• suzytheexplorer

Universal Studios

When we booked our trip to Orlando, I knew that I had to go to Universal Studios. To be honest, the main attraction for me was Harry Potter as I am a huge fan but I had the best time exploring everywhere in the park.

I would highly suggest booking park tickets before you go. If you are going through a travel agent then they may be able to help you. We went to Orlando through Thomson Holiday (now Tui) and could get our tickets straight from them. We got a 3 park unlimited access tickets which covered Universal Studios, Islands of Adventure and Wet n Wild for the whole 2 weeks of our holiday. Wet n Wild closed on New Years Eve 2016 so we got to have a few days where before it closed. The tickets were £157 each so it was a total bargain as we were having a look around at ticket venders while we were there and some were charging $50 for 1 park for 1 day. There are plenty of sites that offer park tickets so make sure that you shop around before booking any tickets. If you book through a travel agent, they may let you add at the price of attractions or tickets onto the price of your holiday so you don’t have to pay out a lot of money in one go, that's what we did.

It can be very expensive buying food and drinks around the park so take snacks with you, especially if you have kids. There are plenty of places to sit and eat on the way round even if you don't buy the food.

Some of the rides don't allow you to take bags and coats with you but not to worry because there are usually banks of lockers if that is the case. You need to find the main screen to log your details and make payment, this was usually just a few dollars. Then the screen will tell you the number of your locker so that you can go find it and put your things in it. Once you need to get your stuff out, you go to the screen, put in your details and the locker will open. There are lots of screens in each bank of lockers so which ever screen you use, you will be close to your assigned locker.

You have get a litre cup for soft drinks for about $14 and you can then fill it up unlimited times throughout the day at the fill up points around the parks. There is a chip in the bottom of the cup so you can’t stand at the fill up station filling up empty bottles as the station will only give you enough to fill up the cup which has to be in the machine. You can also keep it if you are going to go back another day, it only costs $7 to reactivate it. You take it to any of the restaurants to reactive it and then start using the filling up stations straight away. This will save you from having to take your own drinks with you or having to buy lots and lots of bottles of drinks as you walk around. It is a thick plastic cup with a lid and a big straw, I wouldn’t throw it around or hold it upside down though, it does leak.

To get your moneys worth, get to the park at least an hour before your ticket allows so that you can go through the ticket booth or the gates just before or on time. The park doesn’t close until late most days so if you can brave it, stay there as long as possible. Some of the rides can have waiting times of an hour or more so you will have the time to get in the queues. There are 3 queues for rides, general admission, fast track and single person. If you want to go on a ride but it has a long waiting time and you don’t mind that you may not be sat in the same row as your friends, go into the single person queue as this queue is used for filling up seats on the ride. This queue is usually a lot shorter so not as much waiting time.

If you are the sort of person that likes getting the pictures from the rides, ask at the ticket booth about their picture packages. The best we were offered was £100 for the pictures on all the rides. All you have to do is create an account at My Universal Photos and pick the package that you want. They when you get off the rides, you can show your barcode to the person on the till so that your pictures are saved to your account. How awesome is that!!

The souvenirs in the parks can be quite expensive, if you want plenty of souvenirs, go to the gift shops on International Drive as they have the same things as the Universal shops but a lot cheaper. I got official Universal t-shirts for $5 to $10 instead of $25 and upwards in the park. I also got a lot of Harry Potter key rings for $4 to $6 each instead of upwards of $10 in the park. Shows how much you can save by shopping around.

I hope these little tips help you on your trip to Universal Studios