Greetings, and thank you for joining us here in the OI Universal Center, the world’s largest and most up-to-date online guide for Universal Orlando vacation planning — comprehensive, obsessively updated & completely free!
The theme parks at Universal Orlando offer some of the most astounding entertainment and family experiences available anywhere in the world. From awe-inspiring adventures like Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey, to classic thrills like Revenge of the Mummy, to behind-the-scene shows like Animal Actors on Location, there is so much to be amazed by at Universal Orlando…
But theme parks can also be crowded, hot, and terribly expensive. If you head in the gates without a plan, and without knowing the latest tips and tricks to maximize the value of your trip, you risk the chance of having a poor experience.
That, my friends, simply will not do. It’s not every day that you can visit a place like Universal Orlando, so we created the OI Universal Center to give you all the knowledge and tools you need to ensure your trip is one of the best vacations your family has ever had.
Before we begin, we just wanted to let you know that you can return to the OI Universal Center at any time by clicking the OI UNIVERSAL CENTER button (black with white lettering) at the very top of any page.
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The number 1 tip for finding your way around the OI Universal Center
Some first-time visitors have found themselves getting a little overwhelmed by the amount of information on our site. While it is a good thing that we’ve got so much info, it is not such a good thing if you feel confused by it all. Therefore, right off the bat, we want to let you know the number one tip for finding your way around: Use the OI Universal Center table of contents as your home base!
When you are reading through our articles, navigating through the hundreds of questions we’ve answered, joining the conversation in our forum, or checking out our blog, you may feel like you’ve lost your place. But do not worry! All of our core Universal vacation planning pages are organized and available with one click from the OI Universal Center table of contents. You can return to the table of contents at any time by clicking the OI UNIVERSAL CENTER button (black with white lettering) at the top of every page.
Now that we’ve covered that tip, let’s continue with the orientation…
7 easy steps to make the most out of the OI Universal Center
So you are ready to start your exploration of the OI Universal Center as you prepare for the vacation of a lifetime. Here is how we would recommend that you move through our site.
Step #1 – We need to get just a bit of housekeeping done before we get to the fun stuff. As a new subscriber to our site, we ask that you take a quick moment to visit your site profile and complete the following actions:
- Add a nickname for yourself.
- Select your display name from the drop-down menu. This is how your name will appear everywhere on our site.
- Change your password to something you will remember.
- Verify your access plan purchase and, if applicable, your expiration date. This information is in the green and yellow table.
- Upload an avatar to personalize comments you leave on our site and in the OI Forum. Avatar images should be square and no larger than 150 x 150.
Once you have modified your profile, scroll to the bottom of the page and click the blue Update Profile button.
Ready to take care of the housekeeping? Click here to open your profile page (this link will open in a new window — once you have updated your profile by clicking the blue button, you can just close the window).
Step #1 – To begin planning your trip, start with the title page of our The Script: TICKETS, PACKAGES & PLANNING section. That page includes the most basic information about Universal Orlando.
Step #2 – Visit the Maps, Rider’s Guide & vacation brochure page. Here you will be able to view and print out maps of Universal Orlando (and other useful material). Having printed maps will greatly aid you in understanding much of the information we provide.
Step #3 – Next, visit the title pages of the Universal Studios Florida section and the Islands of Adventure section. Like The Script title page, these two pages provide an overview of Universal’s theme parks. If you’re interested, you can also check out CityWalk.
Step #4 – Check out our Universal Orlando crowd calendar and see what the parks will be like during your travel dates. This will determine to a large extent how much planning and mental preparation you will need to do. Pay particular attention to whether there are any special events happening during your travel dates.
Step #5 – Once you have visited the pages mentioned above, and you have your maps printed, you will have a good foundation of knowledge regarding Universal Orlando. Now it is time to dig in deep! Decide what you would like to learn more about and visit that section of the Center:
The Script: TICKETS, PACKAGES & PLANNING
Our collection of money and time saving tips which cover many aspects of Universal Orlando, including Universal Express Passes, the Universal Meal Deal, Universal vacation packages, and so much more.
The Set: MAKING THE MOST OF YOUR VACATION
While not as “mission critical” as the planning information in The Script section, the information in The Set section will help your vacation go from good to incredible! This section also focuses on many in-park issues, such as character meet-and-greets and Internet access.
Insider’s guide to the Wizarding World of Harry Potter
This section is the largest repository of Wizarding World tips, tricks, and secrets available anywhere in the world. If the Wizarding World of Harry Potter is a top priority for you, and if you are visiting when the parks are moderate to busy, we highly recommend that you review all of these pages.
Annual events at Universal Orlando
One of the best features of the Universal Orlando theme parks is their annual events, such as Mardi Gras and Halloween Horror Nights. This section is filled with the most up-to-date information available for current and future events. (This section is also a great example of where a traditional book falls short: you can’t publish specific information about these events a year ahead of time, because details are not released until just a few months before the actual events!)
Universal Orlando touring plans
Our touring plans section provides you with ready-to-print-and-go touring plans for Universal Studios Florida, Islands of Adventure, and the Wizarding World of Harry Potter. Not sure one of our plans will work for you? Then you can use our expert knowledge to design your own!
Universal Studios Florida
This section provides information covering every major attraction, show, kids play area, and dining option at Universal Studios Florida. Remember that the Universal Studios Florida title page presents the background information for this theme park.
Islands of Adventure
This section provides information covering every major attraction, show, kids play area, and dining option at Islands of Adventure. Remember that the Islands of Adventure title page presents the background information for this theme park.
Universal CityWalk is the multi-level dining and entertainment area that accompanies Universal’s two theme parks — a concept is similar to Downtown Disney. Here you will find information on all the full-service restaurants and the newest attractions, such as Hollywood Drive-In Golf.
Accommodations in and around Universal Orlando
Are you considering staying on-site at Universal Orlando during your vacation, or are you interested in booking a Universal Orlando Partner Hotel? Then you will want to visit this section of the Center for a ton of hotel information and a unique interactive map.
Step #6 – Sign up for our weekly email newsletter. We send our updates to you, just in case you don’t get a chance to visit the site as much as you’d like. If you want email updates more often, you can also sign up for daily notifications of new blog posts.
Step #7 – Bookmark our Universal Snapshot page. This provides a one-page quick reference for everything that is happening right now across Universal Orlando Resort.
Additional tips from the experts
OI Universal Center updates
As the days and months go by as you wait for your vacation to begin, you will want to occasionally check out the updates to the OI Universal Center. Updates may include major park announcements, new features in the Center, or small “I just noticed that!” observations from our frequent visits to Universal Orlando. The most recent updates are posted on our website’s front page. Otherwise you can access them anytime by viewing our Daily Updates page.
Don’t forget about the annual events
For the first-time visitor to Universal Orlando, there is so much to see and do just when you consider what is available year-round. However, Universal’s annual events are a big deal, and if you happen to be visiting while one of them is in full swing, you will want to know about it ahead of time (either so you can be a part of the crowd or avoid the crowd!). Click here to visit our Events section.
Get a hard copy or go mobile
You can can create a printer-friendly copy of virtually every page on our site simply by clicking the OIPrintMe button at the very bottom of each page. Likewise, you can view virtually all of our content on our mobile site simply by navigating to OrlandoInformer.com on any smartphone browser.
We’ve got a blog too
The OI Universal Center represents the core of our vacation planning information. But if you want to learn everything there is know about Universal, be sure to check out our hundreds of blog posts filed under Universal Orlando.
Share your story
Did you have a particularly exciting experience at Universal Orlando? Do you have a number of tips to share that you think would be really helpful for other guests heading to the park? Then you will want to consider becoming a contributor to our OI Share project. Visit the OI Share page for more information.
Thank you for being a part of the OI Universal Center community!
Need to contact us about a technical issue or a general question about our website? Visit our Contact page.