Many guests who visit Universal Orlando Resort have little choice regarding the time of year they can visit Orlando and must do so in the summer because of school and work schedules. From Memorial Day to Labor Day, guests will likely encounter large crowds, wait in long lines, endure oppressive heat, experience violent thunderstorms and pay peak prices for hotels and even meals. If you cannot visit Universal Orlando Resort during the non-peak tourist times (see our Crowd Calendar), what should you do? Here are some useful strategies and recommendations:
1. Reduce your wait time in lines with Express Passes. Utilizing the Express Passes significantly reduces the amount of time you wait to enjoy an attraction compared to waiting in the regular queue. If you stay on property at one of the three Universal Orlando Resort Deluxe resorts (Portofino Bay Hotel, Hard Rock Hotel, or Royal Pacific Resort), your express passes are included in your hotel room price. This savings can greatly impact the total cost of your vacation in addition to reducing the added stress of waiting in long lines with crowds of people in the heat of the day. If you don’t stay on property, you can purchase either a one-time use or an unlimited use Express Passes. Orlando Informer has excellent tips and information about the unlimited express passes here.
2. Use an Orlando Informer free touring plan developed and designed by experts who know Universal Orlando Resort. There are several touring plans to choose from designed to maximize your time and enhance your park experience, including one day, three day and the ability customize your own touring plans.
3. Be an early bird. Another advantage to staying at any Universal Orlando Resort, including Cabana Bay, is early admission to the Wizarding World of Harry Potter. You can ride Forbidden Journey or Escape from Gringotts along with drinking a cold mug of Butterbeer before the parks open to regular guests. If you can’t stay on property, arrive at the park gates 45 minutes prior to opening. You’ll be able to complete a good number of attractions in the first few hours and avoid the major crowds and afternoon heat.
4. Purchase your park tickets in advance and avoid standing in the ticket window queues outside the park entrance. During the summer, you can stand in line for 45 minutes just to purchase tickets. Don’t spend your first vacation day waiting in an unnecessary line. Another option is purchase your tickets online using your smartphone while standing in front of the parks and print them at the kiosks near the entrance to the parks.
5. Be prepared for the weather. Summertime in Central Florida can be brutally hot and humid, with the heat index easily reaching 100 degrees or more. In addition, the heat, humidity and sea breezes from both of Florida’s coasts can create intense thunderstorms many afternoons. Plan your day accordingly. Dress in light-weight clothing. Although you may look awesome, it isn’t the best idea to wear your Hogwarts House Robes while touring Universal Orlando Resort in the summertime heat. For a quick cool off, take a break inside the Jurassic Park Discovery center or other indoor attraction like the Horror Makeup Show. During the downpours use a compact umbrella or wear a poncho.
Learn more about weather in Orlando.
6. Take care of your body. Wear sunscreen, even if it’s cloudy. It is extremely easy to burn in the intense Florida sun and there is nothing worse than spending the rest of your vacation in pain from sunburn. Drink a lot of water throughout the day. You can use any type of cup to get free water at every Coca-Cola Freestyle machine throughout the parks. Use a cooling towel for immediate relief from the heat. Start a walking program before you go on vacation because you can easily walk five to seven miles in a day at the theme parks. Rent a stroller for your younger children, even if they may not usually ride in one. They will last longer in the parks and hopefully the stroller can prevent behaviors related to fatigue or overheating.
7. Go back to your hotel during the hottest part of the day to swim, relax by the pool or take a nap in order to spend an awesome evening back at the parks and CityWalk. The parks have a different ambiance after the sun goes down. In addition, Universal Orlando’s resorts have amazing pools and you will want to enjoy them.
8. Make the most of the water rides at both parks. The humidity and heat can take a toll on a person. Wear water shoes or flip flops and plunge down the hill at Jurassic Park River Adventure or get drenched while spinning along the pathway in Bluto’s Bilge Rat Barges to cool off. And don’t forget the thrilling and soaking experience on Rip Saw Falls! In Universal Studios Florida, head to Curious George’s water play area and stand under the buckets of water if you really want to get sopping wet. The heat of the day can help dry your clothes or you can always store extra clothes in the lockers near the entrance of either park.
9. Save some money on your hotel, meals and souvenirs by booking a vacation package. For example, The Harry Potter vacation package outlined on the Orlando Informer Travel page, includes staying on property, breakfast at the Three Broomsticks and Leaky Cauldron along with a Shutterbutton’s Photography Studio session. Not only will you be close to the parks, you get to enjoy breakfasts immersed in the Wizarding World of Harry Potter and you can take home a unique souvenir.
10. Prepare yourself mentally. Embrace the fact you are visiting Universal Orlando Resort – one of the best vacation destinations in the world! While an often used cliché, attitude really is everything. Approach your upcoming vacation, not with dread of the unpleasant factors, but with the frame of mind that you will enjoy yourself in spite of those factors.
The summer can bring crowds and extreme weather to Universal Orlando Resort but the unique adventures and thrills far outweigh the unpleasant factors. Keep these tips in mind whenever you plan your vacation and I hope you have a wonderful time.
What other strategies do you employ when vacationing at Universal Orlando Resort during the summer months? Sound off in the comments below!
Continue your vacation planning by learning the Best day of the week to visit Universal Orlando.
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