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Planning a Trip to Universal Orlando? Here's What to Know Before You Go

Universal Orlando Reopening - Pinterest

When Universal Orlando Resort reopened June 5, 2020, the Gringotts dragon welcomed us with open wings (OK, OK, and a little bit of fire). We found that the same enchantment, thrills and fun that we knew and loved about Universal pre-closure were still very much present (oh how we missed you, Butterbeer!). Since then, many policies and procedures have evolved, and we're now starting to see some return to "normalcy."

While crowds were low for a bit after Universal Orlando's reopening, more and more guests headed back to the theme parks, especially for the holidays and spring break. The parks even reached full capacity during their busiest times. With the parks now operating at full capacity, it's unlikely that they'll reach full capacity during your trip. However, with more families arriving for summer break and the recent opening of the toadally epic Jurassic World VelociCoaster, the parks are definitely seeing higher crowds on a daily basis.

Likewise, as more time has gone on, more and more experiences have opened or been modified to make the most of the guest experience at Universal Orlando. We have many more trips under our belts (or should we say, house robes), and it's safe to say that we have our froggy footing. Additionally, Universal Orlando's health and safety policies have changed a bit upon reopening: temperature checks have been phased out and ground markers have disappeared. Face coverings are no longer required if you are fully vaccinated (though unvaccinated guests are still required to wear masks indoors). We'll get into all of those important details below.

We're here to share all that we know about Universal Orlando's reopening so that you're ready to hop back into the fun too, once you're ready. We're starting with the need-to-know health and safety information, but if you just want to learn about expected crowds, virtual lines and what's hoppening in the parks, hop straight to that section! And don't froget to hop back to this post, as we update this guide often with fresh "deets!" Ready? Let's hit it!

Universal Orlando Health & Safety Procedures | Universal Orlando Theme Parks | Universal's Volcano Bay | Universal Orlando HotelsUniversal CityWalk | Reopening Status of Major U.S. Theme Parks

Universal Orlando Health and Safety Procedures

You can check the park's admission status at any time using the Universal Orlando app. You'll find this information under "Park Hours & Directions."

Before we get to the fun stuff, let's talk about the health and safety measures. Universal Orlando, in accordance with the state of Florida and local governing bodies, has put into practice the following general safety procedures to make things as safe as possible for guests.

Universal Orlando Resort Health Measures

  • Maintain a safe distance between travel parties.
  • Hand sanitizer is available for use prior to boarding ride vehicles, as well as in other areas around the destination.
  • Valet parking is not currently available.

Universal Orlando Resort Face Covering Policies

Universal Orlando Reopening - Despicable Me Family

At Universal Orlando Resort, face coverings are no longer required for fully vaccinated guests. All unvaccinated guests ages 3 and up must wear a face covering while indoors. U-Rest areas are no longer available.

Universal Orlando Reopening - Gryffindor Couple

Universal Orlando Resort Safety Measures

  • All team members, regardless of vaccination status, are required to wear masks in vehicles and spaces where social distancing can not be maintained.
  • Tables, chairs and all high-touch areas are being continuously cleaned and disinfected.
  • Cashless payments are available in all areas (guests can use mobile ordering at select locations).
  • Hand sanitizer locations are available throughout Universal and individual bottles are also available for purchase.

Team members have recently been directing guests to use the finger scan when entering the theme parks or traveling between parks on the Hogwarts Express, and it's cleaned regularly. We see team members frequently cleaning high-touch areas, and there is plenty of signage to show where restrooms are available for handwashing, along with hand sanitizer dispensers.

What Happens If a Park Reaches Capacity?

As often happens with the opening of a new ride, the Universal Orlando theme parks can (and have) hit capacity. If a park reaches capacity, arriving guests will not be able to enter until the capacity is lowered. There is no guarantee, but the park can reopen after it has reached capacity due to guests leaving. During spring break when the parks were operating at limited capacity, they hit capacity quickly, as early as 11 a.m. The parks are more likely to hit capacity over the weekends. To prepare you in advance, we've got some advice for touring the parks when they're at capacity.

If you are a guest at a Universal Resort hotel or have purchased a date-specific ticket, you are considered a priority guest. Upon nearing capacity, priority guests will continue to be allowed in until the maximum limit has been reached, while other guests may be stopped. There may be a brief delay, but once capacity is lowered, priority guests will be the first to enter.

For live updates, you can call the Universal Orlando capacity hotline at 407-817-8317, or check the park hours on the Universal Orlando app or website. If you call the hotline, you must first indicate which park you're going to (Universal Studios Florida and Universal's Islands of Adventure OR Universal's Volcano Bay) via the phone menu, and then you'll be asked if you're a Universal hotel guest (if not, choose the "other" option).

The parks are less busy on weekdays than on weekends, so we highly recommend visiting on weekdays. If you are a hotel guest with the benefit of Early Park Admission, we also recommend taking advantage of it to be some of the first in the parks. If neither of these applies to you, and you'll be visiting during a peak time, our best advice is to purchase your tickets in advance and arrive early!

What to Expect When You Visit the Universal Orlando Theme Parks

Universal Orlando Reopening - Globe

So what should you expect on your visit to the Universal Orlando theme parks? Well, fun of course! Yes, even in this crazy time, there is still so much fun to be had. That is why we're going, right? We've had a hoppin' good time on each of our visits since the parks' reopening. And speaking of, one of the biggest changes to the parks is the expanded use of virtual lines. It hasn't been in full use on all of our visits, but it helps to know a little bit more about it in case you go! It's more likely to be used over the weekends than during the week.

Virtual Line Experience and Wait Times

Universal Orlando Reopening - Race Through New York Starring Jimmy Fallon

Some rides, such as Race Through New York Starring Jimmy Fallon, already had existing virtual queues prior to Universal Orlando's reopening, but this virtual queue system has expanded to include some of the most hoppin' rides. To get the low-down on Universal Orlando's Virtual Line Experience, check out our separate post about how to reserve a Virtual Line pass, plus a few tips and tricks!

As far as wait times go, we've experienced lower crowds during weekdays. Initially, when the park reopened in June 2020, popular rides had wait times as low as 15 minutes. Since time has gone on and there have been discounted ticket specials, crowds and wait times have increased, especially over the weekends and around holidays. To set realistic expectations, there are more people on the pathways when there are heavier crowds, but it is still manageable to navigate your way around the parks without getting too close to others. You may want to avoid watching the Frog Choir and Triwizard Spirit Rally shows in Hogsmeade, especially if Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey has a long line, as that narrow area can get easily congested.

Universal Orlando Reopening - Hogsmeade Crowds

There have been times that we've been left frustrated with the Virtual Line Experience. During a particularly busy day, many rides at Universal Studios Florida were Virtual Line only, including Despicable Me Minion Mayhem, Harry Potter and the Escape from Gringotts, Revenge of the Mummy and Race Through New York Starring Jimmy Fallon. We had checked a few times in the afternoon, but there weren't any passes available when we looked. When an afternoon thunderstorm rolled in, other rides such as Hollywood Rip Ride Rockit, Transformers: The Ride 3D and The Simpsons Ride had weather delays, leaving our options extremely limited. If we were able to do things differently, we would've checked and obtained Virtual Line passes when we arrived earlier in the morning.

If the parks are busy enough to be utilizing the Virtual Line Experience, get your passes as early as possible. Keep checking around 11 a.m., 2 p.m. and 4 p.m. for new passes to be released throughout the day if you are unsuccessful first thing in the morning. We've successfully been able to snag a pass when the clock strikes the hour, but passes go quickly (they may only be available for a couple of minutes). We recommend setting an alarm for five minutes before each release time and start checking in case any time slots pop up early.

During our first visit in 2021, we visited on a weekday, and the crowds were the lowest we had seen since August. Hagrid's didn't even use a virtual queue and had a consistent wait time of 30 to 45 minutes nearly all day long. We saw heavier crowds in March due to spring break season, and we expect to see this trend continue through summer.

Universal Orlando Reopening - January 2021 Crowds at Diagon Alley

Ride and Show Updates

Universal Orlando has shut down Poseidon's Fury and Caro-Seuss-el in Islands of Adventure temporarily. All open rides are now loading every row to increase ride capacity. Single Rider lines have also reopened.

Character Interactions 

Universal Orlando Reopening - Scooby Doo & Gang

Characters are still available for meet and greets ... from a safe distance away or atop raised platforms. Many of the characters are sporting masks to maintain health and safety measures. Some show performers wear masks as well.

Restaurants and Mobile Ordering

Universal Orlando Reopening - Three Broomsticks

Universal's mobile ordering system has expanded to include more restaurants inside the parks. You can use the app to see which restaurants have the system in place. During our visit, we used mobile ordering for Three Broomsticks, which is new for the restaurant. We recommend you download the latest version of the Universal Orlando app before you visit because it has some new features. After you’ve ordered and paid for your food with the app, at some restaurants, you scan a QR code at your table that alerts team members to where you are seated, and they bring your food to you!

Universal Orlando Reopening - Universal Orlando Mobile Order QR code

Frog tip: If you only want Butterbeer, try Hog's Head or the Butterbeer carts.

Inside, the tables are greatly spaced out and marked as "reserved" to block out tables. Utensils come in packaging, and condiments come in packets. While we noticed that a good majority of the restaurants were open and offered regular menu items, there were some locations that remained closed (Doc Sugrue's Desert Kebab House).

Universal Orlando Reopening - Paper Menu at Mythos

For table-service restaurants, such as Mythos Restaurant, you'll find a team member at the entrance who is taking reservations. They will take your name, the number of people in your party and your phone number (you'll get a text when your table is ready). They ask that you return within 10 to 15 minutes, but you can text the same number if you're running behind to let the staff know. Once seated, your hostess will give you a paper menu. A waiter will bring you the plates and silverware on a tray for you to pick up yourself.

Special Events

While 2020 was anything but ordinary, Universal toadally delivered with some modified events upon reopening, including frightful and family fun for Halloween, such as trick-or-treating and HHN-esque houses! And not even the Grinch could steal the holidays. Guests came face-to-face with the gigantic Macy's balloons via a walking path and waved at their favorite characters decked out in their seasonal best. Santa visited too! In 2021, fan-favorite Mardi Gras returned in a modified format, and Halloween Horror Nights will be making a terrifying comeback this fall.

What to Expect at Universal's Volcano Bay

Universal Orlando Reopening - Family with Masks at Volcano Bay

Note: Universal's Volcano Bay closed for the winter from Nov. 2, 2020, and reopened Feb. 27, 2021.

Much like the theme parks, wearing a mask is only required for unvaccinated guests indoors. It's optional to wear one while you hop around the park, but know that most frogs opt to stay mask-free. If you do wear one around the park, we suggest having a plastic bag on hand. When you go on rides, you can leave it with your shoes at the cubbies provided.

Universal Orlando Reopening - Cleaning Inner Tubes at Volcano Bay

Team members in "dry" roles (at restaurants, gift shops, Guest Services, etc.) who are not fully vaccinated wear face coverings, and lifeguards who are not fully vaccinated wear balaclavas when they cannot socially distance. We saw team members cleaning and sanitizing life vests, rafts and inner tubes after each use. For rides with multi-person rafts, only one party is allowed in each raft. Standard height and weight requirements are still applicable. (Leap and Tad couldn't ride the Maku Puihi Round Raft Rides together because their combined weight wasn't 300 pounds.)

Mobile ordering is available at Kohola Reef Restaurant & Social Club and Whakawaiwai Eats, as well as regular ordering with paper menus. Once you've ordered your food, a team member will hand you the drinks and direct you to the dining tables. Someone else will then seat you and ask for your order number. Voila, another team member will bring the food to your table! Utensils and condiments come separately packaged.

The majority of the rides are up and running at Volcano Bay.

What to Expect at Universal Orlando Hotels

Universal Orlando Reopening - Water Taxi

Don't froget, Universal Orlando hotel guests get the benefit of Early Park Admission!

The phased reopening of hotels included Hard Rock Hotel, Loews Royal Pacific Resort and Universal's Cabana Bay Beach Resort. Universal's Aventura Hotel opened initially, but ceased operations on Aug. 21, 2020. It is back to normal operations, as of June 16, 2021.

More hoppy news! Loews Portofino Bay Hotel reopened Dec. 1, 2020. Originally scheduled to open its doors in March 2020, Universal's Endless Summer Resort - Dockside Inn and Suites officially opened Dec. 15, 2020. After closing its doors on Aug. 21, 2020, Loews Sapphire Falls Resort reopened on May 18, 2021. Universal's Endless Summer Resort - Surfside Inn and Suites reopened May 26, 2021.

If you'll be visiting on a weekend (or around a holiday) and are a hotel guest, be sure to take advantage of Early Park Admission. When a park reaches capacity, no guests will be allowed to enter. However, hotel guests have priority access if the park reopens after enough guests leave.

All hotels are offering contactless experiences, such as hotel texting services, express checkout, contactless room deliveries and housekeeping services. Upon request, the hotel will deliver fresh towels, linens and bathroom amenities to your door. Housekeeping will not enter your room during your stay.

We noticed that the Universal water taxis and buses are operating from the CityWalk docks and bus lanes, respectively.

What to Expect at Universal CityWalk

Universal Orlando CityWalk Reopening - Parking

Universal CityWalk is currently open from 8 a.m. to 12 a.m. on weekdays (and until 12:30 a.m. on Friday and Saturday nights), with the majority of stores and restaurants in operation now. Standard parking fees apply (with free parking after 6 p.m.), but valet parking is still not available at this time. The parking garages open at 7:30 a.m. daily, though it may depend on Early Park Admission hours. When Islands of Adventure had Early Park Admission starting at 7 a.m. on a recent weekend, we were able to access the garages around 6:45 a.m.

As you make your way toward the security hub before you enter CityWalk, you'll see signs about the health and safety information for all guests.

The following Universal CityWalk restaurants, shops and entertainment are now open:

  • Antojitos Authentic Mexican Food
  • Auntie Anne's Pretzels
  • Bigfire
  • Bob Marley - A Tribute to Freedom
  • Bread Box Handcrafted Sandwiches
  • Bubba Gump Shrimp Co. Restaurant and Market
  • Burger King Whopper Bar
  • Cinnabon (mobile ordering available)
  • Cold Stone Creamery
  • Fat Tuesday
  • Fusion Bistro Sushi & Sake Bar
  • Hard Rock Cafe Orlando (requires a separate temperature screening)
  • Hot Dog Hall of Fame (mobile ordering available)
  • Jimmy Buffett’s Margaritaville (outside & Lone Palm)
  • Lone Palm Airport
  • Menchie's frozen yogurt
  • Moe's Southwest Grill
  • NBC Sports Grill & Brew
  • Panda Express
  • Pat O'Brien's
  • Red Oven Pizza Bakery (mobile ordering available)
  • Starbucks Coffee
  • The Cowfish
  • Toothsome Chocolate Emporium & Savory Feast Kitchen
  • Top of the Walk Food Court
  • Vivo Italian Kitchen
  • Voodoo Doughnut (mobile ordering available)
  • Airbrush
  • Candy Smith
  • CityWalk Hub Store
  • Hair Wraps
  • Hart & Huntington Tattoo Company (retail only)
  • Quiet Flight Surf Shop
  • The Smuggler's Hold
  • Universal Studios Store and select merchandise carts
  • CityWalk's Rising Star
  • Hard Rock Live
  • Hollywood Drive-In Golf
  • Universal Cinemark

Each restaurant may have a limited menu and limited seating available. You can now make advance dining reservations for Bigfire, Antojitos, Bob Marley - A Tribute to Freedom, Cowfish, NBC Sports Grill & Brew, Pat O'Brien's, Toothsome, VIVO Italian Kitchen, Jimmy Buffet's Margaritaville and Hard Rock Cafe Orlando. Some nightclubs remain temporarily closed, and more locations may be added over time.

We hope this gives you an idea of what to expect during the Universal Orlando reopening so you can best prepare your next trip. Keep in mind that health and safety procedures may differ from park to park (here are guides to visiting Walt Disney World, SeaWorld Orlando and LEGOLAND Florida) and are subject to change. While we frogs cannot wait to hop back to the parks, we understand it’s important to be safe in doing so — and that the comfort level is different for every family. Be sure to check back later, as we will update this post as new information becomes available. 

Related: Heading to Universal Orlando During a Peak Time? Here's What You Should Know

Hoppy planning!

Keep hopping, Mommy Frog!
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51–93 of 93 comments
Mar 10, 2021 at 9:21 p.m. Jo Says...

What happens if I pre-purchase tickets and the park reaches capacity before I can enter? Are refunds being issued in this case?

Mar 12, 2021 at 10:07 a.m. FrogBlog Says...

Hi Jo!

To date, there have been very limited days where the parks reached capacity and didn't reopen to admit guests later. If you purchased your tickets directly through Universal, they are nonrefundable - for non-dated tickets, you wouldn't need to visit Guest Relations (just need to use before expiration date on ticket); for date-specific tickets, you'd need to visit/call Guest Relations to change the date. If you purchased through Undercover Tourist, be sure to check your individual ticket's details for refund policies, as they vary by ticket (or just give us a call at 1 (800) 846-1302!).

Hoppy planning!

Mommy Frog

Mar 6, 2021 at 5:30 p.m. Samantha Chauvin Says...

Great article!

If we enter the park and then want to leave for lunch are we guaranteed re-entry? Or is it hit or miss with the capacity limits?

Mar 8, 2021 at 3:16 p.m. FrogBlog Says...

Thanks Samantha! :)

Unfortunately, if you leave the park, you aren't guaranteed re-entry if the parks were to hit capacity while you were out. If you are a hotel guest or have a date-based ticket, you ARE considered a priority guest, which means that if the parks were to hit capacity, you'd be some of the first to be let in once they resume admission. Hope this helps!

Hoppy planning!

Mommy Frog

Aug 3, 2021 at 8:26 p.m. Michele J Klinger Says...

Has this changed in recent months? I am going in September and want to know if we can leave for a reservation at Citywalk to return back to the park

Aug 3, 2021 at 4:10 p.m. FrogBlog Says...

Hi Michele!

With parks operating at full capacity now, you shouldn't have to worry about not being guaranteed re-entry if you leave to dine in CityWalk.

Hoppy planning!

Mommy Frog

Mar 3, 2021 at 8:53 p.m. Lori Says...

Heading to volcano, wondering if it’s allowed to wear a waterproof lanyard with my cell on slides??

Mar 4, 2021 at 4:04 p.m. FrogBlog Says...

Hi Lori!

Loose items aren't permitted on the slides, so you'd need to leave the lanyard in a locker. Hope this helps!

Hoppy planning!

Mommy Frog

Mar 1, 2021 at 3:20 a.m. LInda Says...

would you reccomend fast passes for may 11 and 12th 2021? we are getting park to park tickets. not staying in a universal resort

Mar 2, 2021 at 9:59 a.m. FrogBlog Says...

Hi Linda!

Those days are projected to be a 5 and a 4 on our Crowd Calendar, respectively - while crowds won't be high, it's always a nice perk to get more done in your day! :)

Hoppy planning!

Mommy Frog

Feb 18, 2021 at 2:29 a.m. Deb Says...

We will be visiting the park on March 16th and wanted to go to City Walk too. I noticed on their calendar City Walk is not showing hours for that date. Do they close for one day?

Feb 16, 2021 at 8:46 p.m. James Bandy Says...

Great article and website. Very helpful. Do you recommend Express pass in February. We are coming the last week through March 1st. May only have 1 day, maybe 2 at Universal. Thanks.

Feb 16, 2021 at 3:25 p.m. FrogBlog Says...

Hi James,

Thanks for hopping by! Since it's just before the Spring Break season starts, that week will be a good time to go, particularly if you're able to visit during the week. Wednesday and Thursday (the 24th and 25th) have crowd levels as low as 3 on our Crowd Calendar. Lately, the weekends have been busier though. So if you can only go over the weekend and have limited time, you may want to consider getting Express passes. You can also wait until you're there to gauge the crowds yourself before purchasing at the parks.

Hoppy planning!

Mommy Frog

Feb 13, 2021 at 11:34 p.m. Ricky Anderson Says...

Don’t believe this article at all. I was just at the park and the is clearly no capacity limit in the park. This was the busiest I have ever seen the park even before COVID-19. Outside of the ride lines there was no social distancing or spacing. It was insane!

Feb 13, 2021 at 10:23 p.m. JOAN Says...

If capacity is reached, will we still be able to get back in to the park if we go back to the car to grab items? We would like to leave jackets/extra clothes in the car and pick up later as it gets cooler rather than carry it around the park throughout the day.

Feb 16, 2021 at 10:05 a.m. FrogBlog Says...

Hi Joan,

We'd recommend bringing your extra layers with you. When the parks reach capacity, a special passage opens up to allow people to hop back and forth between the parks if they have Park-to-Park admission so they don't have to exit. If you do exit, you won't be guaranteed re-entry until capacity is lowered. We know it's an extra nuisance to carry them around, but one suggestion is to utilize the all-day lockers near either of the parks' entrances to store them.

Hoppy planning!

Mommy Frog

Feb 9, 2021 at 2:49 p.m. Kristi Says...

Hi- great article for all us "planners"!!! I was wondering, could you give some insight to locker use in the parks? Im wanting to bring a backpack, but didnt know how many rides require lockers, how much it costs, etc.


Feb 10, 2021 at 2:16 p.m. FrogBlog Says...

Hi Kristi!

We sure can - in fact, we have a whole post dedicated to lockers at Universal, which you can see here. Let us know if we can help with any additional questions! :)

Hoppy planning!

Mommy Frog

Feb 7, 2021 at 10:26 p.m. Jenn Says...


1st Q: Do you recommend the Express Pass even though the capacity limit has been lowered? We will be at Universal March 14th & 15th, 2021.

2nd Q: If I have date specific two park, two day (one park per day) ticket that can be used any days in a (5) day period, am I still considered a priority guest?

Feb 9, 2021 at 11:56 a.m. FrogBlog Says...

Hi Jenn!

We DO recommend Express Passes for those dates if you can swing it! While capacity is lowered, it will still be spring break time, so we think it would come in handy. As for your second question, date-specific tickets are considered priority guests, with a caveat. Your first day of use would be the only priority day, since the second day does not have to be used consecutively. That said, we'd highly recommend arriving about an hour early just to be safe! If you are a hotel guest, be sure to take advantage of Early Park Admission too. Have fun!

Hoppy planning!

Mommy Frog

Feb 6, 2021 at 1:51 p.m. Susan Says...

I understand that it says masks are required for children over 2. How strict are they enforcing masks for young children? For example: young 3 year olds who haven’t taken to wearing masks well?

Feb 8, 2021 at 8:36 a.m. FrogBlog Says...

Hi Susan!

We've encountered cast members asking younger children to wear masks, or asking how old children are to see if they should be wearing them. Hope this helps!

Hoppy planning!

Mommy Frog

Feb 3, 2021 at 2:43 a.m. Staci Seward Says...

Planning my first stay at Universal. If we're staying over Memorial weekend will we be taking a chance of not being able to get in due to capacity or do guests automatically get in?

Feb 3, 2021 at 8:22 a.m. FrogBlog Says...

Hi Staci!

Universal hotel guests get priority access, but it's not guaranteed. What that means is that if the parks hit capacity, the first guests to be re-admitted once the gates re-open are hotel guests. Our best advice is to take advantage of Early Park Admission to be sure you're in for the day (and get a hop on some rides before the gates open!).

Hoppy planning!

Mommy Frog

Jan 21, 2021 at 5:07 a.m. Sandi Says...

In other words no sleeping in on vacation this time? lol

Will the park app update us on whether or not the park is reaching or has reached capacity?

Jan 21, 2021 at 8:51 a.m. FrogBlog Says...

Hi Sandi!

Yes, the app will say “Park at Capacity” if you check under “Park Hours & Directions.” You can also call the Universal Orlando Resort Capacity Hotline at 407-817-8317 or the website (they also send out updates on Twitter). Have fun (even without as much sleeping in ;) )!

Hoppy planning!

Mommy Frog

Jan 15, 2021 at 3:24 p.m. TJ Says...

Planning a trip in April of 2022 staying at the Hard Rock 4-12 thru 4-16. Will we be ok crowd wise with the Unlimited Fast Pass and going during the weekdays?

Jan 15, 2021 at 3:19 p.m. FrogBlog Says...

Hi TJ!

That's a tough one - since many schools will have time off around Easter, crowds will likely increase around that time (including Friday the 15 - and some school districts overlap their spring break with Easter, as well). However, since you'll have Early Park Admission and Unlimited Express, you've got some great tools to help manage :) Hope this helps!

Hoppy planning!

Mommy Frog

Jan 3, 2021 at 6:28 a.m. Tessa Says...

I was looking to purchase the express pass - we are staying for 9 days in April - but when you go to pick the days - all of them are blanked out. Is express not available at this time? Thank you for any info - Love the blog!

Jan 4, 2021 at 1:56 p.m. FrogBlog Says...

Hi Tessa!

We are seeing the option to add Express - it's possible that there was a glitch earlier, so we'd recommend giving it another shot! Feel free to call us at 1 (800) 846-1302 if you have any questions :)

Hoppy planning!

Mommy Frog

Dec 24, 2020 at 7:37 p.m. Alan Says...

We are visiting in July 2021 and are staying on site. Can we still use fast pass or do we have to use the virtual queuing system?

Dec 30, 2020 at 8:04 a.m. FrogBlog Says...

Hi Alan!

The only ride you will need to use the virtual queue for if you have Express is Hagrid's; if you have the Express Pass, you'll use the Express queue on the remainder instead :)

Hoppy planning!

Mommy Frog

Dec 18, 2020 at 6:44 p.m. ELISA NAVARRO Says...

Buenos consejos y comentarios para ir a Universal, excelente!!! es el mejor parque para visitar..saludos

Dec 17, 2020 at 5:58 p.m. Jay Says...

Thank you so much, Mommy Frog. The info is terrific. We were thinking of going up for a day next week, but this confirms that I do not want to do that. Hopefully life will be normal next year and we can go.

Dec 16, 2020 at 12:35 a.m. Laura Says...

Hello--if we plan to visit Universal but have not purchased tickets yet, would it be better to purchase ahead of our visit and receive a date-specific ticket (we are not staying on site), or would we have an equally good chance of getting in if we show up well before opening to purchase tickets for that day? Thanks!

Dec 16, 2020 at 1:52 p.m. FrogBlog Says...

Hi Laura!

We'd definitely recommend purchasing ahead of time if possible - not only will it save you some time in the morning, but also, if the park reaches capacity, date-specific ticket holders are considered priority guests who will be allowed in (along with UOR hotel guests) before those without date-specific tickets/non-Universal hotel guests, once capacity lowers and the gates open.

Hoppy planning!

Mommy Frog

Dec 6, 2020 at 7:32 p.m. Jeanette Says...

Our family of 7 is planning to visit Dec 27th to Jan 2nd. We are not staying on property. What are the chances of getting into the park before capacity is met? Is there a time we should be there in order to have a better chance of getting in?

Dec 7, 2020 at 2:18 p.m. FrogBlog Says...

Hi Jeanette!

We'd recommend being at the gates as soon as they open for your best chances! Make sure to leave yourself plenty of time to park and walk to the main park entrance (about an hour before park opening).

Hoppy planning!

Mommy Frog

Dec 2, 2020 at 5:04 p.m. Cynthia Says...

Went in late August - early September with my adult daughter. We had a great time. It was a different experience but still Disney magic all around!

Dec 1, 2020 at 7:38 p.m. Danielle Says...

Good afternoon, I was a little confused with the park capacity rules if we buy tickets and can’t be let in the park will refunds be issued?

Dec 2, 2020 at 9:24 a.m. FrogBlog Says...

Hi Danielle!

Universal theme park tickets are refundable for one year from date of purchase so if you find yourself in this situation, we'd suggest chatting with the Universal Guest Relations reps on-site, or calling us directly at 1 (800) 846-1302. We're hoppy to help!

Keep hopping!


Nov 8, 2020 at 4:06 a.m. Cindy Says...

Hi, we are staying at a partner hotel. We have early admission tickets. If we leave to go back to take a rest, can we re-enter if the park is at capacity? Or can we park hop too if they are at capacity. Thank you so much

Nov 17, 2020 at 12:41 p.m. FrogBlog Says...

Hi Cindy!

Unfortunately, Partner Hotels are not considered priority guests and are subject to capacity limits. Be sure to hop to the parks early and take advantage of that Early Park Admission!

Hoppy planning!

Mommy Frog

Nov 6, 2020 at 4:36 a.m. Susan Says...

We are visiting Dec 6-11. I am concerned that hours are not posted after Dec. 5. Any insight to when those hours will be posted? Thanks

Nov 23, 2020 at 10:13 p.m. Rico Says...

The hours are longer than advertised. Its been 7 pm every night ive been there for the last 4 days, and 10 pm on the weekend.

Nov 6, 2020 at 9:50 a.m. FrogBlog Says...

Hi Susan!

We'd expect the hours for those dates to be released any day now - Universal tends to release them in batches about a month ahead.

Hoppy planning!

Mommy Frog

Oct 30, 2020 at 5:17 p.m. Luanne Says...

The restaurants in City Walk are currently only open after 4 and are not open Mon-Wed. Do you think this will change for the Christmas Holidays? Their websites say "subject to change" but I did not see an email address to contact them about this.

Nov 3, 2020 at 10:44 a.m. FrogBlog Says...

Hi Luanne!

It looks like CityWalk's hours are extended for Thanksgiving week, and some weekends in November, while weekdays have shorter hours (9 a.m. to 5 p.m.) - so we'd expect that trend to continue into Christmas, especially closer to the holiday week :) Of course, this is can vary by individual venue.

Hoppy planning!

Mommy Frog

Oct 29, 2020 at 1:14 p.m. Kelli Daniel Says...

We love Universal! We might have to squeeze this into our trip!! Thanks for all the info.

Oct 20, 2020 at 3:24 p.m. vimermaid Says...

Have been to Universal, Disney and other parks in FL many times & have always used Undercover Tourist. Their ticket pricing in great, their information on the parks awesome. Their crowd calendars and touring plans are perfect. Highly recommend them. Also, follow their guides and media accounts so you can be the first to know about specials.

Oct 17, 2020 at 2:55 p.m. Sheri DeOrio Says...

Three days with Parkhopper is perfect.

Oct 13, 2020 at 7:59 p.m. Holly Says...

Thank you for the report I can't wait to go to Universal again!

Aug 29, 2020 at 1:16 a.m. kat humms Says...

Had to cancel our trip in May (all bought and paid for through undercover tourist) looking forward to being able to reschedule!

Jul 4, 2020 at 5:45 a.m. Abby Says...

We had a trip planned for Aug 22-28th with a 5 day pass for universal (to visit all 3 parks) we are traveling from Utah and have planned/saved for 2 years and we are wondering if it will be worth it to come or wait till there isnt as many guidelines (specifically the capacity limit). Im worried we might not get in or if we do get in not be able to get to ride everything with the virtual queues. Any suggestion? Its not our first time to the parks and we are happy to wait we just want it to still be fun and worth it! Is it super hot wearing the mask in the heat and humidity?

Jun 26, 2020 at 3:03 p.m. Anitra Dee Says...

So if I'm only staying on property one night and we counted for the arrival day and the checkout day?

And if so does that mean I don't have to worry about getting my tickets validated for either day? I've already purchased tickets from you.

Jun 29, 2020 at 5:05 p.m. FrogBlog Says...

Hi Anitra!

Yes, you are counted as part of the park's daily capacity for each day of your stay, including check-in and check-out.

Hoppy planning!

Mommy Frog

Nov 15, 2020 at 1:52 p.m. Jennifer Palmer Says...

So I’m getting conflicting information about guaranteed admission. I am staying at cabana bay beach resort next week and asked the customer service rep from universal about that very thing. I was told by the rep from Universal that I am not guaranteed admission even with my date specific ticket and staying at their resort. She went on to say that’s one reason they offer early park admission. Do you think they were mistaken?

Nov 17, 2020 at 12:45 p.m. FrogBlog Says...

Hi Jennifer!

We are so glad you asked - thank you for reaching out! We clarified with Universal, and the policy has, in fact, changed. We're adjusting this post accordingly, but here is the updated policy on capacity limits: As the parks look like they may reach capacity, guests without date-specific tickets or not staying at official Universal hotels will be the first to be stopped at the gate. Priority guests (guests with date-specific tickets or staying at official Universal hotels) will continue to be allowed in, until the absolute max capacity has been hit. If that happens, all guests may experience a brief delay until they can allow more people in. Partner hotels (that aren't official UOR hotels) are not considered priority guests. Like you were told, we highly recommend taking advantage of Early Park Admission so that you can be one of the first ones in the parks. Hope this helps!

Hoppy planning!

Mommy Frog

Jun 15, 2020 at 9:46 p.m. Holly Says...

You said people with express pass can walk up to any ride except Hagrid?

How hard was it to get a pass for Hagrid?

Jun 17, 2020 at 8:25 a.m. FrogBlog Says...

Hi Holly!

It hasn't been too bad to get a pass for Hagrid's! The first day that we tried, we had arrived a little after park opening and they were all gone (the virtual pass system opens up right around park opening, so we recommend getting there early to give it a shot!). However, we kept trying throughout the day and were able to get one. We've heard it's continued to get easier to snag one, and have even heard reports of some lucky ducks getting to ride Hagrid's multiple times in one day :)

Hoppy planning!

Mommy Frog

Jun 15, 2020 at 8:09 p.m. Sirkka Says...

If we get 4 day ticket and have total 5 days in Orlando but will not get into the park -let’s say - two of the days if it has reached capacity. That means we’ll not be able to use all 4 days. Does Universal have any refund policy or they just expect everyone to go line up at dawn. It will get busier when NE schools end so I see this as a potential major issue.

Jun 19, 2020 at 2:26 p.m. FrogBlog Says...

Hi Sirkka!

At this time, there is no refund policy (and the parks haven't reached capacity just yet, as you noted). That said, if that were to happen, we are confident that Guest Relations would be able to help!

Hoppy planning!

Mommy Frog

Jun 15, 2020 at 6:46 p.m. Heather Says...

How is rider swap working?

Jun 17, 2020 at 8:32 a.m. FrogBlog Says...

Hi Heather!

From what we've seen, the Rider Swap rooms are currently closed to maintain social distancing, but the system is still available. You'll walk through the queue to get your Rider Swap pass and then exit back out into the park. The first party rides and meets up with the second party; then the second party comes back up the exit, stands on the designated floor marking at the front of the exit queue, hands over the Rider Swap pass and hops on!

Hoppy planning!

Mommy Frog

Jun 15, 2020 at 6:34 p.m. Amy S Says...

With summer outdoor temps rising, there’s a likely chance peoples external forehead temperatures may not be accurate. I hope there’s accountability for that from the parks on hot Florida days.

Jun 15, 2020 at 5:42 p.m. Maggie Says...

Hi. If I stay at a Universal resort will I be guaranteed to get in no matter what time I arrive at the park

Jun 15, 2020 at 3:44 p.m. FrogBlog Says...

Hi Maggie!

That's correct - Universal Orlando hotel guests are guaranteed entry, no matter what time they arrive.

Hoppy planning!

Mommy Frog

Jun 15, 2020 at 5:42 p.m. Martin Kalevik Says...

Do you know if Universal Hollywood Horror nights will be open this year, and do you sell tickets for that as well?

Jun 16, 2020 at 9:28 a.m. FrogBlog Says...

Hi Martin!

We do not have any updates on Universal Hollywood Horror Nights yet. We’ll update our posts as soon as we hear!

Hoppy planning!

Mommy Frog

Jun 10, 2020 at 3:14 a.m. Amy Says...

Any thoughts on whether there is any benefit to buying Express Passes? We will be there over July 4th, so presumably as busy as they will allow.



Jun 10, 2020 at 1:50 p.m. FrogBlog Says...

Hi Amy!

Generally, our advice is always to spring for Express because it is so nice to skip the lines! But right now, crowds are pretty manageable due to limited capacity, which means the waits are pretty manageable too :) The biggest benefit to Express right now is that you can skip the virtual pass if you have it (except for Hagrid's, which doesn't have Express). Knowing that July 4 may see larger crowds, Express may be a nice addition to have so that you can continue to skip the virtual pass with more people in the park (and get more done!). If you're still unsure, you can also upgrade in the park once you arrive! Have a great time!

Hoppy planning!

Mommy Frog

Jun 6, 2020 at 12:35 p.m. Sharon Orr Says...

Wondering how passholders will be affected? we were told passes would be extended as long as the parks were closed, however, most people, like ourselves, were only able to go this past spring....I feel our passes should be extended until December as there is no way we can get back, nor would we want to take a chance on returning at this point!

Jun 5, 2020 at 4:30 p.m. Janette Says...

As there is limited capacity at the parks, do i have to pre book or do I just turn up as before.

Jun 8, 2020 at 8:51 a.m. FrogBlog Says...

Hi Janette!

No reservations are necessary to enter Universal Orlando Resort! You can show up as usual. However, because capacity is limited, we recommend planning to be there at park opening. Give yourself a little extra time to park and get through screening checkpoints :) Have fun!

Hoppy planning!

Mommy Frog

Jun 5, 2020 at 4:26 p.m. Jane Says...

How do you make reservations for the parks? Worried about flying down and not being able to get in

Jun 8, 2020 at 8:50 a.m. FrogBlog Says...

Hi Jane!

No reservations are necessary to enter Universal Orlando Resort at this time. As you noted, capacity is limited, so we recommend getting there at park opening (give yourself a little extra time to park and go through the screening points). The initial few days the parks have been reopened, crowds have been very, very light! Universal Orlando hotel guests also receive Early Park Entry benefits, and hotel guests will not be turned away if the park reaches capacity, because they are accounted for when setting capacity limits. Hope this helps!

Hoppy planning!

Mommy Frog

Jun 1, 2020 at 3:12 p.m. Jenny Says...

At the water parks, will masks be required? How will that work on water rides???

Jun 3, 2020 at 5:18 p.m. FrogBlog Says...

Hi Jenny!

That is a great question, and we aren't entirely sure how this will work in practice just yet. Per Universal, face masks will be required at Volcano Bay, but will not be allowed on attractions featuring lots of water effects, pools or slides. Universal also recommends wearing masks in the park when social distancing isn't possible. We're hopping to the parks once they open, so we'll be sure to update our posts (and this message!) with advice on how to best go about this ASAP :) For now, our best advice would be to bring the mask with you and wear it to enter the park, then leave it in the locker when you're hitting the attractions, hopping back for it when you'll be taking a break to lounge or heading to grab a bite.

Hoppy planning!

Mommy Frog

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