If you’ve had the chance to spend the day at Universal Orlando Resort before, you know that there is a seemingly endless amount of attractions and entertainment to enjoy at the parks. When you only have one day to experience everything Universal Studios and Islands of Adventure have to offer it can seem a little overwhelming or impossible to take it all in, but we’ve got 5 tips to help you maximize your day of fun.
- Get There Early: The parks typically open at 9 am, and it’s helpful to arrive early and get into the park before the craziness starts. consider that it may take anywhere from 15 – 30 minutes to park, go through security, and get into the park even before the majority of the crowds have arrived. As the day goes on lines will get longer and longer, making it much more of a process to get your day started.
- Use a 2-park ticket: Although Universal Studios and Islands of Adventure are both full theme parks on their own they are best experienced together, especially in the Wizarding World area. It’s totally possible to get the full experience of both parks in one day, just start by exploring one park, then hop aboard the Hogwarts Express for a ride to the other park.
- Add an Express Pass to your ticket: If you’re going on a busy day and lines are unbearable, getting an Express Pass will help you get to every attraction on your must-ride list!
- Ride the busiest attractions first: The most popular attractions at Universal Orlando tend to have wait times of at least an hour, even on moderately calm days and be as long as two or three hours on a really busy day. Depending on which park you start at, try to hit the busiest attractions first before the lines get too long, especially if you’re not planning on buying an Express Pass. The rides that usually have the longest lines at Universal Studios are Despicable Me Minion Mayhem and Harry Potter & The Escape From Gringotts. At Islands of Adventure, it’s The Incredible Hulk Coaster and Harry Potter & The Forbidden Journey.
- Use the Universal Orlando official app for mobile ordering: At select dining locations throughout the resort, you can skip the lines and order your meals with just a few taps on your smartphone! For all the details and list of participating restaurants, check out this guide to mobile ordering at Universal parks.
- Plan your day around the shows or parades you want to see: Because they run on a schedule, it’s easy to plan the day around showtimes and parade times. The parks’ daily entertainment is listed in the park map, but you can get an idea of showtimes (subject to change) here:
- The Blues Brothers Show (Universal Studios): 11:00 AM, 12:00 PM, 1:30 PM, 2:40 PM, 3:40 PM
- Animal Actors on Location! (Universal Studios): 12:15 PM, 1:30 PM, 3:30 PM, 4:45 PM, 6:00 PM
- Fear Factor Live (Universal Studios): 2:30 PM, 4:00 PM, 5:30 PM
- A Day in the Park with Barney (Universal Studios): 11:30 AM, 12:45 PM, 2:00 PM, 3:00 PM, 4:15 PM
- Universal’s Superstar Parade (Universal Studios): 3:00 PM
- Tales of Beedle the Bard in Diagon Alley (Universal Studios): 10:00 AM, 11:00 AM, 12:00 PM, 2:30 PM, 3:30 PM, 4:30 PM, 6:00 PM, 7:00 PM, 8:00 PM
- Celestina Warbeck and the Banshees in Diagon Alley (Universal Studios): 10:30 AM, 11:30 AM, 12:30 PM, 2:00 PM, 3:00 PM, 4:00 PM, 6:30 PM, 7:30 PM, 8:30 PM
- Frog Choir in Hogsmeade (Islands of Adventure): 10:30 AM, 11:30 AM, 12:30 PM, 2:00 PM, 3:00 PM, 4:00 PM
- Triwizard Spirit Rally in Hogsmeade (Islands of Adventure): 10:00 AM, 11:00 AM, 12:00 PM, 1:15 PM, 2:15 PM, 2:45 PM, 3:15 PM, 3:45 PM, 4:45 PM
- The Eighth Voyage of Sinbad (Islands of Adventure): 2:00 PM, 4:00 PM
- Oh! The Stories You’ll Hear (Islands of Adventure): 12:15 PM, 1:15 PM, 2:45 PM, 3:45 PM, 4:45 PM, and 5:45 PM
Tackling two theme parks in one day can be tricky, but with a plan in mind, you should be able to experience Universal Orlando in its full glory! For more theme park tips, check out this guide to making the most of a day at SeaWorld Orlando!