Looking for Universal Professionals


Apr 18, 2008
Been to the Disney parks so many times I consider myself a "Pro" as for as when to go, where things are in each park, the best rides, best tips, hotels etc.. As for Universal, I have no clue. To all you "Professional" Universal people, can you give me your one favorite thing. Anything from hotel, rides, places to eat, or any other tip that a newbie like me can benefit from. Thanks so much, I am in the beginning planning stage for our vacation and have no idea which direction to go in.


Look into my eyes
May 8, 2015
1. I would highly recommend that you go to the Resort Sticky’s that Schumigirl has set up and look at all the Resorts. She has all the information you need to find the best Resort that matches your taste.

2. I would second the above suggestion about staying at one of the deluxe Resorts for the Unlimited Express Pass that is included in your stay....PBH, RPR, HRH.

All the regulars here have their own favorite Resort they like to stay at. I’am partial to Portofino Bay and Sapphire Falls (does not have Unlimited EP).

3. All deluxe Resorts as well as Sapphire Falls have water taxi service to CityWalk/Parks.

4. Mytho’s at IOA is a good sit down service meal.

5. Chicken and Ribs meal at Three Broomsticks in Hogsmeade is good.

6. Cowfish and Toothesome at CityWalk are good.

7. Read ruthies12 post to get the most out of your Wizarding World experience.

8. Some of my favorite rides in US are Escape from Gringotts in Diagon Alley, MIB, ET, Transformers.
in IOA Spider-Man, Kong, Jurassic Park Adventure.

9. Food at RPR....Orchids has very good sushi, Jakes and Islands diningroom has good food also.

10. Food at PBH, Sal’s have very good pizza, Moma della’s good.

11. Food at SFH..Buffet Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner are very good at Amitista. Strong Water Tavern cocktails are yummy as well as the tapas.

12. Pool side cocktails and food are very good at Portofino Bay beachside and Villa pool.

This will get you started. More folks will jump in and help.
  • bobbie68

    DIS Veteran
    Aug 14, 2009
    Hi I love the advice from Robo I agree with her on the resorts and the restaurants Portofino is our favorite and so is Toothsome in City Walk. In side the parks I like Leaky Cauldron for HP restaurant.

    I would always stay on site in one of the deluxe and get the express pass. I don't like doing the parks without it. The resorts are close to the park where you could walk or take the water taxi. You could stay at one of the other resorts and get early entry and transportation.

    I think if you are very interested in the HP world it is good to do it when it is not as busy. The areas are very tight and gets congested easy. Usually early entry is great up until later morning then later in the day closer to close. If you are a HP fan I think the Hogwart's Express is worth it.

    Frozen butter beer is our favorite. If you are in Hogsmeade and want butter beer I would go to the hogs head pub (connected to three broomsticks) and get it there. There is usually not a line. Pumpkin juice in the bottles is not good, but the pumpkin fizz at the pub is great!

    If you are going to eat in the park especially HP worlds I would go by 11:30 closer to noon the lines are so long to eat. We like both HP restaurants but prefer Leaky Cauldron. We found for a quick service in IOA that Thunder Falls Terrace is really good. I wouldn't bother with the meal plan at Universal, it really isn't a deal. If you are interested at a place you could always buy it there.

    I would not look into purchasing a package when you decide. It is much better to do a room only and buy your tickets separate. The cancellation rules are much easier for the resorts.

    I think once you decide if you want to stay on site and will have the express pass plus the time of year you could get even better advice. If you were staying off site without the express pass and no early entry I would suggest different strategies for the parks.

    Keep us posted and would love to help you further.


    Aug 27, 2011
    Best part of Universal - I never have to think about Disney again! Well, not exactly true - I have to get my daughter to the castle occasionally...

    In all seriousness, it is the only place I have found where I don't stress about anything. We get a room at Royal Pacific, buy our tickets from Undercover Tourist, secure air transportation, book our shuttle with Mears, then just show up and enjoy.

    We don't worry about crowd calendars, Extra Magic Hours, Fast Pass planning, ADRs, etc.

    If you have time, do the water rides at Islands of Adventure - they are great but you will get soaked, like "taking a shower in your clothes" wet!


    DIS Veteran
    Jul 28, 2008
    Favorite Hotel: Royal Pacific Resort ( think Poly but more luxury )
    IOA: so many good rides, but Spiderman is my favorite.
    UO: lots of photo ops and a must do for us is the Harry Potter area and riding the Hogwarts Express.


    DIS Veteran
    Dec 15, 2014
    Anything from hotel, rides, places to eat, or any other tip that a newbie like me can benefit from.
    I am much like you - a Disney pro but know nothing about universal. We did do a 3 day trip last April to UO after a 7 night WDW stay.

    What I found to be the best aspect of our trip was staying at RPR and getting the Express pass. This really made planning a non-issue. I spent so much time planning our WDW trip and UO we just showed up and were able to plan on the fly. It was such a breath of fresh air compared to the intense planning that WDW requires.

    We tackled one park the first day, the next park the second day and the 3rd day we just re-rode what we loved at each park. My husband keeps saying how we never waited in any lines using the express pass. You do have some waits with express but not like what the regular lines are. There are 3 hotels which it is included with the hotel room. Even though you might pay a little more for staying at them it is very much worth the extra cost to get the express pass. Also get park to park tickets. This way you can use the train (in harry potter area) to go back and forth between the parks.

    One tip is to buy lanyards (can find cheap ones on amazon) prior to your trip. If you have express pass you will be always having to pull it out to scan, so having it on the lanyard is a life saver. The ones at the park are rather expensive so do buy ahead of time.
  • Sue M

    DIS Veteran
    May 27, 2009
    My fav thing about a Universal vacay is no stress! Don’t have to decide months ahead what I’m riding or eating. Such a relief.
    Stay at one of the 3 Deluxe for Express Pass. A game changer.
    I have a room at Royal Pacific for the price of a WDW moderate. Booked it in the fall for May trip.


    Proud Redhead
    Apr 21, 2003
    Read the UO trip report forums

    Many share pictures and personal experiences in them

    I like how many add their suggestions to the readers for avoiding any pitfalls they encountered


    DIS Veteran
    Mar 5, 2007
    One tip is to buy lanyards (can find cheap ones on amazon) prior to your trip. If you have express pass you will be always having to pull it out to scan, so having it on the lanyard is a life saver. The ones at the park are rather expensive so do buy ahead of time.
    Lanyards are a souvenir! I had several from Disney trips, but my fave is my ravenclaw house tie designed lanyard.

    And I use a witz brand, hard plastic, waterproof, clear case instead of the plastic pouch. They are able to scan the EP through it.


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