9 Ways to Have a Spectacular Universal Orlando Resort Trip


There is so much to do and see at Universal Orlando Resort.  You can become a minion, help rescue ET and visit the Wizarding World of Harry Potter at Universal Studios and then hop over to Islands of Adventure to explore Dr. Seuss land or find your inner super heroe.

Over the years, (and thanks to our fantastic annual passes), we’ve found several ways to make sure your next Universal visit is your best one yet.  Below is a list of a 9 must-have’s and must-do’s to ensure you have a spectacular day (or three!) at Universal Orlando Resort.


  1.  Get the Park 2 Park Pass: Ride the Hogwart’s Express

To ride on the Hogwart’s Express from Diagon Alley to Hogwarts and Hogsmeade you must have a park to park pass.  and this is a great experience that shouldn’t be missed!  If you have a chance, ride it both ways as they are two different experiences.

2.  Download the app: (free)  Download here Apple –  Download here Android

The Universal Orlando Resort free app is great!  You can search for details on specific attractions and wait times.  Food, drink and bathroom locations.  Definitely use it at least 3 to 4 times everytime we visit.

3.  Coca-Cola Freestyle Cups: free drink refills

The Coca-Cola Freestyle Cups include free drink refills on the day of purchase.  The cups are comparable in cost to the souvenir cups, plus the more you buy, the more you save.  If you purchase one and return on another day, you can purchase the refills for the day for $8.99(plus tax).

Express Pass Universal

Photo Courtesy of Universal Orlando Resort

4.  Unlimited Express Pass:

Universal’s Express Pass options are split into two (not including Volcano Bay).  The first allows you one express pass per attraction and starts at $69.99 per person (plus tax).  The second, the unlimited option, allows you to ride as many times as you’d like and starts at $89.99 per person (plus tax).  The price difference is small enough to make it worth it to upgrade to the unlimited.  Not waiting in line gives you more time to explore the park and all it has to offer plus the opportunity to re-ride your favorite rides!

*Keep in mind that while purchasing tickets through our preffered vendor can save you big on admission tickets (an average of $25.00/ticket), the express pass option has to be purchased directly at the park.

UO Horror Make Up Show

Photo Courtesy of Universal Orlando Resort

5.  Make time for the shows and parades:

There are so many great moments in the Universal’s Superstar Parade™ that you can’t miss it!  The Cinematic Celebration™ at the end of the day is fantastic a must-see as well.  Typically we, as a family, would take advantage of parade times to sneak into lower wait times for busy rides but I absolutely reccomend making time for these.  They’re a great break in the day, and you’ll be amazed by these.  There are several other ones at both Islands of Adventure and Universal, such as the Horror Make Up Show and The Nighttime Lights at Hogwarts™ Castle, you can check out the dates and times for the summer here. 

6.  Take advantage of free lockers at available locations:

Usually, you’d hear to pack light for a day at the theme parks, but thanks to Universal’s lockers throughout both IOA and UO, you can pack a couple of necessities and not be troubled by what to do with them when on rides.

We recommend packing a comfortable backpack with some essentials like small snacks, sunscreen, lip balm. and flip flops if you’re planning on riding the water rides.  We’ll be posting a list of must have packing items in the next couple of days.  That brings us to….


Photo Courtesy of Universal Orlando Resort

7.  Ride the water rides:

Bring some flip flops and try out both water rides at Islands of Adventure.   Dudley Do-Right’s Ripsaw Falls®  and Popeye & Bluto’s Bilge-Rat Barges® are fantastic!  Just be prepared to get very, very wet!  There is no rush quite like them and you’ll be glad you did.

Photo Courtesy of Universal Orlando Resort

8.  Wand Choosing Ceremony:

Whether you’re a Harry Potter fan or not, you’ll love this ceremony.  Located in Diagon Alley at Ollivander’s Wand Shop you’ll step into a fantastic interactive presentation.  Once done, you can step into the shop where you can purchase your very own want which we hightly recommend.  There are numerous spots in both Diagon Alley and Hogsmeade where you can perfect your spells using the wands.

Photo courtesy of Food and Wine Magazine.

9.  Explore all the great food options and of course BUTTERBEER!:

There are a ton of great spots to fill up throughout both parks, but there’s something so special about eating a strawberry donut in Springfield or trying out butterbeer.  As you can see, it is one of our favorites and it comes in a variety of options from frozen to hot (depending on season).  It is a must everytime we visit and you can’t miss it.

Lastly, always make sure you check out times (which you can do on the app) to ensure you get the most of your day.  Stay mindful of wait times (see – app), check out the parades and have fun!  There are so many amazing ways to spend the day having a blast that we truly couldn’t fit them all here but we highly reccomend both of these parks.

Stay tuned for our packing list as well as other tips being posted in the next couple of weeks, in the meantime, please do not heistate to reach out with any questions you may have.

Veronica   – TripAway Properties

Looking for accommodations? ways to save on theme park tickets? or just some planning help? Visit us at www.TripAwayProperties.com





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