Seth Kubersky, author of The Unofficial Guide to Universal Orlando shares his tips for arrival- and departure-day activities.
Guests staying at Universal’s on-site resorts can take advantage of all provided theme park perks—including early admission and Express Passes—from dawn on their arrival day until midnight on their day of departure. However, that requires using a full day’s park admission for what may only be a few hours of entertainment, depending on your travel plans. Here are some suggestions on how to spend that spare half-day at the start or end of your vacation.
Explore Universal’s resort hotels using the garden walking paths and free water taxis. For great evening drinks and tapas, check out Strong Water Tavern at Sapphire Falls or Bar 17 Bistro at Universal’s latest resort, the Aventura Hotel.
If you would like one more character meet-and-greets before you leave, consider the Despicable Me Character Breakfast at the Royal Pacific Resort.
Love music? Visit the Hard Rock Cafe at CityWalk and take a free Vibe tour of the musical memorabilia. For some edible souvenirs, visit the new kid on the block: Voodoo Doughnuts.
Relax at your hotel pool—or any other Universal hotel pool—if the weather is clear. Universal welcomes pool hopping.
If going on rides is a priority, drive to the nearby Fun Spot America amusement park for a few laps around the multilevel go-cart tracks, and then ride the White Lightning and Freedom Flyer roller coasters.
The Icon Orlando 360 complex on International Drive offers lots of entertainment, such as the world’s tallest Starflyer swing ride, an enormous observation wheel, a wax museum, and even an aquarium.
A fun activity for the entire family is a round of miniature golf at the Hollywood Drive-In Mini-Golf or a first-run flick at the Universal Cinemark at CityWalk.
Last but not least, indulge in some retail therapy at the Orlando Premium Outlets shopping mall.