Universal Orlando Resort Services and Solutions to Common Problems
Find out in advance what rides and attractions are scheduled to be closed for repair during your visit. For complete refurbishment schedules, check online on Universal's official operating calendar and our Universal Orlando Closures page or use our mobile app, Lines.
Universal's attractions are technically complex, so it's almost inevitable that you will experience some unscheduled downtime during your visit. If a ride is temporarily closed, ask the attendants outside if there is an estimated reopening time (usually they can't tell you) and continue with your touring, returning later if possible. If a ride stops running while you are already in the queue, decide whether to stay based on how long the posted wait was when you entered, and how much time you've already invested. Most “brief operational delays” are resolved in about 15 minutes, but there are no guarantees.
If a ride halts unexpectedly while you are on it, remain calm and rest assured that Universal has extremely safe evacuation procedures for every contingency. Stay seated and listed to for announcements, and be patient as employees may need to evacuate ride vehicles one at a time in a specific order. On the plus side, you may get an exclusive backstage view of how the ride operates, and you should be offered either an immediate re-ride (if the attraction resumes operating) or a return ticket to let you skip the standby line later on.
Universal Orlando offers complimentary vehicle assistance – including battery jumps – to guests parked in their garage. Raise your car's hood (if possible) and flag down a parking attendant, or use one of the security call boxes located in each parking section. If you have more serious car trouble, the nearest repair facility is the Universal Service Center in the Hess Express gas station located on the west side of Universal property at 5989 Turkey Lake Road (☎ 407-345-4860, universalservicecenter.net).
Celebrating a birthday, anniversary, honeymoon, engagement, or bat mitzvah at Universal? Or just celebrating the fact that its your first visit to the parks? Stop by Guest Services for a free celebration button to wear during your special day. Buttons come in “It's My Birthday!” and more generic “I'm Celebrating” varieties. At a minimum, you'll have employees (and fellow guests) shouting you warm wishes all day long. And if you're lucky, you might find yourself treated to preferred seating, a special meet & greet, or other unexpected perks.
Cell phone service can be spotty at Universal Orlando, especially on days of high attendance. A woman from from Leawood, Kansas, tells it like it is:
In our group, we were using three different carriers, and we all had problems sending and receiving texts and calls.
The problem of signal strength is compounded by crowd noise and the ambient music played throughout the parks. Even if you have a decent signal, it’s an exasperating challenge to find someplace quiet enough to have a conversation. When possible, opt for texting.
Smartphone data speeds can be especially sluggish when the park is packed with guests trying to Facebook over LTE. Luckily, Universal's WiFi service is free and fairly stable throughout the parks and CityWalk; you can even get decent reception inside Gringotts' vaults. Log into “xfinitywifi” and accept the non-subscriber agreement before opening your browser or social media apps. You may have to log in again every day or so.
CELL PHONE CHARGING
Unlike Walt Disney World, Universal Orlando has not yet installed any dedicated cell-phone charging stations in the parks, so pack a power cable and wall plug if you want to steal juice from accessible outlets you find along your way. The exception is the American Express VIP Lounge at USF, which stocks charging adapters for most Apple and Android devices (including micro-USB and Lightning). If you prefer to charge on the go, we use Mophie and New Trent external batteries for our devices. Both are available on Amazon.com.
Universal has experimented with renting pre-charged Go Puck 5x battery packs from MIB Gear in USF and Island Market & Export in IOA. They rent for $25 per day, or $12.50 for a half-day (with $80 credit card hold for deposit), but since you can buy one online for under $60, we don’t recommend it.
Each theme park has a Walgreens-sponsored first aid center. In Universal Studios Florida, it's located on Canal Street behind Louie’s Italian Restaurant, on the border between New York and San Francisco. In Islands of Adventure, it is in the Lost Continent near the Sindbad show; look for the red cross behind the coin vendor. In both parks, the Family Services nursing facilities and companion restroom are right next First Aid. CityWalk's first aid facility is located near guest services, at the end of the hallway behind Cold Stone Creamery. Guests who use the service are generally very positive about it; Seth once sought treatment for a minor flesh wound, and was patched up and riding rides again in a matter of minutes.
If you or your children have a medical problem, go to a first aid center. They’re friendlier than most doctor’s offices and are accustomed to treating everything from paper cuts to allergic reactions. And if your kid just needs some dehydration an a short nap, they can provide a quiet cot.
There is one Hess Express gas station on Universal property. It is on the west side of the resort, adjacent to the corporate offices and employee parking lot. The address is 5981 Turkey Lake Road; from the guest parking garages, take Hollywood Way west to Turkey Lake Road, then turn right and the station will be ahead on your right.
Each Universal Resort hotel has a shop or food court selling sundries, snack, and grab-and-go breakfast foods. While their location makes them undeniably convenient, the selection is poor and you’ll find the prices higher and more frightening than the Doctor Doom's Fearfall. For down-to-earth prices, try Publix, located north of Universal at the intersection of Kirkman Road and Conroy Road (4606 S Kirkman Rd, 407-293-7673); or for fancier fare visit Whole Foods, located southwest of Universal on Sand Lake Road near I-4 (8003 Turkey Lake Road, 407-355-7100).
If you don’t have a car or you don’t want to take the time to go to the supermarket, Orlando Grocery Express (orlandogroceryexpress.com) and WeGoShop.com will both shop for you and deliver your groceries. The best way to compile your order for either is online before you leave home. Orlando Grocery Express’s webpage lets you select from a wide selection of items (listed with photos and prices), while WeGoShop simply takes your typed shopping list to the grocery store you request and buys at market rates. Both deliver to all on-site Universal resorts, but Orlando Grocery Express requires Hard Rock Hotel and Cabana Bay guests to be present between 9 a.m. and 11 a.m. to accept delivery in person; the other hotels will hold deliveries at bell service. Orlando Grocery Express charges a flat $14 delivery with a $40 minimum order; orders over $200 are delivered free. WeGoShop charges on a sliding scale, from $21 for up to a $50 grocery bill, to 14% of the total for bills over $300; a $3 fuel surcharge levied on all orders and a 15% mandatory gratuity for deliveries left at bell services. Finally, Amazon Prime subscribers can try ordering groceries through Prime Now Pantry (primenow.amazon.com). The selection is limited, but delivery is free within a 2 hour window, and 1 hour delivery is available. You must be present for delivery of perishables, alcohol, or orders over $500.
LOST AND FOUND
If you lose (or find) something in Universal Studios Florida, go to the Lost and Found counter to the right of the main gate as you entered. At Islands of Adventure, visit Guest Services at the front of the park. If you discover your loss after you've left the park(s), call ☎ 407-407-224-4233 and choose option 2.
It's better not to lose anything in the first place, but if you do there is hope: we've had an excellent track record with Universal's lost and found, which has recovered errant hats and car keys for us over the years.
Sample sizes of some over-the-counter medications are available for free from the First Aid stations. Aspirin and other sundries are sold at the Universal Studios Store in the USF and Islands of Adventure Trading Co. at IOA; they are held behind the counter, so you must ask an employee for them.
ILLNESSES REQUIRING MEDICAL ATTENTION
Off-property, the closest walk-in clinic is Centra Care at 8014 Conroy Windermere Road (☎ 407-291-9960), which is open 8 a.m. - 8 p.m. weekdays, and 8 a.m. - 5 p.m. on weekends; Centra Care also operates a 24-hour physician-house-call service and runs a free shuttle (call ☎ 407-938-0650 to arrange pickup).
The Medical Concierge (☎ 855-932-5252; themedicalconcierge.com) has board-certified physicians available 24-7 for house calls to your hotel room. They offer in-room X-rays and IV therapy service as well as same-day dental and specialist appointments. They also rent medical equipment. Insurance receipts, insurance billing, and foreign-language interpretation are provided. Walk-in clinics are also available. You can also inquire about transportation arrangements.
DOCS (Doctors on Call Service; ☎ 407-399-3627; doctorsoncallservice.com) offers 24-hour house-call service. All physicians are certified by the American Board of Medical Specialties. A father of two from O’Fallon, Illinois, gives them a thumbs-up:
My wife’s cold developed into an ear infection that required medical attention, and DOCS was able to respond in 40 minutes. The doctor had medicine with him and was very professional and friendly.
Physician Room Service (☎ 407-238-2000; physicianroomservice .com) provides board-certified doctor house calls to Universal Orlando–area guest rooms for adults and children.
In case of a life or death emergency, the nearest fully equipped emergency room is at Dr. Phillips Hospital (9400 Turkey Lake Rd; 407-351-8500).
Call Celebration Dental Group (☎ 407-351-7904), located at 6001 Vineland Road #106.
The nearest pharmacy to Universal Orlando is Walgreens (☎ 407-238-0600) at 5501 Kirkman Road, in the shopping plaza across from the resort. Google will tell you that there is a Walgreens at 1000 Universal Studios Plaza, but that is a backstage clinic for employees only. Turner Drugs (☎ 407-828-8125) charges $10-$15 to deliver a filled prescription to your hotel’s front desk ($7.50 for Disney hotels).
PACKAGE PICK-UP and DELIVERY
Complimentary Package Pick-Up is available at both parks. Ask the salesperson to send your purchases to Package Pick-Up. When you leave the park, they’ll be waiting for you. At USF, package pick-up is at the gift shop immediately adjacent to the exit turnstiles. At IOA, it is outside Islands of Adventure Trading Co. in the open-air Ocean Trader Market across from Croissant Moon Bakery.
If you’re staying at a Universal Orlando resort, you can also have the packages delivered directly to your hotel room by the following day for free. If you’re leaving within 24 hours, however, take them with you or use the in-park pickup location.
If you get home and realize you missed an essential souvenir, shop for Universal Orlando tchotchkes online.
Universal Orlando's kennel facility boards dogs and cats (no exotic or native species allowed) on a first-come/first-served basis. You can find the facility by following the signs to RV and Camper parking after passing through the toll booths; the kennel is located on the corner of the oversized parking lot. The kennel opens at 8 a.m. and does not take reservations. The cost is $15 per pet per day.
All cats and dogs under 39 lbs are kept indoors in air-conditioning. Dogs weighing 39 lbs and up are kept outdoors with shade and fans. An attendant remains on duty at the kennel until 2 hours after the last park closes, but you can retrieve your pet until 3 a.m. by using the phone outside the kennel to call for assistance. The kennel provides water, but you need to bring your own food and toys, and return to walk your dog at least once during the day.
Note: Pet parents must provide written proof from a veterinarian of current vaccination (Rabies, Bordetella and D.H.P.P. for dogs; Rabies, Calicivirus, Panleukopenia and Rhinotrachetitis for cats) either at check-in or by fax at (407) 224-9516. Call (407) 224-9509 for more information.
Weather bad? Go to the parks anyway. The crowds are lighter, and most attractions and waiting areas are under cover. Showers, especially during warmer months, are short, and frequently occur in late afternoon around 4 p.m.
If picking between the two parks, know that USF is a much better park to tour in the rain, as almost all its headliner attractions (except for Hollywood Rip Ride Rockit) are indoors. While the many outdoor attractions at IOA can operate in a moderate downpour, they must all shut down when lightning is in the vicinity. That leaves Forbidden Journey, Spider-Man, Reign of Kong, and Cat in the Hat as virtually the only rides at IOA that can operate during severe weather.
Ponchos are $10 for adults, and $9 for children; umbrellas cost $21.95 and up. All ponchos sold at Universal Orlando are made of clear plastic (though ones sold within the Wizarding World have a special insignia), so picking out somebody in your party on a rainy day can be tricky. Stores like Target sell inexpensive solid-color ponchos that will make your family bright beacons in a plastic-covered sea of humanity.
TIP: Raingear isn’t always displayed in shops, so you may have to ask for it.
The closest churches to Universal Orlando are the non-denominational storefront Church of Life at 7468 Universal Boulevard (thechurchoflife.com, 407-394-196) and the enormous First Baptist Church at 3000 John Young Parkway (firstorlando.com, 407-425-2555). The nearest Catholic mass is held at Holy Family at 5125 S. Apopka-Vineland Road (holyfamilyorlando.org, 407-876-2211), and the nearest synagogue is Southwest Orlando Jewish at 11200 S. Apopka-Vineland Road (sojc.org, 407-239-5444). For a complete list of religious services in the Orlando tourist area, see allears.net/btp/church.htm and www.wdwinfo.com/tips_for_touring/churchservices.htm. Christian visitors may also be interested in the Rock The Universe religious music weekend held in early September.
Throughout both parks, you'll spot stands marked "Vacation Services," staffed by chatty team members who will ask you where you're from as you pass. Most guests hurry by, assuming -- correctly -- that these outposts serve as sales pitches for timeshares (or "fractional vacation ownership opportunities", as Orwell might put it). But unlike the similar Disney Vacation Club kiosks found around Walt Disney World, Universal's Vacation Services actually serve a number of useful functions. In addition to selling Universal Orlando gift cards, meal plans, Express passes, and Blue Man Group tickets, they can help book dining reservations and answer many Guest Services questions. If you have an issue, stop by one of these location before walking back to the front of the park.
WINE, BEER, AND LIQUOR
Alcohol is widely available by the pint, glass, or shot throughout Universal's theme parks, hotels, and CityWalk. Bars in CityWalk and the resort hotels even hold daily happy hours each afternoon to save you a few bucks on booze, though in-park drink discounts have all been discontinued. You can also buy wine by the bottle in the resort's table service restaurants and some hotel shops. Note that while you can walk freely with a drink within either of the parks or CityWalk, due to liquor license laws you may not pass from CityWalk into a park or hotel (or vice versa) with an open container in hand.
Wine and beer are also sold off-property in grocery stores, convenience stores, and liquor stores. The best range of adult beverages is sold at the ABC Fine Wine & Spirits store at 7611 International Drive (407-351-5165). The Walgreens across Kirkman Road from Universal also has a decent, if slightly expensive, liquor selection.
Remember that the minimum age to buy or consume alcohol in Florida is 21, and anyone who looks 30 or under should plan to present government-issued photo ID (valid driver's license or passport) when purchasing. At CityWalk you'll be tagged with a paper bracelet while drinking, to take home as hair-snagging reminder of your debauched revels.
HOW TO LODGE A COMPLAINT WITH UNIVERSAL
Guest services at the front of each Universal park will be happy to listen to any complaints, and will be even happier to pass along praise for any exceptional employees you encounter. Minor problems are often addressed with a sincere apology and a pass to skip an attraction queue. You usually will find Universal folks highly responsive to guests' issues. However, a more global gripe, or one beyond an on-site manager’s ability to resolve, is likely to founder in the labyrinth of Universal bureaucracy. To contact guest services after your trip, write a letter to 1000 Universal Studios Plaza, Orlando, Florida 32819-7610; or use their email contact form at www.visitorsatisfaction.com/contactus/.
Last updated by Seth Kubersky on September 22, 2016