1 day at Universal Studios: the Ideal Roadmap

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Written By Carlos Braga

we love the Disney parks in Orlando, but there are other places you can enjoy on your trip. For example, have you ever considered the possibility of passing 1 day at Universal Studios?

Universal is one of my favorite parks in all of Orlando. It's okay that I'm suspicious to say because I worked there. But even if I'm suspicious, that qualifies me well enough to put together a 1 day script at Universal!

Nathalia Guedes Universal Studios
Nathalia Guedes Universal Studios

I hope this script from Universal Studios pleases you as much as the one we've already posted here about the Island of adventure.

Universal's theme park has some incredible options for attractions for all types of tourists. Therefore, you will definitely find something you like there.

If you only have one day in your travel schedule to spend at Universal Studios, you'll need a great roadmap to make the most of what the park has to offer.

That's why we decided to help and create a suggestion for a daily activity in the place so that you can have fun with your family.

So, if you want to spend 1 day at Universal Studios, this is the ideal itinerary. Keep reading to find out which are the best attractions in the place!

Tips before enjoying 1 day at Universal Studios

Before we get started with our roadmap, let's clarify some information like how it will work.

First, we'll split the day into morning, afternoon, and evening, assuming you'll be spending all three periods at Universal to enjoy all it has to offer.

The second point is that we are not going to include any attractions from Islands of Adventures. We have one 1 day script at Islands of Adventures and, ideally, you don't try to do both on the same day.

Not that it's not possible to do both parks in the same day. But this itinerary focuses on 1 full day in 1 park only. Soon we will launch a 1-day Universal + Island itinerary for those traveling with a tighter travel time!

Therefore, today's script will deal exclusively with the Universal Studios part, without the adventures of the Mummy, some of Harry Potter and the Hulk's famous roller coaster.

In addition, our itinerary was designed to have some gaps for breaks and opportunities for flexibility.

That is: you can exchange one attraction for another, repeat tours or take extra time to rest, if you want. There is slack for that.

In addition, we think about activities based on the Universal Express Pass🇧🇷 We recommend that you buy this type of ticket to make the most of the day.

1 day at Universal Studios: what to do in the morning

One of the highlights of Universal Studios' parks are the areas of Harry Potter🇧🇷 Both in this and in Islands of Adventure, they are great points of attraction for the public.

Therefore, areas tend to be crowded during the main hours of the morning and afternoon. That's when they get really crowded.

However, Universal Studios has an advantage: there are two attractions, with the rest being shops and photo spots.

So with the Express ticket and arriving as soon as the park opens (or at the pre-opening hour designated for Universal resort guests), you can take full advantage of this area and have the rest of the park to yourself when most people come. to the Harry Potter area.

So, when you enter the park, go directly towards the Diagon Alley, the Harry Potter-themed area at Universal Studios.

There, you will participate in your first two attractions:

Attraction 1 – Harry Potter and the Escape from Gringotts

Departed Disney Parks at Gringotts - Universal Studios
Partiu Disney Parks at Gringotts – Universal Studios

We will start our day with a very fun adventure in Diagon Alley, the Harry Potter and the Escape from Gringotts.

This tour mixes 4D cinema with roller coaster tracks to tell an exciting story and an adrenaline-filled ride, in addition to the presence of actors from the Harry Potter franchise.

Attraction 2 – Ollivanders

The second attraction you should visit in the Harry Potter area is Ollivanders, the park's famous wand shop.

The attraction is simple: you will stay with your daughter and people are separated by age. Then, groups enter the store together for a performance and some children are chosen to be chosen by a wand.

In the end, everyone is directed to the wand shop where they can buy their own. The sellers are very attentive and the service is excellent.

Attraction 3 – Diagon Alley

After riding the two attractions in the Harry Potter area, we recommend that you take the rest of the morning to enjoy the care taken in creating Diagon Alley at Universal Studios.

Visit all the stores and be ready to spend some money on gifts and utensils. The best stores are the following:

Carlos and Nath Diagon Alley
Carlos and Nath Diagon Alley
  • Borgin and Burkes: a shop with "black magic"-like merchandise, including Slytherin, Death Eater and Voldemort memorabilia;
  • Scribbulus: a store with items for writing, such as pens, inks, diaries and stationery in general;
  • Quality Quidditch Supplies: shop for Quidditch clothing and equipment, including the Golden Snitch, bats and more;
  • Magical Menagerie: shop with plush animals from the Harry Potter series;
  • Madam Malkin's Robes for ALL Occasion: Harry Potter themed clothing store (including Hogwarts uniform).

The trick is to arrive early to find the best products and the stores are still well organized, as the place tends to get a little messy in the afternoon.

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The problem is loading all purchases afterwards. For this, we recommend going to the park with backpacks.

Attraction 4 – MIB: Alien Attack

Before going to lunch, we recommend taking a walk from Diagon Alley to the World Expo, an area with two attractions.

From there we will only add to Men in Black: Alien Attack, a joke based on the MIB movie.

The attraction is really fun: you get into a cart equipped with a laser gun. The cart goes through a rail in the movie set and you need to shoot the alien animatronics.

Each alien gives an amount of points and whoever has the most at the end of the tour, wins. It is very fun!

The other attraction of the World Expo, however, is different. This is Fear Factor Live, a 30-minute show where the public can participate in some incredible challenges.

Challenges include hanging from an enormous height or drinking an ?insect milkshake? disgusting.

The problem is that Fear Factor only starts at 1 pm (it lasts 30 minutes) and it's better to leave the afternoon for other attractions.

Lunchtime: Meal options

After a morning of magic and alien attacks, there's nothing like a good lunch to satisfy your hunger and recharge your batteries for an afternoon marathon.

Ideally, you should eat around noon. One option is to try to eat a little before or after to avoid queues at the restaurants and toys, but it's up to you.

Below, we have listed some good restaurants within the area where you are already at Universal Studios for your meal. See below!

Leaky Cauldron

The restaurant Leaky Cauldron it is located in Diagon Alley and is inspired by the Leaky Cauldron from the Harry Potter movies and books.

It is a counter restaurant and serves British cuisine, such as the famous Fish & Chips ($15.99).

Here they also serve the famous butterbeer, for $6.99 dollars.

Krusty Burger

If you fast forward a bit past the World Expo, you'll find yourself in the Simpsons themed area. There are also some food options there.

One of them is Krusty Burger, which serves burgers and some vegetarian options.

The price of snacks is around $15 dollars, and can reach $19 or $12 depending on the version.

Other restaurants worth mentioning in the area Springfield are:

  • Cletus's Chicken Shack;
  • Luigi's Pizza;
  • Bumblebee Man's Taco Truck.

1 day at Universal Studios: what to do in the afternoon

After having lunch, we continue with our 1 day itinerary at Universal Studios, moving on to the afternoon activities.

If the morning was a little less hectic because of the dedication to Diagon Alley, let's make up for the time lost here in the afternoon and do as many attractions as possible.

So we'll start with the Springfield: Home of the Simpsons area, which is themed after America's most famous family.

Therefore, we will go directly to the famous The Simpsons Ride to start the afternoon work.

Attraction 5 – The Simpsons Ride

The attraction of the simpsons works like Harry Potter and the Escape from Gringotts. Basically, you enter a cart in a room with a 4D cinema.

From there, we watch a scene from The Simpsons on a roller coaster and our car reproduces the movements that appear on the screen.

The tour is very interesting and eventful, with many references to classic episodes of The Simpsons. Anyone who is a fan of the series, therefore, will notice many inside jokes and incredible moments.

Ride 6 (optional) – Kang & Kodos' Twirl'n'Hurl

If you have a child on your 1st day at Universal Studios, you might be interested in this attraction.

Kang & Kodos is a spinning toy that simulates space travel with aliens from The Simpsons.

The tour is very quiet and designed for children. Adults will not find it very funny, unless they are accompanied by their children or nephews.

If not, you can take the 10, 15 minutes you would spend here for a visit to…

Attraction 7 (optional) – Moe's Tavern

Departed DIsney Parks at Moes
Departed DIsney Parks at Moes

Do you know Moe's Bar, where Homer used to go in The Simpsons cartoon? So he was recreated in the Springfield area.

You can visit it, have a beer and eat some snacks to have a little fun.

Leaving Springfield, we'll need to pick up the pace. It is at this time that the Universal Express will be worth it, as it will reduce waiting time at attractions.

Let's go through Woody Woodpecker's KidZone (area for children of Pica Pau) and return to the park entrance, arriving at Production Central.

Attraction 8 – Despicable Me Minion Mayhem

Another successful simulator on our 1-day itinerary at Universal Studios. This time, the theme is Despicable Me.

The simulator is very successful, but it is a little less intimate than the previous ones, as it is a large group activity.

Attraction 9 – Shrek 4D

If you're not tired of 4D simulations, you'll love Shrek 4D.

The show is very impressive and is very successful due to the quality of the 3D and the effects that move the audience. Also, the characters are very funny and the story is fun.

However, you need to understand English to understand it.

Ride 10 – Hollywood Rip, Ride, Rockit

Shall we add a little adrenaline to our 1-day Universal Studios itinerary? So how about one of the best roller coasters in Orlando?

This roller coaster is quite extreme, reaching an incredible 105 kilometers per hour and a maximum height of 51 meters.

The Hollywood Rip, Ride, Rockit is surprising for its almost completely vertical ascent, with 90º, and then falls at high speed, with many curves and inversions.

If you like adrenaline, you need to include this attraction in your itinerary.

Attraction 11 – Transformers: The Ride 3D

We're going back to a simulator after that roller coaster ride, but don't think that's going to lower the intensity level of our script.

On the contrary: if you want to enjoy 1 day at Universal Studios, you need to go to the most insane attractions in the place, including the Transformers one.

In The Ride, you are an ally of the Autobots in the fight against the Decepticons, the villains of the franchise.

The adventure is absolutely insane, with some of the best times you'll ever spend at Universal Studios.

Seriously, you will be amazed by the quality of this simulator, one of the best in Orlando.

Dinner time: meal options

After so much adventure, it's time for a meal break and your dinner. Again, we'll list some options below for your convenience.

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Check it out below!

Finnegan's Bar & Grill

Finnegan's Bar & Grill is a respected restaurant at Universal Studios.

Here, you will have a very tasty and complete meal, perfect if you have saved on lunch or breakfast.

They serve a bit of everything, including dishes like Fish & Chips, Irish salad, beef stew and other options.

Richter's Burger Co.

A hamburger option for your dinner is Richter's Burger Co., in the San Francisco area (the next area on our 1-day Universal Studios itinerary).

The restaurant has some very interesting sandwich combos (chicken or other foods), as well as classic hamburgers.

Lombard's Seafood Grille

This is a tasty option for seafood lovers.

O Lombard's Seafood Grille it is also located in the San Francisco area and offers seafood dishes such as tuna, grilled fish and oysters.

How to finish your 1 day script at Universal Studios

After dinner, it's time to finish our 1 day at Universal Studios. To do so, we will enjoy the last two areas of the park that we have not yet visited.

The first one we're going to, leaving the Production Center at the entrance, is the New York area. In it, we have two great attractions and a musical show (which we will leave for another opportunity).

Attraction 12 – Race Through New York Starring Jimmy Fallon

If you have already been to Disney parks, you probably know the Rock N Roller roller coaster. It is known as the “Aerosmith rollercoaster”.

On that roller coaster, we're in the Aerosmith limo and we have to cross Los Angeles at top speed.

Universal Studios now presents its own version of this roller coaster.

This is the simulator Race Through New York Starring Jimmy Fallon, starred by the famous talk show host Jimmy Fallon.

In it, we accompany Jimmy in a very high speed car through the streets of New York, narrowly escaping accidents.

The simulator is very exciting and, if you know English, you will have fun with Jimmy Fallon's jokes.

Attraction 13 – Revenge of the Mummy

A classic attraction at Universal Studios, enjoyed by everyone who has visited the place, is Revenge of the Mummy.

Departed DIsney Parks at Revenge of the Mummy
Departed DIsney Parks at Revenge of the Mummy

The toy mixes a roller coaster with a simulator, presenting a story where we must explore a pyramid in Egypt and escape from the Mummy.

The adventure also uses practical effects such as fire and smoke to build the experience of the attraction.

Attraction 14 – Fast & Furious: Supercharged

We finished our 1 day at Universal Studios with the Fast & Furious: Supercharged simulator.

The attraction is inspired by the Fast and Furious franchise, but it is not among the most exciting in the park.

At the beginning, we walked through a huge warehouse, with some classic cars from the franchise and a history.

In the end, the animal gets the Fast and Furious style and our car accelerates a lot, with a visual show in the simulator.

Other options for your 1-day itinerary at Universal Studios

What we listed above was our ideal itinerary for 1 day at Universal Studios. Using the Express ticket, you will be able to enjoy all the attractions without any problems.

However, this itinerary is not the only one for a day of adventure at Universal Studios. There are other possibilities for combining attractions and things to do.

Check out some below!

Finish on CityWalk

Instead of ending your day with the New York and San Francisco area simulators, you can have dinner and head to CityWalk.

CityWalk is a kind of mega-promenade that unites the two parks: Universal Studios and Islands of Adventure.

An interesting option to end your day of fun is to go to CityWalk and enjoy some of the entertainment options there.

There's a lot to do on CityWalk. One of them, for example, is going to the movies.

There is a Universal Cineplex at CityWalk with 20 movie theaters. Also, the place offers a Movie and Dinner package.

In this package, you pay around 22 dollars and get a meal at local restaurants and a ticket to see a movie there.

Another good option is Hard Rock Live, a concert hall that is next to the famous hard rock cafe🇧🇷 The place welcomes many names in music, famous or unknown, for a fun night out.

One of our favorite entertainment options is Rising Star.

The place is a bar with karaoke prepared by a live band. In practice, you go onstage with a band and while they play, you sing.

The experience is incredible and you feel like a real rockstar.

In addition to these activities, there are still several stores for shopping and other entertainment options at CityWalk.

Change park

Departed Disney Parks at Hogwarts Express
Departed Disney Parks at Hogwarts Express

In case you have limited time on your trip, an interesting thing to do is to enjoy the Hogwarts Express at Diagon Alley and change parks.

So you can visit Islands of Adventure on the same day as Universal Studios.

For this, it is important to have the ticket that allows you to change parks in the Universal complex, as it is mandatory to get on the Hogwarts Express.

In addition to the train ride, the trip from one park to the other still has several mini-attractions, such as the presence of Fred Weasley and Buckbeak, the hippogriff.

To do this, however, you will not be able to follow the order of the script that we have determined here.

What we recommend is that you start the morning with an overview of the main attractions and simulators and, before lunch, go to Diagon Alley. Spend some time there (maybe have lunch at the Leaky Cauldron) and head to Islands of Adventure to end the day.

Finish in Diagon Alley

Finally, the third alternative for completing the tour that we can give is to return to Diagon Alley before the park closes.

There, you will have an hour, an hour and a half to do your shopping in peace, enjoying the best of the Harry Potter stores (and less public too).

Of course, as we already said, the stores will be more disorganized and it is possible that some products will not be in stock. However, you won't need to carry anything during the day.

So, it might be interesting to go back to Diagon Alley before the end of the day to buy those products you dated in the morning.

Finally, two last tips that we reinforce is to try to stay at the Universal resort and buy the Express.

As a Universal Resort guest, you get early entry to the parks and have an extra hour to enjoy before the general public arrives. With Express, you spend less time in queues.

To give you an idea, a 50-minute queue can be reduced to just 10 minutes (the average using Express).

That way, you can enjoy practically everything in the park in just one day, making room for other adventures on your trip.

For those who like to see in more detail. We have some videos of our trips to Orlando inside the Unvirsal Studios park and we show you some little things there in detail.

That was our 1 day itinerary at Universal Studios. As you can see, following our tips you can enjoy the park a lot, especially the popular Harry Potter area.

If you are planning a trip to Orlando, contact us and learn how we can help you design custom travel itineraries to make your dreams come true!

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About the Author Carlos Braga:

Unparalleled experience in Orlando and Disney! As a former Universal Orlando team member and a passionate devotee of the magic of Disney, I have become a true Orlando travel expert. Before becoming a renowned travel consultant dedicated to Orlando, I had already made hundreds of visits to the parks, cultivating my knowledge and passion mainly over the last 7 years as a consultant and specialist in Disney travel.

My journey into this enchanted world began in 1995, when I took my first trip to Orlando. Since then, my love for Disney and the city has only grown. In 2023, we celebrate the sixth anniversary of 'Partiu Disney Parks', consolidating our role as one of the main sources of information about Disney and Orlando Parks.

During these six years of existence, we have continued to offer quality and updated content, being the reliable source for all those looking for essential information to plan their trip to Disney and Orlando. With my vast experience and passion for this magical destination, I am here to guide you every step of the way towards the most incredible Orlando and Disney experience!

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