Are your Spidey senses tingling? ‘Cause with a visit to Universal Orlando, there are sure to be BIG THRILLS AHEAD…
Fair warning: this is not your average fairytale vacation.
If you’re seeking real-life adventure for all ages that’s universally appealing (see what we did there?) and memories to last forever, you can’t go wrong with this immersion into cinematic genius and super-hero-level synergy reaching from suburban Springfield to a South Seas oasis.
Hang out in Harry Potter’s world, mastering the wonders of wizardry.
Jive and jeep around, facing your Dino-fears in the wilds of Jurassic Park.
In between adventures, world-class, kid-friendly food and entertainment abound.
BONUS: you can start relaxing right now by getting a vacation expert to do all the annoying travel booking and planning hassle for you, AT NO EXTRA COST TO YOU.
Use the button below to request a complimentary, no-obligation quote, or read on to discover the magic and mayhem that awaits you and your family at Universal Studios Orlando.
How Many Parks Are In The Universal Orlando Resort?
There are 3 theme parks that comprise Universal Orlando:
- Universal Studios, Featuring the Wizarding World Of Harry Potter – Diagon Alley
- Islands of Adventure, Featuring the Wizarding World Of Harry Potter – Hogsmeade
- Volcano Bay, the epic water park
Plus, don’t forget Universal Orlando’s CityWalk of shops, restaurants, and entertainment (cinematic escape rooms based on Jurassic Park and Back To The Future, anyone?) that provides an “epicenter of awesome” outside the theme parks.
Universal Orlando Park Hours
Be sure to check specific dates or reach out to an Ear To There Vacationeer for the most accurate times, but here is what you can expect for general hours:
Universal Studios Florida usually opens at 9:00 am and closes between 6:00 – 9:00 pm.
Universal’s Islands of Adventure usually opens at 9:00 am and closes between 9:00 – 10:00 pm.
Universal’s Volcano Bay usually opens at 10:00 am and closes between 6:00 – 9:00 pm.
CityWalk usually opens at 8:00 am and closes at midnight.
Best Things To Do At Universal Orlando
The most important thing to remember when you’re planning any vacation is that the “best” things are whatever feels the truest to your tastes and preferences.
Celebrate your heart’s desires and treat your family to the endless possibilities of being dropped right into the center of your favorite movies and tv shows – and make sure you do it your way.
Splurge on a wand all your own and seek out fancy culinary delights, or doze on the lazy winding river between character meet n’ greets for your kids. There’s a huge range of things to explore with what’s already included, plus upgrade options to add on if you want to spend a little extra (lookin’ at you, private cabanas!).
Here are some of the Ear To There Travel favorites to get your imagination rolling.
Universal Orlando Rides
Get your hair sticking straight up and your imagination in high gear with these other-worldly but very real experiences.
The Harry Potter Rides At Universal Orlando
First and foremost, anything and everything Harry Potter cannot be missed!
It can’t be said enough.
You should absolutely consider getting a park-to-park ticket to experience both Universal Studios and Islands of Adventure where all of the wizarding wonders can be enjoyed on the same day.
Don’t miss out on doing it the way Harry did, by riding the Hogwarts Express between both parks. Promise you won’t regret it!
Then be sure to hit up:
- Harry Potter and the escape from Gringotts (in Universal Studios)
- Hagrid’s Magical Creatures Motorbike Adventure (in Islands of Adventure)
Jurassic World Rides At Universal Orlando
Let’s get right to it. Velocicoaster (in Islands of Adventure). Wowowowowowow.
The Velocicoaster is the most thrilling, breathtaking, unbelievably cool, and, well… terrifying roller coaster I’ve ever been on in my life.
No shoulder harnesses. Only a lap bar. And it goes upside down!!
Then when you need to recover, check out the Jurassic Park River Adventure (in Islands of Adventure).
More Amazing Not-To-Miss Rides At Universal Orlando
- The Amazing Adventures of Spider-Man (in Islands of Adventure). One of the coolest dark rides/3D rides around. It’s been around for at least 20 years and every time it is as amazing as its name suggests.
- Dudley Do-Right’s Ripsaw Falls (in Islands of Adventure).
- Transformers: The Ride 3-D (in Universal Studios)
- The Incredible Hulk Coaster (in Islands of Adventure)
- Krakatau Aqua Coaster (In Volcano Bay)
Universal Orlando Food
Like every aspect of adventure planning, the “best” food is going to be based on whatever is most important to you and your loved ones.
Do you want the quickest food? The cheapest?
Are you a foodie looking to sit and savor the most unusual fare while everyone else shops?
Luckily, with 136 options, Universal Orlando has food for the full range of human and wizard tastes.
Beyond the obligatory popcorn and pretzels that make a trip to any theme park anywhere complete, check out some of the fabulous eats that you might want to have on your to-do list:
- Leaky Cauldron (Universal Studios) for the highest quality noshing and legit British food – or any of the other amazing eateries in Diagon Alley
- Marvel Character Dining at Cafe 4 (Islands of Adventure – about $55 for an adult, $30 for a child) for immersive entertainment and fun buffet food
- Confisco Grille (Islands of Adventure) for international cuisine
- Bayliner Diner (Universal’s Cabana Bay Beach Resort) for a cheap sit-down meal
- Florean Fortescue’s Ice-Cream Parlour (Universal Studios) to combat a humid Floridian day
- Krusty Burger (Universal Studios) for the best greasy burger and fast food
- Today Cafe (Universal Studios Florida) for yummy breakfast foods to start your day of adventure right
- Mythos Restaurant (Islands of Adventure) for al fresco meals & great Greek food
- Mama Dellas Ristorante (Loews Portofino Bay Hotel) for delicious, authentic Italian food
Shops In Universal Orlando
Whether inside OR outside the parks, it’s almost impossible not to find something for everyone with the amazing array of stores in this mighty land of happy times.
Whether you’re looking for a quick stop and stroll after lunch at CityWalk or you’re interested in some retail therapy while your kiddos ride the Simpsons ride for the fourth time, Universal Studios has you covered for the best swag around.
Universal Studios Florida
The shopping at Universal Studios is a magical mix of options, with 36 stops to satisfy any of your shopping needs. Here are some of the ones we like most:
- Weasleys’ Wizard Wheezes
- Gringotts Money Exchange
- Hello Kitty
- Borgin and Burkes
- It’s A Wrap
- E.T.’s Toy Closet & Photo Spot
- Madam Malkin’s Robes for All Occasions
- Magical Menagerie
- SpongeBob StorePants
Islands of Adventure
There are 28 amazing places to procure your precious treasures; here are a few of the top choices:
- Olivanders Wand Shop in Hogsmeade
- Honeydukes in Hogsmeade
- All The Books You Can Read
- Betty Boop Store
- Comic Book Shop
- Filch’s Emporium of Confiscated Goods
- Marvel Alterniverse Store
- Star Souls Psychic Readings
Special Events & Holidays At Universal Orlando
Every trip to Universal Orlando is filled with festive fun and adventure, and the delightful decor at the holidays can add even more to the mood of excitement on your dream vacation.
Ear to There Travel can help you plan your holiday celebration to maximize the marvelous.
- Holidays at Universal Orlando
- Christmas in the Wizarding World of Harry Potter
- Halloween Horror Nights at Universal Studios
- Universal’s Mardi Gras: International Flavors of Carnaval
- Rock the Universe: Florida’s Biggest Christian Music Festival
How Much Does It Cost To Go To Universal Orlando?
Since every family’s priorities are different, pricing is going to vary a lot. But just to give you a sense of what kind of numbers we’re talking about: A 3 night, 3 day, 3 park, park to park package for 4 at Endless Summer, Dockside Inn in June would cost under $3000. (That would include the trip insurance, shuttle from Orlando International, and Early Theme Park Admission.)
Amazing vacay value!
Universal Studios tickets start at $109.
Islands Of Adventure tickets start at $109.
Volcano Bay Tickets start at $80.
CityWalk is free to see.
Annual Passes range from about $400-950 for 2- or 3-park passes offering different perks.
Beyond that, here are some of the personalized factors that affect pricing:
- Kids under 3 are free
- 3 – 9 are discounted a small amount
- 10+ are adult pricing
- Length of stay (the longer you’re there, the more affordable the per-day pricing)
- How many parks you’re visiting (pricing goes down per park with package deals)
- Time of year
- Type of accommodations
- Special events, experiences, & add-ons
- Pay extra to skip some of the ride lines
- Pay extra to download and print fun official vacation photos taken at all the parks
- Parking passes
But the cost of an unbelievable Universal Orlando vacation doesn’t have to break the bank.
Just as movies have taught us over and over again, it’s less about what you spend and more about what you spend your time doing, by prioritizing what is most important to you and your family for your upcoming adventures.
The Ear To There Vacationeers (what we call our fun-expert travel agents) know how to guide you to the possibilities that celebrate who you are and work within your budget to create once-in-a-lifetime experiences using the most up-to-date Universal Orlando Resort trip tips.
Best of all? Our services are 100% fee-free.
If you use our complimentary travel planning services and book your vacation with us, we’ll ensure you’re getting the Universal Orlando trip of your dreams at the best available rates and without any extra cost to you.
Where Is Universal Orlando In Florida?
Universal Orlando To Disney World
If you’re in Florida anyway, you might want to take advantage of the proximity to Walt Disney World for any of the Disney fans in your family.
The distance between is only a 15 mins to half-an-hour drive (roughly 10 miles).
Easy to stay at either property and visit the other for a day or two. Easy to get an Uber or Lyft between them if you don’t have access to a car.
Want to simplify things and not stress about planning the details yourself? Ear To There Travel can help you plan the smooth transitions from your favorite park to your other favorite park (lol) if you reach out using the button below.
Nearest Airport To Universal Orlando
Flying into Florida presents several options. The nearest airport to the Universal Orlando Resort is Orlando International Airport (MCO) which takes about 20 minutes to drive to (up to an hour in traffic).
But you also have the option of…
- Orlando Sanford (SFB)
- Tampa, FL (TPA)
- St. Petersburg, FL (PIE)
- Sarasota/Bradenton (SRQ)
Best Hotels Near Universal Orlando
When you go to hang up your superhero cape at night, staying as close as possible to the theme parks will ensure the maximum amount of playtime and the highest caliber of themed experiences to keep the entertainment going – even while you relax.
Here are the 8 amazing resort hotels of Universal Orlando:
- Universal’s Endless Summer Resort – Dockside Inn and Suites
- Universal’s Endless Summer Resort – Surfside Inn and Suites
- Universal’s Aventura Hotel
- Universal’s Cabana Bay Beach Resort
- Loews Sapphire Falls Resort
- Loews Royal Pacific Resort
- Hard Rock Hotel
- Loews Portofino Bay Hotel
How Many Days Do You Need At Universal Orlando?
2 days in the parks is perfect.
3 days is fantastic if you want to include the epic-themed water park, Volcano Bay.
But if two days are all your schedule can afford, you can certainly do all three parks – as long as you get the Ultimate Express Pass to skip some of the waits for the most popular rides.
Other Universal Resorts…
Want options outside of Florida?
- Universal Hollywood Resort
- Universal Japan Resort
- Universal Singapore Resort
…for similarly stellar offerings but with entirely different surroundings!
Ear To There Travel Is “U-Preferred.” What Does That Mean?
As a U-Preferred travel agency, we are an elite company officially authorized and recognized by Universal to help you book your trips.
We have special training and exclusive resources to help bring you the world-class experiences you and your family deserve every time you want to travel.
4 Great Reasons To Work With An Ear To There Travel Agent
- You’ll save money.
- You’ll save time.
- You’ll save energy, effort, and emotional distress.
- You’ll feel confident being in the know and having easier access to the vacation of your dreams.
Don’t settle for just excellent. We can provide you with extraordinary.