Planning a trip to Universal Studios in Orlando Florida? Me, too!  {giddy} You’re in luck because I’m a planner, and I’ve got tons of insider tips to help you plan your trip {so excited to head back to Harry Potter World and Islands of Adventure} including what to bring, how to avoid the lines, where to eat without a wait, where to cool down, how to save money, Universal Studios hours, Universal Studios maps, and much more. This is the BIGGEST and BEST Universal Orlando Guide ya’ll! Big thanks to Family Forward for hosting an annual retreat that gets my family there! {wink}

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Vacation Count Down Ideas

I love building the excitment of a big trip by counting down the days with my boys.  Here’s some ideas if you like to countdown to your trip, too!

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1.  Minions Count Down Calendar Ideas ~ Wouldn’t this make the cutest count down calendar for your trip (minion plus banner)?  Otherwise, just throw a party to celebrate going to Universal!  {wink} Tons of ideas!

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2.  Harry Potter Party Idea ~ I can’t even begin to think of a better way to gear up for Harry Potter world than throwing a Harry Potter Party.  This party by HWTM is so incredible I could literally squeal.  And, an easy countdown idea, take out a Gillyweed each day to countdown to the trip!  Brilliant.

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3.  Universal Studios Vacation Countdown Calendar ~ How to make a Universal Studios Florida Count Down Calendar using the Silhouette Digital Cutter.

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4.  Image Countdown Calendar ~ This countdown calendar using images can be modified for your vacation!  Use images that remind you of Universal Orlando and there you go!

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5.  DIY Vacation Countdown ~ A vacation countdown calendar that can be used for any vacation, not just your Orlando one!   {score}

Planning Your Universal Studios Trip

Insider Tips

6.  Insider Tips for a Family Forward Orlando Adventure ~ Great tips for making the best of your trip to Universal AND strengthening your family!  Score!

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7.  Universal Orlando Vacation Tips ~ After visiting Universal Orlando, this mom has lots of tips to share that are so helpful!

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8.  Top 12 Easiest Ways to Save Time and Money at Universal ~ A “famous” list  of the top 12 easiest ways to save time and money when visiting Universal Orlando!

9.  What to Bring ~ a list of items to bring, and what you can’t bring in to the park as well!

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10.  Everything You Need to Know for a Universal Orlando Vacation ~ What should I pack, what should I wear and will my kids have fun?  These questions and so much more are answered!

Where to Stay

Wondering where you will be laying your head at the Family Forward Retreat? Here’s a sneak peak.  Even if you are not attending the Family Forward Event, these posts have some great information about staying on-site when you visit Universal Orlando.

Lowes Royal Pacific Resort Hotel

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11.  Theme Park Vacation: 7 Reasons to Stay at On-site Hotels  ~ a comparison of the cost to the value of staying on-site in one of Universal Orlando Resort’s three hotels (Loews Portofino Bay, Hardrock Hotel, and Loews Royal Pacific Resort) to staying at a budget hotel. 

12.  Universal Orlando Resort – Top 5 Perks of a Hotel Key ~ Counting down the top 5 perks of a hotel key with any of the 3 Universal Orlando Resort Hotels. You just can’t compare hotels dollar for dollar because of these amazing hidden values at the Resort. Save a ton of cash and treat your family to an amazing vacation.

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13.  Lowes Royal Pacific Hotel and More ~  Pictures of the hotel and Universal with reasons why it worked for this family!

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14.  5 Kid Friendly Perks From Lowes Royal Pacific Hotel ~ Showing just how kid friendly the Lowes Royal Pacific Hotel really is.

Vacation Travel Tips

For those of you that are traveling long distances to come to the Family Forward Retreat, or just traveling a distance to get to Universal Studios, here are some helpful tips to make the trip a little easier.

15.  Top 10 Tips For Traveling With Kids ~ Tips for traveling with kids because: Happy kids = happy parents = more trips!

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16.  5 Tips For a Stress Free Vacation ~ Traveling is fun, and a stress free vacation is even better.  Save yourself a lot of stress and worry by exercising these surefire tips for travel preparation! 

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17.  Creating Emergency Travel Kits For Your Family ~ Emergencies can strike at any moment, even while enjoying a fun family vacation. These emergency travel kits are simple to put together and can give you a little peace of mind while you’re away from home. 

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18.  What to Pack ~ What to pack when visiting Universal Orlando!  Whether you are flying, driving, coming for one day or staying for several.  Whether you are coming in January or July, this post has it all!

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19.  How To Avoid The Lines ~  Here’s handy timetables to see what kind of wait times you can expect for the individual attractions.  Keep in mind that you’ll always wait less time at the beginning or end of the day and your longest wait times will be in the middle of the day!

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20. Universal Orlando Resort Theme Park’s Top 8 Thrill Rides ~ If you love roller coasters and motion rides make you giddy then this post is for you! 

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21.  24 Universal Studios Ride and Insider Secrets ~ 24 insider tips on Universal Studios rides, how to avoid the lines, where to eat without a wait, where to cool down, and much more. This is the best Universal Studios Guide you’ll find online!

22.  Enjoying Amusement Parks with Little Kids ~ Here’s how to make an amusement park vacation as fun as possible, while minimizing the inevitable pain of standing in line, managing strollers, and minimizing the fear of everything that comes with amusement parks.

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23.  Universal Studios with Kids ~ Excellent tips and suggestions for taking kids to Universal Studios including packing, eating, lines, height requirements and more.

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24.  30 Intriguing Hidden Secrets at Universal Studios Florida ~ The next time you visit Universal Studios Florida, go armed with this list of “hidden secrets”  and take your trip to the next level.  {wink}

Universal Islands of Adventure

25.  Universal Islands of Adventure is one of two theme parks located at Universal Orlando Resort.  Islands of Adventure theme park offers some of the most technologically advanced attractions and thrill rides ever created as well as something for every member of the family and every age. It has individually themed islands, each with its own attractions, restaurants and shops. All the rides and attractions are based after books, Marvel comics, or mythology. Toon Lagoon is based after the Sunday comic strips.

  • Explore The Wizarding World of Harry Potter™ – Hogsmeade™
  • Join the battle of good versus evil in Marvel Super Hero Island®
  • Get happy with your favorite cartoon characters in the water rides of Toon Lagoon®
  • Get face to face with the dinosaurs of Jurassic Park®
  • Venture through the mists of time in the epic adventures of The Lost Continent®
  • Step right into the pages of the children’s books of Dr. Seuss in Seuss Landing™

How to get the most out of 1 Day trip to Islands of Adventure

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26.  How to do Universal Studios in 1 Day with Young Children ~ HERE ARE ALL the SECRETS AND TIPS FOR HOW TO DO UNIVERSAL STUDIOS IN 1 DAY WITH YOUNG CHILDREN.  WOW!

Best Islands of Adventure Tips

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27.  23 Best Insider Tips to Universal Islands of Adventure ~ This should be your go-to resource before heading to Islands of Adventure.  I’ve revealed 22 insiders tips and tricks to Universal Islands of Adventure at Universal Orlando Resort including how to avoid the lines, where to eat without a wait, where to cool down, and much more.  Plus, I’ve  attached 5 printables that include packing tips, facts you should know about the parks, and advice to take with you so that you can get the most out of your day at the park!

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28.  Hogsmeade Uncovered {Wizarding World of Harry Potter} ~ If an indepth visit to Hogsmeade is your goal, then this post is for you.  You’ll find out everything you want to know about Hogsmeade before you go.

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29.  10 Universal Studios Facts and Tips ~ Insider facts from those who know (the blog author was given a tour by an insider source).  And incidently, I like this post because it shows that there is a lot more to Islands of Adventure than just Hogsmeade.

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30.  Universal Studios Islands of Adventure ~ The thing I love most about this post is the imagery.  Her top 10 list has great images that make you WANT to do those top 10 things in Islands of Adventure!

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31.   Tour Wizarding World of Harry Potter – 14 Can’t Miss Attractions ~  Now this post includes tips for saving money and attractions from Harry Potter World in BOTH parks but the tips are excellent and worth taking note of!

32.  Wondering about Universal dining plan? How much is it? Where do you purchase it?  Here’s a ton of information that is super helpful.

Islands of Adventure Food

33.  Islands of Adventure Theme Park Food and Restaurants ~ Whether you are looking for Green Eggs and Ham or chocolate frogs, Islands of Adventure promises food that family members of all ages can enjoy. Here are MIF’s recommended top six to enjoy while at the park!

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34.  Homemade Butter Beer ~ Made with Harry Potter in mind, if you like butterscotch flavoring you will LOVE homemade butter beer. It tastes like a frozen butterscotch creamsicle.

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35.  Almost Like Butter Beer From Harry Potter ~ Adapted from a Fox News recipe, this is a close to the real thing as this food blogger got. It’s made with brown sugar and heavy cream.

Harry Potter World

The Wizarding World of Harry Potter is divided between Universal Studios and Island of Adventure. In order to see it all, you need a Park to Park ticket.

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36.  Harry Potter World – Avoid Lines and Insider Tips ~ Here are important insider secrets to The Wizarding World of Harry Potter insideUniversal Islands of Adventurein Orlando, Florida. You’ll find strategies on how to avoid the lines, get free printables to help you plan your trip, and several videos that you can share with your family to help build the anticipation!

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37.  23 Tips for Visiting the Wizarding World of Harry Potter ~ This is an exceptional UP to DATE post with great tips about how to visit BOTH parks so that you can get the most from Hogsmeade and Diagon Alley.  

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38.  Tips and Tricks for Exploring Harry Potter World ~ This is your go-to post if you want to get specific.  Want to know where to buy keychains?  Wondering what park the Owlery is in?  Interested in the bathroom Moaning Myrtle visits, then this is the place to take notes.

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39.  29 Tips to Make Your Day Magical at the Wizarding World of Harry Potter ~ This is a fun wrap up because it has general tips about both parks and then it has tips about Hogsmead and Diagon Alley along with fun pictures to go with each tip.

Wizarding World of Harry Potter – Diagon Alley

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40.  Diagon Alley – Tips, Prices, and Walk Through Guide ~ Everything you wanted to know, plus more, right here.

Wizarding World of Harry Potter – Hogsmeade

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41.  A Muggles Guide to Hogsmeade ~ You’ll find lots of tips, prices and beautiful pictures to help you plan your trip!

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42.  A Foodie’s Guide to the Wizarding World of Harry Potter ~ Get the 411 on food from a foodie in Harry Potter world!

Eating at Universal Orlando Resort

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43. 6 Brand New Foods to Try at Diagon Alley ~ Now you can get more than just butterbeer, turkey legs and muggle delicacies like chicken fingers in Harry Potter World.  Diagon Alley has new items like elixirs, butterbeer soft serve, and more!

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44.  Tasting our Way Around the Wizarding World of Harry Potter ~ A pretty extensive review of the Leaky Cauldron.  In case you are interested in eating there.

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45.  10 W’s of Universal Orlando ~ A great section on what to eat and drink!

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46.  The Ultimate Guide to Universal CityWalk Orlando ~ If you are planning on checking out the CityWalk, here’s a guide to the restaurants you’ll find!

Cool Down at the Park

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{source: Universal Orlando}

47.  Top 5 Ways to Keep Cool in Our Parks ~ Tips for staying cool in the parks including which rides will get you wet and where the splash and wet zones are.  Oh, also where to get hydrated!

Photo Tips

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{Source:  Sweet Treats and More on Instagram}

48.  Tips on Capturing Your Memories ~ A great post on capturing your memories at Universal Orlando, including an opinion on photo pass.  She says yes.

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49.  Wondering about a Photo Pass?  Should I Purchase a Photo Pass? What is it? How much does it cost?  Here’s one insiders opinion.  You decide.

50.  FREE PRINTABLE Maps, resources , tip sheets, and more!

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