How to Make the Most Out of Universal Studios Orlando in One Day
Travel - March 2, 2021

If you’re heading to South Florida, check out how to m ake the most out of Universal Studios, Orlando in one day. You will even have time to hang out in Citywalk!

Entrance of Universal Orlando
Universal Orlando

We knew Universal Orlando Resort.™ was going to be a long day for us considering we had two theme parks and Citywalk™ to check out.  With two boys under five-years-old, we had to have a plan.  We took into consideration a few things:

First, it was October and they were having Halloween Horror Nights. Both boys  do not like big, animated characters walking around, especially if they are scary.  So, we knew that we were not going to be participating in that.  Because Universal Studios would be closing early for Halloween Horror Nights, we decided to do that theme park first.

We also had to consider where we wanted to eat because we wanted to experience a restaurant in Citywalk™ but knew the kids would be too tired to go to dinner.  So, we planned on late lunch.  I researched some restaurants and planned our day.  But as you know, if you have small children, nothing ever goes as planned.  We planned around our plans!  Here’s how:

Get the Universal Express Unlimited Pass™

You must get the Universal Express Unlimited Pass™!  You can fit in two more rides or an extra activity by using it at Universal Studios Florida™ and Universal’s Islands of Adventure.™

Plan your rides

Remember that your plans don’t match up to your kids plans and although they might say they want to go on the amazing Minion ride (and have not stopped talking about it), they could change their mind at the last second, like ours did.  Just have an idea of what rides are important to you.  Then plan to take at least one.

Universal Studios™


My kids love Transformers. So, what a treat when on our way, we saw Megatron taking pictures with visitors. It is absolutely amazing the realism.  It was like seeing the real thing (except in smaller).


As we walked in the excitement started and we went on the Transformers 3-D Ride.  I would not recommend it for children under three. My two-year-old was a little scared but loved seeing Bumblebee up close. He is obsessed!

If we were to do another ride, it would have been the Despicable Me Minion Mayhem ride as we have heard great reviews on it.  If our kids were older, I am sure they would of wanted to do more rides, but they were very happy walking around, taking it all in.  There is so much eye candy.


The kids loved the Curious George play area.


Some of it is shaded so that helps getting out of the heat a little.  It’s great for all ages and we could sit and watch them play for a while.

After Universal Studios, we decided to take a late lunch in.

Plan For CityWalk


Spend a third of your time there. It’s worth it. As we were leaving and masses of people were entering, I felt the energy around me.


People were full of life coming into CityWalk™ where restaurants and entertainment come together. This is the definition of nightlife.


Plan on two or three restaurants that you would like to eat at when visiting CityWalk.™ One out of the three was closed. The second one had a two hour wait time and with kids we couldn’t risk it. We picked CowFish because the menu was great and there was no wait. Don’t get me wrong, it was busy. The kids loved it!


The ambiance was amazing.


You can sit outside with a view of the Hard Rock and downtown CityWalk.™.


The kids loved their Bento Boxes.


Oh, and the Parmesan Bacon Truffle Fries are ridiculous.


You might ask, “why chicken in a place that clearly specializes in sushi and beef?” Because I can, that’s why. It was delish.


Oh, and the Hand Spun Milkshakes…yum. This is the Gimme More S’more Milkshake. There wasn’t a drop left.

Now rested and with a full stomach, we headed to Islands Of Adventure.™

Islands Of Adventure™



We loved Dudley Do-Rights Ripsaw Falls!  There were people in line with rain coats on that clearly had done the ride before.  If we had to do it all over again, we would still go in and get totally drenched!  That’s what makes it so much fun! Now, I will admit that it is the first ride I have been on in probably 30+ years that I  had to close my eyes, the drop was so crazy!  My five-year-old loved it and wanted to go again.

We walked all over Islands Of Adventure.™  Since we did not want to separate the kids to avoid drama, there are a few rides we could not go on as my two-year-old did not make the cut for the height restriction. Unfortunately, we were not able to go on the Jurassic Park River Adventure,™  Reign of Kong,™  or Harry Potter, but they looked amazing.


The Harry Potter Castle is like taking an instant trip to an old city in Europe.  The decor is so realistic that you are truly transported into a fantasy world.


I have not seen the Harry Potter movies (I know, Gasp!), but after walking through those streets, I feel like I must rent the movies.


After the Wizarding World of Harry Potter, we headed to the colorful Seuss Landing™ Shops and Dining.


The whole family loves Dr. Seuss!  My mouth hurts sometimes from reading his books to the kids, haha.  “Read it again!” they say.


It’s like you’re in Dr. Seuss’s world.  This is what it would be like to be a character in his books.


This is where you will find anything and everything Dr. Seuss, from The Grinch™ to The Cat in the Hat.™ such as baby apparel, character glasses and mugs, toys, souvenirs, novelty hats and wigs.


We spent a lot of time just hanging out here and the kids loved looking through the windows and sitting on the ledges.

As we walked around and saw so many things to buy, it gets overwhelming and I suggest choosing one place to finish your shopping.  We came across this awesome shop called The Island Market and Export.


It had so much to offer, from souvenirs to fudge!   The fudge was amazing!


As you can see, this all can be done in one day, however, I recommend staying at one of the Universal Hotels to experience each park on a separate day and finish with a different restaurant in CityWalk.


Next time we will make reservations at the new The Toothsome Chocolate Emporium & Savory Feast Kitchen.™

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