Packing for Universal Studios Orlando in February
February is arguably the best time to visit Central Florida. In Orlando, temperatures never rise above 75 degrees Fahrenheit. In the evenings, anything below 50 degrees Fahrenheit is rare. All of the ideal conditions for visiting a theme park are present throughout the month of February, which makes it the perfect month for a trip to Universal Studios Orlando.
Though some key items remain necessary to bring with you on your Universal trip regardless of the time of year, there are certain items you will not want to leave behind when visiting during the winter months.
Packing for Universal Studios Orlando in February will look slightly different from packing for the same trip in July. Here are the top items to consider packing for a trip to Universal Studios Orlando in February, as well as some overall tips for first-time visitors.
Pack a Medium-Sized Backpack
Carrying a backpack allows you to experience the parks hands-free. You can wave at characters, munch on snacks, and snap the best photos without having to worry about holding everything in your arms or pockets.
Plus, bringing a backpack to the parks means you can also bring snacks and water for your travel party. No matter the material, a backpack is an absolute must for any visit to the theme parks. Waist packs are also useful if you only need to carry a few items such as a phone, wallet, or your Universal Studios Orlando tickets.
In my experience, small waist packs are permitted on most attractions and rides. This means you won’t need to stow away your waist pack before getting in line for an attraction. Backpacks will usually need to be stored in a single-time use locker or kept with a non-rider in your party while you enjoy the rides.
Larger backpacks that do not fit into the standard size lockers might need to be stowed in a large single-time use locker for an additional fee. There are also all-day lockers available to rent in various locations near park entrances on a first come, first-served basis. More details about locker rentals, permitted sizing, and single-use lockers can be found here.
February is not typically a rainy month in Florida but with the added protection of having a water-resistant backpack, your belongings will be kept safe from any unexpected showers.
But the real reason you’ll want to consider bringing a water-resistant backpack is that water ride wait times are significantly shorter in the cooler months and you’ll be able to ride the most popular water attractions multiple times with little to no wait at all.
A water-resistant backpack is an absolute must if you want to maximize your time in the parks and ride as many rides as possible. Lockers are available for your belongings at the water-based attractions, but they will cost you.
This is especially important to consider while at Islands of Adventure, as this is where the bulk of the water-based attractions are located. Curious George Goes to Town, a water-feature area located on the Universal Studios side, is also another great option for children to explore. The water rides on property at Universal Studios Orlando are fun for the whole family.
By visiting in February, you’ll get to experience these unique attractions without the hassle of long wait times or lines. With your water-resistant backpack, you’ll whiz through the shorter lines at the water rides even faster because you won’t need to stow your belongings in a locker for an additional fee. This item will come in especially handy if you are planning to ride Popeye & Bluto’s Bilge-Rat Barges in Islands of Adventure.
Popeye & Bluto’s Bilge-Rat Barges is one of the best water rides on property, so be sure to experience it at least once during your visit. An extra tip for families traveling with children: pack a towel (or two!) in your backpack if you anticipate your children enjoying the water rides. Towels are sold inside of the parks, but it can be a big money saver to pack it in if you know you’ll need it.
Pack a Fleece or Light-Weight Down Jacket
During any other time of the year, you might be able to get away with leaving your jacket or sweater at home. And even though Orlando in February is not necessarily cold, it does get cooler than usual by Florida standards. Many of the queues, restaurants, and stores are located indoors and it can get quite chilly under the air conditioning, especially if you just rode a water ride like Popeye & Bluto’s Bilge-Rat Barges or Jurassic Park River Adventure.
The queue and theater for The Bourne Stuntacular, an action-packed stage show located in Universal Studios, has some of the best air conditioning in the entire park. This air conditioning throughout the parks is incredible in the summer months, but during the cooler months it can prove to be a nightmare if you don’t pack extra layers.
When you don’t need the extra layers, simply put them in your backpack and continue exploring the parks. Stick with a lightweight down jacket or fleece pull-over. You won’t need anything too heavy duty. The winter parka and ski attire can stay at home. It is still Florida, after all! The most important thing to remember for your trip to Universal Studios Orlando in February is to dress in easily removable layers. More ideas on what to wear while on your Universal Studios Orlando vacation can be found below.
Pack Comfortable Walking Shoes
One of the biggest mistakes people can make when visiting the theme parks is buying a new pair of walking shoes the week before their trip and not breaking them in. Uncomfortable shoes will easily ruin any vacation, but they will absolutely ruin a theme park vacation that involves a significant amount of walking.
Something important to note here is that comfortable shoes for purchase are difficult to find inside the parks, and the shoes available cost a premium. To avoid blisters and a hefty price tag for souvenir flip flops, make sure your shoes are suitable for long distance walking before arriving on-property.
Packing three pairs of comfortable shoes is ideal, but at the very minimum you should pack two pairs. Two pairs of comfortable shoes give you the option of having a back-up pair should your main pair of shoes get wet or uncomfortable after too many days of use. Don’t forget to pack at least one pair of sandals, as well, for any water rides or pool lounging during your trip.
Sandals also provide a nice afternoon or evening alternative after you’ve spent the entire day in sneakers or walking shoes. You will walk several miles during your trip to Universal Studios Orlando, so it is important that your feet are well supported and taken care of. If you have insertable shoe pads or insoles, make sure to pack those, too.
It will also help to keep a couple bandages in your park bag in case you or a member of your travel party develops a blister while at the park. If you run out of bandages and need more, stop by the First Aid Stations inside the parks. First Aid Stations are located near any Family Services section, and employees are more than willing to guide you in the right direction.
Pack a Smart Phone Portable Battery Pack
With a full day in the parks, your phone is likely to run out of battery quickly. Especially if you use the camera to take photos and videos around the property. There are not many public outlets in the parks to charge your devices. I suggest bringing your own portable battery or battery pack to avoid running out of battery power while you’re at the parks.
There are also battery packs available to rent at the parks. These battery packs are called FuelRods and they are available for purchase at multiple locations throughout the property. FuelRods are $30 for the device, and an additional $3 for each time you swap out the current rod for a new one when it runs out of power. To avoid any additional charges or costs for battery power, pack your own portable battery pack in your backpack.
Smart Watch or Traditional Watch
In the instance your smartphone runs out of battery during a day in the parks, having a smart watch as a back-up will be a lifesaver. Smart watches not only serve the purpose of a real watch with timekeeping capabilities, but they also provide you with live updates on your walking activity, weather forecasts, and more!
It is easy to lose track of time while enjoying the parks, and you don’t want to miss your dinner reservation. It’s also fun to see how far you walk at the end of each day. You will be surprised at how many miles you can walk during a day at Universal Studios Orlando.
The most I tracked in one day while park hopping was a whopping 16-miles! Needless to say, I spent the entirety of the following day lounging at the hotel pool. No smart watch? No worries. A regular watch will work for keeping track of the time, too, of course.
Pack Hand Warmers or Gloves
It seems silly to pack hand warmers for your trip to Florida but let me explain. These items won’t be necessary during the daytime, but temperatures can dip into the 50s after the sun sets. It can feel much colder if there is any windchill. This can make standing in lines or outdoor queues at night, or commuting back to your hotel, miserable if you don’t have the proper gear.
Hand warmers or gloves are a great way to minimize the impact of cooler weather, and they are easy to stuff into the bottom of your backpack. They are relatively cheap, too. Disposable hand warmers can be purchased at gas stations, most grocery stores, and convenience stores.
They can also be purchased before flying to Universal Studios Orlando and stowed in your carry-on or checked baggage. Gloves will work, too. I would suggest any gloves that are light-weight and have touchscreen fingertips to allow you to use your device without exposing your skin to the air.
Pack Strollers for Small Children
If traveling to Universal Studios Orlando with small children, you might consider bringing a stroller. With smaller crowds, navigating the parks with a stroller in tow is much easier than doing so during peak season. There is plenty of stroller parking available outside each attraction and major shops and restaurants. Renting a single or double stroller for your trip is also possible at the entrances to the parks.
This is a great idea if brining a stroller with you on a plane or in a car is not possible. It is important to note that strollers are not available to rent if visiting Volcano Bay. You can find more information about stroller rentals by visiting the official Universal Studios Orlando website.
Also, feel free to check out my other article to learn more on visiting Disney World with a stroller (if you plan to make a trip to both Universal Studios and Disney World).
Pack Face Coverings
COVID-19 guidelines are in place at Universal Studios Orlando, and it is important to remember to bring a face mask or covering before embarking for the parks. Bringing multiple face masks for your travel party is a smart move, too, so you aren’t stuck wearing the same face covering for an entire week.
Though it is rare for a face covering to fly off during a ride, it is always good to have a back-up just in case. As of December 24, 2021, face coverings will be required at all public indoor locations regardless of vaccination status.
Face coverings are also required at all attractions and in ride queues. For more information about the COVID-19 guidelines and restrictions, visit the official Universal Studios Orlando website.
Best Snacks to Take to Universal Studios
Depending on the size of your group and the length of your trip, bringing a backpack with snacks can save you hundreds of dollars. It can also provide relief for picky eaters who might not find interest in the usual options at the parks. Some of the best snacks to take to Universal Studios include granola bars, easily packable fruits like apples and bananas, and trail mix.
These options are perfect for refueling in between meals. Don’t forget reusable water bottles to rehydrate throughout the day at the water fountains. You can also bring a maximum of 2 liters of bottled water into the theme parks. Universal Studios and Islands of Adventure both have great snack options at kiosks located around both parks, and they even provide reusable souvenir container options like popcorn buckets and Coke Freestyle Cups for an added cost.
These cups and popcorn buckets fit easily inside most backpacks and can also be attached to the outside straps depending on the style of your backpack if it does not securely fit inside. For small children or messy eaters, make sure to pack antibacterial wipes and facial towelettes to remove any spillage or crumbs left behind. These may also come in handy for wiping down surfaces before and after you stop for a snack break while in the parks.
There are a few important guidelines to follow if you plan to bring outside food into the parks. The following list describes prohibited items, and more information can be found on the official Universal Orlando website here:
- Glassware or glass containers
- Open containers or drinks containing alcohol
- Hard-sided coolers
- Soft-sided coolers larger than 8.5″ wide x 6″ high x 6″ deep
- Picnic lunches
- Food that requires heating or refrigeration
- Folding chairs
Of course, if you have any questions or need further clarification regarding prohibited items you can contact guest services by visiting the official Universal Studios Orlando website.
What to Wear to Universal Studios
The best outfit to wear to Universal Studios is one that you feel comfortable and confident in. Remember, even during the winter months the UV rays can still lead to sunburn and sun damage. It is important to apply sunscreen in the morning and reapply as necessary based on the type of sunscreen you use.
Not only will tops with sleeves keep you warm, but they will help prevent sunburn, too. When packing for Universal Studios in February you should also include the following items in your suitcase to ensure maximum comfortability during your trip:
- Extra face coverings that meet Universal’s COVID-19 guidelines
- Hat or visor
- Lightweight, breathable pants or leggings
- Cotton shirts (short and long-sleeved)
- Rain jacket or poncho
- One resort casual outfit (if you plan to eat at a table service restaurant)
- One bathing suit (to wear at resort pools, Volcano Bay, and on water-based attractions)
- Hand sanitizer or antibacterial wipes
And, of course, it goes without saying to remember to pack your IDs, Park Tickets, any Express Passes or VIP Experience Tickets, and your wallet. Another great tip is to download The Official Universal Orlando Resort App. Utilizing this app before and during your trip will be a lifesaver. In the app, you can see the latest wait times for your favorite rides, access park maps, and place mobile food and drink orders at select dining locations.
It might be tempting to show up to the parks dressed as your favorite character, but it is important to note that Universal Studios Orlando does have strict costume guidelines that guests must follow. Costume masks, veils, swords, or weaponry are all prohibited.
Further, offensive clothing and clothing or accessories that misrepresent someone as emergency personnel or as an employee of Universal are also prohibited. Universal Studios Orlando personnel retain the rights to deem any clothing, accessories, or other items as inappropriate upon inspection. If they find you in violation of guidelines, you may be asked to turn over your inappropriate item or leave the item in your hotel room or vehicle.
Another note on accessories: any Harry Potter fans interested in bringing home-made wands into the parks must follow the guidelines listed on the official Universal Studios Orlando website. To summarize, any home-made wands need to be rounded on both ends and need to be appropriate in nature and design.
Though they are technically permitted, make sure your wand is aligned with the guidelines to avoid confiscation or dismissal from the parks. Official Harry Potter wands and merchandise are available for purchase inside the theme parks, as well as at multiple locations throughout the property including at City Walk and at many hotel gift shops. The Hogwarts house robes are also available for purchase and can make for a great wearable souvenir during the chillier months at the parks.
The robes are of decent quality and weight, but they do come with a hefty price tag (roughly $140 USD). If you are looking for other wearable Harry Potter souvenirs to keep you warm during your February visit, there are also several themed sweaters, sweatshirts, and cardigans available for purchase.
The Harry Potter merchandise is all very high quality and the clothing lasts for a long time, even after consistent wear. If you are not as much interested in Harry Potter as you are in another group of characters in the park, I promise there are still plenty of fantastic souvenir options to choose from.
One final note on packing for your Universal Studios Orlando vacation: leave room in your luggage for souvenirs and memorabilia. You will likely bring home at least one gift for yourself or a friend, and you need to have space to pack it safely and securely! Keep some space open in your suitcase while packing to ensure that all your souvenirs fit snuggly next to your normal belongings.
If you plan to visit Universal Studios Orlando in February, you won’t be disappointed. The lower temperatures, smaller crowds, and shorter wait times make February one of the best months to visit Universal Studios Orlando. Packing for Universal Studios Orlando in February doesn’t need to be complicated or overwhelming. By following the tips and tricks provided in this guide, you will be fully prepared for an amazing Universal Studios Orlando vacation.
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