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10 things to know about Universal Parks in Orlando (USA)

1. There are 3 Universal parks & one free access space

The three theme parks are as follows
:- Universal Studios (main park but quite small)- Universal’

Islands of Adventure

(recommended)- Universal’

s Volcano Bay (water park


You can access Universal Citywalk for free, it’s a space full of Universal souvenir stores, restaurants and cafes

Islands of Adventure

2. Admission starts at $115/day and parking is $26

You can buy tickets online. Please note that all prices marked on the site are exclusive of taxes, you have to add about 6,5% more


Park (access to one park, 1 day) from 115$-

2-Park – 1-Day Ticket (access to two parks, 1 day) for 170$

Be careful, Volcano Bay costs much less (70$) than the two theme parks, so if you choose Volcano Bay, it is better to buy a specific ticket for this park.

While 1 day 1 park ticket allows you to decide, the same day, to go either to Universal Studios (right after the bridge crossing), or to Islands of Adventure (straight after the bridge)

Parking costs $26/vehicle, and is free after 6pm. A location closer to the park will cost $50/vehicle. Many hotels near the parks offer free shuttles, it will be faster and cheaper for you

3. It is recommended to download the Universal FL app

This application allows, among other things, to
:- Consult waiting times, live-
See the map-
Enter the “virtual line” i.e. queue virtually (more info at the bottom)
Wifi is available for free in parks, allowing you to consult this application even if you do not have 3G/4G

4. There are 3 ways to wait less time

1st method: by paying
You can purchase an Express Pass, costing between $80 + taxes per person (1 time per attraction) or $100 + taxes (as many times as you want). On the other hand, if you are in one of Universal’s official hotels, you are entitled to the Universal Express Pass Unlimited™ for free.

2nd method: Single Rider (free)
Some attractions allow you to line up as a Single Rider. The wait will be (much) shorter because you will fill the empty seats (e.g. if a family comes with 3 people and there is an empty seat, you can sit next to it). You can line up with your friends and family, but be aware that when you enjoy the attraction, you will not be sitting next to each other.

3rd method: Virtual Line (free)
For this, you need the Universal app. Some attractions (not many) allow you to press a button to book your passage at a certain time. You are entitled to 3 reservations per day. When the time comes, you’ll pass via an express line. The operation is like the Fast Pass at Disney. Unfortunately, apart from Volcano Bay, there aren’t many attractions in the other two parks that offer this cut-off.

The disadvantage of going through the express waiting lines is that you miss the decor and atmosphere around the waiting area. This is particularly unfortunate for King Kong Skull Island and Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey, for example, where the waiting areas are particularly neat.

5. You can enter the park and line up in front of an attraction before the park opens

It isn’t necessary to come too early as most attractions have a wait time of 15 to 30 minutes on weekdays. But if you absolutely want to ride the new Hagrid’s Magical Creatures Motorbike attraction Adventure™ (up to 300 minutes wait), it’s better to come early (8am) and multiply your chance by queuing Single Rider.

6. There is a Harry Potter train connecting the two parks

The Harry Potter universes are on both parks
:- Universal Studios: there are Gringotts, with a dragon spitting fire regularly-
Universal’s Islands of Adventure: there are Hogsmeade, and Poulard (Hogwarts).
And a real train (HogwartsExpress) connects the two parks. You can catch it at the 9 3/4 platform, but you must have a ticket with access to both parks to be able to take it.

this is a fake train, the real one is on the right side

7. You can use lockers

The lockers are available everywhere. You can use them free of charge for 30 minutes, after that you have to pay for them. You will need them for the attraction: Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey and those where you will be heavily watered: Dudley Do-Right’s Ripsaw Falls and Popeye & Bluto’s Bilge-Rat Barges®

8. You can come and go as many times as you want

By scanning your ticket. This way you can better enjoy the choice of restaurants offered by CityWalk, instead of being limited to restaurants in theme parks.

9. There are water fountains throughout the park

So come with a reusable bottle to avoid paying for bottles and generating waste.

10. There are spaces dedicated to children

If your child is too small to make an attraction, don’t panic. Both parents can take turns lining up and enjoying the ride. While one is enjoying the ride, the other can take the child to the Child Swap Area. Then the second parent can enjoy the ride as well.

Find our travel diary at Universal’s Islands of Adventureshere, and the itinerary, budget & tips for 2 weeks road trip in Florida here

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