Family Vacation Options: Exploring Universal Studios Orlando

Family Vacation Options: Exploring Universal Studios Orlando

Universal Studios is the second biggest destination for families going to Orlando, Fla., with two theme parks and one water park, as well as several hotels that provide free transportation to the parks, plus Universal’s City Walk for food, shopping and entertainment.   

Inside Universal Studios, you will find Minions, Transformers, Simpsons, Rip Ride Rockit and Harry Potter’s Diagon Alley. With Islands of Adventure, you will encounter The Hulk and Spiderman rides, Jurassic Park, Seussland and The Wizarding World of Harry Potter’s Hogsmeade. Connecting the two parks is Hogwart’s Express. This attraction is special, as it requires a Park to Park pass to ride. If you have a Park to Park ticket, it’s the connection that takes you back and forth from Diagon Alley and Hogsmeade.  

There are two big draws to Universal Orlando — thrill rides and The Wizarding World of Harry Potter. For a Harry Potter Fan, there is no better place to be. Enter Diagon Alley through Kings Cross Station, at Platform 9¾, stroll down the street, but beware of Knockturn Alley. Find your way to Ollivanders, where you can try on a wand or two, before taking a trip to Gringotts Bank. Head over to Hogsmeade on the Hogwart’s Express to face the Forbidden Journey and Flight of the Hippogriff. Don’t forget to take in a meal at Three Broomsticks — and so much more!  

Opening on June 13, Hagrid’s Magical Creatures Motorbike Adventure will offer a thrilling ride through the Forbidden Forest.

Plus, Volcano Bay is Universal’s water park, which offers thrills and relaxation flowing in perfect harmony.

Looking for a complete Universal package? Start at a Universal Studios Orlando Resort.

Lowe’s Portofino Bay – Deluxe Resort – Themed after Portofino, Italy, this is the top choice at Universal Orlando Resorts. Its elegance is reflected in every detail. Offers a convenient water taxi to the parks.

Lowe’s Royal Pacific – Deluxe Resort – Has the feel of island hopping in the South Pacific. Offers a convenient water taxi to the parks.

Hard Rock Hotel – Deluxe Resort – This resort is dedicated to Rock and Roll. Throughout the resort, you will find memorabilia of your favorite musicians. The hotel is just a few minutes’ walk to the parks.  

Lowe’s Sapphire Falls – Moderate Resort – Caribbean inspired. Offers a convenient water taxi to the parks.  

Universal’s Aventura Hotel – Moderate Resort – A modern and stylish place to stay. Within walking distance of Universal’s Volcano Bay, offers great views of all three Universal Orlando theme parks.

Cabana Bay – Value Resort – Go back in time, to this mid-century style beach resort. Half of the rooms in this resort are family suites, offering space for up to six guests. Just a short bus ride to the parks.   

The biggest perk to staying on property happens when you stay at one of the three deluxe resorts – Lowe’s Portofino Bay, Lowe’s Royal Pacific and the Hard Rock Hotel. Free Universal Express Unlimited is added onto your package. This is an unlimited Front of the Line pass experience, exclusive to the deluxe resorts.    

Let us help you plan your next trip, at no additional cost to you.


Tricia Scott is owner of Visit Mickey Vacations, the exclusive travel planners of Northeast Ohio Parent magazine. For a free quote, go to

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