It sounds crazy and exhausting, but my boyfriend and I visited Universal Studios and Islands of Adventure, as well as Walt Disney’s Magic Kindom, Epcot, and Hollywood Studios over Memorial Day Weekend. That’s five theme parks in five consecutive days, people. Aside from the yummy Mickey Mouse ice cream and the hordes of crying children, here are five things I learned while visiting the parks!
1. Research at Your Own Risk
If you’re looking for the latest information on Disney World or Universal Studios you’ll probably google countless articles with tips and tricks for each park. However, the problem lies with the constant updates to the parks. Any information over six months is completely and utterly obsolete. Policies change, new rules are added, security screenings become more strict, menus are updated, rides shutdown, parks extensions are added, shows are rotated — the changes are endless, people! Consult with a friend who has recently visited or check the park’s website and apps for information and changes.
2. ExpressPass and FastPass+ is Life
For Universal, stay at one of the resorts to receive an ExpressPass or purchase one at the park. It’s valid for almost every ride! If the ride does not offer ExpressPass, use the single rider option instead. Trust me, it’s a time saver!
Disney World is complicated. First, download the My Disney Experience app to create an account and link your tickets or Magic Bands. From there, you can select three (3) FastPasses per day per park. Once you complete the third, you are given the option to select another FastPass. Once you complete that one, you are offered another FastPass. Be sure to select your FastPasses ahead of time because the popular rides vanish quick.
3. SPF 1000+
Summer in Orlando is unforgivingly hot and there is minimal shade in the parks so if you have the tendency to turn lobster red, pack sunscreen with SPF 50 or above. If you tan, like moi, pack SPF 30 and a bronzer (#beachbunnylife). I was surprised to see multiple tourist with painful sunburns. These weren’t the slight-hint-of-red sunburns; they were bright red, almost blistering sunburns. If you forget your sunscreen, you can purchase one at any store in Universal or, at Disney, ask a Cast Member — they usually have them behind the cash register.
4. Pack Some Patience
If you cannot stand: an army of strollers, couple’s t-shirt, screaming children, long wait times, hot weather with minimal shade, overpriced food, crying children, extremely overpriced water, broken rides, closed areas, that person that stands too close, that person that cuts the entire line to join a family member in the front, children wearing Thing 1 and Thing 2 t-shirts, the morbidly obese, DIY Minnie Mouse ears, the “It’s a Small World” song, that person blocking your view during fireworks or live shows, parents that constantly take photos of their child, and 3D rides, then avoid these parks at all cost. On a brighter note, almost every parks sells alcohol!
Giving you the side-eye Magic Kingdom!
5. Take Time to Recharge
With all of this corre corre, you’ll need a moment to relax and regain some energy. By using the FastPass+ and ExpressPass we were able to visit the parks and still have time to relax at the pool in the mornings or afternoons. I also suggest packing a portable battery for your tech. Thanks to the apps, photos and my Fitbit, I was left without battery mid-way through the day. Super Annoying!
Bonus Round: Find someone who will take ridiculously cute photos like:
That’s it for my five tips for Orlando’s theme parks. If you have any suggestions, additions, comments or concerns, let me know!
Until next time! 🐰