TouringPlans is pleased to welcome guest author Jon Self.
Before the reopening of Universal Orlando Resort in June 2020, there were “free” charging stations available in the valet parking area. Universal Orlando Resort’s valet area has two Tesla 80-amp chargers along with two Clipper Creek 48-amp chargers. These are the standard chargers used by the majority of the electric vehicles on the road today. Those charging stations are still there, but not available currently due to restrictions implemented due to COVID-19.
In the future when valet parking returns, the “free” charging stations will be available if you park in valet area. Please be advised that just because charging is free does not mean your valet parking will be free. If you know someone with a Premier Universal Orlando Annual Pass, they receive free valet parking, allowing you access to the charging stations for no cost. For everyone else, you will need to pay the valet parking fee to charge your car at that location.
In the meantime, what other options do you have? The good news is that all the Loews resort hotels at Universal Orlando have “free” car charging EV stations. According to Universal, you will need to be a guest staying at the hotel to use these charger, however. Hotel guest with cars do pay a daily parking fee, so the charging is not totally free. If you are bringing an electric car then being able to charge your car for free may help absorb the pain of the daily parking fee.
What if you want to charge your electric car while you are visiting Universal Orlando but not staying on site? You will need to get a bit more creative. If you are staying at certain nearby hotels, you could use a shuttle or another transportation to Universal to avoid daily parking fee while charging your vehicle at your hotel. These details change often but some of the nearby hotels that offer free charging are Wingate, Rosen Inn, Four Points Sheraton, Best Western Orlando Gateway, and The Point Orlando Resort. More hotels are adding this feature each year, so check with your hotel before booking to confirm. You will also need to confirm with your resort the type of charging station you need to match your vehicle.
But what if this is just a one-day trip as a local or other similar circumstance not demanding a hotel stay? There are no options currently on site at Universal Orlando. If you decide to take a break from the park in the afternoon, you could go to the nearby outlet mall area (fee for charging) or Millenia Mall area (free charging) to have lunch. You might want to explore those places for dinner after your park day for same reason. Two websites you can use to find locations of chargers, along with reviews, are PlugShare and Drive Electric Orlando.
Since Universal Orlando is part of the movement to be more energy efficient and promote sustainable technologies, we should expect these charging stations to expand, especially with Epic Universe being built. In the meantime, if you have an electric vehicle, advance planning for car charging resources should be a part of your trip planning.
Do you have an electric vehicle that you drive to Universal Orlando? What tips do you have for fellow EV drivers? Let us know in the comments.
Jon Self is an avid theme park fan who has the high privilege to serve as a pastor at an American Baptist Church (fbcmacomb.com) while also trying to find the proper life path with his loving spouse, a bigger theme park fan than Jon. You can follow him at @pastorjonself on Twitter and read more of his writings at faithelement.net.