Category: Travel

A Local’s Guide To Your First Time Visit to Universal Orlando Resort

By MM Travel and Tours on in Travel

Universal Orlando Resort is a place that allows you to explore the streets of Diagon Alley at The Wizarding World of Harry Potter, visit a real-life Raptor Encounter to meet Blue the Raptor, float down the Kopiko Wai Winding River at Volcano Bay, and finish with a cold beverage high in the sky at Bar 17 Bistro on top of Universal’s Aventura Hotel all in one day.

With so much to see and do, how can you get the most out of it during your first-time visit? Here’s a few first timer tips to get the most out of your upcoming visit.

 


WHAT TO EXPERIENCE
AT UNIVERSAL STUDIOS FLORIDA

Have you ever watched a movie and said “I wish I could experience that movie in real life.” Well, we have some good news for you. Check out these must-do experiences straight from the movies: 

  • Must-Do Attractions:
  • Experience: Follow in Harry Potter’s footsteps as you enter into Diagon Alley – watch out for the fire breathing dragon
  • Character Meet & Greet: Meet Optimus Prime, Bumblebee and Megatron
  • Show: Swing over to see Universal Orlando’s Cinematic Celebration with an incredible array of dazzling projections on colossal dancing fountains
  • Parade: See Universal’s Superstar Parade featuring with SpongeBob SquarePants, Dora and Diego, The Secret Life of Pets characters and more
  • Shopping: Find all things Universal and more at the Universal Studios Store
  • Bonus: Journey from King’s Cross Station in Universal Studios Florida to Hogsmeade Station in Islands of Adventure aboard the Hogwarts Express (only available with a Park-to-Park admission ticket)

Great Places to Eat at Universal Studios Florida

  • Quick Service: “Hey Hey, Kids!” Visit Springfield, U.S.A. and stop by Krusty Burger for a fun atmosphere and great meal.
  • Best View: Try an off-the-charts meal and take in an incredible view of the lagoon at Richter’s Burger Co.
  • Best Atmosphere: Get your fill of Bangers and Mash, Fisherman’s Pie, Toad in the Hole and more at the Leaky Cauldron
  • Romantic: Try Lombard’s Fresh Catch at Lombard’s Seafood Grille while you take in the nautical atmosphere on the docks of San Francisco’s Fisherman’s Wharf
  • Sweet Treats: Try a Dole Whip Pineapple Sorbet at Schwab’s Pharmacy

View a complete list of Universal Studios Florida rides, attractions, dining and more at universalorlando.com.

Here are some resources to help plan your day:

 

LOCAL TIP | Start at the back of the park and work your way counter-clockwise to the front to stay ahead of fellow guests and take full advantage of ride lines.

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WHAT TO EXPERIENCE
AT ISLANDS OF ADVENTURE

Get ready to encounter dinosaurs, fly high above city streets with a famous web slinger, visit a secret school of witchcraft and wizardry, come face-to-face with a colossal ape and more. Check out these must do experiences that give you a sense of adventure:

  • Must-Do Attractions:
  • Character Meet & Greet: Take photos with your favorite Marvel characters – Spider-Man, Captain America, Cyclops, Wolverine, Storm, and Rogue along with classic villains like Dr. Doom and The Green Goblin in Marvel Super Hero Island at Universal’s Islands of Adventure
  • Show: Brighten your night with The Nighttime Lights at Hogwarts Castle where you can embrace your Hogwarts pride as the four houses are celebrated in stunning light and sound (only available during select seasons)
  • Shopping: Witness a wand choose its wizard or witch at Ollivanders in Hogsmeade

Great Places to Eat at Islands of Adventure

  • Quick Service: Enjoy a delicious meal at Three Broomsticks
  • Best View: Eat while you watch daring riders get drenched at Thunder Falls Terrace in Jurassic Park
  • Best Atmosphere: Dine with Super Heroes at Marvel’s Character Dinner at Marvel Super Hero Island in Islands of Adventure
  • Romantic: Take in the spectacular view of the park’s inland sea and colorful lands from the award-winning Mythos Restaurant
  • Sweet Treats: Pick up a delicious Butterbeer from Hog’s Head

View a complete list of Islands of Adventure rides, attractions, dining and more at universalorlando.com.

Here’s some resources to help plan your day:

LOCAL TIP

  • Start your day off in Hogsmeade and work your way clockwise around the park to take advantage of wait times and attractions.

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WHAT TO EXPERIENCE
AT UNIVERSAL’S VOLCANO BAY


Words can’t describe what it feels like the moment you take that first step inside Volcano Bay and immediately feel like you’re in a tropical paradise thousands of miles away in the Pacific Ocean. Check out these must-do experiences that are filled with relaxation and thrills:

Great Places to Eat at Volcano Bay

View a complete list of Volcano Bay rides, dining and more at UniversalOrlando.com

Here’s some resources to help plan your day:

 

LOCAL TIPS

  • First, plan to arrive early to Volcano Bay and secure that perfect beach chair with that incredible view. TapuTapu will also make your day easy. This wearable device that holds your place in lines, activates interactive surprises, makes cash-free payments and more.
  • Stay at a Universal hotel and enjoy early park admission to Universal’s Volcano Bay one hour before the park opens (valid theme park admission required).

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WHAT TO EXPERIENCE
AT UNIVERSAL CITYWALK

Get ready to indulge in some of the most mouthwatering food with refreshing drinks, shop until you drop and dance the night away at Universal CityWalk. Check out these must-do experiences for a day or night out:

 

Great Places to Eat at Universal CityWalk

View full list of entertainment, shopping and dining options at Universal CityWalk

Here’s some resources to help plan your visit:

LOCAL TIPS

  • Take advantage of the FREE self-parking after 6PM!(Not valid during Halloween Horror Nights. Additional restrictions may apply and are subject to change without notice)
  • Free parking available with a purchase of two (2) Universal CityWalk Matinee tickets.

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WHERE TO STAY
AT UNIVERSAL ORLANDO RESORT


There’s a Universal Orlando hotel for every family style and budget. Take a look at all the amazing places you can stay so close to the parks:

Premier Hotels – $$$$


Loews Portofino Bay Hotel

Relax in surroundings inspired by the beauty, romance and charm of the picturesque seaside village of Portofino, Italy.

  • Experience: Treat yourself to a day at the Mandara Spa
  • Feature: Spend an enchanted evening with live music and traditional opera as you sip wine and sample gourmet fare during Harbor Nights. Additionally, enjoy nightly festive melodies with Musica Della Notte, a unique blend of classic opera, festive melodies, and “popera” favorites
  • Dining: Feel like you’re part of the family at Mama Della’s Ristorante with authentic Italian cooking and strolling musicians
  • Benefits: Free Universal Express Unlimited, early park admission to The Wizarding World of Harry Potter & Universal’s Volcano Bay, free transportation, priority seating at restaurants and more

Learn more about Loews Portofino Bay Hotel


Hard Rock Hotel

Live like a rock star and savor the perks of rock ‘n’ roll royalty with impeccable surroundings, laid-back style and show-stopping service.

  • Experience: Attend a monthly award-winning “Velvet Sessions” with an up-close and personal rock concert. Past performers include Bret Michaels, Eddie Money, Joan Jett, and more
  • Feature: Take a self-guided Music Memorabilia tour and discover Elvis’ pajamas, John Lennon’s suit, Paul McCartney’s guitar, Lady GaGa’s leather outfit, Rihanna’s bodysuit and more
  • Feature: Discover The Sound of Your Stay™ program with A-list perks. tracks.®, lets you stream a celebrity-curated playlists to amplify your stay. picks® allows you to choose from a menu of 20 different Fender® guitars that can be delivered to your room (down payment and loan agreement required)
  • Dining: Stop by The Kitchen and dig into their famous mac and cheese. But don’t forget the encore – they’ve got some of the most jaw-dropping desserts you’ve ever seen
  • Benefits: Free Universal Express Unlimited, early park admission to The Wizarding World of Harry Potter & Universal’s Volcano Bay, free transportation, priority seating at restaurants and more

Learn more about the Hard Rock Hotel


Loews Royal Pacific Resort
Get swept away in an exotic south seas paradise with tropical wonders, exotic foods, and carefree fun.

  • Experience: Have breakfast with your favorite characters from Illumination’s Despicable Me
  • Feature: Experience weekly Wantilan Luau firsthand with an evening of authentic Polynesian food and entertainment at this exciting dinner show
  • Dining: Visit Jake’s American Bar where you can try fabled South Seas explorer Jake McNally themed favorites including island cocktails, Jake’s American Red Lager and the B-1 Bomber Burger
  • Benefits: Free Universal Express Unlimited, early park admission to The Wizarding World of Harry Potter & Universal’s Volcano Bay, free transportation, priority seating at restaurants and more

Learn more about Loews Royal Pacific Resort

 

Preferred Hotel – $$$


Loews Sapphire Falls Resort

Escape to the feeling of being in paradise with the calming sounds of steel drums, swaying palm trees, scenic views, and blue cascading waterfalls.

  • Experience: Take in the incredible 16,000-square-foot pool with a sand beach, hot tub, water slide and more
  • Feature: Join a weekly dinner celebration filled with Caribbean flair at the Caribbean Carnaval Dinner Show
  • Dining: Try Caribbean-inspired cuisine at Amatista Cookhouse or stop by the Strong Water Tavern for rare vintage rums and tapas-style dining options
  • Benefits: Early park admission to The Wizarding World of Harry Potter & Volcano Bay, free transportation & Universal’s Volcano Bay, located steps away from Volcano Bay, and more


Learn more about Loews Sapphire Falls Resort

 

Prime Value Hotels – $$


Universal’s Aventura Hotel

It’s your chill zone, your party place, your hangout, your refuge. And the best part, it’s perfectly priced.

  • Experience: Check out the hotel’s Virtual Reality game room for an experience unlike any other
  • Feature: Enjoy a drink with a view high in the sky at Bar 17 Bistro
  • Dining: Have a chef cook up a custom wok dish right in front of you at the Urban Pantry
  • Benefits: Early park admission to The Wizarding World of Harry Potter & Universal’s Volcano Bay, free transportation, steps away from Volcano Bay, and more

Learn more about Universal’s Aventura Hotel

Universal’s Cabana Bay Beach Resort
Enjoy vibrant, retro-style with rooms and suites brilliantly designed for fun and affordability.

  • Experience: Take on a friend at Galaxy Bowl and when you’re finished, head over to the Ace The Arcade for an overtime match of timeless arcade favorites
  • Feature: Have a relaxing day floating down Cabana Bay’s lazy river while you soak up that warm Florida sunshine
  • Dining: Try a wide variety of food stations including deli items, pizzas, burgers, salads and desserts at the Bayliner Diner
  • Benefits: Early park admission to The Wizarding World of Harry Potter & Universal’s Volcano Bay, free transportation, steps away from Volcano Bay, and more

Learn more about Universal’s Cabana Bay Beach Resort

  

Value Hotel – $


Universal’s Endless Summer Resort – Surfside Inn and Suites

Opening June 27th, 2019
Step into the extra affordable surf lifestyle with beach-themed standard rooms, spacious two-bedroom suites, and more.

  • Experience: Kick back in the surfboard-shaped pool and soak in the sunshine
  • Feature: Check out the spacious, two-bedroom suites that sleep up to six
  • Dining: Stop by the food court for a wide variety of great food options or have a fresh-made pizza pie delivered directly to your room
  • Benefits: Early park admission to The Wizarding World of Harry Potter & Universal’s Volcano Bay, free transportation and more

Learn More about Surfside Inn and Suites

Universal’s Endless Summer Resort – Dockside Inn and Suites
Opening March 2020
Inspired by sand, sea and breathtaking sunsets, this extra affordable retreat features two-bedroom suites, two large pools and more.

  • Experience: Soak in the sunshine at one of the two large pools with a beautiful sandy beach – how cool
  • Feature: Check out the spacious, two-bedroom suites that sleep up to six
  • Dining: Stop by the food court for a wide variety of flavorful food for every palate. On the go? No problem. There are plenty of grab-and-go options available
  • Benefits: Early park admission to The Wizarding World of Harry Potter & Universal’s Volcano Bay, free transportation and more

Learn More about Dockside Inn and Suites

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THINGS TO KNOW

You might know about all the amazing experiences you’d like to try at Universal Orlando, but now let’s take a look at few ways you can get the most out of your first time trip with a few local planning tips.

Express Pass – Get to the Fun Faster

Want to get the most out of your visit? Check out a few of the Express Pass options available so you can skip the regular lines at most of your favorite rides and attractions to get the most out of your day at the parks.

Did you know you the Express Pass is included FREE when you stay at a Universal Premier category hotel? Check out the details here.

Plan Your Entire Trip with Ease Using the Official Universal Mobile App

Imagine having your own travel guide to give you every bit of important information you need to get the most out of your first-time visit. That is what the official Universal Orlando Resort App provides!

What can the Universal Orlando Resort mobile app do?

  • The app can become your Virtual Wallet
  • You can find everything you need including ride wait times, showtimes, dining venue hours and more
  • Create your own personal “to-do” list of favorites
  • Always be in the know with the latest park updates
  • Order meals on the go with ease
  • What else can you do with the App? Find out here

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WHAT TO BRING

Let’s dive into a few tips to help you decide what to bring during your first-time visit to the parks.

Backpacks and Shoulder Bags

Can you bring a bag or backpack to Universal Orlando Resort? Absolutely! A small, soft-sided bag is perfect for toting your essentials around while exploring the parks.

Potential Items To Add To Bag Include:

  • Sunscreen
  • Rain poncho or jacket
  • Refillable water bottle
  • Sunglasses

Check out the What To Pack For A Day At Universal Orlando Resort for more great tips on what to bring to the parks.


TAKING PHOTOS AT THE PARKS

Can you bring a camera to Universal Orlando Resort? Of course! You are about to have some of the best times of your life and what better way to remember those moments than incredible photos to take home with you.

Here are a few great photo opportunities at the parks to keep in mind:

LOCAL TIP | Since it’s your first time visiting the parks, check out the My Universal Photo options, so you can focus on the fun while they focus on capturing your best moments.


WHAT TO WEAR

Florida is a tricky place when it comes to weather. Most of the time it’s warm and sunny, but there are those occasional days that cause us to break out our coats. Regardless, it’s good to be prepared. 

  • Check the Weather: Take a moment to check the weather forecast before heading to the parks
  • Fashion or Comfort: Of course you want to look fashionable in all of the Instagram photos you are planning on taking, but keep in mind to be comfortable as your day may include lots of walking and standing in the heat
  • Which Shoes to Wear: Try to wear a shoe that is breathable and comfortable

Check out the full list of Frequently Asked Questions on what to bring to the parks.

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Did we miss anything? Tell us about some of your theme park first-timer tips in the comments below! And make sure to share your tips on Twitter, Facebook or Instagram with #ReadyForUniversal or ask for help with #AskUniversal.

Book your next vacation today through M & M Travel and Tours! (810) 877 1814

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Good news! Vacation is good for your health! Forbes is here to break down why.

By MM Travel and Tours on in Travel

Call us to get your reservations made today! 810 877 1814

 

Good news! Vacation is good for your health! Forbes is here to break down why you need to book your next trip ASAP! https://bit.ly/2K4nWSb

 


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30 Things to Know Before You Visit These U.S. Cities

By MM Travel and Tours on in Travel

From our friends at Funjet Vacations. Call us to get your reservations made today! 810 877 1814

There’s more than the Golden Gate Bridge in San Fran.

 

30 Things to Know Before You Visit These U.S. Cities

New York City, Philadelphia, Chicago, Los Angeles, Minneapolis, and more.

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10 Best Museums in Miami

By MM Travel and Tours on in Travel

From our friends at Funjet Vacations. Call us to get your reservations made today! 810 877 1814

Of course an art museum across the street from a beach made the list.

 

10 Best Museums in Miami

Thought lounging on the beach was the only activity you’d want to on your Miami agenda? Squeeze in a visit to these museums while you’re in town.

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#VisitIslandofHawaii and capture beautiful moments like these. #LetHawaiiHappen

By MM Travel and Tours on in Travel

From our friends at Visit Hawaii.

Call us to get your reservations made today! 810 877 1814

#VisitIslandofHawaii and capture beautiful moments like these. #LetHawaiiHappen

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READY FOR HER CLOSE-UP: 1st trip to L.A. and #NorwegianJOY is already a star!

By MM Travel and Tours on in Travel

From our friends at Norwegian Cruise Line. Call us to get your reservations made today! 810 877 1814

READY FOR HER CLOSE-UP: 1st trip to L.A. and #NorwegianJOY is already a star! ⭐️


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Enjoy the beauty and tranquility of the Hokulani Waikiki rooftop bar

By MM Travel and Tours on in Travel

Hokulani Waikiki by Hilton Grand Vacations is our favorite place to stay in Waikiki. The rooms are beautiful and spacious, and the staff is so warm and friendly, they remember your name and go out of their way to make your stay special. But one of the best parts is the Hokulani Waikiki rooftop bar.

The pool here is small and not very deep so won’t appeal to everyone but it is just the right temperature to cool off, and the view is unbeatable. You can see right down Kalakaua Ave to Diamond Head peeking over the top of the high-rise at the other end, directly from within the pool. Look in the other direction and you can see the ocean and even make out the surfers on Waikiki beach. The pool makes a great place to laze an afternoon away while soaking up the Hawaiian sunshine.

Surrounding the pool are numerous loungers, tables and chairs, and sofas along with plenty of shaded areas. There is a small bar offering a selection of beers and cocktails with friendly bartenders, iced water is always available for free. The resort provides large fluffy towels and even sunscreen!

Enjoy the beauty and tranquility of the Hokulani Waikiki rooftop bar

The best part of the roof is the eight cabanas offered free to guests on a first-come basis. Each cabana has a TV and a small fridge, a day bed and table and chairs as well as a safe for your valuables. The Hokulani Waikiki rooftop bar is one of our favorite places to have lunch in all of Waikiki.

Enjoy the beauty and tranquility of the Hokulani Waikiki rooftop bar

You can buy ready-made salads or sandwiches and snacks from the ABC store downstairs or venture a little further to the Food Pantry for provisions. The suites all have kitchens, so we buy a few days’ worth of snacks and lunches and head up to the roof for a relaxing lunch, at our own pace. We can spend a whole day up here, eating, drinking and sunbathing, with very little interruption – it’s very relaxing.

While we mostly use this space during the day, the roof is open until 10pm every night and has spectacular nighttime views.

Enjoy the beauty and tranquility of the Hokulani Waikiki rooftop bar

Every Monday night they have a movie on the roof which makes this an even better place to grab a pizza and take in the latest blockbuster or classic movie. The resort even provides popcorn.

I would recommend the Hokulani Waikiki rooftop bar to adults traveling without children or to those with very small children who don’t require a large sprawling resort-like pool.

Hope to see
you on the roof!

Book your next vacation today through M & M Travel and Tours! (810) 877 1814

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Here’s your cue to make your Caribbean dream come true with an 11-day journey th…

By MM Travel and Tours on in Travel

From our friends at Viking Cruise Line. Call us to get your reservations made today! 810 877 1814

Here’s your cue to make your Caribbean dream come true with an 11-day journey through the ocean blue.

It’s always island time when you embark on a West Indies Explorer: http://bit.ly/2kjqctA


Here's your cue to make your Caribbean dream come true with an 11-day journey th...
Here's your cue to make your Caribbean dream come true with an 11-day journey th...
Here's your cue to make your Caribbean dream come true with an 11-day journey th...

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Universal Orlando Close Up | Killer Klowns From Outer Space Coming to Halloween Horror Nights

By MM Travel and Tours on in Travel

MGM Pictures’ Killer Klowns From Outer Space Has Landed at Halloween Horror Nights

Laugh now, die later.

Send in the klowns! The Killer Klowns are returning to Universal Orlando’s Halloween Horror Nights in an all-new side-splitting haunted house. The crazed klowns are back to wreak havoc and remind you why you were afraid of clowns in the first place.

STORY

Go beyond the mayhem and madness of last year’s wildly popular scare zone and step right up for an entire haunted house experience based on the cult classic film, Killer Klowns from Outer Space. This new experience will feature a gaggle of new characters including the baby Klowns, Boco, and Klownzilla, as well as new scenery like the Klowns’ circus-tent spaceship, and the cotton candy cocoon storage room where they keep their victims.

Throughout the house your sense of fear will be triggered by your sense of smell as you encounter strong whiffs of familiar fairground fare like sweet cotton candy, stale buttery popcorn and ice cream. Don’t be fooled though, these otherwise pleasant aromas are a sign of the murderous gang of klowns that awaits you as you move from scene to scene.

Try to evade them or you’re likely to end up captured in one of their cotton candy cocoons and doomed to a terrible fate. There will be no escaping the big teeth of the Big Top.

EVENT DETAILS

Halloween Horror Nights returns to Universal Studios Florida on select nights from Sept. 6 – Nov. 2. This year, you’ll experience 10 haunted houses, 5 scare zones, live entertainment and more. Choose a night and get your tickets, vacation package and event extras now!

In case you missed it, check out our previous Halloween Horror Nights stories for this year:

WARNING: Event may be too intense for young children and is not recommended for children under the age of 13. No costumes or masks allowed.

Book your next vacation today through M & M Travel and Tours! (810) 877 1814

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#NorwegianBreakaway is ready for an evening in San Juan!

By MM Travel and Tours on in Travel

From our friends at Norwegian Cruise Line. Call us to get your reservations made today! 810 877 1814

#NorwegianBreakaway is ready for an evening in San Juan!📸: Social Ambassador Diana

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