Any lover of movies, tv, and the entertainment industry as a whole likely has Universal Studios on their itinerary when they visit Orlando. Open since 1990, the theme park is absolutely full of rides, live shows, and experiences that you’ll be itching to try.
Visiting Universal Studios can be a challenge, even if you’re not traveling with young kids. The park has strict rules about certain things, and the last thing you want is to be turned away or scrambling to find a solution.
We’ll outline all the permitted and restricted items and the general rules you need to follow here. And since you’re going to walk around a lot and some types of bags aren’t allowed, it’s smart to find a Universal Studios luggage storage option before you arrive at the park. Why carry more than you need to?
Universal Studios bag policy
Navigating the Universal Studios bag policy isn’t that challenging. While there are some prohibited items, most bags are ok to bring into the park. That being said, you can’t bring any bags or coolers with wheels. It’s a good idea to visit a Bounce storage facility in advance to avoid having to store these restricted items in your car.
Bag storage at Universal Studios is available in the form of lockers, but they are subject to availability and may not be big enough to hold larger items and suitcases.
When you arrive at Universal, expect every bag and package you bring to the park to be inspected or x-rayed before gaining entry. A good rule of thumb is to only bring what you absolutely need, as getting through security with a bunch of different bags is difficult and time-consuming.
Universal Studios food policy
In all, there are over a hundred different places to grab a bite at Universal Studios. With all the selection, you might be tempted to forgo packing your own food. The choice is yours because the Universal Studios food policy also allows outside food and drink into the park, with a few restrictions.
Guests are permitted to bring bottled water, although no more than two liters per person is allowed. Picnic lunches are prohibited, but small snacks that don’t require heating or refrigeration are ok. Other restrictions include any type of glass container, any open containers, and alcohol. You can carry your items in a soft-sided cooler that’s no bigger than 8.5”x6”x6”. The Universal Studios outside food policy does allow exceptions for things like baby food, medically-indicated food and drinks, and food required for special diets.
If you can’t be bothered to pack your own food, the Universal Studios food options really run the gamut. You can get everything from Japanese to Italian to Mexican here. Plus burgers, ice cream, pizza - you name it.
Universal Studios transportation
Figuring out how to get to Universal Studios is a breeze. The park is located just off I-4 and Florida’s Turnpike. Here are some of the best ways to travel:
Driving is relatively easy using the major roads close to the park, and there is lots of parking available, although be prepared to pay a hefty sum for the privilege. Parking by the front gate costs $70, preferred parking before 5 pm costs $50, and general parking before 5 pm costs $30. There are discounted rates if you arrive after 5 pm. If you’re feeling fancy, valet parking is also an option.
Universal Studios public transportation is also widely available if you decide to forego the car. Mears Transportation Group and SuperShuttle provide shuttle service, and it’s easy to book online. One-way fares are generally around $20 ($32 round-trip) from the airport to Universal Studios.
You can take a combination of trains and buses as well - although that will take at least an hour from central Orlando. Take the train from Orlando Station to Lynx Central Station and then the #38 bus to Universal Blvd and Hollywood Way.
Taxi and rideshare
Both taxis and rideshare services, such as Uber and Lyft, are available to get you to Universal Studios. Rideshare drop-off and pickup occur on the fifth floor of the parking structure in the Jurassic Park area.
Universal Studios camera policy
The Universal Studios camera policy is fairly simple. As long as you are not taking photos or videos for commercial use and are not causing inconvenience to other guests, you can take as many videos and photos as you want.
Universal Studios rules
Aside from the customary rules of not bringing weapons or illegal substances into the park, there are a few other Universal Studios policies you should be aware of.
No animals other than registered service animals are allowed on the premises. Smoking, whether tobacco, vaping, or e-cigarettes, is not allowed anywhere here, as the designated smoking area is currently closed.
Don’t bring any folding chairs to Universal because you won’t be allowed in with them. And when it comes to finding a place to sit, don’t use any area that isn’t specifically designed for the purpose. This includes trash bins, railings, planters, stairs, etc.
If anyone in your group is under 18 and touring the park on their own, they will be required to leave Universal CityWalk no later than 9 pm on weekends. Exceptions are when a parent or guardian accompanies the minor, they have plans at specific venues (like restaurants), or are staying at a Universal hotel.
No shirt, no shoes? No entry. Guests must be fully clothed in the park at all times.
Universal Studios is a once-in-a-lifetime experience for many, and the truth is, it gets very expensive visiting theme parks like this. Luckily, there are plenty of free things to do in Orlando that can help you save. Also, since food is expensive in the park, plan to sample some of the city’s best street food before or after your visit. Then you’ll have more money to spend on experiences at the park that you’ll remember for years to come.