Getting ready to visit Universal Orlando Resort in Orlando, FL, and want to make the most of your visit? Or maybe you’ve already visited and want to better your park experience. Either way, I’ve got you covered. From when to hit the theme parks to what never to buy, never make these seven Universal Orlando mistakes!
- Don’t Skip Early Park Entry for Resort Guests
- Never Spend Money on Water
- Don’t Expect to Hop on Rides Midday
- Don’t Think Spring Break Will Have Low Crowds
- Never Discount Single Rider Lines
- Don’t Miss Parades and Shows
- Don’t Forget About the Virtual Line
I’m like everyone else: I want the best guest experience possible. And no matter if it’s my first time visiting a theme park or my 100th, I still want the best day ever. While a perfect day in the parks isn’t possible everyday, there are things to do to make sure yours is a close to perfect as possible – and that includes avoiding these common Universal Orlando mistakes. Here’s the list of top mistakes and what to do instead.
1. Don’t Skip Early Park Entry for Resort Guests
I’ve visited Universal Orlando Resort as both an on-property and off-property guest. While I had fun on each visit, staying on-property is my favorite way to really dig into the parks and here’s why.
Each on-property Universal Orlando resort offers one hour early entry to one of the two Wizarding World of Harry Potter areas. At this time, it tends to alternate between Diagon Alley and Hogsmeade each month, but it’s a no-brainer to take advantage of the benefit.
And you know what was surprising to me? How low the crowd levels were on each morning of our stay. Even in April when high crowd levels were projected, it was a breath of fresh air to enter Wizarding World of Harry Potter – Diagon Alley and walk right onto Escape from Gringotts. If you really want to check out Ollivander’s wand ceremony, that’s the time to do it as well.
Again, it’s a benefit for staying on property that you really don’t want to ignore. Stay at a Deluxe Resort and you’ll also get complimentary Universal Express passes. They definitely will save you time in line.
2. Never Spend Money on Water
Any restaurant serving fountain drinks will give you free cups of ice water. It’s my suggestion to never pay for bottled water unless you absolutely must.
If you don’t dig fountain drink water, there are two ways to save without paying for it in the park. One, head to a grocery store and purchase a case of it to take with you. Or two, place an order through Amazon Prime Pantry and have it sent to your hotel. Amazon Prime Now works well, too, but you have to be available to pick up your order when it arrives.
3. Don’t Expect to Hop on Rides Midday
If I’ve learned anything about the ebb and flow of theme parks, it’s this: midday is the peak time for visitors in any park. Think of it as a bell curve. At park opening and closing, there tend to be less guests in the parks, so you’ll have lower wait times. If there’s a must-do ride or rides on your list, hit them first thing or at the end of the day.
4. Don’t Think Spring Break Will Have Low Crowds
In my neck of the woods, Spring Break correlates with Easter, so I was surprised to learn that many states have Spring Break the third or fourth week of March. Spring Break is one of the most popular times to visit as many family have to travel around school holidays, so it will be busy.
What you can do is prepare for it ahead of time. Hit the park at rope drop (park opening) and make sure to check the Universal Orlando Resort app for wait times.
5. Never Discount Single Rider Lines
I have a teen that adores theme parks, but sometimes waiting in a standby queue is not ideal, especially when it’s painfully long. So save time, keep an eye out for single rider lines when you’re in the parks and take advantage when possible. Yes, you probably won’t be riding with your family and friends, but if you’re cool with that, go for it.
Here are the rides, in alphabetical order, at Universal Orlando Resort that offer single rider lines:
Islands of Adventure
- The Amazing Adventure of Spider-Man
- Dr. Doom’s Fearfall
- Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey
- The Incredible Hulk Coaster
Universal Studios Florida
- Harry Potter and the Escape from Gringotts
- Hollywood Rip Ride Rockit
- MEN IN BLACK Alien Attack
- Revenge of the Mummy
- Transformers: The Ride 3-D
6. Don’t Miss Parades and Shows
In addition to the rides at Universal Orlando Resort, you’ll be able to watch live shows and parades. Especially around holiday seasons, UOR paraders are not to be discounted, for sure. Not only will you see popular characters, the music is lively and fun. Make sure to check the times guide when you enter or via the app.
The same goes for the live shows. They’re cute, entertaining, and a great way to take a break from the theme park hustle. Personally, the live shows in both areas of Wizarding World of Harry Potter are well worth hanging around for.
7. Don’t Forget About the Virtual Line
A recent addition (in 2017) to the UOR theme park experience is the Virtual Line. While it may seem confusing at first, it’s really not. For rides that offer Virtual line, there is no standby queue. You make a reservation via the UOR app or a nearby kiosk, and then have a “free roaming line experience”.
Right now, Virtual Line is offered for the following rides:
Universal Studios Florida
- Fast & Furious – Supercharged
- Race Through New York Starring Jimmy Fallon
At Volcano Bay, UOR’s waterpark, Virtual Line is the only way to ride. There is no standby queue for rides and slides.
So, while you’re waiting for your turn to officially queue up, you can enjoy another ride, take a break, grab a snack, etc.
Did I miss your favorite “what not to do” tip for Universal Orlando Resort? Please let me know in the comment section below!