Universal Orlando: Inside guide

By Eloise Barker

Photography by Universal Orlando Resort

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Three theme parks are better than one: that’s a universal truth. Help yourself to a blockbuster-sized portion of fun at Universal Orlando Resort. You’ll love Universal's fantastic hotels and huge helpings of dining and entertainment. Our inside guide tells you everything you need to know about making the most of your next holiday.

What's new

Hagrid’s Magical Creatures Motorbike Adventure™

Let Hagrid, the incredibly kind half-giant and Hogwarts groundskeeper, take take you on a rip-roaring journey through the Forbidden Forest on Hagrid’s Magical Creatures Motorbike Adventure™, a ride inspired by his flying motorbike. Who knows what creatures you’ll see?

Jurassic World VelociCoaster

The lowdown: Florida’s fastest and tallest launch coaster opened in Summer 2021. Join Owen, Claire and Dr. Wu as you track down fierce Velociraptors. Be warned – they’re fast – the thrill of the chase will have you travelling at speeds of up to 70 mph, propelling to 155 feet and dropping 80 degrees. You’ll need all eyes on these predators.

  • Hagrid’s Magical Creatures Motorbike Adventure™
  • Jurassic World VelociCoaster
  • Illumination's Villain-Con Minion Blast

Illumination's Villain-Con Minion Blast

The lowdown: Take a stand at the biggest criminal convention on the planet and channel your supervillain-self. Power up your E-Liminator X blaster and cause as much mayhem as possible when you join The Vicious 6, from the hit film Minions: The Rise of Gru.

Three amazing parks. Three top tips.

Universal Studios Florida

Best for: Your favourite films made into blockbuster attractions, including: The Wizarding World of Harry Potter™ - Diagon Alley™ and epic rides with TRANSFORMERS and Illumination's Minions.

The lowdown: At the studios, some of the best attractions are old favourites and nostalgic classics. Speaking of old – dare to disturb an ancient curse on Revenge of the Mummy and you’ll be at the mercy of a rollercoaster in the pitch dark.

Know this… Mmm… doughnuts… unleash your inner Homer Simpson in Springfield, where you’ll find some of Universal Studios’ most instagrammable eats: there’s even a real-life Krusty Burger. Or make Minion mayhem at llumination’s Minion Cafe and tuck into a sweet treat at Bake My Day.

Universal’s Islands of Adventure

Best for: The Incredible Hulk Coaster® that'll elevate your superhuman prowess and Jurassic Park Velociraptors who look alarmingly happy to see you.

The lowdown: Island-hop between super heroes, dinosaurs and a giant ape called Kong. That’s King Kong to you. At The Wizarding World of Harry Potter™ - Hogsmeade™ launch straight into the stories with a forbidden journey and learn to love some odd magical creatures in The Flight of the Hippogriff™. After your fill of fun explore Skull Island: Reign of Kong™ and take your Mary Jane on the Amazing Adventures of Spider-Man®.

Know this… On a hot day, triple up on the water rides. Head to the back of the park for the Jurassic Park River Adventure, then jump on Dudley Do-Right's Ripsaw Falls® and Popeye & Bluto's Bilge-Rat Barges®. Done all three? You’ve gotta be soaking.

Universal’s Volcano Bay water theme park

Best for: Staying cool and seeking thrills. Try the Ko’okiri Body Plunge – a 125 foot drop through the middle of the park’s ginormous, vertiginous volcano.

The lowdown: Universal’s Volcano Bay is a surprisingly innovative ‘water theme park’, which uses the latest tech so you can queue virtually. That means you can be on the beach, slurping a rainbow soft-serve ice cream whilst you wait. There are a whopping 19 attractions – that's a lot for a water park, so you can easily spend a full day here. There are two rivers – one is calm, but one rushes you around like a rinse cycle.

Know this… You’ll be given a waterproof wearable – called a TapuTapu – which holds your place in the queue for your next ride.

  • Universal Studios Florida

    Queues you want to stand in

    Who said queues had to be mundane? The waiting area at Despicable Me Minion Mayhem™ has a deliciously sweet banana aroma.

    Book your tickets
  • Universal’s Volcano Bay

    For the brave hearted

    Brave the Ohno Drop Slide and you’ll have something to brag about: this speedy ride spits you out six feet above the pool: you’ll spend your last few moments in freefall.

    Book your tickets
  • Universal’s Islands of Adventure

    Get up close and personal

    Pose with a raptor for the ultimate photo, Blue the raptor found fame in the Jurassic World films, but now she likes taking selfies with park guests.

    Book your tickets

What's the best ticket?

The lowdown: To visit the parks, you’ll need a Universal Orlando Ticket. If you're ready to book now, take advantage of the Universal Orlando 3 Park Promotional Ticket³, available for a limited time only. If not, there are two other tickets you can pre-book only: The Universal Orlando 2 Park Explorer Ticket² includes 14 days unlimited access to Universal Studios Florida and Universal's Islands of Adventure.The Universal Orlando 3 Park Explorer Ticket¹ 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's hotels and enjoy extra benefits with your Universal Orlando Ticket, giving you Early Park Admission† to The Wizarding World of Harry Potter™ and Universal's Volcano Bay one hour before the parks open. (Valid theme park admission required.
Select attractions.)

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 wonderful Hogwarts™ Express⁴. Diagon Alley™ is at Universal Studios Florida and Hogsmeade™ is at Universal Islands of Adventure. Faithfully detailed, right down to the last shrunken head in Knockturn Alley, the world boasts magic, excitement, and astonishing rides. Look out for Hagrid’s Magical Creatures Motorbike Adventure™, the newest coaster at The Wizarding World of Harry Potter™ - Hogsmeade™.

  • 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 hotels. Head to The Wizarding World of Harry Potter™ first to enjoy them at their quietest. (Valid theme park admission required. Select attractions).

    Book your tickets

Fast forward to 2025

Be the first to stay at the newest hotels at Universal Orlando Resort

The lowdown: Two new Universal Orlando hotels will be opening in 2025.

Universal Stella Nova Resort

Stay for: Feel the magnetic force as you transcend the blackhole vortex entrance at Universal Stella Nova Resort. Inspired by the infinite vastness of the universe, you can expect a luminous, ultramodern and surreal stay when it opens in January 2025.

Find out more about Universal Stella Nova Resort

Universal Terra Luna Resort

Stay for: Explore this unknown landscape and enjoy an otherworldly experience at Universal Terra Luna Resort. Awash with a solar system of colours and spaceship-styled windows, this is destined to be the most exciting launchpad for your Universal adventure when it opens in February 2025.

Find out more about Universal Terra Luna Resort

Where to stay?

Value: Universal’s Endless Summer Resort – Dockside Inn and Suites

Stay for: The newest hotel, sister to Surfside Inn and Suites, may be the most value conscious, but there's been no scrimping on style. The warm colour scheme echoes sands and sunsets and the natural woods in the lobby are designed to make you feel like you're at the end of a pier.

Book a stay at Universal’s Endless Summer Resort – Dockside Inn and Suites

Value: Universal’s Endless Summer Resort – Surfside Inn and Suites

Stay for: Laid-back, fuss-free, two-bedroom suites, with lots of room for the family. This resort has a surfer theme to match its waterfront location – which includes a surfboard-shaped pool.

Book a stay at Universal’s Endless Summer Resort – Surfside Inn and Suites

Prime Value: Universal's Aventura Hotel

Stay for: With its sleek design, smart-room technology and commanding views you're guaranteed a stylish stay. There’s a gorgeous pool deck and an underwater sound system in the pool. After a long day out at the parks take in the 360-degree views from the rooftop at Bar17 Bistro or purchase some s’mores and toast them up in the fire pits.

Book a stay at Universal's Aventura Hotel

Prime Value: 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 two pools and in-room pizza delivery. Plus, you can comfortably sleep a family of six in one of the family suites.Upgrade to a Volcano Side room for impressive water theme park views.

Book a stay at Universal's Cabana Bay Beach Resort

Preferred: Loews Sapphire Falls Resort

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

Know this:

Stay at any of Universal's hotels and enjoy special access to the theme parks with your Universal Orlando Explorer ticket, giving you Early Park Admission to The Wizarding World of Harry Potter™ and Universal Volcano Bay up to one hour before the park opens. (Valid theme park admission required. Select attractions.)

  • Universal’s Aventura Hotel
  • Universal’s Cabana Bay Beach Resort
  • Loews Sapphire Falls Resort

Premier: Loews Royal Pacific Resort

Stay for: This palmy green paradise is straight out of the South Pacific, but you can eat Pan Asian cuisine at the Islands Dining Room. Get your loud shirt out, your aloha on and a Mai Tai ordered pronto – you'll soon be transported to the tropics.

Book a stay at Loews Royal Pacific Resort

Premier: Hard Rock Hotel®

Stay for: Live music from the Velvet Sessions, an unbeatable pool scene, and music memorabilia – look out for gowns worn by superstars. Don’t miss the food: the Palm restaurant knows how to serve up legendary steaks and massive Nova Scotia lobsters.

Book a stay at Hard Rock Hotel®

Premier: Loews Portofino Bay Hotel

Stay for: Italian indulgence – there's an atmospheric piazza, elegant interiors, fine dining and three pools. For the best lounging around, head to the Villa Pool.

Book a stay at Loews Portofino Bay Hotel

Know this:

Stay at either Loews Royal Pacific Resort, Hard Rock Hotel®or Loews Portofino Bay Hotel and enjoy FREE⁸ Universal Express Unlimited ride access. This means you can skip the regular queues in Universal Studios Florida and Universal Islands of Adventure – less waiting, and more time by the hotel pool. (requires theme park admission. Not valid at Universal Volcano Bay)

  • 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

    Sunset and songs

    Weather permitting, every evening around sunset opera singers perform from one of the balconies overlooking the harbour.

Discover more at Universal CityWalk

The lowdown: What happens when you leave the parks? It’s time for the delights of Universal CityWalk: where you find restaurants, bars, clubs and mini golf all in one crazy place, just across the lagoon from the theme parks. 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 request a song from the New Orlean’s style duelling piano bar and you’ll probably sing along anyway at Pat O’Brien’s®.

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