Are you thinking of heading into the adventures of Universal Orlando Resort for the first time? These theme parks are full of awesome adventures, including Marvel Super Hero Island, the Wizarding World of Harry Potter, and Jurassic Park, including the new Jurassic World VelociCoaster opening this summer! If this is your first visit, here are the top things that first-timers need to know about Universal Orlando Resort.
#1: Multiple Theme Parks
First of all, many guests that aren't familiar with Universal Orlando don't know that it's actually a resort complex made up of multiple theme parks! Universal Orlando Resort is made up of two main theme parks, Universal Studios Florida and Islands of Adventure; their water theme park, Universal's Volcano Bay; and a shopping and dining district, CityWalk. CityWalk is located between the entrances to Universal Studios Florida and Islands of Adventure, so guests can easily walk between the entrances to the two parks.
For Harry Potter fans in particular, it's important to know that the Wizarding World of Harry Potter is divided into two areas - Diagon Alley and Hogsmeade. The former is located in Universal Studios Florida, and the latter is located in Islands of Adventure. The Hogwarts Express runs between the two areas, and also takes guests between the two parks.
#2: On-Site Hotels
In addition to the multiple theme parks and CityWalk, Universal Orlando Resort also encompasses 8 on-site hotels! Many of these are within walking distance of the theme parks, and all offer great perks for guests visiting the theme parks. These include complimentary transportation to the theme parks, early admission to the Wizarding World of Harry Potter 1 hour before regular park opening, and attraction ticket desks in the hotel lobby where you can pick up your tickets.
A few select on-site hotels - those in the Premier category - also offer complimentary Unlimited Express Pass! This great perk allows guests to bypass the regular line at nearly every major attraction at Universal Studios Florida and Islands of Adventure, so that you can spend less time waiting and more time experiences the thrills the parks have to offer!
#3: Express Pass
If you haven't been to Universal Orlando Resort before, you may not be familiar with their Express Pass offering. Express Pass holders can bypass the regular stand-by line at most major attractions via a separate, dedicated line for a shorter - and sometimes nonexistent - wait time for popular roller coasters, simulator rides, and more.
As mentioned, Unlimited Express Pass (meaning that you can use it as many times as you want per attraction during your stay) is complimentary with a stay at a Premier on-site hotel. Express Pass is also available to purchase separately. Express Pass pricing varies by date, and can sell out in advance, so be sure to consult with your travel agent for the best options for your trip.
#4: Ride Lockers
If you're like me, you have a bag that you bring with you with everything you need for a day trip to a place like a theme park - for me, I don't like to be without my water bottle, sunscreen, or lip balm! One thing to keep in mind, though, is that many attractions at Universal Orlando Resort do not allow bags or loose items to be brought onboard. This doesn't mean you need to ditch your bag, but it does mean that you'll need to store it in the complimentary lockers available before boarding these rides. There are also a few attractions - the Incredible Hulk Coaster and the Rip Ride Rock-it - that do not allow ANY loose items to be brought on the ride, and guests must go through a metal detector before boarding. These lockers can take some extra time to manage before entering an attraction, so keep this in mind as you plan your days.
#5: Universal Orlando App
The official Universal Orlando app is your friend during your trip! There's tons of useful information from maps and wait times, to show schedules and attraction information, to Virtual Line reservations and mobile food and drink ordering. Be sure to download the app before your trip and set up an account so that you can take advantage of everything the app has to offer during your visit.
Ready to get everything you need for your Universal Orlando adventure? Contact our Travel Pros!