Since 1990, Universal Studios Florida in Orlando has been making people say “woah!” In fact, their slogan is “Let Yourself Woah.” This theme park focuses on popular movies and television shows such as Men In Black, Transformers, Twister, E.T., and Back to the Future. Some of the most recent include Fast & Furious, Despicable Me, and Terminator. With Steven Spielberg as a co-founder, the park has to be good, right?
In fact, the park has 18 rides including six thrill rides, seven motion simulation rides, and four 3-D and 4-D experience rides. Some are kid-friendly rides but a few might be a bit too thrilling for those under five. From Despicable Me Minion Mayhem to Woody Woodpecker’s Nuthouse Coaster and Men in Black’s Alien Attack to Revenge of the Mummy, there is something for everyone here.
After working up an appetite, hit up some of the 92 eateries in the park. From Universal Studios Classic Monster Café to the Hard Rock Café Orlando, there are 35 full-service restaurants. If you are in a hurry, there are also 45 quick-serve places where you can order by phone or online and pick up on the go. From hot dogs and hamburgers to steak and seafood, there is quite a variety of choices at Universal Studios Florida.
Buying tickets for Universal Studios Florida online will usually save visitors some money. Recently, an adult ticket for one day online was about $120 while children under 10 were around $115. Buying tickets at the gate can raise that to almost $140 for adults and $135 for kids. Buying for more than one day or more than one park can save money also.
Only a mile from the intersection of the Florida Turnpike and I-4, Universal Studios Florida is right off of FL-435. Being only nine miles to the southwest of Orlando, RVers can stop at many of the other attractions such as Lake Eola Park, American Ghost Adventures, and the Orange County History Museum. Of course, there are also several other theme parks like Universal’s Islands of Adventure, Fun Spot America Orlando, Volcano Bay, SeaWorld, and Discovery Cove.
Universal Studios Florida has parking for all vehicles in one place and only charges a few dollars more for RVs and trailers. In addition to parking, the enclosed parking garage has an onsite kennel in case you brought your furbaby along, moving sidewalks, escalators, and elevators. Parking is often free after designated times in the evening except for Halloween Horror Nights.
Just like the other Orlando theme parks, Universal Studios Florida can be reached by public transportation from just about anywhere including all the way from New York. In fact, the Silver Star Train can take riders to the Lynx Kissimmee Station from a number of locations. If coming from nearby, the Lynx bus route 42/111 to 37 might be the best route for some travelers, but visitors can also take route 21 or 08. From anywhere else in the metro area, the SunRail train will deposit visitors at the Lynx station as well.
Even though camping at Universal Studios Florida sounds like an incredible experience, unfortunately, it is not available. There are, however, quite a few exceptional Orlando RV parks in the area. In fact, within a 30-mile radius, there are over a dozen campgrounds for RVers to camp and relax.
Although there are dozens of campgrounds in the vicinity of Universal Studios Florida, some of the best are KOA campgrounds. In fact, 13 miles to the south, Orlando / Kissimmee KOA boasts over 60 RV campsites that can support motorhomes up to 134 feet. Just 23 miles southwest of the park, Orlando Southwest KOA has more than 250 sites for rigs up to 65 feet long. Also, Orlando / Lake Whippoorwill KOA is 26 miles southeast and offers more than 100 campsites for motorhomes up to 85 feet. They all have full hookups, a playground, pool, and a Kamp K9 for the furbaby.
Universal Studios Florida offers complimentary tram or shuttle service from the parking lot to the front gate. The garage also has moving sidewalks, escalators, and elevators to help guests get to the park entrance. Wheelchair and stroller rental are also found at the Parking and Transportation Center in the garage as well as at the theme park entrance. These are on a first-come, first-served basis and cannot be reserved.
Since Florida is often warm and sunny, it is best to pack cool, summer clothing for the most part. Although it depends on when you are coming to the park, the most common attire at the park are shorts and t-shirts. Do not wear anything bulky that can impede the riding harnesses during rides and make sure you have comfortable shoes to walk around in during the day.
Because many of the rides in the park prohibit loose items, it is best to have enough pockets to store keys, phones, and other items. If they don’t fit in pockets, a fanny pack is a good idea. Otherwise, a backpack (typically up to 24 x 15 x 18 inches) can be carried into the park, but it will need to be left with a non-rider or placed in a locker while riding.
Be prepared for the sun when heading to Universal Studios Florida because, after all, it is Florida. Pack some sunscreen, preferably in a small enough bottle to fit in a pocket so it can be reapplied during the day. Stay hydrated by drinking plenty of water and be sure to cool off in the shade or air-conditioned buildings throughout the day. At the campground, keep mosquitoes and ticks away with insect repellent spray or other products.
RVers can prepare for road trips by making sure they have plenty of cooking needs like seasoning, cooking utensils, and cooking spray as well as baggies, foil, and travel-friendly plates. Just in case, it is also helpful to have some kind of a cooker like a portable grill or camp stove. Don’t forget to bring dish soap, trash bags, and biodegradable toilet paper.
Visitors to the park will find a plethora of eateries in the area, including several Mexican restaurants and diners, as well as a pizzeria and seafood place to the south on I-4 and FL-482. To the northeast, a brewhouse, grill, and Italian cuisine can be found along I-4. For those looking for a fast food place, they can be found in any direction within a mile or two of the park.
When hunger strikes, head to one of the 92 restaurants and food kiosks throughout the park. Whether you are looking for a nice sit-down experience with the family or a quick pick up on the go, Universal Studios Florida has something for everyone. The kids will love the burgers and fries from the Beach Break Café or a character meet & greet at the Despicable Me restaurant. And parents will love the adult dining and beverages at the Italian Kitchen or Strong Water Tavern. Don’t forget to stop by Weasleys’ Wizard Wheezes, Sugarplum’s Sweet Shop, or one of the other 51 shops to get some souvenirs before heading out.
Metal detectors, security guards, and Orange County police officers are all part of Universal Studios Florida’s plan to keep the park and visitors safe. Besides searching bags and other items, visitors should know that random security checks can be carried out anytime. Be sure to familiarize yourself with the prohibited items list on the park’s website before heading for the gates.
Even though the most popular time for visiting the park seems to be during the summer, a great time for families to enjoy Universal Studios Florida is from November until March. It is cooler, less crowded, and there is less chance of those afternoon thunderstorms Florida is known for during the summer months. Bring your rain gear and download a weather app just to be on the safe side.
The park has several first-aid facilities staffed with licensed nurses and paramedics. At Universal Studios Florida, guests can find the first-aid station by Louie’s Italian Restaurant in New York. In addition, there is a satellite first-aid kiosk at the front of the park by the Lost and Found area. It is also a good idea to bring a small first-aid kit for minor injuries.