The Best 1-Day Itinerary for Universal Studios Orlando

A vacation to Universal Orlando takes a lot of planning, organization, and patience! Don’t fret. We’re here to help!

Universal Orlando

You might not have a lot of time to dedicate several days to the Universal parks, so we’ve dug through our extensive Universal experience to compile a perfect day at Universal.

Before you toss on your favorite Despicable Me t-shirt and your trusty Hogwarts house scarf, there are some things to consider. One of the biggest decisions that can impact how you spend your day at Universal will be if you’re staying at a Univeral Resort Hotel. Universal resort guests can access one of the theme parks prior to the park’s scheduled opening time. That gives you a one-hour head start to get to the most popular attractions before the rest of the Universal guests can!

Universal Orlando

And if you happen to be staying at one of Universal’s Premier (read: pricey) resorts, you’ll also get Universal’s Express Pass Unlimited as one of their hotel perks.

If you’re not staying at a Universal Resort, or you are but not a Premier resort, then your next decision is whether or not to splurge and purchase an Express Pass. When you add Universal Express access to your theme park admission, you get to skip the regular lines at most of your favorite rides and attractions. So you can fit way more fun into your day. There are two options to choose from. Universal Express will permit you to skip the regular line one time per participating attraction. At the same time, the Universal Express Unlimited will allow you to skip the line an unlimited number of times (just like the name implies).

Universal Express Unlimited Pass

Universal Express starts at $89.99 per person, per day, and Universal Express Unlimited starts at $99.99 per person per day. And if you have the extra money and really want to make the most out of your one day at Universal Studios, the Express or Express Unlimited will help alleviate some of that stress and enable you to glide from attraction to attraction without much wait.

Is the Universal Orlando Express Pass Worth It? Everything You Need to Know

You can still have a perfectly wonderful day at Universal without these two perks, but it does play into the strategy of how you plan out your day. You can still get it all done, and you’ll still have a grand time, but you just might find yourself enjoying the immersive theme of the attractions queues are part of your day.

Despicable Me: Minion Mayhem

Guests with Early Park Admission will ideally visit both Harry Potter and the Escape from Gringotts and Despicable Me Minion Mayhem during Early Park Admission. If you can only visit one, we recommend visiting Despicable Me Minion Mayhem early and saving Gringotts for later because Gringotts has a really enjoyable queue. Guests without Early Park Admission will probably want to ignore both Escape from Gringotts and Despicable Me Minion Mayhem until the afternoon.

Escape From Gringotts

On busier days, upon starting your day, you’ll want to use the Universal app to grab “Virtual Line” return times for Fast & Furious and Race Through New York (or whichever of these is using a virtual line). Neither of these rides is hugely popular, and the virtual lines are often unnecessary, but there’s no reason to just ignore them. Fast & Furious and Race Through New York. These should be scheduled for later in the day. We recommend grabbing them for times that will allow you to ride both between 5PM and 6PM. You can modify them later (as long as there’s availability), if your plans change. Just don’t grab them for the exact same time slots.

Arrive about 30 minutes before the park opens if you don’t have Early Park Admission. Whether you’re coming from Early Park Admission or starting without it, your first priority is Hollywood Rip Ride Rockit.

Hollywood Rip Ride Rockit

Your morning should focus on completing these attractions:

E.T. Adventure

Catch your breath, take a breath, and grab a bite at Louie’s Italian Restaurant or Simpson’s Fast Food Blvd.


Once you’ve fortified yourself, head back out for an afternoon filled with some great shows and entertainment, and that magical wizarding world!

Florean Fortescue’s Ice Cream Parlour

There you have it! Our perfect day in Universal Studios Orlando! And if you happen to have Early Theme Park Entry and Express Pass, that just gives you more time to explore the details of Diagon Alley, or stop and enjoy the performances of the artists all around the parks!

Keep following AllEars for more tips on having the best Universal day and other itinerary tips.

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