You booked your trip to Universal Studios! Now it’s time to pack, which is arguably the hardest part. Knowing what to bring to theme parks can be tough, especially if this is your first time. Thats why we wanted to put together our ultimate packing list for Universal Studios Orlando!
With the combination of water rides, thrill rides, and everything in between, being prepared will make your trip a lot more enjoyable.
We’re going to be covering everything from general Universal Studios tips (how to skip all the lines) to what to bring to ensure you can survive all of the long days!
The Ultimate Packing List For Universal Studios Orlando
Universal Studios Orlando is a massive park. There is so much to see and do. To kick off the packing list, here are some important items we recommend bringing to make your trip more enjoyable.
General Items To Pack For Universal Orlando
This is really important. We recommend wearing running shoes. You’re going to be on your feet all day, going from ride to ride and waiting in lines. If you don’t have comfortable footwear your feet will be sore.
Fanny pack or small backpack
We recommend bringing a fanny pack with you and storing big bulky bags in lockers. That way, you’ll have the essentials on you at all times and can grab larger items throughout the day.
Change of clothes
If you’re planning on trying out the water rides, a change of clothing is a must. Trust me a simple poncho won’t cut it, especially on any of the Jurassic Park rides (I speak from experience).
Reusable Water Bottle
If you don’t want to spend hundreds on bottled water, bring a reusable water bottle. They are water fountains around the park where you can refill. This will save you a lot of money throughout the day.
Hand Sanitizer & Wet Wipes
Even if you don’t have small children, hand sanitizer and wet wipes are a must. During the age of Covid 19, it’s important to sanitize after each ride, given the number of people that go through a park in one day. Also while waiting for a ride, you’ll likely touch handrails and other objects with high traffic. Being able to sanitize at all times is a must.
Sunscreen & Hats
When you head to a theme park expect to stand in long lines, usually in the sun (thanks to the amazing Florida weather). That’s why it’s so important to wear sunscreen and bring a hat. The sun is usually unavoidable so be prepared, it’s important to have sun protection so you can have fun all day long!
One of the worst things to experience is dry lips and no lip balm. Especially if it’s a bright and sunny day out. Bringing lip balm is something that can easily be forgotten but can make your day a lot more comfortable.
Universal allows small snacks that don’t require heating. Think protein bars, crackers, etc. These are great to bring to keep you going throughout the day in between meals. This also includes baby food.
Small First Aid Kit
Accidents happen, so having a small first aid kit that includes some alcohol wipes and band-aids can come in handy!
Cell Phone Charger & Portable Charger
There will be charging outlets in restaurants and lobby areas throughout Universal therefore bringing a cell phone charger is a must. If you have one, bringing a portable charger is even better so you don’t have to wait while your phone juices up!
Hotel Room Key
Sounds simple, but don’t leave without it!
Credit Cards & Debit Cards
As a general rule, when I travel I bring multiple credit cards and or an extra debit card just in case one happens to be stolen or misplaced. That way you can ensure you will always have access to funds. Keeping a backup locked in the safe back at the hotel will ensure you’re always covered.
Bring any required medicine you need with you since you don’t know how long you’ll be staying in the park! If you’re having fun, time flies so it’s important to stay healthy while you’re there.
It’s important to note, there are some forbidden items that you cannot bring into Universal Studios Florida. When making a packing list for Universal Studios Orlando, if you have these items they will either be confiscated or you won’t be let into the park.
- Drugs including Marijuana
- Clothing with offensive messages
- Hoverboards & drones
- Food that requires heating
- Food that requires refrigeration
- All glassware and glass containers
- Hard-sided coolers
- Soft-sided coolers larger than 8.5″ wide x 6″ high x 6″ deep
- Folding chairs
- Selfie Sticks on rides – you can bring them into the park but cannot use them while on any of the rides
Universal Studios Florida
Universal Studios Florida features thrill rides. They currently don’t have any water rides available, which makes packing slightly easier if you’re visiting this park for the day.
The top attractions include:
- The Wizarding World of Harry Potter Diagon Alley
- Despicable Me Minon Mayhem
- Fast and the Furious
- Hollywood Rip Ride Rockit
- Hogwarts Express Station
- Men in Black
- Transformers & more!
One thing to note when checking out the thrill rides at Universal Studios Florida is that a lot of them have a 3D-4D experience which can cause motion sickness. Personally, I experienced terrible motion sickness on a lot of the newer rides, and I wasn’t the only one. It’s not uncommon to see people throwing up (seriously!) after a 3D ride.
To combat motion sickness we recommend a couple of tricks:
- Avoid greasy & acidic foods
- Look into motion sickness medications (like non-drowsy Gravol)
- Stay hydrated – bring a refillable water bottle with you and drink a lot throughout the day
- Understand the rides – typically each ride will warn you if there’s a chance of motion sickness, so take these seriously!
- Take your time – if you feel sick, take a breather and relax
- Chew on ice – if you can get a restaurant to give you a cup filled with ice, chew on it.
Islands Of Adventure
At Islands of Adventure, you’re going to get both thrill rides and water rides. This is the park where some planning will be needed if you want to experience both types of attractions.
In Islands Of Adventure you’ll find:
- Jurassic Park
- The Wizarding World of Harry Potter – Hogsmeade
- The great Hulk
- Dudley Doos Ripsaw Falls
- Skull Island: Reign of Kong & more!
With both roller coasters and water rides you’ll likely want to bring the following:
- Change of clothes & a towel – this is so important for an enjoyable day. You will be soaked on a lot of these water rides, so a change of clothing is a must
- Free Lockers – use the free lockers to store extra clothing.
- Light jacket – bringing light layers helps once the sun goes down, especially if you’re still drying off from one of the water rides
- Rain Poncho – if you want to watch the water rides, you might want to wear a light poncho so you don’t get wet
Volcano bay is all about the water rides! If you’re looking to cool off on a sunny day, this is the park for you!
The water park features a ton of rides like:
- Krakatau Aqua Coaster
- Waturi Beach
- Winding Lazy River
- Honu of the Honu ika Moana & more!
Volcano Bay is best enjoyed during the summer months, winter months can get a little chilly in Orlando, which can make Volcano Bay difficult to enjoy.
What to bring?
When making a packing list for Universal Studios Orlando, specifically Volcano Bay bring:
- Towel – you can rent towels, but bringing your own is cheaper and will likely be better quality
- Beach bag – perfect for holding all of your essentials like a water bottle and sunscreen
- Flip Flops – keep the toes cool with sandals
- Sunglasses – these are a must for the Florida sun
- Hydro Flasks – it can get hot out there in Volcano Bay so having a Hydro Flask will keep your water cool
Universal Pro Tips!
Pro Tip: Universal Express Pass
One of our top tips for Universal is getting the Universal Express pass. We’ll be honest, it is a pricey additional cost however it’s worth it.
Depending on how many times you want to ride, you can either get the Universal Express which allows you to skip the line once per ride, or you can get the unlimited version which lets you do this unlimited times. Based on our experience the basic Universal express is sufficient since there are so many things to see and do at Universal.
Lines can be massive, and having an express pass can save you hours of waiting. If you want to experience everything the park has to offer, you need the express pass. Note – there are no affiliate links for Universal in this article – based on our personal experience the express pass truly makes a difference.
Pro Tip: Universal App
Before heading into the park, download the Universal App. It’ll give you a map of the entire park so you always know where you are. Additionally, it will give you a wait time for each of the rides, so you know where to go when.
Pro Tip: Get there early and leave late
Arrive as early as you can. If you can get there right when the park opens you’ll have a more enjoyable experience. A lot of the popular areas like Harry Potter World get incredibly busy in the afternoons, which can take away from the experience.
Staying late is also a must at Universal. A lot of families with small kids will leave earlier making the park less busy as the night goes on. Typically, you’ll be able to ride the same ride multiple times closer to the park close.
There are also fun light shows to see at night – particularly on the Hogwarts castle!
Pro Tip: Child Swap
If you’re heading to the theme park with young children, taking advantage of the child swap is a must. A lot of the rides will have a family area, where one adult can wait with the kids, and the other can ride the ride. Then you can swap places. This is a great way to ensure that your children will never be alone and everyone can have fun!
Pro Tip: Single Rider
If you don’t mind going on the ride alone, the single rider option can save a ton of time. Rides need to be filled to capacity which means usually there’s a need for a single rider. Universal has separate lines for this, which will go a lot faster than the general admission.
Pro Tip: Go on the Hogwarts Express
A feature you can take advantage of is the Hogwarts Express. It’s a train that will take you from Universal Studios Florida (Harry Potter Diagon Alley) to The Islands of Adventure (Harry Potter Hogsmead).
Pro Tip: Spend some time at Citywalk
The Universal Citywalk is an entertainment district located right beside the Universal theme parks. It’s a great place to explore with tons of restaurants and interactive surprises for kids!
Pro Tip: Spend time enjoying Harry Potter World
From the rides to the shops, there’s so much to see in Harry Potter World. You could easily spend an entire day there and want to go back!
For food make sure you try the popular Butter-beer and eat in one of the taverns.
Next, visit all of the shops! They are all incredibly detailed, which makes them fun to explore. One of my favorites is Berty Bots where you can get Harry Potter-inspired candy.
If you’re feeling extra magical, purchase a wand and have fun making things move. All around Harry Potter World there are magical things to discover that require a wand to activate.
Pro Tip: Early Park Admission
If you are a Universal Hotel guest you can get early park admission which is 30 minutes at Volcano Bay and an hour at Universal Orlando Florida and Islands of Adventure. This is awesome if you want to get an early start to the day and get on popular rides before there’s a massive lineup!
Pro Tip: Eat During Off-Peak Times
Planning your meals during off-peak times can save you a lot of time and hassle. First, eating breakfast before you arrive is a must. Then, try and eat either an earlier lunch around 10 am or a later lunch around 3 pm. You’ll beat the rush and can spend more time exploring!
Pro Tip: Mobile Food & Drink Ordering
If you don’t want to wait in lines, try out the Universal mobile food and drink orders. In the Universal app, you can select the restaurant, pick your meal, pay then let the kitchen know when you’ll be arriving. This way you can plan out your meal times!
Pro Tip: Virtual Line
Universal is starting to offer a virtual line option for some of their rides. All you need to do is go into the app and select the ride you want to go on. Pick a time, and then you will be queued, virtually! Show up at your specified time and ride without lines.
We hope you enjoyed this Packing List For Universal Studios Orlando! This list can also work for Universal Studios Hollywood as well since they have similar parks!
Packing well in advance for your trip will help ensure that you have everything you need to fully enjoy your vacation!
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