Universal Orlando Travel Tips and Tidbits

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The Universal Studios, Islands of Adventure and Universal CityWalk have so much to offer guests in the way of great dining, fantastic entertainment and enjoyable park rides & attractions for everyone in the family!  We recently had the opportunity to experience on site training with Universal Orlando Resorts and would like to share some of our observations for touring Universal Studios Orlando and Islands of Adventure.

Great fun, adventure and thrills await at Universal Studios Orlando!
Great fun, adventure and thrills await at Universal Studios Orlando!

Our first tip to share is buy a lanyard!  For any given Universal Orlando on-site package, you could have as many as four individual tickets to keep up with:  a park ticket, an Express Pass, a dining plan ticket and a room key.  A handy tip:  you can situate your Express Pass with the bar code facing out making it easy to scan through the plastic cover at each Express Pass line.

Another great feature for a visit to Universal Orlando is the ability to add a dining plan to your visit.  You can choose quick service meals or table service meals or a plan that is a combination of both.  Participating restaurants and quick service locations can be found in the two theme parks, four on site resort properties and select City Walk venues.  You do not have to be a guest staying at a Universal resort to add a dining plan.

The Wizarding World of Harry Potter is an incredible addition to the parks at Universal and you’ll feel as if you’ve stepped right into the pages of a Harry Potter novel. Universal Studios Theme Park and Universal’s Islands of Adventure theme park are within easy walking distance of one another but do require separate admission tickets.  This is important to note when wanting to visit Hogwarts Castle (Islands of Adventure) AND Diagon Alley (Universal Studios) during your stay. The two areas of the Wizarding World of Harry Potter are connected by the Hogswart Express and to visit both areas in a single day you must have a park-to-park ticket.

Shutterbutton’s is a photography service in Diagon Alley where guests can have themselves inserted into the world of Harry Potter.  Guests will be able to purchase a moving portrait of themselves that commemorates their visit to The Wizarding World of Harry Potter.  This is a unique and fun way to capture the magic of your visit.

Be careful, the dragon breaths fire!
Be careful, the dragon breaths fire!

An important feature found in the most popular attractions in both parks is the child swap room.  This is an air conditioned room with benches and television monitors/videos.  The child swap rooms are located near the loading area of the attraction and those who do not wish to ride or cannot ride are able to wait for the rest of their party to enjoy the attraction.  A parent staying with a child who is unable to ride may “swap” with their spouse after they ride without having to go back through the line.

Universal does not allow guests to ride their more thrilling attractions carrying hats, glasses, purses or the like with them.  They provide free 30 minute locker rental at locations near the attractions for you to store these items while you enjoy the ride.  The lockers are secure and easy to use and Universal employees monitor them in case of problems getting your items in or out of the lockers.

Universal has a refillable mug program in the two theme parks that allows guests to pay a flat fee for unlimited refills of their favorite Coca-Cola soft drink at the Coke Free Style drink stations located throughout the parks.  The refillable cups allow guest access to unlimited refills for one day of park touring.  If you have a multi-day visit planned, you can bring your cup with you each day and pay a reduced rate each day for unlimited refills.  There are many Coke Free Style drink stations in the parks.  You can purchase your refillable park mugs at the quick service restaurants or the snack kiosks throughout the parks.

Cook Free Style stations offer many choices!
Coke Free Style stations offer many choices!

American Express cardholders can take advantage of a private lounge reserved for them inside Universal Studios where they can enjoy free water and snacks in air conditioned comfort.  There are books, couches and a big screen television to entertain guests while they rest their feet and escape the heat and crowds.  Please note that you must show your American Express card to use this lounge.

We were able to experience a VIP Tour of the parks and thoroughly enjoyed touring the parks in this way. There are two types of VIP Tours available.  A small group tour allows you Front of the Line access to select rides and attractions for up to 6 guests and the Private Tour can be customized for up to 12 guests.

Along with a personal tour guide, your 7 hour small group VIP Tour can include:

  • Priority Front of the Line Access to all rides and attractions including The Amazing Adventures of Spider-Man®, TRANSFORMERS: The Ride-3D and all of The Wizarding World of Harry Potter™ attractions and experiences.
  • Behind the Scenes Tours and exclusive Meet & Greets
  • Complimentary Valet Parking (1 Vehicle, Based on Availability)
  • Continental Breakfast to start your day
  • Discount on food, beverages and shopping for your entire day

Along with a personal tour guide, your 8 hour Private VIP Tour can include:

  • Priority Front of the Line Access to all rides and attractions including The Amazing Adventures of Spider-Man®, TRANSFORMERS: The Ride-3D and all of The Wizarding World of Harry Potter™ attractions and experiences.
  • Behind the Scenes Tours and exclusive Meet & Greets
  • Complimentary Valet Parking (1 Vehicle, Based on Availability)
  • Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner at one of Universal Orlando’s 50+ dining venues
  • Reserved Seating at shows*
  • Photo Package through Photo Connect
  • Exclusive Viewing Areas for Universal’s Superstar Parade® and Universal’s Cinematic Spectacular: 100 Years of Movie Memories® nighttime show at Universal Studios Florida® only.
Visit today!
Visit today!

There are so many ways to customize and personalize your Universal Orlando vacation and The Magic For Less Travel family would love to share our experience with you, to create a magical vacation for your family!

 

 

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