What to pack for Universal Studios
If you’re planning a Universal vacation and trying to figure out what to pack for Universal, I’ve got you covered. Maybe you’re wondering what to wear at Universal, and we’ll go over that too. We have a complete 2023 Universal Orlando Planning Guide to check out when you’re done here!
Where to buy Universal Studios tickets
I highly recommend buying your tickets through Undercover Tourist. There are many really scammy sites out there, so make sure you’re booking through an approved partner (like Undercover Tourist.)
Do I need a rental car in Orlando?
I like to get around as needed while on vacation, so I like to rent a car. I recommend renting a car from Discount USA Car Rental. They offer the best rates available whether you’re flying into Orlando or Sanford.
Sadly, they do not have flying cars, but you don’t pay until arrival, so if you find a flying car elsewhere, you can cancel anytime.
Don’t forget to check out Universal Orlando hacks after you’ve finished this post.
What to bring to Universal
Now that we’ve discussed where to buy tickets and whether or not you’ll need a rental car let’s get to what to pack for Universal.
What to pack for the hotel
Whether you’re flying or driving to Orlando, you’ll need to bring a few things for your hotel that you won’t necessarily need in your park bag.
I won’t be listing clothes because you know your individual family’s needs. However, I would recommend bringing extra clothes for kids or planning to wash clothes during your vacation. Remember that it can get cold in Florida in the winter! Bring at least one sweater for everyone, just in case.
All Universal hotels offer guest laundry. One of my best tips for packing light is to do laundry mid-vacation.
Masks are no longer required at Universal Orlando, but some still choose to wear them.
Back when masks were required, I brought a small bottle of Dr. Bronner’s soap to wash our cloth masks in the sink.
It’s always a good idea to keep extra snacks in your hotel room. Most rooms will have mini-fridges (although they are technically “drink coolers.”) Some even have kitchenettes or full kitchens.
I like to stop at Whole Foods or Target and grab snacks, coffee creamer, and breakfast items for our family.
If you have multiple devices to charge, bringing an outlet extender is always a good idea.
Should I stay at a Universal Resort?
I always recommend staying onsite at Universal if possible. The early park admission, free transportation, and easy access to the parks are very worth it.
If you don’t have your hotel stay booked yet, you can check out prices for your dates at:
- Hard Rock Hotel
- Loews Portofino Bay
- Sapphire Falls Resort
- Loews Royal Pacific
- Aventura Hotel
- Cabana Bay Beach Resort
- Universal Endless Summer Resorts – Dockside Inn and Suites and Seaside Inn and Suites.
If you’re visiting during the summer, holidays, or spring break, that Express Pass will come in handy.
If you want even more room, Marriott Cypress Harbour Villas Review near Universal and Disney has options for larger families!
What to pack for a day at Universal
Universal Orlando App
While this isn’t a tangible item, you’ll need to have this on your phone. You can even attach a credit or debit card and pay through the app. The Universal app can be used for many things, from mobile orders to checking wait times and directions around the parks.
The very first thing you should pack for Universal is a small bag. If you don’t need to carry much around the park, I’d recommend a hip bag/fanny bag.
Most rides allow a hip bag, so using one will allow you to bypass the lockers unless you go on The Incredible Hulk: Hollywood Rip Ride Rockit or the Velocicoaster.
Other roller coasters such as Hagrid’s Motorbike Adventure and The Mummy allow you to ride with a 3-prong hip bag.
That said, I realize that most people need to carry around more than a hip bag. For that reason, I recommend a small backpack. Loungefly backpacks are the best (I have several!) and fit perfectly in the free lockers.
You’ll have to use a paid locker if you bring a large backpack.
It gets hot at Universal, and bottled water is expensive and wasteful.
You can get free cups of water, but they are small, and I feel bad throwing away all that plastic, so bringing a reusable water bottle is a better option.
Florida water is disgusting, and I use a regular Berkey Water Filter at home. I recently started using a Berkey Water Bottle for travel and haven’t looked back. The Lifestraw Water Bottle does the same thing, and it’s a bit less expensive.
Motion Sickness Medicine
This could be the #1 on things to pack for Universal, and I always forget it. Universal has many 3-D rides, and if you’re prone to motion sickness, you might get sick.
I typically don’t have problems with rides unless they spin (no teacups for me.) The simulator rides are fun, but they will probably make you sick, so be prepared.
I find the worst rides for motion sickness are:
- Minion Run
- Jimmy Fallon
- Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey
- The Simpsons
I always take ginger pills or ginger chews and notice that it does help. If you get motion sickness, I recommend getting some ginger pills, Dramamine, ginger chews, or whatever works for you!
I like to keep a power bank in my Universal bag.
Universal offers FuelRods, so you can always purchase one of those and swap it out. You can purchase a FuelRod at Universal for $30 or buy one on Amazon for $20 before you go.
It costs $3 to swap out the Fuelrod, but you can get 5 free swaps by downloading the Fuelrod app.
There are several Fuelrod locations at Universal Orlando, and they are adding more regularly.
The Fuel Rod locations are:
- Next to the Today Cafe (Universal Studios)
- World Expo near Men in Black (Universal Studios)
- New York by the Palace Arcade (Universal studios)
- San Francisco by the Fast and Furious (Universal Studios)
- City Walk near guest services
- Marve Superhero Island by the Comic Book Shop (Islands of Adventure)
- Seuss Landing by the Mulberry Street Store (Islands of Adventure)
- Jurassic Park by the Jurassic Outfitters gift shop (Islands of Adventure)
You can also use any old power bank if you don’t want to swap it out.
It rains a lot in central Florida, especially in the summer. Bring some small, foldable ponchos if you don’t want to pay Universal prices for ponchos or an umbrella.
You can also wear a poncho on the water rides if you’d rather not get soaked.
When I visit Universal, I typically walk over 25,000 steps in a day. That’s a lot of steps! I recommend wearing good shoes (more on that later) but bring bandaids just in case you get blisters.
It might also be a good idea to bring a small first aid kit in your park bag. Just make sure you don’t have anything sharp in there.
Tip: If you’re staying in a Universal Resort, and you should, they’ll give you bandaids if you need them. It’s still best to bring your own as you will probably need quite a few should you get a blister.
If you’re going to be outside all day, you’ll probably need some sunscreen. I like the “All Good” brand as it is earth-friendly and people-friendly.
You can read more about reef-safe sunscreen and why it’s so important here.
Lip balm is another theme park bag must-have that takes up very little space.
There are plenty of great restaurants around Universal, and you should definitely check out several during your vacation. That said, theme park meals and snacks add up quickly.
Bring some granola bars, fruit, or other small snacks to help you get by in between your meals and snacks at Universal.
Snacks are also great for anyone who is on a special diet. Luckily, Universal is very friendly for those with allergies or special diets. Make sure to check out where to find vegan food in Universal for vegan/dairy-free options.
A vegan reindeer brownie during the Christmas holidays at Universal.
I also have a post about gluten-free food in Universal for those with Celiac disease or gluten intolerances.
A jacket or sweater
I know this falls under the “what to wear at Universal” category, but you can’t wear it if you don’t pack it.
Believe it or not, Orlando isn’t always hot. In the summer, it is, but not all year. It can be chilly during the winter, especially in the mornings.
Pack a light jacket or sweater and bring it along just in case. Even if you don’t need to bring it in your park bag, it’s good to have it at the hotel just in case.
On the bright side, a sweater or jacket is another way to wear your favorite Universal characters!
What to wear at Universal
Now that we’ve discussed what to pack for Universal, let’s talk about what to wear at Universal.
The #1 most important thing to make sure you have when considering what to wear to Universal is comfortable shoes.
Comfortable shoes look different to everyone, but for myself and my kids, it’s Teva’s. It can get hot in Orlando, and I don’t really want sweaty socks, or worse, wet socks, so I prefer sandals.
That is another good option if you prefer gym shoes/tennis shoes (what do you call them?). Just make sure to choose some moisture-wicking socks.
Another important note about shoes is that a Universal vacation is not the place to test out new shoes. Ensure that your shoes are comfortable and worn before walking in them all day.
Harry Potter gear
If you’re a Harry Potter fan, you’ll want to make sure to wear your best Harry Potter outfits. Although costumes are not technically allowed at Universal, you can wear your Harry Potter house gear, including robes.
Buying all of this Harry Potter gear at Universal would be pricey. Lucky for you, I have a post with 7 things to buy before going to the Wizarding World that goes over some things you can buy in advance to save.
I also have a post about things you should buy at Universal, such as interactive wands and more.
The interactive wands are about $55 and an absolute must-have for Universal. Watching a wand ceremony is also a must-do at the Wizarding World.
Here is a video of Kainan getting chosen for the wand ceremony on his 11th birthday, one of his favorite Universal memories.
Other Universal gear
If you’re not a Harry Potter fan, well, I’m sad for you, but don’t worry, there’s plenty of fun at Universal for everyone.
Make sure to rock your best Jurassic Park, Minions, Simpsons, or Trolls gear instead!
By the way, you might want to check out 30 movies to watch before going to Universal to get even more excited for your Universal vacation.
Did you know that hugs are back at Universal? You can interact with and hug the characters again- yay!
What to pack for Universal
I hope that you enjoyed this post about what to pack for Universal. What do you bring in your park bag? Make sure to let me know in the comments.
If you’re planning a Universal vacation, make sure to check out more of our Universal blog posts:
- How to keep cool at Disney World (the tips apply for Universal Orlando too!)
- Cabana Bay vs Aventura Resort
- 15 Amazing Volcano Bay Tips and Volcano Bay Hacks
- The Ultimate Guide to Universal Orlando Hotels
- NEW Vegan food at the Wizarding World of Harry Potter
- Star Wars Land vs. The Wizarding World of Harry Potter
- 30+ Movies to watch before going to Universal
About Florida Travel With Kids
Florida Travel with Kids was started by a family who loves to travel the state of Florida with kids! This site will help you explore the fun state of Florida and all of the kid-friendly activities you’ll find here.
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