If you are heading to Universal Studios, you will want to make the most out of your day. We are sharing what to pack for Universal Studios Orlando, so you can enjoy your day to the max!
Best bag for Universal Studios
The first thing you will need for your Universal Studios Orlando trip is a good bag. There are a few different options for this but not all bags are suitable for a day at a theme park. Here are the best types of bags for a Universal Studios trip:
- Backpack: The best choice; backpacks can hold lots of items but also allow you to have your hands free and distribute the weight of bags on both shoulders. Plus, you can get lots of fun designs at affordable prices too. The cons, however, backpacks can be a bit bulky which make it difficult when finding a place for them on certain rides. But Universal does have lots of lockers across the park, both free and paid, to use.
Backpacks for Universal Studios:
- Shoulder bag: The shoulder bag offers more safety and ease than the backpack; you can grab things out quickly; ideal if you want to take a quick photograph or pay for something but is also in your eyesight, meaning pickpocketing (although uncommon in the park) is more avoidable with a shoulder bag. However, they do not hold as much and we always find they can be uncomfortable after a long day.
Shoulder bags for Universal Studios:
- Fanny Pack: If you are looking to take the bare essentials, a fanny pack is where it’s at. You can even get away with wearing this on most of the rides and will have a lot less worry about losing personal items. However, these obviously don’t fit much in them so you may end up having to carry around a water bottle as well.
Fanny pack Universal Studios options:
- FlipBelt: Another great option for those looking to carry minimal items to the park. You can store money and phone in these easily without having to carry too much around or have your pockets full of items. These are great options for international travel and work wonders at the park.
Essentials – Universal Studios packing list
Now let’s look at those important items you should bring on your trip Universal Studios
Comfortable shoes – A must in the theme parks. Invest in a pair of comfortable trainers and make sure you wear them before your day at the park; there is nothing worse than blistered feet from brand new shoes.
When choosing trainers, my rule is; if I wouldn’t wear them to go running then I shouldn’t wear them to the parks. I also bring some Foot Glide on vacation with me if I know I am going to have multiple long days.
Water Bottle – It is essential that you stay hydrated during your day at the theme park, especially when temperatures are higher than you maybe use to. Water in the parks cost $3 and let’s face it, you aren’t going to be buying a load of $3 water bottles. Instead, bring in your own water bottle and refill throughout the day; we love the hydro flasks that keep your water cold for hours.
Portable Power Bank – With wait times and photo ops paired with the mega long days you experience at theme parks, a portable power bank is a must. You can get small power banks these days too so pick one up, charge it up and pop it in your bag before your day out.
Poncho – With the water rides at both Universal Studios and Island of Adventures as well as the rainstorms you can experience throughout the year in Orlando, it is no wonder that the parks sell ponchos for up to $20.
Pick up a pack of ponchos online before your visit and throw a few in your bag to avoid getting too wet. We love the ponchos that are tiny and are attached to a keychain – we use these.
Snacks – We talk more about this below, but you are permitted to bring snacks into the park. Anything that needs refrigerating should be avoided but snacks like cereal bars, nuts and crisps go a long way when you need a pick me up as you explore the parks. Target and Walmart have lots of snack options so big something up before your Day at Universal Studios.
Sunscreen – Universal Studios Orlando and Hollywood can both get very hot. Bring along sunscreen or sun lotion during your trip to Universal, try to stick to the shaded areas as much as possible and keep reapplying the sunscreen. Travel bottles are available online in bulk so avoid overspending in the local stores in Orlando.
Pain Killers – It is a great idea to bring along some pain killers for your trip to the parks. With the rides whipping you back and forth, the bustling crowd and so much going on, the last thing you want is a headache. We always bring a small pack of headache tablets just in case and the head strips are great for young children.
Cash – You can pay by card at the parks but there are some situations, for example at drink or ice cream stands, that accept cash only. Bring your card and a bit of cash to avoid having to use ATM’s in the park.
Hand wipes or hand sanitizer – More and more essential these days, make sure you bring along some hand sanitiser (we love the little Bath and Body Work keyrings) or hand wipes to keep your hands clean. Remember to wash your hands before eating anything but we choose to wash our hands then use hand sanitiser as well.
Extra optional items for Universal Studios
Above are the essentials but you may want to consider a few more items, depending on the type of traveller or theme park goer you are.
Sunglasses – Many people dislike taking these to parks; l where do you put them on the rides? However, we hate squinting all day so sun glasses are a must for our packing list. We always bring an inexpensive pair and store them in a cloth bag when on the rides. If you are a backpack with multiple sections, you could place sunglasses in section with no other items to avoid any breakages.
Lip Balm – Chapped lips in the harsh sun is just infuriating. Get yourself a tiny lip balm and slip it into your bag or pocket, to keep your lips safe during the long day out.
Hat – If you know you are going to be at theme parks all day, then a hat is a great idea. This will help block some of the sun from your eyes but will also ensure you avoid sunstroke; no-one wants to be sick after a day at Universal Studios, especially in the middle of your holiday.
Water Mist Fan – These are popular items, especially when you are visiting Universal with young children. This water mist fan cools you down and helps you feel less hot and sticky.
Cooling Towel – Another non-essential item that is loved by families. These towels cool you down quickly once wet and can help with those that suffer from heat exhaustion easily. They do not work as well when the humidity is high but are still appreciated during a long day at the parks.
A change of clothes – This is recommended if you are visiting Universal Studios with children. There are wet rides so you could also bring swimwear but a change of clothes is a great option either way, getting fresh new clothes on during the day can make a high difference to a child’s ability to keep on going through the parks.
Pre-bought souvenirs – We all love Harry Potter but the souvenirs in the parks are EXPENSIVE! Save some money by picking items online before your trip rather than in the parks.
Deodorant – No matter what the weather, you will likely work up a sweat in both Universal Studios Hollywood and Orlando. It maybe a good idea to carry along a small deodorant to freshen up, especially if you intend on spending the whole day at the park.
Motion sickness medicine – Not everyone will need these but if you are prone to feeling motion sick then make sure you bring some medicine or ginger chews to help you stop feeling ill during your day at Universal. There are a lot of 3D screens at Universal too so these are always a good idea!
Stroller – If you are visiting with small children (even if they don’t use a stroller too often), you may want to consider bring a stroller to the parks. Visiting the parks, especially if you hope to visit both parks, is a mega long day and your little ones will get achy feet. Bringing a stroller gives you the option store your belongings in too as well as giving your little ones a little break. If you are visiting Orlando from elsewhere, you can buy a cheap stroller online and have it shipped to your hotel or look at the stroller rental options.
Camera – We love taking photos at the theme parks but to be honest; a smartphone camera is your best bet with Universal Studios. Unlike the Disney parks, photography and filming inside the attractions is strictly prohibited and this is enforced. If you do want to bring a camera other than your phone, we recommend an action camera like the Osmo Action or GoPro or even the Osmo Pocket; these cameras are small and lightweight but still produce good photos for you to share with family and friends.
Universal Studios Packing List tips
So we have shared a full packing list for your Universal Studios packing list but we wanted to give you a few more packing tips before your visit.
- Avoid overpacking: we have listed a lot here but you may not choose to bring everything. Only bring the items you will need, so if you don’t plan on riding wet rides, leave the spare clothes at home if you don’t plan on spending all day at the park, you may not need a hat or too much sunscreen.
- Prepare for everything: although I say don’t overpack, it is also important to prepare for all weathers; it can be hot and humid but also rain. We always recommend bring those tiny ponchos with you and remember to keep hydrated.
- Pack the night before: The day you visit the park, you will want to get a good night sleep and then head off straight away, so make sure you pack the night before. This way you save time in the morning but don’t forget any essentials.
- Plasters/Bandaids: If you are wearing newer trainers on your trip (which we don’t recommend) bring some bandaids or plasters with you as well, just in case.
- Map: As you enter the park, you can pick up the Universal Orlando Map to navigate yourself around the parks. Use this to help you plan your day; you can also use the Universal Orlando Resort app too.
- Bring two shoes: When travelling to Orlando for your holiday, we recommend bringing two pairs of comfortable shoes. Rain in unpredictable in Orlando so you will want an extra pair of shoes at your hotel room in case one pair gets soaked during a rainfall. Then you can switch between the pairs instead of hoping your trainers dry overnight.
Packing for universal studios FAQ
- Can I bring a backpack into Universal Studios orlando?
All guests will pass through a security hub on arrival to Universal Citywalk and the parks, with bags checked at these points. Bags, purses and backpacks are allowed but suitcases and bags with wheels are not permitted at the park.
It is also worth noting that some rides will require you to place your bag in a locker before riding. There are some rides with free lockers, such as Hollywood Rip Ride Rockit, Escape from Gringotts, Revenge of the Mummy and Men in Black as well as Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey, Hargrid’s Motorbike Adventure and the Incredible Hulk Coaster over in Islands of Adventures.
However, water rides have a pre-paid ride lockers costing $4 for the first 90 minutes and $3 for every hour after that (max $20) and all-day lockers are available for those who have bought a large backpack with the; large lockers cost $10 whilst family lockers cost $15 for the whole day.
- What to wear to Universal Studios?
Lightweight clothes and layers are a great option for the theme parks. Shorts or leggings help you stay comfortable and avoids chaffing whilst comfy shoes is a must. Plus, try to wear a t-shirt or dress which covers your shoulders (rather than a vest or tank top), extra protection from the sun is beneficial.
You may also wish to bring a light jacket or hoodie if you plan on staying until the evening; Florida can cool down quickly once the sun sets and you don’t want to be left shivering. Plus, restaurants and inside attractions will have their AC on full blast during the summer months and can be quite chilly.
- Can you bring sandwiches into Universal Studios Orlando?
Small snacks that do not require heating or refrigerating are allowed into the park; you can prepare sandwiches and bring these into the park with you.
- Can you bring water bottles into Universal Studios Orlando?
You can bring bottled water (max 2l) into the park. We recommend bringing a reusable water bottle and filling this up throughout the day to keep hydrated.
- Can you bring food into Universal Studios Orlando?
Small snacks are permitted but make sure you are not storing them in hard coolers or glass containers. Food that needs heating or refrigerating is not permitted.
Foods required for medical purposes or medical supplements as well as special dietary needs are also permitted.
- What can you bring into Universal studios?
Universal Studios Orlando accepts and prohibits certain items:
- Bottled Water (maximum 2 liters)
- Small snacks that do not require heating
- Any food required for medical purposes and medically-indicated nutritional supplements
- Any food required for special dietary needs
- Baby food/baby formula
- Soft-sided insulated bags no larger than 8.5″ wide x 6″ high x 6″ deep
- Glassware or glass containers
- Open containers or drinks containing alcohol
- Hard-sided coolers
- Soft-sided coolers larger than 8.5″ wide x 6″ high x 6″ deep
- Picnic lunches; any food that requires heating or refrigeration; folding chairs
- Can you wear flip flops to Universal Studios?
There is a lot of walking at Universal Studios so you will want to be wearing comfortable shoes. Flip flops are not ideal for wet rides or long days but plenty of people wear flip flops to park and avoid certain rides or bring an extra pair of shoes with them.
- Can I bring baby food into Universal Studios?
Yes, you can bring baby food or baby formula into the Universal parks.
- What items can’t I bring into Universal Studios?
Prohibited items included glassware or glass containers, open containers or drinks containing alcohol, hard-sided coolers, soft-sided coolers large than 8.5’ wide x 6” high x 6” deep. Folding chairs are also not permitted and selfie sticks should be properly secured and not used at rides or attractions.
We hope you have a great time in Universal Studios – let us know what ride you are most looking forward to in the comments below!
This is so helpful!! For me, when visiting Amusement parks, the most important thing is comfortable walking shoes! There is nothing worse than being stuck in the wrong shoes the entire day!!
The tips about what we can and cant bring are super handy! I always want to take food (to save $$) but are never sure if it is allowed so thank you!
Really useful list. I never know what I’m going to need. We are hopefully going to Disneyland California next summer for my son’t birthday (after this summer was cancelled), and it will be useful to have this as a general theme park packing list.
A great, usefull list. We’ve been to Universal Orlando several times and I get severe motion sickness, so maybe next time I should take idneed something with me for it.
This is incredibly helpful! I always struggle putting together a list of what to bring to an amusement park. I am saving this for later!
Great blog! I’m a native Floridian & I personally really can’t stress enough how hot central Florida can get…. so your hat, cooling towel & water misting fan tips are spot on.