Want to ride a mean and green roller coaster? How about catching the bad guys with Spiderman? Or facing your fears with peers in Fear Factor? Sound intense? Well, Universal Studios and Islands of Adventure offer thrills and chills. The key to enjoying all that these parks have to offer in a day, is by using some of the helpful and time saving tips offered below.
On Site Hotels: There are three main on site hotels at Universal; Hard Rock, Portofino, and Royal Pacific. All three hotels are exceptional. Royal Pacific offers a Asian type feel, Hard Rock like its restaurants, offer a music theme and Portofino offers a Venice Italy atmosphere. These hotels are part of the Loews hotel chain. I recommend, prior to booking, that you go online and register,(its free) at loewshotels.com. This membership allows you to have special privileges, including possible room upgrades for free and other perks. The main benefit of booking at the onsite hotel is that your room key becomes a fast pass for the rides at the attractions. This simply means, that you will enter for the rides on a special line that significantly reduces your wait time and also allows you re-entry back onto the rides as many times as you would like. The room key can be used in both parks for the duration of you stay at the onsite hotels. Also you can continue to use the pass, even after you have checked out of the hotel. It expires at end of the day you check out. So if you love riding the “Hulk” roller coaster ride, you can do so again, again and AGAIN. The room cost is more than what you would pay at the average Orlando hotel, however the benefit of the room key pass is well worth it, especially when some of the wait on lines can exceed 90 minutes!
Early /Late Entry: A great idea to reduce the wait time for popular rides is to arrive when the park opens or to go to the park near dinner time. During the morning hours, by 10 a.m., you will notice a huge increase in the amount of people inside the park. Prior to this time, many choose to sleep in, lounge around the pool or eat breakfast. This allows a few hours to go to the most popular rides in the park without the extended wait time. The same concept works for 7 p.m. and later. Many tourist choose to leave the park for dinner or other entertainment within the city of Orlando.
Universal Express Pass: This pass works similar to the room key pass as described above. It can be purchased at either theme park, but there are two main differences: 1) These passes can only be used in the theme park they were purchased at. This means if you are in Universal Studios, and purchased this pass, you cannot go Island of Adventures and use it. 2)This pass can only be used once per ride. The passes are not cheap. As a tourist you need to decide which is more cost effective, staying at one of the onsite hotels or purchasing these passes separately.
Single Rider: As stated before, many of the popular rides in Universal Studios and Islands of Adventures will be easy to spot. as they boast incredibly long lines. When your time is limited, and there is so much to see, take advantage of those rides that offer the “single rider line.” Many of the popular rides offer a lane for those individuals who do care if their party rides at the same time. By using this line, the time for wait can be reduced. An example of this is the ride, Spiderman. The wait for this ride can be as long as 90 minutes, while using the single rider lane, can reduce that time to 10 minutes. There is also no limit on the amount of times you can enter this lane.
Shows: The shows within these theme parks are highly entertaining and well produced. However, when considering the amount of time to arrive early to get a good seat for the show, the time spent at the show and then waiting to leave, you must consider which is more important, riding the rides or seeing the shows. A suggestion, if shows are important for you to see, to prioritized which ones you must go to and the ones you will see if time allows. If you are traveling with young children, Fear Factor may not be what you want see, if you are traveling with young adults, the Animals Acts may not be of interest. This is a personal choice.
By using the tips above, you can allow yourself enough time to enjoy all that the parks have to offer and still use your time wisely to make the most out of your Universal Orlando vacation.