Guide to Universal Orlando Resort for Solo Travelers
Universal Orlando is an amazing vacation destination for travelers of all ages. Exciting rides, thrilling shows and world class dining combine to provide a completely immersive experience. Universal provides the perfect backdrop for solo travelers to meet like-minded others or simply relax and enjoy some time alone.
Solo travelers to Universal tend as a group to be adventurous, relaxed and spontaneous. The parks and recreation areas lend themselves naturally to conversation and new friendships. Whether chatting while in line for a thrill ride or enjoying dinner and drinks with a new pal at the Citywalk nighttime entertainment complex, solos who have visited claim that Universal is a great place to meet people.
If you prefer solitude, Universal is large enough, with enough visitors each day, that it is just as easy to disappear into the crowd. Grab a park bench and people watch, sip a happy hour drink in one of the small bars, or ride the coasters until your nose bleeds. On a solo trip, you are entirely in charge of your day’s plans.
As a single visitor, be sure to take advantage of your status to minimize your wait times for rides and shows. Many rides at both Universal Studios Florida and Islands of Adventure offer single rider lines. The single rider line is generally shorter than both the standby and Express Pass lines. Be sure to consult a park guide map to see which attractions have this option.
Even at attractions without the single rider option, particularly shows, being solo can minimize your wait time. Most shows are loaded based on an estimate of capacity. If you find yourself on the wrong side of the red velvet rope, mention to the loading attendant that you are alone. Often a polite mention of your status will get you in, shortening your wait by as much as 15 minutes.
Single status can also help you get walk-in reservations at table service restaurants. Some of the restaurants both in the parks and at Citywalk are world famous, with reservations booked 6 months to a year in advance. Many times, however, the restaurant is able to accommodate a party of one on a walk-in basis.
How you divide your time will ultimately depend on your personality. If you are a thrill seeker, you will probably spend the most time at Islands of Adventure. This mostly outdoor park is full of thrills and chills from inverted dueling roller coasters to rough and wild water rides. If you are more of a film buff, Universal Studios Florida will likely be your favorite park. Universal strives to provide both a working production backlot and a glimpse inside the most legendary films of all time.
Solo travelers wanting to meet people or simply enjoy the crowd should be sure to visit Citywalk. This nighttime entertainment complex is situated between the two gated theme parks and it is free to walk through or enjoy the restaurants. Many of the bars have cover charges, but passes are available that provide admission to all of the clubs. “Dinner and a movie” passes are also sold, allowing you to dine at a Citywalk restaurant and then catch a film at the theater on property. Much of the “see and be seen” crowd frequents Citywalk, making it an ideal location for those who love people.
As a single traveler you most likely do not need to purchase an Express Pass at the parks, except during major holiday periods. Universal’s Express Passes work a bit differently than those at Disney. At Universal, you can purchase an Express Pass for a fee that varies according to season. This pass then allows you Express admission to each attraction once during the day. You can choose when to visit each attraction rather than being assigned a specific return time. However, the wealth of available Single Rider lines makes Express Passes mostly unnecessary for solo travelers.
Solos may wish to consider purchasing the Universal Meal Deal, which is available in each park or, for a slightly higher fee, for both parks in one day. The Meal Deal allows you to pay one price in advance, then eat all day from a variety of counter service restaurants for no additional charge. You are entitled to an entrée, two sides and a dessert for each meal. You can add a souvenir cup for a small additional fee, which will allow you free refills of fountain drinks throughout the day. The Meal Deal prevents you from having to schedule meals, allowing you instead to stop whenever you get hungry. Solos who wish to maximize their time will appreciate this option.
One of the biggest advantages to traveling solo is that you do not have to come to a group consensus in deciding what to see and do. Take advantage of this fact to dedicate time to the things that mean the most to you. Whether you are a film buff, people watcher, party animal, thrill seeker, or anything else, do some advance research to discover all that Universal has to offer for your particular interest. It may be difficult to motivate a group of five to spend an entire day on roller coasters but as a solo traveler, if that is your interest, then have fun. Enjoy the luxury of doing exactly what you want, exactly when you want to do it.
The Universal Orlando complex is many things to many people. Universal provides an ideal location for solo travelers to explore their interests, whatever those interests might be. It is easy to meet people all over the complex, and some of these meetings lead to lifelong friendships. It is equally easy to fade into the background whenever you need some time alone. Thousands of solos visit every day, finding a Universal vacation to provide just the right mix of activities, attractions and dining options to keep them busy and entertained.