So you have made it to your Universal Orlando vacation and… now what? Did you forget charging cables at home? Need a pointer on what is beyond the theme parks? In this article we have you covered on where to find what you need around Universal Orlando.
Replace Something I Left at Home
Confession time: one trip I totally forgot to pack underwear. We are all busy people with other obligations, and forgetting key items for your trip happens.
If you forgot small consumable items, power cords, and hygiene products, check your hotel lobby gift shop. Adult and children’s clothing can be found at the Quiet Flight Surf Shop in CityWalk.
If the item you need is not available on property (or you want to save money) there are several options close to the resort. A good option is Walgreens. There are two locations: one on the corner of Universal Boulevard and International Drive services the south side of the resort, and to the north there is a Walgreens on Kirkland and Vineland Road. Additionally Amazon offers day-of and 1-hour shipping to all the Universal Orlando resorts for locally stocked items.
Universal Orlando resorts include mini-fridges standard, so why not use them? Publix, Whole Foods, and Trader Joe’s grocery stores are located southwest of the resort, off of Turkey Lake and Sand Lake roads. If you cannot or wish not to travel, Amazon Pantry also offers a quick, easy way to ship groceries to the resort. A $5 package fee applies to all items dropped off at Luggage Services, and no perishable items are accepted.
Find a Beach
First, the bad news. The beaches and waterways at Universal Orlando are not for swimming. In addition to being used for boat transportation the waterways could be home to alligators and water snakes. Remember the cardinal rule in Florida: if you cannot see to the bottom of a body of water assume there are alligators there.
If you want to sunbathe or pose for photos, the only beach on Universal Orlando property are at Loews Royal Pacific Resort. To find the beaches from the lobby head towards the pool area and walk past them. The beaches are located off the walking path to the west of the pool.
See a Show
Rain got you down? Need a break from the parks? Catch a show! CityWalk’s movie theater changed hands in 2019 to Cinemark who refurbished all the theaters to include recliners and THX certified sound. In addition to popular releases CityWalk Cinemark also hosts special movie shows through the year; this past halloween they showed movies featured in this years Halloween Horror Nights. Showtimes and tickets can be found on Fandango.
Looking for something louder? Hard Rock Cafe and Hard Rock Hotel have you covered. The Hard Rock Cafe is home to a 3,000 person auditorium that features musical acts, comedians, and more. For something more personal Hard Rock Hotel features monthly Velvet Sessions, a hard-ticket private performance by popular artists. Hard Rock Cafe concerts and Velvet Sessions schedules can be found online.
Universal Orlando is also home to a permanent installation of the popular Blue Man Group. The nightly show follows the Blue Man Group as they discover our world. Combining music, comedy, pop culture, and technology, the show is unlike anything you’ll see. Tickets and show times are available online.
Find a Good Beer or Mixed Drink
Anywhere can serve a Bud Light or vodka soda, but finding a good drink can be a real pain during vacation. Thankfully Universal Orlando has you covered. Beer aficionados will find their home at NBC Grill & Brew at CityWalk with over 30 taps and 70 bottles of beer to chose from. Jake’s American Bar at the Royal Pacific Resort features a large draft and bottled beer list and also offers hard-ticket beer dinner events featuring beer and food pairings.
If cocktails are more your style you must visit Strong Water Tavern at Sapphire Falls Resort. Featuring one of the largest selections of rum in Orlando the bartenders at Strong Water mix some of the best drinks on property, plus their food menu is delicious too. For something more vintage check out Swizzle Lounge at Cabana Bay Beach Resort, which features classic cocktails and some good deals. Aventura Hotel also features Bar 17 Bistro with fresh cocktails and small plates.
An Orlando vacation can be an expensive affair, leading many to find ways to stretch a dollar. Universal Orlando offers several options for an affordable yet high-value meal. At CityWalk both Hot Dog Hall of Fame and Red Oven Pizza Bakery provide large or shareable meals at a low price point. At Endless Summer’s food court, Beach Break Cafe, all the menu options start under $12 including pizza, protein bowls, burgers, and more.
Yes, bowl. Universal’s Cabana Bay Beach Resort features Galaxy Bowl, a full bowling alley based off of the famous bowling alley from The Big Lebowski. Lane rentals start at $15 per adult and $9 per child; parties up to 3 bowl for 45 minutes while parties up to 8 are allotted 80 minutes. Food and beverage is also served at Galaxy Bowl and is the only sit down restaurant at Cabana Bay. Word of warning: Galaxy Bowl quickly fills up after the parks close and during rain storms. Bowling is available from noon to midnight, daily.
See Some Great Views
What vacation is complete without some sightseeing? Universal Orlando offers many places to people watch and take photos but two locations stand out among the rest. Take a complimentary boat shuttle to Loews Portofino Bay Resort and watch as the the resort reveals itself as you pass under a bridge. For maximum effect make sure to visit at night to see all the lights and explore the plaza.
For picturesque views from above visit Bar 17 Bistro which offers 360-degree views of Universal and Orlando. Come for the views but stay for the food and drink; the small bites are delicious and the cocktails are all hand crafted.
Every Universal Orlando resort features a full fitness center–yes, including the value resorts. Each fitness center includes state-of-the-art fitness equipment such as treadmills, ellipticals, and weight training machines. If you prefer to hit the trails, Universal has an extensive walkway system that connects most of the resorts.
Need help discovering Universal Orlando Resort? Comment below.