Going to the theme parks can be stressful, especially if you're the one in charge of coordinating everything for your group. But if you know all the tips and tricks, you'll be able to make your adventure more enjoyable.
This weekend, I went to experience Holidays at Universal Orlando. Here are my 5 tips to get the most out of your vacation:
TIP #1: Lanyard with Ticket Holder
I can't express to you enough, especially if you're a parent, how much time and frustration this $10 item will save you. First, it allows everyone in the family to wear their tickets. It keeps mom and dad from having to hold all the passes and coordinating which ticket goes with which person. Next, the see-through plastic is scannable in the Express Pass checkpoints meaning you won't have to dig in your pockets or bags trying to find them. Third, you will be able to open the free lockers to store your bags. You can even wear the lanyard on the roller coasters (under your shirt). There are a plethora of themed lanyards available at Universal Studio Stores when you enter the parks.
TIP #2: Tickets
You can save some cash by getting Florida Resident rate tickets (starting at $115/day). But be aware there are blackout dates between December 22, 2018 - January 3, 2019.
TIP #3 Express Pass
If you can swing it, consider buying the Universal Express Unlimited Pass; it is a must to make your experience delightful. The $149 will allow you to save time waiting in line in both main parks. I was there for two days and spent about half-a-day in each park and ended up only waiting for about 15 - 30 minutes for each ride. This pass allowed me to experience every attraction I wanted to in both parks and then still had time to enjoy my stay at the Sapphire Falls Resort.
As a bonus, if you stay at select on-site resorts, you get the Express Pass included for free for all the guests in your room and you get into the parks an hour early, plus you can use the complimentary water taxi transportation.
Tip #4: Holiday Attractions
Decorated for Christmas, The Wizarding World of Harry Potter at both parks has special events.
First, "The Magic of Christmas at Hogwarts Castle" is a spectacle of a projection show that happens after dusk until the park closes.
Also, make sure you check out the Frog Choir and Celestina Warbeck and the Banshees.
And if you are a Potterhead, there are special ornaments and stockings you can only get at the resort.
Other holiday-themed attractions include Grinchmas Who-liday Spectacular, Universal’s Holiday Parade featuring Macy’s, and Mannheim Steamroller Concert on select dates and are included in the ticket price.
Show Times of Holiday Themed Events
The Magic of Christmas at Hogwarts Castle daily at dusk until park closes.
Celestina Warbeck and the Banshees held at Diagon Alley are at 1:30 p.m., 2:30 p.m., 3:30 p.m., 5 p.m., 6 p.m., 7p.m.
Frog Choir held at Hogsmeade are at 10:30 a.m., 11:30 a.m., 12:30 p.m., 2 p.m., 3 p.m., 4 p.m.
Grinchmas Who-liday Spectacular - 10:45 a.m., 11:45 a.m., 12:45 p.m., 1:45 p.m., 3:30 p.m., 4:30 p.m., 5:30 p.m., 6:30 p.m.
Universal's Holiday Parade featuring Macy's happens at Universal Studios at 5:30 p.m.
Mennheim Steamroller concerts are held at 7 p.m. at Universal Studios on Nov. 17, 18, 24, 25; Dec .1, 2, 8, 9, 15, 16.
Tip 5: Backpack
You can bring a backpack into the parks. They are helpful for storing all your stuff and fit into the larger lockers at all the rides. Some rides you can even bring your backpack with you.