Universal Studios Orlando is closely located to Walt Disney World and is roughly 20 minutes drive away. There are 2 theme parks and 1 water park with plenty of rides, shows and attractions.
Universal Studios Orlando is worth visiting if you enjoy thrill rides, Harry Potter, The Simpsons and have 2-3 days to spend at the parks. The theme park is not worth visiting if you only have 1 day and if you do not like many of the main themes of the park such as The Simpsons or Harry Potter.
There are many factors which may determine whether visiting Universal Studios Orlando is right for you. In this post, we have broken down each of these factors to help you decide whether making a visit to Universal Studios Orlando is worth it.
Table of Contents
- Is Universal Studios Orlando Worth It If You Have Toddlers?
- Is Universal Studios Orlando Worth It For Kids?
- Is Universal Studios Orlando Worth It For Teens?
- Is Universal Studios Orlando Worth It For Adults?
- How Much Do Tickets Cost For Universal Studios Orlando?
- How To Get Cheap Tickets To Universal Studios Orlando?
- How Long To Spend At Universal Studios Orlando?
- How Much Is Parking At Universal Studios Orlando?
- Staying On-Site At Universal Studios Orlando
- Staying Off-Site At Universal Studios Orlando
- Is Universal Studios Orlando Worth Visiting If You Are Visting Walt Disney World?
- What Type Of Rides And Attractions Are At Universal Studios Orlando?
- Is There a Wizarding World Of Harry Potter At Universal Studios Orlando?
- Is Universal Studios Orlando Worth Visiting?
Is Universal Studios Orlando Worth It If You Have Toddlers?
Universal Studios Orlando is a great place to go with the family and toddlers. While there aren’t as many rides or attractions suitable for toddlers there are a couple of shows in which are perfect such as the Minion Mayhem and Shrek 3D.
Compared to Walt Disney World, Universal Studios Orlando has less to offer the younger age ranges but the parks are still worth going if your child likes any of the below rides or themes. The best areas for toddlers within Universal Studios Orlando is at Seuss-land and
Here is a list of the rides and attractions at Universal Studios Orlando suitable for toddlers:
- Despicable Me Minion Mayhem
- Hogwarts Express
- One Fish Two Fish Red Fish Blue Fish
- The Cat In The Hat
- The High In The Sky Seuss Trolley Train Ride
- Shrek 4D
These are all rides and shows which are suitable for toddlers and small children but must be accompanied by an adult when on the ride. They are alls upper fun, colourful and interactive which is perfect for smaller children to get involved and having something active to do.
Is Universal Studios Orlando Worth It For Kids?
Universal Studios Orlando is great for kids as there are so many rides, shows and attractions which they can enjoy. If your kid likes superhero’s and transformers and more importantly meeting characters this is a perfect theme park to visit.
We have a full post about things you can do at Universal Studios Orlando with kids, but honestly, there aren’t many things you can’t do. Depending on the age, height and whether they like all the rides or not will depend on how you spend your time at the park but even the adults can experience the rides that the children don’t like.
Some of the rides at Universal Studios Orlando have a child swap section, this enables the adults to go on rides while the other adult waits with the child and then simply swap to enable the other adult to go on the ride. This is a great feature to offer as it means that older children and the adult can go on the ride without having queue again from the beginning.
There is plenty of family favourite rides that both parents and children can enjoy along with shows and even meeting the characters. I would definitely say visiting Universal Studios Orlando is worth it with kids, especially those that love Harry Potter, Super Heroes and Simpsons as they are the most animated lands within Universal Studios and have the most to offer in theme, rides and non-ride attractions.
WIthin Islands of Adventure, you can expect to see an arcade located within the area of Superheroes which we loved as adults and saw so many happy kids in there. There are a few more arcade-like attractions over in the Simpsons area which is really fun and colourful.
I would say that Universal Studios Orlando isn’t worth visiting with children if they don’t really like any of the rides or Harry Potter, any of the Universal films such as Despicable Me, The Secret Life Of Pets or superheroes as these are very popular themes and attractions in the park which may not be interesting for your kids.
Is Universal Studios Orlando Worth It For Teens?
Visiting Universal Studios Orlando is definitely worth visiting if you have teens, the overall theme of the park is a little more mature compared to Walt Disney World and has more thrill rides which are perfect for teens.
The rides are high, fast and thrilling which is perfect for teens especially those looking to show off or have more of adventure with their parents.
There is also a big draw in terms of The Wizarding World Of Harry Potter which we often see kids and teens dressed in robes with wands casting spell sin Diagon Alley. The Wizarding World Of Harry Potter is probably one of the most popular areas for teens as they can be very independent and there is loads of interactive stuff to do.
There are also 4 rides within the area that are perfect for all the family to go on and experience together. We also always love watching the shows in Hogsmeade and riding the Hogwarts Express to the other park.
We find having the refillable cups and refillable popcorn a savour when visiting as a family as everyone gets to have a drink oft their choice without having to buy separate drinks every time. The refillable popcorn is perfect for those who like to snack and snack often. You can get a portion to share and refill the bucket every time someone gets peckish for a small amount.
The only time I wouldn’t advise taking teens to Universal Studios Orlando is when they don’t have an interest in any of the main park’s themes such as superheroes, Harry Potter and even Simpsons. But who doesn’t love Harry Potter and Simpson’s right?!
Is Universal Studios Orlando Worth It For Adults?
Universal Studios Orlando is definitely worth visiting for adults, due to the number of things you can do from rides and shows along with the overall experience and atmosphere of the park. There are of course amazing rides which are both thrilling, fast-paced and have some amazing special effects.
Though if you don’t like rides there is still plenty to do, one of our favourite things to do is explore the lands and check out the themed shops and enjoy a snack or two along the way. There are also some shows such as Despicable Me Minion Mayhem and Shrek 4D which are suitable for those who don’t like rides.
Adults can really value much more in a theme park from the small intricate details to the way something is done or just the rides, attractions and shows that are put on. So I really feel that Universal Studios Orlando is worth visiting for adults as there is so much to do.
We also enjoy heading to the Leaky Cauldron or The Hogs Head Pub in The Three Broomsticks for a nice cold pint of beer, of course they are wizard beers but the surroundings and friendly hog above the bar is worth the visit. You can find Moe’s Bar if you prefer having a pint with Homer and friends instead.
There are also some great places to eat with wonderful theming which can be a really great experience. Alternatively, you can find somewhere a little more upmarket and enjoy a fine lunch with a view over the lake.
Don’t forget that if you are an adult fan of Harry Potter (no shame, its the normal at Universal Studios Orlando) you can also dress up in your house robes, pick your wand at Ollivanders (though we all know the wand picks the wizard) and go cast some spells in Diagon Alley with your fellow witches and wizards.
We have gone as a party of 5 adults before and each and every one of us enjoyed something different within the park. So we definitely think visiting Universal Studios Orlando is worth it for adults, plus you don’t have any kids to slow you down!
How Much Do Tickets Cost For Universal Studios Orlando?
Depending on how many days you wish to spend at Universal Studios Orlando or even how many of the parks you wish to visit will depend on the ticket price.
Ticket prices vary depending on the time of year you visit, weekly and even daily. As some time periods and moths can be busier than others prices of tickets inflate to reflect the busier periods. This can include changes from day to day as weekends are often busier and even blocks of weeks that are busier.
There are periods such as Halloween, Christmas, Thanksgiving, Easter and summer vacation that can all be busier which can also include a higher ticket price. I included some screenshots below to show the ticket layout and how you can choose a specific day in which to go to the parks to get a cheaper ticket.
As you start to look at ticket prices on the website you will see that the prices say ‘from‘ this is to state that is the base ticket price and is likely to change depending on when you wish to visit the parks and the season. You can see the days each have different prices on, this is for a 1 day – 2 park ticket with park to park included.
Here is a breakdown of the base prices of tickets at Universal Studios Orlando;
|Ticket Type||Adults (10+)||Children (3-9)|
|2-park 1-day Hopper||$164||$159|
|1-park 1-day (one park per day)||$109||$104|
|1-day Volcano Bay||$80||$75|
|2-park 2-day Hopper||$278.99||$269|
|3-park 2-day Inc Volcan Bay – Hopper||$318.99||$308|
|2-park 2-day (one park per day)||$218.99||$209|
|2-park 3-day Hopper||$301.99||$291.99|
|3-day 3-park Hopper inc Volcano Bay||$339.99||$330|
|2-park 3-day (one park per day)||$241.99||$231.99|
|3-park 3-day (one park per day) inc Volcano Bay||$279.99||$270|
The important thing to remember is that these are the base prices so are prone to go up in price due to time of year, day of the week or if you are visiting in peak times. These prices also do not include tax, this is something that should be taken into account when budgeting and planning your trip to Universal Studios Orlando.
As you can see the park to park tickets are more expensive but in our honest opinion, they are worth the extra cost. We enjoy using the park to park tickets as we often like to move between the two parks and ride the Hogwarts Express Train.
You can always choose to do one park per day as it is more budget-friendly, there is only the Hogwarts Express Train you won’t be able to go on. Otherwise, you still get access to everything a park to park hopper ticket gets, other than the Hogwarts Express the rest is the same.
How To Get Cheap Tickets To Universal Studios Orlando?
There are a number of ways to find cheaper rates on Universal Studios Orlando tickets but more often than not the best deals come from Universal Studios Orlando themselves.
There are places such as Attractiontix who find good deals on tickets for Universal Studios Orlando, we have used them on many occasions and always find a good deal on tickets.
You can often find a good price for tickets if you book a package on-site hotel and tickets in one as you can also get some of the on-site benefits. I have listed more on those later on.
Alternatively, you can look through the different days on Universal Studios Orlando website and look at the calendar view, there you can choose a specific date in which you can go to the park which is cheaper than the rest. If you can be flexible in the time of year and day you go, you can get a cheaper ticket than you would booking for a weekend, in peak holiday times or peak season.
How Long To Spend At Universal Studios Orlando?
You can spend anything from one day to one week at Universal Studios Orlando but the optimum number and what we recommend is 2-3 days. As there are 2 theme parks and one water park we recommend spending a day at each park.
This would give you a day in each theme park and a 3rd day to use at the water park Volcano Bay or to be used as a day to explore more of the areas, rides and attractions you missed on your first and second day. We normally use our third day to explore the other parts of the park we missed or simply want to see again.
Though if you are really pressed on time there is a chance you could fit in both parks into one day, though you would need to arrive early and use express passes to be able to fit in the best of each park.
This is great if you are only going for certain areas or attractions as you can concentrate your time on the things you want to do the most and then if you have spare time you can do some of the other stuff in the parks.
If you plan to do this make sure you get a park to park ticket so you can have free movement between both parks throughout the day.
How Much Is Parking At Universal Studios Orlando?
Paying for parking is quite normal when it comes to visiting theme parks and so it can be quite the deciding factor of whether a theme park is worth visiting or not. Generally, Walt Disney World and Universal Studios Orlando have the same rates for parking or are within a $5 range of each other.
Here is a breakdown of parking costs at Universal Studios Orlando;
- Cars – $25
- RV and bus parking – $30
- Cars – $40
- 2 hours – $26
- Over 2 hours – $55
- After 6 pm – $26
- After 6 pm over 4 hours – $40
- Annual Passholders – $20
- Premier Annual Passholders – Free
There is the option for free parking after 6 pm except on Halloween Horror Nights event nights.
You may also want to remember that staying on-site doesn’t provide you with free parking at any of the hotels and resorts. So if you were looking to stay on-site and use the complimentary shuttle to save on parking, this won’t be the case.
Though you may find staying at one of the nearby off-site hotels better that can provide cheaper or free parking and a complimentary shuttle to save money on parking for the days you visit the parks.
Staying On-Site At Universal Studios Orlando
Universal Studios Orlando has some great onsite hotels and resorts which are perfect for those looking to book a package trip or stay close to Universal Studios Orlando. Staying on-site do present some extra benefits you might not find at many other off-site hotels.
Here are some of the benefits you can find at on-site hotels at Universal Studios Orlando;
- Complimentary Shuttle or Water Taxi
- Discount on tickets or express passes
- 1-hour early entry into the parks
- Resort-Wide Charging Privileges with room key
- Complimentary delivery of merchandise purchased throughout the resort to your hotel
- Club-to-Club Access
- Discounted or free parking
There is one downfall to staying on-site and that is if you are driving you will be charged for parking during your stay. There are no hotels or resorts which offer free parking at the hotel and parking charges start at $22 per day.
Here is a list of the on-site hotels at Universal Studios Orlando;
- Universal’s Loews Sapphire Falls – Preferred Hotel
- Loews Royal Pacific Resort – Preferred Hotel
- Universal’s Endless Summer Resort – Dockside Inn and Suites – Value Hotel
- Universal’s Aventura Hotel – Prime Value Hotel
- Universal’s Cabana Bay Beach Resort – Prime Value Hotel
- Hard Rock Hotel – Preferred Hotel
- Loews Portofino Bay Hotel – Preferred Hotel
There are three levels of hotel at Universal Studios Orlando which include value, prime value you and preferred with preferred being the highest level. With these hotels come different levels of what is included and what guests can expect.
While all the hotels are high standard of design and care there may be different benefits included within your stay. These may change so be sure to read what benefits are included with your stay when booking. Each hotel will have a form of transport to get you to the parks and back in the form of a shuttle bus or water taxi.
Staying Off-Site At Universal Studios Orlando
If you are looking to save a little money or the benefits of staying on-site isn’t enough to tempt you there are still plenty of good hotels that are within the area that also come with great benefits.
You may see “Universal Partner Hotel” displayed on some of the properties when booking at hotel near Universal Studios Orlando. These partner hotels are carefully chosen and are similar to a level within Universal, which are verified by them and standards but are based off-site and are independent to Universal Studio Orlando.
Some of the hotels come with certain benefits from early entry into the parks, special deals on tickets and access to live entertainment at CityWalk. Each partner hotel will be different and so you would need to check the small details and benefits when booking.
This though may have some of the benefits you were looking for in an on-site hotel but at a much more reasonable cost. This is great as you may be able to spend another day at the park with the money saved or even do another park or buy yourself an amazing souvenirr from the parks.
I decided to put together a list of the hotels that are located within a 1-mile radius of Universal Studios Orlando;
Homewood Suites by Hilton Orlando
This is one of the closest hotels to Universal Studios Orlando and has a variety of rooms and sizes to suit a number of family sizes.
This is the perfect place to stay with the hotel offering free breakfast, free parking and a complimentary shuttle to the parks including Walt Disney World.
Book Here: Homewood Suites By Hilton Orlando
Hilton Garden Inn Orlando International Drive North
The Hilton Garden Inn is a place in which a free shuttle stops to collect guests to take to the parks and will pick up at sets times at the end of the day.
Here you can find family rooms perfect for those looking to save money on staying in separate rooms. There are also disabled access rooms, a restaurant on-site and bar along with free parking and a swimming pool.
Book Here: Hilton Garden Inn Orlando
Hotel Monreale Express International Drive Orlando
The Hotel Monreale Express is a great place to stay for families looking to save money on accommodation as it is budget-friendly, within a short distance of Universal Studios and is convenient.
There is a swimming pool, free wifi, free parking and complimentary shuttle to Universal Studios, Walt Disney World and Sea World.
Book Here: Hotel Monreale Express International Drive
Home2 Suites By Hilton Orlando Near Universal
The Home2 Suites by Hilton are a Universal’s partner hotel which may be something you look at in a hotel to help you whittle down which hotel is best for you.
This hotel includes free wifi, free parking, pets are allowed, one swimming pool and free shuttle. The room comes with a kitchen area and seating perfect for families and those looking to spend more nights dining in then out.
Book Here: Home2 Suites By Hilton Orlando
Hyatt Place across from Universal Orlando Resort
The Hyatt is located 3 minutes drive from Universal Studio Orlando which is perfect for those looking to stay close by but not wanting to stay on-site.
You can find free parking, family rooms, an on-site bar, a swimming pool and a complimentary shuttle. The shuttle picks up and drops off guests at set times which will be provided to you by the reception.
Holiday Inn & Suites Orlando Universal
The Holiday Inn & Suites is a perfect place for families to stay when visiting Universal Studios as it is close by has both an outdoor pool and children’s pool.
There is an on-site games room and gift shop perfect for keeping children busy and happy. The hotel comes with a complimentary shuttle to and from the parks and pets are allowed on the property.
Book Here: Holiday Inn & Suites Orlando Universal
Is Universal Studios Orlando Worth Visiting If You Are Visting Walt Disney World?
As Universal Studios Orlando is just a 20-minute drive from Walt Disney World is much more manageable to visit if you wish to do both parks while on vacation. Depending on how many days you have in Orlando or on your budget it is well worth visiting if you are at Walt Disney World.
As the drive is so short you wouldn’t require moving hotels for the days you are at Universal Studios Orlando and could simply commute. Some hotels that are located between Disney and Universal may offer a shuttle service in which the bus drops off and picks up once per day for guests at the parks.
I would also say if you have any children or teens that love Harry Potter it is a well worth visit to the Universal theme parks.
What Type Of Rides And Attractions Are At Universal Studios Orlando?
Universal Studios Orlando has a whole host of rides and attractions that is suitable for everyone in the family. Looking at the different rides for each park may help you decide whether Universal Studios Orlando is worth visiting for you.
While not all rides are suitable for everyone there are plenty to choose from and something for everyone. There are also other attractions within the park that are worth visiting such as the arcades in Islands of Adventure, the
Here is a quick breakdown of the different types of rides at Universal Studios;
- Despicable Me Minion Mayhem
- Race Through New York Starring Jimmy Fallon
- Woody Woodpecker’s Nuthouse Coaster
- Revenge of the Mummy
- Harry Potter and the Escape from Gringotts
- TRANSFORMERS: The Ride-3D
- Hollywood Rip Ride Rockit
- MEN IN BLACK™ Alien Attack
- Hogwarts™ Express: King’s Cross Station
- Shrek 4-D
- The Simpsons Ride
- E.T. Adventure
- Kang & Kodos’ Twirl ‘n’ Hurl
- Fast & Furious – Supercharged
Here is a quick breakdown of the different types of rides at Islands Of Adventure;
- Hagrid’s Magical Creatures Motorbike Adventure
- The Jurassic World VelociCoaster
- Storm Force Accelatron
- Poseidon’s Fury
- The Cat in the Hat
- The High in the Sky Seuss Trolley Train Ride!
- One Fish, Two Fish, Red Fish, Blue Fish
- The Amazing Adventures of Spider-Man
- Dudley Do-Right’s Ripsaw Falls
- Doctor Doom’s Fearfall
- Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey
- Skull Island: Reign of Kong
- Pteranodon Flyers
- Hogwarts™ Express: Hogsmeade™ Station
- The Incredible Hulk Coaster
- Flight of the Hippogriff
- Popeye & Bluto’s Bilge-Rat Barges
- Jurassic Park River Adventure
Is There a Wizarding World Of Harry Potter At Universal Studios Orlando?
There is a Wizarding World Of Harry Potter at Universal Studios Orlando and it is honestly awesome. The Wizarding World Of Harry Potter is much bigger than the one at Universal Studios Hollywood and includes Diagon Alley along with Hogsmeade and Hogwarts Castle.
There are of course 2 sections of The Wizarding World Of Harry Potter, one of which is located in Islands of Adventure and the other in Universal Studios park.
If you are anyone within your party is a fan of Harry Potter then Universal Studios Orlando is worth visiting. As there is so much to see, do and experience within the Wizarding World Of Harry Potter you could easily spend a day going between Hogsmeade and Diagon Alley.
There are four rides that are located in The Wizarding World Of Harry Potter along with a number of different shops in both parks. There are also other things that make a trip to Universal Studios Orlando worth visiting such as being able to buy amazing quality wizarding robes, interactive wands and cast spells in the streets of Diagon Alley.
I would definitely say that visiting the Wizarding World Of Harry Potter at Universal Studios Orlando is probably the closest you can get to being in the actual film/book as the set, surroundings and small details are done so well.
What I love the most about this area is that you don’t even have to be a fan of rides, you can explore Hogwarts Castle and not go on the ride along with being able to explore all the nooks and crannies of the streets and scenery. Don’t forget all the amazing places to find the famous sweets, butterbeer and find a cute magical creature to take home.
Is Universal Studios Orlando Worth Visiting?
Universal Studios Orlando is worth visiting if you have 2 -3 day during your vacation that you are looking to do something fun and exciting. If you have the available extra money to put into tickets even at the base price, for a family of four it can be quite expensive.
The super fun theme parks are also worth visiting if you are staying in the area of Universal Studios Orlando or Walt Disney World as they are so close together along with if you are looking to experience a different style of park. We also feel like Universal Studios Orlando has so much to offer teens, especially those who love thrill rides and Harry Potter.
If you love the Harry Potter books and films and truly want to be a wizard/witch, get your Hogwarts letter and learn from the sassy McGonagall herself then visiting Universal Studios Orlando is most definitely worth visiting. You can find every style of attraction and ride, along with unique items to buy, all the best wizard foods to try and you can totally forget about being a muggle during your time there.
The only time I would say Universal Studios Orlando is not worth it is if you don’t have the time or money to spare on tickets on this particular vacation (more so if you are already visiting all the parks at Walt Disney World) as buying both can be very expensive.
Also if your children or yourselves aren’t really a fan of the rides, movies, themes and Harry Potter as these are such a big part of the park and may not suit you and your family and so you may feel disappointed.
If that may be the case I would look at the main themes within the park which are Superheroes, The Simpsons, Harry Potter, Transformers, The Mummy, Men In Black, Dr Seuss and Minions and see if there are any of these that you like before attending the park. Though this doesn’t have to mean you can’t visit the theme park, it just personally adds to the joy and overall atmosphere if you already know and enjoy the films and shows.