Well if you are getting off the ship in Port Canaveral, Florida and want to stay in Orlando for a day or two you must check out Universal Studio’s and Islands of Adventure. From kids to adults, these parks offer a little bit of everything for everyone: roller coasters, 3D rides, water rides, shows, and behind the scenes tours.
Orlando is less than an hours drive from Port Canaveral and there has never been a better time to take advantage of the hotel deals and small crowds. Friday morning I took the journey down from Jacksonville, FL to Orlando. I had a pair of tickets that expired July 31, so I had to use them or it would be like throwing away 150 dollars. It was shocking when I was looking for hotels how cheap they were. I stayed at a economy hotel but I know for next time to print out that economy coupon and take it to my choice of hotels. So many hotel properties said ” we accept competitors coupons,” I counted five hotels in front on Universal alone. Universal also has three hotels on property but are pretty pricey (Lowes Pacific Resort, Hard Rock, and Portofino). These hotels also offer deals though.
The prices at Universal Studios/Islands of adventure start at 73.00 a day for one park and 89.00 for one day, 2 park. Tickets are cheaper online and with various discounts, including a reduced price for Florida residents. See Universal Studios homepage for more details. The park is usually open from 9am-9pm in the summer. Times vary through the year. My experiences have always been that the park is less crowded in the evening hours.
Parking at the park runs 12.00 per car but if you stay at a hotel that offers a shuttle you can avoid that. Practically every other hotel along international drive have shuttles. International drive is the strip that runs in front of Universal Studios resort. Safe area.
If you are like me and hate waiting in lines — the express pass is for you! It runs an additional 35.99 for one park and 42.99 for two park admission. It basically moves you to the front of the line through a designated entrance. On Friday, I didn’t wait more than 15 minutes for a ride, most rides ran about 10 minutes wait. If you don’t feel like spending the extra money a couple of the rides also have single rider lanes. Note that a single ride lane you will be put on a ride with a vacant seat and more than likely not with your party.
Once you get into the park there is a ton of places to eat. City Walk is the part of Universal just before the theme parks that have Margaritaville, Bubba Gumps, and a bunch of mall type places to eat. Kind of high priced but you expect that when you are eating at a theme park. One cool thing the parks have for once you get inside the gates is that ‘meal deal’. 23.99 for adults and 11.99 for kids allows you unlimited food at certain restaurants around the park. Check the meal deal section of the website for exact prices and details.
Enjoy the park. Stay hydrated. Wear sunscreen. If you have any questions feel free to email me. I hope this helps.