This post contains affiliate links.
Recently I shared my mom tips for what you need to do when you go to Universal in part 1. Universal is so much fun and you don’t want a little lack of preparedness to spoil it. With just a teeny bit of thinking ahead, your time at these parks can be stupendous!
I had so many things to share to make your trip better that I divided it into two parts. Part one is things to DO and part two is things to TAKE (or not take). And if you’re wondering how I figured all of this out, it’s been from experience. Last year when we went to Universal I actually made notes on my phone of things I would do differently if I ever got to go back and what I wished I had known in advance. We had an amazing time there and I really hope you will consider going there with your family!
And when you do, this is a list of things you will want to take with you when you go!
Mom’s List of What to Take to Universal Studios
- Take ONLY what you NEED! I love to use a cinch bag because they weigh nothing and are so easy to slip on and off. I carry in it only what I absolutely must have. Resist the urge to take big, heavy things. You just don’t need them and these parks are very active. There isn’t a lot of moseying along the street. It’s rush, rush, ride, ride, go, go and you’re going to need to stay energized. I will reduce the size of some things, like sunscreen. Instead of bringing the whole bottle, put a big squirt in a small ziptop bag and just carry that. Instead of regular bottles of my essential oils, I put a few drops into a teeny bottles.
- Prepare for rain. When we were there last year it rained every day for a little while. We didn’t slow down, but put on our ponchos and kept going. We were prepared with not only ponchos, but waterproof shoes and ziptop bags for our phones. I’m not all fancy with special gear to keep phones dry….a ziploc bag does just fine. In fact, in the rain I am a fan of the poncho/teeny umbrella combo. You’ll stay almost completely dry. Speaking of bags, they will inspect your bags when you enter. Actually, they do it outside of the City Walk area before you even get to the parks. It’s no big deal, I just wanted you to be prepared.
- Keep your temps down. We went over Labor Day weekend and it was H-O-T. So it’s vital you make sure to stay as cool as you can. Besides drinking water, you can use a fan. I’m a big fan of fans. I wear this one around my neck and sometimes also carry a small misting fan in my pack. Another thing I carry is a Frog Togg. These are cooling rags and they are amazing for cooling you down and there’s also a cooling headband that I am going to try for this year. I cut my Frog Togg into smaller pieces so I didn’t have to keep a whole big one in my pack. Universal also has a misting station across from the Incredible Hulk Coaster and misting fans all around the park. You can ask for ice water at any of the drink locations for free.
- Comfy shoes. Here’s the thing with shoes….they have to be more than just comfortable. Comfort is vital….you need shoes that you can walk around in all day and then again the next day without hurting your feet. But there are other needs too. Like they need to dry quickly. Like I said in #2, you will likely get rained on. There are rides that get your feet wet. Walking around in squishy, wet shoes is misery. Also, you want lightweight shoes. This is a hard day and you don’t want to add any extra weight to what you’re carrying around. I love my Oofos. They fit every one of those needs plus they’re cute.
- Have power. You will want to take pictures and be able to be reached, so be sure you have ways to charge your phone. I like to carry a retractable power cord and light power pack. I have never regretted having these with me. If you don’t need it you can help someone else who needs a charge! (although I take so many pics that I have always needed it!)
- Sunshade. The sun will suck the energy right out of you! So I always take a hat and wear it when I am going to be without shade for long. THIS HAT is the one I carry because it’s affordable and rolls up for easy packing. I also use a chemical-free sunscreen and I put a little bit in a ziptop bag (like I said in #1) and carry just that amount with me each day.
- Earbuds. I always have a pair of earbuds (or two) with me for a couple of reasons. First, the day at Universal is a lot of activity and can be over-stimulating for the kids. So I like to let them relax and listen to music or play a game occasionally to help them regroup. Second, they help on the rides if anyone in your group is sensitive to loud noises. I will give them to my kids (not plugged into anything, just the earbuds alone) to wear through a loud ride. My 9 year old will ask for them because he doesn’t like the noise. THESE wireless buds are great for that!
- Essential oils. Come on, you knew I was gonna say it! I lean heavily on my oils when we are at any long-day activity. I put them into small bottles so my load is still light, but I always have them with me. I wouldn’t go to Universal Studios without peppermint, PanAway, Lavender, StressAway, or FUN. And you will definitely want to have NingXia Nitro for when you really hit an energy slump!
- Leave the jewelry at home. I am a jewelry girl, but this is not the place for it. I don’t wear any jewelry to the theme parks except my silicone wedding band. I tried not wearing a wedding band at all, but it bothered me not to have it on. I kept suddenly panicking that I lost it (even though I didn’t wear it in the first place). So I got a silicone band and it doesn’t interfere with the fun and keeps me from freaking out that I lost my real one.
- Credit card. Obviously you will need money here and there after you get into the park. I never carry cash, I only take a card that I can use just for this trip. I call the credit card company in advance to let them know I will be traveling and I make sure there’s no balance on it (unless it’s a bank card in which case make sure there is money in there). I keep it tucked somewhere on my person (like a Secret Stash Pocket or a passport holder) so it’s not in my pack where I can lose it. I will also keep my resort room key in there.
- Moleskin and blister balm. I never got any blisters while I was there, but one of my boys did and oh man, was I glad I had this stuff ready to use. I like this moleskin because it’s a little thinner than what you can buy locally. And it comes in strips, unlike others that you have to cut (and I don’t want to travel with scissors). If you haven’t used moleskin, it’s like an extra layer of “skin” that you put over your sore place to stop it from rubbing on your shoe. Also, if you tend to get blisters, use Blister Balm as a preventative. Rub it on before you get a blister to keep from getting one and if you still have a problem you can also use it on the blister. I’d also have some lavender to put on as well, maybe applying it at night and again with the balm to promote healthy skin.
- Cotton clothing and limited makeup. You really want to be comfy and cool! Of course we like to look good, but honestly I don’t worry too much about that when I am going to be out all day in the sun with my family riding rides and trying to keep up with their energy. I have a few linen dresses that I like to wear, but whatever you are comfortable in is what to take with you! As for makeup, I don’t wear anything except for drawing on my eyebrows because that’s what my comfort level is. Sure, I’d rather look glamorous all of the time, but frankly it would sweat off in the first 2 hours and then I would look like a freakish comic book character, so I skip it. For my eyebrows (I have no eyebrows so I really like to always wear that) I use Too Faced Bullet Proof Brows because it stays on all day no matter what I do and it looks natural. It’s one that I just put on in the morning and don’t have to worry about it again.
All in all this is a really fun and binding day with your family! The more you can prepare in advance, the easier it will be for you to be able to relax and enjoy your time in the rides and with the fam. Think it all through and have FUN!!!! Each of these products I mention above are ones that I personally bought, tried and use myself….and I have tried a lot that didn’t work so I have done the legwork for you.
I just know you will have a mah-velous time on your trip to Universal Studios! Of course, these tips will work for any theme park and even other family trips. With just a little advanced preparation you can have a blast!
Don’t miss Part 1 of A Mom’s Guide to Universal Studios where I share the things you MUST do while you’re there!
And if you have issues with big thighs and chafing, be sure to check out “I Got Big Thighs and I Cannot Lie”