TouringPlans is pleased to welcome back guest author Jon Self.
The great Russian American writer, Vladimir Nabokov, once said: “Do not be angry with the rain; it simply does not know how to fall upwards.” If you are making a trip to Universal Orlando, you should know that chance of rain falling downward is high. The rain will often be brief, but depending on time of year it may feel like a tropical storm. Before we discuss what to do if it rains, please note there are no refunds if it rains at Universal Orlando. If it rains, it is in your best interest to make the most of it.
How to Plan for Rain
How should you plan for rain? Rain could happen at a moment’s notice, especially in the afternoon. Make sure your park bag has a poncho, a light rain jacket, or an umbrella. You will need to decide your personal preference and what you will do with these rain coverings when/if it stops raining. If you choose not to bring your own rain gear, Universal Orlando will be happy to sell you a poncho or umbrella. Also, consider the clothes/shoes you are wearing in terms of getting wet.
Attractions and Parks
If you feel comfortable with your preparation for entering park in case of rain, the next decision is what park to visit between Universal Studios Florida (USF) and Islands of Adventure (IOA). Islands of Adventure has mostly outdoor attractions so venturing there is risky since many attractions will close in bad weather. Because inclement weather is more likely to occur later in the day, we encourage riding attractions that are more likely to close due to rain earlier in the day to ensure you are able to ride them. If you have your heart set on riding VelociCoaster, Hagrid’s Magical Creatures Motorbike Adventure, Incredible Hulk Coaster, and Dr. Doom’s Fearfall, note that these attractions at IOA will close in anything more than light rain and will take time to start running again after rain stops. You could play the guessing game of getting in a queue hoping the attraction will open after the rain, but you might end up just wet and disappointed.
If you find yourself at IOA in rain, expect the few indoors attractions to have long waits. Also beware of the “Jurassic River” adventure! Now, I do not mean the classic flume ride at IOA. When it rains at UOR, the drainage system between Jurassic Park area and the bridge to Hogsmeade will likely flood. You can still cross through there, but your shoes and socks will be very wet afterwards. Jurassic Park is famous for other areas of flooding during storms so be careful if you find yourself there in a storm. Speaking of already being wet at IOA, you could consider riding the water attractions. Seriously, you are already wet, right? Now water rides will close due to lightning but may run during rain.
Understandably, the trustworthy reasoning with bad weather is to go to Universal Studios Florida (USF). USF is mostly indoor attractions with main exception being Rip Ride Rock-It, which closes literally if the wind is too strong. The list of indoor attractions is solid:
- Revenge of the Mummy, an indoor roller coaster
- TRANSFORMERS: The Ride – 3D
- The Simpsons Ride
- The Bourne Stuntactular
- Race Through New York Starring Jimmy Fallon (This can be a great place to wait out rain if all queue activities are engaged such as Ragtime Gals and Hashtag the Panda)
- Despicable Me Minion Mayhem
- Horror Make-up Show
- Animal Actors Show
- Shrek 4-D
- E.T. Adventure
- Fast & Furious – Supercharged
- Harry Potter and the Escape from Gringotts
- MEN IN BLACK Alien Attack
Universal Studios is not always a perfect rain solution. For example, during a recent June 2021 hour-long storm that caused power outages in area, the Mummy queue hit maximum capacity. Sometimes, indoor attractions at USF simply mean a dry place to wait for a really long time.
More Rain Suggestions at Universal
- This might be a good time to try a table service restaurant, especially Finnegan’s if live music is playing.
- Generally, the parks will clear out some if a storm arrives. You may find the park to be noticeably less crowded after a rainstorm. Frequent visitors/locals will usually leave in bad weather increasing chances you will find attractions later with low wait times. If you make it through the rain, you may find yourself rewarded.
- Rain is another reason to stay at an UOR/Loews resort. You can easily venture back to your resort, have a snack, and return when weather improves. Please bear in mind that boat transportation will not operate in bad weather.
- Know where you can find cover quickly when you see clouds roll in. If you chose to wait out the rain indoors, you will want a few good spots previously determined for your group to meet. Most guests fail to plan for rain and dash to nearest cover. You can defeat that mentality with a bit of foresight.
- There are few bad times to shop for merchandise at Universal Orlando. Rain can be a good excuse to enter a merchandise shop. I would suggest you are careful which store you select because they will get crowded as others will follow. Try to find larger shops not directly connecting to an attraction as a gift shop for this reason. Some shops can become very crowded (looking at you Wizarding World shops!) so beware of other unprepared guests packing into small shops like sardines.
- If rain dampens your day, you could go to CityWalk for table service dining and/or a movie. If it is a Tuesday, then discount tickets are offered at this Cinemark location to ease your disappointment.
In the words of Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, “the best thing one can do when it’s raining is to let it rain.” Universal Orlando can still be a great day of fun even if you let it rain.
What are your tips for rainy weather at Universal? 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.