Universal Orlando Resort is a playground full of dinosaurs, fast cars, wizardry, Minions and so much more. There is a ton to tackle at Universal Studios Florida, Universal's Islands of Adventure and Universal's Volcano Bay, which is why choosing the best Universal Orlando ticket for your family is so critical! We know it can be difficult to decide how many days and which ticket — or even which Universal park is better. But never fear, your resident theme park experts are here! Today, we're walking you through all of the different ticket types, including the Universal Park-to-Park ticket, and providing a few details to help you choose the best Universal Orlando ticket for your family.
A Look at the Universal Orlando Tickets, Including the Park-to-Park Ticket ... Plus Which Universal Park Is Better
There is a lot to see and do — Universal just keeps growing and growing! Most families visiting Universal Orlando will want to spend three to four days in the parks. But what if you only have one day? Which Universal park is best? It's toadally subjective, but we're gonna answer this. But first, let's take a quick look at the parks.
Universal Studios Florida
This park is home to some amazing thrill and family rides based on blockbuster movies such as Transformers the Ride: 3D, Revenge of the Mummy and Despicable Me: Minion Mayhem. It's also home to the amazingly detailed Wizarding World of Harry Potter - Diagon Alley, plus Knockturn Alley (one of our favorite Universal Studios Florida hidden gems).
Universal's Islands of Adventure
There are multiple lands, or is-lands rather, to discover at this park that features epic attractions such as Hagrid's Magical Creatures Motorbike Adventure, the Incredible Hulk Coaster and the Amazing Adventures of Spider-Man. The park is home to the Wizarding World of Harry Potter - Hogsmeade.
Universal Studios Florida, Universal's Islands of Adventure & Universal's Volcano Bay Ticket Types
There are quite a few ticket options for the Universal Orlando Resort, including Universal's Volcano Bay water theme park. As always, as an authorized theme park ticket seller, we're hoppy to offer Universal Orlando tickets and hotels at a discount.
- The Universal Base Ticket entitles you to admission at Universal Studios Florida OR Universal's Islands of Adventure for each day of your ticket (one park per day). You have an additional option of adding on Universal's Volcano Bay for each day of your ticket (one park per day) with the 3-Day, 4-Day and 5-Day base tickets. For example, with a Universal 3-Day Base Ticket, you could go to Universal Studios on Monday, Universal's Islands of Adventure on Tuesday and then go back to Universal Studios on Wednesday. Another example is the Universal 3-Day Base Ticket with Volcano Bay, which would allow you to visit Universal Studios on Monday, Universal's Islands of Adventure on Tuesday and Universal's Volcano Bay on Wednesday. Of course, which days you choose is up to you. And that brings us to another important point: Most of Universal's tickets are now date based. That means you must pick a start date for your visit, although you have the option of upgrading or choosing the highest-priced ticket for the most flexibility on dates.
- The Universal Park-to-Park Ticket entitles you to admission at Universal Studios Florida AND Universal's Islands of Adventure for each day of your ticket (giving you the freedom to hop back and forth between the two parks). For instance, let's say you purchase a Universal 2-Day Park-to-Park Ticket. On Monday, you could go to Universal Studios Florida for the first half of the day, then head over to Universal's Islands of Adventure for the afternoon. On Wednesday, you could start at Universal's Islands of Adventure, go to Universal Studios Florida in the afternoon and then end the day back at Universal's Islands of Adventure. Another option is the Universal 3-Park Park-to-Park Ticket with Volcano Bay, which would allow you to visit all three parks every day for three days.
You now have the option to choose from 1-Day, 2-Day, 3-Day, 4-Day and 5-Day tickets for your vacation. Are you a Florida resident? We've even got you covered with the Florida Resident Power Pass! We also now sell Express Passes, which let you skip the regular lines.
More Hopful Ticket Info
- Universal Base and Park-to-Park Tickets (Exception: Universal 1-Day Base ticket) include several days of admission to the paid entertainment venues of Universal CityWalk. The days are activated on the first day the ticket is used, either in the parks or at Universal CityWalk.
- The expiration of Universal tickets is generally dictated by the number of days. A 3-Day ticket has a 6-day valid use period, for example. You will activate the ticket upon entry of your first Universal Orlando Resort Theme Park or one of the paid entertainment venues of Universal City Walk.
- Parking for all three parks (at Universal CityWalk) is not included with tickets and is currently $26 per day (subject to change at any time).
- The Universal Express Pass, which allows you to skip the regular lines on most of Universal Orlando's attractions, is a separate purchase and can be bought from us or directly from Universal, including in the parks. Don't worry, we have a whole post about when to use Universal Express.
Is Base or Park-to-Park the Best Universal Orlando Ticket?
Universal Studios Florida, Universal's Islands of Adventure and Universal's Volcano Bay are on the same property and within walking distance of each other, making the Park-to-Park Ticket a popular choice. Universal Studios Florida and Universal's Islands of Adventure are right next door to each other, so it's super easy to hop between them. Universal's Volcano Bay is not quite as close, but it is walking distance from these two parks. Water taxis and buses from Universal CityWalk are also available. It's super easy to hop between all of these parks!
The Universal Park-to-Park Ticket types give you more flexibility than the Base Ticket type. Plus, the Park-to-Park ticket is the only way to experience the Hogwarts Express, which takes you between both Wizarding Worlds. It's also a different experience each direction. The Universal Park-to-Park ticket is a good choice when one park closes earlier than the others. For instance, if Universal Studios Florida closes at 5 p.m. and Universal's Islands of Adventure closes at 7 p.m., the Park-to-Park ticket allows you to leave Universal Studios Florida and have two hours to enjoy the rides at Universal's Islands of Adventure. (You can see park hours on Our Crowd Calendar.)
The Universal Base Ticket is a good choice if you are traveling with little ones and one park per day is plenty, you don't care to experience the Hogwarts Express or you just want the lowest-priced ticket.
How Many Days Should We Stay at Universal?
With the addition of Universal's Volcano Bay and so many great on-site hotel choices, it makes sense to stay and play longer at Universal Orlando. If you plan on visiting Volcano Bay, you may consider adding a day to your visit, or you could tack on water park time in the afternoons or evenings after a day in the other parks. How long to stay depends on many factors, including the ages and interests of your kids, your own interests, whether you are staying on-site, how leisurely you like to tour the parks and how busy the parks will be during your visit. Most families visiting Universal Orlando Resort will want to spend three to four days in the parks. If you're doing a combined visit to Walt Disney World, you would probably want to do two to three days at Universal.
Consider a longer stay if ...
- You and your kids are thrill-seekers and meet the height requirements for most rides (40 inches)
- You want to see and do everything during your visit
- The parks are expected to be busy
- You like to tour the parks leisurely and/or you don't like to get out of bed early
- You are staying on-site and want more time to enjoy the hotel pools and amenities
If You Only Have One Day, Which Universal Park is Better?
Decisions, decisions. If you only have one day, we highly recommend the Park-to-Park ticket so you can experience both parks. But if you're only going to pick one to visit, which Universal park is best? It really depends. Universal's Islands of Adventure has slightly more rides than shows, including more thrill rides, as opposed to Universal Studios Florida. It is also the only park with water rides (minus Universal's Volcano Bay). Universal Studios Florida has plenty of thrills, but there are slightly more shows and kid-friendly attractions. If you have children under age five, you might consider Universal Studios Florida over Universal's Islands of Adventure. We explore this more in our look at the best Orlando theme parks by age group.
Related: Best Time to Visit Universal Orlando