Universal Orlando Updates

We are listing updates to The Unofficial Guide to Universal Orlando here. The author will submit updates as needed. Please check back often for the latest information, or subscribe to the Unofficial Guides newsletter to stay up-to-date on all the news for Universal Orlando, as well as Disney parks.

The Unofficial Guide to Universal Orlando 2024 Updates (as of 5/3/2024)

INTRODUCTION

10 NBCUniversal’s theme park division reported $2.3 billion in revenue in the fourth quarter of 2023 (an increase of 12.2% and its highest adjusted EBITDA on record).

20 Reservations are now open for the Stella Nova hotel near Epic Universe, which will debut January 22, 2025; its twin Terra Luna opens February 25, 2025. Both are “prime value” properties with a starting nightly rate of $189, discounted to $119 on longer stays.

PART 1 PLANNING BEFORE YOU LEAVE HOME

24 Universal no longer offers printed park maps or show schedules; use the free smartphone app.

27 Volcano Bay is closed on select weekdays during the fall and winter off-season. Be especially wary of Gradventure and Grad Bash all-night events for graduating students each April and May, which crowd the parks with teens and tweens during the afternoon, and close them to regular guests by dinnertime.

30 During all seasons, the portion of USF from Central Park through World Expo (including the E.T., Simpsons, and MIB rides) may be blocked off from guest access until 10 a.m.

33 Volcano Bay is closed on select weekdays during the fall and winter off-season, typically Tuesdays and Wednesdays or Wednesdays and Thursdays.

35 Universal Orlando ticket prices increased in October 2023. 1 Day single-park tickets are $119-$179. 1 Day Park-to-park tickets are $174-$234. 2 Day single-park tickets cost $233-339. 2 Day park-to-park tickets are $293-$409. (Prices are for online purchases before tax.)

36 Annual passes can be scanned into your wallet inside Universal’s app and stored as a QR code that may be used for admission and benefits (including Express after 4 p.m. for Premiere passholders) but you should keep your physical pass and ID on hand for verification.  

37-38 In 2024, all Universal Orlando Passholders receive 10% off VIP tours, and 15% off regular or private tickets at Universal’s Great Movie Escape. All passholders get 10% off food and nonalcoholic drinks; not valid for special events or holidays. Discounts on merchandise at Universal-operated hotel stores are valid for Preferred (10% off) and Premier (15% off) passholders only. Premier passholders save 10%-15% off food and merchandise at select CityWalk locations.

39 Starting in 2025, Premier Passholders will need to make an advance online reservation to use their free Halloween Horror Nights ticket.

42 In 2024, eligible military service members can purchase a Military Freedom Pass Promotional Ticket, which is valid for admission through December 20, 2024, with two weeks of block-outs around Christmas and Easter; the pass starts at $210 for 2-park access, with 3-park upgrades available.

52-53 Universal has deployed new turnstiles that use “photo validation” (a.k.a. facial recognition) instead of finger biometrics at both USF and IOA. Guests scan their passes, then look into a screen-mounted camera until their image is identified. The process takes about 2 seconds (far quicker than Disney’s MagicBands), but guests can opt out and choose to display photo IDs instead. This technology will be deployed at the upcoming Epic Universe to provide a more frictionless entry experience. 52 Portable ticket scanners are no longer used at the parks, now that photo recognition has replaced biometric finger scanning. 

53 On days when USF does not offer EPA, the gates will usually open 10 minutes before the official time. Guests can enter the Harry Potter and the Escape from Gringotts queue before official opening; rides may not begin running until park opening on non-EPA mornings. Rip Ride Rockit may not start running until 15 minutes after park opening, and the entire south side of the lagoon (including DreamWorks, Simpsons, and Men In Black) is inaccessible until 10 a.m.

57 Two-Park Early Park Admission was offered only December 26-30, 2023.

65 Remove Despicable Me Minion Mayhem from the Single Rider list.

PART 2 ACCOMMODATIONS

78-79 Parking rates at onsite hotels have increased. Portofino Bay, Hard Rock, Royal Pacific, and Sapphire Falls charge a $33-per-night self-parking fee ($43 for valet) for registered guests; day guests pay $51 for self-parking and $48 for valet. Cabana Bay and Aventura charge $22 for overnight guests (self-parking only), and Endless Summer charges $18; all three bill $51 per day for day visitors. Royal Pacific is the only on-site hotel that accommodates overnight RV parking for $80.

81 Portofino Bay has self-service laundry machines on the second floor of the west wing. They cost $6 per load. 

PART 3 ARRIVING & GETTING AROUND

131 Self Parking costs $32 for cars and $42 for RVs, trailers, and other large rigs.

132 Prime parking upgrades cost $18 ($28 during peak season) for Preferred Pass holders or those with prepaid standard parking. Valet parking is available at CityWalk for $32 for a visit of up to 2 hours or $65-$75 for longer.

132 Prime parking upgrades cost $18 ($28 during peak season) for Preferred Pass holders or those with prepaid standard parking. Valet parking is available at CityWalk for $32 for a visit of up to 2 hours or $65-$75 for longer.

133 Valet: Automated kiosks to the right of the valet windows can cut your wait to retrieve your car, when they are working. Scan your parking ticket and annual pass or credit card for priority vehicle retrieval; you can also charge a gratuity, if you don’t carry cash, but check your receipt carefully for accidental overcharges.

PART 4 ESSENTIALS

136 ATMs are marked in the app’s digital map. The ATM near USF’s Lost and Found has been relocated outside the nearby restrooms. The ATM in Springfield has been removed. The two ATMs in CityWalk are next to Guest Services and Fat Tuesday. The ATMs in Marvel Super Hero Island and Lost Continent have been removed. 

137 Credit Cards: The Universal Rewards Plus Visa Signature card gives 4% back on purchases at Universal, 2% on other travel & dining purchases, and 1% on everything else. There is a $99 annual fee, but you get a $100 credit for spending $100 during your first billing cycle. It also includes 0% financing on Universal vacation packages, a free one-day/one-park park ticket each year if you spend $6,000, and access to a new cardholder lounge inside Universal Studios. The Universal Rewards Visa has no annual fee, but you only get $50 first-statement credit and 2% back on Universal purchases (1% on everything else) and no lounge access or other perks. Visit https://www.universalorlando.com/web/en/us/universal-rewards-visa to apply.

143-144 Fuelrods cost $35 at Universal. They are available in a two-pack for $35 from Amazon.

144 Change “coin vendor” to “kebab house seating area”

147 Larger short term lockers [at dry rides with free short-term lockers] cost $3 during the posted wait time, and an additional $3 per 30 minutes after, up to a daily maximum of $25.

147 Cross-body bags worn across the chest (rather than around the waist) cannot be taken on rides that require lockers.

148 Paid short-term lockers at water rides: smaller ones cost $5 for the first 90 minutes and the larger ones are $6; both cost $3 for each additional half-hour after that, with a $25 daily maximum.

148 Universal is discontinuing free package delivery from the theme parks to CityWalk. Packages can still be delivered for free to an onsite hotel, or shipped home for a fee.

151 The satellite Vacation Services booths around the parks can’t issue disability assistance passes; you must retrieve those at the main guest service locations.

154 ECVs cost $75 per day (tax inclusive), with no deposit required. An upgraded model with a sunshade canopy is $95.

156 Family restrooms and Service animal relief areas are marked in the app’s digital map; tap the magnifying glass icon in the lower right corner to search for them.

160 The website autismattheparks.com is no longer active.

162 Universal Orlando offers digital park maps in Spanish and Portuguese as PDF files. Paper maps are no longer available. Scan the QR codes posted near the park entrances to download. 

PART 5 UNIVERSAL AND KIDS

168 Change “coin vendor” to “kebab house seating area”

184 IOA’s Citizens and Storytellers have been retired, along with USF’s Cabbie the NYC Taxi Driver. Marilyn Monroe appears only in Hollywood, not New York near Macy’s.

PART 6 UNIVERSAL STUDIOS FLORIDA

186 USF’s “Front Lot” has been completely absorbed by Hollywood; replace all references.

191 Despicable Me Minion Mayhem: Delete “single rider line available.” 

192 Despicable Me Minion Mayhem: Delete “Note that the posted standby time is just the wait to enter the building; you’ll be watching preshows for an additional 10 minutes before you actually ride.”

192-193 Move Motion Sickness Wuffo from Villain-Con Minion Blast to Hollywood Rip Ride Rockit.

193 Hollywood Rip Ride Rockit is rumored to be closing in 2025, possibly to be replaced by a new Intamin roller coaster like USH’s Fast & Furious: Hollywood Drift.

195 The Ragtime Gals only perform inside Race Through New York Starring Jimmy Fallon during peak seasons.

198-199 Fast & Furious Supercharged will be closed from August 14, 2024, through the end of Halloween Horror Nights.

202 Herminone’s voice has been updated on the Hogwarts Express and now sounds like Emma Watson. (Delete reader quote.)

203 Hogwarts Express touring tips: When the queue swells, the wait for Express may be as long as ⅓ of the posted standby estimate.

203 Ollivanders: scope and scale is Minor attraction.

203-204 Interactive wands cost $69 with tax. Noninteractive wands are no longer available.

207 World Expo doesn’t open until 10 a.m.

208 Springfield doesn’t open until 10 a.m.

209 The Simpsons Ride is 3 ½ stars, Remove from “not to be missed” list. Go in the first 2 hours the ride is open or after 4 p.m.

210-212 DreamWorks Land opens June 14, 2024. E.T. and Animal Actors are now part of Hollywood. Attractions in DreamWorks include Shrek’s Swamp, the Trollercoaster, and Panda Village. Guests can interact with Shrek and Donkey, Po from Kung Fu Panda, and Gabby from Gabby’s Dollhouse. The new DreamWorks Imagination Celebration is a multisensory live show featuring favorite DreamWorks characters. Guests can purchase interactive bubble wands, which activate special features around the area.

215 The new Mega Movie Parade runs daily in USF starting July 3, 2024. It features nearly 100 performers and 13 floats celebrating iconic Universal Studios films like E.T., and Back to the Future, along with Illumination’s Minions and Sing, and DreamWorks Animation’s Trolls and Kung Fu Panda. Highlights include a 16-foot-tall Stay-Puft Marshmallow Man atop the Ghostbusters float, a marching band drumline playing the Jaws theme, and a Jurassic World finale featuring a giant Tyrannosaurus Rex. The interactive bubble wands sold in DreamWorks Land also react to select parade floats.

216 Sing It! has ended its run at USF, and Drive-In and Dance closed after January 26, 2024. Marilyn Monroe and the Diamond Bellas have moved their show to outside Mel’s Drive-In in Hollywood. A cat-tastic interactive dance show with Gabby (from Gabby’s Dollhouse) was briefly held in front of Mel’s (rated 2 ½ stars) and may return in DreamWorks Land.

216 The new CineSational: A Symphonic Spectacular nighttime lagoon show debuts June 14 at Universal Studios Florida. The show celebrates musical scores and scenes from blockbuster films that inspired Universal Orlando attractions of yesterday and today, – including the Wizarding World series, Jurassic World, Jaws, Shrek, Ghostbusters, Trolls, Back to the Future, Universal Monsters, Transformers, How to Train Your Dragon, E.T., Fast and Furious, The Super Mario Bros. Movie, Minions, The Mummy and King Kong. The production utilizes 228 fountains installed in the park’s central lagoon, capable of launching water over 130 feet in the air, along with 4K projection mapping and a fleet of 600 remote-controlled aerial drones.

217 Rock the Universe was held January 26-27, 2024. We The Kingdom, Dove, Casting Crowns, LECRAE, Phil Wickham, and Brandon Lake headlined. Individual single-night tickets start around $90, while two-night tickets cost about $133; groups get discounted rates, and can buy Rock Your Weekend tickets that combine both event nights with daytime park tickets. Three-park access Friday–Sunday goes for about $161 ($209 for park-to-park). Universal Express Passes run an additional $32 per night for one-time use per ride, or $43 for unlimited use. (Prices include tax.)

217 Mardi Gras will run from February 3 through April 7, 2024.

218 Mardi Gras tasting cards cost $65 for $75 worth of credit; UOAPs pay $120 for $150.

218-219 The 2024 Mardi Gras parade features an “elements” theme with  floats based on earth, wind, fire, water, and the sun and moon. The parade direction was reversed along its usual route, running counter-clockwise around the park, but is expected to resume its previous clockwise direction in 2025. Annual Passholder float riding spots sold out within an hour in 2023. If you purchase a Dine and Ride package, be sure to check in at Animal Actors at least an hour before the parade begins or you may lose your spot. There is no physical standby line for free same-day float riding spots but they may be distributed sporadically during the day through the app’s Virtual Line feature. Unclaimed float riding spots are released about 45 minutes prior to step off through the Virtual Line system, and must be redeemed within a few minutes; hang around the Animal Actors check-in area to hear when availability is announced. There is no restroom access for about an hour when riding the floats.

220 2024 Mardi Gras concerts include The All-American Rejects, KC and The Sunshine Band, Barenaked Ladies, Queen Latifah, Luis Fonsi, and Zedd.

220-221 Halloween Horror Nights will run from August 30 through November 3, 2024. Advance online tickets cost $88-$131. Express costs $138-$256. RIP tours cost $394-$501. Unmasking the Horror tours cost $106-$170 for 3 houses, $192-$224 for 6. 

227 Holidays at Universal runs from November 17 through December 31, 2023.

PART 7 ISLANDS OF ADVENTURE

233 The Haystack people dryers outside water rides cost $7 (tap-to-pay and credit cards accepted, not cash).

234 delete “on all-terrain vehicles”

241 Me Ship The Olive: delete “slides”

243 Reign of Kong has removed its 3D effects and disabled the outdoor portion of the ride track. As long as these changes persist, the ride is rated 3 ½ stars and should be removed from the “not to be missed” list.

245 Jurassic Park Discovery Center: Raptor hatchings generally occur hourly on the half-hour.

256  replace “On select evenings throughout the year, The Nighttime Lights AT HOGWARTS CASTLE (★★★½)…capped with a quick burst of pyrotechnics.” with:

On select evenings throughout the year, HOGWARTS ALWAYS (★★★½) brings the Forbidden Journey facade to life with colorful spells and magical creatures, all thanks to the Muggle miracle of digital projection mapping. The images evoke iconic milestones from a year in the life of a Hogwarts student, from shopping for school supplies in Diagon Alley, to celebrating the winner of the House Cup; with four different rotating endings, each house gets its chance to shine. The show, which also features vocal cameos from Dumbledore and Hagrid, is capped with a quick burst of pyrotechnics.

257 Change “coin vendor” to “kebab house seating area”

260 Holidays at IOA runs from November 17 through December 31, 2023. The Grinch meet and greet does not use a Virtual Line, but it has a standard standby queue that often exceeds three hours. If meeting the Grinch is a priority, get in line as soon as the park opens. Grinchmas Who-liday Spectacular is rated 4 ½ stars.

261 In 2023, the Grinchmas breakfast is a plated meal held inside Confisco Grille. It costs $63 (plus gratuity) for adults and $35 for kids age 9 and under.

PART 8 VOLCANO BAY

PART 9 DINING & SHOPPING

279 Cafe 4’s vegan eggplant Parmesan was replaced by vegan fettuccine Alfredo. Change “Vegan brownie (Front Lot Snack Stand” to “Vegan hand pie or brownie (Hollywood Snack Stand)”.  Add Vegan Jambalaya at Pat O’Brien’s (CityWalk), Vegan Chili Field Dog at Mel’s Drive-In (USF). Replace Irish stew with Vegan curry (Leaky Cauldron).

281 Delete “(including potato barrels and curly fries)”

284-285 Mobile Order at Pickup Window locations is usually very efficient, but at Table Delivery restaurants you may wait 20-30 minutes after scanning in before your food arrives.

285 Bottled Butterbeer can be ordered for delivery in the USA from harrypottershop.com. Vegan butterbeer topping is available at Leaky Cauldron and Three Broomsticks (but not Hog’s Head).

287 Leaky Cauldron, Hopping Pot, and Hog’s Head serve two additional beers, Dark Forest Ale (a traditional brown ale) and Daisyroot Ale (a Stella-style lighter ale). Dragon Scale is available in both Wizarding Worlds, but Hog’s Head Brew is exclusive to Hogsmeade.

293 Reader scores for Fast Food Boulevard have dropped significantly in recent surveys.

294 Hopping Pot now serves vegan pasties.

295 Mel’s Drive-In has a new menu featuring the Big Bopper burger, California Cobb salad, and an excellent Vegan Chili Field Dog. Milkshakes and pies have been upgraded, but the burgers and chicken are still pretty bland.

296 San Francisco Pastry Company has some new selections, including grilled cheese with tomato soup, as well as chilled Asian noodle salads.

298 Circus McGurkus has reopened with an all-new menu featuring roast beast sandwiches (meatloaf and ribeye with cheddar and onions on a pretzel bun), garlic bread cones filled with pasta marinara and meatballs (real or Gardein), chicken tenders with hot honey biscuits, and burgers. Pescatarians can pick Red Fish Blue Fish Poke, with ahi tuna and edamame on blue glass noodles, or fried shrimp on popcorn; vegans can enjoy a colorful red quinoa salad with dragonfruit, raspberries, and baby spinach. For dessert, Green Eggs and Ham-inspired chocolate cheesecake or caramel popcorn cupcakes. This restaurant uses mandatory Mobile Order with table delivery, similar to Minion Cafe. Pickup orders are available from an exterior window to the right of the main entrance, which is the only place to get a spicy sausage and cheese corn dog.

300 Skull Island’s Mess Tent serves pizza skulls, a fan favorite from Halloween Horror Nights.

302 Bend the Bao: Under Selections, add “boba tea”

315 Cowfish: replace “sushi rolls made with lobster and filet mignon (The Prime Time) or barbeque pork” with “sushi rolls made with buffalo chicken, bacon cheeseburgers, or barbecue pork”. Delete “but avoid the What’s Shakin’ Tuna Bacon Sandwich”

321 Leaky Cauldron: change “vegan Irish stew” to “mildly-seasoned vegan curry”

321 Lombard’s house specialties: Replace shrimp cocktail and filet mignon with calamari and ribeye steak.

323 Minion Cafe: We also recommend the herbaceous grilled cheese sandwich, dipped in tart green tomato soup.

325 NBC Sports summary & comments: change “The grilled chicken wings are underwhelming” to “The slow-cooked birria-style chicken wings and Cajun deviled eggs are both pleasingly piquante (but not excessively spicy)”

332 Add. YuMe Sushi & BBQ (4898 S Kirkman Rd., 407-440-2615, yumesushibbq.com) to Kirkman & Conroy restaurants. Add Sushi Yama (6748 Grand National Dr., 407-420-0666, sushiyamaorlando.com) to I-Drive restaurants.

335 Custom Gear: Change “personalized toy car” to “personalized driver’s license or dog tags”

335 Five and Dime now offers a Monster Makeover with a professional airbrush artist for $65 (half face) or $125 (full face), with 38 different horror-inspired looks to choose from. The experience is available through April 7; reservations are available at shop.universalorlando.com/sho/monster-makeover.

PART 10 CITYWALK

338 CityWalk’s Legacy Store has closed and will become a preview center for Epic Universe. Quiet Flight surf shop and its iconic surfboard photo op have been removed.

343 Remove Cinnabon & Quiet Flight Surf Shop

346 The Cineplex’s automated kiosks are located inside the lobby.

The Unofficial Guide to Universal Orlando 2023 Updates (archived as of 11/2/2023)

INTRODUCTION

Replace all occurrences of “Universal’s Islands of Adventure” with “Universal Islands of Adventure” and “Universal’s Volcano Bay” with “Universal Volcano Bay” (official name changed)

10 In the third quarter of 2022 alone, Comcast’s theme parks generated $2.1 billion in revenue (up 42.4% over the previous year) for the division’s highest adjusted earnings ever.  In the fourth quarter of 2022, Comcast’s revenue increased 12% to $2.1 billion, largely due to increased attendance and guest spending at theme parks, which delivered their highest adjusted earning on record. IOA attendance was second only to Magic Kingdom in Orlando, and USF topped both Animal Kingdom and EPCOT, according to Themed Entertainment Association’s 2022 report. Q1 2023 adjusted earnings for the theme park division increased by 46% to $658m.

PART 1 PLANNING BEFORE YOU LEAVE HOME

23 Universal Food Blog (uogrubhub.com) is now Thrills Taste Travels (thrillstastetravels.com)

30 change “At press time, at least half of Universal’s attendance consists of locals and annual passholders, so crowds are currently larger on weekends than on weekdays.” To “Most recently, Saturdays and Mondays have seen the biggest crowds, while Wednesdays and Thursdays have been the least busy.”

32 turnstiles for the park (or parks) participating in Early Park Admission will open between 7:45 a.m. and 8 a.m., and the one not offering early entry may still open its gates as early as 8:45 a.m.

33 Flexible Tickets cost $6-$12 more than the most expensive equivalent date-specific passes.

33 change “may save a few dollars by buying multiple one-day tickets instead of a multiday

pass, or by buying multiple one-day tickets instead of a multiday pass” to “may save money by buying multiday passes with start dates a few days before your arrival.”

33 Volcano Bay can be added to multiday tickets for $40 (2-3 day tickets) $50 (4 day tickets) or $60 (5 day tickets)

34 Universal Orlando ticket prices increased in October 2023. 1 Day single park tickets are $119-$179. 1 Day Park-to-park tickets are $174-$234. 2 day single park tickets cost $233-339. 2 day park-to-park tickets are $293-$409. (Prices are for online purchases before tax.)

34 Universal Orlando Annual Pass prices increased by $100-$150 in April 2023.

36 The UOAP lounge has reopened inside the former Betty Boop store in IOA’s Toon Lagoon.

37 FlexPay costs $23-$53 per month after a $253-$583 down payment.

37 delete “• Free admission to CityWalk clubs, and free admission for one guest (excludes concerts and special events)”

39 Discounts: In summer 2023, Universal offered “buy 2 days, get 3 days free” discounted tickets.

41 The Military Freedom Pass Promotional Ticket is still available for $199.99 through December 24, 2023, with blockouts on April 3-9, 2023.

42 delete “Preferred Pass holders get 10% off all in-park rock-climbing walls; Premier Pass holders save 15% per climb.”

52 Universal is testing new turnstiles that use “photo validation” (a.k.a. Facial recognition) instead of finger biometrics. Guests scan their passes, then look into a screen-mounted camera until their image is identified. This technology will be deployed at the upcoming Epic Universe to provide a more frictionless entry experience.

53 change “walking clockwise through Seuss Landing and Lost Continent” to “walking counterclockwise through Seuss Landing and Lost Continent”

53 volcano bay rope drop: 

change “Guests begin arriving at the turnstiles up to an hour before the park opens” to “Hotel guests and annual passholders with early entry privileges begin arriving at the turnstiles up to an hour before EPA begins”   

Change “Once it does, only guests eligible for Early Park Admission are allowed through the turnstiles when early entry begins; all others are held outside the entrance until the regular opening time.” to “Day guests not eligible for Early Park Admission aren’t bussed over from the garage until about 15 minutes prior to the regular opening time.”

54 The turnstiles to the park(s) participating in early entry will open 60–75 minutes before the official opening time. Gates typically open 5 minutes prior.

55 Universal has upgraded its park entrances with new biometric scanners, but they still aren’t as efficient as Disney’s.

56 delete “or in Marvel near Cafe 4”

57 before “While EPA is a wonderful luxury” insert “Pathways around the park’s south side don’t open until early entry is over, so you must either turn right at the main lagoon, or cut through the volcano’s caverns, to reach the Krakatau Aqua Coaster during EPA.”   

Change “Off-site guests who aren’t eligible for early entry should still try to get to the gates at least 30 minutes before official opening.” to “Off-site guests who aren’t eligible for early entry should still try to get to the parking garage at least 30-60 minutes before official opening, so they can get through security and board the first bus of day guests to the park.”

57 Volcano Bay Early Park Admission: Kala & Tai Nui Body Slides has been removed from EPA.

60 Universal Express Pass prices range from $89.99-$344.99 plus tax

61 Volcano Bay Universal Express Plus Pass costs $49.99–$149.99 plus tax

63  Lanyards: ticket pouch costs an extra $9-$11

68 change “Forbidden Journey alumni tour” to “Forbidden Journey castle tour”. The MIB Immigration tour is currently suspended. All other free VIP tours are still offered when staffing is available.

PART 2 ACCOMMODATIONS

72 after “Cumulative tax in Orange County, which includes the Universal Orlando area and International Drive, is 12.5%” insert “on nightly hotel rates and in-room amenities like rollaways and microwaves. A 6.5% tax is applied to parking, dining, and other incidentals.”

72 delete “•  Preferred tee times and complimentary transportation (for foursomes) to participating golf courses”

75 additional adults incur a $56-per-night surcharge (taxes included) at Premier hotels, $28 at Preferred, $23 at Prime Value, and $17 at Value.

76 delete “On-site hotel guests can use an online pre-check-in service to shorten their wait upon arrival.”

76 Accessibility: add “CPAP users can purchase distilled water from the front desk for about $5 per gallon.”

77 No pets (except for properly trained service animals) are allowed in CityWalk or any of the theme parks.

78 change “ask an attendant for access if your room key won’t open another hotel’s security gate” to “ask at the front desk for a keycard to access the pool’s security gate”

79 change “every hotel has an arcade” to “every hotel (except Aventura) has an arcade”

delete “, and Aventura Hotel’s arcade includes virtual reality headsets”

80 UNIVERSAL’ S THREE PREMIER HOTELS all charge a $30-per-night self-parking fee ($39 for valet) for registered guests; day guests pay $48 for self-parking over 30 minutes ($11 for 5–30 minutes) and $45 for valet. Sapphire Falls overnight guests pay $28 for self-parking and $33 for valet; day guests pay $48 for self-parking longer than 30 minutes and $40 for valet. Cabana Bay and Aventura charge $19 for overnight guests (self-parking only) and Endless Summer charges $16 ($80 for RVs); all three bill $48 per day for day visitors. Note that unlike Universal’s parking garages, Loews Hotels’ posted parking rates don’t include sales tax; prices listed here include taxes. 

80 attraction ticket center: Delete “(though the one at Portofino Bay is tucked around a secluded corner)”

80 Note that you must have at least one minor in your party to reserve a Kids’ Suite.

81 Business Centers: The quiet corner in Cabana Bay’s diner is being replaced by a malt shop.

81 Internet

After “good enough for email and social media” insert “, with download and upstream speeds averaging 20mbps”

Change “stream videos” to “stream 4K videos”

After “affords higher bandwidth” insert “of around 100mbps”

82 Avis is open 8 a.m.–4 p.m.

85 The Kitchen hosts strolling magicians on Wednesday and Friday; Kids Can Cook activities on Monday and Thursday.

87 Deluxe rooms at Portofino Bay have adjustable shower nozzles, but their water pressure is only average.

95 Cabana Bay Flotation toys cost $5–$17 plus tax.

101 Travel protection from Universal Vacations costs $55 per person

110 change “Two similar listings services with good websites are Vacation Rentals 411 (vacation rentals411.com) and Last minute Villas (lastminutevillas.net).” To “A similar listing service is Vacation Rentals 411 (vacation rentals411.com).”

116 A new W Hotel and concert venue will be built near the upcoming Epic Universe theme park.

PART 3 ARRIVING & GETTING AROUND

140 Mears Transportation no longer offers shuttle service between WDW and UOR. Taxis cost $50 each way plus tip; black cars cost $75 each way plus tip.

142 The closest I-Ride Trolley stops are near Endless Summer (marked R6 and G5 on the trolley route map), and east of the DoubleTree hotel at the corner of Grand National Drive and Major Boulevard (stop G4)

144 On Halloween Horror Nights the self-parking fee is charged until midnight.

144 Parking in the main garage costs $30 for cars and $40 for RVs.

145 Valet parking is available at CityWalk for $30 for a visit of up to 2 hours. On Halloween event nights, Premier Pass holders are charged $40 ($50 for Preferred) if they don’t pick up from valet before 7 p.m.

145 The valet parking automated kiosks no longer function. If you don’t carry cash, you can charge a tip for the valet on a credit card at the window, even if your parking is complimentary.

147 Transportation between resorts: Change “until 15 minutes before CityWalk shuts down” to “until 1 hour after CityWalk shuts down”

147 Leaving: after “on-ramp on your right.” Insert “Alternatively, continue on Major Boulevard to Grand National, and use the I-4 Express entrance to bypass frequent backups between Kirkman and the Turnpike.”

PART 4 ESSENTIALS

148 The ATM in Marvel Super Hero Island and Lost Continent have been removed. 

158 Lockers inside Volcano Bay cost $14, $20, or $25 per day

162 The Darkroom green screen photo booths have closed.

163 The satellite Vacation Services booths around the parks can’t issue disability assistance passes; you must retrieve those at the main guest service locations.

166 A limited number of ECVs are available for rent on a first-come/first-served basis so arrive early or reserve one elsewhere through a third party.

167 change “Scooter Vacations (scooterorlando.com)” to “Best Price Mobility (bpmobility.com)”

168 There are three designated animal-walking areas in USF (in Hollywood behind the NBC Media Center; outside the Coke kiosk between Men in Black Alien Attack and The Simpsons Ride; and in New York near the firehouse), three in IOA (Marvel Super Hero Island near Storm Force Accelatron; Lost Continent behind the Mystic Fountain; and Seuss Landing behind One Fish, Two Fish, Red Fish, Blue Fish), and two in CityWalk (near the IOA lighthouse, and outside the former Blue Man Group theater).

169 Sign language interpretations of live shows are offered at the theme parks on select days. There are typically only two or three interpreted performances per day in either IOA or USF.

172-173 There is no app-based version of Universal’s accommodation services (unlike DAS at Disney) and the registered guest with special needs must be present every time a return time is received or redeemed. Many variations on the AAP and GAP are available, depending on the guest’s needs, and they are not detailed anywhere online. Go to acccessibilitycard.com at least 48 hours prior to visiting the parks to begin the registration process (which requires uploading a doctor’s statement or IEP), although you’ll still need to visit Guest Services in person upon arrival. Certain guests may qualify for a “gold” version of the Attractions Assistance Pass, which provides direct access to the boarding area, instead of using the Express queues.  For assistance with accommodation passes dial ☎ 407-224-4233 and press 5, then 4, but be prepared for a long wait on hold.

PART 5 UNIVERSAL AND KIDS

186 Production Central is now Minion Land. Transformers 3-D and Hollywood Rip Ride Rockit are now part of New York.

190 Production Central is now Minion Land. Transformers 3-D and Hollywood Rip Ride Rockit are now part of New York.

195 The Grinch character breakfast returns to IOA on select dates between November 12 and December 29, 2022. Marvel Character dining at IOA resumed on February 9, 2023. Despicable Me character dining remains suspended.

196 Po and Tigress from Kung Fu Panda can be found in Lost Continent at IOA, alternating appearances with King Julien from Madagascar. Other characters previously located in DreamWorks Destination can be found in Hollywood at USF, until the new KidZone is complete later in 2023.

PART 6 UNIVERSAL STUDIOS FLORIDA

197 Production Central is now Minion Land. Transformers 3-D is now part of New York.

198-199 Production Central is now Minion Land. Transformers 3-D and Hollywood Rip Ride Rockit are now part of New York.

200 Professional Fighters League (pflmma.com) will broadcast their 2023 PFL Challenger Series mixed martial arts competition live from Universal on Friday nights from January 27 through March 17.

200 Production Central is now Minion Land. Transformers 3-D and Hollywood Rip Ride Rockit are now part of New York.

201 Villain-Con Minion Blast, a glide-through shooting gallery, will open in summer 2023, along with Minion Cafe, transforming that portion of Production Central into Minion Land on Illumination Avenue. Minion Land on Illumination Avenue will also include a Bake My Day sweet shop (as seen in Despicable Me 2) attached to the new Minion Cafe. Transformers 3-D and Hollywood Rip Ride Rockit are now part of New York. Villain-Con Minion Blast officially opens August 11, 2023.

202 Rockit: change “classic rock, country, disco, pop, or rap” to “rock, disco, country, hip-hop, or electronica”

204 The Transformers movie series will be represented in 2023 by Rise of the Beasts. 

214 Interactive wands cost $63 (plus tax). Ollivanders original wands are now available in 13 new styles (including one exclusive to Universal Orlando) that include an explanation of the wand’s lore.

216 Tales of Beed the Bard: The show runs 8–12 minutes

During September and October, Lord Voldemort’s masked Death Eaters may be spotted roaming around Diagon Alley, lurking along the London waterfront and stalking Knockturn’s dark alleyways. 

219 The Game Play card for carnival games costs $10 for one play, $30 for 5 plays, or $60 for 10 with a free gift. Annual passholders no longer get an extra play for free when purchasing Game Play cards.

220 The last day of operation for Woody Woodpecker’s Kidzone is January 15, 2023. Curious George, Destination Dreamworks, Woody Woodpecker’s Nuthouse Coaster, Feivel’s Playland, and Shrek’s meet & greet will be replaced with new attractions featuring DreamWorks characters (opening date TBA). E.T. Adventure and Animal Actors continue to operate as normal.

227 After Sing It insert “¡Vamos! – Báilalo (3.5 stars), a 15-minute high-energy Latin dance show inspired by West Side Story and In The Heights, takes over the intersection outside Finnegan’s with a dozen colorful choreographed performers who coax audience members into partying along to tunes by Jennifer Lopez, Celia Cruz, Marc Anthony. 

Drive-In & Dance (★★★) is another interactive dance show is staged outside Mel’s Drive-In, featuring 50’s-style car-hops dancing to modern remixes of golden oldies. Showtimes are not announced in advance, so ask an attendant when the next performance is scheduled. 

227-228 Universal’s Cinematic Celebration has permanently closed. A new nighttime show (possibly featuring drones) is under development, with no announced opening date.

228 Rock The Universe 2023 featured Zach Williams, Skillet, and Matthew West. 228 Rock the Universe will be held January 26-27, 2024. Casting Crowns, Brandon Lake, Phil Wickham, We the Kingdom, and Lecrae will headline. Individual single-night tickets start around $90, while two-night tickets cost about $133; groups get discounted rates, and can buy Rock Your Weekend tickets that combine both event nights with daytime park tickets. Three-park access Friday–Sunday goes for about $161 ($209 for park-to-park). Universal Express Passes run an additional $32 per night for one-time use per ride, or $43 for unlimited use. (Prices include tax.) There are no longer secret Christian rock songs on Rip Ride Rockit.

229 Mardi Gras will run from February 3 through April 7, 2024.

230 Guests can purchase a $65 dining package that includes a meal at a select restaurant in CityWalk or Universal Studios Florida, and a float-rider spot in that evening’s Mardi Gras parade.A limited number of free Mardi Gras float riding spots are available through Universal’s app at 3 p.m. on event nights. Additional slots open up about 90 minutes before the parade starts; enquire in person at the Animal Actors check-in area. Be sure to visit the photo center before exiting the park and tell them which float you were on to purchase pictures of yourself in the parade.  

231 Halloween Horror Nights 32 will run 48 night from Sept 1-Nov 4, 2023.

233 HHN Express Passes reduce the wait to 25%–50% of what it would otherwise be.

233 RIP tours start around $4000 for 10 people, annual pass discounts apply.

233 Unmasking the Horror behind-the-scenes tours cost $128–$160 for three-house tour, $181–$224 for six; no admission required

234 An additional Stay & Scream area is located in San Francisco at Richters, which provides early access to the house inside the Fast & Furious Supercharged queue.

234 A small overflow holding area is located in Hollywood near the TODAY Cafe (not Hello Kitty shop) where food and beverages are available, gives early access to the maze closest to the park entrance. Another small pen across the street is dedicated to hotel guests using their exclusive entrance, but doesn’t give early house access.

235 after Finnegan’s Bar and Grill Holding Area insert: 

Richters Holding Area: Enter the San Francisco holding area between 4 p.m. and 5 p.m., grab some food or a cocktail from Chez Alcatraz, and wait to be released towards Fast & Furious Supercharged. Once you’re through the house found in that attraction’s queue, head towards the back of the park and hit the ones near MIB and KidZone before crowds build.

235 HHN Hollywood Holding Area: Check into the holding area outside the TODAY Cafe.

237 The HHN lagoon show was not performed in 2023, but may return in 2024.

237 Holidays at Universal runs from November 17 through December 31, 2023.

PART 7 ISLANDS OF ADVENTURE

244 While passing through Port of Entry, you may encounter interactive adventurers, or a band of storytelling pirates who retell the lost legend of Sindbad’s eighth voyage.

250-251 244 Bilge Rat Barges, Me Ship The Olive, and the rest of Popeye’s island usually opens an hour after the park opens, and shuts down an hour before park closing.

253 Reign of Kong may start running 15-30 minutes after park opening. You should try to ride immediately after attraction opening.

266 change “alumni tour” to “castle tour”

257-258 VelociCoaster now accepts Universal Express passes.

262 The Dark Arts show lasts 8 minutes.

269 Poseidon’s Fury will permanently close after May 9, 2023. No replacement has been announced, but the entire Lost Continent is expected to be redeveloped with a new theme.

272 Holidays at IOA runs from November 17 through December 31, 2023.

273 The Grinchmas meet & greet uses the Virtual Line feature found inside Universal’s mobile app. If meeting the Grinch is a priority, make a reservation as soon as the park opens and you are on resort property. You can also secure facetime with the Mean One and his dog Max by purchasing a holiday tour ($79.99) which also includes a meeting with Santa, reserved viewing for the holiday entertainment, and a buffet of treats.

273 In 2023, the Grinchmas breakfast will be a plated meal (instead of a buffet) held inside Confisco Grille. It costs $63 (plus gratuity) for adults and $35 for kids age 9 and under.

PART 8 VOLCANO BAY

281 Lockers come in three sizes and cost between $14 and $25. Souvenir towels are also sold for around $30.

282 Kala & Tai Nui Serpentine Body Slides: change “275-pound maximum weight” to “300-pound maximum weight”

285 Krakatoa has temporarily tested a standby-only system, disabling the TapTap access.

287 #2: Arrive at Volcano Bay’s turnstiles at least 15-30 minutes before early park admission begins, if eligible; otherwise, be parked and ready to board the bus by 15-30 minutes prior to official park opening.” 

PART 9 DINING & SHOPPING

290 change “CityWalk locations and in-park table-service restaurants use Zomato (zomato .com), which also offers an app, but some restaurants’ reservations don’t appear inside it.” to “CityWalk locations and in-park table-service restaurants use Universal’s own reservation system, which is available through its website and in the smartphone app.” Universal’s app now offers direct access to dining reservations. The Zomato apps & websites no longer work.

291 Visit universalorlandovegans.com for more vegan menu information.

The new snack stand near the entrance of USF serves vegan hand pies, brownies, and more.

The Vegan Sausage Wellington (Finnegan’s Bar & Grill) has been replaced by a Vegan Shepherd’s Pie.

292 Marvel Character dining at IOA resumed on February 9, 2023. The cost is $52.99 for adults and $29.99 for kids. The food is a notch above Cafe 4’s standard fare, with shrimp stir-fry, carved beef loin, and roasted chicken on the menu.

293 Scareactor dining will not return in 2023. On select nights in August, a “Taste of Terror” ticketed event will offer unlimited samples of Halloween food and a hosted bar for $160+tax (park admission not included). Pricing for the Grinchmas breakfast is $41.99 for adults, $26.99 for kids 3-9. Hours are 9-11 a.m.

296-297 At some indoor dining locations, you’ll need to scan or input your table number after placing your Mobile Order. Service can be very slow at these locations. Mobile Ordering now makes you select a 15 minute pickup window, making the system much more efficient at counter service restaurants. Mobile Order is now available at more locations in CityWalk.

297 Cold and Frozen Butterbeer is now available with a vegan foam topping that tastes exactly the same as the original; hot Butterbeer still contains dairy.

299 Leaky Cauldron, Hopping Pot, and Hog’s Head serve two additional beers, Dark Forest Ale and Daisyroot Ale. Dragon Scale is available in both Wizarding Worlds, but Hog’s Head Brew is exclusive to Hogsmeade.

300 Freestyle cups cost $20 for one, $36 for two, or $16 each for three to six, and can be reactivated for an additional $13 per day ($12 for annual passholders), including tax. The major downside of Freestyle is that machines often run out of ice and popular flavors on warmer days. Outdoor dispensers along highly trafficked pathways are usually the first to empty; indoor locations (like the Coke kiosk near Men In Black) are more likely to get restocked.” Minion popcorn buckets cost $29-$30+tax.

301 Hotel souvenir drink cup packages now cost $10.50 plus tax for one day of use, $16.50 for three days, or $19 for the entire length of your stay at the resort. Premier & Preferred hotels no longer offer souvenir cup refills on alcohol.

303 Bottled water costs $3.75+tax from carts and $6+tax indoors.

304 Cafe La Bamba has reopened with a new Mexican menu of burritos, tacos, and bowls with your choice of meat, shrimp, or vegan fillings.

312-313 Thunder Falls Terrace is serving ribs again.

313 Thunder Falls Terrace: Vegan jackfruit has been replaced by plant-based chorizo.

316 Panda Express has discontinued its plant-based Beyond the Orange Chicken.

316-317 Bayliner Diner: Shakes Malt Shoppe, serving ice cream treats, is now open in the back of the Bayliner Diner.

317 Emac & Bolio: replace “Trippin’ on Espresso, or “Deep Purple” Chip” with “Grasshopper Pie, or Toasted S’moreo”

317-318 New Dutch Trading Co. serves warm pretzels, pizzas, and hot pots after 11 a.m.

325 Bob Marley now has Mobile Ordering.

330 Islands Dining Room now offers a full plant-based menu.

332 At The Kitchen, magicians perform tableside on Wednesdays and Fridays, 6 p.m.-10 p.m. On Mondays and Thursdays at Kids Can Cook, kids create their own pizzas or quesadillas for $12+tax 5–7 p.m. The kitchen burger and cake are still available, but the Kitchen Sink challenge is no longer offered.

332 The Kitchen offers happy hour specials all day on Sundays, and an Acoustic Brunch (10:30 a.m.-2 p.m.; $49 adults, $25 age 10-20, $19 age 3-9) that includes a carving station, salmon platter, and bottomless bloody marys and mimosas. The daily adult breakfast buffet costs $29.

334 Lombard’s house specialties: replace shrimp cocktail and filet mignon with calamari and ribeye steak.

336 NBC Sports summary & comments: change “The grilled chicken wings are underwhelming” to “The slow-cooked birria-style chicken wings and cajun deviled eggs are both pleasingly piquante (but not excessively spicy)

337 Pat O’Brien’s hurricanes come in souvenir glasses that cannot be returned for a refund.

344 Production Central is now Minion Land. Supply Vault and Film Vault are now part of New York. The Tribute Store may be located in New York during the Halloween season.

344 The Evil Stuff gift shop at the exit of Villain Con Minion Blast stocks toys and souvenirs celebrating Despicable Me’s bad guys; check out the statues of Minions cosplaying as their favorite fiends. 

345 MIB Gear has added a small arcade, replacing the photo desk. 

345-347 The Darkroom photo op, Williams of Hollywood prop shop, and Universal Orlando Annual Passholder lounge have all been turned into a new location for the seasonal Tribute Store (previously found in New York) which featured the 30th Anniversary of Jurassic Park in summer 2023. The Brown Derby has reopened with a selection of child-focused clothing and merchandise. The Betty Boop Store near USF’s entrance now has trendy UNIVRSL clothing. The UOAP Lounge has relocated inside Toon Lagoon’s former Betty Boop store. It’s open 11 am-4 pm daily (may be longer during holiday periods). Some Boop merchandise can now be found in Toon Extra.

348 The Lost Continent’s heraldry shop mostly sells fantasy-themed collectibles; swords must be shipped home. Treasures of Poseidon sells scented candles and jewelry (not potted plants). The All Hallows Boutique is currently themed at “Monster Gram Studios.”

349 Change “along with Alta Moda resort wear and swim clothes, an art gallery, and a family photography studio” to “along with snacks and sundries in L’Ancora, and resort wear and artwork at Galleria Portofino.”

PART 10 CITYWALK

355 Rising Star Hours Monday–Tuesday, 4 p.m.–midnight; Wednesday–Sunday, 4 p.m.–1 a.m.

355 Margaritaville Hours Sunday-Thursday, 11 a.m.-11 p.m.; Friday-Saturday, 11 a.m.-midnight.

355 Red Coconut Club has reopened year-round. Hours Wednesday–Sunday, 4 p.m.–1 a.m.; hours vary seasonally.

356 Cineplex’s loungers are still comfy, but are showing some wear and tear. Cinemark tickets are only discounted for annual passholders after 6 p.m.. All matinees cost $10.25.

357 The Cineplex’s automated kiosks are located inside the lobby.

357 Universal’s Great Movie Escape Room is now open, and costs $45-$65 plus tax per player (private groups cost $240-$300) for an hour-long game, which will take you through eight highly themed rooms from your choice of the two featured franchises. Puzzles are designed to adjust to your group’s size and skill level, so whether you solve the tasks quickly or get completely stumped, you’ll still progress through your adventure at roughly the same pace, making this accessible for novices but unsatisfying for escape room veterans.