Universal Orlando Parent Hack, Bag Size Matters

From Harry Potter to the adorable Minions, Universal Studios and Universal Islands of Adventure bring immense fun for families. But, one Universal Orlando parent hack that you may not know is that bag size matters.

When planning a family outing to Universal Orlando, parents consider many items. From staying on property to length of stay, common topics are discussed over and over. Dining plans, time of year visits and even hidden Harry Potter secrets are shared between family and friends. But did you know that on many Universal Orlando rides you can’t bring anything onto the ride with you? My Universal Orlando parent hack is that bag size matters.

Some rides, including the Harry Potter rides, do not allow any loose items on the rides. Other rides, like Hollywood Rip Ride Rockit, allow nothing at all in your pockets (not even change). A few, even have metal detectors at the ride entrance to avoid riders from sneaking items onto the ride. Before families go into panic, Universal Orlando provides free lockers to store items. But, bag size matters.

Universal Orlando Parent Hack, Wand Choosing Ceremony, photo by Cristine Struble

Universal Orlando Parent Hack, Wand Choosing Ceremony, photo by Cristine Struble

The free lockers are located at the entrance to many of the rides, like the Harry Potter rides and Men in Black. Operated by finger scan, these lockers, free for a short period of time, are very convenient. Families can store their items for the ride and pick them up when the ride is over. The only concern is the size of the locker isn’t huge. Which is why bag size does matter.

Recently, I took my family to both Universal Studios and Universal Islands of Adventure. Having just purchased family season passes, it was our first experience at the parks. We will all very excited and wanted to capture all the moments. I brought a backpack, which is designed to carry my larger camera and lenses. When the backpack just had the camera and some small items, I was able to fit it into the lockers. When we added a wand, gifts, and Flaming Moe cups, my bag was too wide for the locker. Bag size matters.

Universal Orlando Parent Hack, Flaming Moe, photo by Cristine Struble

Universal Orlando Parent Hack, Flaming Moe, photo by Cristine Struble

Since the locker area at all the locations can be a little chaotic, taking items in and out of a bag isn’t feasible. Basically, you want to throw the bag in and go. With a fuller bag, I couldn’t place it into the locker, which meant someone wasn’t riding a ride.

While we have season passes, the idea of skipping a ride during this visit wasn’t the end of the world. We could send one group and a parent could stay behind with the bag. For a few rides, it wasn’t an issue (I don’t ride big roller coasters). But, the situation got me thinking, what if I was only here for one day. How disappointed would I or my family have been? Again, bag size matters.

Based on this first visit, my Universal Orlando parent hack would be to choose your bag wisely.

Everyone understands that a parent, often mom, is the pack mule for the day at the theme park. A soft, smaller backpack can be better than a larger, sturdy one. Next, I might use a travel, collapsible backpack that I’ve used while traveling abroad. It has lots of pockets, but more importantly, it can easily squish in smaller spaces.

While I may not be able to bring my bigger camera with all the lenses, I will get to enjoy making memories with my family. My iPhone can take some great pictures or we can get photos using the Universal Studios service. In my opinion, it’s better to enjoy the moment with everyone than to be stuck on the sideline.

If your family is planning a trip to Universal, my Universal Orlando parent hack is bag size matters.