Suiteness BlogInsider Tips for Families Vacationing at Universal Orlando™Written by Divya MulanjurPublished February 5, 2019

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Whether you’re a kid or kid at heart, there’s no better way to spend some quality family time this year than at Universal Studios in Orlando. So pack up your kids, friends and/or extended family — because everyone is guaranteed to have fun. Check out these insider tips and get ready to experience the magic and thrills of the park.

1. Stay on-site at a Universal Orlando Resortand get more perks.

Save yourself the trouble of navigating the parking garages or paying for rideshare each day. Instead, you’ll be able to take a water taxi or shuttle straight to the parks without a second thought and enjoy numerous other benefits, too.

Early Park Admission

The most essential thing to make the best of your time at Universal Orlandois to beat the crowds. Even if you can get there 1 hour before the crowds roll in, you’ll have a better time. Staying on-site helps with that not just because of the proximity, but because you actually get Early Park Admission benefits. For example, if you stay at Universal’s Aventura Hotel™  (Universal’s newest hotel) or any other on-site hotel, you’ll get to avoid the crowds with one-hour early admission to The Wizarding World of Harry Potter™ – Hogsmeade™ and Universal’s Volcano Bay™. Or if you prefer Lowe’s Royal Pacific Resort™, you’ll get free Universal Express Unlimited™ access to skip regular lines at Universal Studios and Universal’s Islands of Adventure Theme Park™ as well as priority seating at restaurants.

All-Pool Access

Staying at a Universal Orlando resort provides you with access to every pool on property. There are six different hotels, each with a unique pool feature, and some with a kids’ play area, so you’ll never cease to be amazed. For example, Universal’s Cabana Bay Beach Resort™  has a dive tower-style water slide for both adults and children, while Universal’s Hard Rock Hotel™  has cool underwater music.

Come home to a Universal experience

One of the best things about staying at a Universal Orlando resort is being able to feel right at home, or perhaps even a little better than home. There are so many family-friendly options to choose from like the two-bedroom kids’ suites at Loews Sapphire Falls Resort at Universal Orlando™  or a roomier one-bedroom family suite for 6 at Universal’s Cabana Bay Beach Resort™.

If you’re visiting with the extended family, you could book a connecting room exclusively through Suiteness at an on-site hotel at Universal Orlando. For half the price of a two-bedroom suite, you can put the kids in one room and the grown-ups in the other, ensuring plenty of privacy and enough space for all. In fact, the three-bedroom connecting rooms at Universals’ Aventura Hotel™ for larger families can sleep up to 9 guests.

But perhaps the most exciting part about staying here is that you can opt to stay in one of the best kids’ suites of all time – the two-bedroom Despicable Me Kids Suite at Loews Portofino Bay Hotel at Universal Orlando™ which is designed after the movie’s lovable characters.

2. Try the “Child Swap”

There’s no real way around it: summer vacation, spring break, the holidays—pretty much any time school is out—are busy times at Universal Orlando, and the parks will be crowded. Parents who have young children who aren’t old enough or tall enough to ride yet can get around the lines by looking for “child swap” areas of each ride. One parent can wait with the kids (and sit on the benches and get a break) while the other rides. Then, they can switch places so the other parent can ride immediately after. This way, everyone gets to maximize their time and experience as many rides as possible.

3. Get Universals CityWalk™ Party Pass

Are you planning to hire a sitter and enjoy an adults-only dinner or live music after the kids are in bed? Consider getting the Citywalk™ Party Pass. For $11.99 you can get access to the venues that have nighttime cover charges like Pat O’Brien’s, Bob Marley – A Tribute to Freedom and Jimmy Buffett’s Margaritaville.

4. Get the park-to-park ticket option

If you’re going to visit Universal’s Islands of Adventure™ and Universal’s Volcano Bay™, consider getting a park-to-park ticket option. You can choose from a two-park or three-park option, and you’ll have unlimited access to all the parks on the same day. So if you want to spend the day at Islands of Adventure™ or Volcano Bay™ and still visit Universal at night, this is a smart option.

5. Download the Universal Orlando Resort app

Universal has upgraded a lot since you visited as a kid, especially when it comes to technology. Be sure to download the park app before you go. You’ll have access to the latest wait times for rides, maps, tickets, passes and more, all from your phone.

6. Try the butterbeer ice cream!

Everyone will be lining up to try Butterbeer™ at The Wizarding World of Harry Potter™ – Hogsmeade™, but did you know they also have butterbeer ice cream? It can be a lifesaver on a warm Orlando spring or summer day. Look for it at Florean Fortescue’s Ice Cream Parlour. And grown-ups looking for something a little stronger shouldn’t miss out on Fire Whiskey at the Hog’s Head™ pub. Finally, families with hearty appetites can also enjoy the “Great Feast” for four for $50 at the Three Broomsticks™, which is a steal for the parks!

7. Attend a family-friendly Mardi Gras parade, Halloween Horror Nights™ or one of the many popular annual events!

Spring Break 
  • Universal Orlando’s Mardi Gras: One of the most popular Mardi Gras parties in America happens annually at Universal Orlando. Typically, you can celebrate Mardi Gras, every night from around February through April, so perfect for spring break planning (check Universal Orlando’s holiday calendar for updates). Florida’s biggest party comes with nightly parades, amazing concerts including headliners on select nights and more. 
Winter Holidays  
  • Halloween Horror Nights™ at Universal Orlando: Voted the best Halloween event for the past 11 years, there is a reason this event comes with a warning that says the event may be too intense for young children under the age of 13. Haunted houses, scare zones and thrilling rides come alive (or maybe not?) at one of Universal Orlando’s most popular attractions that run on select nights from September to November.
  • Winter Holidays at Universal Orlando Resort: From November to January, the whole park transforms into a winter wonderland—part merry, part mischievous. The resort famously lines up festivities and attractions featuring some of your favorite movie and book characters. It’s pretty spectacular and magical. Source: Annual Events at Universal Orlando Resort™


Universal elements and all related indicia TM & © 2018 Universal Studios. All rights reserved.
HARRY POTTER characters, names and related indicia are © & ™ Warner Bros. Entertainment Inc. Harry Potter Publishing Rights © JKR. (s18)
Updated on Jul 15, 2019.