Universal Orlando™: Inside guide


By Eloise Barker

Photography by Universal Orlando Resort™

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September 2017

It is a truth universally acknowledged that... three theme parks are better than one. That five (soon to be six) on-site hotels with dining and entertainment on their doorstop (but a blissful night’s sleep) make Universal Orlando Resort™ the best choice for blockbuster-sized portions of fun. Our inside guide tells you everything you need to know.

What's new

Universal’s Volcano Bay™ water theme park

The lowdown: Volcano Bay™ at Universal Orlando is a brand new water theme park centred around a staggeringly steep volcano.  Here you get a new kind of park – no standing in long queues – all thanks to the waterproof TapuTapu™ wearable you can hold your place in a Virtual Line™ at the rides. Paddle in it, wallow in it, splash it about. And allow a full day for all the rides and slides.

 

Head straight to the volcano, the centre-piece to this brand new water theme park experience without standing in long queues.

Fast & Furious - Supercharged™ Opens Spring 2018

The lowdown: Based on the blockbuster films, Fast & Furious - Supercharged™ arrives in spring 2018. Join Dom, Hobbs and Letty as they escape danger on this action packed, high-octane new ride. A Virtual Line™ holds your place in queue whilst you enjoy the rest of the park, but you'll want to save time to check out the supercars on display inside.

  • Universal's Volcano Bay™ water theme park

    Vantage point

    The two towers at Universal’s Cabana Bay Beach Resort provide those perfect instagram views of Universal’s Volcano Bay water theme park.

  • Fast & Furious – Supercharged™

    Supercharged

    Universal Pictures' highest-grossing film franchise to date, Fast and Furious, has been adapted into this high octane ride.

  • The Toothsome Chocolate Emporium & Savory Feast Kitchen™

    Priority seating

    If you are a guest at certain Universal Orlando Resort™ hotels, you'll receive priority seating at selected on-site restaurants.

The Toothsome Chocolate Emporium & Savory Feast Kitchen™

The lowdown: Open now, this Steampunk-themed restaurant at Universal CityWalk™ is already legendary for milkshakes topped with muffins- or muffins bottomed with milkshake- and other ludicrous chocolate creations. You want to order something without sprinkles? Never fear, there’s an extensive dinner menu too.

Three amazing parks. Three top tips.

Universal Studios Florida™

Best for: The Wizarding World of Harry Potter™ - Diagon Alley™ and blockbuster rides with The Simpsons™, TRANSFORMERS and the Minions.

The lowdown: At the studios, some of the best attractions are old favourites and evening screenings.

Know this… You have to try Butterbeer™. Non-alcoholic, the flavour’s like butterscotch and it will leave you with a foamy moustache, trying to guess at the secret recipe.

Universal’s Islands of Adventure™

Best for: The Incredible Hulk Coaster® that’ll turn you green and Jurassic Park™ raptors who look alarmingly happy to see you.

The lowdown: Island-hop between Marvel-lous super heroes, dinosaurs and, now open, a giant ape called Kong. That’s King Kong to you.

Know this… The Amazing Adventures of Spider-Man® is still one of the best theme park rides in the world. Watch out for Stan Lee cameos throughout.

Universal’s Volcano Bay™ water theme park

Best for: Both relaxing and thrill-seeking. Hang out in a cabana (additional fee applies) of one’s own or wave lazily from the winding river. Or take on tidal waves and the Ko’okiri Body Plunge™ – a 125 foot drop from the volcano summit.

The lowdown: Head straight to the back of the park, where you'll find shorter waits towards the start of the day.

Know this… Access the park with a Universal Orlando 3 Park Explorer Ticket². You can use the waterproof wearable, TapuTapu™, to hold your place in a Virtual Line™ at the rides.

  • Universal Studios Florida

    Wingardium Leviosa

    Put your Interactive Wands to use and cast spells at The Wizarding World of Harry Potter™—Hogsmeade™ and Diagon Alley™.

    Book your tickets
  • Universal’s Islands of Adventure

    Queues you want to stand in

    The queues aren’t just normal queues – each ride has its own story, built up throughout the queuing experience, with interactive features and photo opportunities to keep you entertained.

    Book your tickets
  • Universal’s Volcano Bay water theme park

    For the brave hearted

    To achieve even greater bragging rights take the plunge down the Ohno Slide –- an adventure that ends six feet above the pool below.

What's the best ticket?

The lowdown: To visit the parks, you’ll need a Universal Orlando Explorer Ticket. There are two types: The Universal Orlando 2 Park Explorer Ticket¹ includes 14 days unlimited access to Universal Studios Florida and Universal's Islands of Adventure.The Universal Orlando 3 Park Explorer Ticket² includes 14 days unlimited access to Universal Studios Florida, Universal's Islands of Adventure, and Universal’s Volcano Bay. 

Know this... 

Stay at any of Universal Orlando's on-site hotels and enjoy extra benefits with your Universal Orlando Explorer Ticket, giving you Early Park Admission³ to The Wizarding World of Harry Potter™ and Universal's Volcano Bay one hour before the parks open.

Don't miss

The Wizarding World of Harry Potter™

The lowdown: Universal Orlando is the only place in the world where you can experience The Wizarding World of Harry Potter™ at two parks connected by the Hogwarts™ Express⁴. Diagon Alley™ is at Universal Studios Florida and Hogsmeade™ is at Universal's Islands of Adventure. A lovingly detailed world, right down to the last shrunken head on Knockturn Alley, it’s got astonishing rides. You can even cast spells by buying an Interactive Wand (shout Meteolojinx on Horizont Alley and make it rain!).

  • The Wizarding World of Harry Potter™

    Beat the crowds

    Make the most of Early Park Admission† if you’re staying at any of Universal Orlando's on-site hotels and head to The Wizarding World of Harry Potter™ first. (Valid theme park admission required).

    Book your tickets

Where to stay?

Budget: Universal's Aventura Hotel – Opens August 2018

Stay for: With tablets in every room, this modern hotel uses technology to makes things easy – and fun, too. There’s a VR games room and an underwater sound system in the pool. After a long day out at the parks, crack open a beer at the rooftop bar or toast yourself up some s’mores in the fire pits.

Budget: Universal's Cabana Bay Beach Resort

Stay for: If you can pull yourself away from your inflatable ring (purchased at the hotel) on the lazy river, you’ll find a charismatically retro hotel with bowling alley (fees apply), two pools and dining… or in-room pizza delivery. Plus, you can comfortably sleep a family of six in one suite.

Book a stay at Universal's Cabana Bay Beach Resort

Mid-range: Loews Sapphire Falls Resort at Universal Orlando

Stay for: The biggest pool of any Universal Orlando hotel. You might be tempted to centre your holiday around the rum bar, but kids will centre theirs around the water slide.

Book a stay at Loews Sapphire Falls Resort at Universal Orlando®

Know this:

Stay at any of Universal Orlando’s on-site hotels and enjoy special access to the theme parks with your Universal Orlando Explorer ticket, giving you Early Park Admission3 to The Wizarding World of Harry Potter™ and Universal’s Volcano Bay one hour before the park opens.

  • Universal’s Aventura Hotel (Artist's conceptual rendering)

    Did you know?...

    Universal’s Aventura Hotel will be the most technologically advanced of all six on-site hotels.£774 pp

    Book a stay
  • Universal’s Cabana Bay Beach Resort

    Did you know?...

    You can order a pizza and have it delivered to your room at Universal’s Cabana Bay Beach. £774 pp

    Book a stay
  • Loews Sapphire Falls Resort

    Did you know?...

    You can charge everything to your room if you stay at any of Universal Orlando's on-site hotels, including Loews Sapphire Falls Resort, so you can leave your dollars at home.

Mid-range: Loews Royal Pacific Resort at Universal Orlando

Stay for: This palmy green paradise is straight out of the South Pacific, but you can go Far East at Emeril’s Tchoup Chop restaurant. Get your loud shirt out and your aloha on at the special weekly Wantilan Luau night (fees apply).

Book a stay at Loews Royal Pacific Resort at Universal Orlando®

Luxury: Hard Rock Hotel® at Universal Orlando

Stay for: Live music from the Velvet Session concerts⁵, poolside cinema, and what’s more, underwater speakers in the huge pool – so you’ll be rock and rolling even when you’re wearing natty swimming goggles.

Book a stay at Hard Rock Hotel® at Universal Orlando®

Luxury: Loews Portofino Bay Hotel at Universal Orlando

Stay for: Italian indulgence doesn’t stop at the cobbled streets and elegant Old World furnishing. Look beyond your crispy thin pizza and discover authentic cuisine, three pools and the Mandara Spa® (fees apply).

Book a stay at Loews Portofino Bay Hotel at Universal Orlando®

Know this:

Stay at either Loews Portofino Bay Hotel, Hard Rock Hotel®or Loews Royal Pacific Resort and enjoy FREE Universal Express Unlimited™ ride access to skip the regular queues in Universal Studios Florida and Universal’s Islands of Adventure - a benefit worth $89 per person, per day⁷.

  • Loews Royal Pacific Resort

    Feel like a VIP

    Rent a pool-side cabana for extra privacy and individual attention.

  • Hard Rock Hotel®

    Rock out...

    To the underwater sounds in the huge pool at Hard Rock Hotel®

  • Loews Portofino Bay Hotel

    Time to unwind

    All of Universal Orlando's on-site guests can use the Mandara Spa® (fees apply) located at Loews Portofino Bay Resort.

Discover more at Universal CityWalk™

The lowdown: What happens when you leave the parks? It’s time for the strange delights of Universal CityWalk: where you find restaurants, bars, clubs and minigolf all in one crazy place. Bet you never thought you’d find somewhere mad enough to combine Burgers and Sushi- well, The Cowfish® Sushi Burger Bar does. Like your guacamole served with a touch more lime? They mash it in front of your eyes at Antojitos Authentic Mexican Food. Does your shower lack backing singers? Live out your karaoke dream at CityWalk's Rising Star or watch the incredible Blue Man Group.

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