Universal Studios Orlando is one of those magical places where time doesn’t seem to pass — until suddenly it’s dusk and you hear the call: ‘The Park is Closing in Fifteen Minutes!’ What happened to your day? There was so much more you wanted to do! Don’t let that be you — with a bit of proper prior planning, you can get through a lot more of your list than you would if you just came in blind. Here’s what you need to do to get the most of Universal Studios:
Buy Your Tickets (and Everything Else) in Advance
Don’t wait in line for your tickets at the park gates — what a waste of time! Have your tickets purchased before you get on your plane (or however you’re getting to Orlando). Better yet, have your hotel room reserved, your important meals planned out if not pre-purchased, and — most importantly — buy your swag first. There’s nothing like the aggravation of blowing two hours of potential amusement time watching your children flirt with the gift shop. The swag is usually cheaper outside the park as well.
Visit on an Off Day — and Month
Universal Studios operates on a pretty well-defined schedule of business. Summer break, major school holidays, and weekends — a Park Jedi craves not these things. If you want to spend less time watching your soles bake to the concrete and more time screaming and pointing, come midweek in the first two weeks February — after the Christmas folk have stopped coming but before it threatens to get warm enough for the Alaskans to wear shorts — though really, any time that isn’t the peak times mentioned above will do.
Schedule Your Day According to the Shows; Fill In with Rides
At Universal Studios Orlando, the rides run open-to-close except for maintenance and upgrades — but the shows happen at specific times and places. That means that you can (and should) make a list of which shows you intend to see on which days — but you can hit up the rides any time you feel like it. The first shows generally don’t start until the late morning, so you can totally get there, bust hiney over to Minion Mayhem (Diagon Alley on your second day), then down to the Lower Lot to do that whole scene. Come back up and do everything else just in time for your first show –this avoids using the elevators, which by themselves can take 10 minutes of your day.