Do you have your Universal Studios Itinerary ready so that you can Ride the movies and be a star?
This is (or was) Universal Studios Florida’s claim to fame when it first opened. You can still see remaining relics of the past, but things have shifted into dominant franchises of today.
Now, I am not a stickler of living in the past, but I still do miss classic attractions such as the ORIGINAL King Kong ride KONGfrontation.
..but we’re not here for nostalgia.
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What to Expect at Universal Studios
I’m here to help you plan the best itinerary for Universal Studios Orlando. My goal is for you to be able to conquer every top attraction and experience in the park all in one day.
But first, let’s go over what to know before you get to Universal Studios Florida.
What time does Universal Studios open?
Universal Studios Florida is open 365 days a year 9 a.m to 6 p.m. in the regular season.
Hours may change based on the busyness of the park.
How much does it cost to go to Universal Studios in Florida?
The cost of admission starts at $125, but I like discounts so I use Undercover Tourist to find cheap Universal Studios tickets.
Can you do Universal Studios Orlando in one day?
While coming up with this Universal Studios itinerary, I thought…
…how can I make you see and do all of the best rides at Universal Studios Florida?
This list has some of the top hitting attractions on it, but you can eliminate or add any item you feel fits your type of day.
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Your Best Universal Studios Itinerary
The key to accomplishing this one-day adventure is to arrive at Universal Studios early.
If you have a special early entry option, then take advantage.
1 – Purchase Tickets Online and Download the Park Map
Purchase tickets, download a park guide, and map out your day prior to coming to Universal Studios Florida.
All a part of your Universal Studios checklist, which you can read here.
2 – Get an Early Start
Try to arrive forty-five minutes prior to the gates opening. If eligible for early park admission, then take advantage of the opportunity.
Hipster Power Tip: Map out your day and make a list of your must do favorite attractions. Here are a few of the top rides listed by theme park bloggers!
3 – Ride Despicable Me
Begin in Production Central and head towards Despicable Me. This 3-D simulator ride is based off the hilarious animated movies.
It’s one of Universal’s most popular rides, so you’ll want to do this one right away or at the end of the day.
Hipster Power Tip: You can judge the busyness of the park by looking at the wait time for Despicable Me. If the wait time is above 60-minutes, expect for a crowded day at Universal Studios.
4 – Grab Ticket for Race Through New York with Jimmy Fallon
You’ll want to grab a ticket to this ride for later.
You should do Diagon Alley before the afternoon rush before experiencing Race through New York.
Completing the Race through New York attraction takes awhile since you’ll need to go through the pre-show and the actual ride.
Hipster Power Tip: Put about 35 minutes aside to complete this attraction once you walk through the doors.
5- Party on the Hollywood Rip Ride Rockit Roller Coaster
On this high speed steel coaster, you choose the musical soundtrack to take you through the thrilling drops, twists, and turns. Use the single-rider option if available.
6 – Join the Cause and Ride Transformers
Transformers: The Ride-3D is another 3-D motion simulator just like the Spider Man ride over in Islands of Adventure.
On this journey you will head into the headquarters of NEST (Non-biological Extraterrestrial Species Treaty) to learn how to battle the Decepticons.
Single rider option is available here and perfect if wait times are greater than 30 minutes.
Now that Fast and the Furious is open, I recommend riding it right after you get off Revenge of the Mummy.
7 – Dive deep into the Revenge of the Mummy Ride
Revenge of the Mummy is an indoor roller coaster dark ride. It is highly themed with props prompting you to believe you’re on the set of the Mummy movie.
The wait time for my favorite ride is always pretty decent. It rarely goes beyond 30 minutes, unless it’s a super crowded day.
Hipster Power Tip: The queue for this attraction has wonderful interactive effects. If the wait time is low, then skip the single rider line and go through the regular queue.
8 – Explore the Wizarding World of Harry Potter Diagon Alley
Prepare to spend quite sometime exploring this magical section of Universal Studios. Diagon Alley is the second installment of the Wizarding World of Harry Potter.
The other portion is located within Islands of Adventure (Hogsmeade).
Your Personal Diagon Alley Universal Studios Itinerary:
- Chat with Stan in front of the Knight Bus
- Ride Escape from Gringotts
- Browse the shops of Diagon Alley
- Discover the nooks and crannies of Knockturn Alley
- Have butterbeer ice cream from Florean Fortescue’s Ice-Cream Parlour
- Check out Celestina Warbeck
- Watch the Tales of Beedle the Bard
- Visit Ollivander’s Wand Shop
- Look for the pesky house elf peeking out the window of Sirius Black’s townhouse on Grimmaud Place
9 – Have Lunch at The Leaky Cauldron
It’s time to take a break and enjoy a delicious lunch. Here you can grab traditional British food as you’re whisked away into the magical world of Harry Potter.
Hipster Power Tip: Stay onsite at one of the resorts that include Express Passes as a perk. This will allow you to skip the lines and make your day much smoother and easier.
You will also be able to enjoy every attraction within in decent amount of time.
10 – Ride Men in Black Alien Attack
This is an interactive point and shoot laser ride. Similar in style as Buzz Lightyear Space Ranger Spin over at Disney’s Magic Kingdom.
I suck at this ride, but you can do much better than me.
The guns are on auto-fire, which means if you hold the trigger down the entire time, then your score can go higher.
Hipster Power Tip: To get the bonus 100,000 points, press the flashing light in front of you when you hear Rip Torn say the “b” in “Hit the red button.”
11 – Explore Springfield
The Simpson-inspired section of the park is very lively and so much fun. While you’re over there you’ll want to ride the Simpsons Ride and Kang & Kudos’ Twirl ‘n’ Hurl.
The Simpsons Ride will take you on a whimsical, snarky tour through Krustyland’s Theme Park.
It’s a simulator thrill ride that lasts about five minutes with 10 minute pre-shows.
Kang & Kodo’s Twirl ‘n’ Hurl is a spinning flying saucer ride inspired by the devious aliens of the Simpsons show.
Snack Time: Grab a Chicken and Waffle sandwich from Cletus’ Chicken Shack. It’s a Universal Studios must have snack. It’s my go-to spot at Universal Studios Orlando and I know you will love it!
12 – Ride the Classic E.T. Adventure
The only original ride left at Universal Studios.
This gondola dark ride is based on the blockbuster movie, E.T. It still has the classic theme park ride feel and is a nice ride to go through during your day at Universal Studios.
13 – Experience Universal’s Horror Make-Up Show.
This is a hilarious show that gives behind-the-scenes movie makeup tricks. It’s a bit gory due to the subject matter, but is also lots of fun!
14 – Enjoy the Shopping and Roadside Entertainment Throughout Universal Studios
Some of my favorite shopping spots are:
- Williams of Hollywood
- Spongebob Store Pants
- Weasley’s Wizard Wheezes
- Park Plaza Holiday Shop
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15- Watch the Shrek 4-D show
This is a 45 minute 3-D theater show located in Production Central.
You’ll enjoy this nice break from the Florida heat by jumping into an adventure with Shek and Donkey!
16 – Ride Jimmy Fallon’s Race Through New York
Now it’s time to redeem your ticket and ride one of Universal’s newest attraction, Race Through New York Starring Jimmy Fallon.
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17 – Grab a Beer from Duff Brewery and Watch the New Nighttime Lagoon Show
The best way to end a wonderful day at Universal Studios is with a smooth adult beverage, an entertaining show, and a spectacular view!
A new nighttime lagoon show features characters from all of your favorite Universal attractions with a new storyline, music, lighting, and special effects.
As you can see, Universal Studios Florida has something to offer everyone with any type of vacation goal.
Whether you’re going solo, have a big family reunion, or enjoying a romantic day, you’ll never run out of things to discover.
What’s your favorite route to take at Universal Studios? Let me know in the comments section below.
If you enjoyed this Universal Studios Itinerary Guide, then you’ll love these:
- Islands of Adventure One-Day Itinerary
- Best Photo Spots at Islands of Adventure
- The Best Photo Spots at Universal Studios
- A Celebration of Harry Potter Tips and Tricks
- 7 Ways to Enjoy The Wizarding World of Harry Potter Hogsmeade
- What You Need to Pack for Universal Orlando
- Diagon Alley Grand Opening from A-Z
- Signs You’re Already Addicted to Diagon Alley
Until next time, Happy Park Hopping Hipsters!
(Original Article Date: February 6, 2019/Updated March 27, 2020)