These aren't precisely "secrets", but here are a few little-known things about IOA that appeal to me and that might help with your upcoming trip:
Quiet Spots: Every island has a park-like area near the Great Inland Sea where you can get away from the crowds (and maybe have a quick smooch with your honey). The loveliest (IMHO) are the ones behind the Discovery Center in Jurassic Park and the rocky point next to the Island Skippers dock in Port of Entry. These places are especially nice at night. Even when the park is packed, these spots are almost empty.
Along the same lines, the balcony at the back of the top floor of the Discovery Center is a great place to eat when you're at Burger Digs. You can even carry your pizza from Pizza Predatoria to this "hidden" spot. Great views and especially nice on a warm sunny day. When I'm down on business, I like to take my laptop here.
Short Cuts: To zip thru Seuss Landing coming from Port of Entry, hang a left at the Green Eggs & Ham Cafe and go behind the shops. This takes you right to the entrance to Lost Continent.
To get to Dudley Do-Right when coming from Marvel, hang a left at the Betty Boop sign for a quick trip to the Ripsaw Falls entrance.
Mythos Dining Pass: Mythos is a GREAT place for a long, leisurely blow-out gourmet meal. But if you don't want to spend that much time during your visit to the park, you can come back on a day when you don't have a ticket, just to eat.
You have to make a reservation (407-224-9255). Then go to Guest Services at the entrance and tell them you have a Mythos ressie. They'll take an imprint of your credit card and give you two hours to eat. Overstay the time limit and they'll charge your card for single-day tickets for everyone in your party. If you're running long at the meal, just tell your server and they'll run interference with you at Guest Services. Then stop at Guest Services on the way out, show your Mythos receipt, and retrieve your uncharged credit card slip.
Finally, if you're going to be there when the park is open late, try to be among the last people out of the park. The main street of Port of Entry is especially magical at night when just a few people are strolling saround.
Have a great trip!
Author of "Universal Orlando: The Ultimate Guide to the Ultimate Theme Park Adventure" and
"The Other Orlando: What To Do When You've Done Disney & Universal""