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Universal Studios One-Day Itinerary

Universal Studios one day guide with great big blue earth globe.

Universal Studios One-Day Itinerary

Ride the movies and be a star! This is (or was) Universal Studios Florida’s claim to fame. You can still see remaining relics of the past, but things have shifted into dominant franchises of today. Now, I am not a stickler of living in the past, but I still do miss classic attractions such as the ORIGINAL King Kong ride KONGfrontation.

..but we’re not here for nostalgia. I’m here to help you plan the perfect trip to Universal Studios Florida. My goal is for you to be able to conquer every top attraction and experience in the park all in one day.

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universal studios florida globe


Universal Studios Florida is opened 365 days a year 9 a.m to 6 p.m. in the regular season. Hours may change based on the busyness of the park. The cost of admission starts at $115, but I like discounts so I use Undercover Tourist to find cheap Universal Studios tickets.

This list has some of the top hitting attractions on it, but you can eliminate or add any item you feel fits your type of day. The key to accomplishing this one-day adventure is to arrive at Universal Studios early. If you have a special early entry option, then take advantage.

Universal Orlando Harry Potter Vacation Package

1 – Purchase tickets online and download the park map.

Purchase tickets, download a park guide, and map out your day prior to coming to Universal Studios Florida.

2 – Get an Early Start

Try to arrive forty-five minutes prior to the gates opening. If eligible for early park admission, then take advantage of the opportunity.

3 – Ride Despicable Me

Begin in Production Central and head towards Despicable Me. This 3-D simulator ride is based off the hilarious animated movies. It’s one of Universal’s most popular rides, so you’ll want to do this one right away.

4 – Grab ticket for Race through New York with Jimmy Fallon

Grab a ticket for later. You’ll want to do Diagon Alley before the afternoon rush. Completing the Race through New York attraction takes awhile since you’ll need to go through the pre-show and the actual ride. Put about 35 minutes aside to complete this attraction once you walk through the doors.

5- Party on the Hollywood Rip Ride Rockit roller coaster

On this high speed steel coaster, you choose the musical soundtrack to take you through the thrilling drops, twists, and turns. Use the single-rider option if available.

6 – Join the cause and ride Transformers

Transformers: The Ride-3D is another 3-D motion simulator just like the Spider Man ride over in Islands of Adventure. On this journey you will head into the headquarters of NEST (Non-biological Extraterrestrial Species Treaty) to learn how to battle the Decepticons. Single rider option is available here and perfect if wait times are greater than 30 minutes.

Please Note:  Once Fast and the Furious opens, I recommend riding right after you get off Revenge of the Mummy
7 – Dive deep into the Revenge of the Mummy ride

Revenge of the Mummy is an indoor roller coaster dark ride. It is highly themed with props prompting you to believe you’re on the set of the Mummy movie. The wait time for my favorite ride is always pretty decent. It rarely goes beyond 30 minutes, unless it’s a super crowded day.

Hipster Power Tip: The queue for this attraction has wonderful interactive effects. If the wait time is low, then skip the single rider line and go through the regular queue.

8  – Explore the Wizarding World of Harry Potter Diagon Alley

Diagon Alley Entrance

Prepare to spend quite sometime exploring this magical section of Universal Studios. Diagon Alley is the second installment of the Wizarding World of Harry Potter. The other portion is located within Islands of Adventure (Hogsmeade).

  • Chat with Stan in front of the Knight Bus
  • Ride Escape from Gringotts
  • Browse the shops of Diagon Alley
  • Discover the nooks and crannies of Knockturn Alley
  • Have butterbeer ice cream from Florean Fortescue’s Ice-Cream Parlour
  • Check out Celestina Warbeck
  • Watch the Tales of Beedle the Bard
  • Visit Ollivander’s Wand Shop
  • Look for the pesky house elf peeking out the window of Sirius Black’s townhouse on Grimmaud Place
9 – Have Lunch at The Leaky Cauldron
Diagon Alley: Bangers and Mash at Leaky Cauldron

Bangers and Mash at the Leaky Cauldron. Diagon Alley

It’s time to take a break and enjoy a delicious lunch. Here you can grab traditional British food as you’re whisked away into the magical world of Harry Potter.

Hipster Power Tip: Stay onsite at one of the resorts that include Express Passes as a perk. This will allow you to skip the lines and make your day much smoother and easier. You will also be able to enjoy every attraction within in decent amount of time.

10 – Ride Men in Black Alien Attack

This is an interactive point and shoot laser ride. Similar in style as Buzz Lightyear Space Ranger Spin over at Disney’s Magic Kingdom. I suck at this ride, but you can do much better than me. The guns are on auto-fire, which means if you hold the trigger down the entire time, then your score can go higher.

Hipster Power Tip: To get the bonus 100,000 points, press the flashing light in front of you when you hear Rip Torn say the “b” in “Hit the red button.”

Save $53 on Universal 3-Park 2-Day Park to Park and get an extra day! Visit Universal’s Volcano Bay Water Theme Park.

11 – Explore Springfield

The Simpson-inspired section of the park is very lively and so much fun. While you’re over there you’ll want to ride the Simpsons Ride and Kang & Kudos’ Twirl ‘n’ Hurl.

The Simpsons Ride will take you on a whimsical, snarky tour through Krustyland’s Theme Park.  It’s a simulator thrill ride that lasts about five minutes with 10 minute pre-shows.

Simpsons Lard Donuts Universal

Kang & Kodo’s Twirl ‘n’ Hurl is a spinning flying saucer ride inspired by the devious aliens of the Simpsons show.

Snack Time: Grab a Chicken and Waffle sandwich from Cletus’ Chicken Shack. It’s a Universal Studios must have snack.

12 – Ride the classic E.T. Adventure

The only original ride left at Universal Studios. This gondola dark ride is based on the blockbuster movie, E.T. It still has the classic theme park ride feel and is a nice ride to go through during your day at Universal Studios.

13 – Experience Universal’s Horror Make-Up Show.

This is a hilarious show that gives behind-the-scenes movie makeup tricks. It’s a bit gory due to the subject matter, but is also lots of fun!

14 – Enjoy the shopping and roadside entertainment throughout Universal Studios

Willilams of Hollywood Prop Shop at Universal Studios Florida

Some of my favorite shopping spots are:

  • Williams of Hollywood
  • Spongebob Store Pants
  • Kwik-E-Mart
  • Weasley’s Wizard Wheezes
  • Park Plaza Holiday Shop
15- Watch the Shrek 4-D show

This is a 45 minute 3-D theater show located in Production Central. You’ll enjoy this nice break from the Florida heat by jumping into an adventure with Shek and Donkey!

16 – Ride Jimmy Fallon’s Race Through New York

Now it’s time to redeem your ticket and ride one of Universal’s newest attraction, Race Through New York Starring Jimmy Fallon.

17 – Grab a beer from Duff Brewery and watch the new nighttime lagoon show…coming soon

universal studios lagoon

The best way to end a wonderful day at Universal Studios is with a smooth adult beverage, an entertaining show, and a spectacular view!

A new nighttime lagoon show is coming to Universal Studios Florida. This show will feature characters from your favorite Universal attractions with a new storyline, music, lighting, and special effects.

As you can see, Universal Studios Florida has something to offer everyone with any type of vacation goal.

What’s your favorite route to take at Universal Studios?
Universal Studios one day guide

Pin for Later!

Want more theme park tips? Check out the theme park tips page. If you’re thinking about going to Universal Orlando alone, then read the top 18 tips. Are you planning a Universal Orlando vacation soon? Read the Universal Orlando Vacation Planning Guide for your next dream trip!

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Until next time, Happy Park Hopping Hipsters!



I’m a writer who loves ALL things amusement park related. I was born and raised in Florida, which attributes to my Theme Park passion. Every since I was a child I had a natural affinity to the parks here that has now spilled over into adulthood. Instead of rushing over to the thrill rides, like I used to, you may find me in the Italy Pavilion at EPCOT enjoying a nice glass of wine and a delightful book!

2 Comments so far

AngiePosted on  5:54 pm - Apr 10, 2018

What a fabulous post on Universal Orlando. We are headed to the one Hollywood, CA in a few months. I’m so excited, it’s going to be a total blast!

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