Expedia Rewards is now One Key™
Universal studios florida vacations.
- Things to do
I only need accommodations for part of my trip
Visit Universal Studios Florida
Visit Universal Studios Florida to discover cutting-edge attractions based on pop-culture icons, Hollywood blockbuster films and hit television shows. This Orlando theme park will transport you into a highly imaginative world where you can leap through the screen and become the star.
Universal Studios Florida offers guests one of the most exhilarating entertainment experiences ever created. It's home to The Wizarding World of Harry Potter™ – Diagon Alley™, which features its signature attraction in Harry Potter and the Escape from Gringotts™.
You can race against The Tonight Show host himself in the Race Through New York Starring Jimmy Fallon™. And don’t miss being recruited in a high-tech good versus evil battle where you can save the planet with TRANSFORMERS™: The Ride-3D.
Universal Studios Florida also offers guest several annual event experiences put on throughout the year including Rock the Universe, Mardi Gras at Universal Orlando, Halloween Horror Nights and Holidays at Universal Orlando.
You can get to Universal Studios Florida by car with two multi-story garages, there’s plenty of parking space. Alternatively, travel here by shuttle, town car or ride-share services. Check the Universal Studios Florida website for further information including park hours and tickets.
Plan a trip to see Universal Studios Florida
Westgate Lakes Resort & Spa Universal Studios Area
Reviewed on Nov 10, 2023
Westgate Vacation Villas Resort
Reviewed on Oct 31, 2023
Westgate Blue Tree Resort in Lake Buena Vista
Reviewed on Oct 27, 2023
Tours & day trips
Orlando: Airboat Everglades Adventure Tour
Go City: Orlando All-Inclusive Pass with 25+ Attractions
Clearwater Beach Day Trip
Orlando: Museum of Illusions Admission Ticket
Orlando: Chocolate Kingdom Factory Adventure Tour
Manatee Adventure, Everglades Style Airboat, Lunch, Wildlife Park & Transpo...
Kennedy Space Center Tour with Transportation from Orlando Region
Kissimmee: 1-Hour Airboat Everglades Adventure Tour
Orlando: 3-Hour Manatee Encounter by Kayak
St. Augustine Day Trip with Transportation
Walt Disney World® Resort Theme Park Tickets
Walt Disney World® Resort Water Park Tickets
Walt Disney World® Resort Holidays
Universal Orlando Resort Theme Park Tickets
LEGOLAND® Florida Tickets
Kennedy Space Center Admission
2-Attraction Pass: SEA LIFE Aquarium & Madame Tussauds Wax Attraction
Universal Orlando Resort Express Passes
SEA LIFE Orlando Aquarium
Manatees Swim, Snorkel and Boat Day Tour from Orlando
Day Trip to Clearwater Beach with Sea Screamer Ride
Clearwater Beach Dolphin Speedboat Adventure with Lunch & Transport From Or...
Glow in the Dark Clear Kayak or Clear Paddleboard in Paradise
Urban Clear Kayak or Clear Paddleboard in Paradise: Morning/Night
2-hour Private Pontoon Boat Rental on Lake Bryan
Sunset Clear Kayak or Clear Paddleboard in Orlando
2-Hour Clear Kayak & Clear Paddleboard(SUP) Rental in Orlando
Food, drink & nightlife.
Orlando: Island H2O Live! Water Park Admission
Pirate's Dinner Adventure Orlando
The Outta Control Magic Comedy Dinner Show
Hard Rock Cafe Orlando with Priority Seating
Polynesian Fire Luau and Dinner Show Ticket in Orlando
Orlando Haunts Boos and Booze Haunted Pub Crawl
Orlando - VIP Shop & Dine 4Less Card City Hopper
Food Tour of Local Orlando's Ivanhoe Village
Flavors of ICON Park - Foodie Walking Tour
Private & custom tours.
Beautiful Romance in Orlando
Ghosts of Orlando: Haunted City Exploration Game
Orlando Deep Sea Fishing Charter
Orlando’s Historical Highlights: A Self-Guided Audio Tour
24 Hours Exotic Car Rally Experience - Miami-Key West-Miami, FL
Orlando Self-Guided Historic App/GPS Audio Walking Tour
"Let's Have a Spooky Time in Orlando" Tour
30 Days Self Guided Audio Tour: Discover Orlando Local Stories
International Drive Orlando Tour
Walking Tour of Orlando
Reviews of universal studios florida, 2/5 - disappointing.
Bring lots of cash 15 dollars for a hot dog and a bag of chips!
1/5 - Terrible
This was my family's second trip from Illinois to Universal Studios to ride the new Hagrid ride, and 6th time visiting the park for the sole purpose of riding this "new" ride. EVERY time the ride was broken down. I have waited more than 5 hours of my life in line waiting for this ride and still have not ridden. I've been to the Disney parks countless times and if a ride is broken, it is always fixed very quickly. That is it for me and Universal. I will never darken their doorstep again. Incredibly disappointing!
too crowded. 7-year-old grandchild over-tired and stressed after 4-hours of long waits.
5/5 - Excellent
The Blue Man group is a must to watch
Great day as it rained earlier and off season so we had little or no issues getting on rides. Food offerings were much better than Disney and you can grab a beer or drink if so desired. Much less strollers and wheelchairs and scooters too.
The Hagrid ride schedule is all over the place--they usually open it at noon, but we got on it our first day at 10:30 after a 55 minute wait (NOTE: no Express Pass accepted). The next day people were lined up at 8:00, but ride only allowed boarding ride at 3:00, then abruptly cancelled for the day without ever leaving the loading area, supposedly due to wet weather. People who had been in line off-and-on nearly all day were understandably fuming.
Popular places to visit
The wizarding world of harry potter™.
Enter a fantasy world of wizards, witches, magic spells and thrilling rides at two of Orlando’s most popular theme parks.
Universal Orlando Resort
Make your Florida vacation one to remember with a stay at this hotel and theme park complex.
Universal’s Islands of Adventure
Across this theme park, experience the magic of Harry Potter™, the danger of Jurassic Park™, the heroics of Marvel® Super Heroes and more.
Try skydiving in total safety in this state-of-the-art wind tunnel, where you can harness your superhero powers and soar through the air.
Universal’s Volcano Bay
Bring the kids to Universal’s Volcano Bay and have a fun-filled day at this theme park in Orlando. Make time for the shops and adventure tours in this family-friendly area.
Orlando International Premium Outlets
While Orlando is renowned for thrilling rides and attractions, this shopping center on International Drive is an exciting destination for bargain hunters.
Best Lodging Options Near Universal Studios Florida
Check availability on hotels close to universal studios florida.
- Vacations and getaways similar to Universal Studios Florida
- Other Hotels near Universal Studios Florida, Florida Center
- Hotels near popular Orlando Attractions
- More Hotel Options in Universal Studios Florida
- Expedia's Latest Trends
- Walt Disney World® Resort Vacations
- Universal Orlando Resort Vacations
- Disney SpringsTM Vacations
- Magic Kingdom® Park Vacations
- Orange County Convention Center Vacations
- Disney's Animal Kingdom® Theme Park Vacations
- Epcot® Vacations
- Disney's Hollywood Studios® Vacations
- University of Central Florida Vacations
- Orlando International Premium Outlets Vacations
- Old Town Vacations
- Florida Mall Vacations
- ESPN Wide World of Sports Vacations
- Amway Center Vacations
- The Wizarding World of Harry PotterTM Vacations
- Universal's Endless Summer Resort - Surfside Inn and Suites
- Clarion Inn & Suites Across From Universal Orlando Resort
- Avanti Palms Resort and Conference Center
- Universal's Aventura Hotel
- Residence Inn by Marriott Near Universal Orlando™
- Hyatt Place across from Universal Orlando Resort
- Wingate by Wyndham Convention Ctr Closest Universal Orlando
- Rosen Inn, closest to Universal
- La Quinta Inn & Suites by Wyndham Orlando Universal area
- Wyndham Garden Orlando Universal / I Drive
- Fairfield Inn & Suites by Marriott Near Universal Orlando
- CoCo Key Hotel and Water Resort
- Hotels near The Wizarding World of Harry PotterTM
- Hotels near Walt Disney World® Resort
- Hotels near Disney SpringsTM
- Hotels near Universal Orlando Resort
- Hotels near Magic Kingdom® Park
- Hotels near Orange County Convention Center
- Hotels near Disney's Animal Kingdom® Theme Park
- Hotels near Epcot®
- Hotels near Disney's Hollywood Studios®
- Hotels near Orlando International Premium Outlets
- Hotels near Old Town
- Hotels near Florida Mall
- Hotels near Universal’s Islands of Adventure
- Hotels near ESPN Wide World of Sports
- Hotels near Amway Center
- Hotels near Aquatica
- Hotels near Universal CityWalk
- Hotels near Disney's Typhoon Lagoon Water Park
- Hotels near Camping World Stadium
- Hotels near Universal’s Volcano Bay
- Family Hotels (1,054)
- Hotels with Restaurants (604)
- Hotels with a Lazy River (37)
- Hotels with a Pool (1,788)
- Hotels with an Outdoor Pool (1,628)
Additional information about Expedia Group
Update your browser
Be sure you have the most current version of your browser for the best experience on AAVacations.com. Browser requirements Opens in a new window
- Skip to global navigation
- Skip to content
- Skip to footer
Plan your getaway
Vacation in the Caribbean
- Save $125 on your next escape Book by November 15
- Sign up for email offers Opens in a new window
- aa.com Opens in a new window
Logout Exclusive AAdvantage® experiences Verify AAdvantage® Number(s)
Something went wrong
Universal orlando resort.
It's time to kick down the gates and let loose with all your favorite people. Your next Universal vacation is about to open up all kinds of awesome — in all the best ways. Universal Orlando Resort's three theme parks and amazing hotels (including exclusive benefits like Early Park Admission*) are yours to enjoy, explore and experience some crazy special times that none of us will ever forget. *Valid theme park admission required. Select attractions.
In connection with your purchase of Universal Orlando products and your visit to Universal Orlando, including Universal Studios Florida, Universal's Islands of Adventure, Universal's Volcano Bay, Universal CityWalk, and the Universal Orlando Resort hotels, please be advised that you must follow Universal Orlando's policies, CDC guidelines and the recommendations of health officials. Please note that any public location where people are present provides an inherent risk of exposure to COVID-19 and Universal Orlando cannot guarantee that you will not be exposed during your visit. Guests are required to wear face coverings when visiting Universal Orlando Resort, including those who have received a COVID-19 vaccine. By visiting Universal Orlando, you acknowledge and agree that you assume these inherent risks associated with attendance. When you enter Universal Orlando, you understand that you are subject to the Universal Orlando terms of service (including arbitration, class action waiver, assumption of risk, and infectious disease release of liability) located here .
Current Special Offers
Theme parks, theme park tickets, universal orlando hotels.
WIZARDING WORLD and all related trademarks, characters, names, and indicia are © & ™ Warner Bros. Entertainment Inc. Publishing Rights © JKR. (s21)
*Requires theme park admission. Early Park Admission begins up to one (1) hour prior to regular scheduled park opening to either Universal Studios Florida or Universal's Islands of Adventure as determined by Universal Orlando. Early Park Admission begins up to one (1) hour prior to regular scheduled park opening for Universal's Volcano Bay. Valid at select attractions at each park. Attractions are subject to substitutions without notice. Additional restrictions may apply. Jurassic World is a trademark and copyright of Universal Studios and Amblin Entertainment, Inc. Licensed by Universal Studios. All Rights Reserved. © 2022 MARVEL. TRANSFORMERS and its logo and all related characters are trademarks of Hasbro and are used with permission. © 2022 Hasbro. All Rights Reserved. © 2022 DreamWorks LLC and Paramount Pictures Corporation. All Rights Reserved. Universal elements and all related indicia ™ & © 2022 Universal Studios. All rights reserved.
Our system is having trouble.
Please try again or come back later.
Please tell us where the airport is located.
Your session expired
Any confirmed reservations have been saved, but you'll need to restart any searches in progress
Contact Us Now
Frequently Asked Questions View All
How can I change or modify my reservation?
- Request a Quote
- Disney World Tickets
- Universal Orlando Tickets
- Vacation Package Quote
- Disney World Packages
- Universal Packages
Universal Orlando Guide
Planning a trip to universal studios.
Three Parks. Endless Awesome.
This page is your ultimate guide to planning a trip to Universal Studios! At Universal Orlando Resort, the world’s most amazing stories and breathtaking adventures come together in the most awesome ways imaginable. It’s the ultimate vacation destination. With the thrills of three amazing theme parks, the comforts of eight extraordinary hotels plus so much more, Universal Orlando guests wake up where the action is every day of their stay.
At Universal Studios Florida, you’re the star— experiencing one jaw-dropping adventure after another. Dodge evil villains. Defend the earth. Face a fire-breathing dragon. Wander into animated worlds. Go beyond the screen, behind the scenes and jump into the action of your favorite films.
Islands of Adventure
In Universal’s Islands of Adventure you’ll walk side- by-side with super heroes, beasts and magical creatures to enter lands where imagination is real. Your adventure begins in the only park named the #1 Amusement Park In The World, five years in a row—by TripAdvisor ® Travelers’ Choice.
Universal’s Volcano Bay is an all-new kind of water theme park where thrills and relaxation flow in perfect harmony. Drop from the heights of a towering volcano. Splash along Waturi Beach. Feel the rush of the Krakatau Water Coaster and live the carefree island life as you slide, ride and play in a beautiful tropical paradise.
Benefits of Using The Park Prodigy to be Your Universal Trip Planner:
Magic Rewards Program: You’ll always save when shopping for Universal Orlando tickets and vacation packages vs booking direct.
Free Universal Park Plans: Save up to three hours in the parks with our free park plans.
Adventures Begin Here
It’s time to kick down the gates and let loose with all of your favorite people. Universal Orlando’s theme parks plus entertainment cross our entire resort are yours to enjoy and explore. You’re about to experience some crazy special times no one will ever forget. We have included all of our tips and tricks in this insiders guide to Universal Studios Orlando. So if you’re ready to plan your trip read on!
- The Best Time to Visit Universal Orlando
- Everything You Need to Know About Early Park Admission
- Complete Guide to Universal’s Volcano Bay
- Ultimate Guide to Parking at Universal Orlando
- Universal Orlando Special Events
- Halloween Horror Nights
Universal Vacation Planning Health & Safty
- Universal Orlando Health and Safety
Shop Universal Orlando
Buy Universal Orlando Tickets
Shop from a variety of Universal Orlando Base tickets and Universal Orlando Park-to-Park tickets
Universal Express Passes
Enjoy express access to both parks and skip the regular lines on most rides and attractions each day you have a valid Universal Express Pass!
Halloween Horror Nights Tickets
Universal’s Halloween Horror Nights brings together stories and visions from the world’s most notorious creators of horror.
Tickets and Vacation Packages to Universal Orlando Resort
Universal orlando guide to buying tickets.
- Universal Orlando: Base Tickets
- Universal Orlando: Park-to-Park Tickets
- Universal Orlando: Express Passes
- Universal Orlando: Special Promotional Tickets
All tickets purchased from The Park Prodigy come with Free Park Plans to The Wizarding World of Harry Potter™ and Universal’s Volcano Bay™ one hour before the park opens.
Discount Theme Park Tickets - Universal Orlando Resort
Explore three amazing theme parks at Universal Orlando Resort – the movie and TV-based excitement of Universal Studios Florida, the worlds of legendary heroes at Universal’s Islands of Adventure and the tropical paradise of Universal’s Volcano Bay water theme park. From spectacular hotels offering a range of exclusive theme park benefits to the best in dining and entertainment, Universal Orlando Resort is a vacation of endless awesome.
Save up to $30 per ticket plus receive Free Park Plans.
Buy Universal Tickets
1 Day - 2 Park - Universal Studios Tickets
Explore two amazing theme parks at Universal Orlando Resort – the movie and TV-based excitement of Universal Studios Florida and the worlds of legendary heroes at Universal’s Islands of Adventure. From spectacular hotels offering a range of exclusive theme park benefits to the best in dining and entertainment, Universal Orlando Resort is a vacation of endless awesome.
Buy 1 Day Universal Tickets
2 Day - Universal Studios Tickets
Guests can choose from 2 day Universal Orlando base tickets or 2 day Universal Orlando park-to-park tickets.
Buy 2 Day Universal Tickets
3 Day - Universal Studios Tickets
Guests can choose from 3 day Universal Orlando base tickets or 3 day Universal Orlando park-to-park tickets.
Buy 3 Day Universal Tickets
4 Day - Universal Studios Tickets
Guests can choose from 4 day Universal Orlando base tickets or 4 day Universal Orlando park-to-park tickets.
Buy 4 Day Universal Tickets
5 Day - Universal Studios Tickets
Guests can choose from 5 day Universal Orlando base tickets or 5 day Universal Orlando park-to-park tickets.
Save up to $30 per ticket plus receive Free Park Plans.
Buy 5 Day Universal Tickets
Universal Orlando Vacation Planning When Booking Packages
Universal’s eight extraordinary hotels come with more fun, more often, for everyone, for all kinds of budgets. All are ideally located to make hopping between the parks and your room a breeze—especially with complimentary transportation included. Plus Universal’s hotel guests enjoy exclusive benefits across the Resort throughout their stay.
We’ll give you everything you need to plan around the crowds! We also give you everything you need to purchase discounted Universal Orlando tickets based on the time of year!
Universal Studios Orlando Guide Tips & Tricks
Download the Universal Orlando App
This is an absolute must-have for your upcoming Universal Stay. The best part is it’s absolutely free! The Official Universal Orlando App will help keep your plans on track! Here’s what the app has to offer:
- GPS Walking Navigation Park-Wide so You’ll Never Get Lost
- Access to Ride Wait Times Park-Wide
- Virtual Line™ Experience
- Wait Time Alerts
- Mobile Food Orders at Select Dining Locations
- A Virtual Wallet
- Parking Reminders
Take Advantage of Early Park Admission
Alohomora! Universal unlocks the doors to both Wizarding World’s of Harry Potter exactly one hour early for select guests.
We find this to be a great way to get on some of the most popular rides at Universal Orlando with very to little wait.
Enjoy Free Universal Transportation
No rental car, no problem! Universal Orlando Resort has a super convenient transportation system. All hotel guests and guests visiting the parks can take advantage of complimentary transportation via shuttle bus, van service and water taxis. These shuttle buses are available from Universal’s CityWalk to all three theme parks (and even SeaWorld!).
Universal Dining Plan & Perks
Universal’s CityWalk is home to some pretty amazing restaurants. From casual to upscale dining, there’s something for every type of crowd. Universal currently has two dining plan options . They both allow you to prepay your party’s meals in exchange for dining credits. Dining plans are exclusively available for pre-purchase with a vacation package . Or you can visit a Universal Ticket Center upon arrival.
No Universal vacation planner is complete without character meet and greets! See some of your favorite characters on stage in unforgettable family shows, and find out where you can meet more characters for photos.
Hollywood Character Zone
- Betty Boop
- Marilyn Monroe
- Curios George
- Wood Woodpecker
The Simpsons Character Zone
Meet your favorite members of the Simpsons for the perfect photo opportunities.
- Puss in Boots
- Kung Fu Panda
Complete Guide to Universal Studios Orlando Parking 2023
Complete guide to universal studios for kids in 2023, complete guide to planning a trip to harry potter universal orlando, complete guide to 2023 universal harry potter wands, food lovers guide to the wizarding world of harry potter dining 2023, what is the best disney theme park by age group 2023, complete guide to grinchmas 2023 at universal studios orlando, our guide to hogsmeade village at universal studios 2023, the ultimate guide to universal orlando rides 2023, the complete guide to hogsmeade vs diagon alley at universal orlando, how much is it to visit universal orlando 2023, the 2023 cheapest time to visit universal orlando, how many parks does universal orlando have in 2023, the 2023 nighttime light shows at hogwarts, the 2023 guide to universal studios vs. islands of adventure, 2023 guide to loews royal pacific at universal orlando, everything you need to know about the harry potter gringotts dragon 2023, complete guide inside universal’s cabana bay beach resort 2023, complete guide for the best harry potter christmas at hogwarts 2023, complete guide to all universal orlando new rides in 2023, where to stay at universal orlando florida 2023, complete guide to using virtual lines at universal 2023, how to get on hagrid’s motorbike adventure + the hagrid’s virtual line guide, complete guide to 2023 harry potter hogwarts robes, complete guide to 2023 universal orlando characters, complete guide to universal coke freestyle cups, guide to hotels near universal studios orlando with free shuttle, how much is universal express pass 2023, 2023 universal cabana bay vs endless summer resort guide, how to ride the velocicoaster at universal orlando resort 2023, complete guide to butterbeer at universal studios 2023, guide to spending one day at universal islands of adventure 2023, top 10 best things to do in universal studios orlando 2023, ranking all of the harry potter world rides 2023 – worst to best, ultimate comparison of universal endless summer resort – surfside or dockside, everything you need to know about the universal photo pass 2023, complete guide to universal disability pass 2023, complete guide to 2023 universal studios orlando transportation, guide to the universal hogwarts express 2023, complete guide to best universal studios pool 2023, complete guide to universal roller coasters 2023, complete guide on celebrating a universal studios orlando birthday 2023, ultimate comparison of all universal orlando premier hotels 2023, what is the cheapest way to go to universal studios 2023, complete guide to water rides at universal 2023, complete guide to jurassic park universal orlando 2023, complete guide to all universal studios orlando height requirements in 2023, the top 12 universal city walk restaurants 2023, complete guide to citywalk bars and clubs 2023, best transportation from mco to universal 2023, how to get the universal express pass for free – universal hotels with express pass 2023, the best cheap hotels near universal studios orlando 2023, 14 hotels within walking distance of universal studios orlando (30 mins or less), guide to the best luxury hotel near universal studios orlando 2023, the best universal orlando tips 2023, what is the big simpsons donut universal orlando 2023, all epic universe rides 2023 coming to universal’s new theme park, complete guide to every new epic universe lands 2023, a guide to volcano bay: the 15 best volcano bay rides, complete guide to taputapu at universal orlando’s volcano bay 2023, complete guide to marvel super hero island at universal orlando, complete guide to the universal superstar shuttle 2023, complete guide to all universal citywalk stores 2023, the best universal studios rides for larger guests 2023, the best tips for visiting harry potter world 2023, how to get cheap tickets to universal studios orlando, is staying at a universal orlando hotel worth it, what to bring to universal studios orlando – ultimate packing guide, guide on how to get early park admission to universal orlando 2023, halloween horror nights 2023, the best time to go to universal studios orlando in 2023, visiting universal’s volcano bay water park in 2023, complete guide to the 2023 universal orlando dining plan, the best universal orlando resort hotel 2023: complete pros and cons guide.
- Work With Jen
- USA Bucket List
- Follow Us On Instagram
Universal Studios Touring Plan | Tips + Complete 1-Day Itinerary
This post may contain affiliate links, view our disclosure policy .
Are you looking for the perfect 1-day Universal Studios touring plan to outsmart the crowds and get the most out of your experience?
Need a summary of Universal Express Pass tips, arrival and rope drop tips, as well as tips on how to plan your day in the park and minimize time spent standing in lines?
Our Universal Studios touring plan highlights all of these topics and offers a detailed, step-by-step morning and afternoon itinerary for spending 1-day at Universal Studios, Florida.
Be sure to stick around to the end for additional information and touring tips for the Harry Potter fans in your group!
*This post has been updated for 2023!
This post may contain affiliate links, which means that we may receive a small commission, at no cost to you, if you make a purchase through a link.
Table of Contents
Universal Studios Orlando Resort
For those of you who are new to the Universal experience and are a bit confused like I was, Florida’s Universal Orlando Resort consists of:
- Two theme parks: Universal Studios and Islands of Adventure
- A water theme park: Volcano Bay
- A shopping, restaurant, and entertainment complex: Universal CityWalk Orlando
- Six onsite Loews Hotels
- An upcoming theme park, Epic Universe , expected to open in early 2025
Its gigantic size is one of the biggest differences when comparing Universal Orlando vs. Universal Hollywood, as Universal Hollywood is much smaller.
Together, the Universal Orlando Resort covers 541 acres of land and welcomes over 11 million annual visitors from all around the world.
The following article is a sample 1-day touring plan for Florida’s Universal Studios theme park whose primary attraction is The Wizarding World of Harry Potter – Diagon Alley.
The best Universal Studios itinerary involves utilizing this practical touring plan and customizing your final ride and attraction choices based on your family’s interests.
*Look for a new ride titled Illumination’s Villain-con Minion Blast opening at Universal Studios Orlando in the summer of 2023!
Due to increased concern over safety and sanitation, the Universal theme parks have implemented a host of new measures that may impact your experience. Be sure to check the Universal homepage to review current considerations for your visit.
Universal Studios Touring Plan
Touring plans make it easy for you to get the most out of an experience by outlining the order you should visit rides and attractions.
In fact, having a game plan before heading into the park is one of our 45 Universal Studios tips that you absolutely need to read before your first visit.
Both our Universal Studios and Islands of Adventure touring plans were created for those visiting the Universal theme parks for one day each.
This itinerary also assumes that you are entering the park right at the opening time and staying into the evening.
Finally, although we utilized this Universal Studios Orlando touring plan while staying on-site (which granted us automatic Universal Express Passes), it may still be used by visitors who do not have an Express Pass – we’ll show you how!
Universal Studios Florida Hours
Universal Studios Florida hours vary, by the day, by the month, and by the season.
It is very important to check the Theme Park Hours schedule for the day that you plan on visiting Universal so that you can plan your experience accordingly.
The Universal Studios theme park hour calendar also includes information on what days offer Early Park Admission, as well as lists temporary attraction closure information.
Early Park Admission is a free perk when you book a Universal vacation package, stay at a Universal resort hotel, or use your Preferred or Premier Annual Pass.
This perk allows you to enter a designated Universal theme park 1-hour before the scheduled opening (select days only).
Additional planning tip: Take note that Universal and CityWalk hours, as well as daily showtimes, are not released until approximately 1 calendar month in advance.
Universal Studios Crowd Calendar
Our Universal Studios Orlando one-day touring plan assumes moderate to high crowds at the park when lines are expected to be long.
This exact plan was utilized when crowds were rated 9/10.
No matter when you visit, however, this 1-Day Universal Orlando touring plan is optimized and ordered so that walking and your wait in lines are minimized.
Universal Studios Express Pass
There is no denying that when the Universal Studios crowd calendar predicts moderate to high crowds, the waiting in lines can become incredibly draining and time-consuming.
To help offset time spent standing in lines, Universal Studios allows you to add Universal Express access to your theme park admission.
Universal Express is an all-day pass that allows you to skip the regular lines – and use a special Express Pass line – at select Universal attractions.
If you are staying on-site at one of Universal’s premier resort hotels , Universal Express Unlimited is free for every day of your visit. (Your hotel keycard serves as your Universal Express pass.)
If you are not staying on-site and wish to purchase Universal Express passes, the cost varies by day and expected crowds. So during peak times, prices will be higher.
Current prices can be found on the Universal Orlando Resort website.
Additional planning tip: Universal Express is separate from regular admission. In other words, you must purchase BOTH a Universal park base ticket along with an Express Pass add-on.
It’s easiest to buy Express passes online. You can also buy them at the entrance gates and throughout all three parks at dozens of locations.
Read here to find out the qualifying rides, exact wait times, and an explanation of whether or not we think Universal Express Pass is worth it !
Universal Studios Orlando: One Day Touring Plan
Prior to visiting Universal Orlando, be sure to download the official Universal Orlando Resort app on the App Store or the Google Play Store .
The Universal Orlando Resort app provides:
- An interactive park map
- Wait times and wait time alerts you can set
- Mobile food and drink ordering for select restaurants
- A virtual wallet where you can purchase and store your tickets and Express Passes
- Virtual Line experience selection queue
Universal Studios’ Virtual Line program allows you to use your phone app (or kiosks at the ride) to make a reservation for your entire travel party to visit various attractions.
The use of virtual lines and what rides offer it varies by the day.
To make a Virtual Line reservation, go to the Virtual Line Experience drop-down from the main menu on the Universal app and select “Virtual Line Venues”. Click on the ride and select the half-hour increment that is available in which you’d like to ride.
At your selected time, simply show your phone at the attraction and you will immediately be admitted into the ride/show.
Keep in mind that the Virtual Line reservation system only works if you are physically inside the park.
Also, you can only reserve two ride times at a time meaning that you may not add another attraction until a previous ride time has passed.
See the screenshot below for what it looks like to reserve Virtual Line times.
Universal Orlando Resort has a parking and transportation structure consisting of two gigantic multi-story parking lots and a centralized transportation hub that allows you to access Universal Studios, Islands of Adventure, CityWalk, and Volcano Bay.
The parking garage opens 2 hours before the official park opening to accommodate those eligible for Early Park Admission. ($27/day for regular self-parking, $60/day for prime parking.)
If you are driving to the resort and are not eligible for Early Park Admission, we recommend arriving at the Universal parking garage 60 minutes prior to the official opening.
It then takes approximately 15 minutes to walk from the parking garage to the park’s entrance turnstiles. This brings you to the entrance a perfect 45 minutes before the official opening.
Alternatively, Universal Orlando on-site resort transportation to the parks via water taxis and shuttles begins 2 hours before the official opening, or 1 hour before Early Park Admission.
Guests staying on-site during peak periods should catch the first ride of the morning in order to be the first into the Wizarding World during the early entry period.
Entering the Park
As of now, Universal Orlando does not require advanced reservations to get into any of their Orlando theme parks.
In addition, they are no longer limiting capacity as they had been during the pandemic.
With that said, we always recommend getting to the turnstiles 45 minutes prior to park opening (and 30 minutes before Early Park Admission), especially on projected busy days.
This act has long been known as ‘rope-drop’.
Rope drop involves getting to Universal Studios before it begins operating for the day so that you can be among the very first guests to enter and enjoy the attractions.
Rope dropping is the single most important key to an efficient touring plan in order to avoid long lines. First thing in the morning, there are no lines and fewer people.
The same four rides you experience in 1 hour upon rope dropping can take as long as 3 hours after 10:30 AM.
Additional planning tip: On days when Universal does not offer Early Park Admission, the gates typically open 30 minutes before the advertised opening.
Guests are restricted to the front of the park where Despicable Me Minion Mayhem often opens to all guests 10–15 minutes before the official opening.
Our recommended Universal Studios arrival times (during peak periods) with Early Park Admission:
- 6:00-6:15 AM: Leave the onsite hotel or arrive at Universal parking garage
- 6:30 AM: Arrive at park turnstiles
- 7:00 AM: Early Park Admission entry – head straight to Diagon Alley
- 8:00 AM: Regular park opening time
Our recommended Universal Studios arrival times (during peak periods) without Early Park Admission:
- 7:00 AM: Leave the onsite hotel or arrive at Universal parking garage
- 7:15 AM: Arrive at park turnstiles
- 7:45 AM: Guests typically let into the front of the park to ride Despicable Me Minon Mayhem
- 8:00 AM: Park opening time
Additional planning tip: Due to a strict bag and locker policy and the fact that personal belongings are not allowed on many of the rides, be sure to review what to bring to Universal Studios in your day bag as you prepare for your visit.
Likewise, be sure to have an understanding of the Universal Orlando locker system as you will need to store your belongings while riding most rides.
Universal Studios Touring Plan: Morning
Upon arriving at the park, use your Universal app to make Virtual Line reservations.
Once the park opens, walk directly to the Harry Potter area without stopping for anything.
In other words, if you want to experience the Wizarding World of Harry Potter without shoulder-to-shoulder crowds, you must arrive before everyone else does.
There’s no other way.
When you arrive at Diagon Alley, take it all in!
Browse the shops and enjoy the atmosphere of the Wizarding World of Harry Potter.
This is a great time to buy a wand from Ollivander’s and let the kids cast spells without long waits or crowds.
Similar to experiencing the best rides at Universal’s Islands of Adventure , we recommend visiting the top rides at Universal Studios immediately upon park opening.
The following attractions typically experience the longest wait times if not done right away.
Likewise, visit these attractions in this exact order to decrease time spent zig-zagging around the park.
*Rides with (EP) listed after their names denote that the ride qualifies for Express Pass.
1. Harry Potter and the Escape from Gringotts (EP). While in the Wizarding World of Harry Potter, be sure to go to:
- Ollivander’s Wand Shop
- Gringott’s Money Exchange
- Knight’s Bus
Then, back-track to the front of the park and do these rides:
2. Despicable Me Minion Mayhem (EP)
3. Hollywood Rip Ride Rockit (EP)
4. Transformers: The Ride 3D (EP)
5. Race Through New York Starring Jimmy Fallon (EP)
6. Revenge of the Mummy (EP)
7. Fast & Furious: Supercharged (EP)
Additional planning tip: This plan does not assume you’re using child swap, which allows parents to swap supervising a child who does not meet a height requirement without waiting in line twice.
If you do use child swap, your day will move more slowly as you have to wait for two people to ride each ride.
Universal Studios Touring Plan: Afternoon
I recommend saving Universal shows for the afternoon and evening.
This includes the Bourne Stuntacular, Horror and Make-up Show, Shrek 4-D, Animal Actors on Location, and Fear Factor Live.
Daily showtimes vary and can be found on the app. Adapt your afternoon itinerary according to what showtimes are available.
1. Shrek 4-D (45 min.); Separate theater for those with Express Pass.
2. The Bourne Stuntacular (26 min); Despite a potentially long wait/line, don’t miss this one!
3. Horror & Make-up Show (25 min.)
4. E.T. Adventure (EP)
5. Woody Woodpecker’s Nuthouse Coaster (EP)
6. Animal Actors on Location (20 min.)
7. The Simpsons Ride (EP). While in the queue, be on the lookout for an appearance by an animated Doc Brown.
8. Kang & Kodos Twirl ‘n’ Hurl (EP)
9. Men in Black: Alien Attack (EP).
10. Fear Factor Live (20 min.)
11. Browse the Wizarding World of Harry Potter – Diagon Alley again.
Next, ride the Hogwart’s Express (EP) if you have a park-to-park pass.
11. Watch Universal Orlando’s Cinematic Celebration or other seasonal evening entertainment; these have scheduled showtimes so be sure to check the Universal app.
Additional planning tip: If you love theme parks, Walt Disney World is only 9 miles away from Universal Orlando! Check out our 7-day Orlando itinerary that includes both a Universal and a Disney World vacation!
Universal Studios Dining
Another one of the top tips for visiting Universal Studios is to skip the typical hot dogs and chicken tenders in order to indulge in the unique dining options that are exclusive to Universal Studios.
In fact, the best itinerary for Universal Studios Orlando includes eating at a themed restaurant, such as the Leaky Cauldron in Diagon Alley.
Its traditional British food and perfectly Harry Potter pub-themed atmosphere make for an experience that you simply cannot find anywhere else.
Also, be sure to try a Butterbeer!
This iconic non-alcoholic drink, which comes in hot, cold, and frozen varieties, is sold everywhere inside the Harry Potter areas of the parks.
In addition, be sure to check out the best restaurants in Citywalk for another incredibly unique experience.
Additional planning tip: Keep in mind that you can make online reservations ahead of time for full-service restaurants and Universal CityWalk in order to avoid the lines during busy seasons.
If You Want More Harry Potter Fun
If you’re a Potterhead you will absolutely not be disappointed by the immersive theming of the Wizarding World of Harry Potter found throughout Universal Orlando.
Their amazing attention to detail is what makes a trip to Universal Orlando Resort a must-do vacation destination for most Harry Potter Fans.
If you’re a huge fan, you’ll also want to add additional time ( specifically related to Harry Potter ) to your Universal Studios touring plan in order to enjoy it to the fullest.
Next, be sure to purchase a Park-to-Park Ticket for Universal Orlando that will serve as your ticket to ride Hogwart’s Express.
In other words, a Park-to-Park Ticket is required in order to ride Hogwart’s Express, and you can’t ride it without one.
(In case you don’t know, Hogwart’s Express is an actual train that travels between Universal Studios and Island of Adventure, allowing you to visit both Diagon Alley and Hogsmeade in one day.)
Additional planning tip: Universal’s Harry Potter experience includes Diagon Alley at Universal Studios Florida and Hogsmeade at Islands of Adventure ( home to Hagrid’s Magical Creature Motorbike Adventure – a fan favorite! ).
You’ll find the famous Ollivander’s Wand shop in both Hogsmeade and Diagon Alley.
Here, you can purchase both standard and interactive wizard wands as well as participate in a wand-fitting demonstration.
Through a sensor in the tip of the interactive wands, wanna-be wizards and witches can perform 25 spells through both Diagon Alley and Hogsmeade.
This requires being on the lookout for gold medallions along the walkways signaling you when to cast spells.
Potterheads can look forward to lighting the chandelier in the window at Flimflam’s Lantern or to repairing a suit of armor at the blacksmith’s with a simple wave of their wand.
*Click here for our exclusive FREE Family Vacation Packing List and BONUS Theme Park Bag Packing List to complement your Universal vacation!
I am confident that you’re now off to a great start in planning your day at Universal Studios! What was the most helpful part of the Universal Studios touring plan? Jen
If you liked reading our Universal Studios touring plan, continue planning your Universal Orlando vacation here:
Universal Orlando Touring Plans:
- Islands of Adventure Touring Plan: Complete 1-Day Itinerary
Universal Orlando Tips:
- 45 Tips for your First-Time Visit to Universal Orlando
- What to Bring to Universal Studios (+Day Bag Tips)
- 9 Big Differences Between Disney World and Universal Studios
- Loews Royal Pacific at Universal Orlando: 9 Reasons to Stay
- A Complete Guide to Understanding the Lockers at Universal Orlando
- 7 Best Restaurants in Universal Orlando Citywalk
Universal Orlando Rides:
- Top 7 Best Rides at Islands of Adventure
- Top 7 Best Rides at Universal Studios Florida
- Is Universal Express Pass Worth It? A Detailed Look!
* Before leaving, be sure to check our Travel Resources Page to find exclusive travel discounts and to book hotels, rental cars, and guided tours.*
Jen Brommer is a family travel expert. She has been featured as an authority on several notable travel websites and is a member of the Family Travel Association (FTA), Midwest Travel Network, and TravMedia global media network.
A prominent content creator and influencer on Instagram, Jen has over 150K unique monthly blog readers from countries all over the world. She has spent the last 16 years planning fun, and hassle-free family vacations for her family of 5.
Family Travel: Top 5 Fun Things to do in Minneapolis With Kids this Winter
7 Differences Between VRBO vs. Airbnb: A Full Comparison
15 Best Midwest Family Vacations (The Whole Family Will Love!)
One Day in Seattle: Itinerary & What to Do in 24 Hours
9 Practical Tips To Stay Healthy While Traveling
Family Road Trip Packing List (+ Free Printable Packing Checklist)
Leave a reply cancel reply.
Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *
We have never been to Universal Studios bt have been to Disney 20+ times. This is the perfect itinerary to dip our toes in!
You totally have to try Universal! We love Disney too…but now that the kids are older, they prefer Universal hands-down 🙂
Loads of very useful information here in this post. Last time we traveled to Orlando we only made it to the Disney parks and I’m thinking it would probably be a good idea to go back and visit Universal Studios. Thanks for sharing all these insights!
Yes, we started with Disney too! As the kids have gotten a little older, they absolutely LOVE Universal, although I haven’t had the heart to ask them which they like better 😉
Awesome tips and perfect itinerary, can’t wait to actually get out there and experience Universal again! thanks for the travel inspiration.
You’re welcome! It is definitely a place that we would love to return to year-after-year!
I dont know how this is possible, BUT I have never been to Universal Studios! Its very high on my to do list. I gotta get my kids to read Harry Potter first.
What?!?! I can’t believe that you haven’t been…but I am so happy that now you have a little info for when you do go! Yay! If the kids never get around to reading Harry Potter, no worries 🙂 It is so much more than that!!
You’re not going to believe this but I haven’t been to Universal Studios in 20 years! We really need to take the kids and this is the perfect one day touring guide!! So much detail- thank you Jen!!
Yay! You’re welcome! It’s really how amazing it all is! …It’s too bad that these awesome American theme parks have to be so expensive though. I feel like we’d go there way more if they were more affordable 🙂
The Universal studio is on my ‘must do’ and ‘must see’ places. I’ll like to compare it with Motiongate in Dubai. I’ll like to see Shrek in 4d. Thanks for a complete guide.
You’re welcome! It really is a truly amazing place! I was glad that we waited until our kids were a bit older to go there, for the rollercoasters and thrill rides are not-to-miss!
Find Even More
Find your next vacation destination!
Connect on Instagram
Find out where we’re traveling now!
Make the memories now
You don’t have to wait until your kids are more grown up or you have a ton of money saved to start traveling.
With a little planning and a lot of love, lifelong family vacation memories can be made at all ages, stages – and places both near and far.
- Girls’ Trips
- U.S. Cities
- All-Inclusive Resorts
- Universal Orlando
Free packing list printable when you subscribe for the latest travel updates!
Travel With A Plan is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to amazon.com.
Family Vacation Packing List!
- Privacy Overview
- Strictly Necessary Cookies
Strictly Necessary Cookie should be enabled at all times so that we can save your preferences for cookie settings.
If you disable this cookie, we will not be able to save your preferences. This means that every time you visit this website you will need to enable or disable cookies again.
Select an option
Or use google translate, google translate.
Home Brewed: Beers Inspired by Orlando & Florida
Under the Electric Sky: EDC Orlando Returns
Look at this cool new tool for exploring Orlando!
Universal Studios Florida
Hours 9 a.m. – Closing Times Vary Park hours are subject to change.
Imagine casting spells with a wand like Harry Potter™, becoming a mischievous Minion, or being in the middle of an intergalactic showdown with the Autobots and Decepticons. Maybe you’d like to adventure with E.T., race with the crew from Fast & Furious , or fight aliens with the MEN IN BLACK™.
Save on discount tickets: Universal Orlando Resort
Immerse yourself in the next generation of blockbuster entertainment at Universal Studios Florida, where cutting-edge rides, shows and attractions bring your favorite movies, television and more to life at Universal Orlando Resort .
The latest experience to put you in the middle of the action at Universal Studios is The Bourne Stuntacular, an action-packed adventure based on the blockbuster films — the first of many starring roles waiting for you here. Join a high-octane chase at Fast & Furious — Supercharged, zap aliens at MEN IN BLACK™ Alien Attack, save Earth from the Decepticons at TRANSFORMERS™: The Ride-3D, survive the Revenge of the Mummy, and help a lovable alien phone home at the park’s longest-running attraction, E.T. Adventure.
You can also rock out at Hollywood Rip Ride Rockit, an adrenaline- and music-fueled roller coaster that reaches speeds of 65 mph. Or, take a wild tour of the Big Apple with late night’s reigning king at Race Through New York Starring Jimmy Fallon.
Of course, anyone in possession of Floo Powder™ might want to travel directly to Diagon Alley™, half of The Wizarding World of Harry Potter ™ at Universal Orlando Resort. This faithful reproduction of the famous wizarding retail district also features themed shopping and dining, as well as the thrilling ride, Harry Potter and the Escape from Gringotts™. And at King's Cross Station, you can board the Hogwarts™ Express — which can take you directly to Hogsmeade™ Station at Universal Islands of Adventure . ( Please note : Hogwarts™ Express requires a park-to-park ticket or Annual Pass. Additional restrictions apply.)
Discover: The Wizarding World of Harry Potter™ : Tips for the Best Experience
There’s a lot of animated fun to be had at Universal Studios, too, starting with Despicable Me Minion Mayhem and the all-new Illumination’s Villain-Con Minion Blast, among other hijinks.
And that’s still not a wrap. You’ll also find unforgettable character encounters, live entertainment, dining and shopping around every corner. Read on for more information about Universal Studios Florida at Universal Orlando Resort, where you’re always the star.
Don’t miss out on all the fun at Universal Studios Florida, Universal Islands of Adventure and Universal Volcano Bay at a discounted price. Purchase discount tickets today from Visit Orlando powered by BestofOrlando.com .
Build your ultimate adventure at Universal Orlando Resort with your choice of tickets.
These starter tickets are designed for visiting either Universal Studios Florida, Universal Islands of Adventure or Universal Volcano Bay. One park per day. Multi-Day Base Tickets are also available.
Visit two or all three Universal Orlando Resort parks in the same day. Multi-Day Park-to-Park Admission Tickets are also available.
Travel Tip : When you’re planning your visit to The Wizarding World of Harry Potter™, please note that Diagon Alley™ is located in Universal Studios Florida and Hogsmeade™ is located in Universal Islands of Adventure. Jumping onboard Hogwarts™ Express (magical train transport between The Wizarding World of Harry Potter™ — Hogsmeade™ and The Wizarding World of Harry Potter™ — Diagon Alley™) is only possible with a park-to-park ticket (additional restrictions apply).
Universal Express Pass
When you add Universal Express access to your theme park admission, you get to skip the regular lines at most of your favorite rides and attractions and fit way more fun into your day. Separate theme park admission required.
Participating attractions and rides at Universal Studios Florida (subject to change without notice):
- The Bourne Stuntacular
Despicable Me Minion Mayhem
- Fast & Furious – Supercharged
- Harry Potter and the Escape from Gringotts™
- Hogwarts™ Express: King’s Cross Station (park-to-park admission ticket required; additional restrictions apply)
Hollywood Rip Ride Rockit
- Kang & Kodos’ Twirl ‘n’ Hurl
- MEN IN BLACK™ Alien Attack
Race Through New York Starring Jimmy Fallon
Revenge of the mummy.
- The Simpsons Ride™
TRANSFORMERS: The Ride-3D
Ride the movies and be a part of the action at various stage shows, simulator rides, rollercoasters and more. Please note that some experiences at Universal Studios Florida are not suitable for all ages and heights.
Join Gru, his daughters and the mischievous Minions from Illumination on this unpredictable ride. Your journey starts in Gru's home, where you're recruited for his latest scheme — one where you'll become an actual Minion. But when things don't go as planned, you’re launched into an unforgettable trip through his super villain laboratory. Gru, Margo, Edith and Agnes race along with you through every twist and turn. The laughs keep coming after the ride with an interactive, Minion-inspired dance party. Take the floor and show off your best moves — it's heartwarming and humorous family fun for everyone.
Height restrictions : 40 inches (102 cm). Children between 40-48 inches (102-122 cm) must be accompanied by supervising companion.
Jump on a bike with E.T. and race through town to help him save his dying planet just like in the heartwarming sci-fi classic. Journey over the city lights and past the silver moon as you reach his magical planet, where you’ll meet unbelievable creatures who welcome you in song.
Height restrictions : 34 inches (87 cm). Children between 34-48 inches (87-122 cm) must be accompanied by supervising companion.
Fast & Furious — Supercharged
Join the crew for an immersive experience at Universal Studios Florida. Inspired by the blockbuster Fast & Furious franchise, the attraction features supercharged vehicles and actual movie props that put you directly in the high-octane world of Fast & Furious .
Height restrictions : 40 inches (102 cm). Children under 48 inches (122 cm) must be accompanied by supervising companion.
Harry Potter and the Escape From Gringotts™
Beneath the fire-breathing dragon overlooking Diagon Alley™, journey deep underground on this multi-dimensional thrill ride. As you navigate perilous subterranean vaults, you’ll encounter Harry, Ron and Hermione while evading the wrath of villains Voldemort™, Bellatrix, trolls and other creatures that stand between you and a safe return to Diagon Alley™.
Height restrictions : 42 inches (107 cm)
Rock out to your very own song choice as you climb 17 stories over Universal Studios Florida before rolling down at 65 mph. Experience the world’s first non-inverting loop. You can also purchase a video showing the highlights of your ride — it doesn’t get more Hollywood than that.
Height restrictions : 51 inches (130 cm) and must be under 79 inches (201 cm)
Illumination’s Villain-Con Minion Blast
Illumination’s Villain-Con Minion Blast combines innovative screen technology, state-of-the-art gaming interactivity and elaborate physical sets to create a one-of-a-kind, game-based adventure where you will encounter immersive environments, nefarious villains and tons of mischievous Minions from Illumination’s films in a whole new way.
Kang & Kodos’ Twirl ‘n’ Hurl
Calling all Earth-Humans: Kang & Kodos, those doomed, drooling aliens from The Simpsons ™, have landed with a ride that will send your stomach into the stratosphere. Pilot your very own flying saucer, swooping up and down as you circle one of the animated alien fiends from Rigel 7.
Height restrictions : Children under 48 inches (122 cm) must be accompanied by supervising companion.
MEN IN BLACK™ ALIEN ATTACK
You’re the new recruit at MIB. Now it’s up to you to safeguard the Earth from menacing aliens. Immediately dive into action and test out your skills blasting aliens as you enter the MEN IN BLACK™ top-secret headquarters.
Height restrictions : 42 inches (107 cm). Children under 48 inches (122 cm) must be accompanied by supervising companion.
Face off with comedian and The Tonight Show host, Jimmy Fallon, on a hilarious journey through New York City. Race through the hurried streets of mid-town, zoom over skyscrapers and even take a dive in the East River. Laugh and discover who will win in the end.
Height restrictions : 40 inches (102 cm)
Inspired by the hit Mummy movies, this ride sends you on a precarious adventure, dodging danger at every turn. Come face-to-face with your darkest fears: creepy bugs, free falling, terrifying pitch darkness and generally feeling out of control. Escape ancient curses and figure out mysteries, if you’re up for it.
Height restrictions : 48 inches (122 cm)
The Simpsons Ride ™
Enjoy a fun-filled adventure through Krustyland with The Simpsons ™ on The Simpsons Ride™.
The Simpsons TM & © 20th Television.
Get psyched for a thrill-packed action adventure as you find yourself right in the middle of an intergalactic showdown between the Autobots and the Decepticons. It all emerges right in front of you as you fight side-by-side with Optimus Prime and Bumblebee, trying to keep the AllSpark away from the enemy.
Height restrictions : 40 inches (102 cm). Children 40-48 inches (102-122 cm) must be accompanied by supervising companion.
Some of your favorite characters come to life during live shows and entertainment at Universal Studios Florida.
Animal Actors on Location!
You’re bound to be delighted by some of the most talented stars from movies and TV. In this case, autographs might be tricky, as the stars are dogs, cats, birds and even pigs. Learn the training secrets and skills necessary to be an animal performer or celebrity. Heartwarming and memorable, this show is always a fan favorite.
The Blues Brothers ® Show
Jake and Elwood perform, donning their trademark attire: dark suits, sunglasses and porkpie hats. They bring their Chicago attitudes and musical talents to the stage for an unforgettable show. Look for Mabel the Waitress belting out tunes while her sax-playing sidekick, Jazz, tries to keep up.
Universal Orlando’s Cinematic Celebration
On select nights, this epic show lights up Universal Studios Florida with a colossal celebration of music, water and light for a movie experience like no other. Set to music from the world’s biggest films, incredible cinematic moments come to life with powerful projections and massive walls of water for an amazing show that makes Universal Studios Florida bolder and brighter than ever.
Universal Orlando’s Horror Make-up Show
Discover how top make-up and special effects artists create incredibly lifelike special effects for the movies. Be mesmerized by a wonderful mishmash of movie clips, props, creature make-up demonstrations and behind-the-scenes how-tos. Be sure to peruse the curated collection of prop and make-up effects from Universal’s most infamous horror flicks. Parental guidance is recommended.
You never know who you’ll see when you visit Universal Studios Florida, including Illumination’s Minions, The TRANSFORMERS, Hello Kitty, SpongeBob SquarePants, Hollywood favorites, and more. (Please note that all characters at Universal Studios Florida are subject to change.)
These immersive lands at Universal Studios Florida are fun for all ages.
The Wizarding World of Harry Potter™ — Diagon Alley™
Hidden from the Muggles™, Diagon Alley™ continues its centuries-old activities for industrious witches and wizards. You'll find popular attractions such as Gringotts™ Money Exchange, as well as Harry Potter and the Escape from Gringotts™. There's much more to The Wizarding World of Harry Potter ™ than what's found within Universal Studios Florida — ready your wands and get tips for the best experience .
SPRINGFIELD, U.S.A.: Home of The Simpsons
Enjoy a fun-filled adventure through Krustyland with The Simpsons™ on The Simpsons Ride™.
There couldn’t be a more diverse mix of dining choices on the streets and backlots of Universal Studios Florida. Whatever you’re craving, there’s a good chance you’ll find it.
Fast Food Boulevard
Enjoy a great meal and atmosphere at any of these great eats: Lisa’s Teahouse of Horror, The Frying Dutchman, Cletus’ Chicken Shack, Krusty Burger, Luigi’s Pizza and Flaming Moe’s. Also, Bumblebee Man’s Taco Truck is parked nearby.
Finnegan’s Bar & Grill
It’s your lucky day when you cross the green threshold into this ever-popular Irish pub. Live music and a delicious offering of pub staples like pot pie, beef stew and shepherd’s pie make every day feel like St. Paddy’s Day. Guests 21 and up can also enjoy the premium draft sampler with five 4-ounce beer samples, or a traditional Irish coffee.
Explore original souvenirs, apparel, plush and toys. With original merchandise created for Springfield, U.S.A., there’s something for every Simpsons fan to enjoy.
Louie’s Italian Restaurant
As you stroll along the Big Apple set, you’ll spy a kitschy, green-striped awning. Enter and be immediately greeted by the smell of pizza pies baking. Other popular menu entrees include savory fettuccini alfredo, plus home-style spaghetti and meatballs.
Stock up on one-of-a-kind collectibles based on your favorite character and other mementos of Universal Studios Florida.
Dive into the underwater world of Bikini Bottom where you’ll find SpongeBob SquarePants’ iconic pineapple house along with his pet snail, Gary. Enjoy some nautical nonsense and SpongeBob-themed apparel, gifts, candy, toys and more. Read up on Squidward’s management policies and get a chance to visit his house, too. Fans will also enjoy a special meet-and-greet with SpongeBob at various times throughout the day.
Super Silly Stuff
Want to take a Minion or two home with you? Or maybe a fluffy unicorn? Filled to the brim with toys, apparel, candy, accessories and more, this is the place to find the most exclusive Despicable Me merchandise. And if you’re looking for Gru-approved gadgets, this store is filled with some of Dr. Nefario’s most unique inventions.
The Supply Vault
Located near the TRANSFORMERS: The Ride-3D, this retail space almost seems like an attraction in and of itself. Set in true-to-the-movie style, it replicates a military complex where cashiers are all N.E.S.T. soldiers. Discover a variety of Transformers-themed merchandise (new and old movie versions), including T-shirts, hats, toys and more. Plus, serious chocoholics won’t want to pass up the chocolate AllSpark, a solid chocolate replica of the ancient artifact.
Universal Studios Store
Whether you’re looking for a Scooby-Doo plush toy or a JAWS beach towel, you’ll find it here. As the official store of all things Universal — characters and movies — it’s the perfect one-stop shop for apparel, gifts, toys and souvenirs.
Add even more value to your Universal Studios Florida visit by planning your trip during these special events.
Holidays at Universal Orlando
Anyone can “Ho-ho-ho” and “Fa-la-la” for the holidays. But if you want to scream and laugh your jingle bells off, you’ve got to awesome up your holiday at Universal Orlando Resort. Join the celebration of Christmas in The Wizarding World of Harry Potter™ with festivities in both lands. Catch the larger-than-life balloons of Universal’s Holiday Parade Featuring Macy’s. Enjoy The Grinchmas™ Who -liday Spectacular starring the Grinch™. And top it off with a stay at one of Universal’s spectacular hotels. From the parks to the hotels to Universal CityWalk, there’s themed entertainment, food and fun around every corner. It’s the biggest, loudest, awesomest holiday celebration of the season. And it’s only at Universal Orlando Resort.
It’s the most spectacular party of the year. Every spring, Mardi Gras’ festive floats and outstanding street performers parade through the streets of Universal Studios Florida. Thousands of beads are tossed into the crowd, and on select nights, you can catch major headliners live in concert. Expect authentic New Orleans cuisine such as beignets, bananas foster, jambalaya and an assortment of Mardi Gras-inspired cocktails.
Rock the Universe
Rock the Universe is an unforgettable weekend of faith and fun. Experience two nights of powerful tunes from Christian music’s brightest stars and mind-blowing rides at Universal Studios Florida during this separately ticketed event.
Halloween Horror Nights
Experience terrifying haunted houses, sinister scare zones, outrageous live entertainment and some of the park’s most exhilarating attractions during this separately ticketed event. You definitely need someone to cling to, someone to hide behind, somebody to panic with. Because just as in horror films where the first to wander off meets a terrible fate, there’s one thing to remember at Halloween Horror Nights: Never go alone.
WARNING : EVENT MAY BE TOO INTENSE FOR YOUNG CHILDREN AND IS NOT RECOMMENDED FOR CHILDREN UNDER THE AGE OF 13. NO COSTUMES OR COSTUME MASKS ALLOWED.
Feel like a celebrity on this specialized guided tour. You’ll be personally escorted through Universal Studios Florida, Universal Islands of Adventure or both theme parks. This experience includes:
- Priority access to all rides and attractions
- Exclusive behind-the-scenes experiences
- Complimentary valet parking for one vehicle
- Reserved seating at shows
- Complimentary breakfast and lunch on the day of your tour (select tours)
- Complimentary full-service dinner at one of Universal’s dining venues on the day of your tour (select tours)
Please note : Separate theme park admission required for all VIP experiences.
Seasonal VIP Experiences
Experience these seasonal VIP experiences at Universal Studios Florida.
Halloween Horror Nights Tours
Gain incomparable access to the premier Halloween event, if you can stand it. Not recommended for children under the age of 13.
Halloween Horror Nights R.I.P. Tour
Join other fans and get the blood-red carpet treatment with the ultimate Halloween Horror Nights experience: a guided V.I.P. walking tour of the event. See more with Priority V.I.P. entry to haunted houses and participating attractions.
Separate Halloween Horror Nights event admission is required for all R.I.P. Tour experiences.
WARNING: EVENT MAY BE TOO INTENSE FOR YOUNG CHILDREN AND IS NOT RECOMMENDED FOR CHILDREN UNDER THE AGE OF 13. NO COSTUMES OR COSTUME MASKS ALLOWED.
Halloween Horror Nights Behind the Screams: Unmasking The Horror Tour
Take a daytime V.I.P. tour for a lights-on look at Halloween Horror Nights haunted houses.
DUE TO THE INTENSELY GRAPHIC NATURE AND LIGHTS-ON VIEWING WITHIN THE HAUNTED HOUSES, THE UNMASKING THE HORROR TOURS ARE NOT RECOMMENDED FOR CHILDREN UNDER THE AGE OF 13. NO COSTUMES OR COSTUME MASKS ALLOWED.
Universal Islands of Adventure
Universal volcano bay, universal orlando resort virtual tour.
Orlando's Only Official Website
- Copyright & Trademarks
- Cookie Preferences
Receive Visit Orlando news
and special offers.
© 2023 Visit Orlando
- Search Please fill out this field.
- Manage Your Subscription
- Give a Gift Subscription
- Amusement Parks
30 Universal Orlando Rides, Ranked from Best to Worst
These are the best rides at Universal Orlando — and the worst.
Elizabeth Rhodes is a special projects editor at Travel + Leisure , covering everything from luxury hotels to theme parks to must-pack travel products. Originally from South Carolina, Elizabeth moved to New York City from London, where she started her career as a travel blogger and writer.
Step into your favorite movies at Universal Orlando's theme parks — Universal Studios Florida and Universal's Islands of Adventure — for an unforgettable experience. As Travel + Leisure' s on-staff theme park expert, I have spent countless hours on the ground researching and experiencing these attractions firsthand to find the best rides at Universal Orlando and help you plan your next trip to this theme park resort.
Universal Orlando , founded in 1990, is the second-largest theme park resort in the Orlando area after Walt Disney World . Throughout its history, Universal Orlando has evolved to include new rides and attractions based on successful movie and TV franchises like Jurassic Park, The Simpsons , and most recently, Harry Potter. The addition of The Wizarding World of Harry Potter introduced a number of rides to the park, bringing massive success and a new surge of popularity for Universal Orlando. Before your next visit to these theme parks, you'll want to plan out what you want to experience, picking from thrill rides , family-friendly attractions kids will love, and everything in between. To help, we've rounded up the best rides at Universal Orlando, so you know what should be at the top of your list.
Best Rides at Universal Studios Florida
1. harry potter and the escape from gringotts.
The highlight of the Wizarding World of Harry Potter — Diagon Alley, this attraction is truly the best ride at Universal Studios Florida. The queue itself is wildly impressive, with goblins that look like they're straight from the movies. The ride is also very unique, combining dark ride and coaster elements with 3-D projections to create a truly immersive and exciting experience.
2. Hollywood Rip Ride Rockit
This is, by far, the most thrilling ride at Universal Studios Florida. The Hollywood Rip Ride Rockit roller coaster allows riders to choose their own soundtrack (with over two dozen song options including "Glamorous" by Fergie and "Sabotage" by the Beastie Boys — plus a secret playlist) before taking off on a vertical ascent for an exciting ride that gets up to a maximum speed of 65 miles per hour.
3. Revenge of the Mummy
A welcome break from other screen-based attractions at Universal Studios Florida, this indoor coaster based on The Mummy is thrilling without being too scary. The immersive design and exciting practical effects make it a personal favorite that I love to ride again and again.
4. Men in Black Alien Attack
Enter the Men in Black training facility and zap aliens in this interactive dark ride. With 120 animatronic aliens, this ride is fun, engaging, and worth enjoying more than once to see if you can beat your high score.
5. E.T. Adventure
There's a good reason that E.T. Adventure is the only opening-day attraction left at Universal Orlando. Sure, it's a little dated, but this ride is just as charming as it was in 1990 with its bicycle ride vehicles, and now, it offers an added dose of nostalgia.
6. The Simpsons Ride
Follow the Simpsons on their crazy antics during this funny motion simulator ride. Fans of the show will love all the references and details, and the movement is smooth and realistic (although it might be intense for those prone to motion sickness).
7. Hogwarts Express: King’s Cross Station
Climb aboard the famed Hogwarts Express and experience the magic of the Harry Potter movies in this attraction. King's Cross station looks just like it does in London, and this is a quick and delightful way to get to Islands of Adventure. You can really imagine yourself boarding the train to Hogwarts, and arriving in Hogsmeade makes it even more magical.
8. Race Through New York Starring Jimmy Fallon
Fans of The Tonight Show will like this Jimmy Fallon-led 3-D motion simulator ride that takes guests on a trip around New York City. The well-themed queue that's made to look just like 30 Rockefeller Plaza is equally impressive.
9. Despicable Me Minion Mayhem
As one of the first attractions guests reach when entering the park, this simulator ride can have long wait times. It's great for families, so fans of the Despicable Me movies should check it out. And good news for little ones: More Minions -themed fun will open this summer, including a new attraction.
10. Kang & Kodos' Twirl 'n' Hurl
This Simpsons -themed spinner ride is a solid option for kids, but it's not the most exciting ride in this park. That said, it's worth riding (if the line is short) to take in the views of the park while flying in circles.
11. Transformers: The Ride 3-D
Several recently debuted rides at this park rely heavily on screens and motion simulators, and while it works for some attractions, this one is a little jerky, although fans of the Transformers films are sure to enjoy it.
12. Fast & Furious – Supercharged
As one of the newest rides at the park, Fast & Furious — Supercharged was highly anticipated, but many argue that it didn't live up to the hype. Fans of the film franchise may want to check it out, but there are better rides to experience at this park if you're short on time.
Best Rides at Universal's Islands of Adventure
1. harry potter and the forbidden journey.
This incredible dark ride combines innovative technologies and a unique ride system to fully immerse guests in the Harry Potter story. Plus, it's housed in the Hogwarts Castle, and the queue is absolutely amazing, with classroom replicas, a message from the Sorting Hat, and more. It's worth riding again and again — you're almost guaranteed to notice something new each time.
2. Hagrid’s Magical Creatures Motorbike Adventure
Many laud this well-themed coaster as the best ride in the park, and it's easy to see why once you experience it. Take a seat on Hagrid's motorbike and soar through beautiful scenery while encountering some magical creatures and delightful surprises along the way.
3. Jurassic World VelociCoaster
This newer addition to Islands of Adventure might just be the most thrilling ride in all of Orlando's theme parks. The Jurassic World -themed roller coaster isn't for the faint of heart — it's tall, fast, and has multiple inversions — and that makes it all the more exciting for thrill-seekers visiting the park. For coaster lovers, this may even be the best ride at Universal Orlando.
4. Jurassic Park River Adventure
What starts as a calming boat ride through Jurassic Park quickly turns into a thrilling escape ending with an 85-foot drop. Whether or not you're a fan of the classic dino movie, this ride is worth experiencing at least once — the splash-down never disappoints.
5. The Incredible Hulk Coaster
One of the most intense rides at Islands of Adventure, The Incredible Hulk Coaster — complete with seven inversions and a 67-mph launch start — is a must for all thrill-seekers.
6. Flight of the Hippogriff
This family-friendly coaster is another delightful addition to the Harry Potter -themed land. The ride is short, but it offers great views of Hogwarts from the train (which was made to look like a wicker Hippogriff). Be sure to wave to Buckbeak as you coast along.
7. The Amazing Adventures of Spider-Man
Step inside your favorite comic books in Marvel Super Hero Island. The Amazing Adventures of Spider-Man is a 3-D simulator dark ride that immerses you in the superhero action. When the attraction debuted in 1999, it was praised for its groundbreaking use of new ride technology, and it's still a fun time today.
8. Hogwarts Express: Hogsmeade Station
The Hogwarts Express allows visitors to travel between Universal Orlando's two parks without leaving the magic of the Wizarding World of Harry Potter, which makes it a must-do experience if you plan to visit both parks in one day. The Hogsmeade side of the Hogwarts Express is just as fun as its King's Cross counterpart.
9. The High in the Sky Seuss Trolley Train Ride
Go for a scenic tour above Seuss Landing on this ride. The train ride actually has two tracks, so you can enjoy a different story during your second time around. This is a fun, gentle ride that's great for families.
10. Dudley Do-Right's Ripsaw Falls
A classic log flume ride with a cartoon twist, this ride is great for cooling off on hot Florida days. Bright colors, retro cartoon vignettes, and multiple drops make it fun even for guests who have never heard of Dudley Do-Right — as long as they don't mind getting wet.
11. The Cat in the Hat
This dark ride takes you straight into one of Dr. Seuss's most beloved stories, and it's fun for kids and nostalgic for adults who remember this story from childhood — just keep an eye out for mischievous Thing 1 and Thing 2.
12. Popeye & Bluto's Bilge-Rat Barges
Sail through the rapids on this bumpy water ride, but be warned: You will get very wet. Although it's perfect for a warm Florida day, you might want to skip it if the sun isn't out or if you don't want to walk around in soaked shoes all day (speaking from a soggy experience).
The entire Seuss-themed land is whimsical, and this ride offers a fun twist on the classic amusement park attraction, with Seuss-inspired characters replacing traditional carousel horses. Plus, you can walk right over to the Green Eggs and Ham Cafe for some Green Eggs and Ham tater tots after.
14. Pteranodon Flyers
This gentle dino ride was created for kids, so adults can't ride without a child between 36 to 56 inches tall. If you do have the chance to hop on, you'll get great views of the park while soaring along.
15. Storm Force Accelatron
This hero-themed spinning teacup ride isn't the most exciting option in the park, but it's fun and worth checking out if there isn't a long line.
16. Doctor Doom's Fearfall
This exciting space shot-style ride isn't for the faint of heart — expect thrilling drops. The villain-themed attraction is fun for thrill-seekers, but it's not all that different than the drop rides you'd find at your local amusement park.
17. One Fish, Two Fish, Red Fish, Blue Fish
Climb aboard an adorable flying fish on this Dr. Seuss-themed spinning ride. It's ideal for younger children who can't yet go on the more intense rides in the park — they'll love the ability to control the ride vehicle, but keep an eye out for the fountains.
18. Skull Island: Reign of Kong
This trackless dark ride based on King Kong is a fairly polarizing attraction — the animatronics are incredible and the queue is well-themed, but the screen-based portion is a little lackluster, similar to Fast & Furious — Supercharged at Universal Studios Florida.
By clicking “Accept All Cookies”, you agree to the storing of cookies on your device to enhance site navigation, analyze site usage, and assist in our marketing efforts.
Your browser is not supported for this experience. We recommend using Chrome, Firefox, Edge, or Safari.
Find Your Favorite Beach
Places to stay.
African American Heritage Travel
More Travel Ideas
Toll Roads Info
A guide to universal studios rides and attractions.
By Dalia Colón
The options for rides and attractions at Universal Orlando Resort ’s various parks — including Universal Studios Florida, Islands of Adventure, and Volcano Bay — are extensive.
“Universal is the king for multisensory rides,” said Jason Mayhew, owner/site administrator of OFF On The Go , a website that highlights fun things to do in Central Florida and beyond.
Indeed, it’s nearly impossible to define what constitutes a ride at these parks. Multisensory experiences abound at all Universal Orlando theme parks, and the fun isn’t just for thrill-seekers.
“They have a lot of fun attractions for kids," said Matt Roseboom, editor/publisher of Attractions Magazine .. "In fact, just about every area has something for the smaller ones to enjoy.”
Whether you’re seeking an adrenaline rush or kid-friendly fun, here’s a breakdown of rides and attractions at Universal Studios and other parks at the Universal Orlando Resort.
Guests can experience the next generation thrill ride, Harry Potter and the Escape from Gringotts – the signature attraction found in The Wizarding World of Harry Potter.
- Universal Studios Florida
Universal Studios Florida
Some of your favorite movies and TV shows come to life in this pop culture playground.
Best rides for thrill seekers and older kids:
● Revenge of the Mummy : Enjoy being wrapped in fear? Plunge into darkness as you attempt to escape the Mummy Imotep.
● Men in Black Alien Attack : Defend New York against intergalactic invaders as you zap aliens with your laser gun.
● The Simpsons Ride : This virtual reality roller coaster ride takes your imagination through Springfield and beyond, with cameos from Bart, Homer and the rest of the Springfield gang.
● Transformers: The Ride-3D: In this 3D/4D adventure, you’ll defend the planet against Megatron and his evil Decepticons, alongside Optimus Prime and Bumblebee.
● Harry Potter and the Escape from Gringotts : Universal’s Diagon Alley brings the Wizarding World of Harry Potter to life. On this thrill ride, you’ll encounter Harry and his pals as you try to elude the evil Voldemort and Bellatrix.
Ideal rides for kids and the young at heart:
● Kang & Kodos' Twirl 'n' Hurl: Pilot a flying saucer as you navigate through an alien adventure in this Simpsons-themed ride.
● Woody Woodpecker’s Nuthouse Coaster: Tap into some family fun on this gentle roller coaster that older kids and parents can enjoy together.
● E.T. Adventure: No trip to Universal Orlando Resort would be complete without a ride on this classic attraction. Soar into the starry night as a you peddle a bicycle with the beloved alien riding in the basket.
● Despicable Me Minion Mayhem: Experience life as a minion with Gru and company in this light-hearted 3-D adventure. But, as they say, there’s much, much more…
You’re in for big thrills as prehistoric creatures attack your vehicle to remind you who’s king of the jungle in Skull Island: Reign of Kong.
Universal’s Islands of Adventure
Come face-to-face with your favorite superheroes, cartoon characters and others in this enchanting theme park.
● Dudley Do-Right's Ripsaw Falls: Hold onto your stomach and prepare to get wet as you embark on this fast flume ride that includes a 75-foot drop.
● Popeye & Bluto's Bilge-Rat Barges: Eat your spinach so you’ll be brave enough to ride the raging rapids as you help Popeye save his sweetheart, Olive Oyl, from an 18-foot octopus.
● The Amazing Adventures of Spider-Man: 3D glasses are your ticket for adventure on this virtual-reality ride, which includes a simulated 400-foot freefall.
● The Incredible Hulk Coaster: You’ll need superhuman strength to endure this roaring roller coaster that sends you fast, faster and upside down.
● Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey: In this 3D/4D adventure, you’ll explore the corridors of Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry and encounter magical creatures as you soar high above the castle grounds.
● Jurassic Park River Adventure: What starts as a relaxing water cruise soon turns into a harrowing journey that includes a rendezvous with a T. Rex and an 85-foot drop.
● Dr. Doom’s Fearfall: Once you’re trapped by the Marvel villain’s henchmen, you’ll be catapulted 85 feet into the sky and hurled back down to earth with head-spinning speed.
● Poseidon's Fury : In this live-action show, an archeologist guides you through the ruins of Poseidon, the Greek god of the sea.
● Skull Island: Reign of Kong: You’re in for big thrills as prehistoric creatures attack your vehicle to remind you who’s king of the jungle.
● Hagrid’s Magical Creatures Motorbike Adventure: In this newest addition to the Wizarding World of Harry Potter Hogsmeade, you’ll board a magical motorbike and fly into the Forbidden Forest, with Hagrid as your guide.
Climb aboard Hogwarts Express at Hogsmeade Station to King’s Cross Station, where along the way you’ll encounter characters from the Harry Potter books and movies.
● Hogwarts Express: Hogsmeade Station: Climb aboard this train to King’s Cross Station, where along the way you’ll encounter characters from the Harry Potter books and movies. You’ll arrive in London, just steps from the secret entryway to Diagon Alley. With a Park-to-Park admission ticket, you’re free to board at either King's Cross Station in London at Universal Studios Florida and travel to Hogsmeade Station in Universal's Islands of Adventure.
● Flight of the Hippogriff: Ride through Hagrid’s pumpkin patch on this family-friendly roller coaster in the Wizarding World of Harry Potter.
● Storm Force Accelartron: On this family-friendly spinning ride, help X-Men’s Professor Xavier and Storm harness enough thunder and lightning to ward off the evil Magneto. The faster you spin the steering wheel, the better chance you have of saving the planet.
● One Fish, Two Fish, Red Fish, Blue Fish: Oh, the places you’ll go on this gentle Dr. Seuss-inspired ride. Maneuver your flying fish over the fountains, and watch out for squirting water.
● The Cat in the Hat: You can have lots of good fun that is funny as you ride a car through a life-sized version of the beloved Dr. Seuss book.
● Pteranodon Flyers: Your little ones will have a dino-mite time soaring beneath the 10-foot wings of a prehistoric flying reptile. Bonus: This gentle ride gives you a bird’s-eye view of the entire park.
● Caro-Seuss-el: The classic carousel gets a dose of Dr. Seuss magic, with characters who can blink, wiggle their eyes or turn the heads on your command.
● The High in the Sky Seuss Trolley Train Ride: This elevated, slow-moving trolley includes a retelling of the Sneetches.
Universal’s Volcano Bay
If water rides are your thing, then Universal’s newest paradise is sure to make a splash.
● Kopiko Wai Winding River: Take it easy in a tube on the lazy river as it meanders through Volcano Bay’s tropical surroundings. There are life jackets for small children and non-swimmers.
● ika Moana of the Honu ika Moana: Hold onto your five-passenger raft as it twists and turns over bubbling geysers.
● Ko’okiri Body Plunge: As the name implies, this ride is not for the faint of stomach. Participate in the ancient tradition of honoring the volcano God, Vol, by braving this 70-degree, 125-foot fall.
● Honu of the Honu ika Moana: If you have a need for speed, then hop onto a four-passenger raft and zip down this open-air flume.
● Kala & Tai Nui Serpentine Body Slides: Grab your BFF and plunge together down side-by-side clear tubes before you’re reunited in the turquoise waters below.
● Ohno of Ohyah & Ohno Drop Slides: Keep your wits about you as you climb across the chasm and navigate the rope bridge before plunging into the blue waters below.
● TeAwa The Fearless River: Strap on a life vest and leave fear behind as you embark on this water slide full of fierce rapids and intense waves.
● Krakatau Aqua Coaster: You’ll be glad to have company on your four-person canoe as it ticks upward into the dark mist of the volcano before plummeting into a roaring waterfall.
● Waturi Beach: You’re in for more watery fun as you swim, splash or just relax in this lagoon at the foot of Universal’s iconic volcano.
● The Reef: Looking for some R&R? This leisure pool is the perfect place to cool off in peace.
● Punga Racers: It’s a slippery slope once you hop aboard a manta ray and race your companions through the underwater sea caves. First rider to the finish wins a celebratory spray of water, courtesy of the legendary hero Punga himself.
● Tonga of Taniwha Tubes: Hop into a tube and careen down one or both water slides, but watch out for tiki statues that spray water.
● Ohyah of Ohyah & Ohno Drop Slides: Drop in for some fun on this thrilling water slide that twists and turns before letting you off four feet above a whirlpool.
● Puihi of Maku Puihi Round Raft Rides: Hang onto your multi-person raft as it lunges into a dark, winding cave, sends you through a funnel and deposits you safely at the bottom.
● Raki of Taniwha Tubes: Ride one or both of these twisting twin water slides, but watch out for playful tiki statues that spray jets of water.
Ideal for kids and the young at heart:
● Tot Tiki Reef: If your little ones aren’t ready for raging rapids, they’ll enjoy this tot-sized splash pad that’s just their speed.
● Puka Uli Lagoon: This leisure pool is perfect for the entire family, with bongo drums, spraying jets of water and a great view of nearby water rides.
Tips for visiting Universal Orlando Resort
● Splurge on a Universal Express Pass for shorter wait times at most of your favorite rides and attractions.
● Better yet, stay at a Universal Orlando Resort Hotel . You’ll get to enter the theme parks an hour before the general public, and guests at select hotels get free Universal Express Unlimited to Universal Studios Florida and Universal's Islands of Adventure. Mayhew advises heading to the Harry Potter attractions first, before the lines get too long.
● At Volcano Bay, you can use your waterproof TapuTapu band to hold your place in the Virtual Line for one attraction at a time.
● Ask if the ride you’re interested in has a single-rider line. “The single rider lines are usually much faster than the regular lines. You can always meet up after the ride and discuss your favorite parts,” Roseboom said.
● “ Park to Park passes are needed in order to ride the train back and forward from Diagon Alley to Hogsmeade,” Mayhew notes. “Without this ticket you cannot experience the train! Make sure you use those tickets.”
For details about all the rides and attractions at Universal Orlando Resort, visit UniversalOrlando.com and follow the official Universal Orlando Blog .
PLACES TO REMEMBER
Original Florida Roadside Attractions & Retro Theme Parks
- 13 minute read
Escape the long lines and crowded theme parks. These Florida roadside attractions are just as fun but offer unusual twists ranging from shrunken...
A Quick Guide to Navigating Florida's Theme Parks
- 5 minute read
By Chelle Koster Walton As the sky began to sprinkle with rain, the part-time Walt Disney Resorts employee surprised her out-of-town guests....
Your Guide to Disney’s Animal Kingdom Theme Park at Walt Disney World Resort in Orlando
- 11 minute read
By Lauren Tjaden In a heady combination of rare animals and wild entertainment, Disney's Animal Kingdom® Theme Park at Walt Disney World...
STRATEGIC ALLIANCE PARTNERS
Best Universal Orlando Rides
Discover the top 10 rides at universal studios florida and islands of adventure .
Here’s our list of the best Universal Orlando Rides. These rides are thrilling and exhilarating and should all be on everyone’s to-do list for your next Universal vacation!
Top 10 Best Universal Orlando Rides
(best universal studios rides / best islands of adventure rides).
There are dozens of exciting attractions at Universal Orlando Resort , and, like Disney World, there’s something for every age group. That said, the majority of rides at Universal tend to be more suitable for bigger kids, teens, and adults due to their thrilling aspects and height requirements. This helps to explain why most of the rides listed below are high-adrenaline types of rides. We do include a few slower ones in the mix, as well.
So, without further ado, here are the 10 best Universal Orlando rides.
1. Jurassic World VelociCoaster
The Jurassic World VelociCoaster is the best ride at Universal Orlando Resort and quite possibly the best roller coaster in any Florida theme park.
The attraction opened on June 10, 2021, and is located in the Jurassic Park section of Universal’s Islands of Adventure theme park. The ride is themed around the Jurassic World movie franchise.
VelociCoaster is categorized as a steel rollercoaster (launched), has a height of 155 ft, a drop of 140 ft, and a length of 4,000 ft.
Since its opening, the coaster has received lots of accolades, and for good reason.
Guests proceed through the queue and enter an examination room. There you will encounter two caged animatronic Velociraptors.
Take a seat on the four train coaster and buckle up. The 1st launch goes from 0 to 50 in 2 seconds, and the 2nd launch goes from 40 to 70 mph in 2.4 seconds. The coaster features airtime, laterals, near misses, and four inversions, and the max vertical angle is 80°. It’s one of the most exhilarating rides we’ve ever been on.
This ride has fantastic theming, cool animatronics, and a great layout. It’s sure to excite Jurassic Park fans and roller coaster enthusiasts alike.
The VelociCoaster only lasts 2 minutes…but what a 2 minutes it is!
Category : Steel roller coaster, launched
Theme : Jurassic Park
Location : Islands of Adventure; Jurassic Park
Opening Date : June 10, 2021
Height Requirement : 51″ (130 cm)
Duration : 2:00
2. Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey
Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey comes in at #2 on our Best Universal Orlando rides list.
The attraction is categorized as a motion-based dark ride within The Wizarding World of Harry Potter area of the Island of Adventure theme park. The ride utilizes innovative technology to transform the theme park experience like never seen before.
Forbidden Journey is a fascinating in-depth exploration of the world of Harry Potter.
It uses locations and scenes in and around Hogwarts Castle as the backdrop. If you are a fan of the Harry Potter series, some of this will look familiar.
The Wizarding World of Harry Potter-themed area is a highlight of any Universal Orlando Resort vacation.
It’s rich in detail, and the experience really immerses you in a lifelike experience that mimics the books and films.
To us, Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey is the star of the show (land), if there was one.
This attraction is a wild ride that features a getaway through Hogwarts Castle, a harrowing encounter with Death Eaters, a high-flying Quidditch match, and other heart-racing moments with Harry.
The attraction also showcases a real theme park innovation with its robotic ride vehicles.
The Forbidden Journey is not to be missed, even if you aren’t a Harry Potter fan (for whatever reason)!
Category : Dark Ride
Theme : Harry Potter
Location : Islands of Adventure; The Wizarding World of Harry Potter – Hogsmeade
Opening Date : April 7, 2016
Height Requirement : 48″ (122 cm)
Duration : 4:06
Get Free Help Planning Your Universal Vacation: Contact a Vacationeer Today!
3. Hagrid’s Magical Creatures Motorbike Adventure
Hagrid’s Magical Creatures Motorbike Adventure is categorized as a multiple-launch motorbike steel roller coaster. It’s located in The Wizarding World of Harry Potter – Hogsmeade area of Universal’s Islands of Adventure theme park.
Since its opening in 2019, Hagrid’s has become one of the most popular rides at Universal Orlando Resort. It is the most expensive roller coaster ever built ($300 million) and also one of the most immersive.
Universal describes the rides as “a highly-themed roller coaster that will take us into a different corner of the wizarding world, where guests will encounter some of their favorite characters and creatures.”
Hagrid’s Magical Creatures Motorbike Adventure combines great storytelling elements and plenty of thrilling elements.
The max height is 65 ft, the max drop is 17 ft, the max vertical angle is 70°, and the length of the coaster is 5,053 ft.
Hagrid’s top speed reaches 50 MPH, and there are no inversions. However, there is a reverse section, a drop track, and seven launches throughout the ride.
The launches are as follows: 1st: 0 to 20 mph in 1.2 seconds; 2nd: 22 mph to 30 mph in 1.5 seconds; 3rd: 0 to 32 mph in 3.5 seconds; 4th: 27 mph to 35 mph in 2.3 seconds; 5th: 21 mph to 41 mph in 2.5 seconds; 6th: 37 mph to 44 mph in 1.7 seconds; 7th: 0 to 50 mph in 4 seconds.
This Islands of Adventure ride also has some excellent animatronics and theming. Overall, Hagrid’s Motorbike Adventure is among the best-themed coasters you will find in any park.
Harry Potter fans will especially love this one!
Category : Roller Coaster
Theme : Forbidden Forest
Opening Date : June 13, 2019
Duration : 2:55
4. Harry Potter and the Escape from Gringotts
Harry Potter and the Escape From Gringotts comes in at #4 on our Best Universal Orlando rides list.
The ride is themed to the Gringotts Wizarding Bank. It’s the flagship attraction of the Wizarding World of Harry Potter section and an instant classic.
As the crowning jewel of Diagon Alley, Harry Potter and the Escape From Gringotts is based on J.K. Rowling’s magical novels and the movie franchise.
It sends you on a journey alongside Hermione, Ron, and Harry in one of the most climactic scenes.
Guests board a roller coaster train and then travel deep into the Gringotts Bank vaults, where they will encounter Voldemort, dragons, and other creatures.
This indoor steel roller coaster is similar to a dark ride because it utilizes special effects in a light-controlled environment.
It also utilizes motion-based 3-D projections with live-action and animation sequences to really bring the experience to life.
This is one of the most exciting rides in the park!
Theme : Gringotts Bank
Location : Universal Studios; The Wizarding World of Harry Potter – Diagon Alley
Opening Date : July 8, 2014
Height Requirement : 42″ (107 cm)
Duration : 5:00
5. Revenge of the Mummy
Revenge of the Mummy comes in at #5 on our Best Universal Resort rides list and the best ride at Universal Studios Florida theme park.
This “psychological” thrill ride is a combination of an enclosed dark ride (with amazing special effects and animatronics) and a launched roller coaster experience. In other words, it captures some of the best aspects of a theme park attraction in one ride.
If you like scary rides, this one is for you!
Revenge of the Mummy uses treasures and warrior mummies to replicate the film props used in The Mummy film series . Some of the props are the actual film props themselves.
Linear induction motors (LIMs) are also used in order to launch your mine car from a standstill position to speeds of up to 45 mph in a matter of seconds.
The ride first enters a dark tomb surrounded by fluorescent lights. A mummy springs out and hisses at riders.
From then on, you can expect the unexpected as mummies come from all directions, and you go from one dark room to another dark room and then speed into a dark abyss.
The surround sound and effects really bring this ride to the next dimension of entertainment and scariness.
Category : Steel Launched Coaster / Enclosed Dark Ride
Theme : The Mummy
Location : Universal Studios; New York City
Opening Date : May 21, 2004
Duration : 3:00
6. The Incredible Hulk Coaster
The Incredible Hulk Coaster comes in at #6 on our Best Universal Orlando rides list.
This attraction is similar to Hollywood Rip Ride Rockit (see below) because both are fast-paced coasters with a variety of harrowing twists and turns. However, this ride has plenty of differences, including the theme, location, and how the course is laid out.
The Incredible Hulk Coaster ride is located in Univeral’s Islands of Adventure theme park and is themed after the legendary Marvel Comics superhero, the Hulk .
The coaster underwent a major refurbishment in 2015-2016 and now includes a new storyline and a redesigned queue experience.
The entrance features a statue of Hulk lifting a vehicle over his head, and guests enter General Thaddeus Ross’ wacky scientific lab.
The televisions air CGI animations of test subjects who are exposed to gamma radiation and then transformed into creatures resembling the Hulk.
Once on the ride, you are strapped in before zooming off on perhaps the most exhilarating ride at Universal Orlando Resort.
Riders experience seven inversions with a 2-second 0-40 MPH acceleration and a top speed of 67 MPH (vs. 65 MPH in Rip Ride Rockit). It incorporates several upside-down loops along the course to get your heart pumping.
Category : Launched Steel Coaster; Trill Ride
Location : Universal’s Islands of Adventure; Marvel Super Hero Island
Opening Date : May 28, 1999 (as Animation) August 4, 2016 (as Action)
Height Requirement : 54″ (137 cm)
Duration : 1:15
Speed/Vertical : 67 MPH/115 feet drop
The Vacationeer can handle all your reservations — hotels, dining, ground transport, & more!
7. Jurassic Park River Adventure
Jurassic Park River Adventure comes in at #7 on our Best Universal Studios Orlando rides list.
This water-based attraction takes its theme from the Michael Crichton novel and Steven Spielberg film Jurassic Park .
The attraction is designed to resemble Isla Numblar, the fictional Central American island in Jurassic Park.
Guests board a floating water vehicle and travel through a pre-historic land where dinosaurs run amok.
The new updates include new dinosaurs, lush scenery, enhanced storytelling, and a lot more state-of-the-art technology.
At one point in the ride, Dilophosauruses jumps out and spits toxic venom at you (it’s actually water).
Towards the end of the ride, you will ascend a long hill, and then experience two drops, including a plunge down an 85′ drop into and into a tropical lagoon outside the Environmental Systems Building.
Avoid this Universal Studios ride if you don’t want to get wet!
Category : Shoot the Chute
Opening Date : May 28, 1999
Duration : 7:19
8. MEN IN BLACK Alien Attack
Men in Black: Alien Attack comes in at #8 on our Best Rides at Universal list.
This shooting interactive dark ride is based on the 1997 film Men in Black and is located at Universal Studios Florida.
It features more than 125 animatronic aliens and spans 70,000 square feet. Men in Black was the largest dark ride ever built at a Universal park when it opened in 2000.
Guests enter the MIB training facility (disguised as a 1964 New York World’s Fair pavilion) and make their way through a MIB-themed queue and pre-show.
Riders then hop aboard a spinning ride system, dispatch into the darkness, and use laser guns to kill aliens along the way. Points are accumulated during the ride.
Despite its age, Men in Black: Alien Attraction is still one of our favorite interactive rides at Universal Studios. It’s a lot of fun!
Category : Shooting, Interactive Dark Ride
Theme : Men in Black
Location : Universal Studios; World Expo
Opening Date : April 14, 2000
Ride Duration : 4 minutes
9. The Amazing Adventures of Spider-Man
The Amazing Adventures of Spider-Man comes in at #9 on our Best Universal Orlando Rides list.
Debuting in 1999, this attraction is a hybrid of a classic dark ride fused with film-style 3-D projected scenes, high-definition 4-D movie aspects, simulations, and other high-tech gadgetry.
The result is an exciting and realistic experience that immerses the rider in the stylized comic book adventures of Spider-Man.
After boarding a Daily Bugle van, guests (i.e., news reporters) will then enter into the world of Marvel Comics’ legendary character Spider-Man.
The villains of Sinister Syndicate have captured the Statue of Liberty with an anti-gravity gun, and a battle ensues.
Will you be able to help Spider-Man in this classic adventure of good vs. evil?
Category : Motion-Based 3D Dark Ride
Theme : Spider-Man
Location : Islands Of Adventure; Marvel Super Hero Island
Height Requirement : 40″ (102 cm)
Ride Duration : 5 minutes
10. E.T. Adventure
E.T. Adventure comes in at the #10 spot on our Best Universal Orlando Rides list.
Debuting all the way back in 1990 , this attraction will bring back nostalgia for anyone who is old enough to remember Steven Spielberg’s E.T. film. If not, don’t fret because you will enjoy this Universal Orlando attraction regardless.
Look elsewhere if you need high-speed thrills because E.T. Adventure is a leisurely ride that will take you flying past police officers, over the city, and into space.
Guests are seated in a “bicycle,” and in the middle of the front row sits E.T.
The vehicle speeds past NASA and the police give chase. But right as you are about to be apprehended, the bicycle ascends into the sky, above the city, and into outer space.
There’s an enchanting view of the cityscape beneath as you climb into the sky and are transported into a portal with flashing lights and then finally arrive at the Green Plant. Here guests come into contact with Botanicus, who petitions you to rescue E.T.’s friends.
E.T. uses his healing powers to revive his friends, and then a joyful celebration follows!
The beginning of the ride is dark and a bit scary, but the ending scenes are bright and joyous. A great choice for children and kids-at-heart.
Category : Suspended Dark Ride
Theme : E.T. The Extra-Terrestrial
Location : Universal Studios Florida; Woody Woodpecker’s Kidzone
Opening Date : June 7, 1990
Height Requirement : 34″ (86 cm)
Duration : 4.5 minutes
Want Free, Personalized Advice and Help with Your Universal Orlando Visit?
Best Stage Show at Universal
While there are several amazing live shows at Universal Orlando, we rank the Bourne Stuntacular Show as the best live stage show at the resort. It features a cutting-edge mix of film and stagecraft to create the ultimate stunt show.,
Go along for the ride as Jason Bourne tries to outrun a series of sinister characters. Watch as he jumps across rooftops in Tangier, dangles from the edge of a helicopter in Dubai, and is speeds through Virginia by motorcycle. There are shootouts, fistfights, and a sense of ever-present danger.
If you like action, then this live stunt show is not to be missed!
Universal Orlando Resort – Two Theme Parks, Plenty of Exciting Rides
Universal Orlando Resort – commonly referred to as Universal Studios Orlando – shares many similarities to Disney World. The resorts are often confused because they are just 20 minutes apart and both have multiple theme parks, thrilling rides, entertainment, on-site hotels, free in-park transportation, and a similar ticketing system. But that’s about where the similarities end.
Universal Orlando is not part of Disney World. They are, in fact, direct competitors. They also have a completely different set of rides and experiences. This is a big advantage to anyone planning a trip to Orlando because it’s easy to visit both Disney World and Universal Orlando on the same trip… and we recommend that you do just that!
See our Best Travel Agencies for Universal to find out how a U-Preferred Agency can help you plan your next Universal Orlando vacation. Or, contact The Vacationeer for a free, no-obligation quote.
Universal Orlando Theme Parks, Water Park, and Entertainment District
Universal Orlando is divided into 4 distinct sections: 2 theme parks, 1 water park, and a dining and entertainment district. In our Best Universal Orlando Rides article, we will just focus on the rides at the two theme parks. However, here is a breakdown of each Universal Orlando area to give you a sense of the layout of the entire resort.
(note: see our Universal Orlando Map page to view expandable, printable PDF maps of Universal’s Islands of Adventure, Universal Studios Florida, Volcano Bay, and CityWalk.)
Universal Studios Florida – Theme Park
Universal Studios Florida opened on June 7, 1990, as the resort’s original theme park.
The themed areas and attractions are inspired by popular film, television, and music productions. Guests are made to feel as though they are on a movie set.
The eight themed areas are Hollywood, New York, San Francisco, Springfield, Minion Land (formerly Production Central), World Expo, Woody Woodpecker’s Kidzone (currently being re-themed to DreamWorks), and Diagon Alley/London .
Universal’s Islands of Adventure – Theme Park
Universal’s Islands of Adventure opened on May 28, 1999, as the resort’s second theme park.
This park has seven “islands” that are themed around a particular form of adventure.
Guests start at the Port of Entry and then proceed through the various islands in the following order: Marvel Super Hero Island, Toon Lagoon, Skull Island, Jurassic Park, The Wizarding World of Harry Potter , The Lost Continent, and Seuss Landing.
Of the seven islands, The Wizarding World of Harry Potter is the only one to be added (2010) since the park first opened. It is, of course, based on the Harry Potter book/film franchise.
It should be noted that Universal’s Islands of Adventure has been selected as TripAdvisor® Travelers’ Choice’s #1 Amusement Park in the World for 2015–2018, so they are certainly doing something right!
Volcano Bay – Water Park
Volcano Bay is a 27-acre water park at Universal Orlando Resort. It opened on May 25, 2017, and replaced the former Wet ‘n Wild water park (which first opened in 1977 but was acquired by Universal Parks & Resorts in 1998).
Volcano Bay is themed around a 200-foot-tall artificial volcano named “Krakatau.” The volcano is home to Ko’okiri Body Plunge, the tallest body slide in the country, three drop capsule slides, the Kala & Tai Nui Serpentine Body Slides, the Krakatau Aqua Coaster, and more!
Universal CityWalk Orlando – Dining and Entertainment District
The resort further expanded with the opening of Universal CityWalk Orlando on May 28, 1999.
This new dining and entertainment district replaced the former parking lot and main entrance. Now guests would arrive at one of the multi-story parking structures and then hop on the moving sidewalks and proceed into CityWalk.
From there, guests can enter Universal Studios Florida or Islands of Adventure theme parks.
But if you explore Universal CityWalk, then you will find Universal Store (merchandise from both parks) and other shopping locations, plenty of casual and upscale restaurants, nightclubs and live music venues, the Blue Man Group show, and an AMC Movie Theater.
The atmosphere here is electric and you will never run out of things to do!
Enjoy your trip to Universal Orlando Resort!
If you need help planning and booking your Universal Orlando or Disney World vacation, then please contact our friends at The Vacationeer .
They’ll arrange your hotel room, restaurant reservations, and park tickets , plus provide great personalized advice to help you make the most of your money .
Their services are always helpful and totally free of charge — your trip won’t cost a penny more than if you’d booked it yourself (and it might cost less !)
We hope our Best Universal Orlando Rides page helps you prioritize your list of theme park attractions.
If you’re looking for more useful Universal Orlando and Disney World information, then please review some of our other pages on MagicGuides . We have a Complete Universal Vacation Planning Guide , Universal Crowd Calendar , Best Time to Go to Universal , How Much Does It Cost to Go to Universal , Universal Orlando Map , Universal Orlando Statistics , Universal Orlando vs Disney World , and Cost of Wands at Universal . They may be just what you’re looking for!
Thanks for reading and we hope you enjoy Universal Orlando Resort!
Universal raises ticket prices for Florida theme parks, water park. See by how much.
Your next trip to Universal Orlando Resort will cost a little more.
The starting price for one-day, one-park tickets has increased by $10 across all three of its Florida destinations.
"Our pricing reflects the incredible, world-class entertainment experiences we continue to offer our guests, and with our date-based variable pricing model, guests have more flexibility when planning a visit to our destination and can choose the best time to visit that suits their needs," Universal Orlando said in a statement to USA TODAY.
One day at Universal Studios Florida or Universal Islands of Adventure now costs $119 for adults and $114 for children, up from $109 and $104, respectively. That makes the parks more expensive than Disney's Animal Kingdom or EPCOT , where adult tickets start at $109 and $114 accordingly.
Universal Orlando v. Hollywood: What's the difference?
Tickets to Universal’s Volcano Bay water park jumped to $80 for adults and $75 for children, from $70 and $65, respectively.
That’s about a 9% increase on theme park tickets and 14% increase for water park tickets for adults.
Guests ages 10 and up count as adults for ticketing like they do at numerous other theme parks like Disney, which increased some Disneyland ticket prices last month and prices for three Walt Disney World parks last December.
The starting price for tickets to Universal Studios Hollywood in California remains $109.
Holiday special celebrations are coming to Orlando’s Universal Studios. Everything to know
What better way to spend the holidays than with Minions, wizards, and Whos?
The holiday season returns to Orlando's Universal Studios theme parks on Friday, November 17, inviting guests to set their festive side free.
From the enchanting spectacle of “The Magic of Christmas at Hogwarts Castle” in Hogsmeade to coming face-to-face with the Grinch, there are boundless opportunities for guests to enjoy at Universal Orlando this holiday season.
Here's everything to know about the festivities before heading to the theme parks this month.
What is Disney World doing? Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party starts in November. Everything on tickets, dates and treats
Where is Universal Studios Orlando located?
Universal Studios Orlando is at 6000 Universal Blvd in Orlando.
How long do the holiday celebrations run at Universal Studios Orlando?
Guests can experience a mix of merry and mischief beginning Friday, Nov. 17 and running daily through Sunday, Dec. 31.
Do I need a separate ticket to see all the holiday events?
No, you do not! Unlike the park's popular Halloween Horror Nights event, you do not need a separate ticket to experience the holiday fun.
Are there any tours to see all the holiday entertainment?
Guests can take a guided tour that gives them special access to all the holiday entertainment experiences taking place across the parks, including:
- A chance to meet the maven of mischief himself, the Grinch, and his dog, Max, while enjoying small bites, desserts and non-alcoholic beverages
- Reserved seating at the “Grinchmas Who-liday Spectacular” in Universal Islands of Adventure
- A meet-and-greet photo opportunity with Santa Claus in Universal Studios Florida
- An exclusive, after-hours showing of “The Magic of Christmas at Hogwarts Castle” in TheWizarding World of Harry Potter – Hogsmeade at Universal Islands of Adventure to complete the night’s festivities
Universal’s Holiday Tour is available on select dates beginning Nov. 19 through Dec. 30 and can be booked by visiting UniversalOrlando.com/Holidays.
Pricing begins at $79.99 per person (plus tax) and separate theme park admission with a 1-Day 2-Park Park-to-Park ticket is required. Annual and seasonal passholders can get a $10 off discount per ticket per passholder with a valid annual or seasonal pass.
What is Universal Studios' holiday parade?
Floridians won't have to drive 17 hours to witness the Macy's Holiday Parade. Nor will they have to wait until Dec. 25.
Guests will watch floats decorated with Illumination’s Despicable Me and DreamWorks Animation’s Shrek and Madagascar fill the streets of Universal Studios Florida during Universal’s Holiday Parade featuring Macy’s.
"These beloved stories come to life as larger-than-life balloons, colorful holiday floats and hundreds of jolly performers embark on a picturesque journey that culminates in a stunning finale including a special appearance by Santa Claus and the lighting of the magnificent 80-foot Christmas tree," Universal wrote in a press release.
What is 'Grinchmas' at Universal Islands of Adventure?
There no Christmases being stolen here! The spirit of "Grinchmas" will be felt at the Universal Islands of Adventure where the Grinch will star in the live retelling of the Dr. Seuss holiday classic, the “Grinchmas Who-liday Spectacular.”
There's more holiday cheer in Seuss Land. As guests ride Seuss Landing, it will transport those into a whimsical atmosphere decked out with oversized candy canes, twisty Christmas trees, stunning tinsel ornaments and more.
There will even be appearances from the Whos from Who-ville and a special photo opportunity that brings guests face-to-face with the Grinch.
But do you want some more time with the Grinch? The popular dining experience, “The Grinch & Friends Character Breakfast,” will allow guests to start their day with a delicious breakfast and fun appearances by the Grinch and other favorite Dr. Seuss characters.
"The Grinch & Friends Character Breakfast" takes place in Confisco Grille in Universal Islands of Adventure on select dates Nov. 17 through Dec. 27 for $58.99 plus tax per adult and $32.99 plus tax per child (ages 3-9) and can be booked by visiting www.UniversalOrlando.com/Holidays.
Premier and Preferred Annual Passholders can receive a 20% discount on purchases of The Grinch &Friends Character Breakfast for select dates.
What do holidays look like in The Wizarding World of Harry Potter?
Who doesn't want to spend the holidays at Hogwarts?
"Holiday magic fills The Wizarding World of Harry Potter as the streets of Diagon Alley and Hogsmeade transform into a wizarding holiday wonderland overflowing with festively themed décor, lights, garland and more."
The annual nighttime spectacle “The Magic of Christmas at Hogwarts Castle" will return to Hogsmeade at Universal Islands of Adventure, which is projection show highlighting Christmas moments and holiday spirit inspired by the characters and stories of the “Harry Potter” films.
Harry Potter fans can also look forward to the Frog Choir, which is comprised of Hogwarts students and their giant croaking frogs, They will put on special holiday-themed performance. Guests can also groove to the music of the wizarding world’s most popular singing sensation, Celestina Warbeck and the Banshees, in Diagon Alley.
Any holiday performances at Universal Studios Orlando?
The top-selling holiday artist of all time, Mannheim Steamroller, will return to Universal Studios Florida to get guests into the holiday spirit with live performances on Dec. 2, 3, 9 and 10.
Who is Earl the Squirrel?
Earl the Squirrel is Universal Orlando Resort’s holiday mascot. He will have photo opportunities during the day.
What holiday treats will be available at Universal Studios Orlando?
As of Nov. 3, Universal Studios has yet to release their holiday menu. Last year's treats included specialty hot chocolate bombs, the "Roast Beast" sandwich and Santa's cookies and milk "shake."
You can also enjoy a Butterbeer at the Wizarding World of Harry Potter. While you can grab the beverage all year-round, you can finally try out the hot version once the temperature starts dropping. You can find it at The Leaky Cauldron, Three Broomsticks, Hog's Head Pub and the Hopping Pot.
- Orlando Tourism
- Orlando Hotels
- Orlando Bed and Breakfast
- Orlando Vacation Rentals
- Flights to Orlando
- Orlando Restaurants
- Things to Do in Orlando
- Orlando Travel Forum
- Orlando Photos
- Orlando Map
- Orlando Travel Guide
- All Orlando Hotels
- Orlando Hotel Deals
- Last Minute Hotels in Orlando
- Things to Do
- Vacation Rentals
- Travel Stories
- Rental Cars
- Add a Place
- Travel Forum
- Travel Guides
- Travelers' Choice
- Help Center
Universal Studios or Islands of Adventure? - Orlando Forum
- United States
- Florida (FL)
- Central Florida
Universal Studios or Islands of Adventure?
- United States Forums
- Europe Forums
- Canada Forums
- Asia Forums
- Central America Forums
- Africa Forums
- Caribbean Forums
- Mexico Forums
- South Pacific Forums
- South America Forums
- Middle East Forums
- Honeymoons and Romance
- Business Travel
- Train Travel
- Traveling With Disabilities
- Tripadvisor Support
- Solo Travel
- Bargain Travel
- Timeshares / Vacation Rentals
- Central Florida forums
- Orlando forum
12 replies to this topic
IoA if you have to choose. Most of the kids area at US is under construction, but I guess it also depends on when you are going. Not a lot at either for a 4 year old.
Just know that the majority of rides at the two universal parks have height restrictions. The four year old will most likely be too short.
Does the 9 year old like thrill rides? Universal leans more adult on the type of rides, coasters, simulators etc.
IOA Jurassic Park play area is excellent for kids, Spider-Man, arcade
US Universal Studios minions, minions shooting, ET, Simpson small rides not sure height for men in black, Bourne action show
Those are stuff for four year olds
ET, minions and men in black all have a height requirement so a smaller child wouldn’t be able to ride.
When you compare universal to Disney, sea world and Legoland there is very little for them to do given the cost of a ticket. They will spend lots of time sitting waiting for the older child to ride rides.
Thanks for noting the height requirement
I forgot to mention the Suess area in IOA. When the kids in my family were younger they loved the little play area.
Here is the height guide for Universal
I would love a hard time paying admission for a 4 year old just for the 3 rides in dr Seuss land.
I'd pick the one that most appeals to the 9yo. You'll find things for the younger one in either park. I would lean towards Universal side though.
- Rent a car, Uber or bus??? 4:57 am
- Universal Studios or Islands of Adventure? 1:38 am
- Abbycar car rental at Orlando Airport 12:39 am
- How many Theme Parks? 8:07 pm
- Pop Century vs Drury Plaza - next week! 7:00 pm
- Birthday Cake at Disney for Birthday Boy! 6:22 pm
- Walk in tickets yesterday
- Arriving 6:30am red-eye. Cruising at 4pm. What to do? yesterday
- Travel Cards with Uber yesterday
- Opinion on Undercover Tourist for Seaworld Tickets yesterday
- Accommodations suggestions (not going to attractions) yesterday
- Adventura Kids Suite or Cabana Bay Family Suite yesterday
- Epcot 1 day ticket. yesterday
- Speedway Gas station yesterday
- hotel with nice waterslides 9 replies
- Best family beach near Orlando 27 replies
- Driving from Orlando to Miami 17 replies
- New Hotels / Resorts Opening in Orlando? 14 replies
- hotel near disney world with free shuttle??? 9 replies
- Beaches Near Orlando 19 replies
- Disneyworld tickets from Costco? 2 replies
- Discovery Cove promotional code 15% off 9 replies
- Weather in Orlando Florida in December 9 replies
- December weather 16 replies
Orlando Hotels and Places to Stay
- I’m about to leave…how’s the weather right now?
- How much does it cost to park?
- What Bus Services can I use in Orlando?
- Can I take food/drinks into the theme parks?
- Where can I find a map of Villa rental locations?
- What is Disney's PhotoPass? / How do I preorder the Photo CD? / PhotoPass+?
- Can you tell me more about refillable mugs at Disney World?
- Which Airboat Operators are Reputable
- Charges/cover and age at CityWalk???
WDW News Today
PHOTOS, VIDEO: Full Tour of 2023 Holiday Tribute Store at Universal Studios Florida
Posted: November 9, 2023 | Last updated: November 10, 2023
It’s almost time to commence your holiday shopping at Universal Studios Florida, as the Holiday Tribute Store has opened its doors for the season. Universal Orlando Resort Annual Passholders were able to preview the retail location on the morning of November 9 . This year’s theme is the Universal Tribute Store and Post.
2023 Holiday Tribute Store at Universal Studios Florida
This year’s Holiday Tribute Store is located in the Hollywood section of the park. Its festive facade went up on November 6 .
Holiday Tribute Store Entrance
Guests are greeted by holiday décor upon entering. Two Christmas trees adorned with red and gold ornaments flank a white and maroon “Studio Shipping and Post” logo; the plane in the icon’s center is a reference to the aircraft that previously circled the globe in the short reel played in front of Universal-produced films in the studio’s early years. The logo gives us our first indication of the theme of this year’s Holiday Tribute Store: each room is designed to look like a post office.
Garland is hung atop the wall. An industrial canvas cart full of holiday gifts and stuffed toys appears next to one of the trees; the plushes depict characters that can be found throughout Universal Orlando Resort, such as a minion, The Cat in the Hat, Iron Man, Captain America, and Venom.
The first part of the store is a post office for Universal Orlando. An easter-egg-filled display is seen behind a desk along with a map of the Universal Shipping Routes.
A large map of Universal Orlando Resort serves as its centerpiece; white, yellow, and blue maps of Universal Studios Florida, Universal Islands of Adventure, and Universal Volcano Bay have been marked with red shipping routes.
Holiday gifts and wrapping paper/materials are spread out throughout the display. There are also vintage maps of the Universal Orlando Resort parks and references to attractions both former and current, such as the King Kong poster hung behind the maps.
There are also several references to former Tribute Stores, such as the Tribute to Terror comic book on the desk, and a reference to the Halloween Horror Nights 32 store.
A map containing several items attached to a framed corkboard appears next to the display. A calendar opened to November 1990 is present and a box marked “please ship by June 7th, 1990” sits on the shelf. That is the date that Universal Studios Florida opened.
Flanking either side of the display are decorated tubes with envelopes emerging from their bottom openings. This motif is expanded upon near the store’s ceiling, as tubes meant to deliver mail to different themed areas throughout Universal Orlando Resort are present.
The tubes are labeled and each feature unique decor.
The labels read “Volcano Bay,” “Lost Continent,” “Hogsmeade,” “Jurassic Park,” “Toon Lagoon,” “Marvel Super Hero Island,” “Production Central,” “San Francisco,” “Diagon Alley,” “Hollywood Blvd.,” “World Expo,” and “New York;” all referencing themed areas within the Universal Orlando Resort parks.
Keep an eye out for Easter eggs from past Tribute Stores, like the figure from the Jurassic Park Tribute Store.
The themed areas are again referenced on a sign pinned to another framed corkboard.
This frame includes another vintage Universal Islands of Adventure map and a set of fake Universal Orlando Resort-inspired postage stamps. The stamps are sold out, since you’ll see many defunct Universal attractions features. Monsters Cafe, an old Tribute Store facade, and even Dueling Dragons are featured on the stamps.
We see another framed corkboard as we head to the other side of the entry area. This frame, again, contains several references to Universal Orlando Resort attractions and past Tribute Stores.
There’s a reference to the Men in Black: Alien Attack attraction at Universal Studios Florida, as there are two “wanted” posters for aliens issued by the Men in Black. Santa hats have been pinned above their heads.
There’s also a post-it note that states “Don’t Forget Holiday Card for Gerg,” the first of several references to the holiday llama seen throughout this store. Similar post-it notes have been seen at past Tribute Stores.
Another display features a Santa hat-topped moai-like statue and a singing white candle.
A mailbox and illuminated Santa and snowman decorations sit on wrapped gifts between the statues. There’s a case of Plutonium and a few other items from last year’s Summer Tribute Store. There are so many details, make sure you look closely!
There’s also a squirrel decoration, the first of many Earl the Squirrel references throughout the store.
The plushes first seen in the industrial postage basket are available for purchase near this display.
‘Harry Potter’ Owl Post
The first franchise-specific post office that guests walk through in this year’s Holiday Tribute Store is inspired by “Harry Potter,” an IP with representation at both Universal Orlando Resort parks in the form of Hogsmeade at Universal Islands of Adventure and Diagon Alley at Universal Studios Florida.
The room features general holiday decor and owl figures. The owls perfectly fit this year’s Holiday Tribute Store theme, as they’re used to transport mail in the “Harry Potter” books and films.
Some of the owl figures are animated, as their heads move.
Behind the counter of the Owl Post, there’s also a Christmas tree. White and yellow envelopes replace traditional ornaments.
A large animated window injects seasonal ambiance into the room, as the windows display a winter snowstorm occurring just outside. Ever so often, you may spot a pair of owls flying by.
“Harry Potter” plushes are available in this section, as is general and holiday-specific “Harry Potter” merchandise.
More owls and holiday decor are present near the exit.
Whoville Post Office
The Whoville Post Office allows you to step into the world of “How The Grinch Stole Christmas!” and sample the fine holiday cuisine of the iconic fictional town.
Several holiday treats are available in this room. Offerings include a chimney cake, pistachio, chocolate, and strawberry cheesecake macarons, the jar cake with cookie, the onion cheesecake tart ( don’t worry, it just looks like an onion ), the Who Hash trifle cake, wreath brookie, chocolate and cookie treats inspired by Max, a Christmas tree cupcake, a gingerbread cookie sandwich, cocoa bomb, and cookie dough balls in Roast Beast Peanut Butter, Christmas lights vanilla, and Lump of Coal chocolate.
Ornament-adorned garland is seen throughout the room with strangely shaped archways. The mailboxes for the residents of Who-ville can be seen on the walls, full of presents and letters. You might notice the mailbox for the Grinch is looking very empty, though. Nobody sends him anything.
A collectible Mold-A-Matic Grinch figure is available in this room; it was also present in last year’s Holiday Tribute Store .
Whomolian bills are scattered throughout the room, as are envelopes with somewhat comedic, somewhat concerning labels such as “jury duty” and “eviction notice.”
A device designed to suck up the presents and carry them out of the room on a conveyor belt hangs from the roof in one of the rooms in this post office ( no, the conveyor belt is not actually functional ).
General “How The Grinch Stole Christmas!” and Grinchmas merchandise are available in this particular post office.
Earl the Squirrel Post Office
Earl the Squirrel again has a major presence at this year’s Holiday Tribute Store as he continues to be used as a holiday mascot at Universal Orlando Resort. His comical post office this year leads to his house, which is also filled with Earl-specific references.
The ramshackle post office section of the room features metal walls with comical signs and neon lights.
The neon lights depict a vivid acorn, what looks like a Twisted Tater, and a doodle of Gerg the llama.
This section of the store also features general holiday decor and Coca-Cola paraphernalia. It feels like you’re in Earl’s garage.
Items from the recently released Earl-centric holiday merchandise collection are available in this room.
The next section of the room is Earl’s Shipping and Receiving. There are additional gifts and holiday decor as well as pictures that place Earl in various locations throughout the world. The souvenir postcards available for purchase are on display here.
Cartoonish depictions of snowflakes and acorns hang alongside postcards and advertisements for Earl’s entrepreneurial enterprises.
Fan favorite bumper stickers seen in previous Holiday Tribute Stores make their return this year.
Earl’s Holiday Package Delivery Service looks quite busy this time of year. Boxes are piling up on a conveyor belt.
As you make your way through Earl’s shipping area, you’ll find yourself in the very cozy home of Earl the Squirrel.
You might even spot a secret stash of lights and Christmas decor tucked away in the closet.
Earl has quite the collection of lights.
A large Gerg statue appears in the center of Earl’s home. There’s also a Santa decoration that’s sporting 3D glasses.
The rest of his home is also intricately decorated, even featuring a wallpaper that sees two squirrels playing with a string of holiday lights wrapped around a Christmas tree. In a not necessarily surprising development, the wallpaper is peeling off in some areas.
A decorated Christmas tree is seen in the corner of the room. It features several ornaments and general holiday decor in addition to Earl’s truck and even some flamingos.
Stockings are hung from a nearby brick fireplace for Mom and Dad.
Decorations sit atop the fireplace. Earl’s truck is seen, as are lumberjack nutcrackers and a Christmas tree covered in a buffalo plaid flannel design. An acorn with antlers hangs above the mantle.
Several framed images are hung throughout the room. Some feature emotionally moving photos of Earl’s family.
Others place Earl in unique and, frankly, impressive locations, such as near the peak of Mount Everest, on the moon, and at a buffet.
One image even places Earl in front of the Bates family home from the film “Psycho,” a reference to the former Alfred Hitchcock: The Art of Making Movies attraction that was an opening day offering at Universal Studios Florida.
Guests can check out near the exit of the Holiday Tribute Store.
The cash registers appear behind a camper facade that’s adorned with several Earl-inspired bumper stickers. A sled holding a Christmas tree is seen atop the decorated trailer.
Check out our full video tour of this year’s Holiday Tribute Store here:
What do you think of this year’s Holiday Tribute Store? Will you be checking it out when it opens? Let us know in the comments.
For more Universal Studios news from around the world, follow Universal Parks News Today on Twitter , Facebook , and Instagram . For Disney Parks news, visit WDWNT .
The post PHOTOS, VIDEO: Full Tour of 2023 Holiday Tribute Store at Universal Studios Florida appeared first on WDW News Today .
More for You
Trump Lawyer Objecting to Her Own Document Draws Mockery: 'Incompetent'
In-N-Out Burger expanding into yet another state
The first US commercial plant has started to pull carbon from the air. It's able to suck out 1,000 tons annually and plans to expand.
20 Foods That Will Give You Serious Childhood Nostalgia
Chicago residents erupt over sanctuary city ruling
SiriusXM Messed With Their Classic Rock Channel. Boomer Listeners Aren't Happy
Judge Chutkan Strikes Blow Against Donald Trump
The Most Iconic Diner in Every State
In 1916, the US began forcing Mexicans crossing the southern border to take kerosene baths. That tactic was later studied by the Nazis.
CNN reporter embeds with IDF in Gaza. Here’s what he saw
Walmart is changing morning hours at all stores this week. Here's a look at when and why.
US 'drowning in mass shootings': Judge denies bail to Cornell student Patrick Dai
Republican Pushes to Overturn Ohio Election Result
Which Fast Food Chain Has The Best Burger?
Blondie by Dean Young and John Marshall
Why Steelers finally have a true alpha in secondary
Tennessee Tech visits Murray State following Ellington's 22-point showing
Putin death rumours intensify after his 'successor' refers to him in past tense
James Comer's Biden Subpoenas Backfire
Ina Garten’s Italian Wedding Soup Is So Simple, I Want to Make It Every Week
Universal Orlando increases prices of single-day tickets
Orlando theme parks gearing up for holidays.
Orlando-area theme parks are gearing up for the holidays. We spoke with Taylor Strickland of Orlando Informer to get the scoop on the must-see attractions.
ORLANDO, Fla. - Universal Orlando Resort has increased the prices of single-day tickets.
The cost of a 1-Day, 1-Park ticket is now $119 plus tax. Universal’s highest-priced option has jumped to $179 plus tax.
The 1-Day, 2-Park option, which allows guests to go between Universal Studios and Islands of Adventure, ranges between $174 to $234 plus tax.
"Our pricing reflects the incredible, world-class entertainment experiences we continue to offer our guests, and with our date-based variable pricing model, guests have more flexibility when planning a visit to our destination and can choose the best time to visit that suits their needs," Universal said in a statement to FOX 35 News.
ORLANDO, FL - JUNE 16: General view of the Grand Opening of The Wizarding World of Harry Potter at Universal Orlando on June 16, 2010 in Orlando, Florida. (Photo by Gustavo Caballero/Getty Images)
Despite the price increase, Universal still has a deal aimed at saving money for park visitors who are Florida residents. There is currently an ongoing offer where Florida residents can get two days of access to Universal Studios and Islands of Adventure with the purchase of a 1-Day Park-to-Park ticket.
MORE UNIVERSAL NEWS :
- Universal Orlando guest loses ability to speak after going on popular ride, theme park injury report says
- Universal Orlando's secret drink menu is back: Where and how to unlock never-before-tasted beverages
- Epic Universe: New details reveal technology coming to Orlando park
Universal is not the only theme park company that has raised its prices in recent months, with Disney raising prices at both its California and Florida parks in early October.
Click here for more information.
Why You Should Ditch Your Next Disney Trip & Go To Universal Instead
Let's talk about the OTHER Orlando theme park...
I unabashedly love Disney World. The nostalgia, the rides, the food, the characters… it’s enough that I made being a Disney adult into a full-time career that has allowed me to visit the parks dozens of times over the past several years.
So, with all that being said, the next thing I’m about to recommend to you may be a little surprising. Because what I’m going to tell you is that I think you should skip your next Disney World trip and opt for a trip to Universal Orlando instead.
A Comparison of Universal Orlando vs. Disney World
While Disney World may be the theme park that immediately comes to mind when you think of Orlando, Universal Orlando is another major theme park in the city. While Universal has garnered a bit of a reputation for being a park for “older kids” versus Disney, the options at the parks actually range across a variety of ages and interests.
Universal Orlando opened in 1990 with rides, attractions, and live shows themed to the movies and entertainment industry. In 1999, the park expanded to add a second gate, Islands of Adventure, later adding Volcano Bay water park in 2019.
The resort has undergone many different iterations in its history, with one of its biggest transitions happening in 2010 with the addition of The Wizarding World of Harry Potter at Islands of Adventure. Since then, the parks have continued to grow, adding more from the Harry Potter franchise and a recently opened section based on the Minions of Despicable Me.
Let’s look at a general comparison of what you can find at Disney World and Universal.
- Two theme parks: Universal Studios Florida and Islands of Adventure (a third, Epic Universe, is opening in 2025)
- One water park: Volcano Bay
- CityWalk, an entertainment complex with shopping and dining
- Seven on-site resort hotels
Walt Disney World:
- Four theme parks: Magic Kingdom, EPCOT, Disney’s Animal Kingdom, Disney’s Hollywood Studios
- Two water parks: Typhoon Lagoon and Blizzard Beach
- Disney Springs, a massive shopping, dining, and entertainment complex
- More than 25 on-site resort hotels
While Universal Orlando is in the process of expanding, overall, it’s a much more condensed theme park versus Disney World. While Disney World’s theme parks are all located a few miles from one another, Universal’s CityWalk, theme parks, and water park are all within walking distance of each other.
Ticket Cost of Universal vs. Disney
Now, let’s look into the pricing. At Disney World, a single-park, single-day ticket starts at $109 for ages 10 and up, with pricing dependent on which park you’re visiting and at what time of year.
For example, at Magic Kingdom, which is typically the most expensive park, a single-day ticket could cost you up to $189 per person during the busier times of the year. If you want to visit more than one park daily, you’ll need to purchase a Park Hopper. This will range in price from $164 to $274 per person per day for ages 10 and up.
At Universal, a single-park, single-day ticket will cost the same at either park, starting at $109 for ages 10 and up, and maxing out at $159 per person during busier times of the year. For a 2-park, 1-day ticket, pricing ranges from $164 to $214 for ages 10 and up.
Of course, pricing will depend on when you’re visiting and for how many days, but in general, the pricing for Universal is a little bit less expensive for tickets. The biggest factor to consider is how much you can get done in a day.
Disney World's parks are more spread out and, therefore, more challenging to get between quickly. Universal Orlando is a much more condensed space, making it easy to travel between parks if you have a 2-park pass. Additionally, Universal is not subject to the same park hopping rules as Disney World. Through Jan. 9, 2024, you need to wait until 2 p.m. to enter a second park at Disney World, whereas Universal doesn’t have any set rules for how often you can hop in between each park.
Universal Hotel Options
Universal Orlando has seven hotel options, offering a range of accommodations for different budgets. Each of the hotels is within a fairly close distance to the park, with most located within walking distance.
Some major benefits come with staying on property at Universal. Guests at each hotel can get Early Park Admission, allowing access to select attractions at one of the parks up to an hour before the park opens.
But, the major benefit comes from staying at one of the Premier Hotels. You will get free Universal Express Unlimited if you stay at Loews Portofino Bay Hotel, Hard Rock Hotel, or Loews Royal Pacific Resort. This benefit will allow you and your party to skip the standby line at most attractions, a value that would typically cost $129 per person per day on top of your ticket price.
At Disney World, staying on property will get you Early Theme Park Entry (entry into the park 30 minutes before opening). Additionally, staying at a Deluxe Resort will get you access to Extended Evening Hours, which happen on select nights, and allow guests two hours of extra time in a park after closing. However, staying on property at Disney World does not give you free access to Disney Genie+, which is Disney World’s paid option to skip the standby line.
Why Universal Isn’t Just for Older Kids
When choosing between Disney World and Universal, one of the biggest complaints I always hear is that Universal is just for older kids. And while Disney World definitely does have more options available for the youngest of family members, don’t count Universal Orlando out completely for kid-friendly attractions.
One of the biggest draws for kids of all ages is the Wizarding World of Harry Potter, which you can find at both Universal Studios Florida and Islands of Adventure. These completely immersive lands drop you right into the world of Harry Potter, with Hogsmeade located at Islands of Adventure and Diagon Alley (my personal favorite) located at Universal Studios Florida. The sections are even connected by the Hogsmeade Express, a ride you can take between the two parks if you have a 2-park ticket.
Another big draw for younger kids is the new Minion Land section of Universal Studios Florida. Fans of Despicable Me will love getting to step into this land, located right at the front of the park. The land includes the ride Despicable Me Minion Mayhem, along with the new Villain-Con Minion Blast attraction. You can shop at the store Evil Stuff, and you can currently enjoy Minion-inspired meals at Bake My Day, Freeze Ray Pops, and Pop-A-Nana.
View on TikTok
Islands of Adventure is also home to Seuss Landing, where you can find rides, characters, and attractions based on the stories of Dr. Seuss! The land is surprisingly full and has plenty of options available for the youngest of guests.
While Universal may have plenty of options available for older thrill seekers, there are still tons of things for the smaller guests to do, too!
Listen, there’s a certain nostalgia at Disney World that can never be replicated. As someone who used to go to Disney as a child, it’s a must-do for myself and my family. But, as someone who also loves theme parks in general, I have been blown away by everything at Universal Orlando. While the park used to be something I would add on as a day or two with my Disney vacation, the cost and the amount available to do has made Universal a big-time destination in its own right.
So, don’t sleep on the other major theme park in Orlando — it’s well worth the trip.