Skip to Content

Adding time at Universal to a Disney World trip – PREP026

Adding time at Universal to a Disney World trip – PREP026
Adding time at Universal to your Disney World trip

People visiting Orlando for a Disney World trip might want to also spend some time at Universal.

Today, I have some information on Universal and my tips on adding it to your Disney World trip.

I also have a quick tip about how to easily rent a car to use for the day when staying at an on-site Disney resort.


These are notes from this episode. There’s much more info included in the audio so be sure to listen to the episode for a better explanation.

Become a WDW Prep To Go Patron

WDW Prep To Go Patrons pay a little to unlock even more content than what’s on the main podcast feed, such as a private FB Group and exclusive audio that’s released on a private podcast feed.
Become a Patron Now

Link to recent post mentioned in this episode

Disney World park ticket comparison chart

About Universal

Universal is made up of 2 parks (Islands of Adventure and Universal), a shopping area (CityWalk) and 3 on-site resorts (soon to be 4).

People who stay in 1 of the 3 on-site resorts get special perks:

  • Unlimited Express Passes
  • On-site transportation
  • Early admission to Wizarding World of Harry Potter (located at Islands of Adventure)
  • Priority seating at restaurants
  • Room charge and package delivery privileges

Express Passes work kind of like FastPasses in that they allow you to enter a separate line. However, you get to enter the line immediately (as opposed to coming back during a 1 hour time frame) and there’s no limit to how many you can have in 1 day. Off-site guests can pay to purchase the Express Passes. (Note: although most attractions offer Express Passes, Wizarding World of Harry Potter doesn’t.)

To add Universal to a Disney World trip, I suggest spending 2 days there before your time at Disney World. We got through each park in just 1/2 day so ambitious people might be able to do both in the same day.

I don’t suggest people with little kids or issues with motion sickness visit Universal because there aren’t enough attractions for each to enjoy.

You can purchase tickets that include transportation from Disney World if you’d like.

You can review my post about Universal for more info, including touring plans to use in each park.

Quick tip of the day

You can rent a car when staying at an on-site Disney World resort which can be helpful when spending some time at places outside of Disney World (like Universal, the beach, etc.).

Alamo and National have offices at the on-site Disney World Car Care Center. They will send a shuttle to your Disney World resort to take you to get your car. The number for the Car Care Center is 407-824-3470.

Be sure to check out the rental car info on for more info on renting a car, including ways to find the best deals.

Subscribe to get new episodes

There are a few ways to get new episodes of WDW Prep To Go.


Will you be adding Universal to your trip? Or do you have questions?

Please feel free to share them in the comments.

The following products and services give us a commission on sales.

Get our free Quick Start Guide

Have our guide delivered right to your inbox with our 6-step Disney World planning process to make it less overwhelming. Snag our free guide ➡️

Take our course

Check out our course that will help you learn all about Walt Disney World planning with dozens of videos and downloadables for each step along the way. Get access now ➡️

Our recommend travel agency

We partner with Small World Vacations, Diamond Level Authorized Disney Vacations Planners in business since 1996. Get a quote now ➡️

Want to stay deluxe on a moderate budget?

It’s 1 of our top fave ways to save! By renting DVC points, you can stay in deluxe accommodations for a fraction of the price. Check availability ➡️

Private car service

Quicksilver Tours will transport you in style. They assist with luggage at the airport, provide car seats, and include a free grocery stop. Book your car ➡️

Need a stroller, wheelchair, or scooter?

Buena Vista Scooters is a company with a great reputation who offers in-person resort drop off and pick up of strollers, scooters, and wheelchairs. Book your rental ➡️

Amazon recommendations

Check out our Amazon shop with trip essentials we love. Start shopping ➡️

WDW Prep merch

Get WDW Prep merch to show off your Disney knowledge (especially fun for spotting others during your trip!). Check out the WDW Prep merch shop ➡️

Shannon Albert

Jack Titchener

Monday 17th of July 2017

Great Disney tips! My family and I are looking to vacation at Disney World, but hear it's a little difficult to navigate through their commuter system. Thanks for help making the whole travel process a little easier!


Saturday 9th of May 2015

We are trying to decide if we should stay on site with the benefits at Universal or just stay at Disney and rent a car. Can you give me any insight on this. We are going to be at Universal the last weekend in September. At that time of year do we need the extra hour at Harry Potter and the Express Pass? Also, should we attend the Halloween Party? and is it worth the extra money? Thanks for your help. So enjoy your website.


Friday 2nd of January 2015

I am so excited to see that Dreams Unlimited offers a combo ticket/transportation to Universal from Disney area hotels. I'm wondering if anyone has tried this? In the past we've hired a town car which took us straight to Universal. I'm worried that the transportation that comes with the ticket might be a shuttle that makes a lot of stops or takes a lot of time. Any information on this would be very appreciated. We are going to Disney at the end of January and making a one day trip to Universal!


Friday 6th of June 2014

One thing to be very aware of at Universal is the closing time. We did WDW in April of 2013, and took a day to do IOA at Universal. We got there a little late, just before lunch. Since the major thing we wanted to do was all the Harry Potter stuff, we headed directly there. So, we spent several hours, did all the rides then available, most twice, saw the shops, etc. Then we decided we were hungry and went to get dinner, only to be told that the restaurant was closed, and it was only 5:30. What we did not know was that the park closed at 6pm that day. We had expected them to be like Disney and stay open until 9 or so. So, we did not get a chance to do anything else there that day. Rather expensive for basically a half day trip.


Friday 18th of April 2014

Hello! The site doesn't specify where the transportation is from the Disney hotels to Universal, do you know? Or have more information on that?