Top Tips for visiting Universal Orlando Resort
Universal Orlando Resort is a theme park located in Orlando, Florida, that features rides, attractions and live shows that are themed to movies and tv shows. The park, which opened in 1990, is owned and operated by NBCUniversal.
Know your parks
Universal Orlando Resort comprises of three parks: Universal Islands of Adventure, and Universal Studios Florida, plus Universal’s Volcano Bay, which is a water park. Universal Islands of Adventure and Universal Studios Florida are walking distance apart from the entrances, or a short train ride inside the parks.
While it is possible to do both Universal Islands of Adventure and Universal Studios Florida in one day, you’ll only see the highlights and miss the bulk of the attractions. Each park has different themed areas, with The Wizarding World of Harry Potter™ crossing over between them.
Read about the attractions at Universal Islands of Adventure here, and Universal Studios Florida here.
Plan your visit to The Wizarding World of Harry Potter™
The biggest drawcard for Universal Orlando Resort is the incredible Wizarding World
of Harry Potter. While there is some overlap with the rides and attractions to other Universal Studios around the world, Universal Orlando Resort has two unique lands to explore: Universal Orlando Resort – Hogsmeade, located in Universal’s Islands of Adventure, and Diagon Alley in Universal Studios Florida.
It also has Hogwarts Express: King’s Cross Station that links the two parks by train. This was a highlight of visiting the resort for us.
To ride the Hogwarts Express, enter King’s Cross Station and walk straight through a solid brick wall onto Platform 9 ¾ to board the train to Hogsmeade. Ride the train in both directions for the full experience (you’ll need a park-to-park ticket to board the train in either direction).
This is a great, thorough guide to the complete Wizarding World of Harry Potter™.
Skip the queues with Universal Express
Add Universal Express access to your theme park admission, you get to skip the regular lines at most of your favorite rides and attractions. Universal Express lets you skip the regular lines one time per participating ride. Or, upgrade to Universal Express Unlimited and skip the regular lines an unlimited number of times at participating rides.
Read more about Universal Express passes here.
Get ahead of the crowds with Early Park Admission
One of the biggest benefits of staying onsite at Universal Orlando Resort is Early Park Admission. Universal Orlando Hotel guests and other select groups can access to Universal’s Volcano Bay, Universal Studios Florida, and Universal’s Islands of Adventure up to one hour prior to park opening.
This is a huge advantage especially for rides that aren’t covered by Universal Express, or if you don’t want to pay extra for it. Tip: Not all parks are open early each day, so check online or with your hotel to find out which park offers early admission on the day of your visit.
Get more info on Early Park Admission here.
Stay in an onsite hotel
We loved our stay at Universal’s Cabana Bay Beach Resort. The early park admission and easy (free!) transport to the park was worth it alone, and we found the hotel extremely well-priced as well as highly enjoyable with all of it’s amenities.
Hotel Review: Universal’s Cabana Bay Beach Resort
Explore Universal CityWalk
Universal CityWalk is a 30-acre entertainment complex at Universal Orlando Resort filled with restaurants and shops. It lies between the entrances to Universal Islands of Adventure and Universal Studios Florida, making it easy to visit after your trip to the parks.
Watch the live shows
While there are countless amazing rides at the parks, we love the live shows, too. For us, it’s where the magic of movies really come alive. On this trip, we loved the Animal Actors on Location live show.
There are also roaming live performers. We caught a fabulous performance by the “Blues Brothers” that was a lovely surprise.
Get a really thorough rundown of all the live shows here.
Try all the food
We love trying all the food when we visit theme parks. There are always unique snacks and food to try. On this visit we enjoyed trying Mel’s Drive In in the Hollywood area of Universal Studios Orlando, which is inspired by Mel’s Drive In, a retro restaurant in Hollywood, California. The fast-service restaurant has a fun 1950s vibe to it and serves burgers, fries and shakes.
Read more about Mel’s Drive In here.
Meet all the characters
We are huge character fans and love seeing the characters around the parks. Keep your eyes peeled for lots of favourites such as Beetlejuice and King Julien.
Take in all the details
What really makes Universal Orlando Resort special to us is the amazing theming around the parks. There is such an incredible level of detail in every area, and so many unique photo opportunities to be had. For a movie and TV show fan, Universal Orlando Resort is such a magical place, where you really can jump into the picture.
Universal Orlando Resort
Address: 6000 Universal Blvd, Orlando, FL 32819, United States