Universal Orlando is a large resort complex. Two gated theme parks with the CityWalk nighttime entertainment complex in between guarantee that those visiting for a week would find plenty to keep them entertained. Nonetheless, if you have only two days it is still possible to see the highlights of both parks. A good touring plan is absolutely essential to this endeavor.
Universal Studios Florida is Universal’s movie park. Guests at Universal Studios Florida have the opportunity to “Ride the Movies” as they go inside exciting scenes from some of Universal’s most well-known films. Islands of Adventure opened in May 1999 as “the most technologically advanced theme park in the world.” This description is still quite accurate today.
In order to maximize your time at the two parks, it is highly recommended that you purchase a two-park Universal Express Pass and a two-park Universal Meal Deal for at least one of the two days. You will need one of each for each person in your party. The Express Pass allows you “front of line access” (in reality, a separate, much shorter queue) to each major attraction once during the day. The price of the pass varies according to season and park capacity, but is normally worth the investment. With an Express Pass, you can generally expect to wait no more than fifteen minutes in line, although this is never guaranteed.
The Meal Deal enables you to pay one reasonable price for a wristband that then entitles you to unlimited meals at a variety of counter service restaurants throughout the parks. On each restaurant visit, you can get one entrée, one side, and one dessert, and you may visit as many times as you like. Add a refillable mug for unlimited fountain drinks. With the Meal Deal, you can stop whenever it is convenient for you.
Rather than visiting one park per day, it is generally better to visit both parks on both days. This will allow you to experience all of the highlights that Universal Orlando has to offer on the first day, then slow your pace on day two. This also leaves time on day two to revisit old favorites or see major attractions that you missed on day one.
Day One -- The Highlights Tour
Start your day at Islands of Adventure, with the goal of reaching Universal Studios Florida at least four hours prior to park closing. Your must-see attraction list will, of course, vary according to your interests. The following list is provided solely as a jumping off point, with this author’s opinions of the highlight attractions at each park.
Universal Studios Florida:
Revenge of the Mummy
Beetlejuice Graveyard Revue
Fear Factor Live
Men in Black
Universal Horror Makeup Show
Terminator 2: 3D Battle Across Time
Islands of Adventure:
Marvel SuperHero Island
The Incredible Hulk
The Amazing Adventures of Spiderman
Dudley Do-Right’s Ripsaw Falls
Jurassic Park River Adventure
The Lost Continent
Dueling Dragons (be sure to ride both Fire and Ice)
The Cat in the Hat
Day Two -- Everything Else
This is the day to experience the smaller attractions, revisit any major attractions that you particularly loved, and do your shopping. You will not be able to get to everything that both parks have to offer, but you should allow yourself to relax and enjoy rather than stressing about your schedule. Both parks are wonderful places to simply stroll and enjoy the scenery. Enjoy your visit and remember that there is always next time to see anything you might have missed.