Universal Studios makes movies, and has since 1912.
Universal Studios Orlando leverages those decades of movie experience into a theme park near downtown Orlando, Florida which opened in 1990.
Not all of the attractions and features at Universal Studios here in Orlando are creations of their studio. They have licensed from rival studios the use of trademarks and images for some of the attractions here. Wet N’ Wild, also owned by Universal, is located off premise about 1/2 mile south of Universal.
After making the fairly long walk from their parking area, through part of Universal CityWalk – an outdoor shopping district outside the theme park – you will reach the main entrance to Universal Studios. After presenting your ticket, and quite likely getting fingerprinted in the process (though they call it bio-monitoring), you’ll enter the grounds.
A question a lot of visitors have is Can You See All of Universal Studios in One Day? Click this link for our take on that.
Did we have any issues with our visit? Yeah, we did. Here are our concerns during our visit to Universal.
Once You Get Inside Universal Studios
Inside the gates you can proceed directly ahead and circle the park in a clockwise direction, or, take the route we did to the right, along Rodeo Drive, which leads quickly into Hollywood Boulevard and then Sunset Boulevard. This route circles the park in a counter clockwise direction. It’s entirely up to you which way you go, though this page reviews the attractions in the order we saw them.
Here is where you get information about the Universal Studios Orlando rides themselves.
Either direction takes you around a central “lagoon” water feature, part of which is shown below.
Inside Universal Studios Orlando there are a number of sub-theme areas all of which have features and attractions for the visitor. The theme areas are:
- Woody Woodpecker Kids Zone
- World Expo
- San Francisco
- New York
- Production Central
Taking the road to the right after you get through the gates will head you towards the World Expo sub-theme area in Universal Studios Orlando first.
Within the sub-theme areas in the park are what Universal Studios Orlando call Character Zones, places where visitors can interact with movie characters at various times (typically every couple of hours) during the day. These Character Zones are:
- Meet Shrek & Donkey
- Character Party Zone
- Meet SpongeBob SquarePants
Universal Studios Orlando is not Universal Islands of Adventure
Until we arrived we were not sure what we would find at Universal Studios, and how it fit with Universal’s Islands of Adventure, despite trying to decipher the flood of information available everywhere. If you are confused as well, we hope the following will help clarify things.
Both Universal Studios and Universal Islands of Adventure are at the same location in downtown Orlando. Yet they are two separate facilities, and you will have to choose one or the other if you have a one day ticket unless you upgrade your ticket to include both, typically by a multi-day pass.
We will review Universal’s Islands of Adventure on another page on this site.
You could be forgiven for thinking that the acts that are so aggressively advertised like the Blue Man Group would be part of your daily ticket to Universal Studios Orlando? Not so. The venue for the Blue Man Group show is in Universal CityWalk, the dining, entertainment and shopping venue owned by Universal, but outside Universal Studios Orlando. Visiting Universal CityWalk has no cost (except for parking) but tickets to the Blue Man Group show in 2014 are quite a bit north of a $50 bill, over and above your theme park ticket cost.
There are a few things about Universal Studios Orlando that we liked, and, unfortunately, quite a few things about this movie theme park that we did not. We will use this page to tell you the inside info about Universal Studios Orlando, and then, if you wish to read about our complaints, see Universal Studios Orlando complaints.
Remember I Love Lucy?
So does universal studios. Almost immediately on your left as you head down the street is a building that offers visitors exhibits and artifacts celebrating the art of Lucille Ball and some of her most famous roles. Not, perhaps, the favorite spot for the kids, the Moms and Dads of a certain age will want to spend 10 minutes or so seeing what’s inside. Very worthwhile taking in, for sure.
There is lot’s more to see and do at Universal Studios Orlando.