If you’re looking for the perfect place for a Girlfriend Getaway, look no further than the Universal Orlando Resort. Yes, contrary to popular belief, a theme park is the perfect place for you to have an amazing time with your girlfriends. There simply is no better place to go with endless attractions, live entertainment, fabulous food, top-notch spas, and more. Use our Guide to Universal Resort to plan your perfect getaway.
Universal Studios Guide for Girlfriends
Scheduling time to travel with my girlfriends (sans children and spouse) is vital for my mental health. There’s nothing better than taking a few days to escape the stress of my everyday life and recharge my batteries. Each year my girlfriends and I plan a trip to do just that. We usually take 3 to 5 days in the fall to go some place where we can relax and have fun. Universal Studios Orlando is the perfect locale for a girlfriend’s getaway. Read on to find out how you can have the time of your life with an adults-only escape to Universal Studios.
The Best Time to Visit Universal with Girlfriends
There really is no bad time of the year to plan your trip to Universal with girlfriends. If you are looking to maximize your experience, I would encourage you to visit during the Universal Studios Mardi Gras Celebration. This fun-filled event is held each year, offering live concerts, Mardi Gras parades, specialty cocktails, and more. When the parks close, you can head on over to Universal CityWalk and party the night away at Pat O’Briens. The reproduction of the infamous New Orleans establishment celebrates Mardi Gras year round. Conclude your evening in traditional New Orleans style with a hurricane at the piano bar.
The 2019 Mardi Gras celebration began on February 9 and will run through April 4. If you’re looking to plan your trip for future Mardi Gras celebrations, booking during the month of February is a pretty safe bet.
Where to Stay to Maximize your Fun
When traveling to theme parks, I always opt for staying in an on-site resort hotel for the extra perks. Universal Orlando offers great benefits to their on-site guests. My favorite perk is early park admission to the Wizarding World of Harry Potter as well as Volcano Bay. If you can afford it, stay in one of their three Deluxe Resort Hotels: Royal Pacific Resort, Hard Rock Hotel, or Portofino Bay Hotel. As a guest of a Deluxe on-site hotel, you will receive special benefits reserved only for the Deluxe resorts. These include:
- Universal Express Unlimited ride access to skip the regular lines in both theme parks. This complimentary benefit is worth up to $89 per person (per day). (Find out why you should NEVER buy your Universal Express pass online!)
- Complimentary water taxis and shuttle buses to and from Universal Orlando, Islands of Adventure, Volcano Bay and CityWalk.
- Priority seating at select restaurants throughout both theme parks and Universal CityWalk.
The standard benefits afforded to all on-site hotel guests also apply. Those include:
- Complimentary Wi-Fi throughout the resort.
- Resort wide charging privileges with your room keys.
- Golf Universal Orlando program.
- Complimentary scheduled transfers to SeaWorld and Aquatica.
I personally think Loews Portofino Bay Hotel is the best resort when visiting Universal with girlfriends.
Where to Play – Best Attractions in Universal Studios
First of all, make sure you purchase park-to-park tickets. This will allow you to visit multiple parks within one day. Why do you need this? The only way to ride the Hogwarts Express is if you have a park-to-park ticket with admission to both Universal Studios and Universal’s Islands of Adventure.
TravelingMom Tip: Make sure to ride Hogwarts Express both ways, as the experience is completely different.
Universal Studios is my favorite of the two theme parks, as it is the home to Diagon Alley. Upon entering Diagon Alley, you are completely transported into the magical world of Harry Potter. Must-see attractions include the Knight Bus, King’s Cross Station, and Harry Potter and the Escape from Gringotts. Make sure to visit Diagon Alley in the evening so that you can see the fire-breathing dragon on top of Escape from Gringotts. If you are looking for a great place to eat (and enjoy a butterbeer), visit The Three Broomsticks. You won’t be disappointed.
Other attractions in Universal Studios that girlfriends should enjoy include Revenge of the Mummy, Transformers: The Ride-3D, Race through New York Starring Jimmy Fallon, Shrek 4-D, Despicable Me Minion Mayhem, and Men In Black Alien Attack. If you aren’t prone to motion sickness, you may enjoy The Simpsons Ride. Those with motion sickness issues should stay far, far away from The Simpsons Ride. If you’re a thrill seeker, you won’t want to miss Hollywood Rip Ride Rockit.
Where to Play – Best Attractions in Universal’s Islands of Adventure
Universal’s Islands of Adventure is home to The Wizarding World of Harry Potter – Hogsmeade. Those who do not suffer from motion sickness will love Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey. This ride is seriously amazing. Take time to walk into the different shops and make sure to visit Honeydukes to stock up on chocolate frogs and other fun candy. The live performances held in the streets are also fun to watch. Don’t forget to board the Hogwarts Express at Hogsmeade Station to journey to Kings Cross Station in London (Universal Studios).
The best rides at Universal’s Islands of Adventure for adults include The Incredible Hulk Coaster, The Amazing Adventures of Spider-Man, Jurassic Park River Adventure, and Skull Island: Reign of Kong for those who aren’t afraid of King Kong.
TravelingMom Tip: Take advantage of the single rider line on those attractions that offer it. Since you aren’t traveling with children you can take advantage of this perk.
The Best Restaurants and Bars at Universal Studios Orlando for Adults
There are many wonderful places to eat and drink throughout Universal Orlando Resort. Personally, I have found that the best restaurants are located at Universal CityWalk. For a truly unusual experience, have dinner at The Cowfish, where you can choose from a wide array of sushi and burgers. Antojito’s Authentic Mexican Food is a great place for Mexican and margaritas. If you have a sweet tooth, you won’t want to miss The Toothsome Chocolate Emporium.
CityWalk is the place to be for late night cocktails. Whether you’re drinking hurricanes at Pat O’Briens, dancing the night away at The Red Coconut Club, or wasting away in Jimmy Buffett’s Margaritaville, you and your girlfriends are guaranteed to enjoy Universal CityWalk.
What to Do Outside of the Theme Parks
If you’re visiting during the warmer months, you’ll definitely want to spend the day at Universal’s Volcano Bay Waterpark. Rent a cabana, sip cocktails in the sun and, before long, you’ll be completely relaxed. Other fun activities to do outside of the theme parks include:
- Visit the Mandara Spa at Loews Portofino Bay Hotel.
- Spend the day poolside at any of the Universal Orlando Resort Hotels. Regardless of where you stay, guests are allowed to pool hop at the different on-site resort hotels.
- Go bowling at Loews Cabana Bay Beach Resort.
- Purchase tickets to see The Blue Man Group at Universal CityWalk.
- Enjoy an afternoon floating down the lazy river at Loews Cabana Bay Beach Resort.
- Catch a movie at Universal Cinemark located at Universal CityWalk.
The next time you’re planning a girlfriend’s getaway vacation consider going to Universal Orlando, where the fun is never ending.