Universal Studios in Orlando is full of rides, shows, and attractions that all call for your attention. You may want to have a little of everything, but time limitations may not allow you. This is why you should plan your time and know what you want to do at what time.
With the best itinerary for Universal Studios Orlando, you’ll need a few days to explore the best there is. You’ll comfortably avoid the large crowds, save money, and choose some of the best places to eat.
One essential thing to remember when planning is that the park is open every day from 9:00 AM to 6:00 PM. These hours may change from season to season and when the park is busy at a particular time.
Despite being open the whole day, you can’t possibly cover all the activities in a single day. For the best experience, here are some planning tips.
Best Itinerary for Universal Studios Orlando
Purchase Your Tickets Online in Advance
30 days before your visit to the Universal Studios, buy your tickets online and reserve your first three free passes. If you plan to stay at the Disney Resort, ensure you make the reservations 60 days in advance. Staying at the resort also comes with the advantage of reducing the time it takes to get to the park.
It’s advisable also to get the Express Pass. Although it comes at an additional cost to the general tickets, it saves you as much as an hour of waiting.
It’s especially helpful when the parks are busy during peak seasons like Christmas or Spring Break. Avoid the express pass if you plan to stay at the Portofino Bay, Royal Pacific hotels, or the Hard Rock Hotel.
The cost of admission to the park starts at $125. You can get discounts depending on where and when you acquire your tickets. As you book your tickets, remember to download a map of the theme park.
Your schedule should help you get to all your favorite rides and attractions before anything else. If your visit is two or three days long, here are the top places you must prioritize.
Islands of Adventure
Depending on the time of the year you visit the park and where you stay, you can enjoy the Early Park Admission (EPA). This is available at the Islands of Adventure. Here you can head directly to Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey.
Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey attraction is a combination of theatre and animatronics. The result is a unique experience that lovers of Harry Potter can never get enough of, but may be too scary for children.
You can access the two attractions through the Express Pass or Single Rider line. The first part of the tour in the Hogwarts Castles is the most fascinating with iconic rooms.
The second part is a ground-breaking flight simulator. Once you’re done with the Forbidden Journey ride, you can head to other attractions.
As a tip, avoid using your Express Passes if the waiting times are low. That way, you can spare some time later and come back to the same attractions for further engagement.
Hollywood Rip Ride Rockit
This is a ride you don’t want to miss. It’s a high-speed steel coaster that lets you choose the musical soundtrack you like. It’ll ease your anxiety as you go through the electrifying drops and scary twists and turns.
For the ride, you can use the single-rider option. You can also consider waiting a few extra minutes for the front row. As a tip, consider doing the Rip Ride at night for an amazing view of the park as you get to close your day.
The 3D Transformer Ride
On this ride, you’ll head into the headquarters of the Non-Biological extraterrestrial Species Treaty (NEST). It’s a 3-D motion simulator pack that lets you learn how to battle the Decepticons. It has close similarities with the Spider-Man ride in Islands of Adventure.
The effects of the ride are intense, and the queue is manageable. You might meet Bumblebee or Optimus Prime after the trip. Avoid the ride if you’re sensitive to the simulated motion.
If you or your kids ever wanted to bring the Despicable Me world to reality, this is the chance. The queue here is quite something, but it’s manageable. The attraction itself is made with some fantastic effects, which may, however, be too intense for small children.
Curious George Goes to Town
The attraction is located behind the Simpsons area, which is an area with a collection of kid’s attractions. It also has small roller-coasters, which are ideal for younger children. Curious George is a big water park where you can prepare to get soaked on a hot day.
The Best Water Rides
There are several attractions involving water, and your options are unlimited. However, two water rides you shouldn’t miss are in the Toon Lagoon. One is Bluto’s Bilge Rat Barges, and the other is Dudley Do-Right’s Ripsaw Falls.
Both rides have a way of combining the element of surprise with fun. The rides will leave you soaked but extremely thrilled and entertained. Ensure you get into the rides with appropriate clothing.
If you don’t want to miss out on the most famous water ride, head to Jurassic Park. Apart from getting yourself drenched, you’ll also get to interact with dinosaurs. The actions, features, and creatures differ from those in Universal Studios Hollywood, but the experience is the same.
A visit to Universal Studios without a schedule might leave you lost in all there is to see and do. Planning helps you prioritize what you shouldn’t miss while noting what can be saved for later. The best itinerary for Universal Studios Orlando should guide you to your favorite attractions without straining your budget or time.
With two or three days to spare, there’s a lot you can achieve from your visit. Be sure to prioritize at least one item from the various categories of attractions for the best adventure.
Dean has been writing and blogging for over 10 years. He specializes in Disney theme park news including updates, openings, special events and general advice for travelers. He doesn’t shy away from the good, the bad and the ugly. His previous work includes being a Cast Member at Disneyland and working as a travel agent.