our hotels have some great pools, and you’re going to want to take a day to kick up your feet and relax in the sun. Throw in a couple of extra swimsuits and flip flops to not only hit up Volcano Bay but to lounge by the hotel pool, too. Don’t worry about bringing a towel though. The hotels have them available for you to use.
- Clothes for a night out – The hotels also have some of Orlando’s best restaurants, bars, and nighttime events. Pack some dressier options for a night out during your vacay. The rooftop bar at Universal’s Aventura Hotel is calling your name.
TIP: If you’re coming for a birthday or another fun festivity, bring decorations for the room and the door to let everyone know you’re celebrating!
Bonus: Passholder Tips on What to Bring
Our Passholders are experts when it comes to visiting the theme parks. Who better to get some recommendations on what to bring? Here are a few I found to be great tips.
- Lanyard – If you feel like traveling light, wear a lanyard instead of bringing a bag to hold your tickets, money, and ID. Saves you from having to use any lockers!
- Frozen water bottles – Ice-cold water to stay hydrated and they’re great for cooling off.
- Coca-Cola Freestyle refillable cup – If you have one of these bad boys from a previous trip, remember to bring yours again to save on soda refills.
- Cooling towel – These magical towels are great for a hot day. All you do is wet them with water and they’re ready to cool you off.
- Queue entertainment – Bring something to keep you entertained in the lines. Download some mobile games to play as a group or a good audio book if you’re flying solo.
Your tickets are bought, you’re packing your suitcase, and now it’s time to take a fun break planning what you’re going to do at Universal Orlando Resort. Download your own personal vacation planning butler, the Universal Orlando Resort App, and use the below packing list to make sure you’ve got everything you need.