25 Mistakes You MUST AVOID for Universal Orlando Resort (2022)

If you’re thinking about going to Universal Studios or Islands of Adventure this year, then you’ll want to know what mistakes to avoid at Universal Orlando Resort!

Not sure where to start? Don’t worry, ThemeParkHipster!

I’ve got 25 tips right here that’ll save you time, stress, and even… money!

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Mistake #1 Not Buying Your Tickets in Advance

One of the things that you’ll want to do is to be able to find good deals online prior to your Universal Orlando vacation. 

Hand holding a Universal Orlando Resort ticket at Universal Studios Florida. Keep reading to to find out more Mistakes to Avoid at Universal Orlando Resort!

You can find discount Universal Studios and Islands of Adventure tickets on websites such as:

Believe it or not, you can save a lot of money by getting your tickets early. Plus, you won’t have to wait at the ticket booth when you arrive at the park. 

The Simpsons Ride in Springfield at Universal Studios Florida

This means you’ll be able to skip the line and head straight to the gates to get your ticket scanned. And everyone knows that less time in line = more time for fun!

Get Your Universal Orlando Resort Tickets Today! CLICK HERE.

Mistake #2: Not Using a Trusted Website for Your Universal Tickets 

To go a bit deeper on the previous mistake mentioned, you want to be sure to go through an authorized ticket seller that’s approved by Universal Orlando. 

Universal Orlando Resort Gate Entrance to Universal Studios Florida

I did just name a few of my favorite sites; however, you’ll want to double check that any company you use is a legitimate business and not a website that looks a bit sketchy or a random place that you see on the side of the road. 

Mistake #3: Not Getting a Park-to-Park Ticket for Universal Studios and Islands of Adventure

I see this Universal Orlando mistake made time and time again! Many people do not know that you need a Two Park One Day Ticket to visit both Islands of Adventure and Universal Studios Florida.

Universal Orlando Resort globe on citywalk with lighthouse from Islands of Adventure in the background

This mistake is often not noticed until someone gets ready to board the Hogwarts Express train ride to go over to the other side of The Wizarding World of Harry Potter.

Nikky, author of ThemeParkHipster, standing arm-in-arm with the Conductor of Hogwarts Express in front of the red train. Keep reading to to find out more Mistakes to Avoid at Universal Orlando Resort!

It’s at this moment that most guests realize that they purchased a ticket that only allows them to be at one park per day instead of visiting both parks in one day.

So, be sure to check out your ticket options here!

Universal Orlando Harry Potter Vacation Package

Mistake #4: Not Reviewing the Universal Orlando Crowd Calendar to See What’s the Best Day to Go 

The Universal Orlando Crowd Calendars are a great resource and tool that can tell you which days are the busiest at the parks. 

You can use this to see if you even need to show up that particular day or choose a better day for the park based on the calendar’s prediction.

ThemeParkHipster's Universal World Crowd Calendar showing January, February, April, and November as the best months to visit and June, July, and August as the worst. Keep reading to to find out more Mistakes to Avoid at Universal Orlando Resort!

The Crowd Calendar also gives you a bit of insight on whether the ticket price is going to be a little more (or less) on the day you choose, as the price tends to go up based on the crowded days.

Universal Orlando Resort Spongebob Squarepants Parade at Universal Studios Florida

You can also use these calendars to help you plan out your day.

They will let you know whether you need to get to Universal Studios or Islands of Adventure early or later in the day. If you’re planning to get a lot done on your trip, you can’t afford to overlook this tip. 

Choose the BEST Day to Go to Walt Disney World with This Crowd Calendar!

Mistake #5: Buying an Express Pass on a Slow Day 

The biggest (and most expensive) mistake you can make is paying for an Express Pass when you don’t really need one. 

Green signs advertising the Express Passes and Cabana Rentals at Universal Orlando Resort Volcano Bay. Keep reading to to find out more Mistakes to Avoid at Universal Orlando Resort!

To avoid this, you will want to definitely check the Universal Orlando Crowd Calendar to see if you have to buy an Express Pass for your day. 

Watch: New to Halloween Horror Nights? Don’t Go Without Knowing These 15 Tips!

Mistake #6: Not Taking Advantage of the Child Swap Program 

The Child Swap Program at Universal allows people who have other members in their party who are not able or willing to get on a ride to be able to sit in the waiting area. 

Velocicoaster Child Swap Family room at Universal Jurassic World
Velocicoaster Child Swap and Family Room

Basically, one member of your party will wait in the Child Swap area while the other one rides. 

Blue Child Swap sign hanging on a colorful cartooned wall at Seuss Landing at Universal's Island of Adventure. Keep reading to to find out more Mistakes to Avoid at Universal Orlando Resort!

Once the person is done riding, the one who waited with the child will jump on the attraction to also experience it for themselves. This assures that someone is always with the child. 

Hipster Power Tip: Be sure to let a Universal Orlando Team Member know that you want to use the Child Swap Program BEFORE you get in line for the attraction.

Ready to start planning your next Universal Orlando vacation? Listen to the latest podcast episode on Apple or on your non-Apple device now!

Mistake #7: Missing Out on Mardi Gras

This is one of those events at Universal Orlando that you have to be there to know how awesome and epic it is!

NikkyJ at Universal Studios Mardi Gras with Twisted Taters
Mardi Gras

The food, the entertainment, the parade, the décor, and the vibe is just absolutely incredible. 

Massive purple Krewe of Dionysus Swan Float for Mardi Gras celebration riding down to street of Universal Studios Florida. Keep reading to to find out more Mistakes to Avoid at Universal Orlando Resort!

And if you can do only one thing at Universal, then definitely go to Mardi Gras and see if you can participate in riding on the parade float, because it is truly a one-of-a-kind experience. 

Mistake #8: Not Knowing the Many Types of Butterbeer Offered 

If you’re a Harry Potter fan, then you know that butterbeer is one of the main drinks in the whole franchise. 

Hand holding a full cup of Butterbeer with towering snowcapped Hogwarts castle in the background. Keep reading to to find out more Mistakes to Avoid at Universal Orlando Resort!

The best thing about this is that you can actually try it for yourself in The Wizarding World of Harry Potter!

You can get butterbeer in so many ways:

  • Soft serve ice cream
  • Frozen
  • Cold
  • Warm
  • Fudge
  • Potted Cream

Those are just a few ways that you can enjoy butterbeer at Universal Orlando Resort. Believe me, there are a lot more and tons to learn. So, be sure to read the full guide to enjoying butterbeer here. 

Mistake #9: Not Making a List of the Best Food at Universal Orlando Resort 

Believe it or not, Universal Orlando has stepped up their game when it comes to dining in the parks, in CityWalk, and in the hotels. So, don’t make the mistake of eating off-site!

Steps leading up to the empty entrance of Universal Orlando Resort Hard Rock Cafe in Citywalk, showcasing a large red and yellow sign with the oversized guitar in the background. Keep reading to to find out more Mistakes to Avoid at Universal Orlando Resort!

Some of my favorite things to eat in Universal are:

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Mistake #10: Not Making Dining Reservations for Restaurants

This is one of the main mistakes I see from many newbies make. Since Universal is perceived to be less busy than Disney, many think that they can just show up to a restaurant (especially in CityWalk) and only experience a short wait time for a seat.

DO NOT DO THIS!

Two guests in line at the Tiki-clad Universal Orlando Resort Dining Reservation Kiosk in Islands of Adventure. Keep reading to to find out more Mistakes to Avoid at Universal Orlando Resort!

A lot of times you will be waiting for an hour at minimum during those peak times. 

There are even moments when the restaurant is not adding new names to the waitlist because the slots are all full for the rest of the evening. You can even experience this during lunch time.

This mistake also applies to some of the restaurants inside of the parks like Mythos in Islands of Adventure.

Get a Jump Start on Your Dining Reservations

My recommendation is if you know that there is a restaurant you want to try before you get to Universal, then go ahead and book your reservation online.

Entrance of Bob Marley Restaurant at CityWalk, showing two Lion of Judah statues framing the green, yellow, and red archway that reads "a tribute to freedom." Keep reading to to find out more Mistakes to Avoid at Universal Orlano Resort!

You can do this through the Universal Orlando website by searching for the restaurant of your choice. Or you can book it by looking for the restaurant on Google.

Mistake #11: Not Using the Mobile Ordering Service

I absolutely love using this tool! It is the ultimate time savor for you theme park experience.

Screencap of the Universal Orlando Resort Voodoo Doughnut Menu for Mobile Ordering. The menu features 30 deluxe donuts, while the app displays a Order Stature an Confirmation Number. Keep reading to to find out more Mistakes to Avoid at Universal Orlando Resort!

You can find it in the Universal Orlando app which I recommend downloading before you get there.

How Does the Universal Orlando Mobile Ordering Service Work?

  1. Open the Universal Orlando App
  2. Add Your Debit/Credit Card Information to It
  3. Go to the Left Tab and Select Mobile Ordering
  4. Choose Your Dining Spot
  5. Select Your Food
  6. Review Your Order
  7. Checkout and Pay for Your Food
  8. Let the App Know that You’re Ready for Pick Up When You’re Near the Location
  9. Grab Your Food and Enjoy!

Hipster Power Tip: Download the Universal Orlando mobile app before you get to the park. That way you can get familiar with it so you’re not scrambling and feeling so much pressure trying to figure out how to use it when you’re there. 

Mistake #12: Not Knowing What to Bring to Universal Orlando

You’re going to want to have your basic items on you to make the most of your visit to the Orlando theme parks. Grabbing them ahead of time will save you time and a whole lot of money.

An orange and blue tube of 30 SPF Banana Boat Sunscreen from Dollar Tree. Keep reading to to find out more Mistakes to Avoid at Universal Orlando Resort!
Photo: Dollar Tree Co.

Some of my recommended things to have in your bag for Universal are:

  • Phone
  • Tickets
  • Water
  • Sunglasses
  • Hand Sanitizer/Wet Wipes
  • Umbrella (for the sun and rain)
  • Sunscreen
  • Masks
  • Mints
  • Lip Gloss

These are just a few of my must-haves when going to Universal Studios and Islands of Adventure. You can get the full list here!

Mistake #13: Not Looking Out for Some of the Secrets in Harry Potter World

Believe it or not, we’re only halfway through our list of Mistakes to Avoid at Universal Orlando Resort. But we couldn’t go any further without hooking up our Potterheads!

Couple cuddling while watch the luminous Hogwarts for Christmas Lights Show in Hogsmeade Wizarding World of Harry Potter. Keep reading to to find out more Mistakes to Avoid at Universal Orlando Resort!
Photo Courtesy of Universal Orlando.

You don’t want to miss out on knowing where to find some of the extra little details in this area of the park that only true fans of the Boy Who Lived would enjoy!

Here are a few of my favorite Harry Potter secrets to look for:

  1. If visiting the Knight Bus is on your list, you’ll be able to see where Harry would rest or where you could’ve slept if you were a wizard on the bus.
  2. You can even dial MAGIC in the phone booth to connect you to the Ministry of Magic.
  3. Look for one of the Unforgivable Curses being performed in Nocturne Alley.

Get all of The Wizarding World of Harry Potter Secrets here!

Mistake #14: Missing Out on the Best Rides at Universal Orlando Resort

Universal Orlando has some of the BEST rides and attractions in the world and while you’re there, you’ll want to make sure that you don’t miss any of them!

Hogwarts Castle in Wizarding World of Harry Potter Hogsmeade Universal Orlando Resort Islands of Adventure

These are my top 10 attractions and rides at Universal Orlando Resort:

  1. Hagrid’s Magical Creatures Motorbike Adventure 
  2. VelociCoaster
  3. Revenge of the Mummy
  4. Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey
  5. The Incredible HULK
  6. Harry Potter and the Escape from Gringotts
  7. The Amazing Adventures of Spider-Man
  8. Men in Black Alien Attack
  9. Hollywood Rip Ride Rockit
  10. Poseidon’s Fury

Honorable Mentions

  • Jason Bourne Stuntacular
  • Jurassic Park River Adventure
  • ET Adventure
  • Popeye and Bluto’s Bilge
  • Barge Rafts

Recommended: Doctor Doom’s Fearfall at Universal: The Good, the Bad, and the Scary!

Mistake #15: Not Skipping the Fast and Furious Ride at Universal Studios 

I know this is a very controversial statement. If you happen to be there on a crowded, hot day and you just need a break from the AC then of course, go ahead. 

Universal Orlando Resort Fast and Furious Supercharged Construction

But if you’re me, I would skip it and spend some time walking around and discovering the nooks and crannies of the park, relaxing in the central park area or enjoying a nice show like the Universal Orlando Horror Makeup Show. 

Are you planning a Universal Orlando vacation soon? Get the Universal Vacation Planning Guide for your next dream trip!

Mistake #16: Not Doing a Secret Tour for Free 

You can do free things in Universal Studios like the:

  • Immigration Tour over at Men in Black
  • Revenge of the Mummy Tour 
  • A tour for Jimmy Fallon
  • Fast & Furious Tour

There’s also a tour for VelociCoaster and get this…they’re absolutely free!

Universal Orlando Resort Lagoon with park map overlooking velocicoaster at Islands of Adventure

If it’s not a busy day in the parks, you can walk up to a Team Member and ask them if they’re offering a tour for that day. They’ll then let you know if one is available. 

So, don’t miss out on this fun experience at Universal Studios and Islands of Adventure. 

Get Your Universal Orlando Resort Tickets Today! CLICK HERE.

Mistake #17: Not Using a Single Rider Line 

I mean, why are you gonna use the regular line when you’re there on your solo trip? That’s a perk, especially for us solo travelers!

Author of ThemeParkHipser, NikkyJ, using Single Rider Line on Transformers the Ride 3d at Universal Studios Florida. Keep reading to to find out more Mistakes to Avoid at Universal Orlando Resort!

Sometimes a Single Rider Line can be a little bit faster than an Express Pass line on rides like Transformers the Ride 3D, but you didn’t hear that from me…(wink, wink…).

Mistake #18: Not Using the Lockers

You will want to use the lockers at Universal especially since most require you to use the locker. Mainly more thrilling attractions.

Lockers at Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey Universal Orlando Resort Islands of Adventure
Lockers at Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey

To avoid this on most rides that require locker usage, I recommend bringing a fanny pack with three prongs as some attractions will allow you to skip the lockers with this.

Multiple rows of yellow lockers with tropical print at Universal Orlando Resort Volcano Bay.

Be sure to bring a smaller bag as the lockers that accommodate the larger bags, have a charge to them. 

Ready to start planning your next Universal Orlando vacation? Listen to the latest podcast episode on Apple or on your non-Apple device now!

Mistake #19: Not Signing Up for Universal Orlando Email Alerts 

Many deals on tickets and vacation packages can come directly from Universal’s team if you’re signed up for their email list.

Universal Orlando Resort Hollywood Rip Ride Rockit

Universal Orlando also has a strong relationship with vacation planners out there who get the first alerts on all the deals as well.

Join the Conversation on the Solo Theme Park Traveler’s Community on Facebook!

Mistake: #20 Arriving Late

Please don’t do this. Don’t even think it. If you spent all that money to get to Universal Orlando Resort, to enjoy your day, then get there early so that you can maximize your time. 

Blue sign for Early Park Admission for Annual Passholders next to Seuss Landing Fish Ride at Islands of Adventure. Keep reading to to find out more Mistakes to Avoid at Universal Orlando Resort!

When you arrive BEFORE the park opens, you’re gonna be able to get a lot done before lunchtime with an option to go back into your room to recharge and return to finish your amazing day. 

Mistake #21: Missing Out on Halloween Horror Nights

In addition to Mardi Gras, Universal hosts Halloween Horror Nights which is the Premier Halloween event in the whole country. 

Happy Halloween sign with hanging Pumpkin Japanese Lanterns and string light in a Halloween Horror Nights 2022 display at Universal Orlando Resort. Keep reading to to find out more Mistakes to Avoid at Universal Orlando Resort!

If you’re into hunts in the spooky season and you want it done on a massive scale, then you must attend this event!

Get your Halloween Horror Nights ticket TODAY!

Mistake #22: Not Enjoying All the Entertainment in CityWalk and the Resorts 

Did you know that CityWalk houses some of the most incredible nightclubs, lounges, and  restaurants with a dope vibe that you will not want to miss?

Universal Orlando Resort Food Club and Shop Options at CityWalk

You can enjoy an oversized milkshake at Toothsome Chocolate Emporium, sing your heart out in karaoke, and party it up at Bob Marley’s. 

Nighttime outside the glowing Toothsome Chocolate Emporium with social distancing sign at the entrance. Keep reading to to find out more Mistakes to Avoid at Universal Orlando Resort!

One of the best things to do is to enjoy live music and special events at the resorts such as Harbor Nights in Loews Portofino Bay Resort. 

Mistake #23: Not Downloading the Universal Orlando Resort App 

I am mentioning this again because it’s just that important. This is one of the biggest mistakes to avoid at Universal Orlando.

iphone with Universal Studios' Mobile Food and Drink Ordering App on the screen, highlighting the Leaky Cauldron and Louie's Italian Restaurant. Keep reading to to find out more Mistakes to Avoid at Universal Orlando Resort!

You will want to get familiar with the app prior to your trip so that you’re not trying to figure out:

  • How to use the app for things such as mobile ordering
  • Setting wait time alerts on your phone
  • Checking on the times of the shows and so much more!

Ready to plan your theme park trip? Watch the best vacation planning tips on YouTube. Get started here!

Mistake #24: Missing Out on Extra Help While at Universal Orlando

Universal believes in creating an experience where everyone from all walks of life and all circumstances can come and enjoy all of the world class attractions with little worry.

Universal Studios guide and tips
Sign up and get your FREE Universal Orlando Resort Theme Park Traveler’s Planner and Guide. Click the image to get started.

They offer many accommodations such as:

  • Wheelchair rentals
  • Kennel services
  • Firstaid care
  • Family/Baby room
  • Quiet/low sensory rooms

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Mistake #25: Waiting for Others to Join You on a Trip to Universal Orlando 

Last, but not least, #25 is the biggest mistakes to avoid at Universal Orlando Resort!

Why are you waiting? If no one can join you, then this is your time to take that solo trip TODAY!!!

NikkyJ, author of Theme Park Hipster, smiling and giving the peace sign in front of the Secret Life of Pets float at  the Universal Superstar Parade. Keep reading to to find out more Mistakes to Avoid at Universal Orlando Resort!

And if you’re thinking about taking that solo Orlando vacation, then I am here for you. 

This is my guide on why going alone to Universal Studios and Islands of Adventure is the best thing EVER! 

15 Mistakes to avoid at Universal Studios
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I want you to have fun, whether you’re going with family, friends, a reunion trip or alone. So, cheers to enjoying yourself at the Universal Orlando Resort theme parks!

I hope you enjoyed my list of the 25 Mistakes You MUST AVOID for Universal Orlando Resort!

Until next time, Happy Park Hopping Hipsters!

NikkyJ

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