Universal Orlando Resort is a place that allows you to explore the streets of Diagon Alley at The Wizarding World of Harry Potter, visit a real-life Raptor Encounter to meet Blue the Raptor, float down the Kopiko Wai Winding River at Volcano Bay, and finish with a cold beverage high in the sky at Bar 17 Bistro on top of Universal’s Aventura Hotel all in one day.

With so much to see and do, how can you get the most out of it during your first-time visit? Here’s a few first timer tips to get the most out of your upcoming visit.


Have you ever watched a movie and said “I wish I could experience that movie in real life.” Well, we have some good news for you. Check out these must-do experiences straight from the movies: 

  • Must-Do Attractions:
    • Take a journey to the depths of Gringotts Bank on the Harry Potter and the Escape from Gringotts ride
    • Looking for a rip-roaring rush? Try the Hollywood Rip Ride Rockit
    • Great for the family: Become a Minion on the Despicable Me Minion Mayhem
  • Experience: Follow in Harry Potter’s footsteps as you enter into Diagon Alley – watch out for the fire breathing dragon
  • Character Meet & Greet: Meet Optimus PrimeBumblebee and Megatron
  • Show: Swing over to see Universal Orlando’s Cinematic Celebration with an incredible array of dazzling projections on colossal dancing fountains
  • Parade: See Universal’s Superstar Parade featuring with SpongeBob SquarePants, Dora and Diego, The Secret Life of Pets characters and more
  • Shopping: Find all things Universal and more at the Universal Studios Store
  • Bonus: Journey from King’s Cross Station in Universal Studios Florida to Hogsmeade Station in Islands of Adventure aboard the Hogwarts Express (only available with a Park-to-Park admission ticket)


Great Places to Eat at Universal Studios Florida

  • Quick Service: “Hey Hey, Kids!” Visit Springfield, U.S.A. and stop by Krusty Burger for a fun atmosphere and great meal.
  • Best View: Try an off-the-charts meal and take in an incredible view of the lagoon at Richter’s Burger Co.
  • Best Atmosphere: Get your fill of Bangers and Mash, Fisherman’s Pie, Toad in the Hole and more at the Leaky Cauldron
  • Romantic: Try Lombard’s Fresh Catch at Lombard’s Seafood Grille while you take in the nautical atmosphere on the docks of San Francisco’s Fisherman’s Wharf
  • Sweet Treats: Try a Dole Whip Pineapple Sorbet at Schwab’s Pharmacy

Here are some resources to help plan your day:

UNIVERSAL PRO TRAVEL TIP  Start at the back of the park and work your way counter-clockwise to the front to stay ahead of fellow guests and take full advantage of ride lines.



Get ready to encounter dinosaurs, fly high above city streets with a famous web slinger, visit a secret school of witchcraft and wizardry, come face-to-face with a colossal ape and more. Check out these must do experiences that give you a sense of adventure:

  • Must-Do Attractions:
    • For the first time ever you can join and fly into the Forbidden Forest on Hagrid’s Magical Creatures Motorbike Adventure, the epic new roller coaster in The Wizarding World of Harry Potter
    • Soar high above Hogwarts on Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey
    • Splash down on Jurassic Park River Adventure
    • Feel the power and strength of becoming gamma-charged on The Incredible Hulk Coaster
  • Character Meet & Greet: Take photos with your favorite Marvel characters – Spider-Man, Captain America, Cyclops, Wolverine, Storm, and Rogue along with classic villains like Dr. Doom and The Green Goblin in Marvel Super Hero Island at Universal’s Islands of Adventure
  • Show: Brighten your night with The Nighttime Lights at Hogwarts Castle where you can embrace your Hogwarts pride as the four houses are celebrated in stunning light and sound (only available during select seasons)
  • Shopping: Witness a wand choose its wizard or witch at Ollivanders in Hogsmeade


Great Places to Eat at Islands of Adventure

  • Quick Service: Enjoy a delicious meal at Three Broomsticks
  • Best View: Eat while you watch daring riders get drenched at Thunder Falls Terrace in Jurassic Park
  • Best Atmosphere: Dine with Super Heroes at Marvel’s Character Dinner at Marvel Super Hero Island in Islands of Adventure
  • Romantic: Take in the spectacular view of the park’s inland sea and colorful lands from the award-winning Mythos Restaurant
  • Sweet Treats: Pick up a delicious Butterbeer from Hog’s Head

Here’s some resources to help plan your day:

UNIVERSAL PRO TRAVEL TIP Start your day off in Hogsmeade and work your way clockwise around the park to take advantage of wait times and attractions.


Words can’t describe what it feels like the moment you take that first step inside Volcano Bay and immediately feel like you’re in a tropical paradise thousands of miles away in the Pacific Ocean. Check out these must-do experiences that are filled with relaxation and thrills:

  • Must-Do Attractions:
    • Take the 70-degree fall through a drop door on the Ko’okiri Body Plunge
    • Think your brave? Try taking on the Kala & Tai Nui Serpentine Body Slides
    • Take on the twists, turns and drops of the Ohno of Ohyah & Ohno Drop Slides
    • Grab 3 of your friends for a wild on the wild side with the Honu of the Honu ika Moana
  • Experience: Float down the and relax on the Kopiko Wai Winding River or take on the challenge of TeAwa The Fearless River
  • Experience: Lay out with a cold drink on Waturi Beach and take in that volcano view
  • Shopping: Pick yourself up a soft Volcano Bay beach towel from the Waturi Marketplace
  • Bonus: Relax, unwind and enjoy the charms of your own private cabana in paradise with extra-comfy seating, concierge service and more

Great Places to Eat at Volcano Bay

  • Quick Service: Taste the tropics at Kohola Reef Restaurant & Social Club
  • Best View: Take in that incredible view at the Dancing Dragons Boat Bar
  • Tasty: Try the Mango BBQ Pulled Pork Sandwich at Kohola Reef Restaurant & Social Club. It’s delicious!
  • Best Atmosphere: Soak it all in from Whakawaiwai Eats with a pizza


Here’s some resources to help plan your day:

Best Option – Download the Official Universal Orlando Resort App                                                                                                                             Download The Volcano Bay Map


  • First, plan to arrive early to Volcano Bay and secure that perfect beach chair with that incredible view. TapuTapu will also make your day easy. This wearable device that holds your place in lines, activates interactive surprises, makes cash-free payments and more.
  • Stay at a Universal hotel and enjoy early park admission to Universal’s Volcano Bay one hour before the park opens (valid theme park admission required).

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Get ready to indulge in some of the most mouthwatering food with refreshing drinks, shop until you drop and dance the night away at Universal CityWalk. Check out these must-do experiences for a day or night out:
  • Show: Belt out your favorite tunes with help from talented backup singers and a live band at Universal CityWalk’s Rising Star
  • Show: At Blue Man Group, you’ll rock, laugh and party. As three bald and blue men explore our world, you’ll discover music, comedy and surprises at every turn
  • Experience: Challenge your friends to a round of mini golf at Hollywood Drive-In Golf or grab a cold beverage at the Lone Palm Airport at Jimmy Buffett’s Margaritaville
  • Shopping: Update your beach wardrobe at Quiet Flight Surf Shop or if you forgot your vacation collectibles, swing by the Universal Studios Store
  • Bonus: Check out a show at the Hard Rock Live or catch an afternoon movie at Cinemark


Great Places to Eat at Universal CityWalk

  • Quick Service: Try the best thing since sliced bread at Bread Box Handcrafted Sandwiches
  • Best View: Enjoy a sunset while eating a Burgushi at The Cowfish Sushi Burger Bar
  • Best Atmosphere: Enjoying a Cheeseburger in Paradise at Jimmy Buffett’s Margaritaville
  • Romantic: Indulge in true italian cuisine at VIVO Italian Kitchen
  • Sweet Treat: Try one-of-a-kind delectables like the Dirt Doughnut, the Memphis Mafia and the Bacon Maple Bar at Voodoo Doughnut

View full list of entertainment, shopping and dining options at Universal CityWalk

Here’s some resources to help plan your visit:



  • Take advantage of the FREE self-parking after 6PM! (Not valid during Halloween Horror Nights. Additional restrictions may apply and are subject to change without notice)
  • Free parking available with a purchase of two (2) Universal CityWalk Matinee tickets.



You might know about all the amazing experiences you’d like to try at Universal Orlando, but now let’s take a look at few ways you can get the most out of your first time trip with a few local planning tips.

Express Pass – Get to the Fun Faster

Want to get the most out of your visit? Check out a few of the Express Pass options available so you can skip the regular lines at most of your favorite rides and attractions to get the most out of your day at the parks.

Did you know you the Express Pass is included FREE when you stay at a Universal Premier category hotel? 

Plan Your Entire Trip with Ease Using the Official Universal Mobile App

Imagine having your own travel guide to give you every bit of important information you need to get the most out of your first-time visit. That is what the official Universal Orlando Resort App provides!

What can the Universal Orlando Resort mobile app do?

  • The app can become your Virtual Wallet
  • You can find everything you need including ride wait times, showtimes, dining venue hours and more
  • Create your own personal “to-do” list of favorites
  • Always be in the know with the latest park updates
  • Order meals on the go with ease


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Let’s dive into a few tips to help you decide what to bring during your first-time visit to the parks.

Backpacks and Shoulder Bags

Can you bring a bag or backpack to Universal Orlando Resort? Absolutely! A small, soft-sided bag is perfect for toting your essentials around while exploring the parks.

Potential Items To Add To Bag Include:

  • Sunscreen
  • Rain poncho or jacket
  • Refillable water bottle
  • Sunglasses



Can you bring a camera to Universal Orlando Resort? Of course! You are about to have some of the best times of your life and what better way to remember those moments than incredible photos to take home with you.

Here are a few great photo opportunities at the parks to keep in mind:

  • Meet and take a photo with your favorite characters
  • Track down the top Instagram-Worthy Walls spread out around the parks
  • Try some of the most Instagram-Worthy Food at Universal CityWalk


UNIVERSAL PRO TRAVEL TIP  Since it’s your first time visiting the parks, check out the My Universal Photo options, so you can focus on the fun while they focus on capturing your best moments.



Florida is a tricky place when it comes to weather. Most of the time it’s warm and sunny, but there are those occasional days that cause us to break out our coats. Regardless, it’s good to be prepared. 

    • Check the Weather: Take a moment to check the weather forecast before heading to the parks
    • Fashion or Comfort: Of course you want to look fashionable in all of the Instagram photos you are planning on taking, but keep in mind to be comfortable as your day may include lots of walking and standing in the heat
    • Which Shoes to Wear: Try to wear a shoe that is breathable and comfortable


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