While Disney World holds the wonder of our childhood movies and memories, Universal Orlando boasts attractions based on our favorite movies and franchises of all time! It’s no secret that this park is one of the best places to visit in Orlando. With movie-based attractions like The Wizarding World of Harry Potter, Despicable Me Minion Mayhem, and The Blues Brothers Show, it’s no wonder that vacationers flock here. Because it’s so popular, we want to give you the inside scoop on how to best prepare for a day at the park and get the most bang for your buck when buying tickets to Universal Orlando.
Quick Answer – How to Buy Tickets to Universal Orlando: The best way to buy tickets to Universal Orlando is online in advance here. These tickets allow you to skip the line and are refundable up to 24 hours in advance.
Best Ways to Get Tickets to Universal Orlando
Where to buy tickets for Universal Orlando and what kind to get depends on how you want to spend your time in the park. In this section, we’ll walk you through the benefits and drawbacks of different purchasing methods so that you can save money and time when planning your vacation to Orlando!
Line Up in Person (Not Recommended)
It’s possible to purchase tickets to Universal Orlando at the gate, but we advise against it for a few reasons. First of all, you’re not guaranteed a ticket. Certain days sell out weeks in advance, especially during summer holidays and spring break. So, if you want to be guaranteed a day in the park, it’s best not to buy tickets at the gate.
Another reason is that Florida is hot, y’all! You probably don’t want to wait for a ticket in the scorching sun. Also, tickets are more expensive at the gate than online. Save yourself the sunburn and the extra coin by not getting Universal Orlando tickets at the gate.
Book Online (Recommended)
When it comes to how to buy tickets to Universal Orlando, booking your ticket online in advance is the way to go! You can buy tickets on Universal Orlando’s official website or through a third-party seller like GetYourGuide. Each method has its own benefits and potential drawbacks.
If you purchase through Universal Orlando’s official site, it offers a price guarantee. If you find the same ticket cheaper on another U.S.-based website within seven days of your purchase, it will refund you the difference in price. The downside to purchasing through the official website is that tickets are nonrefundable and nontransferable.
However, if you book tickets to Universal Orlando through GetYourGuide, you can get a full refund up until 24 hours before your park visit. You also have the option to book now and pay later, which is convenient if you want to book dates that you know will be busy but don’t have the funds to purchase them outright yet. Tickets from GetYourGuide tend to be a few dollars more, but it’s worth the security of knowing you can get a full refund or hand off your ticket to someone else if you can’t make it. If you purchase through GetYourGuide and want add-ons (such as an Express Pass), though, you’ll have to buy those extras at the gate.
Useful Information for Visiting Universal Orlando
What’s the Best Time to Visit Universal Orlando?
April, May, and September tend to be the best months for visiting Universal Orlando, as this is when ticket prices are lowest. April and May are considered a shoulder season with less crowding in the park, as there are no holidays or school breaks then. This is also when the weather is warm but not too hot. September is also an excellent time to visit, as the kids have just gone back to school.
Some of the busiest times are June, July, August, and weekends in October (when the park puts on its annual Halloween Horror Nights event). Also keep in mind that summer in Orlando is very humid with a lot of rain. So, if you’re looking to get away during holiday times, consider visiting in December.
What Are the Universal Orlando Hours of Operation?
Universal Orlando is open every day of the year. It has four separate park areas, each with its own hours that vary daily. Universal Studios Florida is open from 8 or 9 a.m. to 8 or 9 p.m., depending on the day. Universal’s Islands of Adventure is open from 9 a.m. to 8 or 9 p.m., while Universal’s Volcano Bay opens at 9 or 10 a.m. and closes between 6 and 8 p.m. Universal CityWalk opens daily at 8 a.m. and closes at midnight or 1 a.m. However, visitors under the age of 18 must leave CityWalk by 9 p.m. on weekends.
During Halloween Horror Nights on weekends in October, the park closes to daytime guests at 5 p.m. Other events throughout the year, such as the park’s Mardi Gras celebration, also affect opening and closing hours, so it’s always best to check the park’s hours in advance!
How Do You Get to Universal Orlando?
The best way to get to Universal Orlando is to drive or take Uber. The park is a 20-minute drive from Downtown Orlando via Interstate Highway 4 or from Orlando International Airport via State Road 528 and I-4. Traffic can get terrible in the mornings, so leave as early as possible to avoid sitting in traffic and get the most out of your day at the park!
It’s possible to take public transit to the park, but you’ll have a bit of a walk to the front gate when the bus drops you off at the Universal Boulevard and Hollywood Way stop.
How Do Universal Orlando Tickets Work?
All right, are you ready to dive into Universal Orlando tickets? There is one standard entrance ticket that everyone must purchase, which you can select for durations of 1-5 days. Once you’ve chosen how many days you want to spend at Universal Orlando, you pick the type of ticket and the parks you’ll visit. You can choose to visit one park per day or multiple parks each day.
If you want to visit Universal’s Volcano Bay Water Theme Park, you must purchase a three-park ticket. It’s not possible to visit Volcano Bay on a two-park ticket, but you can always visit Universal CityWalk for free without a ticket. Once you’ve purchased your entry ticket, you can also purchase several add-ons for your visit.
How Much Do Tickets for Universal Orlando Cost?
Prices for tickets to Universal Orlando vary by date. On the official website, a one-day, one-park ticket costs $109-$154 for adults and $104-$149 for children ages 3-9. A multiday, park-to-park ticket starts at $138 for adults and $133 for kids. Children ages 2 and under enter for free. The price of skip-the-line tickets for Universal Orlando (the Express Pass) starts at $120 per person.
Tickets for holidays and the peak season are more expensive, including ones purchased on GetYourGuide. Tickets to Universal Orlando from GetYourGuide tend to be a few bucks more, but the tickets are refundable up to 24 hours before your park visit.
If you are a Florida resident, you can access special rates on Universal Orlando tickets. Discounts are also available for active and retired military personnel.
What Are the Best Hotels Near Universal Orlando?
If the sole purpose of your trip is to visit Universal Orlando, stay as close to the park as possible. Orlando traffic can be awful, and you don’t want to spend every morning of your vacation sitting in commuter traffic (you get enough of that back home)!
If you want to stay right in the action of the park, consider Universal’s Aventura Hotel. This fantastic resort is right beside Volcano Bay and offers its guests a free shuttle to any of the theme parks or CityWalk.
Another fantastic choice is Club Wyndham Orlando International, which is just a 10-minute drive from Universal Orlando. This three-star hotel offers rooms with a villa-style layout and access to an outdoor swimming pool, a gym, and shuffleboard courts.
For a pet-friendly hotel near Universal Orlando, check out Home2 Suites by Hilton. This hotel features apartment-style rooms with private kitchens and complimentary breakfast.
What’s the Security Process at Universal Orlando?
You must go through a security screening and bag check before entering the park. Security prohibits these items inside the park:
- Suitcases and bags with wheels
- Illegal drugs
- Offensive clothing
- Clothing that gives a false impression of the wearer being a park employee or an emergency responder
- Segways and hoverboards
- Any weapons or explosives (such as firearms, fireworks, chemical-dispensing devices, clubs or sticks, and knives)
- Hard-sided coolers
- Soft-sided coolers larger than 8.5 by 6 by 6 inches
- Outside food (except for small snacks, special dietary food, or baby formula)
What About Visiting Universal Orlando With a Disability?
Universal Orlando is very accessible for guests with disabilities. All restaurants, shops, and areas of the park are wheelchair accessible. This includes the lines for all rides except Pteranodon Flyers, and there are dedicated boarding areas to help transfer guests who use wheelchairs onto the rides. At the front of the park is a Quiet Room for guests who need some time away from the excitement, though it has a 30-minute time limit.
Braille and large-print copies of the safety and accessibility guide are available at the Guest Services Lobbies. Several of the park’s shows also offer large-print and Braille scripts of the dialogue, and guests who have hearing impairments can request an ASL interpreter in advance. Service animals are welcome at Universal Orlando. You can learn more about accessibility at the park here.
FAQs: Facts About Universal Orlando
When Did Universal Orlando Open?
The park first opened its gates in June 1990.
Are There Lockers Inside?
Yes, each park has large lockers for rent at the front gate to store bags, coats, or other items you don’t want to lug around with you.
Are There Wheelchairs and Strollers for Rent?
Yes, you can rent strollers, wheelchairs, and electric convenience vehicles directly from Universal Orlando.
Can I Buy an Express Pass Online?
You can only purchase a skip-the-line Universal Orlando ticket online if you buy your ticket through the official website. Otherwise, you have to purchase it at the gate.
Can I Take a Guided Tour of Universal Orlando?
Yes! You can book a guided tour of Universal Orlando with the VIP Experience package. This tour of Universal Orlando includes not only a personal guide, but also reserved seating at shows, character meet-and-greets, and discounts throughout the park.
Does Universal Orlando’s Ticket Include Harry Potter World?
Yes and no. The Wizarding World of Harry Potter is broken up into two parks, so you’ll need to select a ticket with access to both Universal Studios Florida and Universal Islands of Adventure to see the complete attraction. If you want to ride the Hogwarts Express, you must have a park-to-park ticket.
Whew! You should now have all the information you need to enjoy a fun and relaxing day at Universal Orlando. Remember to bring sunscreen, lots of water, and a camera to capture all the good times. Off you go, Muggles!