Tips for Booking Your Universal Orlando Vacation

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Universal Orlando Florida is a fabulous family vacation, but planning a theme park trip can be A LOT of work. I am going to give you some tips you can use when booking your Universal Vacation and what to know before you go. Keep reading to find out the best way to book your Universal Orlando Vacation.

How to plan your Universal Orlando Vacation

Tips for Booking Your Universal Orlando Vacation

If you are interested in booking a Universal Orlando trip, this post is for you! I have done extensive trainings at Universal Studios Orlando Florida, and have booked 100s of families to Universal Orlando. This is truly a great family vacation.

I am also a Universal Specialist, meaning I completed the highest level of training you can have on the brand. Knowledge and first-hand experience, that is what you need when booking a trip like Universal Orlando!

Harmony Skillman, Universal Orlando travel agent



How do I Book a Universal Orlando Vacation?

The best way to book a Universal Orlando Vacation is hands down through a Universal Specialist like myself. I do not charge fees for my services and my commission is already built into the price you pay no matter how you book.

Also, as a full-service travel agent, I do it all.  I can help with a Universal/Disney split stay, or any other adventure you want to add on to your trip. That includes beach days or stays, cruises, a day at Discovery Cove, time at any other Florida theme parks or waterparks.  I am a one stop shop no matter what you want to do!

Harmony Skillman, Universal Orlando expert Travel Agent


Who Should Go to Universal Orlando?

Universal Orlando is really for anyone, but I think the best guests for Universal Orlando Resort  is older kids and adults who love big thrill rides. This theme park is also a MUST DO for any Harry Potter fan.

Universal Orlando Planning

There are attractions for the little ones (like in Dr. Seuss land and Fievel’s Playground) as well as plenty to do for those who do not like crazy attractions (like me).

Height restrictions vary by attraction, but the tallest one is 54″ for Hulk.

Plus,  don’t let the kids have all the fun!

Planning a Trip to Universal Orlando

I visited with a group of travel agent friend and we had an ADULTS-ONLY blast!

Universal Orlando, with all the nightlife and great restaurants would be the perfect spot for a group trip, bachelor/bachelorette party, honeymoon or even a destination wedding!


How Many Days Do You Need at Universal Orlando?

We like to say 3-4 park days is the sweet spot. If you are planning to visit Volcano Bay, the waterpark, I would say add that fourth day. You probably want three whole days to fully explore the two theme parks. Honestly, you could spend an entire day JUST doing Harry Potter stuff in Diagon Alley and Hogsmeade, and there is so much more to explore!

Book a trip for 2022 and we can add an incredible Harry Potter experience to your package – an amazing value and a MUST DO for the real HP fans!


How much does a trip to Universal Studios Orlando cost?

How much is an average trip to Universal Studios? Well there are so many considerations and you can do Universal on more of a budget, or an all-out luxury Universal Orlando trip.

I think it is important to have an idea of cost, although there are so many variables involved. I will say, Universal is not really a budget vacation, but there are ways to do Universal in a variety of price points.

Universal Orlando Planning Tips

Universal Orlando Hotels vary from budget to luxury. I priced out two packages for a family of four, with two adults and two children ages 12 and 10, my kids’ ages! This family is going to stay on property at Universal for 5-nights in July 2021 and plan to visit all 3 parks for four days (taking one day off to enjoy their resort).




Value Package Includes: 5-nights at Universal Cabana Bay in a Standard Room, Round Trip Airport Shuttle Service, Early Morning Hours to Wizarding World of Harry Potter, four days of three park tickets with park-to-park, and Cancel for Any Reason travel protection = $2749.72

NOTE it is $554/day to add Unlimited Express Pass (2 park) to this reservation. That’s an extra $2216 for the entire stay…


Luxury Package Includes: 5-nights at Loews Portofino Bay in a Despicable Me Kids Suite (includes Unlimited Express Pass), 4 days of 3 park tickets (with park to park), Round Trip Airport Shuttle Service, Early Morning Hours to Wizarding World of Harry Potter, and Cancel for Any Reason travel protection = $5991.39

For a real Luxury Experience, you can add a VIP tour to your package – skip all the lines and literally get back door access to everything!

Planning a Luxury Trip to Universal Orlando: Loews Portofino Bay Resort
Loews Portofino Bay Resort

I should also note that the deposit on these packages are LESS THAN $400 AND you have until 45 days prior to travel to pay off the balance! I can help my guests set up a payment plan to pay off the balance in installments before the due date.


Which Universal Orlando Resort is Best?

I hands down recommend staying at a premier resort for the included Unlimited Express pass. These resorts are such an easy walk to the parks and have great resort pools, each with a unique water feature.

I recently stayed at Loews Royal Pacific and I loved it. My clients always love this property as well!

Where to stay at Universal Orlando Resort: Loews Royal Pacific

I’ve also now stayed at both Universal’s Aventura Hotel and Loews Sapphire Falls – both great as well, but don’t include express pass.

Is the Park to Park Ticket Worth It?  What about a Three Park Ticket?

I would definitely recommend a two park, park-to-park (meaning theme park) ticket. In fact, I would be remiss to sell you a one park only ticket because without park-to-park, you cannot ride Hogwarts Express – which is such a great attraction!

PS ride it both ways because the story is different in each direction.

Planning a Trip to Universal Orlando
You need a park to park ticket to ride Hogwarts Express

The three-park ticket lets you add on Volcano Bay, Universal’s high tech water park. If you like water rides, and are visiting in the warmer months, this is a must do. Volcano Bay is open 365 days a year, but from November – February you can get cooler temperatures in Orlando.

NOTE: Upgrading from a two park, to a three park ticket is much cheaper than buying a ticket to Volcano Bay once your arrive.


Is the Express Pass Worth it at Universal?

Express Pass holders can access a shorter queue on most attractions at Universal Studios and Islands of Adventure. Without express pass, you wait in the regular line.

I definitely think you need Express Pass on your Universal Vacation package. Again, I would be hesitant to book a guest without an express pass. As I mentioned before, premiere hotel stays include Unlimited Express pass for all guests. There is an option to purchase an ala cart Express Pass that lets you use the express pass once per attraction.


Planning a Trip to Universal Orlando Florida

Should you book the Universal Airport Shuttle?

Yes. Adding Universal’s Superstar Shuttle is a convenient (and fun) way to get from Orlando airport to the Universal resort. Nobody wants to deal with cabs, Uber (Orlando seems to always be on surge pricing) or car seats when traveling to a theme park.


What to Know Before Going to Universal Orlando

As your travel advisor, I send you lots of information to help you prepare for your amazing vacation! With my professional training and first-hand experience, I help you navigate the extras you can add on to your trip and make sure you are maximizing your park experience.


I reserve real specifics for my valued clients, but will share a few useful tips you can use before you go to Universal Orlando:

  • Download the Universal app. Be sure to link a credit card for mobile food ordering
  • Consider buying a few days of the Universal Dining Plan. Won’t save you buckets of money, but you can save a few bucks and help budget for your trip. 2022 UPDATE: Unfortunately the dining plan has been suspended. But when you book your Universal trip with me, I do give you some tips on how to save money on food at Univeral.
  • Buy Harry Potter gear before you go
  • Making dining reservations in advance
  • Watch your favorite Universal movies to help get excited for your trip –Despicable Me, Minions, Harry Potter, Marvel movies, The Hulk, Fever Pitch (Jimmy Fallon) or Shrek are great choices!


Planning a Trip to Universal


A trip to Universal Orlando Resort makes such a great family vacation, creating memories you will cherish forever. But don’t let the planning be a nightmare. Reach out today to work with me to plan your Universal vacation. No fees for my personalized trip planning services and I can help you on your way to an amazing trip!

Tips for Planning your Universal Orlando vacation

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19 Comments to “Tips for Booking Your Universal Orlando Vacation”

  1. Krista

    I’ve always wanted to go to Universal and the Hogwarts Express sounds amazing. I’ll definitely consider this for our next vacation. Thanks for sharing!

  2. I too DEFINITELY recommend using a travel agent to book a Universal Vacation. We recently used one when we went for the first time, and with all of the ticketing options, choice of where to stay, and changing safety policies related to COVID, it was so, so, worth it! Great article and tips!!


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