• Getting Ready to Experience Universal Studios Florida

Getting Ready to Experience Universal Studios Florida

Ben A.

Created: Oct 31, 2023

Last Updated: Apr 25, 2024

Getting Ready to Experience Universal Studios Florida

Are you ready to meet (virtual) Vin Diesel and pose for a picture next to that Despicable Me guy (whose name I always forget)? It’s a good idea to grab everything you need the night before your trip to Universal, since you will be hopefully waking up early. Get everything ready so you just need to take a shower, have breakfast and then you are good to go.

What should you bring?

Just like a hiking tour, you need to prepare yourself before you experience Universal Studios. Follow these instructions and you will be ready to have an amazing time. Here is a rundown of what you need:

  • Cellphone with the Universal Orlando Resort app
  • Backpack or a fanny pack
  • Snacks
  • Jacket (if you are visiting during the Winter)
  • Park map once you are inside Universal Studios (so you can see showtimes for The Bourne Stuntacular)

Before anything else, it's important to point out that you can not enter Hollywood Rip Ride Rockit with anything in your pockets. Yes, this includes your cellphone, coins or a toothpick. Put everything in a locker and have fun there!

Okay, let's dive into what you need to pack for your first day at Universal!

Get the app!

Download the Universal Orlando Resort app on your phone a week before your visit. This is a simple and fast way to see park opening hours and queue times for every attraction. You can even buy your tickets or Express Passes using the app. Speaking of phones, don’t forget to have your ticket ready in a screenshot!

Universal Studios Springfield 3.webp

Log in the official website a day or two before your visit - and on the day of your visit - to see which rides are closed to the public. Maybe one of your favorite attractions won’t open today, so you can still try and visit the park at a later date. Harry Potter and the Escape from Gringotts is one of the top rides at Universal and it’s not unusual to see it facing technical difficulties, so pay close attention to that.

Pack for the Day!

Grab a backpack or a fanny pack. Trust me, it doesn’t matter if you’re traveling with your significant other or a group of six people, you will need a backpack to gather all your stuff and all that Harry Potter merchandise you’re going to be buying. 

Just remember that you will need to store your backpack/fanny pack in a locker for the following rides: Revenge of the Mummy, Men in Black Alien Attack and Harry Potter and the Escape from Gringotts. You will also need to store not only your backpack, but everything in your pockets (phones, wallets, etc) inside one of the free lockers if you want to ride Hollywood Rip Ride Rockit.

The munchies come for everyone!

Bring something to eat. It’s up to you if you want a ham sandwich that can replace a whole meal or if you prefer to stick to cookies and cheese rolls. You will be walking a lot all day and this will be enough to make you thirsty and hungry. 

There are drinking fountains scattered all over the park, but you can also bring your own drink if you wish.

The chill that sneaks up on you!

Depending on the time of year, you might bring a jacket to keep you warm. Florida isn’t exactly known for its freezing temperatures, but some guests feel cold in December and January when temperatures can go as low as 41°.

Universal Studios Harry Potter 4.webp

Shoes are the most important accessory!

Wear comfortable shoes. Universal Studios doesn’t have any water rides like Islands of Adventure, so you don’t need to bring an extra pair of sandals or flip flops. If you are Park Hopping and want to go to Islands of Adventure as well, then make sure to bring an extra pair of sandals.

A... map?

For Universal Studios Florida, it’s extra important to grab a park map as soon as you make it past the gates. You want to check showtimes for The Bourne Stuntacular and set up the exact time you want to go there. I advise just after lunch when you just want to relax a little. 

That’s it! Is your backpack ready? Good. Get plenty of sleep and try to get to the parking lot half an hour before the gates open. This way, you will be ready to start your adventure as soon as the park opens to the public and the guests are set free in their natural habitat. 

Universal Studios Transformers ride.JPG

How to get to Universal Studios and Islands of Adventure

I can already tell you that there are three main ways to get to the Universal theme parks: driving, calling an Uber or taking a shuttle if you are a guest at an Universal hotel. 

Driving

I will list three particular things that deserve to be part of the Human Inventions Hall of Fame. The paper, the fire and the GPS. That last one is one of the greatest creations of the century, which made traveling around the world much easier. It made us a little bit lazy too, but that's a fair trade.

With that said, I can safely say that the easiest way to reach your destination is with a car and a GPS in hand, which can be the one already installed in your vehicle or Waze in your phone. 

If you are driving, know that there is a single parking lot used for both Universal Studios and Islands of Adventure. Just type in “Universal Studios” and voilà, you will be guided straight to the parking lot. Isn’t technology great? Unless you are staying at the Aventura Hotel, then you can use an old technology called legs, walk for ten minutes and get ready to ride those roller coasters. 

Regular parking is $30 and the price basically goes up every year, while prime parking can be either $50 or $60 depending on the selected date. The main difference here is that prime parking will get you closer to the entrance. This means that you will take five steps less to reach the entrance than if you had chosen regular parking. So, is prime parking worth it? Nope.

After parking, you still need to actually get to the theme parks. Write down where you parked your vehicle or snap a quick picture with your phone, this always helps. Now you will follow the signs and walk about five minutes until you reach Universal’s City Walk, which is an entertainment complex full of restaurants, stores and an overall fun place to catch the latest movies.

Almost there! You should see big signs pointing to both Universal Studios and Islands of Adventure. Islands of Adventure will probably be to your left, while Universal Studios will be on your right. Now choose your destiny, relax and enjoy the ride.

Uber

Another good, safe option is choosing a ride-sharing service similar to Uber. I tried it only once, but it worked out fine. Just beware that prices might hike later on when you are about to exit the park, especially if it’s during a special night with fireworks or just after a big show. This will be, after all, the time when guests are all leaving together. 

Uber is also proud to call itself the “Preferred Rideshare Partner of Universal Orlando Resort”. They even have their very own dedicated Uber Zone located in the Jurassic Park Garage, where you will meet your driver to go back home. You can read all about Uber and Universal here. It’s also important to note that you will be charged an extra $4 for… reasons.

Universal Studios Shuttles

Every Universal hotel & resort also offers special shuttles that come in every 15-30 min and can take you not only to Universal Studios and Islands of Adventure, but sometimes popular attractions like the Kennedy Space Center and Sea World. Just keep in mind that you need to be staying at one of their hotel chains to make use of this service.

It’s always a good idea to check at what times the buses leave and also if they bring guests back from their destinations, since you don’t want to get stuck somewhere far away without knowing how to return to the comfort of your room. Universal shuttles that take you all the way to Universal’s theme parks are completely free to hotel guests, but you should ask if the service has any cost if you decide to visit any other destination. 

When taking a shuttle to the theme parks, keep in mind that the bus will leave you at Universal’s City Walk. From there, it’s a very short five minute walk to either Universal Studios or Islands of Adventure. Have fun!

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