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10 Ways to Save Money at Universal Orlando

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ways to save money at universal orlandoWhen you think Universal Studios Orlando, you think fun and adventure.

Also known as Universal Orlando Resort, this magnificent theme park resort in beautiful Orlando, Florida is the largest property operated by Universal Parks & Resorts.

It could be considered Disneyland in its own rights. It’s got amazing rides like Hollywood Rip Ride Rockit roller coaster, the Incredible Hulk roller coaster, the chilling Revenge of the Mummy ride, Harry Potter, the Escape From Gringotts and Transformers: The Ride 3D.

As for meals, you’ve got to let your taste buds relish the pleasant taste of meals that only a restaurant like Toothsome Chocolate Emporium can provide.

They serve to die for meals like the Blue Plate Burger, the Red Reuben, and the tempting Warm Chocolate Almond Bread.

Not to mention the delicious shakes and desserts they serve.

Treats have mouthwatering extras like syrup, sprinkles and homemade whipped cream.

If you’re into fast rivers and adrenaline-inducing rides during the summer, visit the Volcano Bay and try out the river there with a super strong current.

Don’t worry about safety because they provide life jackets that you can wear as you swoosh along.

You can also meet characters of your favorite cartoons and movies like Scooby Doo, Spider-Man, Dora the Explorer and the loving SpongeBob SquarePants and take selfies with them.

With these fantastic treats and more, it’s no wonder that a trip to this thrilling resort is quite costly and finding the place deserted is close to impossible.

Dropping by here for fun times with your loved ones isn’t impossible if you’re on a tight budget. Here are some ways to save money at Universal Orlando:

1. Book Your Flight in Advance if You’re Flying

Many other people want to visit the resort and instead of waiting last minute, risking paying so much for tickets, and probably missing your flight, why not book your flight well ahead of time?

It might sound like a hassle now, but there are lots of benefits apart from saving money and time that you stand to enjoy during your flight, such as:

Access to the Best Rooms and Seats

Last minute bookers are often stuck with low-class hotels, not-so-enjoyable services and the stuffy middle seats in the back rows of the plane.

By booking early, you get to snag a choice room with a quality view at an affordable price. You also get to choose where you’d love to sit on the plane.

You Can Adjust your Itinerary as You Wish

Booking your flight in advance allows you to include any pit stops you might come across as well as shift your priorities. It’s especially handy during peak seasons like summer/winter breaks and school holidays when lots of people are making some early booking.

Early Preparation Makes You Ready for Anything

When you book last minute, you may not be so thorough when preparing since you’re bound to get things done fast.

On the other hand, when you get your tickets early, you’ve got all the time to research the area you’re visiting and prepare yourself in advance. You won’t be taken by surprise in case of a setback since you’re expecting it.

No Late-Booking Stress

Getting a seat on a plane early allows you to sit back, relax, and listen to some music or watch a show in peace while others are going crazy trying to book a last-minute flight.

2. Stay Longer

It may sound ironic, but this is actually a way to lower your costs- the park. Park tickets for a day are approximately $136, while a 3 Day pass goes for roughly $185.99, or $62 in a day.

If you’re planning to spend a single day there, you might as well postpone your trip until you’ve got enough time to spare.

It’s even less worth the effort if you’ve flown or driven from another state and you end up going back so soon.

With all the fun things to do at the resort, you’re less likely to board the boredom train, unless you’re on your own. Here are some tips on enjoying your lengthy stay there:

  • Bring someone along. Whether it’s your spouse, partner, buddy, or kids, always have someone with you. The more, the merrier!
  • Make some friends if you didn’t find someone to bring. There are lots of people there, so chances of you not finding a friend are slim.
  • Plan in advance to avoid that time when you look around and think to yourself, what next? Do this by coming up with a list of all the places you’d love to visit and all the things you’d like to do.
  • Try something new. If you’ve never been to a ride or tasted a particular food (exercise caution if you’re allergic to certain foods), don’t limit yourself. You might enjoy the new activity even more.
  • Take your time to walk around and know about different areas in the place. This is convenient during the planning and also helps you know about all the cool stuff at your disposal.

3. Buy Your Tickets Online

Why spend time in a queue waiting to buy tickets at the gate when you arrive at the resort yet you can do it from the comfort of your home?

All you need is a computer and some internet connection. It may be overwhelming and confusing if you’ve never done it before. On the contrary, it’s straightforward and takes a short time.

You could look it up on Google, but to save you the agony of navigating sites, here are some simple tips you can use:

  • Go to their homepage and find a ticket option that works for you
  • Select your Purchase
  • Choose a delivery method. After making your purchase, you’ll receive an email that the ticket was just sent to you (if you choose the mobile ticket delivery method).
  • You’re good to go

Besides, you’re bound to pay more at the gate, around $20 more, than you’d pay online. It could be more or less than this depending on the ticket option you pick.

Buying tickets online has many perks, some of them being:

  • When you register on the website, you get notifications on new and current activities, performances, exhibitions, etc. to your email address.
  • Your ticket is safe. Unlike the paper version which you can easily lose, you can store your electronic ticket in any electronic data storage.
  • You can order it from home or work, and at any time you want.
  • Pre-booking of the tickets is possible
  • You can be part of any loyalty program, ongoing promotions, bonus, and discounts. Any new money saving offers or updates on existing ones will be sent to your email.

4. Book a Hotel with a Free Shuttle to the Park

Even if you fill your car up with petrol before the big trip, Universal Orlando is a vast place. It will probably be depleted before your second or third day.

Going for a refill means spending money and that’s not the only thing you have to worry about. You also have to pay parking fees, which is roughly $17 per vehicle, and car rental if you don’t have a car of your own.

Some outside and all on-site Universal hotels offer free complimentary shuttles to the parks. On-site option picks include Cabana Bay Beach Resort, the Hard Rock Hotel, Loews Royal Pacific and Loews Portofino Bay.

Aside from the fact that shuttles are free, they’ve got lots of sitting space and enhance communication even when many people are using it together.

You don’t have to worry about getting late for a fun event or getting lost. Traveling by shuttle has lots of benefits such as:

Maximum Safety

Most shuttle bus drivers are experts. All you have to do is kick back and relax. You don’t have to hold your breath as you’d do when carpooling with a reckless pal or keep your eyes on the road. Also, they move at an acceptable speed, so everyone’s comfortable.


Many shuttles strive to make your traveling experience enjoyable. They go a step ahead of other transport services by providing you with wicked amenities like extended storage, a restroom, comfortable seats, and controlled temperature.

No Stress

Making your way on the unfamiliar territory can be stressful. Shuttles are driven by drivers who know their way around so you’ve got nothing to worry about.

5. Visit the Visitor Center for Coupon Brochures and Booklets

The Visitor Center’s the one-stop place for Orlando Travel Planning. Just by looking at its large and colorful exterior, you know that there are gems of knowledge as well as fun and other goodies in it.

It’s located on the International drive right next to Mango’s Tropical Café. If you’re new to the resort or need some help, it’s the place to be.

It’s got excellent customer service. The best part is that the staff is multilingual, so you’re sure to get help regardless of the language you speak. They’re always available to help, tell you about all the attractions in the Orlando area and answer any questions you may have.

They’re also super friendly. They can help you identify coupon booklets and brochures, as well as other useful items like map leaflets and tell you about any discounts that may be available on local attractions.

This is another handy place to get tickets at affordable prices. You can get tickets to your favorite places at sweet deals thanks to the responsible and knowledgeable team. Also, there are no queues, and it’s large. Therefore there’s no squeezing or delays.

The Visitor Center also beats the monotony of many other help centers of sitting down and reading a magazine as you wait your turn.

It’s got an exciting array of characters like the Minions, Mickey, and Minnie to lighten it up. If you wish, you can take your pictures with them.

There are lots of interesting items to take away plus a complimentary bag to store your items as well as a note pad and pen.

6. Take Some Days Away From the Park

Universal Orlando has got lots of other exciting things you can do aside from theme parks. Explore the place and you’ll learn that there are plenty of free parks to visit plus beautiful lakes that you can enjoy.

If you’re all about sitting back with some sunscreen on you as you enjoy the scenic view of turquoise blue water, all you need are the beaches that are a short distance away from the resort.

Clear blue skies, awesome scenery, and the warm sand are some of the incentives of these cool areas. Here are some of the beaches you really need to check out:

Daytona Beach

This beautiful beach in Florida is roughly 90 minutes northeast of the Orlando International Airport.

Here, you can take part in thrilling activities such as dolphin watching, fishing, kayaking, boating, and aquatic playgrounds.

And it’s not all about water. It also has games arcades and cafes along the boardwalk and spas, shopping and golf.

Cocoa Beach

Home to surfing legend Kelly Slater, Cocoa Beach is on the east coast of Florida, roughly a 45-minute drive from Downtown Orlando.

It’s got a beautiful, natural landscape and wild waves that you can surf in. You can also take refreshing nature walks around the coastline on the well-maintained shores.

New Smyrna Beach

This snug 13 mile stretch of white sand paradise is only an hour’s drive from downtown Orlando. You can sunbathe on the warm white sand as well as relax or surf on it. Its famous eastern waves have been listed among the best in the world.

There are some historic sites you could visit while there, such as the downtown area famous for its quaint restaurants and cafes and the New Smyrna Beach Sugar Mill Ruins.

7. Bring Some Dough for Food and Souvenirs

With all the cool souvenirs and lots of tasty food that the resort offers, it’s easy to yield to the temptation of spending away.

Most times, you’ll end up buying stuff that you really don’t need. And if you’ve got kids with you, they might talk you into buying stuff for them.

To avoid this, prepare a budget way before you go to the resort, set aside a specific amount of cash that you intend to spend while at the resort and stick to it.

Also, explain to your kids what your plans are. If they’re too young to understand, the key is to distract them. Whenever they point at something, point their attention to something that’s sure to catch their eye.

You may not have kids with you on your trip but you’re a natural spendthrift. Well, limiting the amount of money you carry and leaving your credit card(s) home will help discipline you.

Here’s a quick tip on surviving on a fixed amount of cash: don’t be too quick to buy everything that you come across.

Take your time to see if it adds any worth to you. Or, don’t spend too much time admiring items or going through the menu in restaurants. There’s always something better up ahead.

Besides, paper cash has its advantages. Some of them are:

  • It’s light in weight and easier to handle.
  • It’s easier to plan for since it’s tangible.
  • Paying with it is much easier, unlike coins.
  • It’s easier to count.
  • It’s conveniently portable, even in large amounts.

8. Universal’s Lines App is all You Need

One of Universal’s best gifts to you, whether you’re a visitor to the resort or not, this handy app offers you all the help you need while in Orlando. It also features other cool features that we’ll look into in a jiff.

The Lines App is available on Google Play, Apple App Store, and mobile web. It helps you save money and time during your trip to Universal Orlando.

How does it help? It helps you figure out what to do during your vacation as well as where to go. It also offers unbiased and reliable advice about the parks at the resort.

Now to the best part. Here are some of its exciting features:

Prices and Menus for Every Restaurant in Universal Orlando

Are you hungry but don’t know how much you’ll pay for a corn dog, ice cream bar, or any other treat? Thanks to Lines, the solution is right in the palm of your hand. You can access all the menus with just a touch of your finger and decide which one works for you.

Know How Long You’ll Wait in Line

Waiting lines are almost everywhere in Universal Orlando parks. Lines saves you the headache of waiting for hours on end by letting you know how long you should expect to wait in line.

Developers use their experience plus that of people who’ve ridden on those rides before to come up with the information.

It also posts the wait time in every attraction so you can plan well in advance.

Customized Step by Step Touring Plans

Let Lines know which rides you’d love to see, and it will show a step-by-step guide on the best time to see them. You don’t have to wait in line! The app can even update your plan as you walk around the park.

9. Wear a Water Hydration Backpack in the Park

A water hydration backpack is a special, comfortable, and light backpack with a bladder that holds water. The weight of the water is balanced evenly across the backpack so you won’t have to worry about sore shoulders.

Most packs don’t require you to stop and take a sip. Just grab the tube connected to the bladder and drink to your fill.

There are two main types of hydration packs: the hydration backpack and the hydration waist pack.

Hydration backpacks are mostly suitable for hiking and contain additional space for extra layers and essentials like sunscreen, sunglasses, food, a knife, a headlamp and a change of clothes.

Other hydration packs in the hydration backpack category include:

  • Running hydration packs, that are further divided into running backpacks and running vests.
  • Snowsports hydration packs that are best for activities like snowboarding and skiing. They are winterized to prevent freezing of your water supply.
  • Cycling hydration packs that are ideal for mountain biking and road cycling. Mountain biking packs are larger to accommodate more gear.

Hydration backpacks are worn around the waist, and most of them have water bottles rather than a reservoir. They are best for light and fast ventures.

Factors to consider when choosing a water hydration backpack include your age, the type of activity you want to use it for and, of course, the cost.

The amount of water that the reservoir in a water hydration backpack can carry depends on the size of the backpack.

Refilling it is quite simple. You only have to be careful not to puncture the bladder or tube. Always store your tube properly when you’re not using it to avoid contamination.

10. Bring Your Lunch

Whether you’re not into sweet and spicy delicacies or you want to save some money, bringing your meals to the park is the way to go. You not only save on money but on time that you would have used to wait at park restaurants.

By choosing to bring food from home, you’re taking control of your nutrition and diet. Park food is often packed with unnecessary calories, sugars, and other ingredients that, when taken in large amounts do more harm than good.

The worst part is that park food is ridiculously expensive, especially if you have your whole family along for the adventure.

Take some time before the trip and prepare something that you (and your family) will enjoy and don’t forget to pack lots of water too.

If you’re on a diet, throw in some nutritious treats such as carrots that you can nibble on as snacks when the hunger bug bites.

Have the Time of Your Life On a Budget

Most people think that you need to be loaded to have a hell of an experience at Universal Orlando. Be among the wise few who can prove them wrong.

Embrace your frugal lifestyle with a smile, and though it might be a challenge if you’re not used to it, you’ll come out happier, wiser and with your finances intact.

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