Universal Orlando in Florida: tips, attractions and campgrounds!
Are you going on a road trip to Universal Orlando, looking for tips about the destinations so you and your party can enjoy it, be comfortable and not spend a fortune?
Here are some of the top tips about visiting.
About Universal Orlando
Universal Orlando just southwest of Orlando Florida opened in June 7, 1990 and has 3 theme parks: a rides amusement park, one dedicated to movies and a waterpark.
- Universal Studios Florida, includes The Wizarding World of Harry Potter™
- Universal's Islands of Adventure
- Universal's Volcano Bay
Daily hours are typically 8 am to 5 pm or 6 pm.
Contact info and prices
6000 Universal Blvd, Orlando, FL 32819. Phone: (407) 363-8000.
Reservations are required due to COVID; to enter a theme park
In 2021, day passes for Universal Orlando (for ages 10 and up) were about $105. The price doesn't significantly drop until you buy a 3 day (or more) ticket) The annual pass (ages 3 and up) was $1,300.
As of September 13, 2021, Universal says
Top Universal Orlando Tour Plan Tips:
Follow a tour plan. These websites offer good free guide and plans:
- Best touring plan website
- Design Your Own Universal Orlando Touring Plans for FREE
- FREE Islands of Adventure 1-Day Touring Plan - Accurate and Up-to-Date
- FREE Universal Studios Florida and Islands of Adventure 1-Day Touring Plan
- FREE Universal Studios Florida 1-Day Touring Plan - Accurate and Up-to-Date
- FREE Volcano Bay Touring Plan - Accurate and Up-to-Date
- FREE Wizarding World of Harry Potter Touring Plan - Accurate and Up-to-Date
- OI Priority List: Islands of Adventure
- OI Priority List: Universal Studios Florida
- Universal Orlando 3-Day Touring Plan for Hotel Guests: Day 1
- Universal Orlando 3-Day Touring Plan for Hotel Guests: Day 2
- Universal Orlando 3-Day Touring Plan for Hotel Guests: Day 3
- Universal Studios Touring Plan: 1-Day Itinerary
Top Overall Tips
- Buy your tickets and get your reservation online.
- Buy tickets early and look for discounted Universal Orlando tickets
- Go when the park is typically less crowded, typically April and May when you'll get the combination of the best weather and least crowds at the park. Of course, still avoid school breaks and holidays.
- Download the Universal Resort Orlando app.
- Stay at a campground near by
- Get to the parks early, before they open. And stay late; the first 2 and the last 2 hours of park opening are the least crowded.
- Don't forget sunscreen, hats, sunglasses, cell phone chargers and their cords.
- Bring your own snacks and water.
- Bring your own lunch and store it in a locker
- Use a Locker to store your food and gear.
- Go to shows and sit-down experiences late in the day when you are tired!
- Single Rider lines are always shorter and faster
- Use Dramamine - You WILL need it!
- Bring a sturdy collapsable water bottle
- If you want shorter lines, get the Universal Express Pass, an add-on can be purchased ahead of time, once you’re in the park, or comes free when you stay at a Universal Premier Resort . The lines are shorter inside the park.
- Universal Orlando Resort hotel guests and annual pass holders one-hour early entry to Universal Studios or Universal’s Islands of Adventure
- Make dining reservations ahead and check the walk-up availability
- Allow at least 30 minutes for general parking and security
- Many of the restaurants around Universal will give you a 10% discount for AAA members
- Use the free WiFi
- Use the free lockers - at each ride there are free or paid lockers based on the size of your backpack or bag. Bring you small or medium sized backpack and rent a locker for the day
- You must have a “Park-to-Park” admission ticket to ride the Hogwart’s Express attraction.
- Exchange money at Gringotts Money Exchange for ‘wizard currency’ to purchase food at the Wizarding World of Harry Potter. Unused bank notes can be converted back to regular money at Guest Services.
Visit the rides in this order
- Diagon Alley at The Wizarding World of Harry Potter is the busiest part of the park. Go first thing in the morning, or after 4 pm.
- Harry Potter and the Escape from Gringotts.
- Despicable Me Minion Mayhem.
- Transformers: The Ride - 3D.
- Hollywood Rip Ride Rockit.
- Shrek 4D.
- Revenge of the Mummy.
- The Simpsons Ride.
- Men in Black Alien Attack.
Bundled packages may work for you.
- Example: 4-Day/4-Night Vacation Package for family of 4
in October 2021 was about $1,550, and included:
Included In This Package
4-Night Hotel Accommodations
3-Park 4-Day Park-to-Park Vacation Package Promo Ticket Dated**
to Universal Studios Florida, Universal’s Islands of Adventure AND Universal’s Volcano Bay
Early Park Admission†
To The Wizarding World of Harry Potter™ and Universal’s Volcano Bay up to one hour before the park opens (valid theme park admission required, select attractions)
Access to select live entertainment venues** at CityWalk
- Example: FLORIDA RESIDENTS ONLY
2 parks, 3 days for 1 adult and 2 children in October 2021 was about $1,550, and included:
Universal's Endless Summer Resort - Dockside Inn and Suites, 3- night stay from Fri Oct 15 - Mon Oct 18
2-Park 3-Day Park-to-Park Ticket Dated
Early Park Admission to The Wizarding World of Harry Potter™ up to one hour before the park opens (valid theme park admission required, select attractions)
Special Themed Keepsake Box
Leaky Cauldron Breakfast
Universal Orlando Seasons, bugs, topography and climate
Central Florida is humid and subtropical. The rainy season is from May through October, when air mass thundershowers that build in the heat of the day drop heavy but brief summer rainfall. The Orlando area sees afternoon thundershowers in summer. Don't ask about the giant cockroaches that are called Palmetto bugs. They're huge and they can leap and fly. Eeew. Keep your tent zipped up.
In general ticket prices are very similar to Disney World. Here's an example of September 2021 tickets for various options of parks over 3 days: Prices per ticket vary by day and season, plus tax.
- Park-to-Park 2-Park - 3-Day Ticket,
From $293.99 per adult ticket. ($98.00 per day)
Child ((3-9) ticket from: $94.67 per day
Park-to-Park 2-Park - 3-Day Ticket
- Park-to-Park 3-Park - 3-Day Ticket
From $334.99 per adult ticket. (Volcano Bay is open on select days.)
Adult ticket from: (10+) $111.67 per day.
Child ticket from: $108.33 per day
- One Park Per Day - Visit one park per day. 2-Park - 3-Day
Ticket From $233.99 per adult ticket.
Adult ticket from $78.00 per day
Child ticket from $74.67 per day
- One Park Per Day 3-Park - 3-Day Ticket
From $274.99 per adult ticket. Adult ticket from $91.67 per day
Child ticket from:$88.33 per day
Compare this with 2-park, 2-days:
- Park-to-Park 2-Park - 2-Day Ticket
From $273.99 per adult ticket.($137.00 per day)
Child ticket from $132.00 per day
It's no secret that food at theme parks is incredibly overpriced!. Here are the UO rules for bringing in food:
- Bottled Water (maximum 2 liters)
- Small snacks that do not require heating
- Any food required for medical purposes and medically-indicated nutritional supplements
- Any food required for special dietary needs
- Baby food/baby formula
- Soft-sided insulated bags no larger than 8.5" wide x 6" high x 6" deep
- Glassware or glass containers
- Open containers or drinks containing alcohol
- Hard-sided coolers
- Soft-sided coolers larger than 8.5" wide x 6" high x 6" deep
- Picnic lunches; any food that requires heating or refrigeration; folding chairs
Don't overlook parking, it can really add up! In 2021, Universal Orlando charges about $15 - $50 per day for daily (no overnight) parking for most vehicles,
Hotels - On the park
If you stay at an on-park hotel (list below), you get the following perks:
- Early Park Admission.
- Free Universal Express Pass, available if you stay at Loews Portofino Bay Hotel, Universal’s Hard Rock Hotel, and Loews Royal Pacific Resort.
- Complimentary transportation to the theme parks from each of the hotels by either water taxi or shuttle bus. But you still pay for parking for you car, $28/night.
- Priority seating at restaurants if you stay at Lowes Portofino Bay Hotel, Lowes Royal Pacific Hotel, and Hard Rock Hotel
- Free merchandise delivery to your hotel when you buy stuff at Universal stores
Hotels on the park
In order of increasing price
- Surfside Inn and Suites
- Dockside Inn and Suites
- Universal’s Aventura Hotel
- Cabana Bay Beach Resort
- Loews Sapphire Falls Resort
- Loews Royal Pacific Hotel
- Hard Rock Hotel
- Loews Portofino Bay Hotel
Universal OrlandoCamping tips
First, get reservations ASAP. They usually fill up weeks in advance. And while there are a few last minute cancellations, those go instantly.
Camping and cabin reservations can be made using one of the following methods:
book a cabin or campsite at one of our Florida State Parks. Just visit the new Florida State
Parks Campground Reservations site or
call toll free at 1-800-326-3521 or TDD 888-433-0287 between 8 a.m. and 8 p.m. Eastern time. You can buy day passes there, too.
• Online - Reserve.FloridaStateParks.org.
• Call center - 800-326-3521 or TDD 888-433-0287 from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. Eastern time.
• At a park - Visitors can contact the park directly to make reservations for primitive sites, primitive group camps and developed group camps.
Most state parks are open 8 a.m. to sundown, 365 days a year. Visitors may make campsite or cabin reservations before 1 p.m. on the same day until 11 months in advance.
Cabin reservations may be made from one day up to 11 months in advance of your arrival date.
Reservations can be made beyond 11 months only when the reservation period starts within the 11-month period and ends outside that period. The result is reservations could extend 11 months and 14 days in the future.
Campgrounds near Universal Orlando in Florida
- Campsites at Disney's Fort Wilderness Resort
4510 North Fort Wilderness Trail, Lake Buena Vista, Florida 32830. Phone: (407) 824-2900.
Yes, you can camp on the park at Universal Orlando. They have several options, including Fully-Equipped Campsites for tents to 45-foot and bigger RVs. There is a limit of 10 Guests per site, so leave cousin Randy at the trailer...
They have a swimming pool, illuminated at night, with a waterslide and a whirlpool spa. They also offer archery, horseback riding and canoeing . They have a pet-friendly policy
When we looked in September 2021, they were booked up until May 2022, except for a few last minute dates, and the average price was $106 (tent site) up to about $200 for premium RV sites, all plus tax and fees. Book 6 months to a year in advance!
This campground is about 10 minutes from Walt Universal Orlando Resort, 24 minutes to Universal Orlando and 17 minutes to SeaWorld.
Thousand Trails Orlando RV Camping
2110 Thousand Trails Blvd, Clermont, FL 34714. Reservations (Member): 1-800-388-7788. Reservations (Non-member): 1-888-481-6348. Ranger Station: 352-394-7575.
Open Year Round. Number of Sites: 1017. 255-acre RV campground. This campground is about 20 minutes from Walt Universal Orlando Resort, 40 minutes to Universal Orlando and 33 minutes to SeaWorld.
2650 Holiday Trail, Kissimmee, FL 34746. Open Year Round Call: (877) 570-2267.
343 sites. Our resort offers spacious private cottages and RV site rentals set on 69 beautiful sun-kissed acres in Kissimmee, Florida. We are 4 miles from Walt Universal Orlando Resort, 11 miles from the Orange County Convention Center, and within walking distance of Old Town and Fun Spot. Enjoy all that central Florida has to offer, while also having convenient access to our pool, cafe, shuffleboard, bocce ball, horseshoes, live entertainment, social events, and much more. This campground is about 20 minutes from Walt Universal Orlando Resort, 20 minutes to Universal Orlando and 17 minutes to SeaWorld.
Kissimmee RV Park--
2425 OLD VINELAND RD, KISSIMMEE, FL 34746. Phone:(407) 396-6655. Email:email@example.com
Kissimmee RV Park (formerly Orange Grove Campground and RV Park) centrally located and 6.5 miles from the peripheries of Universal Orlando’s Magic Kingdom. Orlando attractions are generally within 30 minutes of our Kissimmee campground and long or short term RV park rental. Kissimmee RV Park is pet friendly. We welcome cats and all non-aggressive breeds of ogs. They have a heated pool, a recreation hall with kitchen and bingo, shuffleboard courts, horseshoe pits, and restrooms and showers. Every site comes with a concrete patio and a picnic table. This campground is about 13 minutes from Walt Universal Orlando Resort, 25 minutes to Universal Orlando and 20 minutes to SeaWorld.
Florida has both state parks and private campgrounds..