10 Things to Do at Universal Orlando Resort Without a Park Ticket

With the Wizarding World of Harry Potter and some of Orlando’s best roller coasters, Universal Orlando Resort’s theme parks are a must-see for any adventure-seeking vacationer. However, park tickets can get a bit pricey when you’re living on a budget. You might also be looking for more things to do on your next trip to Florida. Either way, you’ll want to take note of things to do at Universal Orlando Resort without a ticket. These are the things to eat, see, and buy that don’t require a park ticket.

Universal CityWalk is like a theme park with tons of shops and restaurants. While most people pass right by to get to Universal Studios Florida or Islands of Adventure, it’s worth taking some time to explore. If you’re staying at one of the Universal resorts or hotels, you’re only a short walk or shuttle ride from CityWalk, so you don’t even have to pay for parking. However, Universal CityWalk also has free parking after 6:00 p.m. nights when there is no special event like Halloween Horror Nights.

If you’re looking for things to do at Universal that don’t require a park ticket because you’re working on a tight budget, this is your best bet for saving money without sacrificing fun. Plus, CityWalk is often open until midnight or later, so you’ll have plenty of time to do all the things on your list. And whether you show up early or stay late, here’s an itinerary of the things you can do at Universal in Orlando that should be on your bucket list ASAP.

01

Get a donut from Voodoo Donut Orlando

Rachel Chapman

Of course, donuts Voodoo donut are delicious, but they are also Instagram worthy. A foodie already knows you donut I want to avoid making a pit stop here at CityWalk for a pink box of colorful treats. Snap a photo of your box or adorable Voodoo Doll donut to post on the ‘Gram before enjoying.

02

Order an Instagram-worthy shake from The Toothsome Chocolate Emporium & Savory Feast Kitchen

The Toothsome Chocolate Emporium & Savory Feast Kitchen at Universal CityWalk is essentially what Willy Wonka’s factory would look like if he embraced the steampunk aesthetic. This restaurant is the perfect place to have a tasty dinner with your best friends, but the main attraction is the milkshake and dessert menu. While you can’t go wrong ordering anything from this sweet menu, the milkshakes topped with things like cookies, cupcakes and slices of pie were made for the ‘Gram.

03

Relax in Margaritaville for a few drinks

Find heaven or at least a few cheeseburgers at Jimmy Buffet’s Margaritaville also at CityWalk. While Margaritaville may seem like a kitschy, touristy thing to do, you just have to go with the flow here and give it a try. You might have fun drinking one of their specialty margaritas while sharing Volcano Nachos with your best friends. Plus, they often have live music and you can even order your drink from a cup that looks like a blender.

04

Sing karaoke to the rising star of CityWalk

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Grab the mic at CityWalk Karaoke Bar, rising star. Not only can you sing along to your favorite songs here, it’s live karaoke so you really feel like Olivia Rodrigo or Harry Styles when you take the stage. Make sure your friends take tons of photos and videos of your performance, so you can post them to Instagram or TikTok right after.

05

Enjoy a round of Hollywood Drive-In golf

The Hollywood drive-in golf is the perfect place for a romantic date with your partner or to have fun with your competitive best friends. The 1950s sci-fi mini golf course has two themed courses so you can have fun multiple times.

06

Shop Merchandise in the Universal Studio Store

You might not be able to go to Hogsmeade or walk Diagon Alley from outside the parks, but you can buy things like Gryffindor notebooks or Ravenclaw mugs at Universal Studio Store. They have Wizarding World merchandise, as well as Minions and Marvel memorabilia. You’d think Disney World would have some of the best Marvel merchandise in Orlando, but Universal, with its Marvel superhero island at Islands of Adventure, sure does.

CityWalk also has the Universal Legacy Storewhich contains vintage finds from classic movies like AND the Extra Terrestrial and Jaws if that’s more your style.

07

Go bowling at Universal’s Cabana Bay Beach Resort

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Universal Orlando Resort resorts also offer tons of entertainment. In fact, Universal’s Cabana Bay Beach Resort has its own bowling alley. To Galaxy Bowlyou can compete against your friends while enjoying burgers and bites on your way.

08

Enjoy all you can eat at Wantilan Luau

Head to Hawaii without flying there by booking the Wantilan Luau at the Loews Royal Pacific Resort. Although this event does not require a visit to one of Universal’s theme parks, you will need to purchase a ticket for this one. Anyone trying to have a budget time may also want to jump in as tickets are $109 per adult. However, you will get to enjoy an all-you-can-eat tropical buffet, live music, and a hula and fire dancer show, so it might be worth it.

09

Spot characters at Cabana Bay Beach Resort

Maybe your dream of visiting Universal Studios Florida is to take a picture with a minion for your Insta. Well, you can still make that dream come true without a park ticket. At Cabana Bay Resort, characters make appearances in the hotel lobby on Friday nights. For a #twinning moment, wear a yellow shirt under denim overalls to match the minions in your shot.

ten

Imagine you are in Italy at the Loews Portofino Bay Hotel

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Is Italy on your bucket list, but your bank account doesn’t allow you to check it off yet? If so, you’ll want to stop by the Portofino Bay Hotel at Universal Orlando Resort. This hotel will transport you to Portofino, Italy without a plane ticket or passport. You can even fool a few of your Insta followers with the photos you take while walking around this station. To experience the taste of Italy, you can even buy tickets for the Port nights La Dolce Vitawhich is a quarterly event held at the resort featuring authentic Italian cuisine, wine and live music.

The CDC recommends traveling only after being fully vaccinated and your vaccine has become fully effective. If you are not fully vaccinated and need to travel, check CDC guidelines before booking. Check your destination vaccination and screening requirements before your departure.

Herman C. Harkins