Universal Studios Florida opened June 7, 1990 and welcomed nearly 11 million visitors in 2019, making it the most visited non-Disney theme park in America. Its sister park, Universal's Islands of Adventure opened in 1999, creating an expanded Universal Orlando Resort.
In addition to its regular lineup of attractions themed to popular movies and TV shows, Universal Studios Florida hosts Halloween Horror Nights on select evenings in September and October, closing early on those days for this after-hours, hard-ticket event.
Looking for discount tickets? Universal Orlando Resort theme park tickets
Our recommendations below come from our annual survey of Theme Park Insider newsletter subscribers. Locations with star ratings ★ ranked especially highly among our readers. Click here to subscribe to our free, twice-weekly email of theme park news and to participate in the next ranking survey.
Certain locations may not be available due to Covid-19 restrictions.
Other attractions the Fast and Furious - Supercharged dark ride in San Francisco; Kang and Kodos' Twirl 'n' Hurl spinner in Springfield; and Woody Woodpecker's Nuthouse Coaster, a Vekoma junior caoster, and Curious George Goes to Town water playground in Woody Woodpecker's Kidzone.
Other shows include Ollivander's Wand Shop in The Wizarding World of Harry Potter - Diagon Alley and Animal Actors on Location in Woody Woodpecker's Kidzone. The Shrek 4D show closes in January 2022.
Universal Studios Florida is part of the Universal Orlando resort, located near the intersection of Interstate 4 and Florida's Turnpike in Orlando, about 17 miles from the Orlando International Airport.
Includes complementary Universal Express Unlimited line-skipping privileges, Early Park Admission, and access to the parks via Water Taxi or the Garden Walk pathway.
Includes complementary Early Park Admission, and access to the parks via Water Taxi or the Garden Walk pathway.
Includes complementary Early Park Admission, and access to the parks via bus or the Garden Walk pathway.
Includes complementary Early Park Admission and access to the parks via bus.
Before you go: Get your tickets in advance. Note that you will need a Park-to-Park ticket (Universal's term for what Disney calls a Park Hopper) to ride the Hogwarts Express, which shuttles riders between Islands of Adventure and Universal Studios Florida. If you don't care about Hogwarts Express, do the one park per day Base Ticket if you would prefer. Once you have your tickets, download and create an account on the Universal Orlando app [Apple | Android], which you will use for Universal's Virtual Line for select rides and Mobile Ordering for food.
Universal offers a paid front-of-line ticket called Universal Express but the resort gives that access away for no extra charge to guests at its Premier hotels (listed above). With Universal Express Unlimited benefits starting at $90 per person per day for everyone else, you might find splurging to stay at one of Universal's top three hotels well worth the higher room prices. You get the front-of-line benefit from the day you check in until the day you check out, so a one-night stay at a Premier hotel gets everyone in your family (up to five people) free Universal Express Unlimited access for two days. Follow the links in the "Universal Orlando Resort hotels" section above to check prices and book.
Early Park Admission: If you stay at any Universal Orlando hotel, you will get Early Park Admission, which will get you into The Wizarding World of Harry Potter - Diagon Alley and often Despicable Me Minion Mayhem. If the line for Minion Mayhem is under 15 minutes, do that then head back to Diagon Alley to ride Escape from Gringotts before the park opens to everyone else.
Morning of your visit: If you are not staying at a Premier hotel, wait to make a decision about buying Universal Express until you get into the park and see what the day's crowd level is actually like. Look at the posted wait times on the Universal Orlando app, and if they seem reasonable to you, skip the upcharge. If you want the front-of-line access, you can buy Universal Express inside the park near the front gate and at designated shops. If you have Universal Express - whether from your hotel or through a direct purchase - you don't need to worry about strategy. Just ride what you want, when you want to.
If you don't have Express, when you get to the park, open the Universal Orlando app and book places in the Virtual Line for Fast & Furious or Jimmy Fallon, if they are available. Select a return time right around lunchtime if you can, so that you can use the early morning to go on more popular attractions before their lines get too long. Use Virtual Line again to reserve a time for the other attraction once your return time for the first has passed.
As you make your first Virtual Line reservation, head to Revenge of the Mummy, then to Transformers and then to Rip, Ride, Rockit before continuing around the park to ET, The Simpsons Ride and Men in Black. Pick up the shows in the afternoon and evening. If you did not have early entry, go the Gringotts first, then pick up the attraction order above, riding Minion Mayhem after Rip, Ride, Rockit.
If you are visiting alone, take advantage of available single rider lines to reduce your wait times. Single rider is available on Harry Potter and the Escape from Gtingotts, Hollywood Rip Ride Rockit, Men in Black: Alien Attack, and Revenge of the Mummy.