Universal Orlando Resort

Universal Orlando for Newbies – Touring with Young Adults

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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 a lot of questions. Today we will discuss the best best for young adults at Universal Orlando.

Who Do We Count as a Young Adult?

Touring Plans consider young adults to be guests aged 20 through 29. Guests in this category have their own spending capabilities, can navigate the resort with ease, and can drink alcohol. Unlike guests 30 or older or senior citizens, young adults tend to handle the thrill rides at the resort better and are likely not traveling with children.

Speaking of alcohol, all guests are carded when purchasing and are limited to two drinks per ID. Do not think you can sneakily buy your underage friend a beer, Universal security will intervene when anyone under the age of 21 drinks alcohol on the property.


Universal’s rides vary from carnival rides to epic adventures, quaint dark rides to thrilling roller coasters. To find the best attractions for young adults we look to our decades-long running attraction surveys. The following are the rides rated the highest:

Universal Studios Florida

Islands of Adventure

The ride list makes sense: thrill rides and rollercoasters with a focus on Harry Potter. Jurassic World VelociCoaster deserves a special shout-out for receiving a perfect 5 stars from young adults. With so many thrill rides and e-tickets present on the list, we suggest booking a room at a premier resort for complimentary Express Pass benefits to maximize your touring time.

Lands & Shows

Young Adults highly rate the Wizarding World of Harry Potter-themed lands – they love them as much as their rides! Schedule shopping, dining, and show time around Hogsmeade and Diagon Alley. Pick up a wand at Ollivander’s to fulfill your 13-year-old fantasy of being chosen for a wand and cast spells around the lands.

Universal’s shows are a surprise hit, especially the high-energy and musical ones. Bourne Stuntacular gets special nods for its combo of real-life stunts mixed with high-tech sets. We also recommend the Frog Choir in Hogsmeade, Celestina Warbeck and the Banshees in Diagon Alley, and Sing It! and Blues Brothers shows in the New York section of Universal Studios Florida.


CityWalk is a great place for young adults to hang out: it is safe, has free transportation, and has lots of fun options for teetotalers to frat boys. Entertainment wise check out a new or classic movie at the Universal Cinemark Theater or minigolf at Hollywood Drive-In Golf. For restaurants, we recommend Cowfish for their burgers and sushi, Antojitos for their fun atmosphere and good food (and great margaritas), and the outside patio of Margaritaville for the live music.

Universal, unlike Disney, offers clubs and nightlife on the second floor of CityWalk. We recommend Rising Star for ful-band-backed karaoke and Pat O’Brien’s for the dueling piano bar.

Hotels & Drinking

All of Universal’s hotels are great for young adults, but we have some top suggestions:

  • Universal’s Aventura Hotel – sleek and modern, the hotel has a small pool but features a rooftop bar 17 stories in the air for dinner or drinks.
  • Sapphire Falls – a slightly upgraded option to Aventura, the hotel features the best lobby bar on resort property along with relaxed accommodations and the biggest pool on property.
  • Hard Rock Hotel – hip, modern, and edgy with a posh twist. The pool plays rock music underwater, the pool bar receives rave reviews, and the hotel is decorated in rock paraphernalia. Oh, and the Express Pass benefit is a great perk too.
  • Royal Pacific – Slightly cheaper and farther away from the parks than Hard Rock, Royal Pacific trades the guitars for a south Pacific chill vibe. Like the Hard Rock, you will receive complimentary Express Passes for your stay.

Drinking at Universal is a time-honored tradition since the early 2000s as they found locals would come to the parks to party. Here are some fun drinking destinations for all types of groups:

  • Moe’s Tavern – have a Simpsons fan in the group? Grab a Duff at Moe’s Tavern and enjoy the reel of Simpsons clips on the TV.
  • Hopping Pot or Fountain of Fair Fortune – offers two exclusive Harry Potter beers, Firewhiskey (shots or mixed), import beers, and other non-alcoholic drinks.
  • Finnegan’s Bar & Grill – Pull up a stool to the most senior bar staff team at the resort. Offers import beers, domestic beers, cocktails, and wine.
  • Backwater Bar – a great hidden secret, Backwater features mixed drinks, beer, and wine in Port of Entry. The outside patio offers great views of VelociCoaster.
  • Hog’s Head Pub – Hogsmead’s only bar, features beers on tap.
  • NBC Sports Grill & Brew – dozens of beers on tap, easily the biggest beer bar on property
  • Strong Water Tavern – Lobby bar for Sapphire Falls, offers excellent rum cocktails and more. My favorite bar on the property.
  • Bar 17 Bistro – Mixed drinks, beer, and wine with a fantastic view of Universal Orlando, Orlando, and the surrounding area.

Vacation Preparation & Touring Tips

  • Review the attractions before your vacation to determine which to visit.
  • Start a walking regimen prior to your visit to build up their stamina for the parks.
  • Arriving early might not work for your young adults’ sleep patterns. Modify your touring plans and visit the popular attractions right before the park closes.
  • Take mid-day breaks! Soak in pool time, naps, and refreshments before returning to the park in the late afternoon.
  • Remember to stay hydrated if you are consuming alcohol at the parks.

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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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