Greetings, and thank you for joining us here in the OI Universal Center, the world’s largest and most up-to-date online guide for Universal Orlando vacation planning — comprehensive, obsessively updated & completely free!
The theme parks at Universal Orlando offer some of the most astounding entertainment and family experiences available anywhere in the world. From awe-inspiring adventures like Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey, to classic thrills like Revenge of the Mummy, to the new Volcano Bay water theme park, there is so much to be amazed by at Universal Orlando…
But theme parks can also be crowded, hot, and terribly expensive. If you head in the gates without a plan, and without knowing the latest tips and tricks to maximize the value of your trip, you risk the chance of having a miserable experience.
That, our friends, simply will not do. It’s not every day that you can visit a place like Universal Orlando, so we created the OI Universal Center to give you all the knowledge and tools you need to ensure your trip is one of the best vacations your family has ever had.
Before we begin, we just wanted to let you know that you can return to the OI Universal Center at any time by clicking the UNIVERSAL VACATION PLANNING button at the very top of any page.
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The number one tip for finding your way around the OI Universal Center
Some first-time visitors have found themselves getting a little overwhelmed by the amount of information on our site. While it is a good thing that we’ve got so much info, it is not such a good thing if you feel confused by it all. For this reason, right off the bat, we want to let you know the number one tip for finding your way around: Use the OI Universal Center table of contents as your home base!
When you are reading through our articles, navigating through the hundreds of questions we’ve answered, joining the conversation in our Facebook group, or checking out our blog, you may feel like you’ve lost your place. But do not worry! All of our core Universal vacation planning pages are organized and available with one click from the OI Universal Center table of contents. You can return to the table of contents at any time by clicking the UNIVERSAL VACATION PLANNING button at the top of every page.
Now that we’ve covered that tip, let’s continue with the orientation…
8 easy steps to make the most out of the OI Universal Center
So you are ready to start your exploration of the OI Universal Center as you prepare for the vacation of a lifetime. Here is how we would recommend that you move through our site.
Step #1 – To begin planning your trip, start with the title page of our The Script: TICKETS, PACKAGES & PLANNING section. That page includes the most fundamental information about Universal Orlando.
Step #2 – Visit the Maps, Rider’s Guide & Vacation brochure page. Here you will be able to view and print out maps of Universal Orlando (and other useful material). Having printed maps will greatly aid you in understanding much of the information we provide.
Step #3 – Next, visit the title pages of the Universal Studios Florida section, Islands of Adventure section, and Volcano Bay section. Like The Script title page, these three pages provide an overview of Universal’s two theme parks and one water park.
Step #4 – Check out our Universal Orlando crowd calendar and see what the parks will be like during your travel dates. This will determine to a large extent how much planning and mental preparation you will need to do. Pay particular attention to whether there are any special events happening during your travel dates.
Step #5 – Once you have visited the pages mentioned above, and you have your maps printed, you will have a good foundation of knowledge regarding Universal Orlando. Now it is time to dig in deep! Decide what you would like to learn more about and visit that section of the Center:
The Script: TICKETS, PACKAGES & PLANNING
Our collection of money and time-saving tips which cover many aspects of Universal Orlando, including Universal Express Passes, the Universal Dining Plan, Universal vacation packages, and so much more.
The Set: MAKING THE MOST OF YOUR VACATION
While not as “mission critical” as the planning information in The Script section, the information in The Set section will help your vacation go from good to incredible! This section also focuses on many in-park issues, such as character meet-and-greets and Internet access.
Insider’s Guide to the Wizarding World of Harry Potter
This section is the largest repository of Wizarding World tips, tricks, and secrets available anywhere in the world. If the Wizarding World of Harry Potter is a top priority for you, and if you are visiting when the parks are moderate to busy, we highly recommend that you review all of these pages.
Annual events at Universal Orlando
One of the best features of the Universal Orlando theme parks is their annual events, such as Mardi Gras and Halloween Horror Nights. This section is filled with the most up-to-date information available for current and future events. (This section is also a great example of where a traditional book falls short: you can’t publish specific information about these events a year ahead of time, because details are not released until just a few months before the actual events!)
Universal Orlando touring plans
Our touring plans section provides you with ready-to-print-and-go touring plans for Universal Studios Florida, Islands of Adventure, Volcano Bay, and the Wizarding World of Harry Potter. Not sure one of our plans will work for you? Then you can use our expert knowledge to design your own!
Universal Studios Florida
This section provides information covering every major attraction, show, kids play area, and dining option at Universal Studios Florida. Remember that the Universal Studios Florida title page presents the background information for this theme park.
Islands of Adventure
This section provides information covering every major attraction, show, kids play area, and dining option at Islands of Adventure. Remember that the Islands of Adventure title page presents the background information for this theme park.
This section provides information covering every major slide, kids play area, and dining option at Universal’s Volcano Bay. Remember that the Volcano Bay title page presents the background information for this water theme park.
On-site hotels at Universal Orlando
Are you considering staying on-site at Universal Orlando during your vacation? Then you will want to visit this section to view all our hotel information, over 700 full-screen images, and our unique interactive maps.
Step #6 – Join us in our Universal Community on Facebook. Ask all your questions and jump into the discussion about Universal and so much more.
Step #8 – Bookmark our Universal Snapshot page. This provides a one-page quick reference for everything that is happening right now across Universal Orlando Resort.
Additional tips from the experts
OI Universal Center updates
As the days and months go by as you wait for your vacation to begin, you will want to occasionally check out the updates to the OI Universal Center. Updates may include major park announcements, new features in the Center, or small “I just noticed that!” observations from our frequent visits to Universal Orlando. The most recent updates are posted on our website’s front page. Otherwise you can access them anytime by viewing our snapshot page.
Don’t forget about the annual events
For the first-time visitor to Universal Orlando, there is so much to see and do just when you consider what is available year-round. However, Universal’s annual events are a big deal, and if you happen to be visiting while one of them is in full swing, you will want to know about it ahead of time (either so you can be a part of the crowd or avoid the crowd!). Click here to visit our Events section.
We’ve got a blog too
The OI Universal Center represents the core of our vacation planning information. But if you want to learn everything there is know about Universal, be sure to check out our hundreds of blog posts filed under Universal Orlando.
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