Your First Trip to Universal Studios Orlando: A Planning Guide - PassPorter.com
PassPorter.com
Award-winning travel guidebooks
Home Florida - Walt Disney World Caribbean - Disney Cruise Line California - Disneyland Resort Anywhere and Everywhere! Travelers Store Message Boards PassPorter's Club Help!
  About Us  |  Customs Office   |   Register Your Book   |   Book Updates   |  Newsletter  |  Articles  |  Photos  |   Follow Us on
       LINKS
       ARTICLES
Globetrotting Planning Articles

Globetrotting Traveling Articles
52 Hours In the Cairo Airport
A Guided Tour
A Real National Treasure
A San Francisco Treat
A Trip Back In Time
A Trip Back In Time
Adventure to Washington, D.C.
Adventures by Disney
Adventures by Disney
Airline Security
Amish Country
An Insider's Guide
An Insider's Guide
Arlington National Cemetery
Bath, England
Buckingham Palace
Busch Garden Africa's SheiKra
CARES Child Restraint System
Cedar Point in Sandusky, Ohio
Celebration, Florida
Charleston, South Carolina
Costa Rica Adventures by Disney
Discovering "America's Finest City"
Disney's Vero Beach
Disneyland
Dover Castle
Driving Through The Night
Escape Into Alcatraz
Eurostar
Explore Alaska (From The Comfort of Your RV!)
Explore Alaska (From The Comfort of Your RV!)
Flying to Europe for a Disney Cruise
Flying to Walt Disney World from the West Coast
Flying Upper Class
Flying with Kids
Fort Sumter
Greeter Programs
Harry Potter's
Helsinki, Finland
Hershey, Pennsylvania
Hilton Head Island
Hong Kong Disneyland
How to Handle A "Bumpy" Flight
I Dream Of Hawaii
In a New York Minute
iPhone, I Travel
Kapalua, Maui
Keeping Kids Happy on Long Car Rides
Kent, England
King Tut and the Golden Age of the Pharaohs
Las Vegas
Las Vegas for Families
London, UK
Los Angeles
Macau
Madison County, New York
Molto Italia
More Than Bridges
My First NASCAR Experience
Nashville, Tennessee
National Aquarium
New Orleans
New York City
Niagara Falls
Niagara Falls, Ontario
Not Your Average Bus Tour
On the Road to Walt Disney World
Oslo, Norway
Oxford
Paris
Passport Update
Playing the Waiting Game
Port Canaveral, Florida
Prince Edward Island
Redondo Beach, California
Rome
Salem, Massachusetts
Small Is Beautiful
Small Is Beautiful
Southwest and JetBlue
St. Louis
Stockholm, Sweden
Stonehenge
Tahiti
The Amtrak Auto Train
The Auto Train
The Emerald Isle
The Globe Theatre
The Grand Canyon
The Great Smoky Mountains
The Great Smoky Mountains
The Other Side of the Falls
The Quest for the West
The World's Loveliest Castle
To Rent or Not To Rent
Tokyo DisneySea
Tokyo DisneySea
Top 10 Frequently Asked Questions
Traveling Carry-On to Walt Disney World
Traveling With Extended Family
Universal
Using Orlando's "Other" Airport
Vermont by Bicycle
Viva Italia!
Viva Italia! Part 1
Viva Italia! Part 2
Viva Las Vegas!
Vive la Difference
Washington D.C.
What To Do While Waiting for a Flight
When Does Your Walt Disney Vacation Really Begin?
When to Visit Walt Disney World
Wimbledon
Windsor Castle
Winter Wonderland
Yosemite
Your First Trip to Universal Studios Orlando

Globetrotting Lodging Articles

Globetrotting Touring Articles

Globetrotting Dining Articles

Globetrotting Making Magic Articles

Globetrotting General Travel Articles

View all PassPorter articles
PassPorter's
Article Tools
Print Article
Download PDF
View Photos
Visit Forum
Read Comments on This Article

Your First Trip to Universal Studios Orlando: A Planning Guide

by Cheryl Pendry, PassPorter Message Board Guide (Moderator)
Last modified 2/22/2007
  

Cool Tip: Click here to get a FREE PDF version of this article, fully formatted to print and put into your PassPorter Deluxe Binder!


Filed in Articles > U.S. Travel > Traveling  

With four theme parks, there's plenty to keep you busy at the Walt Disney World Resort, especially if you only have a few days in Orlando. But venture outside those famous purple gates and there's a whole new world of theme park entertainment waiting for you.


Now I'll be honest here. I'm one of the worst for venturing off Disney property during our vacation. The only exception to that are our trips to the mall to pick up some bargains. Apart from those, I'm happiest staying within the boundaries of Walt Disney World. But we have to push ourselves and after ten visits to Disney, perhaps it was finally time to see what Universal Orlando was like. So our last trip was arranged so that we could spend a couple of days there, trying out the various rides and shows. For me, it would be my first ever visit there and unsurprisingly, I had plenty of questions that I wanted answered before we got through the park gates.

As a seasoned Disney veteran, planning my visits to the various Disney parks is second nature for me, but wait... my trusty PassPorter doesn't extend to cover Universal Orlando! Now what? That was really my first question -- where can I find out what I need to know? Fortunately, I found a good substitute for my faithful PassPorter in the shape of Universal Orlando: The Ultimate Guide to the Ultimate Theme Park Adventure by Kelly Monaghan, which is packed full of useful information. And it's available to purchase through the PassPorter store.

Other great places to get information about Universal Orlando include their official web site which has sections on the parks, hotels, nightlife, and tickets, amongst other things. One of the most important things I learned was that if a ride was deemed to be suitable for "ultimate adventurers" in Universal-speak, that was a sure signal that we should keep as far away from it as possible if we didn't want to be turned green!

Now, there's another great addition to the wealth of information about Universal Orlando on our very own PassPorter boards. The recently added Universal Studios and Islands of Adventure section is the place to head if you've got any questions that you can't find the answers to.

Let's be clear. Heading to Universal Orlando is not a small undertaking and it's not some quick day trip. It's second in size only to Disney, with two theme parks, CityWalk, which is their equivalent of Downtown Disney, complete with dining and nightlife and three resorts - the Portofino Bay, Hard Rock and Royal Pacific Hotels. The main difference you'll immediately notice is the size of the place. Compared to Disney, it's tiny and everything is in walking distance, although I'll grant you, it's still a long walk from one end of the theme parks back to the hotels -- I know, as we walked it!



That means there's lots to see and you're not going to do it all in one day. Ideally, you need to allow three days to do both parks, perhaps longer if you want to do every ride or you're visiting at a busy time of the year. And don't forget to put some time aside in your visit to check out CityWalk -- its well worth a visit and has some excellent restaurants.

With so much to do at Universal Orlando, it's worth looking at staying at one of three onsite hotels. OK, so it's not cheap, with prices on par with Disney, but if you're a Universal Orlando hotel guest, you do get a pretty impressive bonus -- exclusive front of the line passes. The Universal Express system allows hotel guests to bypass the regular lines and best of all; this perk is free of charge to hotel guests. It's something worth thinking about, particularly if your visit to Universal Orlando is likely to be at a busy time of the year. Fortunately ours wasn't, so we stayed put at our beloved Beach Club and drove over.

Regardless of whether you stay on Universal property or not, it's worth making time in your schedule to visit the three resorts. They're all unique and beautifully themed and if nothing else, you can admire them and consider staying at one of them in the future. We were exceptionally impressed with what we saw of the resorts and in particular, how you can walk over to the parks in the mornings, although admittedly by the end of the day, the walk back might be a bit too much. Then again, that's what the complimentary water taxi that runs to all the resorts is for!

If you drive over to Universal Orlando from Disney, the drive should take you about 20 -- 30 minutes, depending where you are on Disney property, although obviously it could take a lot longer in the rush hour or if there's been an accident on the I-4. Universal Orlando, as you'd expect, is very well signposted and as a result, it's easy to find. Self parking costs $11 a day and there's also an option to valet park, which costs $18 a day.

The other question I had was, which tickets should we get? Having worked out that we'd be spending two days at Universal Orlando, I knew that at the very least, that's what we'd need. Over the next few months, I watched the Universal web site very carefully, having learned that their park tickets are very different than Disney's. Unlike Disney tickets, which are fixed price at all times, Universal regularly has great offers on park tickets. We ended up paying for two-park, two-day tickets that were extended to five days admission! So if you're planning a trip to Universal, don't just buy the tickets at the first price you see -- unless it is a great deal that you can't pass up! Instead, keep an eye on the web site, as you never know what type of offer might be around the corner.

So now we've looked at tickets, how long to spend in the parks, whether to stay at the resort and where to find more information about Universal Orlando. If you're thinking of a visit there for the first time, that should be a lot of your questions already answered. And if you've got any others -- don't forget to pop into PassPorter's new Universal forums and ask away!



About the Author:
Cheryl and husband Mark live in England and love to travel, particularly to Disney, and they have made numerous visits to destinations across America and Europe. They recently completed their tour of every Disney theme park around the world, which culminated in their visit to Japan, including the Tokyo Disney Resort. Click here to view more of Cheryl's articles!

Related Links:


Traveling Carry-On to Walt Disney World - Avoid Those Baggage Fees last updated 3/2/2011
New York City - Something Old, Something New last updated 01/02/2009
On the Road to Walt Disney World - Doing "The Drive" last updated 01/20/2009
Airline Security - 10 Important Tips and Reminders last updated 1/21/2009
Sick at Sea - (But Not Sea Sick!) last updated 5/14/2009




Reader Comments:


View all comments in forum thread

So what do you think? Click here to share your comments, feedback, and experiences on this article and topic!

(Note: You must be a member of our PassPorter Message Board Community to leave comments. Join today for free!)




Updated 2/22/2007 - Article #312 



Read additional articles from PassPorter.com

Subscribe to our free e-mail newsletter, PassPorter News, published for more than 58,000 opt-in subscribers worldwide. As an added bonus for subscribing, you will receive a 20% discount coupon for the PassPorter Store -- no catch!

E-mail Address:

First Name:

E-mail Format:
-Text/Don't Know  

-HTML

 
 

We respect your privacy and never sell or rent our subscriber list. Subscribing will not result in more spam! We guarantee it.

AddThis Social Bookmark Button

Copyright 1999-2014
by PassPorter Travel Press, an imprint of MediaMarx, Inc.

       SEARCH
       LEARN MORE
Learn More With Our Award-Winning Guidebooks


 

RSS General PassPorter Community - Boards & Forums on Walt Disney World, Disneyland, Disney Cruise Line, and General Travel - Getting There (and Back!): Your Journey to Walt Disney World
PassPorter Community - Boards & Forums on Walt Disney World, Disneyland, Disn...
By car, plane, or train -- share your tips, plans, and experiences with others! Forum Sponsored by Quicksilver Tours & Transportation


Autotrain Changes
by Gary n Connie
28 Nov 2014 at 8:49am
Has anyone taken the Autotrain recently? Last time we took it (July 2014) the sleepers still had their own dining and observation/lounge car and they...
(click title above to view replies)

Seems Like A Hidden Cost re: Quicksilver
by Alliecat
17 Nov 2014 at 4:39pm
We have never used Quicksilver before and after reading so many great reviews by other on here, and checking out their website, we decided to go with...
(click title above to view replies)

Quarters-only unmanned tollbooths are GONE from I-75!
by Her Dotness
16 Nov 2014 at 3:39pm
Yes, you read right that coming from Georgia to WDW via I-75 no longer requires bunches of quarters if you don't have a Sunpass or similar. You...
(click title above to view replies)

Key West to Disney World
by Moms Money
8 Nov 2014 at 10:54pm
First timers to Disney but we are flying in to Key West and then we want to make it to Disney World, I understand the drive is 6 hours but wonder...
(click title above to view replies)

Decisions, decisions [driving vs flying; opinions?]
by Shawnam1868
30 Oct 2014 at 11:43am
So, after having to postpone my last 2 Disney trips, I'm finally back to planning. This trip serves a few purposes, but the most important is it's...
(click title above to view replies)



Total Visits: 6066


PassPorter ~ 1998-2014 ~ 16 Years of Making Dreams Come True!
Publishers of bestselling travel guidebooks and proud recipients of 13 national book awards
About PassPorter
About Us
Site Map
Press
Privacy Policy
Images & Artwork
Guidebooks
About
Previews
Buy
Reviews
Updates
Features
News & Updates
Articles
Podcasts
Photos
Message Boards
Newsletter
Concierge Desk
Desktop
Trips
Books & E-Books
Tips
Settings
Customs Office
Register Books
Book Updates
Contests
Checklists
Help & Info
Finding Answers to Questions
Help Desk
Using Your PassPorter Forum
Store Customer Service
E-Mail Us
Follow Us
PassPorter.com Front Page (Updated Daily!)
PassPorter Newsletter (weekly and free)
Latest Posts
Facebook
Pinterest
YouTube Channel
Questions? Check our Site Map and visit our Help Desk to learn how to contact us online, by e-mail, and by phone.
Please feel free to link to this page so that other vacationers can find it.