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Use our site to plan the perfect Universal Orlando vacation

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 Resort vacation-planning – comprehensive, obsessively updated, and completely free!

The theme and water 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 recently-added Volcano Bay water theme park, there is so much to be amazed by at Universal. But the 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.

Skip to: First tip | 8 easy steps | Additional tips


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’s a good thing that we’ve got so much info, it’s 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 OI Community Facebook group, or checking out our blog, you may feel like you’ve lost your place. But don’t worry! All of our core Universal vacation-planning pages are organized and available with one click from the OI Universal Center table of contents.

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, and planning section. That page includes the most fundamental information about Universal Orlando.

Step #2 – visit the Maps, Rider’s Guide, and 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 FloridaIslands of Adventure, and Volcano Bay sections. Like the Script title page, these three pages provide an overview of Universal’s two theme parks and single 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 have your maps printed, you will have a good foundation of knowledge regarding Universal Orlando. Now, it’s 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, and planning
Our collection of money- and time-saving tips covers many aspects of Universal Orlando Resort, 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 will help your vacation go from good to incredible! This part of the Universal Center 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. Our collection of guide pages 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 aren’t released until just a few months before they start!)

Universal Orlando touring plans
This area of the site 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 the theme park.

Islands of Adventure
Here, again, we cover 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 the theme park.

Volcano Bay
This section provides information covering every major slide, kids’ play area, and dining option at Volcano Bay. Remember that the Volcano Bay title page presents the background information for the water park.

Universal Orlando’s hotels
Are you considering staying on-property at Universal Orlando during your vacation? Then you will want to visit this section to view all our hotel information, which includes over 1,000 full-screen images.

Step #6 – join us in our OI Community Facebook group. Ask all your questions and jump into the discussion about Universal and so much more!

Step #7 – get a summary of each week’s Universal news and all the activity on our site by signing up for our weekly email. Want even more updates? Follow us on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram.

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 (salient) updates are posted on our website’s front page. Otherwise, you can access them anytime by viewing our Daily Snapshot.

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 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 also check out our hundreds of blog posts!

The gates of Universal Studios Florida.
The gates of Universal Studios Florida in 2015
Do you have a question about the information on this page, would like to provide feedback, or did you spot an inaccuracy? Please let us know by posting in our OI Community Facebook group.

Return to the OI Universal Center table of contents