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10 things to do at Universal (besides visiting the parks)


We all love the theme parks – it’s our little slice of escapism and joy right here in the heart of Florida. As fun as the parks are, however, sometimes you need an escape from your escape. Next time you’re looking for Universal-style fun with a twist, give one of these a try…

1. Check out the pool

The pool at Cabana Bay Beach Resort
Come on in, the water’s fine

On-site resort guests get access to not only their hotel pool, but the other pools, as well. Not sure which one is going to be your favorite? Try them all out in a day-long pool adventure.


2. Galaxy Bowl at Cabana Bay Beach Resort

Galaxy Bowl at Cabana Bay
We won’t judge if you use the bumpers

Check out Universal Orlando Resort’s only bowling alley, located at Cabana Bay. If you work up an appetite (or thirst), there’s an attached restaurant and bar area. Plus, cosmic bowling takes place at night!


3. Kitchen Challenge at Hard Rock Hotel

The Kitchen Challenge at Hard Rock
Think you have a big enough stomach? (photo: Universal Orlando Resort)

One pound of fries, a giant bacon-and-fried-onion-topped cheeseburger, one whole fried pickle, and a three-pound slice of cake make up this food lover’s dream/nightmare. To take part in the challenge officially, the meal must be completed within 30 minutes.

(More on Hard Rock Hotel.)


4. Musical della Notte at Portofino Bay Hotel

Every night around sundown, listen to live entertainment serenade you from the Portofino Bay Piazza. If you’re 21 and over, enjoy a drink from The Thirsty Fish during the performance.

(More on Portofino Bay Hotel.)


5. Get a taste of Volcano Bay with the Cabana Bay lazy river

After playing in Cabana Bay Beach Resort’s two pools, relax at the hotel’s very own lazy river. Cabana Bay is the only on-site hotel with its own lazy river (and bowling alley), which makes it a must-visit.


6. Play 18 holes at Hollywood Drive-In Golf

The Haunting of Ghostly Greens at Hollywood Drive-In Golf
The Haunting of Ghostly Greens

Choose between The Haunting of Ghostly Greens or Invaders of Planet Putt for a great time for all ages at CityWalk. Can’t make up your mind? Opt for a double feature and enjoy both courses.

(More on Hollywood Drive-In Golf.)


7. Spend some time at Pat O’Brien’s

Pat O'Brien's at Universal CityWalk
Dueling pianos are always a good decision

Enjoy a famous Pat O’Brien’s Hurricane while listening to dueling pianos play hits from various genres. Have a request? Make sure to roll up a tip with your request sheet to help guarantee you’ll hear it.


8. Pamper yourself at Portofino Bay Hotel’s Mandara Spa

Relax with a Balinese massage or a Mandara signature facial. The spa also comes complete with a fitness center for those who are looking to stay in shape.


9. Experience Sapphire Falls’s Caribbean Carnaval

Caribbean Carnaval at Sapphire Falls
Believe it or not, this is a dining experience

Enjoy all-you-can-eat (and drink) food at this dinner show that brings the sounds and energy of the Caribbean to life. Check out our exclusive review of this weekly offering for more.


10. Try a rum tasting at Sapphire Falls Resort’s Strong Water Tavern

Strong Water Tavern at Sapphire Falls
This guy knows what he’s doing

One of Universal’s newer on-site hotels is home to a rum tasting that starts at $18 and features three different samplings from all over the world. Request to sit at the Rum Lab for a more in-depth experience.

(More on Sapphire Falls Resort.)

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About OI Staff

Orlando Informer is the internationally awarded independent resource for guests visiting Universal Orlando, Walt Disney World, SeaWorld, and other Orlando attractions. With over 600 free pages and blog posts covering the city, viewed by over three million users every year, we are proud to help so many families plan the perfect vacation to Central Florida destinations. Orlando Informer has been seen in BuzzFeed, the Huffington Post, USA Today, The Mirror, Fox News, and more.