Universal Orlando Insider Guide | Adrianne Wordsman
“Life can be so crazy and Universal is a place I can go that’s less stressful.”
Adrianne Wordsman has been a Universal Orlando Annual Passholder since she was eight-years-old, so, yeah, she knows a thing or two about how to get the most out of your trip to Universal Orlando Resort.
“People come to me all the time asking questions when they’re planning a trip. And if they don’t, I question them! ‘Why didn’t you come to me? I could’ve helped you!’”
Adrianne remembers growing up and visiting the parks every weekend with her dad and just having a blast exploring and enjoying all of the original rides and sights. As she’s grown up coming to Universal, Adrianne’s love for the parks have continued to evolve and has become something she can now share with those younger than her.
“Life can be so crazy and Universal is a place I can go that’s less stressful. I bring my nieces and nephews now and it’s so good to see them light up and enjoy the thing I enjoyed when I was a kid.”
Plan your day depending on what you’re feeling and who you’re with.
I have different approaches for a day at Universal depending on who I go with and what kind of day we’re looking to have. Sometimes I’ll go solo or with my husband and we’ll just walk around and go on a ride or two. I have a friend from Sweden who can only come so often, so we get there right when the park opens and ride every ride. I will say, if you want to do roller coasters, start in Universal’s Islands of Adventure and if you want to keep your day a little more chill, go to Universal Studios first.
Go all-in on the event experiences.
I love the events at Universal — Mardi Gras, Halloween Horror Nights, Holidays — all of it. I definitely recommend doing the special experiences for the events, like riding a float for Mardi Gras to throw the beads (one of the many perks of being a UOAP!) or the RIP Tour for Halloween Horror Nights (an added cost, but so worth it). I still go to HHN with the same group of friends I did in middle and high school and we have a blast laughing in the houses and screaming our heads off. But now as adults we really appreciate the RIP Tour because it’s worth it for us to avoid the lines.
Enjoy one of the sit-down restaurants for a break.
Mythos Restaurant is my number one spot for lunch in the park. It’s a perfect place to just relax on a busy day. I also really love Confisco Grille. It’s funny because I had missed out on Confisco for years, but now it’s another go-to.
Follow the health and safety procedures.
With the pandemic still lingering, make sure to always wear your mask, bring extra hand sanitizer, leave extra time for temperature and security screening, and follow the markers on the ground to social distance. It’s so important we follow the rules and beat this thing.
Download the official Universal Orlando Resort app.
It helps me all the time with ride updates, park hours, and meet-and-greet times. Also, you can use the Mobile Food & Drink Ordering feature for your meals, so if you don’t know what’s around the park or can’t decide, you have it right in your hands. It’s really convenient when the park is busy.
Chat with folks in the lines.
I have met some of my closest friends in the queues at Universal. I always recommend just being friendly and striking up a conversation with the people you’re waiting in line with. If I hear someone chatting about how they should execute their day, I’ll chime in real quick and give them tips.
Budget for a Universal Express.
If you’re going on a busy day, buy it. This upgrade will maximize your day, especially if your goal is to ride all the rides in one day. Just do it, and I promise you — you won’t regret it. The fun your family will have and the memories you’ll make will be worth it in the end.
PRO TIP: Stay at a Premier Universal hotel and you get Universal Express Unlimited for free. You can’t beat free.
Ride the water rides.
Obviously, Volcano Bay is full of them, but whenever I’m in Islands of Adventure and it’s super hot, I have to get on Dudley Do-Right’s Ripsaw Falls and Popeye & Bluto’s Bilge-Rat Barges. My friends and I know all the lines for Dudley Do-Right’s and we just love getting soaked on those rides and walking around to dry off.
Plan a Volcano Bay day.
Speaking of water rides, I highly recommend a full day at Volcano Bay! Head first to Krakatau Aqua Coaster at Volcano Bay — that’s always the first ride I go on. You’ll have your TapuTapu so you can pick the ride you want to go on and tap the wearable band at the appropriate stations, and wait until you get alerted. It helps reduce the amount of time you spend in lines so you can go do another attraction or grab a bite to eat. My favorite spot to eat is at Kohola Reef Restaurant & Social Club. I always, always order the Coconut Curry Chicken. It’s the best meal on the menu — with a mixture of chicken, plantains, coconut curry sauce, and rice. It’s so good.
Stay on property.
The best way to experience Universal is by staying on property and there is definitely a Universal hotel for everyone. My two go-to options are either Universal’s Cabana Bay Beach Resort or Loews Portofino Bay Hotel, which are two really different hotels and I love them both. It really just depends on if I’m looking for a fancier experience or a more laid back experience. It also depends on your budget and what you’re looking for out of your stay. Whatever you decide, staying on property gives you exclusive theme park benefits.
Put Adrianne’s tips to the test the next time you visit us at Universal Orlando Resort!
Plus, if you have what it takes to be the next Insider Guide, let us know in the comments below!
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