12 Universal Orlando Secrets & Tips for getting Free Express Passes, Free Lockers, Transportation, Shorter Lines, The Best Bargains on Food and more!
If you are planning a trip to Universal Orlando check out these Universal Orlando Secrets & Tips for Universal Studios, Islands of Adventure and Universal On Site Hotels! A few weeks ago I got the chance to visit the Universal Theme Parks in Orlando, FL with 14 amazing bloggers! Not only did we get to try out all of the Universal Parks and some of the Most Popular Restaurants, but I also got to spend some amazing time with 14 other bloggers brainstorming and planning for the year to come! I want to say a HUGE Thank You to Universal Orlando and the Cabana Bay Resort, Kia and Squatty Potty for helping us put together this trip! This post and this trip were sponsored by and made possible by these amazing companies! However, the Tips & Ideas in this post are completely mine!
Here are My Top 12 Tips for Universal Orlando:
1.) Stay On Site for Free Shuttle Service to and From the Parks
All 6 of the Universal Orlando Hotels and Resorts include Free Transportation to and from the City Walk and Theme Parks! We never had a problem grabbing a bus, it was so quick and easy and the easiest way to access the parks! We stayed at the Cabana Bay Resort which was amazing! It only took us a few minutes on the bus to get to the theme parks and we loved every minute at the Cabana Bay Resort!
2.) Get FREE Express Passes when you Stay at one of 3 hotels
Stay at the Loews Portofino Bay Hotel, the Hard Rock Hotel or the Loews Royal Pacific Resort and get FREE Universal Express Unlimited Passes, this lets you take the Express line to most of the rides and it’s a $89 value per person so make sure you factor this in when picking your hotel! These Express Passes were one of my FAVORITE parts of Universal, they are easy to use, no planning ahead or booking times required. Just walk up and ride!
3.) Pack your important items in one bag & Use the Free Lockers
Pack as much as you can in just one bag, most of the rides require you to store your loose articles while you ride but don’t worry there are Free Lockers available by each of the rides so you can quickly secure your items before you get on the ride. The fewer bags/items you have the easier and faster it will be to send one person into the locker area since these are normally pretty crowded.
4.) Download the Official Universal Orlando App to get Wait Times
The Official Universal Orlando App has a ton of great information, my favorite is the Wait Times. You can see the wait times of all the rides before you walk across the park! That way you know when the best time to get in line will be!
5.) Plan at least one day at the Island of Adventures Park
If you have kids, make sure you plan to visit the Island of Adventures Park, they can meet all their favorites super heroes and have a ball in the Dr. Seuss Themed Area, it’s perfect for little ones!
6.) Wear your Swimsuit or bring a Change of Clothes
Each theme park has a play area for kids, the Curious George Goes to Town Splash Park is a ton of fun for kids and included in your Universal Island of Adventure Ticket.
7.) Fill Up For Free with Unlimited Refill Cups
Look for these Unlimited Refill Cups in the Universal Parks, you can fill up for Free all day long or add additional days to your refills for a discounted price. This is a great way to keep those kids hydrated without spending a fortune. The best deal is to buy as many cups as you want all at once since they get cheaper the more you buy + if you have a 3 day park pass, get 3 days worth of refills.
You can take the drinks between parks and fill up at specially marked locations! These cups are pretty cool, they have a special chip in them that lets the machine know what day you bought it and how many days to allow refills. You might want to hang on to your receipt though, we did have an issue with one becoming deactivated and it’s good to have proof of what you paid for!
8.) Grab a Big Donut and Feed a Crowd for Less than $5
These HUGE Donuts sold outside The Simpsons Ride at Universal Studios is only $4.99! This thing is amazingly delicious and feeds several people. It’s one of the best values in the whole park so don’t miss it!
9.) Grab Park to Park Admission & Ride the Hogwarts Express
The Hogwarts Express Ride is only available to those with Park to Park Admission, this will take you between the 2 Harry Potter Parks and it’s a fun way to relax for a minute and give you feet a break without having to walk between parks and go back through the gate check ins.
10.) Harry Potter World Comes Alive with Magic Wands
If you have kids this is one of my favorite things, You can purchase a Wand in the Harry Potter World that lets you bring aspects of this park to life! Follow the directions on the medallions located in the sidewalks to bring the city to life!
TIP: You only need one wand per family so don’t stress over buying multiples, everyone can take turns bringing things to life!
11.) Get Early Access to Harry Potter World when you stay on site
Harry Potter World can often be busy, guests staying at a Universal Orlando Resort can get early admission to The Wizarding World of Harry Potter and Universal’s Volcano Bay one hour before the park opens! You can see and compare all the benefits of the hotels here.
12.) Book Reservations Online for City Walk Restaurants
The Universal Orlando City Walk is a great place to eat and play at nights after the parks are closed. There are some amazing restaurants including the new Toothsome Chocolate Emporium! You can make online reservations ahead of time to avoid the lines during busy seasons, this is perfect if you have little ones that don’t always love waiting in line to eat :) Click here to see the restaurants that take reservations
If you have a tip for Universal Orlando Theme Parks make sure you leave a comment! I’d love to hear them, I can’t wait to take my kids back to these parks!