You would think being my second time at Universal Studios that I would know exactly what I am doing second time around. Turns out, a 14 year old accompanied by adults is much easier to organise and contain than four 30 going on 13 year olds, so I thought I’d share some tips for all the big kids out there.
1. Buy An Express Pass
First and most important tip is please, please just buy the express pass. I know it’s more expensive, I know it’s exactly what they want you to do, but honestly, no ride is worth waiting in line for 2 and a half hours for. For around 50 bucks you can use it across both Islands of Adventure, Universal Studios as well as the Halloween Haunted Horror House where you can just flash your pass and skip to the front. What’s more, is with an Express Pass you can cover Universal Studios and Islands of Adventure in one day. It’s a busy day, but it is doable!
2. Stay On Property
There’s nothing worse than having an enjoyable jam packed day at a theme park to then only spend many unenjoyable hours getting home after it. We stayed at Universal’s Cabana Bay Beach Resort which was only a quick bus ride up the road from the park. With early admission passes one hour before the park opens, free transport to the theme parks and CityWalk (not to mention room charging privelidges with your room key) the advantages of staying on site are endless.
3. Go in October
There are a few reasons why I’d say you should visit Universal Studio in October, but let’s start with the obvious – Halloween Haunted Horror Nights. During HHN, Universal become home to a horror movie set, with actors and scenes lining each street, with the stars of the show being their special Haunted Horror Houses. This year we were spoilt for choice with American Horror Story, The Shining, Saw, Ash vs. Evil Dead and Horrors of Blumhouse to choose from. As we had the express passes, of course we did them all! Another reason for going in October? Well, if you can handle a Florida summer…
4. Buy Tickets Online
Rumous has it, you save way more cash buying online before than rocking up on the day to purchase. Not only that, you also get a handy coupon book full of savings you can make along the City Walk. Every little helps!
5. Buy A Sippy Cup
Yup, that’s right kids (and by kids I mean other adults) you can buy an unlimited refill cup for just $14, which you can top up at one of the many (and there are many) refill stations around the theme parks. They only last 24 hours but the combination of sugar highs are endless!
6. Do the water rides last
When it comes to water rides, save yourself the $10 fast dry machine (and the potential case of trench foot) and leave them till last. With 4 major players to get soaked on in the Islands of Adventure, you can bet your wet bum that there’s no way of making it outta there dry!
7. Choose your outfit wisely
As you can tell we learned the water lesson the hard way after being soaked head to toe post Popeye Barge ride! After just one ride, my vintage denim hot pant, suede trainer and body suit combo was certainly more cute than it was comfy. You would think the midday sun would have dried us quickly but as it turns out no amount of heat will completely dry a vintage denim seam when it’s sitting on your person. Choose cotton, your vagina will thank me.
8. Ride The Hogwarts Express
The coolest, and fastest, way to travel between Islands of Adventure and Universal Studios has to be the Hogwarts Express. Get on at King’s Cross Station in Universal (how surreal btw) and get off at Hogsmeade Station at tge Islands of Adventure. Even coming from a non Harry Potter fan. the experience was pretty damn cool!
9. Win a Blinky
The Simpsons was a show that ppretty much shaped my childhood, so a vitit to Krustyland was high up on my to do list. We decided to hold off and finish our 2nd day with it because – lets face it – people say “save the best till last” for a reason, right?! From rides, getting a beer at Moes to a visit to the Kwik E Mart, there’s plenty tto do around their little minnie Springfield, but my top tip? Bring home a Blinky. (Proudest girlfriend moment to date FYI)
10. Download the App
With an interactive map, wait times listed in real-time, park hours, and a parking reminder so you won’t forget where your car is, the Universal App is one of the handiest free tools about. You can also upgrade your tickets, buy Express Passes, sort out your dinner plans and even make your plan of attack before you even get there! Even better yet, you can download it while your there with the parks free Wifi. Cos as that old saying goes; if it’s not on social media, then did it really happen?