Universal Studios

What To Pack For A Day In Universal Studios

One of the things that I love about both Universal Studios and Disney World is that they allow you to bring backpacks into the parks, along with water bottles and snacks. The only problem difference between Universal Studios and Disney World is that you’re required to put your bags into lockers for a lot of the Universal Studios rides, while you can carry your bags on most of the Disney World rides.

The Wandering Weekenders- What To Pack For A Day In Universal Studios

The lockers at Universal Studios outside the rides are free for the duration for the ride plus the line length, but they’re also pretty small (only 9.5″ wide, 11.5″ high, and 17″ deep). With that being said, you can bring whatever you want into Universal Studios, but you also want to be cautious about what you bring because you won’t have a ton of place to store your stuff while you ride your rides!

What To Pack For A Day In Universal Studios

The Wandering Weekenders- What To Pack For A Day In Universal Studios

A Backpack- Personally, I think that the best way to carry everything for your days in the parks is a backpack. The only thing to consider when choosing a backpack is that you have to go through security before you get onto Universal property, which means that you will have to open up every compartment. So I suggest a backpack with as little compartments as possible.

Refillable Water Bottle- Water is one thing that you should never EVER pay for when you’re in a theme park. It’s too expensive and something that you can get for free if you pack accordingly. There are water fountains all over the parks, so a refillable water bottle is definitely a must pack when visiting the parks, especially during the summer.

Snacks- Another thing that’s very expensive in the parks is food, and not only is it expensive, it’s also high calorie. A great way to save your money and your calories is to pack your own snacks. During our last trip to Universal Studios, we packed 100 calorie packs of nuts and protein bars, which were perfect for some mid morning or afternoon hunger pains.

iPhone Portable Charger- One of my favorite things to do when we’re on vacation is to severely over use SnapChat and Instagram way too much. The only bad thing about that, besides blowing up everybody’s phone, is that my phone will usually die about half way through the day, which, of course, is bad for everyone. To make sure that doesn’t happen, I always pack a portable charger. They’re usually super small, and one of the most important things that I usually pack. Just don’t forget to bring your lightning charging cable too!

Camera/Camera Batteries- Speaking of taking tons of pictures. You don’t want to forget your camera when you visit Universal Studios, because like I’ve mentioned previously, the details especially in the Harry Potter sections of the parks are outstanding! You’ll want to remember them for forever!

Sunscreen- The Florida sun is no joke, especially in the middle of the summer. The last thing you want to happen is to get fried on your first day in the parks, which would make the rest of your trip totally miserable. To make sure that doesn’t happen, make sure to pack a tube of sunscreen for your day in the parks, and don’t forget to reapply during the day!

Sunglasses- Again, with the Florida sun you definitely don’t want to be caught without your sunglasses. A long day in the sunny parks would make for a lot of squinting and probably future wrinkles if you forget your sunglasses!

Hand Sanitizer- If you ever stop to think about how many thousands of people that visit Universal Studios everyday, it doesn’t take long to think about all the germs that are all over the rides and other things that you touch throughout the day. You definitely don’t want to forget the hand sanitizer for your long day in the park.

Medicine- Before our trip to Disney World a couple of years ago, I read a few articles about packing some basic medicines to take with you into the parks, like pain reliever, Tums, and bandaids, and I couldn’t agree more with those articles! The last thing you want is to get a blister, a headache, or heartburn when you’re in the park and not have anything to fix it. A small medicine bag is a perfect thing to remember to take into the parks.

Fitness Tracker- I don’t think that it’s any secret that when you visit a theme park, you walk A LOT. A great way to track how much you’re walking is by bringing your fitness tracker. I’ve always been a huge fan of FitBit, but our Apple Watches were also great fitness trackers for our days in the park.

So there you have it, what I would pack for a day in Universal Studios. What else would you pack? Did I leave anything off?

Where To Stay When Visiting Universal Studios

The Wandering Weekenders- Where To Stay When Visiting Universal Studios

One of the things that Chris and I contemplated a lot on our last trip to Orlando, was where we were going to stay when we visited Universal Studios. Orlando is a one of the top travel destinations in the US with a ton of things to do, which means that there’s also a ton of places to stay.

During our past trips to Universal Studios, we’ve always stayed at the Double Tree that’s right across from the entrance to Universal Studios because we’re Hilton Honors members. This time around our main focus was going to be seeing Harry Potter World, so we decided to stay at one of the Universal Studio hotels to get an extra hour in the parks. I thought that I’d compare the two hotels to see which is actually the better options.

Double Tree Universal Studios

The Wandering Weekenders- Where To Stay When Visiting Universal Studios

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Location: 5780 Major Blvd, Orlando, Florida, 32819
The Double Tree is located across the street from the entrance to Universal Studios. It’s about a mile and a half walk from the hotel to the entrance of Universal Studios.

Price: Averages about $150 per room

Benefits: Great location, easy access to Universal Studios, free breakfast if you’re a Hilton Honors member, shuttles to the parks, a pool.

Rooms: Typical of the Double Tree rooms, nice bedroom with separate bathroom. No kitchens.

Universal’s Cabana Bay Beach Resort

The Wandering Weekenders- Where To Stay When Visiting Universal Studios

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Location: 6550 Adventure Way, Orlando, Florida, 32819
The Cabana Bay Beach Resort is about a mile walk from the entrance to Universal Studios.

Price: Averages about $200 per room

Benefits: One hour early access to The Wizarding World of Harry Potter, shuttle to the parks, great pools and resort style

Rooms: Very comparable to Disney’s All-Star resorts. Two Queen beds, a kitchenette with some of the bigger rooms, and smaller bathroom.

The Comparison

Location: Obviously, Universal’s Cabana Bay Beach Resort wins for best location, but it’s only about a half mile closer than the Double Tree. You could stay at the Double Tree and be perfectly fine.

Price: Double Tree wins for this one. The rooms are a lot cheaper, plus you can use your Hilton points to get free nights if you’re a Hilton Honors member. I’m sure that you could also find some cheap rates for both of these hotels if you’re going during the off season.

Benefits: Universal’s Cabana Bay Beach Resort definitely wins for this category. The pools are definitely a lot nicer than Double Tree’s, and you really can’t beat the extra hour in the park. Universal Studios will also have some of the more popular rides open during that extra hour that the park is open so you can ride them as well.

Rooms: I personally think that Double Tree wins this category. The rooms are nicer, and it’s nice to have sleep in a King Size Bed when you’re used to it. Now if you’re staying for an extended period of time at Universal Studios, the kitchenette would probably be nice to be able to cook some meals during your stay.

The Decision

The Wandering Weekenders- Where To Stay When Visiting Universal Studios

Although the rooms and prices are better at the Double Tree, I don’t think that you can beat the amenities at the Cabana Bay Beach Resort. The extra hour in the parks is 100% worth the slightly higher price, and in reality, you probably aren’t going to be in your room that much during your time at Universal Studios except to sleep.

Have you stayed anywhere else during your trip to Universal Studios? Do you agree with my choice for the where to stay when visiting Universal Studios?

Our Universal Studios Finale

The Wandering Weekenders- Our Universal Studios Finale

Saturday

The Cowfish

After spending a full day in the parks at Universal Studios and Islands of Adventure Chris and I were both pretty exhausted and our feet were hurting, so we decided to head to The Cowfish, where we were meeting up with the Orlando girls for dinner, a little early for some drinks. Chris and I immediately snagged some seats at the bar, and enjoyed playing some of the games on the touchscreens with some delicious drinks!

The Wandering Weekenders- Our Universal Studios Finale

After an hour, we went downstairs and put our name on the list because it looked like the line was getting really long, and immediately met up with Kerri and Pamela. We grabbed some drinks because we thought that it would take a while to get our table, but we were almost immediately seated, and Kate and Emily joined us right after we sat down.

The Cowfish was a really fun restaurant that is known for having a menu with both burgers and sushi, with a lot of different options to choose from. Chris and I opted for the Cowfish Bento box which had a slider, sweet potato fries, edamame, and a small roll. Everything was delicious, and I loved finally getting to meet some of my favorite girls in real life!

The Wandering Weekenders- Our Universal Studios Finale

After dinner, we decided to head out to a bar for some more drinks and more talking at The Red Coconut Club. They had a live band that played some awesome music, and we had a blast just talking about anything and everything, from traveling and life in Orlando to blogging and everything in between. It was so great finally getting to talk to all four of these amazing women in real life after reading their blogs for so long!

The Wandering Weekenders- Our Universal Studios Finale

At about 10:00, Chris and I were both getting pretty tired, since we had gotten into town so late the night before, so we said our goodbyes before heading back to the hotel. Thanks again Pamela, Kerri, Kate, and Emily for meeting up with us! We had such a blast with y’all!

The Wandering Weekenders- Our Universal Studios Finale

Sunday

Universal Studios

For our last day at Universal Studios, we really only had a few hours before we had to head back to the hotel and then head to the airport. Because of that, we were going into our last day in the parks with a purpose. We knew we wanted to see the Harry Potter sections of the parks again, but there were also a few rides in Universal Studios that we wanted to ride first thing in the morning because the lines would be shorter.

We started off at Universal Studios again and immediately hopped into the Despicable Me line. Despicable Me is located at the front of the park so the lines generally get long pretty fast, but first thing in the morning you can pretty much just walk right on. Despicable Me is another one of those 3D simulated rides, and it’s so adorable because of all the Minions! You definitely don’t want to miss it!


The Wandering Weekenders- Our Universal Studios Finale

The Wandering Weekenders- Our Universal Studios Finale

There weren’t many other rides open at this point, so we headed to Diagon Alley so we could get our last taste of Harry Potter! We rode the ride at Gringott’s again, and got our another butter beer! This time we tried the warm butter beer, and it was delicious, and tasted kind of like a buttery hot chocolate.


The Wandering Weekenders- Our Universal Studios Finale

The Wandering Weekenders- Our Universal Studios Finale

The Wandering Weekenders- Our Universal Studios Finale

The Wandering Weekenders- Our Universal Studios Finale

The Wandering Weekenders- Our Universal Studios Finale

The Wandering Weekenders- Our Universal Studios Finale

The Wandering Weekenders- Our Universal Studios Finale

The Wandering Weekenders- Our Universal Studios Finale

About this time, the rest of the park was starting to open up, so we quickly headed back out to ride some of the rides that we missed the day before- The Mummy, Transformers, and Rock It Roller Coaster. Most of the rides we were immediately able to walk onto, but Rock It Roller Coaster we actually had to wait about 30 minutes for. It was a blast, and well worth the wait!

The Wandering Weekenders- Our Universal Studios Finale

Islands of Adventure

At this point in the day, we only had about an hour before we had to head back to the hotel, but we were determined to ride the ride at Hogwarts one more time before we left. We walked super fast over to the Islands of Adventure (the line for the Hogwarts Express was too long, otherwise we would have taken that), and immediately got in line at Hogwarts. This is seriously one of my favorite rides ever, and I think that I could ride it over and over again!

The Wandering Weekenders- Our Universal Studios Finale


The Wandering Weekenders- Our Universal Studios Finale

The Wandering Weekenders- Our Universal Studios Finale

The Wandering Weekenders- Our Universal Studios Finale

After that, it was time to head back to the hotel, pack up, and head to the airport. It was so sad to say goodbye to Orlando, but I know that we’ll be back soon, either for another trip to Universal Studios or a trip to Disney World!

The Wandering Weekenders- Our Universal Studios Finale

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