Universal Orlando is one of the theme parks your autistic family can visit while on vacation in Florida. If you have never experienced Universal Orlando, but have tackled Disney, you will want to consider adding it to your list of vacation destinations. Before you start diving too far into the planning process though, understand there are a few things you should know about Universal Orlando.
Things to Know for Your Autistic Family’s Universal Orlando Vacation
Three Amazing Theme Parks
Universal Orlando includes Universal Studios, Islands of Adventure, and Volcano Bay. That’s three amazing theme parks for your family to enjoy during your vacation in Florida!
Over in Universal Studios, your family will see classic replicas of movie sets. Rides in this park include The Mummy Returns, Fast & Furious - Supercharged, and Race Through New York with Jimmy Fallon.
Islands of Adventure has Suess Land, Jurassic Park, The Hulk, and so much more.
The Wizarding World of Harry Potter is located in both parks. The Hogwarts Express will take you between the two Harry Potter sections. But only if you have a park hopper pass.
Oh, and there is no better way to cool down in Florida than the water rides at Volcano Bay.
Single Park or Park-to-Park Passes - Which is Best for Your Family?
If you have a Harry Potter fan in your family, or you simply want to ride Hogwarts Express, this will be an easy question to answer. You will need a park-to-park pass to take the train between the two parks.
Universal Express Pass or Universal Unlimited Express Pass - Which is Best for Your Autistic Family?
The Universal Express Pass is an add-on that you can purchase with your regular park ticket. This pass will allow you to bypass the regular lines at many of the rides at Universal Studios and Islands of Adventure. This pass can be used one time for each ride in a single day.
The Universal Unlimited Express Pass will allow you to skip the regular line for rides multiple times in a single day.
Pro Tip: The Universal Unlimited Express Pass is complimentary for any guests that stay at one of Universal’s premier hotels. I can share more information about this with you as I am planning your Universal Orlando vacation!
Off-Site Hotel or In-Site Hotel - Which One is Best?
Off-site hotels may be cheaper, but they are going to require transportation to reach any of the Universal Orlando theme parks. So, if location and convenience are big factors in your vacation plans, I recommend staying at one of the on-site hotels.
I usually recommend one of the premier hotels, simply because there are extra perks. One of those perks is the complimentary Unlimited Express Pass I mentioned above. All these perks are usually quite helpful for autistic families.
The ticket add-ons at Universal Orlando can take your theme park vacation to the next level. We can discuss the different ticket add-ons, as I am planning your Universal vacation. To give you an idea though, a couple of the options include photo packages, character dinners, and VIP experiences.
CityWalk is right in the middle of Universal Orlando. It is a massive shopping and dining area during the day. Once the sun sets, everything lights up and the nightlife begins.
This is a wonderful place to visit for a meal outside the theme parks. Burgers are best at Hard Rock Cafe. The kids, and the adults, will love the sweet treats at Toothsome Chocolate Emporium.
If you are worried about the crowds, head over to CityWalk early in the morning to scope things out. This will allow you to know where you are going if you are searching for a specific place later in the day.
Activities for Younger Kids
Sometimes, autistic families stick with Disney, because they know there are plenty of options for younger kids. However, your autistic family will find plenty of options for the younger crowd at Universal Orlando!
There are kid areas in both Universal Studios and Islands of Adventure. Both these sections are undergoing a re-theming. Those new themes have yet to be announced, but I will let you know what they are as soon as I hear!
Rest assured, rides are still available in these areas. And Universal Orlando recently opened Minions Land. The kids will love the newest ride, as well as the new character dining experience. I mean, who can resist being a Minion for a day?!?!!
What Can Be Brought into the Universal Orlando Theme Parks?
I understand that you will want to be prepared for anything when you are inside any of the Universal theme parks. But I don’t really recommend taking in too many items.
Backpacks and other items are not allowed on the rides. You will spend quality time shoving these items into the lockers at every ride. That time will take you away from actually going on the rides.
If you must take a backpack in with you, be prepared to spend a little extra time in line when you arrive. Your bags will need to be cleared at security.
These are the main things you should know before you start planning your Universal Orlando vacation. While you can plan for this family adventure on your own, it will be beneficial to have a travel advisor like me plan it for you.
I can make sure your itinerary for Universal Orlando is autism-friendly and meets the needs of your family. I can also make sure you are staying in a hotel that meets your autistic child’s needs. The best part though is I can make sure you are getting all the perks you deserve while enjoying this time away from home. Contact me today to see how I can help your family enjoy every minute of your vacation at Universal Orlando.