We’ve had the pleasure of visiting Universal Studios Orlando more than ten times in the past decade and being multiple-time holders of the Universal Studios Hollywood annual pass.
We’ve travelled to the parks as a couple, with elderly parents and now, we travel with a baby.
As such it’s safe to say what we pack for a day at the Universal Studios parks has changed a lot over the years.
Based on our own experience here are a whopping 32 items you’ll want to consider bringing with you for a day at the parks.
Now, don’t worry.
You won’t need all of these items on your trip – at least I hope not anyway!
While we’ve taken all of these items on one trip to the parks or another, it’s really dependent on the circumstances (who we’re travelling with, weather conditions etc.)
So instead, treat this list as inspiration to figure out what you should (and what you’re probably forgetting to) pack for a day at the Universal Studios theme parks.
Table of Contents
- 1. Refillable Water Bottle
- 2. Mobile Phone
- 3. Backpack / Fanny Pack
- 4. Sunblock
- 5. Stroller / Wheelchair
- 6. Hat
- 7. Snacks
- 8. Refillable Cup
- 9. Portable Charger
- 10. Poncho
- 11. Hand Sanitiser
- 12. Motion Sickness Medication
- 13. Sunglasses
- 14. Hotel Room Key
- 15. Trash Bag
- 16. Change of Clothes
- 17. Travel Towel
- 18. First Aid Kit
- 19. Chapstick
- 20. Lanyard
- 21. Popcorn Bucket
- 22. Wipes & Tissues
- 23. Bank Cards & Credit Cards
- 24. ID
- 25. Gold Bond Powder
- 26. Camera
- 27. Umbrella
- 28. Apple AirTag
- 29. Handheld Fan
- 30. Cooling Towel
- 31. Blister Balm
- 32. Deodorant
- 33. Wand & Robe
- 34. Light Jacket
1. Refillable Water Bottle
Keeping hydrated during your time at Universal Studios is essential. The sun in both Hollywood and Orlando is no joke, and even if you’re visiting the parks during winter, you’ll still be doing a lot of walking.
With bottled water inside the Universal Studios parks costing upwards of $4.49 plus tax, save yourself some money and pack a reusable water bottle.
Reusable water bottles can be filled up for free at one of the many Coca-Cola Freestyle machines or water fountains located throughout the parks.
2. Mobile Phone
While being on your phone all day while visiting the Universal Studios parks is less than ideal, there are some times you’re going to want the device available – often for both convenience and security.
Some of the ways in which I use my phone while visiting the Universal Studios parks include;
- Taking photos inside the parks
- Checking wait times for roller coasters
- Ordering food from Mobile Order friendly restaurants
- Keeping track of where my friends / family are
- Ordering an Uber / Lyft back to the hotel
- Taking a photo of where we parked
- Playing games while waiting in line for a ride
3. Backpack / Fanny Pack
Depending on the number of items you plan to bring with you into the Universal Studios parks you’ll want to look at using either a backpack, a fanny pack or both.
Since we now travel to Universal Studios with a young child, a backpack is essential (kids require so much extra stuff!).
However, in the past, if it’s just been me and Helen visiting the parks as a couple then a fanny pack has been perfect for storing the essentials (phone, wallet, sunscreen etc.)
This one should be pretty self-explanatory, but don’t forget to pack and reapply sunscreen often while visiting the Universal Studios parks.
Even on days when the weather is overcast, the sun is still incredibly strong.
5. Stroller / Wheelchair
If you have young children or elderly relatives travelling with you, then a stroller or wheelchair will definitely come in handy.
While the Universal Studios parks are relatively flat, there is still a lot of walking involved and having a way to transport small children or those with mobility issues will make your day much more enjoyable.
You’re welcome to bring your own stroller or wheelchair to the parks with you. However, both can also be hired inside the parks for a small fee.
Another great way to protect yourself from the sun while visiting Universal Studios is to wear a hat.
You’ll be spending a lot of time outdoors during your visit, and I speak from experience when I say you often can’t feel your scalp or the back of your neck burning until it’s too late.
You are permitted to bring food and drink with you to Universal Studios, provided that it meets the theme park’s rules and regulations.
Packing your own snacks and drinks either from home or from a nearby grocery store is a great way to save money without compromising on your visit. Especially if you have young children or special dietary needs.
Some of our favourite snacks to take into the parks include;
- Granola bars
8. Refillable Cup
If you’re looking to purchase fizzy drinks during your day at Universal Studios then consider investing in a Coca-Cola Freestyle refillable cup.
These cups can be purchased at a number of locations across Universal Studios for a fixed price and entitle the owner to an unlimited number of free refills on a combination of 200+ drinks throughout the day.
Coca-Cola Freestyle refillable cups can then be reactivated (both if you purchased them during your trip or on a previous vacation) for an additional, albeit cheaper price on subsequent days.
9. Portable Charger
You are going to use your mobile phone (cell phone) a lot during the long days at Universal Studios.
We use our phones to;
- Check wait times for rides & attractions on the Universal Studios mobile application
- Order an Uber or Lyft to / from the park
- Mobile order food to save us from waiting in line
- Taking photos & videos
- Texting friends & family to see where they are inside the parks
- Playing games during long lines for rides
Sadly, however, even modern-day phones often struggle to keep up with this demand. Given this, we highly recommend packing a portable power bank and an associated USB cable.
In recent years these portable battery charges have become increasingly smaller and more powerful with many being able to take a smartphone battery from 0% back to 100% in a couple of hours.
While both Orlando and Hollywood benefit from long, hot summers they also experience the odd thunderstorm (usually in the afternoon).
If you’re caught out in one of these storms, a poncho will help to keep you dry until it passes.
While ponchos can be purchased from a number of locations inside the Universal Studios parks they are often significantly overpriced compared to online or at a nearby store.
11. Hand Sanitiser
With thousands of people visiting the Universal Studios parks each and every day, it’s likely a lot of hands have touched handlebars, rails and souvenirs before yours.
As such consider packing a small bottle of hand sanitiser to help keep you and your family safe from bacteria and germs.
12. Motion Sickness Medication
There are a number of motion simulation rides inside the Universal Studios parks. While these rides are generally very well made, they can sometimes trigger motion sickness in those susceptible to it.
If you or any members of your party suffer from motion sickness, then I recommend packing some medication (wristbands also work for many people) just in case you need it.
Given that you’ll be spending the majority of your time outdoors at Universal Studios it’s a good idea to pack a pair of sunglasses.
Personally, we opt for a cheap, basic pair to take to the parks as I have been known to lose them, forget them or accidentally damage them during our visits.
14. Hotel Room Key
If you’re staying onsite at the Universal Studios Resort in Orlando then each person will need their hotel room key to gain early admission into the parks.
Without this, you’ll be turned away and asked to wait for general admission.
15. Trash Bag
There are a number of water rides at the Islands of Adventure theme park that could see you get very, very wet.
Depending on the time of year you’re visiting the park, you may dry off quickly naturally or be able to use one of the human dryers to help.
However, in other cases, you may want to bring a change of clothes (see below) and a plastic bag for any wet items of clothing to prevent them from causing damage to other items in your backpack.
16. Change of Clothes
Echoing the above, it can be an especially good idea to pack a change of clothing for younger children.
During a previous visit to Universal Studios with my niece (roughly four or five at the time), she ran into the splash pad, had a great time and got absolutely soaking wet.
While we could have left her in the clothing since it was the height of summer she’d only just gotten over a cold from the international flight from the UK. So instead, we ended up spending upwards of $50 on her a new outfit – ouch!
17. Travel Towel
While there are “human driers” outside the water rides at Universal Studios, they cost money and often have a large queue.
Therefore instead we recommend packing a travel towel. These small microfibre towels are perfect for drying off quickly and can be stored away in your backpack with ease.
18. First Aid Kit
No matter how well you plan or how cautious you are, accidents can and do happen.
As such it’s a good idea to pack a small first-aid kit containing bandages, antiseptic wipes and painkillers just in case anyone in your party injures themselves during your day at the parks.
If you’re visiting Universal Studios during the hotter months then there’s a good chance your lips will become dry and chapped.
To combat this, we recommend packing a chapstick or lip balm to help keep your lips moisturised throughout the day.
A lanyard is a great way of storing your park ticket and hotel key safely during your visit to the parks.
While these are one of the best souvenirs you can buy from Universal Studios they are often four or five times more expensive when compared to similar lanyards that can be purchased either online or from a nearby store.
21. Popcorn Bucket
Much like the Universal Studios Refillable Cup programme, Universal also offers a refillable popcorn bucket that allows you to get discounted popcorn refills throughout the day.
While the initial cost of the bucket is around $12 plus tax (depending on whether you purchase it from Hollywood or Orlando) popcorn lovers can often recoup this initial cost and then some when taking advantage of the offer.
22. Wipes & Tissues
No matter how old you are, there will be times during your visit to Universal Studios when you’ll need to wipe your hands or face (or someone else’s).
As such we recommend packing a small packet of wet wipes and tissues just in case. These come in handy for everything from wiping up spills to dealing with runny noses.
23. Bank Cards & Credit Cards
I hate to break it to you, but you are likely going to need to pay for something during your visit to the Universal Studios parks.
Whether it be;
- The occasional Butterbeer
As such you’ll want to go ahead and make sure you bring either cash, a bank card, or both with you to the parks.
If you’re looking to purchase alcohol during your visit to Universal Studios then you’ll want to ensure you have a certified form of identification.
The most common forms of ID accepted at Universal Studios are;
- Driving Licence
- Birth Certificate
Pro Tip: If you're travelling with a child under the age of three (who therefore doesn't need a ticket into the Universal parks) then it's a good idea to bring ID for them too, just incase their age is questioned.
25. Gold Bond Powder
If you’re prone to chafing then Gold Bond Powder is an absolute lifesaver.
This powder helps to absorb sweat and moisture, which in turn helps to reduce friction and prevents chafing.
Depending on your preferences you may also want to bring a camera with you to the Universal Studios parks.
We bring a Sony A6400 (and occasionally a Canon G7X Mark III and GoPro) and multiple camera lenses with us on trips to Universal Studios so we’re able to capture high-quality images for the site to share with you.
As such we know first-hand the damage and risks associated with bringing camera equipment (especially expensive equipment) into the parks and would in most cases recommend bringing a smartphone with a good camera instead.
A great alternative or addition to a rain poncho is an umbrella.
While they are often not as effective at keeping you dry as a poncho, an umbrella does offer some protection from the rain and can also provide much-needed shade on hot days.
28. Apple AirTag
Depending on what or who you’re travelling with you may also want to bring an Apple AirTag with you to the Universal Studios parks.
This can be put inside your wallet, backpacker or stroller to help you locate it if it’s lost or stolen or attached to a child’s shorts or placed inside a shoe so you’re able to locate them should they ever get lost.
29. Handheld Fan
Another great way of staying cool in the sun during your day at the Universal Studios parks is to bring a handheld fan with you.
These fans are available in a range of different styles and formats and often take either two AA or AAA batteries.
30. Cooling Towel
A cooling towel is another great way to stay cool during your day at the Universal Studios parks, especially if you’re visiting during the hotter months.
These towels are designed to be soaked in water and then placed around your neck or over your head (much like a bandana) where they help to evaporate sweat and keep you cool.
31. Blister Balm
If you’re prone to blisters then it’s also a good idea to bring some blister balm with you when visiting the Universal Studios parks.
This balm helps to soothe and protect your feet from further irritation, which in turn can help to prevent blisters from forming or getting worse.
Last but not least, you’re going to want to consider bringing some deodorant to the Universal Studios theme parks with you.
With the hot weather and all the walking around you’ll be doing, it’s inevitable that you’re going to start to sweat and potentially smell at some point during the day.
33. Wand & Robe
In that case, it’s a great idea to pack these to use during your time at the Wizarding World of Harry Potter inside the Universal Studios theme parks.
Most interactive wands have a battery life of between four and five years – and if your wand no longer works you can take it to Olivanders for a replacement.
34. Light Jacket
Depending on the time of year you’re visiting Universal Studios you may also want to pack a light jacket.
Of course, carrying a jacket around the parks with you can be annoying, however, thankfully there are a number of lockers at the Universal Studios parks where you can store your jacket and other items throughout the day.