Universal Orlando has so much to offer, including incredible rides and life-changing experiences. However, if you want to make sure you have access to all the amenities you should – and that you get the best possible price – then you should read on to learn some of the most important advice about Universal Orlando packages.
If you’re deciding between two ticket options always choose the cheaper one
If you’ve never been to Universal Orlando before then you likely don’t know what type of ticket you’ll want. Is it okay to buy a ticket that gains you access to all the parks, but not on the same day? Or should you get one that allows park-to-park access?
The truth is that there isn’t one answer to this question. For some families, visiting one park per day is more than enough. Some families like to spend half the day in the park and then rest for the second half of the day. Others want to go-go-go from the moment the park opens until it closes. But what if your family is somewhere in between? How do you know which ticket to choose?
What we recommend is that you find the most affordable ticket that may meet your needs. If you get to the parks and it’s not enough, then you can upgrade at any customer service desk. Just make sure that you go to upgrade before you’ve used your last day. If you’ve already used up your last day then your ticket is no longer valid and it can’t be upgraded. As long as it’s valid you can add days, add park-to-park access, and other perks.
Don’t book Universal Orlando packages just to get Express Pass
Universal Orlando offers a service known as Express Pass. It allows all those who have it to skip the line on almost every ride. Some people book Universal Orlando packages directly with Universal because if they stay at premiere hotels, they get their passes for “free,” but it’s important to really consider what “free” means in this case.
When you compare the rates of Orlando hotels to those at the Universal Orlando hotels that offer free Express Passes, you’ll quickly see that you could be paying literally six times as much for the hotel room. Is it worth it to spend $500+ on a hotel room just to get a “free” Express Pass?
We say no – especially because you can simply buy the pass once you’re in the park. One interesting tip to keep in mind is that if you do buy Express Pass in the park, walk right by the first kiosk you see after the ticket taker. Why? Because everyone who wants Express Pass lines up here and you could end up waiting more than half an hour. Keep walking and you’ll soon come across another kiosk which often has no wait at all.
Keep an eye on your total cost
When you’re comparing prices on various Orlando packages, make sure that you’re considering all the costs. For example, some resorts are now charging a nightly resort fee that’s not listed in their price. You may also have to pay for parking at some hotels. Finally, some hotels will offer a free shuttle to the Universal Parks. This can save you the $17 parking fee you’d otherwise pay to park at Universal.
Download Universal’s app
Universal Orlando has created their official app. It’s free and it’s extremely helpful. It gives you real-time information on wait times, descriptions of attractions, park maps, info on dining, and showtimes. It makes it much easier to get around than keeping your nose in a paper map all day. You can also mobile order from there and join in a Virtual Queue on specific rides.
Know what you can and can’t bring
Families who are used to Walt Disney World may make the mistake of assuming that Universal also allows them to bring in food. It’s true that Universal allows some food, but the list is much shorter than what Disney allows. Essentially, you are allowed to bring in:
- Bottled water
- Small snacks
- Food required for medical purposes
- Food required for dietary needs
- Baby food
- Baby formula
You can bring the food in a soft insulated back that’s no wider than 8 ½ inches, no taller than 6 inches, and no deeper than 6 inches. You are not allowed to bring in a full picnic lunch and you cannot bring anything that must be heated or refrigerated.
What does this have to do with booking your Universal Orlando package? Families who assume they can save money by staying at a villa with a full kitchen must take into consideration that they can’t take most food into the parks with them.