How to Do Universal in One Day 2024

How to Do Universal in One Day 2024


How to Do Universal in One Day 2024

This article is your complete guide to visiting Universal Studios Orlando in one day! Many people take quick trips to Central Florida, looking to pack in as much adventure as possible. Universal Orlando Resort is a highly popular tourist destination that many have on their bucket list. You may be wanting to pack in a few theme parks in your short trip, which may leave you wondering, “Can I do Universal Orlando in one day?”

Lucky for you, with strategic planning and a little help from us, it is possible to do Universal Studios Orlando in one day.  And as fellow Passholders at Universal, we are here to tell you that you absolutely can do Universal in one day! Especially if you stay at one of Universal’s onsite hotels and can get an early start to the day.

We hope you find this post helpful! Our goal at The Park Prodigy has always been to help you save time and money on your next Universal Orlando vacation!  If you are planning a trip to Universal Orlando be sure to check out the latest deals on Universal Orlando vacation packages and our discounted Universal Orlando tickets which include EARLY PARK ADMISSION to the Wizarding World of Harry Potter!

So if you want all of the tips and tricks to Islands of Adventure and Universal Studios in one day, read on!

SPECIAL NOTE: If you need help picking the best time to visit Universal Orlando for your next vacation be sure to check out our Universal crowd calendar!

Universal Orlando Crowd Calendar

Can You Do Universal Orlando in One Day?


One of the most common questions, we receive from guests visiting the Orlando area is, can you do Universal Orlando in one day? Yes, we think that guests can do Universal Orlando within one day. The main reason is how close Universal Studios Florida and Islands of Adventure are. The ease of traveling from one park to the other is one of the biggest reasons we say that you can get a ton done at Universal Studios Orlando in one day.

Now, will you get onto absolutely every ride at Universal within one day? That will depend entirely on the time of year that you decide to visit and the Universal Orlando park hours during your time in the parks. However, as you’ll see both Universal Studios and Islands of Adventure have world-class attractions and are very easily accessible if you’re willing to pay for a park-to-park ticket. If you’re a huge Harry Potter fan, you can even take the Hogwarts Express between the parks and save your feet from all of the back and forth.

We also believe that one of the biggest advantages to visiting Universal Orlando compared to Disney is early park admission. This will allow select guests access to the Wizarding World of Harry Potter up to one hour early. So as you’ll see given the proximity to the two Universal parks, the extra hour in the morning, and having a solid game plan going into your day you can achieve a ton of stuff during your one day at Universal Orlando!

Do you need the Universal Express pass when planning one day at Universal Studios?

Guests planning a trip to Universal for just one day also might be wondering, will the Universal express pass help? From our experience, the Universal Express pass tickets will help you get much more done within your one day at the Universal Parks. The only downside is they are very expensive and can be more expensive than the actual Universal admission tickets in my situation. However one of the main reasons that they are so expensive is because they do work and will eliminate a significant amount of time waiting on rides. On average we have seen the express pass save families 25-40 minutes per ride during some of the busier times of the year!

Related Page: Shop Discount Universal Early Park Admission Tickets 

Can You Do 2 Parks in One Day at Universal?

best rides in Universal orlando

As mentioned above, you can visit 2 parks in one day at Universal Orlando, but we must mention it’s almost impossible to do it all! But to be honest, when you look at everything Universal offers you really might now want to go on every single attraction. So we think it is important to mention that prioritizing what you want to do with your one day at Universal is necessary. So before we dive into the tips and tricks of a Universal Studios one-day plan, let’s talk about what’s most important! First off, figure out which rides and attractions are most important to you and what you can live without while planning your one day at Universal.

Also keep in mind that obviously with all the planning in the world, there are things that can go wrong. Such as: waking up late, longer wait times than normal, getting sick, etc. Long marathon days in any theme park can also wear on people and you might not be able to do it all. Also, the best way to experience Universal Orlando Resort is truly by taking a full day in each park. So keep that in mind as you plan your next Universal Orlando vacation.

Related Page: Complete Guide to All Harry Potter Rides 

How to Do Universal Orlando in One Day 2024

What to do in Diagon Alley Universal Studios

When wondering, how to do Universal in one day, there are so many different things to consider. It can be overwhelming to plan even a long week vacation in the Universal Orlando parks. That’s why we are going to give you some of our best tips and tricks for having the most fun during your one-day trip.

Visiting both Universal Studios Florida and Universal’s Islands of Adventure in one day is a thrilling but challenging task. Here’s how you can make the most of it:

  1. Start Early: Arrive at the parks as early as possible to beat the crowds. Always use Early Park Admission
  2. Prioritize Rides and Attractions: Identify the must-see attractions in both parks and plan your route accordingly.
  3. Use Express Passes: If available, purchase Universal Express passes to skip regular lines at participating rides and attractions.
  4. Take the Hogwarts Express: If you’re a Harry Potter fan, don’t miss the Hogwarts Express, which connects both parks.
  5. Stay Hydrated and Energized: Pack snacks and water to keep you going throughout the day.
  6. Use our Universal Crowd Calendar
  7. Buy tickets in advance
  8. Stay onsite at a Universal Orlando resort

How to do Universal Orlando in one day?

Combining both parks in one day requires strategic planning. Here’s a suggested itinerary if you do not have Early Park Admission:

  • Morning at Universal Studios Florida: Start with the most popular rides like The Simpsons Ride, Transformers, and Revenge of the Mummy.
  • Afternoon at Universal’s Islands of Adventure: Head to Islands of Adventure for The Incredible Hulk Coaster, Jurassic Park River Adventure, and The Wizarding World of Harry Potter.
  • Evening at Universal CityWalk: Wind down with dinner and entertainment at Universal CityWalk.

Most guests like to run over to Islands of Adventure at park open, but unless you have Early Park Admission, most of those attractions will have high waits. If you have Early Park Admission tickets, we highly suggest starting in Islands of Adventure and jumping on Hagrid’s or VelociCoaster.

Universal Orlando in One Day

If you’re focusing on the overall Universal Orlando experience, including Universal CityWalk, consider the following:

  • Balance Your Time: Divide your time wisely between the two parks and CityWalk.
  • Consider Special Events: Check for any special events or shows happening on the day of your visit.
  • Book a Guided Tour: If available, a guided tour can provide a streamlined experience.

Which Universal Orlando park takes more time?

Another very popular question we receive is, which Universal Orlando park takes more time? As a general rule of thumb, we do find that Islands of Adventure park takes more time when compared to Universal Studios Florida. The main reason is Islands of Adventure has the two most popular rides in Hagrid’s Magical Creatures Motorbike Adventure and the VelociCoaster. Islands of Adventure is also the bigger of the two parks and very simply has more rides.

Related Page: How to Ride Hagrid’s For Early Park Admission 

Can You do Universal Harry Potter in a Day?


Another very popular question we receive when families are planning how to visit Universal in a day is, can you do Universal Harry Potter in one day? And as a general rule of thumb you can do everything Harry Potter related within one day at Universal Orlando. It is important to note that you will need the park-to-park ticket to do this. One of the main benefits of purchasing the park-to-park ticket would be that you will also be able to ride the Hogwarts express. One tip we have when trying to see everything Harry Potter at Universal in one day would be to make sure that you ride the Hogwarts express back and forth as it will be a different experience both ways.

What to do when visiting Harry Potter in one day?

  • Always use Early Park Admission
  • Decide if you will be buying an interactive wand before you go
  • Take pictures early in the morning before the park gets crowded
  • Make sure you ride the Hogwarts Express both ways

Related Article: Complete Guide to Universal Orlando Harry Potter Rides

Universal Studios in One Day – Early Park Admission


Here at The Park Prodigy we are huge fans of Early Park Admission. Early Park Admission can make the world of a difference if you’re trying to build a Universal Studios Orlando 1 day plan. Early Park Admission allows you into the Wizarding World of Harry Potter one hour before park opens. Universal Orlando Resort will alternate on which park is offering Early Park Admission by letting you know in the Universal Orlando app.

Early Park Admission is almost necessary if you’re wanting to ride Hagrid’s Magical Creatures Motorbike Adventure or Harry Potter Escape from Gringotts. Your Park Prodigy ticket will let you enter either Diagon Alley or Hogsmeade Village one hour before the park opens. If you happen to have EPA on an Islands of Adventure day, you can enter Hogsmeade village and potentially ride two of the main attractions before regular guests even get let into the parks.

Universal Orlando Early Park Admission Bonus Tip:

Arrive at least one hour prior to Early Park Admission hours. If Early Park Admission hours begin at 8AM, you are going to want to be at Universal Orlando Resort by 7AM. Some guests who show up at 8AM for EPA have to wait just as long, if not longer on the rides inside of Wizard World of Harry Potter. It is very important that you are among the first people to arrive. So, can you do Universal in one day? Sure, but be prepared to wake up early!

Related post: Complete Guide to Universal Studios Orlando Shows

Use the Crowd Calendar When Planning One Day at Universal

Universal Studios Orlando in one day

Crowds and long lines can be one of the biggest drags to any trip. If you and your party are thrill ride seekers, this tip is extremely important to keep in mind. With Universal having amazing new attractions like Velocicoaster, you can expect that wait times are going to be outrageous if you go during peak season. Our Crowd Calendar can give you the best estimate on when to visit during the slower times throughout the year.

Best months to visit Universal Orlando

  • September
  • January
  • February
  • Early May

Universal Orlando Resort follows the same trends as most of the central Florida theme parks. Avoid holidays, the summer and spring break! September is the perfect time to visit because most kids go back to school and you’ll see lower crowd levels. Late winter is also the perfect time to visit because the weather is perfect and crowds tend to be the least busy! Picking the right time to visit can make going to Universal Studios Orlando in one day more than doable.

Related article: Best Time to Visit Universal Orlando

Make a List! – Prioritize Your Must-Do Attractions

Jurassic Park Land Orlando

One of the most important things you can do when thinking of your one day at Universal Orlando plan and what to do is to pick your favorites! There are many different attractions at both Universal Studios and Islands of Adventure. It is almost a guarantee that you won’t be able to do them all. If you’re an adrenaline seeker, you can might want to make sure you get on rides like Velocicoaster, The Incredible Hulk Coaster and Hagrid’s Magical Creatures Motorbike Adventure. If you’re more of a dark ride lover, check out The Cat in the Hat, E.T. Adventure or Forbidden Journey at Hogwarts Castle.

If you have your must-do attractions, it can keep you on track when trying to do Universal Studios Orlando in one day.

Bonus Tip: Use the Universal single riders line when available! 

Universal Orlando Resort Single-Riders’ Line


If you don’t mind having your party split up, the Single Riders’ line at Universal Orlando Resort can be your best tool to experiencing attractions. This line is specifically made to get every single ride vehicle filled to capacity. That means parties in the Stand-By line that have odd numbers will have an empty seat in their car. A Single Rider is used to fill that empty seat.

Sure you might have to sit next to a stranger or experience an amazing attraction separate from your party, but it is on of Universal’s best tricks to low wait times. It is important to note that not all attractions at Universal offer Singer Riders and even if an attraction does offer it, they don’t always have it open.

Universal Orlando rides with Single Riders’ lines

  • Harry Potter Escape from Gringotts
  • Transformers – The Ride 3D
  • Revenge of the Mummy
  • Hollywood Rip Ride Rockit
  • Men in Black Alien Attack
  • The Amazing Adventures of Spider-Man
  • Jurassic World Velocicoaster
  • Dr. Doom’s Fearfall
  • Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey
  • The Incredible Hulk Coaster

So, can you visit Universal parks in one day? It might be a lot easier if you’re willing to be split up and use Single Riders!

Related post: Guide to the Universal Studios Orlando Single Rider Line

Purchase Universal Tickets in Advance


One of the longest hang-ups when visiting any theme park is waiting in the ticketing lines to purchase your tickets. Especially in the mornings, the ticketing lines tend to be extremely long. If you’re trying to do Universal Studios in one day, we highly recommend purchasing your tickets in advance. When purchasing your Universal Orlando tickets through the Park Prodigy, you can skip the ticketing line and go straight to Will-Call kiosks. This takes less than 5 minutes, and as long as you have the credit card you used to purchase your ticket, you don’t even have to talk to anyone.

Not only will you save time, but you will save money, as well. Buying your tickets through a reputable travel agency allows you to have someone that is searching for the best deals all the time, just for you. With our highly knowledgeable staff, we can make sure that all of your concerns are taken care of. That means more time in the parks and less time dealing with the hassle.

Like mentioned above, there are perks too! All Park Prodigy tickets come with Early Park Admission, free planning guides and more.

Related post: How to Get Cheap Universal Orlando Tickets

Don’t Eat at CityWalk When Visiting Universal In One Day


Well, this tip is really more so don’t stop to eat at Universal CityWalk during the middle of the day. There’s no doubt that Universal CityWalk is located perfectly between both Universal Studios and Islands of Adventure for easy access. However we do feel like it simply takes way too long to leave the parks and then enter back numerous times when you are trying to get everything done at Universal in one day. 

So we advise to skip eating at Universal Citywalk and really all sit down restaurants when visiting Universal in only one day. And we do know that Universal does have some amazing restaurants so we always suggest trying to plan a reservation for after your day in the parks later at night if possible.

However, if you can hold out, the nightlife at Citywalk is pretty incredible, and adults visiting will love the bars and clubs.

Related post: Complete Guide to CityWalk Bars and Clubs

Stay Onsite at a Universal Orlando Resort Hotel


Universal Orlando Resort has 8 different hotels to choose from if you’re thinking about staying on property. Staying at a Universal Orlando Resort has plenty of benefits like being able to walk, take a bus or a boat from your resort to the parks. It can be a game changer being able to wake up and have a very short travel time to either Universal park. There are also a range of hotels that can fit many budgets. Staying onsite can make doing Universal Studios Orlando in one day much easier than staying farther in an offsite hotel.

One of the best perks of staying at a Universal Orlando hotel is that some of them offer Express Passes with your stay. If you stay at a Universal Premier hotel, all guests staying at that hotel are given Universal Express Unlimited Passes. The Express Unlimited passes start at $109 per person, so that’s over $400 of savings if you were debating on buying one anyway. The Park Prodigy also now specializes in vacation packages, where you can book your hotel stay and purchase your tickets through us with ease.

Can you see Universal Studios in one day? Staying onsite can definitely help!

Related post: Ultimate Comparison of All Universal Orlando Premier Hotels

Universal Studios Park to Park One Day – Express Passes

universal studios orlando in one day

As we mentioned above, if you book a stay through a Universal Orlando Premier Hotel, an Unlimited Express Pass is given to everyone staying with you. If you are not booked through a Premiere hotel, don’t fret, you can purchase one as an add on. The Universal Express pass allows you to skip the line of certain attractions either once or an unlimited amount of times depending on the pass. As we all know, the largest time drain for any theme park vacation is the wait in the line. Therefore, the Express Pass could be a game changer for those wanting to do Universal Studios Orlando in one day.

Universal Orlando Express Pass Pricing 2024

  • Universal Express – Starting at $79.99. Skip the line one time per participating attraction.
  • Universal Express UnlimitedStarting at $109 – Skip the line unlimited times on participating attractions.

If you’re still wondering, “Can you do Universal Studios in a day?” we hope that some of these tips and tricks are helping! We absolutely found success using the Express Pass at Universal, with barely spending more than 10 minutes in line for each ride.

Related post: What are Front of Line Passes at Universal Studios?

Can You Visit Universal Studios Orlando in One Day Bonus Tips


While we think that the tips listed above will significantly help you have the perfect Universal Studios Orlando one day plan, here are a couple of bonus tips!.

Research Universal Orlando parks layout ahead of time

Make sure you know where you’re going! Both Islands of Adventure and Universal Studios Florida are large parks with many lands. If you’re looking to go on specific attractions, make sure you know where you’re going! It is easy to get turned around.

Know where and when to eat and use mobile ordering

Universal Orlando Resort is known for quick service restaurants taking a long time to prepare food. It is probably one of our biggest complaints about both theme parks. Waiting in line for quick service meals eat up a huge portion of the day and can cost you an attraction or two if you don’t plan well. Pack small snacks and be prepared to eat super early or super late. Guests can also take advantage of the mobile ordering on the Universal Orlando App. This can be a huge time saver when visiting Universal is just one day! 

Use the Universal Orlando Resort App

The Universal Orlando Resort app has all there is to know about the theme parks when visiting. You can view wait times, reserve Virtual Queue spots and even order your food. This tool can come in handy when you’re looking for the lowest waits or next showtimes. Just know that if you’re pulling a long day inside of the park, you might need a portable charger to keep your phone charged throughout the day.

Use Virtual Queues when available

When visiting Universal Orlando, you might see signs around that have QR codes offering you to make Virtual Queue reservations. Use them! Super popular attractions like Revenge of the Mummy and Hagrid’s Motorbike Adventure will utilize this system. We recommend right away when the park opens, keep an eye out for these signs. Some rides only operate through Virtual Queue, and you will miss out on that ride if you do not book them right away in the morning.

So, can you do two Universal parks in one day? We think that it is totally possible with great planning, our awesome discounted tickets and an ambitious attitude.

Related post: Complete Guide to the Lockers at Universal Orlando

Is One Day at Universal Worth it?


We do believe that one day at Universal Orlando will be worth it for a lot of families! This is especially true if you are visiting Universal Orlando specifically to visit the Wizarding World of Harry Potter, experience all of the Universal Orlando roller coasters, or the Jurassic Park rides. From our experience helping our clients even if you are trying to get absolutely everything at Universal Orlando done within one day as long as you have a park plan going into your day, you will absolutely get your money’s worth!

When looking between Disney and Universal, if you’re trying to cut down on days, Universal is definitely the park you can do in one day. With that being said, EPIC Universe is currently being built which will change our answer significantly. EPIC Universe is huge and will need a whole day just for one park, so we will have to revisit when that park opens.

Related post: Complete Guide to Every New Epic Universe Lands

Visiting Universal Orlando in One Day FAQ


Q: Can you do Islands of Adventure in one day?

A: Yes, you can see and do everything at Islands of Adventure in one day. As a general rule of thumb you do want to give each Universal Orlando park it’s own day as this will allow you to relax as you go through your day. And as we have been mentioning it is extremely important to take advantage of early park admission at Islands of Adventure when available.

When Is The Best Time To Visit Universal Orlando?

Our Universal Orlando Crowd Calendar is the best tool to help you get the most out of your time in the parks. We breakdown the park crowds, park hours of operation, ticket prices by day, and average temperature.

Ready to Plan Your Next Universal Orlando Trip?

Beat the crowds with our discount Universal Orlando tickets! All guests who purchase their tickets from The Park Prodigy will get EARLY PARK ADMISSION to the Wizarding World of Harry Potter absolutely FREE! This could save you a ton of time in the parks and avoid buying express passes!

Make sure to check out our friends at Theme Park Today for great tips on how to have the best Universal vacation!