I have compiled a list of 10 must-do tips on how to maximize your Universal Orlando vacation. Be sure to ask us for the current Universal discounts available!
Top 10 Tips10. Express Pass - Universal's Express Pass let's you skip the regular line for many attractions. It comes in two forms, Unlimited, or once per ride. You can add the Express Pass right to your ticket purchase. If you stay on-site at one of Universal's 3 Premier Hotels, you get the Universal Express Unlimited Pass free with your stay! These hotels include Hard Rock Hotel, Loews Portofino Bay Hotel, and Loews Royal Pacific Resort. Universal's Cabana Bay Beach Resort, Universal's Aventura Hotel, Endless Summer Resort and Loews Sapphire Falls Resort do not offer this perk. I highly recommend having it, especially with kids, or if you're going during spring break or in the summer.
|Islands of Adventure|
8. Quick Service Dining - There are some great quick service restaurants in the parks such as the Harry Potter themed Three Broomsticks at Islands of Adventure and The Leaky Cauldron at Universal Studios. No need to book a reservation for every meal, there are many great quick service locations in each park. You can even mobile order on the app to save time standing in line.
6. Club Level - Upgrade your room to Club Level to enjoy the benefit of snacks and drinks in the lounge. The concierge staff will answer any of your questions, give you bottled water, and even print your boarding passes for you. We loved their fresh baked cinnamon rolls! Also during breakfast hours there were bagels, danishes, croissants, and fresh fruit among other things. At night there were small appetizers and desserts such as cookies and cheesecakes.
|Club Lounge at Hard Rock Hotel|
5. Park Lockers and Metal Detectors - Each major thrill ride has free "digital" lockers located conveniently outside the entrance. They require ALL belongings to be stored in the free lockers, including cell phones, cameras and sunglasses on some attractions. The large rollercoasters such as The Incredible Hulk Coaster and Hollywood Rip Ride Rockit have metal detectors to ensure the safety of guests. Guests cannot ride if they set off the detectors. It's much easier and faster if you don't carry a purse, and just store your ticket, credit card, and dining card in a neck lanyard so you don't have to use a locker.
|Digital locker bay |
4. Pool–hopping - When you stay at most of the on-site hotels, you can actually swim at the other Universal Resort pools! All you need is your room key to open the pool gate and you're good to go. Bring a backpack with your swimsuits to the parks and you can stop by a different pool each afternoon before heading back to your room. They even supply towels near the pools so no need to bring your own. Swim in a pool that plays music underwater at the Hard Rock Hotel, float down the lazy river at Cabana Bay, enjoy a relaxing dip at Portofino Bay and more. Guests staying at Endless Summer do not have pool hopping privileges, and are not within walking distance of other resorts.
|Loews Sapphire Falls Resort pool|
3. Hogwarts Express - The two parks are only connected by the train in the Wizarding World of Harry Potter known as the Hogwarts Express. The train takes "students" between Diagon Alley and Hogsmeade. You can only board the train with a Park-to-Park ticket as you exit the train in a different park. If you have a base ticket (one park per day) you cannot ride the Hogwarts Express. The ride itself is so impressive! It's very authentic to the Harry Potter movies. The ride experience is different each way too!
|Sushi burger at Cowfish|
Universal definitely isn't an "add-on" day to Walt Disney World anymore, but a vacation in itself! There is so much to see and do here, that a 4-night stay is barely long enough!
Summer's favorite Universal ride is Harry Potter and the Escape from Gringotts. She is a member of House Ravenclaw. Email her at Summer@kingdomkonsultant.com.