Universal Orlando Resort

Universal for Newbies – Early Park Admission

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Whether you are a long-time Walt Disney World guest looking to switch your vacation up or you are visiting Orlando for the first time, planning a visit to Universal Orlando Resort poses many questions. In this article, we will cover Universal’s Early Park Admission program, who is eligible, what is offered, and our touring tips.

What is Early Park Admission Entry?

(photo by @sonderquest)

Early Park Admission is the official name for Universal’s program that grants select guests early access to attractions in the morning. Eligible guests can experience select attractions up to an hour prior to the official posted park opening. Valid theme park admission is required to enter the park during early entry. Hours are subject to change, visit Universal’s website for details.

Which Parks Are Included?

All three parks are included in the early entry program, but which are available varies. During the offseason, either Universal Studios Florida or Islands of Adventure is open for early park entry plus Volcano Bay. During the busier months, such as summer and major US holidays, all three parks offer early entry. Universal publishes their early entry calendar roughly a month in advance. For a list of which parks are open during your visit the Touring Pans Crowd Calendar or Universal’s website.

Who is Eligible for Early Park Admission?

Early entry is available for the following guests:

  • All Universal Orlando Resort hotel guests
  • Select partner hotel guests through vacation packages
  • Universal Orlando Premier and Preferred Annual Passholders (Universal Studios Florida and Islands of Adventure only)
  • Guests who purchase Universal Orlando tickets through Touring Plans Travel Agency

Upon entering the park follow Team Members’ directions and signage to early park admission. Inside the park will be a checkpoint where a ticket or hotel key is checked to verify your early entry privileges. To speed up your entrance we suggest all guests hold up a ticket or hotel keycard that shows their early park admission eligibility.

Which Attractions Are Open?

(photo by Mike Sperduto)

At the time of publishing these attractions are available during Universal Orlando Early Park Admission:

Universal Studios Florida

  • Harry Potter and the Escape from Gringotts
  • Despicable Me Minion Mayhem

Islands of Adventure

  • Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey
  • Flight of the Hippogriff
  • Jurassic World VelociCoaster
  • Ollivander’s

Volcano Bay

  • Ohyah & Ohno Drop Slides
  • Honu & Ika Moana Slides
  • Krakatau Aqua Coaster
  • Ko’okiri Body Plunge
  • Waturi Wave Pool

Universal changes the available attractions frequently. In the past Transformers in Universal Studios Florida and Hagrid’s Magical Creature Motorbike Adventure in Islands of Adventure were featured. Check with the Universal website before your trip and Team Members the day of your visit to see if any other attractions are open.

Touring Tips

We suggest being at the turnstiles 15 to 30 minutes prior to the park’s early entry start. All turnstiles are open at park opening so do not be afraid to start a new line behind an ignored turnstile. Sometimes the turnstile lines extend into CityWalk but do not fret, Universal can process the guests within five to ten minutes. In such a situation we suggest keeping an eye out for alternative entrances that Team Members will open up to relieve the congestion – these are located to the right of Universal Studios’ Guest Relations building and to the left of Islands of Adventure.

At Universal Studios Florida, we suggest skipping Minion Mayhem, which most guests head to, and make your way to Diagon Alley for Escape from Gringotts. After riding explore Diagon Alley, experience Olivander’s, or start your Touring Plan.

In Islands of Adventure make your way towards Hogsmeade and experience whichever attractions are open at that time. Alternatively, ride Jurassic World VelociCoaster and then make your way towards Skull Island Reign of Kong and Marvel Super Hero Island once the park opens.

With Volcano Bay, we suggest skipping checking in for cabanas or reserved seating and riding Krakatau Aqua Coaster first. Once the park has opened and rides start requiring return times check into your reservation.

Request a free quote for your Universal Orlando vacation! We book admission to full vacations, and all purchases include early park admission and a free year subscription to Touring Plans Universal Orlando!

Do you have your own tips and tricks for early park admission at Universal Orlando? Leave them in the comments below!

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Joseph Matt

Joe covers theme parks through the lens of his quality engineering day job. He has over five years of writing experience at Touring Plans and has gone on dozens of trips to Orlando over his life. When not at amusement parks you can find Joe at breweries, enjoying live theater, playing video games, and cooking.

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