The Ultimate 3-Day Itinerary for a Universal Orlando Vacation

Bar 17 at Universal's Aventura Hotel - Plan Your 3-Day Universal Orlando Itinerary

Now’s the perfect time to plan a Universal Orlando vacation! There’s no doubt that endless thrills, nonstop action, exciting shows and adventures across all three theme parks are in your future, but you may be overwhelmed on where to start or how spend each day. Lucky for you, TicketsatWork has planned a 3-day itinerary, so you can make the most of  your next Universal Orlando vacation — start planning today!

DAY 1
Whether you’re staying on-site, it’s important to arrive at Universal Studio’s gates early. If you are staying on-site, take advantage of Early Park Admission and arrive right when the gates open or a few minutes earlier. From here, you may want to purchase Express Passes (don’t use them early-morning since it isn’t as busy) and Universal Meal Deals, which allow you to enjoy unlimited counter service dining. Your goal for Day 1 is to focus on some of the bigger/ more popular rides at Universal parks. Day 1 is an excellent day to tackle The Wizarding World of Harry Potter Hogsmeade and Diagon Alley and everything these worlds have to offer. Remember you can travel between both worlds (Universal Studios and Universal’s Islands of Adventure) via Hogwarts Express. You will have to have a park-to-park ticket for this. Other popular rides and attractions to try for Day 1 include Hollywood Rip Ride Rockit, Despicable Me: Minion Mayhem, Transformers: The Ride, Race Through New York Starring Jimmy Fallon or the newly opened Hagrid’s Magical Creatures Motorbike Adventure.

DAY 2
Just like Day 1, you’ll want to begin your day early. Your goal for Day 2 is to see as many shows, attractions and characters you may have missed on Day 1. If you stayed in one park on Day 1, pick the other park to visit today, making sure to hit all of the major rides first. Otherwise, Day 2 is more about making time to get in what you didn’t see yesterday. Day 2 is also a great day to do any shopping and enjoy some of the parks sit-down restaurants like the popular Mythos. Once you are done in the parks, check out Universal CityWalk. Enjoy dinner at Emeril’s Orlando, Vivo Italian Kitchen, the popular Toothsome Chocolate Emporium and Savory Feast Kitchen, or try CityWalk’s newest restaurant, Bigfire, for open fire cooking. You can also catch a movie before checking out the nightlife scene. From Rising Star and Red Coconut Club to Pat O’Brien’s and Bob Marley – A Tribute to Freedom, there’s plenty of venues at Universal CityWalk to party throughout the evening.

DAY 3
You may want to catch up on sleep from the past two days on Day 3. No problem! Take your time getting up and out the door. Today is all about rest, relaxation and soaking in Universal Orlando  hotels. From value hotels, such as Universal’s Endless Summer Resort – Surfside Inn and Suites and Universal’s Aventura Hotel, to premier hotels, such as Hard Rock Hotel and Loews Portofino Bay Hotel — indulge in all the amenities, enticing pools, craft cocktails, casual and fine-dining restaurants these hotels have to offer. You can easily get to and from each on-site hotel through various shuttle buses. If you’re staying at Universal’s Cabana Bay, you have your own dedicated entrance to Universal’s Volcano Bay, which is also a must on Day 3, even if you aren’t staying on-site. Experience Universal Orlando’s third theme park, a tropical-themed oasis, featuring Krakatau Aqua Coaster, Ohya and Ohno Drop Slides, Ko’okiri Body Plunge and more thrill slides. You can also unwind at Waturi Beach, Kopika Wai Winding River or at the bar with a drink (or two). Be sure to make dinner reservations at one of Universal’s on-property hotel restaurants, and end your three-day getaway with scenic views and delicious bites at Bar 17 Bistro, the rooftop bar at Universal’s Aventura Hotel.

All three amazing Universal Orlando theme parks in three days? It can be done! 

By Jena Pugh

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