23 Amazing Universal Studios Orlando Tips to Save Time and Money

Are you looking for Universal Studios Orlando tips to make the most of your time on your trip?

Planning a trip to the Universal Orlando Resort doesn’t have to be a hard task, but I do know that sometimes the details in the planning can get stressful.

First off, the resort has 3 theme parks with another one opening in the future, plus multiple hotels to choose from and the famous CityWalk.

With all those activities to participate in, you’ll want to know these pro tips for going to Universal Studios Florida.

Things to do at Universal Orlando


Whether you choose to go to Universal Studios in Orlando solo or with family and friends, each tip will guide you to having the best theme park vacation ever!

Your first question may be:

ORDER NOW to secure your Orlando theme park ticket reservation in the parks! GET MY TICKETS.

What’s the best itinerary for Universal Studios Orlando?

You’ll want to save time on your Universal Orlando trip, so you must have a game-plan to save time and see the most popular attractions.

You can grab your FREE Universal Orlando Resort Guidebook here!

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.

More questions you may have are:

What time does Universal Studios open?

Universal Studios Florida is open 365 days a year from 9 a.m to 6 p.m. in the regular season.

Transformers the Ride Universal Studios Grand Opening Day with Optimus Prime Truck and Bumble Bee Car

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.


What should I do first at Universal Studios Orlando?

One of the best Universal Studios Orlando tips that I can give you is to start at Diagon Alley first.

This Harry Potter-inspired area will fill up quickly making the line for the two attractions (Escape from Gringotts and Ollivanders wand experience) extremely long.

Best Universal Studios Orlando Tips for Adults

ET animatronic on the ride at Universal Studios

Now that we have the basics covered, let’s go through some of the best tips for your next trip to this incredible theme park!

1 – Buy Tickets in Advance Online

This one Universal Studios Orlando tip will save you both money and time!

Universal Orlando Resort App
You can get tickets and special offer on Universal Orlando Resort App

It’s best to buy your tickets ahead of time. This prevents waiting in a line once you arrive at Universal Studios.

Hipster Power Tip: The line to buy tickets in the morning can exceed the usual time you may notice during the later theme park hours.

2 – Get Universal Orlando Tickets from a Trustworthy Website

Buy your Universal Studios Orlando ticket directly from Universal’s website or from a reputable source such as Undercover Tourist. Undercover Tourist usually has special rates for Orlando theme park visitors.

Shrek 4D Universal Studios Photos Orlando Tips

3 – Know the Universal Orlando Ticket Breakdown

There are a few options to choose from for Florida residents when buying a ticket for any of the Universal Orlando theme parks.

3-Park – 2-Day Ticket

The 3-Park 2-Day Park-to-Park Florida Resident Ticket entitles one (1) guest admission to Universal Studios Florida™, Universal’s Islands of Adventure™ AND Universal’s Volcano Bay™ on the same day.

Ticket is valid for any two (2) calendar days during a sixty (60) consecutive calendar day period which includes the first day any portion of the ticket is used.

2-Park – 2-Day Ticket

The 2-Park 2-Day Park-to-Park Florida Resident Ticket entitles one (1) guest admission to BOTH Universal Studios Florida™ AND Universal’s Islands of Adventure™ theme parks on the same day.

Ticket is valid for any two (2) calendar days during a sixty (60) consecutive calendar day period which includes the first day any portion of the ticket is used.

*Prices are subject to change.

You can view the whole list of ticket options here and save money too!

4 – Know When the Best Time to Visit Universal Studios

Universal Studios Florida lagoon. First timer tips for #UniversalStudios

This is one of the top Universal Studios Orlando tips to make a note of…

Holiday peaks, crowd sizes, weather, and a few other factors have a lot to do with your Universal Orlando experience, including how long you’ll be waiting in line for your favorite rides.

Best Times to Visit Universal Studios Orlando

  • January
  • February
  • April
  • November

These months are closely followed by March, May, September, and October as still pretty decent visiting times.

Get the full Universal Studios Crowd Calendar here!

5 – Purchase a Universal Express Pass

Depending on the time of year you go, you’ll may want to think about getting an Express Pass. Universal Studios has some of the most innovative rides with wait times to prove it.

Revenge of the Mummy Ride at Universal Studios Florida
Revenge of the Mummy Ride at Universal Studios Florida

Are the Universal Express Passes worth it?

It depends on a few factors.

For instance, if you’re only going to be at Universal Studios for a day and you came on a crowded day, then I’d say definitely get the Express Pass.

On those peak days, it gets extremely hard to do and see each attraction available at the park.

Transformers the Ride Universal Studios Entrance with Optimus Prime

Plus, if it’s a hot and humid day, it only adds to the frustration. I know the prices can be out of your budget, but if you can squeeze a little bit more then definitely grab an Express Pass.

If you’re not into the whole ride thing and you’re just fine doing a ride here-and-there, then pass on the Express Pass and spend that money on some theme park food and merchandise.

Express Passes to Choose From:
  • Universal Express Pass: You can skip the regular line ONE TIME per ride at participating attractions each day that your pass is valid.
  • Universal Unlimited Express Pass: You can skip the regular lines an UNLIMITED number of times at participating attractions.
  • 2-Park Universal Express: You can use this Express Pass at both Universal Studios and Islands of Adventure
  • 2-Park Park-To-Park + Express Unlimited: This includes admission to Universal Studios and Universal’s Islands of Adventure, plus Universal Express Unlimited access.
  • 3-Park Park-To-Park + Express Unlimited: This includes admission to Universal Studios Florida, Universal’s Islands of Adventure, and Universal’s Volcano Bay, plus Universal Express Unlimited access.
Despicable Me Minion Mayhem Universal Studios Orlando Tips
Despicable Me Minion Mayhem Universal Studios Orlando

Express Pass Rides and Attractions at Universal Studios Florida

  • Despicable Me Minion Mayhem™
  • E.T. Adventure™
  • Fast & Furious – Supercharged™
  • Harry Potter and the Escape from Gringotts™
  • Hogwarts™ Express
  • Hollywood Rip Ride Rockit™
  • Kang & Kodos’ Twirl ‘n’ Hurl
  • MEN IN BLACK™ Alien Attack™
  • Race Through New York Starring Jimmy Fallon™
  • Revenge of the Mummy™
  • Shrek 4-D
  • The Simpsons Ride™
  • Woody Woodpecker’s Nuthouse Coaster™

Hipster Power Tip: There are three resorts on Universal Orlando property that include FREE Universal Express Passes for each hotel guest. They are: Loews Portofino Bay Hotel, Royal Pacific Resort and the Hard Rock Hotel.

6 – Be Sure to Use the Child Swap Program

A true ThemeParkHipster will most likely have a time where the little ones will be join you on one of your trips.

Fast and Furious Supercharged queue. #universalstudios #themepark #traveltips

Don’t worry!

You don’t have to miss out on all the fun Universal Studios attractions.

You and your theme park partner can take advantage of the Child Swap Program, where you’ll both be able to scream on Hollywood Rip Rockit, as the little ones wait to the side.

The Child Swap Program works by allowing one member of your party to wait in a designated area along with any children who are unable or unwilling to participate.

Once the rest of your group is off the ride, you trade places and take your seat on the ride while those who rode previously stay with the child(ren).

7 – Have a Game Plan and Download the Official Universal Orlando App

Route your path around the park in advance by retrieving the Universal Studios park map on the app. The Universal Orlando Resort app allows you to find ride wait times, show times and dining venue hours.

The app also allows you to do so many other things such as, placing food and drink orders from select restaurants when you’re in the parks.

View the Universal Studios Map Below

Universal Studios Florida Map
Universal Orlando Resort Map

You can also read the perfect Universal Studios Florida one-day itinerary here!

8 – Explore the Wizarding World of Harry Potter Diagon Alley

If your smile is as wide as mine, then you probably want to skip the other rides and head straight back to the Wizarding World of Harry Potter Diagon Alley section of the park.

Diagon Alley: Knightbus Wizarding World of Harry Potter. #harrypotter #universalstudios #diagonalley #wizardingworldofharrypotter

You’ll want to explore all the crevices of Diagon Alley and discover the dark streets of Nocturne Alley.

Become a true wizard and get your wand.

Diagon Alley : Ollivander's Wand Shop. #harrypotter #universalstudios
The Wand and the Wizard – Diagon Alley

I recommend partaking in the interactive wand experience; it’s always pretty fun and you’ll love it.

Don’t forget to ride Escape from Gringotts and chat with goblins.

9 – Try EVERY type of Butterbeer

In case you’re a Muggle, Butterbeer is a drink mentioned several times in the Harry Potter books. It is the drink of choice for many of the adolescents through out the famous Wizarding story.

Butterbeer Ice Cream at Diagon Alley Universal Orlando
Butterbeer Ice Cream…Mmmm Diagon Alley

It’s a staple drink and a must have beverage whenever you visit Universal Studios.

How is Butterbeer served?

  • Cold Butterbeer
  • Frozen Butterbeer
  • Hot Butterbeer (seasonal)
  • Butterbeer Potted Cream
  • Fudge Butterbeer
  • Butterbeer Soft Serve Ice-Cream

Sooooo many to chose from!!!

Where to find Butterbeer?

You can find a Butterbeer offering of some sort inside the Diagon Alley section of Universal Studios at:

  • The Leaky Cauldron
  • The Hopping Pot
  • Sugarplum’s Sweetshop
  • Florean Fortescue’s Ice-Cream Parlour

10 – Ride Hogwarts Express From Diagon Alley to Hogsmeade

This is the best way of recreating the footsteps of the famous wizard, Harry Potter. The Hogwarts Express is located inside King’s Cross Station next to the secret entrance to Diagon Alley.

Wizarding World of Harry Potter. King's Cross Station #harrypotter #universalstudios #diagonalley #themepark
King’s Cross Station

In order for you to experience this attraction, you’ll need to have a park-to-park admission ticket.

Park-to-Park tickets allow you to visit all listed parks any time each day.

11 – Have a Universal Studios Packing List

Universal Orlando Packing List

You can get the full Universal Orlando packing checklist here!

12 – Know What You Can and Cannot Bring inside Universal Studios

To prevent any embarrassment at the security checkpoints, I’ve listed the items you are able to take with you inside of the Universal Orlando parks.

Universal Studios Orlando Florida lagoon. First timer tips for #UniversalStudios

Please keep in mind that Universal is very strict on what it allows you to bring.

Acceptable items:

  • Bottled water
  • Small snacks that do not require heating
  • Any food required for medical purposes and medically indicated nutritional supplements
  • 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

Prohibited items:

  • Alcoholic beverages
  • Picnic lunches
  • Food that requires heating or refrigeration
  • Glass containers
  • Hard-sided coolers
  • Soft-sided coolers larger than 8.5″ wide x 6″ high x 6″ deep
  • Suitcases and bags with wheels
  • Folding chairs
  • Clothing with offensive language or content
  • Clothing that represents someone as emergency personnel
  • Weapons of any kind

Watch the Full Universal Orlando Packing List Video here on YouTube!

13 – Enjoy the Must Do Attractions and Dining at Universal Studios Florida

Diagon Alley Grand Opening Tips with Fire breathing Dragon

14 – Take Advantage of the Single Rider

This line can cut your wait time in half and that’s always a benefit of going to a theme park alone. It allows you to get around to most of the attractions quickly, because you don’t have to wait in the normal ride line.

This is especially important if you are traveling to Universal Studios solo.

men in black universal studios

Single Rider Lines at Universal Studios Florida:

  • Harry Potter and the Escape from Gringotts
  • Hollywood Rip Ride Rockit
  • Fast and Furious Supercharged
  • MEN IN BLACK Alien Attack
  • Revenge of the Mummy
  • TRANSFORMERS: The Ride 3-D

The Single Rider Line will split up your party. The attraction attendants use Single Riders to fill in extra spot available on the rides.

15 – Skip the Universal Dining Plan

If you’re not planning on being at Universal Orlando Resort for more than 4 days and you usually eat light, then I say skip out on the Universal Dining Plan.

Chicken and Waffle Sandwich from Cletus' Chicken Shack Universal Studios
Chicken and Waffle Sandwich from Cletus’ Chicken Shack

It’s not a good plan and if you budget correctly for your trip, you’ll be able to make your money stretch inside the park.

16 – Use the Lockers

The lockers next to attractions require you to store your loose items. They are free for up to a certain time period. The time period will depend on the wait time of the attraction.

If you go beyond the time frame for holding your items, you will be required to pay a small fee.

Make sure to take a photo of your locker number.

Trust me when I say that it will save you the headache of trying to remember your locker number when you’ve just got done screaming your head off on Revenge of the Mummy!

17 – Get a Birthday Button

You can grab a free birthday button from Guest Services at Universal Studios.

Professing your birthday to the world may increase your chances of being chosen by Ollivander in the wand presentation show.

Diagon Alley Grand Opening Tips Carkit Market
Diagon Alley at Universal Studios

Hipster Power Tip: You do have to pay for the wand even if you’re selected to be in the show.

This is just one of the free things you can get on your Universal trip.

18 – Enjoy Free Wi-Fi

There’s free Wi-Fi throughout all of Universal Studios. All you have to do is connect to the Wi-Fi on your mobile device as you would normally do and follow the instructions.

19 – Know Exactly What Universal CityWalk Is

Universal CityWalk is an entertainment hot spot between Universal Studios and Islands of adventure.

It’s filled with lots of shops, restaurants, clubs, and more!

CityWalk Universal Orlando Margaritaville Delicious golden cocktail with lime.
CityWalk Universal Orlando Margaritaville

If you’ve ever been to Walt Disney World, then it similar to Disney Springs.

You do not need a ticket for Universal Studios in order to experience City Walk.

You’re also able to leave Universal Studios and enjoy all the CityWalk action, then return back to the parks without needing another ticket.

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

20 – Get a Toothsome Milkshake

On your trip to Universal Studios you must stop in CityWalk on your way out and have one of the famous Toothsome Chocolate Emporium milkshakes!

Toothsome Chocolate Emporium Milkshake with multi-color confetti cake on top.
Toothsome Chocolate Emporium Milkshake

Its’ not only an Instagram worthy photo spot, it’s also a must have treat because it’s absolutely delicious.

21 – Don’t Forget About Free Water

Tap water is free at any restaurant inside Universal Studios and some quick service locations. So, be sure to bring your own water bottle to fill it up during the day.

Read more ways on how to beat the Florida heat!

22 – Grab the Best Souvenirs

No trip to Universal Studios is complete without the best souvenirs to remember your day.

Williams of Hollywood Universal Studios
Williams of Hollywood Universal Studios

One of my best Universal Studios Orlando tips is to check Amazon for souvenirs at a cheaper price.

Let’s go through some of the top items you must get on your trip.

  • Wizarding World of Harry Potter wand
  • Giant Simpsons doughnut
  • Wizard Robe
  • Universal Studios T-shirt
  • Key chains
  • Universal Orlando trading pins

Hipster Power Tip: Visit Williams of Hollywood. They have the most unique Universal Orlando relics and souvenirs that would make any theme park fan jealous.

23 – Have Fun!

Whether you’re on your own adult solo Universal Orlando vacation or if you’re with friends, you will have fun!

Simpsons Springfield universal studios cop and doughnut. #UniversalStudios #themepark #universalorlando
Another solo adventure at Universal Studios!

Final Thoughts

Universal Studios Florida is one of the best theme parks in the world! You around bound to have an amazing time if you plan the right way and follow these tips.

Now go out there and start your Universal Orlando theme park adventure today!

Easy tips for universal studios florida with yellow Men in Black Spacecraft
Pin for Later!

Let me know your best Universal Studios Orlando tips in the comment section below?

If you enjoyed the Universal Studios Orlando Tips, then you’ll love these:

Until next time, Happy Park Hopping Hipsters!


(Original Article Date: June 1, 2019/Updated April 6, 2020)

Share this article!

Leave a Comment