Florida may be a sunshine state, however, there are many times during your trip you may experience tropical storms including rain, thunder, lightning and high winds.
We’ve been to Universal Studios Orlando multiple times during this bad weather and still had a fantastic time. Given this, I wanted to go ahead and share our hints and tips to ensure no matter what the weather you’ll still enjoy your trip to the parks.
Universal Studios Orlando will remain open with rides in full operation when it rains. However, select rides may be temporarily suspended as a safety precaution if the downfall includes any thunder, lightning or high winds.
Given all this, we’ve found that it’s important you know which rides will and won’t be in operation during bad weather so you’re able to make a plan as to what you’ll do should it rain during your trip.
What Happens If It Rains At Universal Studios?
If the rain is nothing more than a light shower, all rides at Universal Studios will continue to operate provided they can do so safely.
That being said many people will try to avoid the rain by heading indoors. As such you’ll notice indoor simulator rides have higher than usual standby wait times, while shops & restaurants around the resort are more crowded.
What Happens If It Thunders & Lightnings At Universal Studios?
If there is any thunder or lightning within ten miles of the Universal Studios Resort then outdoor rides will be temporarily closed.
Announcements will be made on the stereo across the resort, and updates will be shared outside the rides, on the Universal mobile app and on any information boards around the park.
Rides will remain temporarily closed until 30 minutes have passed since the last strike.
For this reason, you may notice the rides still haven’t reopened even after the storm has passed.
During this time you will be unable to join the queue for any outdoor rides. However, if you’re already in a queue you’ll have the ability to continue waiting until the storm has passed or leave to head back into the parks.
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Meanwhile, given that the outdoor rides are closed during this time you will notice that the standby wait times for the indoor simulation rides increase dramatically while stores and restaurants around the resort are more crowded.
Which Rides Are Suspended At Universal Studios During Bad Weather
During our most recent trip to Universal Studios, there was a patch of bad weather including rain, thunder and lightning. At this time, the following rides were temporarily suspended;
Universal Studios Florida
- Hollywood Rip Ride Rockit
- Jurassic World VelociCoaster
- Doctor Doom’s Fearfall
- Hagrid’s Magical Creatures Motorbike Adventure
Universal’s Islands of Adventure
- The High in the Sky Seuss Trolley Train Ride!
- Pteranodon Flyers
- Kang & Kodos’ Twirl ‘n’ Hurl
- Flight of the Hippogriff
- Popeye & Bluto’s Bilge-Rat Barges
- Jurassic Park River Adventure
- Dudley Do-Right’s Ripsaw Falls
- The Incredible Hulk Coaster
- One Fish, Two Fish, Red Fish, Blue Fish
Do You Get A Refund, Rain-Check Or Compensation If You Experience Bad Weather During Your Trip To Universal Studios Orlando?
Universal Studios does not offer any form of refund, rain-check or compensation as a result of rain, or bad weather.
Being that Orlando is a tropical city, storms are incredibly common and while you might freak out looking at the weather for your vacation and seeing nothing but clouds, rain and lightning keep in mind that this rarely lasts more than 30 minutes before returning to hot and humid temperatures.
All that being said, should there be a hurricane warning close to Universal Orlando issued by the National Hurricane Center or a state of emergency declared within 7 days of your arrival at the parks then you can cancel or reschedule your trip without charge.
The parks will continue to open for as long as safely possible, and any on-site guests staying in Universal property hotels will be kept inside and often provided with additional indoor facilities and entertainment.
In all instances for your own personal and financial protection, it’s always recommended you purchase travel insurance for your trip to help protect you against this and many other situations throughout your vacation.
How To Prepare For Rain, Thunder & Lightning At Universal Studios
The best way to avoid bad weather ruining your trip to Universal Studios Orlando is to be prepared for it.
As such I recommend checking the weather before your trip, during your trip and then every morning before heading to the parks since the weather predictions for a day can change a lot as the day gets closer.
Even if the weather report says it’s not going to rain during your day at the parks I still recommend packing a poncho at a minimum.
Ponchos take up next to no space inside your backpack and are significantly more affordable when purchased in advance rather than inside the parks.
If you know it’s going to rain, thunder or lightning during your trip to Universal Studios then I recommend planning your day in advance.
If you’re planning on visiting both Universal Studios and Islands of Adventure during one day at Universal Studios Resort, then I recommend visiting Universal Studios during the bad weather.
That’s because Universal’s Islands of Adventure has more outdoor rides and therefore more rides will close during bad weather causing the standby wait times for any indoor rides at this park to increase dramatically.
While Universal Studios Florida does have some rides suspended during bad weather there’s still plenty to see, do and go on during any rain, thunder or lightning to keep you entertained.
If the bad weather is likely to take up most of your day then ensure you arrive at the park as early as possible so you’re able to maximise the time in which you are able to go on any of the outdoor rides that will be closed during the thunder or lightning.
If however, you’re visiting the Universal Studios Resort in Orlando for a couple of days then you have the flexibility to either stay at your hotel during the bad weather, wait longer in indoor standby lines, explore the stores or restaurants without too much fear that you’ll miss an essential ride during your trip.
What To Do In Rain, Thunder Or Lightening At Universal Studios
If you’re caught off guard with bad weather during your trip to Universal Studios then you have a couple of options. Which option you choose is likely going to come down to a couple of things including;
- Personal preference
- If you’re visiting the park for just one day
- What time the bad weather occurs
- If you’re staying on-site at a Universal Studios hotel
- How long the bad weather is likely to last
For example, all on-site hotels at the Universal Orlando Resort have complimentary transport to CityWalk from where you’re able to quickly get to both Universal Studios and Islands of Adventure, this makes going back to your hotel and coming back to the theme park after the bad weather quick and easy. The same goes for the many hotels within walking distance of the Universal Orlando Resort.
However, if you’ve driven from another hotel elsewhere in Orlando then the effort to go back to your hotel and come back out again isn’t likely to be worthwhile.
Meanwhile, if it’s already 6pm and due to rain for the next four hours then you’ve likely experienced the majority of what you wanted to during your day. In that case, you’re only likely to stay out in the rain if it’s your only day at the parks.
With that being said, here are some of the things you can do during the bad weather at Universal Studios Resort;
Head To An Indoor Show Or Activity
Something that’s often overlooked at Universal Studios is the incredible shows available the majority of which are based indoors.
A personal favourite is at Ollivanders inside Hogsmeade at Universal’s Islands of Adventure.
Here one special person from a crowd of approximately 25 to 30 will be selected to have the perfect wand chosen for them.
Each performance lasts roughly six minutes, and there are no set show times. Instead, the performance continues to loop throughout the day from when the park opens in the morning until it closes in the evening.
If you’re travelling with children then another great choice is Universal’s Animal Actors show located in Universal Studios Florida between Woody Woodpecker’s Kidzone and Springfield.
The show lasts roughly 25 minutes and includes demonstrations as to how trainers get animals to perform on set when filming movies, TV shows and commercials.
Show times for Universal’s Animal Actors vary through the year, as such we recommend checking the Universal mobile application in advance or the show board when arriving at the park.
Head To A Restaurant
There are over fifty incredible restaurants to choose from across Universal Studios, Islands of Adventure and CityWalk. All of which make for the perfect hide-out spot during a spell of bad weather.
If you’re in Islands of Adventure then be sure to head to The Three Broomsticks inside Hogsmede where you can dine on a range of British cuisine.
Alternatively, if you’re in CityWalk consider heading to the largest Hard Rock Café in the world. While the indoor decor is an incredible marvel, I always recommend heading outside, around the back to see genuine pieces of the Berlin Wall.
Bad weather can be the perfect excuse to spend some time browsing the stores around the Universal resort.
There are hundreds of incredible souvenirs to choose from at the parks including an extensive range of t-shirts, books, mugs and keyrings. As such you’re sure to find something for everyone!
Head Back To The Hotel
If you’re staying on-site at a Universal Studios property then you can choose to either walk or take your complimentary transport back to the hotel.
Given that all the on-site hotels at Universal Studios are so close to the parks themselves, you can be back in your hotel room drying off, or back out exploring the parks in under 30 minutes.
Hit Up The Arcades
There are indoor arcades located inside both Universal Studios Florida and Islands of Adventure that provide hours of fun entertainment for the whole family.
All arcade games are token based and provide you with the chance to win some incredible prizes. However, keep in mind that the amount of Universal Studios spending money you’ll need for an hour in the arcades with the family can add up very quickly.
Embrace The Rain
If the only bad weather you’re experiencing during your trip to Universal Studios is rain then you could choose to simply embrace it.
Provided that the rain isn’t too heavy most rides will remain open and wait times should decrease since most other guests will head indoors.
A poncho is going to help protect you to some extent. However, if you know it’s going to rain and you’re happy to embrace it, then consider packing a change of clothes and shoes so you’re able to dry off afterwards.
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🎟️ Where To Buy Tickets for Universal Orlando?
If you’re based in the US or Canada, I recommend Klook for your Universal Orlando tickets. Klook consistently has the most competitive prices. There’s also a range of different ticket options to suit all budgets and requirements.
Meanwhile, if you’re based in the United Kingdom. Then I recommend buying your Universal Orlando theme park tickets from AttractionTix. I personally use AttractionTix when purchasing Orlando theme park tickets. That’s because AttractionTix consistently has the most competitive prices and incredible customer service.
🏥 Should I Buy Travel Insurance for a Visit to Universal Orlando?
If you’re travelling to Universal Orlando for vacation, then travel insurance is recommended. Basic travel insurance coverage with Safety Wing averages between $5 – $10 per day and offers peace of mind.
However, if a trip to Universal Orlando isn’t part of a vacation. For example, you live locally. Then travel insurance isn’t likely to be necessary.
🚘 Do I Need to Rent a Car for a Visit to Universal Orlando?
You don’t need to rent a car to visit Universal Orlando, as the resort has Uber / Lyft pick-up and drop-off points. However, if Universal Orlando makes up the majority of your vacation, then you may want to stay on-site.
Staying onsite at the Universal Orlando Resort comes with several perks. Including complimentary transport from the hotel to the Universal Orlando theme parks. In some cases, you can even walk from your hotel straight to the theme park gates.
However, if a trip to Universal Orlando only makes up a portion of your vacation, then you may want to rent a car. I personally use Discover Cars to find the best car rental for all of my trips to Orlando.
🏨 Where to Stay When Visiting Universal Orlando?
If you’re spending the majority of your vacation at Universal Orlando, it’s a good idea to stay at a Universal Orlando hotel. Staying onsite at Universal Orlando comes with several perks, including;
- Early park admission
- Complimentary transport
- Complimentary Universal Express Passes (selected hotels only)
- Walking distance of the Universal theme parks (selected hotels only)
While staying onsite at Universal Orlando is great value for money, it can still be out of budget for many. Thankfully, there are several budget-friendly hotels close to Universal Orlando to choose from.
Meanwhile, if Universal Orlando only makes up part of your Orlando vacation, then you may want to stay elsewhere. Kissimmee, International Drive and Lake Buena Vista are all within a 40-minute drive of Universal Orlando.