Universal Orlando is overflowing with visitors during spring break, thanks to great promotional specials aimed at families and couples–and U.S. school and college vacation schedules. Even though the parks and CityWalk clubs will be packed with people, you could still have a great time at the theme park resort. But you’d be wise to plan your time well and take advantage of all Universal has to offer.
- Stay Onsite: One of the best ways to beat the spring break crowds is to stay at a Universal Orlando hotel. Because the resort is significantly smaller than Walt Disney World, hotel guests can get to the parks fairly quickly by either walking or taking complimentary transportation (including water shuttles that connect most of the hotels). Even more significantly, on-property guests get into the parks an hour before the general public to get a head start on everything. If you stay off-site, you'll have to navigate the busy parking garage before you could even enter the parks.
- Stay Onsite at a Premier category hotel: If you can swing the extra bucks, consider booking your room at Loews Royal Pacific, the Hard Rock Hotel, or Loews Portofino Bay. In addition to lovely accommodations and other amenities at the swankier hotels, all guests receive Universal Express skip-to-the-front-of-the-lines passes as part of the room rates. Especially when the parks are busy, this feature could be well worth the upgrade.
- Purchase Express Pass: Even if you don’t stay at a Premier category hotel you could still purchase a Universal Express Pass and get front of the line access to select rides. This is an added option, and there are several to choose from; it is worth spending the extra cash to drastically reduce the time you spend waiting in line.
- Minimize Waiting: Head for the busiest and best rides as early in the day as possible. Attractions like "Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey" might not be easily accessible later in the day. Note that Hagrid’s Magical Creatures Motorbike Coaster can get particularly busy. It’s worth the wait, however, so you might want to resign yourself to a long wait.
- Pay to Park: If you will be driving to Universal Orlando, spring break is one of the times of year that it might be worth paying extra for a prime parking space. The "free" garages are further away, and parking close will eliminate a lot of walking (and get you to the parks quicker).
- Use "Child Swap": Universal uses a similar system to Disney's rider switch program. Parents with small kids can still enjoy the more thrilling rides and attractions at Universal by taking turns. Typically, the first parent will wait in line and ride while the second parent waits. Once the first parent is done, the second parent will advance to the front of the line and ride right away.
- Use the CityWalk Party Pass: If you're going to Universal Orlando for the clubs and nightlife, get a Party Pass, and breeze into each of the included clubs without paying a cover charge each time.
- Party Safely: If you're in Universal for the party side of spring break, consider staying onsite to make getting to and from the clubs easy. You should carry only the bare essentials with you when you go out. Keep a copy of your driver's license and extra cash and credit cards in your room safe, so you don't risk losing them — and missing out on the fun.