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11 Tips for Visiting Universal Orlando Resort This Summer
The parks, hotels, and CityWalk at Universal Orlando Resort are open and starting to welcome guests back. Things may look a little different in the parks from your last visit with new operational guidelines, but it’s still the same Universal that you know and love. You will find fun, new ways to experience the parks. The rides are just as thrilling, the pools just as relaxing, the characters just as entertaining, and the food just as good. Here are 11 tips for visiting Universal Orlando Resort this summer, including how to make your visit easier and more convenient.
1. Download and Use the Universal Orlando Resort App
Take a minute (if you haven’t already) to download the Universal Orlando Resort app. It will help you navigate around the crowds, trim down your time waiting in queues, minimize physical interactions, and so much more! Here are the top features of the Universal Orlando Resort app:
- Virtual Line experience for attractions
- Mobile food and drink ordering for select restaurants
- Interactive park map
- Virtual wallet where you can purchase and house your park tickets, Express passes, and also set up your TapuTapu for your visit to Volcano Bay
- Wait time alerts that you can set for when the times drop
2. Avoid Crowds with the Virtual Line Experience
Want to avoid crowds AND get a place in line faster on your favorite rides? The Virtual Line experience is the answer and it’s now available for even more attractions than before. You can access it via the app under “Virtual Line Experience” in the menu or per attraction on the interactive map. You then select your “Return Time”, show up, and ride. It’s that easy! The Virtual Line experience for attractions open throughout the day, so make sure to check the app often to see what is available. And while you’re waiting, you have free time to experience other rides, shows, or grab a bite to eat. Heads up, you have to be in-park to access the Virtual Line experience feature on the app.
3. Order Your Food Ahead of Time with Mobile Order
If you haven’t tried mobile order, prepare to have your theme park life changed. When your stomach is rumbling, jump on the app and select “Order Food and Drinks” from the menu. Then you select the venue and order your food. You can either do this for a quick pick-up and go, or for a quick-service restaurant where you will be seated in a special section for mobile orders.
4. Make a Game Plan Beforehand
This is always one of my top recommendations for visiting the parks. Do your research and create a must-do list with all of the attractions, shops, shows, etc. you definitely want to do. Planning out where to start and using the app to navigate wait times and the Virtual Line experience will help you to do everything you are looking to do during your visit.
5. Get a More Personalized Experience With Social Distancing
Social distancing may slow down the queue for wait times temporarily, but it may make the rides and show elements even more special. For example, not having people right next to you in the queue may actually allow you to enjoy better conversations with your party as you wait. The spaced seating on the ride vehicle makes it feel like you have the ride to yourselves. Smaller groups and spaced standing through Poseidon’s Fury allows for a more intimate show. And having more space around character meet and greets allowed for no unexpected-guest photobombs in the background.
6. Take a Break in the U-Rest Areas
In addition to planning out what you want to do, make sure to slot in time to take breaks. There are new U-Rest areas sprinkled throughout the parks and CityWalk, where you can recharge with a drink or snack with your face covering off. You can find them in the following locations:
- Universal CityWalk
- Down by the waterfront in front of Hard Rock
- Universal Studios Florida
- Fear Factor Live Theater
- Central Park by the lagoon
- Universal’s Islands of Adventure
- Port of Entry Landing by the waterfront
- The Eighth Voyage of Sindbad Stunt Show Theater in Lost Continent (the show is no longer available)
7. Take All the Photos!
One thing you may find yourself doing more than usual at the parks is taking an exponentially large amount of photos. We’ve all missed the parks so much, and you’ll probably want to capture it all and share it with friends and family. Plus, it is pretty fun to take pictures in this new social distancing world. With more time saved with the Virtual Line experience and plenty of people-free space around you, you can capture some really great memories!
8. Early Park Admission Means More Time and Fewer Crowds
A huge benefit of staying at one of Universal Orlando Resort’s hotels is Early Park Admission into the Wizarding World of Harry Potter. This magical experience holds even more meaning and value today. Here’s what it is: if you stay at one of Universal’s hotels, you get exclusive access to the parks one hour before normal guest park hours with little to no crowds. Um, sign me up. Plus, when staying at the hotels, you don’t have to go through the check-in process at the entrance of CityWalk. You get a special wristband that shows you already had your temperature check and can go directly to the parks.
9. Cool Off This Summer at Volcano Bay
I don’t know about you but I’m craving a relaxing day at the beach, but preferably with minimal crowds of people right next to me. Look no further than Universal’s Volcano Bay. They have the same new and helpful operational guidelines in place at the water theme park. Now, you may be asking yourself, “How do they expect us to wear face masks at Volcano Bay?” Good question, because I had the same one. I discovered you don’t have to wear a mask while you’re in the pools, slides, or eating/drinking. However, they should be worn when not doing these activities. Catch me poolside this summer with a Waturi Fusion ice cream and working on that stylish new trend of face-covering tan lines.
10. New Guidelines Aren’t the Only Things That Are New
The parks may have been closed for a couple of months, but select Team Members have been hard at work creating new experiences for you to come back to. There are new “Love is Universal” and anniversary merchandise to snatch up (have you seen the themed face masks!?); new food and beverage offerings that will be rolled out soon (there’s a new anniversary Voodoo Doughnut!?); and even new entertainment attractions with The Bourne Stuntacular and the new Raptor Encounter (the baby raptor Sierra is the cutest, am I right!?).
11. Here’s What to Bring
With my many years of going to theme parks, I’ve tried to perfect the essentials on what to bring. Now, with our current situation and operational guidelines, I found myself faced with a new challenge: what all to bring along to minimize physical contact but still have everything I need for a comfortable visit. Here are my recommendations:
- A face covering with a light and breathable fabric. This isn’t just my recommendation, it’s a requirement when visiting the parks, CityWalk, and hotels. Major kudos to those with fun themes and designs. You’ll look awesome as you’re rocking out on Hollywood Rip Ride Rockit (yes, they’re required to be worn on rides, too). The good news is if you forgot your face covering, you can ask a Team Member for a replacement.
- Your own personal hand sanitizer on a keychain. There are also hand sanitizer stations when you first enter through CityWalk, when you’re about to board a ride, and at restaurant entrances.
- This has always remained true, but bring water to stay hydrated! You may find yourself being especially thirsty when wearing your face covering, so make sure to bring a water bottle with you.
- Bring a small bag or carry a lanyard for your belongings. You’re still going to need to put items in lockers for certain attractions that require them. Team Members check the locker queues for social distancing and regularly clean them, but try to only bring the essentials if you want to minimize using them and save time.
Are you planning to visit Universal Orlando Resort this summer? We hope you enjoy these tips for visiting Universal Orlando Resort this summer!
Thanks Universal Orlando Resort Blog!