There’s so much Universal Orlando offers, including fantastic resort hotels, 3 fantastic theme parks, and so many incredible dining options.
One thing is for sure, you won’t be bored at Universal Orlando, and there is fun for the entire family. There is something for everyone from thrill rides, waterslides, and great shopping, and the whole family will make long-lasting memories.
Wizarding World Of Harry Potter is a Universal highlight; this isn’t the only land within the Universal parks. There is so much information on Universal Orlando that it can feel overwhelming, but this guide to Universal Orlando will hopefully help with all your planning needs.
The Best Time to Visit Universal Orlando
Generally, the best time to visit Universal Orlando is mid-January to mid-February. The weather is terrific, and both hotel prices and ticket prices are a bit lower—another good time in September through early November.
It’s also a good idea to keep Atlantic Hurricane season in mind when planning your trip to Universal Islands Of Adventure. The season is typically June through November, and the peak season is August through October. Visiting during this time might be risky, considering the weather.
How Long Should You Visit Universal Orlando
If you want to experience all 3 of the parks at Universal Orlando and some time on CityWalk, you should spend at least three days at Universal Orlando, but keep in mind these will be with a full itinerary. Five days would probably be better for you if you want to experience the park leisurely and not feel rushed.
Getting To Universal Orlando
Planning how you’re going to get to your destination can be very tricky. With delays, restrictions and more you want to be sure you’re looking at all your options to make the trip a little less stressful.
Flying: The closest airport to Universal Orlando is Orlando International Airport (MCO). It’s an easy 19-minute drive from MCO to the Universal Orlando parks.
From The Airport: In terms of getting from the airport to your accommodations, there are many options. Rent a car from the airport and drive yourself to your accommodations, but keep in mind you will also need to pay $26 per day to park your vehicle at Universal Orlando parks.
You can also take an Uber, Lyft, or taxi from MCO; all of these should cost between $20-$30. There is the option of booking a shuttle service from the airport; a popular Orlando choice is Mears. If you’re staying at an onsite Universal Resort, they offer complimentary shuttle service from the airport.
Staying On-Site At Universal Orlando
There are a total of 8 resort hotel properties in Universal Orlando. These resort hotels are categorized based on price, amenities, and perks; these include premiere hotels, preferred hotels, exceptional value, and value hotels. Staying on-site is one of the best ways to experience all that Universal Orlando offers and comes with a plethora of perks.
Premier: Loews Portofino Bay, Loews Royal Pacific Resort, and Hard Rock Hotel at Universal Orlando. The premier hotels begin at $267+ per night.
Preferred: Loews Sapphire Falls Resort. The Loews Sapphire typically begins at $181+ per night.
Prime Value: Cabana Bay Beach Resort and Aventura Hotel. These budget-friendly options begin at $131+ per night.
Value: Both Endless Summer Resorts, Surfside Inn and Dockside Inn. These are a fantastic deal at $91+ per night.
When choosing what tickets will work best for you and your family, ask yourself a few questions.
How many parks would you like to visit? Universal Orlando has three parks, Universal Studios, Universal Islands Of Adventure, and Volcano Bay Waterpark. If you want to see all three parks, then a combo ticket would make more sense for you.
How many days are you staying in the park? At Universal Orlando, you can buy single-day tickets to each park, two days, three days, four days, and 5-day tickets.
If you are visiting Universal Orlando, Park To Park passes are a great purchase and are a bit of a necessity if you are visiting more than one park. The cost of Park To Park passes an additional $60 to $70 total, depending on how many days you will be in the park.
If you aren’t staying at a premier resort, then Express Passes are a paid add-on. These passes allow you to have a shorter wait time in a separate line than other guests. They cost an additional $150 per person per day.
The Universal Orlando Parks
Universal Islands Of Adventure
Volcano Bay Waterpark
Universal CityWalk (dining)
Universal Studios is a place where you’ll experience all of your favorite tv shows and movies come to life. Whether you’re looking for thrill rides, delicious food, or epic shows, this 541-acre park will not disappoint. It’s also home to one of the lands of Wizarding World Of Harry Potter, Diagon Alley.
Fan Favorite Universal Studios Rides And Attractions
Harry Potter and the Escape From Gringotts
Located in Diagon Alley, riders will discover the magical thrill ride, Escape From Gringotts. You’ll know you’re in the right place when you see the fire-breathing dragon! On the ride, you’ll navigate the underground vaults of Gringotts Bank with Harry, Ron, and Hermione by your side.
Despicable Me Minion Mayhem
On this ride that’s fun for the whole family, you’ll join Gru’s minion army through a supervillain’s laboratory! Kids will love being a part of the minion army, which is consistently voted a family favorite.
Fast & Furious Supercharged
As one of the latest additions to Universal Studios, this attraction takes you on a supercharged thrill ride with the Fast & Furious crew. It may not be suitable for children.
Revenge Of The Mummy
On this thrill ride, you’re transported to Egypt and into the world of The Mummy. You’ll race through pyramids, forwards and backward, to escape the evil mummy, Imhotep, on this racing rollercoaster.
Dining At Universal Studios
The Leaky Cauldron
The premiere eatery in all of the Wizarding World of Harry Potter is the Leaky Cauldron. They serve traditional British fare, including Bangers and Mash, Shepherd’s Pie, and Fish and Chips. This quick-service option also serves a full English breakfast each morning and delicious desserts like sticky toffee pudding.
Another great stop in Springfield is the famous Krusty Burger. This is a typical fast-food restaurant. Try the legendary Clogger Burger, Krusty Burger, or Sideshow Bob Foot Long, and don’t forget to order a Buzz Cola. You can sit at one of the tables outside or sit inside and enjoy a never-ending loop of The Simpsons.
Lombard’s Seafood Grille
On Fisherman’s Wharf, you’ll find one of the best seafood places in all of Universal Orlando. Try the famous clam chowder and cioppino ocean bowl at this full-service restaurant.
Universal Islands Of Adventure
Known for its thrilling rides and excellent theming, Islands Of Adventure is a family favorite. This part features incredibly immersive experiences, including the Marvel Super Hero Island, Hogsmeade Village, and Jurassic Park.
Favorite Islands Of Adventure Rides And Attractions
Hagrid’s Magical Creature Motorbike Adventure
This thrill ride has been said to be one of the best rides in Florida. This thrilling rollercoaster is complete with surprises, animatronics, and beautiful scenery. It’s one of the best and most popular rides in the park.
The Incredible Hulk Coaster
The Hulk Coaster is one of the premier rides at Universal Islands Of Adventure. Although the coaster is 20 years old, it still impresses with a quick launch and great corkscrews. Join the big green guy as you twirl and race through the air.
Jurassic World VelociCoaster
This is the latest addition to Universal Islands Of Adventure and is known as one of the best in Universal and Walt Disney World. Roller coaster enthusiasts will appreciate all of the thrilling twists and turns of VelociCoaster.
Dining At Universal Islands Of Adventure
The restaurant is award-winning and features a mix of Mediterranean, Asian and American cuisine. The fictional setting is beautiful on The Lost Continent at this family-friendly full-service eatery. The menu is adapted to everyone, including fan favorites like Greek Salad, Pad Thai, and Port Braised Lamb Shank.
The Three Broomsticks is widely known as where both students and teachers gather outside of school. Here you’ll find traditional British food, including Shepherd’s Pie and Turkey Legs. This rustic tavern is also known for its signature Great Feast, featuring salad, smoked chicken, spare ribs, and corn on the cob. It’s perfect for feeding a family of 4.
You’ll dine in the Fantastic 4’s high-tech headquarter located in Marvel Super Hero Island. This quick-service establishment serves Italian favorites such as pizza, spaghetti, and meatball subs. Kids will love the atmosphere and the chance to meet some of their favorite Marvel characters.
Volcano Bay Waterpark
Like no other, a water theme park at Volcano Bay, you’ll immediately notice the gigantic volcano in the middle of the waterpark. There are 18 different rides and attractions in the park, and it even has a water coaster!
Favorite Rides At Attractions At Volcano Bay
Krakatau Aqua Coaster
Your four-person canoe will slide through dark tunnels and the mists of the mighty volcano before plunging through a waterfall into a pool below on this water coaster.
Honu of Honu ika Moana
Fans of Moana will appreciate that much like the ancient Waturi people, and you too can ride the waves on this massive multi-person water slide.
Kopiko Wai Winding River
If you’re not into thrill rides at waterparks, then you can relax in the Kopiko Wai Winding River. You’ll still be in for a few surprises along with the float. As you enter the Stargazer’s Cavern, make sure to check out the dazzling night sky.
TeAwa, The Fearless River
The opposite of a lazy river, this ride takes you on a thrilling whitewater adventure and the TeAwa. You’ll be wearing a life-vest as you race through rapids and waves along the river.
Dining At Volcano Bay Waterpark
Find staples like burgers, fish, and chicken sandwiches at this island hideaway. This quick-service restaurant is the perfect place to grab a bite on your busy waterpark day with fewer wait times.
This quick-service eatery is all about the tropical flavors, and favorites here include BBQ Chicken Pizza, Hawaiian Pizza, and Jerk Shrimp Mac & Cheese.
Universal CityWalk has fantastic dining options and offers something for every taste. This is known as Universal’s dining, entertainment, and shipping headquarters, and it’s open until 2 am each morning. Some CityWalk favorites include:
Toothsome Chocolate Emporium & Savory Feast Kitchen
This steampunk and Willy Wonka whimsical full-service restaurant is known for its delicious artisan milkshake creation; favorites include Cinnamon Fantasy, Red Velvet, Cookie Jar, and Strawberry Shortcake. The warm chocolate almond bread appetizer is legendary, as is their decadent brunch menu.
Cowfish Sushi Burger Bar
This full-service eatery is known for taking surf and turf to a whole new level. You can keep the two styles separate by trying a burger or sushi roll. Or get adventurous and embrace the unique fusion dishes like the What’s Shakin’ Tuna Bacon sandwich or the Cheeseburgooshi. You also have the option to ask for a bento box to sample a bit of everything.
Antojitos Authentic Mexican Food
For excellent authentic Mexican cuisine, you can’t do better than Antojitos. This cantina is lively and has an in-house Mariachi band. You’ll find all of your Mexican favorites, including empanadas, tacos, and burritos. To complete the festive dining experience, order one of Antojito’s signature margaritas.
A trip to Universal Orlando will leave a lasting impression and give you lifelong memories. What are you waiting for? Pack your bags!