Most people only associate Orlando with Disney World, but when Universal Studios opened in 1990, Disney was given a run for its money. The area collectively known as Universal consists of Universal Studios (the original park), Universal's Islands of Adventure (a second park, opened in 1999), CityWalk (a shopping and restaurant complex), and the Wet 'n Wild water park. Granted, Universal and Disney are different beasts -- Disney has twice as many major theme parks and 12 times the number of hotel rooms (30,407 versus Universal's 2,400) -- but Universal's size is more manageable, and its film and TV cachet (Superman, The Simpsons, and, most recently, Harry Potter), and live studios involve just as much jaw-dropping pyrotechnics and 3D fun as Disney, if not more.
There are three hotels on the Universal property, all managed by the upscale Loews hotel group -- Royal Pacific (the most affordable and more laid-back option), Hard Rock (fun for all), and Portofino Bay (the most luxurious of the three). Outside Universal's gates, there is also a selection of less expensive hotels, such as the newly renovated Doubletree located across from the entrance to Universal.
|Airport:||Orlando International Airport (MCO)|
|Orlando Sanford International Airport (SFB)|
|Peak:||March 15 - April 15, June 1 - Aug. 30|
|Electricity:||120 V, 60 Hz|
|Tipping:||15-20% at restaurants|