What to Bring to Universal Studios (+ Best Day Bag Tips)
In this article, you’ll learn exactly what to bring to Universal Studios as well as discover our best tips for packing your Universal Studios day bag.
Find out why less is more when considering things to bring to Universal as many of the thrill rides found here do not allow for personal belongings to be brought onboard.
Save yourself time and money by using this Universal Studios packing checklist to ensure a comfortable and care-free day.
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What to Bring to Universal Studios
First-things-first is that I do recommend that you bring a few important items with you if you plan on spending an entire day at Universal Studios.
Being prepared with some of the basics will not only help you tour more efficiently, but it will help you save money by not having to purchase items once there.
Here is a detailed list of what to bring to Universal Studios in your Universal Studios day bag!
1. Backpack or Fanny Pack
One of the most common questions regarding a day at the park is, “Can I bring a backpack into Universal Studios Orlando?”
The short answer is, “Yes, but with a few things to consider.”
First off, there are several rides at both Universal Studios and Islands of Adventure that do not allow any personal items (including backpacks) to be brought onto the ride.
This requires an understanding of the Universal locker system so that you don’t have to frantically figure out where to store your backpack when you show up to get on a ride.
Likewise, whether or not you have to pay for a single-use locker depends on the size of your backpack, as only the standard-sized lockers (14 in x 5.5 in x 16.9 in) are free while you ride.
Anything larger costs $2 during the ride’s posted wait time and an additional $3 per 30 minutes.
For this reason, I highly recommend bringing a small backpack or fanny pack – that will fit into the free lockers – as there are several things to bring to Universal Studios that will need to be stowed for a comfortable and convenient experience.
A common upgrade to a standard Universal Studios admission ticket is a Universal Express Pass.
If you stay at one of Universal’s three premier on-site hotels you will receive complimentary Express access that is linked to your hotel room key. If you purchase Express Passes online or onsite, they are in the form of a stand-alone paper ticket.
Either way, your Express Pass ticket or hotel room key will need to be scanned both the Express Pass queue and Express Pass loading area before getting on the ride.
For this reason, I highly recommend that you purchase these waterproof lanyards, to wear around your neck and store your Express Pass in. It is important to note that lanyards are not provided by Universal Studios or from the resort at which you are staying.
3. Comfortable Walking Shoes
Universal Orlando Resort is a gigantic entertainment resort complex and covers over 541 acres of land.
In other words, when you’re considering what to bring to Universal Studios, be sure to bring comfortable walking shoes as you will be walking A LOT.
According to friends, family, and personal experience, plan to walk an average of 10-12 miles a day when touring Universal Studios.
We personally own and use Nike Flex cross-trainers in men’s, women’s, and child sizes for their breathability and ability to cushion our feet from the hours spent walking on pavement.
4. Waterproof Phone Pouch
I am a huge fan of having my phone on me at all times when on a family vacation for it is what I use to take photos.
The most convenient way to have your phone easily accessible for photos and things like the Universal Orlando app, be sure to bring along a waterproof phone pouch.
Be sure to check the size and compatibility of the phone pouch you purchase with your current Smart Phone model, as well as look for a case that doesn’t hinder its touch screen use.
5. Portable Battery Charger
When considering what to bring to Universal Studios, do not forget to bring along a small, portable battery charger.
A day of snapping photos and using the Universal Orlando Resort app to check showtimes, do mobile ordering, and select virtual line times, etc. is going to drain your Smartphone battery at some point throughout the day.
This portable charger is my favorite as it is one of the smallest and lightest you will find. Plus, it charges your phone in a flash!
Due to its location in central Florida, sun safety should be an important component of every family’s Universal vacation planning.
The dark pavement and limited shade at Florida theme parks yields sun exposure that is greater than you may be anticipating.
Because you’re going to be outside for an extended period of time, it is very important to select a broad-spectrum sunscreen (and lip balm) and reapply it every 2 hours, even when it’s cloudy.
Sunglasses and a hat are also great for additional sun protection but must be stowed in single-use lockers prior to riding Universal’s thrill rides.
7. Rain Ponchos
Though we just got done mentioning the sun, it’s important to know that Orlando is also known for its sporadic rain showers, especially during the months of May through October.
I kid you not that you are more than likely going to need a rain poncho at some point during your Orlando itinerary, even if they are just to wear on a water ride.
To prevent yourself from getting soaked, be sure to pack portable rain ponchos for the entire family (consider these ones with drawstring hoods an added bonus!).
Additional planning tip: Though there are no adult water rides at Universal Studios (just some kids’ splash areas), several of the best rides at Islands of Adventure include those on which you will get wet!
8. Reusable Water Bottle
Per their policy, guests are allowed to bring reusable water bottles into the Universal theme parks.
In fact, you can even walk into any restaurant or service counter that serves beverages in the park and ask them to refill them.
Though large water bottles will not fit into a fanny pack, bringing along these collapsible, leakproof reusable water bottles in a small backpack will save you tons of money from purchasing bottled water inside the park.
Additional planning tip: I don’t recommend bringing Hydro flasks or any other reusable water bottles that are heavy, bulky, and take up too much space.
If you’re wondering if you can take food into Universal Studios, the answer is yes.
In fact, throwing a few snacks into your Universal day bag is always a good idea as it will save you money as well as time spent standing in line to order food.
Similar to my road trip snack list, I suggest packing a combination of your family’s favorite healthy and sweet snacks to keep things both nourishing and exciting.
10. Pain Medicine
Don’t risk having to spend an enormous amount of money having to get last-minute pain reliever from a Universal Studios gift shop.
Whether someone gets a small injury, headache, or upset stomach from the rides, it’s best to always be prepared with a few over-the-counter medications brought from home.
11. Hand Sanitizer
As we all know, one of the most important ways to stay healthy while traveling is to frequently wash your hands.
In the absence of soap and water, hand sanitizer is a life-save to use after touching ride handles, before eating and drinking, and before and after touching your eyes, nose, and mouth.
Trust me in considering a portable-sized container of hand sanitizer as one of the most essentials things to bring to Universal Studios. If feasible, get one for every member of your travel party.
Universal Studios Backpack Tips
- Unlike my Disney day bag tips, less is better at Universal Studios. Disney allows personal belongings, including backpacks, to be brought onto rides, whereas most rides at Universal Studios do not.
- Consider the size of your Universal Studios backpack or Universal Studios fanny pack and whether or not you’re willing to pay for lockers.
- Universal Studios backpacks are allowed on water rides but we suggest bringing a plastic bag to cover them with, or they will get wet.
- May sure the weight of your day bag is dispersed equally across your shoulders (versus a cross-body bag), so that you don’t get a sore shoulder or back.
- All bags, backpacks, purses, packages, and items are subject to X-ray and/or additional inspection prior to entering CityWalk and the Universal theme parks.
- Suitcases and bags with wheels are prohibited.
- Last, check the list of prohibited items as you consider items to pack in your day bag.
If you like our take on What to Bring to Universal Studios, click here to read our related posts:
- Universal Studios Touring Plan: 1-Day Itinerary
- Islands of Adventure Touring Plan: Complete 1-Day Itinerary
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- Best Things to do in Sarasota, Florida With Kids
- Family Packing Tips: Pack Like A Pro For Your Family Vacation
- 11 Best Things to do in Siesta Key, Florida
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