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Our family loves the Universal Orlando Parks, especially the Wizarding World of Harry Potter. Just like any theme park, Universal Orlando can get expensive. As regulars to the Universal Parks, we share 15 of our favorite money saving tips!
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Universal Orlando Money Saving Tips VIDEO
You can watch the video of insider tips or scroll down for more details.
Let’s jump into our list of 15 Universal Orlando money saving tips.
15 Universal Orlando Money Saving Tips
Our first tip is a big one. We have so many friends and family that always ask us how to save money on Universal Orlando tickets. This first tip is the #1 way to save money! 😃
Let’s start with tickets. One of the easiest Universal Orlando money saving tips is pre-order your theme park tickets. The tickets are always more expensive at the Universal Parks.
Plus, you can save time waiting in line to purchase your tickets. Pre-order your tickets to save money and time.
Universal Park to Park Shuttle Transfers
If you are staying at a Disney Resort or Orlando area hotel and want to visit Universal Orlando, we recommend pre-ordering the Universal Orlando Park to Park tickets with shuttle transfers.
This ticket includes your theme park tickets (at a discount price) AND roundtrip transportation from your hotel to Universal Orlando. You will save money on your tickets and transportation to Universal. We love this ticket for guests that do not have a car, but want to visit Universal Orlando.
Create a Packing List
You can waste a lot of money during your vacation on items you already own like camera batteries, chargers, umbrellas, sunblock, sunglasses, and shoes.
When you are planning your vacation, take a few minutes and create a packing list weeks before your vacation. You can then tweak it as you go. That way when it is time to actually pack, you will not forget anything.
Universal Parks have refillable mugs. For one price, you can purchase a mug and get unlimited beverages throughout the day at Coke Freestyle Machines.
To help carry your mug, bring a carabiner. You can then attach your cup right to your backpack.
The meal portions at Universal Orlando are huge. Similar to most of the Orlando Theme Parks. Hunter and I usually eat smaller portions for our meals. When we purchase adult meals at quick service locations, we never eat the whole meal. We end up giving it to the guys to finish or throw it away.
We started ordering kids meals instead of adult meals. They are smaller portions and a little less expensive.
Bring a Water Bottle
Our next money saving tip is a huge one! Be sure you pack a water bottle or several water bottles for your days at the parks. Most of the year, it is warm or hot in Florida.
You want to stay hydrated, so drinking a lot of water is important. There are plenty of water stations to fill up your water bottle for free. This tip can save you around $210 during a week vacation!
Pack Ponchos or Umbrellas
Over the summer months, it rains almost every afternoon in Orlando. An easy way to continue with the fun and save money is packing ponchos, rain jackets, rain type shoes (like Sanuks), and umbrellas. You can throw these in your backpack to continue to play during the rain and afterwards. For a family of 4, this will save you about $40.
One extra tip, wait out the rain storm. One of our favorite times to play at the Universal Parks is after it rains. The parks clear out, so you can jump on your favorite rides without a wait.
Hollywood Drive In Mini Golf
We love playing mini golf at Universal CityWalk on a non-park day or in the evening hours. One of the free activities during mini golf is the scavenger hunt. You can ask for the scavenger hunt when you pick up your golf clubs at the front entrance.
Once you complete the scavenger hunt, you can turn in the completed scavenger hunt. The team member will give you a scratch off (one for everyone in your party). You can scratch off the cards to see what you won. You could win coupons for another round of golf or a free round of golf. You can redeem your coupon now or save it for the future. We have a stack of coupons that we have been using for years. They never expire.
Do you want to be treated as a VIP? You can get front of the line access on rides and attractions at both Universal Orlando Parks with Universal Express. You can pay for Universal Express OR you can get it FREE.
If you stay or book a premier Universal Orlando Resort like Portofino Bay, Hard Rock, or Royal Pacific, you get Universal Express free. This can save you up to $600 per day for a family of 4.
Besides saving up money, it can save you up to 6 hours waiting in lines during a day at one of the Universal Orlando Parks.
Buy Gift Cards
We love giving our kids Gift Cards to use for their souvenirs. We add a set amount, so they know how much they can spend during their Universal Orlando vacation.
If you have a Target nearby, you can purchase Visa, Mastercard, or American Express Gift Cards at 5% off using Red. This is a rewards program for Target when you use a debit or credit card.
You Do Not Have to Buy the Wands at Ollivander
You may get lucky enough to be selected to participate in the Ollivanders show at Wizarding World of Harry Potter. This is an amazing experience. At the end of the show, a wizard will take you and your family to the merchandise shop to purchase the wand.
You may feel like you need to buy the wand. However, you can just say no. You do not have to purchase the wand from the Ollivanders show.
Bring Your Own Water Bottles for the Elixir
At Universal Orlando, you can turn water into an Elixir. Our kids love this inexpensive activity at Diagon Alley at Universal Studios. You get to pick your favorite Elixir and then pour it into a bottle of water called Gilly Water.
The Gilly Water at $5.50 each at Universal Orlando is more expensive than just bringing a water bottle from home. You can buy a whole case of water for less than one Gilly Water at Universal Orlando.
We recommend bringing a water bottle from home and purchasing just the Elixir.
Ask for Discounts
You never know what discount you may find at Universal Orlando. Always ask if they offer any discounts.
Many of the stores and restaurants are not owned by Universal Orlando, so you may be able to take advantage of a military, first responder, Annual Passholder, or Florida Resident discount.
Eating is always one of our favorite things to do on vacation! However, eating at Universal Orlando can get quite expensive. We recommend packing snacks to enjoy in your hotel room and while at the parks. You can still spend the money on a Butterbeer or special treats.
However, you will save money on snacks while waiting in line or right before a meal. We also like packing one suitcase filled with snacks for our trip. You will eat all of the snacks during your vacation and then you have an empty suitcase for souvenirs on your way home.
Try out Linner
Do you eat linner? This is a regular meal in our family. This is a late lunch/early dinner – right around 3-4. Eating this late, you can combine your lunch and dinner. This is such a great way to save money during your vacation. You are eating late, so it can last you through dinner but you are still paying lunch prices.
We hope these tips help you save money on your Universal Orlando vacation. Do you have any money saving tips? Share them in the comments below.
If you want to learn more insider tips at Universal Orlando, check out this article with more Universal Park tips. #5 is amazing!!!