5 Vacation Hacks for Avoiding Crowds at Universal Orlando Resort

5 Vacation Hacks for Avoiding Crowds at Universal Orlando Resort

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Always on the lookout for the biggest and best? You’ve come to the right place. Not only is Universal Orlando Resort the ultimate destination for your next-level vacation, but we’re about to tell you how to maximize your time here.

Universal Orlando Resort Vacation Hacks

Stay on property to get free Universal Express Access

The biggest reason to stay on property: three of Universal Orlando’s on-site hotels offer free Universal Express access for everyone in your party. That means you’ll get to skip the regular lines at all participating rides and attractions. It’s an amazing value; you’re going to want to take advantage of this one.

Universal Orlando Resort Vacation Hacks

Don’t ride the first thing you see

Most guests will enter through the front gates and head to the nearest attraction. Zig when they zag – head to the back, then work your way forward.

Vacation Hacks at Universal Orlando Resort

Eat outside of the 11 am – 1 pm lunch window

Most people head to the in-park eateries during this window of time. Because it’s lunch! Plan to snack before or eat a late lunch and you’ll have a bit more of the place to yourself.

Universal Orlando Resort Vacation Hacks

Enter Universal Studios Florida through the “secret entrance”

Did you know there’s a second park entrance to Universal Studios Florida near the Blue Man Group theatre? Head in that direction and get to the rides that much faster.

Universal Orlando Resort Vacation Hacks

Use child swap

Those with kids who can’t or don’t want to go on specific rides can use child swap to keep from waiting in line twice. One parent stays with the child while the other rides, and then you switch. Ask the greeter at the front of the attraction to get you set up.

What hacks do you like to use when you visit Universal Orlando Resort? Tell us in the comments below!

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36 comments

  1. Chad

    New ride Kong skull island … avoid the long line , use “single rider” line . This hack will not work with most rides hoping to ride with your party . But this long ride is a large old school bus ride that seats a lot of people at one time , your chances of riding with your party from the single rider line is a 90% chance . This saved us 1.5 hrs of wait time

    • Mike F

      If you are in the single rider line don’t expect to ride with your entire family. I hate people that will argue with the attendant that they need to ride with someone else that is also in the single rider line. They do announce that if you are in the single rider line you will not be riding with another person in the single rider line. One guy insisted that he ride with his son. He held up the entire ride. He was finally told that either get on the ride or his son get on the ride or get in the regular line and wait again. He left the line and did not go on the ride and was applauded when he left. Know what each line is for. Single rider is not the express line.

      • SB20

        Well single riders line is an express line for single riders.

      • C Johnson

        Thanks Mike for making this point very clear. It only takes a couple of inconsiderate people to ruin it for everyone else. Considerate conduct is necessary anywhere that there are large crowds. Along with patience.

    • Emesge

      We used the Kong single rider line several times during a recent visit and were on the same car each time. Also a good option for Forbidden Journey and Gringott’s. Please, please, please don’t use this option if you’re with kids or if you are traveling with a non-English speaking companion. I’ve seen instances in both cases where the parties got separated and lost because of panic.

  2. kellie mccutcheon

    Go to guest services and tell them about an exceptionally great experience with one of their staff and name the member of staff. The staff member gets an award and you will get a pass to jump to the front of the queue on your next ride.

    • Hobbygoblin

      Huh?! When did that start? I give positives any time a Team Member goes above and beyond, and I’ve never once gotten a pass.

    • annr

      I also did told guest service about someone who did something wonderful. I didn’t tell them to get anything because people rarely get commended on doing a great job. It’s usually the complaints you hear. They didn’t give me a pass.

  3. @GoWithTheHeart

    If you plan on going for more than four days and want to stay at and on-site hotel buy annual passes. It cost just as much as 5 days at park but you will get an average savings of 10-30% off the on-site hotels with code APH (Annual Pass Holder), 10% off almost any universal store, and it’s good for a year! Blackout dates apply on the cheaper one but well worth the investment!

    • SB20

      Can this be used with the FLO discount code?

      • Scout

        No, it’s either/or. When you book online, Florida discount code is FLO and the annual pass holder is APH. However, they do check your license or annual pass.

      • C Johnson

        Discounts can NEVER be stacked. If they could many would be paying half price or less. Choose the option available to you that offers you the best savings and go with that one.

  4. pam

    HA!! Been using the “secret” entrance for years but the last time we were there it wasnt there for some reason. Being a premier pass holder for years we have figured out other great things too when navigating the parks. We usually stay at Royal Pacific Resort and get the expresses but the last 3 times we stayed at Sapphire Falls and they dont have expresses and it didnt matter. not only did we go at a time when it wasnt super busy we figured out what time to go to certain attractions where there wasnt more than a 10 minute wait. That has proven to be tried and true for us

    • PJ

      The secret enterance is still there, it only opens after 11am

      • Lindsey Humphries

        Oh!!! I was wondering! We went and didn’t see it bc obviously way too early! They need to open it earlier!

    • Vanessa

      Thanks Pam! We, too always stay at Royal Pacific because we love it so much and for the passes! We’ve been wanting to try Sapphire Falls but are scared we will regret not having the fast passes when we go with our 5 and 6 year old…you think it’s worth it??

      • Rocky

        No way. I am a local and trust me, you want the express passes. Besides, you can go over to Sapphire Falls and use the pools even if you stay at RPR.

        • Fiona

          Child swap is the best idea ever, and not many people know about it. It’s Great. Was wondering that about using the other resort pools, I guess you just use your hotel key card.

  5. Nanci Hernandez

    We usually go end of August, that’s when most kids/families in the South go back to school. We literally went on revenge of the mummy 3 times back to back because there was no line at all what so ever.

    • maria

      we are travelling there at the end of august hope this is the same for us

    • Scout

      That happened to us once on the Harry Potter quidditch ride! We were able to ride it three times right in a row!

  6. mre

    I tried the Child Swap feature and couldn’t get anyone to swap their children for mine. Isn’t that the way it works? Ha Ha

    • Lisa

      Yep. I was joking with some friends that I’m glad they didn’t have that Child Swap when I was a kid. Then again, if it was a rich family… 🙂

  7. Marjorie Rojas

    As premier pass holders we avoid long lines getting to the park after 2:00. We walk around, eat, and after that we start using the express pass (which is after 4). We also use the Universal app. It is very helpful, because it tells you the wait times, what rides have express pass, single riders, the show times, etc.

  8. Lindsey Humphries

    We tried finding the secret entrance at the time the park opens for onsite guest and did not see it. We walked all the way back into the blue man entrance into that building. Where exactly is it? We were there right after Christmas and will be there again this year!!!

  9. Joanne

    Head to the exit for Dragon Challenge (after placing your stuff in a locker) then hit the re-ride line and avoid the lengthy walk up the hill and around tons of winding pathways. 🙂
    Best Rollercoasters ever !!

  10. Gerald F. Dziedzic

    When did they start the single rider line? I was there on Feb. 19 and I asked if they had a single rider line and I was told no. I have been a preferred annual pass holder since 2003 and that is very upsetting. Please answer my query!!!!

    • Cassie

      I went jan 2016 and they had it

    • Danielle

      We went in 2011 and again in 2014. Both times we used the single rider lines. New attractions won’t have it all the time.

    • Jordan

      Um they’ve had single rider lines for many of the rides for as long as I can remember. Certain rides don’t offer it, but I would definitely say 75% do. Maybe you just went to one that didn’t offer it.

  11. Jacqueline Kelly

    Thank you That was helpful. Unfortunately, the hotels on property are so expensive that it’s better to stay at someplace close and pay for Express Passes. You will definitely save money. Unfortunate, but true.

    • C Johnson

      Why people are giving this comment negative ticks I do not know. The comment is true. Their are off site hotels that are great accommodations and even after buying the Express passes it is still cheaper to stay off site if you are on a tight budget. I would think that everyone would like an on site Hotel property that offers free Express Passes but unfortunately not everyone can afford it. It’s more important to enjoy the park than not go at all because you just cannot afford the park and all it offers.

  12. Cassie

    Yep use the single rider line. Hardly need to wait in line. If u and your friends all do it chances are u may be on the same same ride just not together. Not like u can talk diring a lot of them anyway. Its much better then waiting in line for lime 2 hrs.

  13. Daysi

    My family gets on the single riders line when available. It’s much faster!

  14. Chrissy

    I like to cut through the billabong store to get to Universal Studios quicker. I avoid the crowds in citywalk, look at clothes, and get to enjoy the AC for a little bit. It really helps. 🙂