Universal Studios Orlando offers two gated theme parks with the CityWalk, a nighttime entertainment district located between. Since it is two seperate theme parks packed full of shows and rides Universal in Orlando is easily large enough for a week or more vacation. However, if you have three or more full days to spend, you will have enough time to see both parks, plus a bit of CityWalk, at a reasonable pace.
With three or more days to visit, you will be able to take advantage of Universal Orlando’s award winning restaurants. Plan a midday break for one of your days at Mythos, located in Islands of Adventure. This gourmet restaurant set in a stone carved castle has been named Number One Theme Park Restaurant in the World for several years running, beating out such powerhouses as Disney’s Hollywood Brown Derby and SeaWorld Orlando’s Sharks Underwater Grill. You may also want to book a pre-CityWalk dinner at one of Emeril Lagasse’s Universal properties.
Leave your hotel near Universal Studios at least an hour prior to the park opening. You might want to purchase the Two Park Universal Meal Deal for today. This wristband permits unlimited counter service dining at any of a long list of restaurants in the two parks. Add a Souvenir Cup for unlimited fountain beverage refills. With the Meal Deal, you can stop whenever you feel hungry, eat as much or as little as you like, and continue on your way.
It really does not matter much in which park you begin your day. If closing times are wildly different between the two parks, you may want to end your day at the one with the later closing. If you are visiting during summer, you might want to begin in the mostly outdoor Islands of Adventure, then switch to Universal Studios Florida before the heavy afternoon rains begin. Use your own discretion and individual circumstances when making this decision.
Your goal on Day One should be to see as many of the major attractions in both parks as possible. On Day Two and beyond you will be tired and slightly worn out, so take advantage of your energy boost and excitement to propel you through a long and fast paced Day One. Do not stop to shop during the day, as you will have time for shopping on a leisurely Day Three. Stay until the park closes then, if you still have some energy, scout out CityWalk on your way back to the car. Get yourself oriented so that you will have some idea what you want to do the next night.
Again, begin your day early. Your major goal for Day Two of your Universal Studios vacation should be to see as many of the shows and smaller attractions as possible in both parks. Be sure to get a Guide Map, which lists times for all of the shows. Also revisit any favorite rides if you have time between shows.
You may want to begin your shopping on this day, scouting out the stores to which you may want to return on Day Three. This is also an excellent day for which to plan your midday meal at Mythos. Be sure to plan ahead, however, as Mythos often closes several hours before park closing.
Visit CityWalk tonight. Perhaps you can purchase a Dinner and Club package, or dine at one of Emeril’s restaurants then take in a movie. Whatever you do, expect a late night. CityWalk is quite seductive and it is easy to spend the entire evening there.
You will probably sleep in late, following the excitement of CityWalk the night before. Plan to spend a relaxed day today. Revisit any attractions that you particularly enjoyed, catch any shows that you missed, and spend some time simply wandering through the parks and appreciating the incredible detailed theming.
You will also want to do your shopping today. Both parks are filled with small shops carrying an amazing variety of merchandise. Keep in mind that the Studio Store, located at the front of Universal Studios Florida, is a gold mine for character merchandise of every description. Also be sure to visit the shops of CityWalk for some unusual and unique souvenirs.
If you have more than three days, you will truly be able to enjoy a relaxed and unhurried pace. On day four and beyond, you can sample some of the other wonderful Universal restaurants, get up close and personal with your favorite characters at the daily meet-n-greets, or take some time out to explore Universal’s resort hotels.
Whatever you do, remember to relax and enjoy yourself. This is your vacation, and you deserve to spend time on yourself. Do not get caught up in the trap of feeling like you must see everything. It is far better for your personal sanity to see half of the attractions thoroughly enough to enjoy them, than to rush through everything in a quest to get to the next big thing. If you find yourself whiling away an hour or more shooting Nerf balls at your friends in the Curious George Ball Room, do not feel guilty. You can always plan other Universal Studios vacation packages in the future.