A Complete Universal Studios Packing List for Families

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16 Important Things to Pack for Universal in 2024

“What to bring to Universal Studios?” is the most common question asked by many first-time park-goers. Since our family had season passes in 2022 we made a point to fly to Orlando as often as we could to take advantage of them, so we learned pretty quickly what to put on our Universal Studios Packing List. I hope this list will help you as much as it has helped my family! Having all these items will ensure you are prepared for a fun-filled day at Universal!

Hogwarts castel in Universal Studios Florida with text overlay that says "Important Things to Pack for Universal Studios"

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1. Small Backpack or Fanny Pack

One thing you will definitely need is a small backpack or fanny pack that you can comfortably carry all your park essentials in. Most rides will allow you to wear your Fanny pack while not all backpacks will be allowed on the rides. Just be sure that your fanny pack has a buckle closure because I was told several times that I could only wear it if it had one. If you don’t want to use a fanny pack, it is important to get the right size backpack.

 This lightweight water-resistant fanny pack is great if you don’t need to carry a lot of things. If you are looking for a bit larger bag this 4-Pocket Fanny is a great option!

This Mini Backpack is another great option! You will be able to carry water bottles and snacks along with other essentials for the day and it should still fit in the smallest locker size which is free to use.

See Universal Studios Bag Policy for more information.

Family looking at lockers at universal studios

2. Reusable Water Bottle

Packing a refillable water bottle will not only save you money but will also keep you hydrated throughout the day. If you use an insulated  bottle like this one here, then you can keep cold drinks cold all day long. Hate carrying around a water bottle? Me too. A smart alternative is to bring a collapsible water bottle that squishes down flat and can be stored in a fanny pack or bag.

Pro Tip: Universal has Coke Freestyle machines throughout both parks and you can get ice and water from them for FREE!

Woman using soda machine at universal studios

3. Comfortable Shoes

You will be doing a lot of walking at the park, so it’s super important that you wear comfortable walking shoes. Thousands of steps on hard, hot concrete is not fun with uncomfortable shoes. Especially when your feet are hot and swollen from the heat. Another pro tip is to wear/pack waterproof shoes.

These sneakers are very comfortable and easily slip on.

If you are looking for comfy sandals you can’t go wrong with these lightweight and waterproof Teva’s.

4. Sun Hat and Sunscreen

There’s a reason they call it the sunshine state! Remember to pack proper headwear and sunblock, ideal for long days in the sun. Be sure to re-apply every 80 minutes, particularly after getting wet or sweating. Another tip is pack aloe spray for your hotel room in case you get burnt. 

This lightweight sun hat is waterproof and has built-in UV protection! I also love these Sunblock sticks because they are easy to apply on impatient kids and they don’t leave you feeling sticky.

5. Rain Jacket or Poncho

Florida weather is somewhat unpredictable. It can be sunny one minute, then rainy and humid the next. When in doubt, it’s always a good idea to throw a rain poncho or lightweight water-resistant jacket in your bag, especially in the summer months.

This pack of disposable rain ponchos are great because they are lightweight and small to carry with you. If you are looking for something a little more stylish than a poncho this lightweight hooded jacket is a great option!

6. Portable Power Bank

Don’t forget to pack portable chargers for any devices you plan on bringing with you. Phones tend to lose their battery quickly in the park between all the photos, using the Universal app, and the heat. Having a charger that can charge multiple devices at once is a must. This charger is one of my favorites because it has the cords built in for multiple devices and when you need to charge it up you just plug it right into the wall, no extra cords needed!

7. Small Snacks

The food at Universal isn’t cheap and I’m always looking for ways to save on these kinds of things (check out this post about how to save money on food at Disney). So it’s always a great idea to pack extra snacks in your bag to keep your energy levels up and to tide over hungry kids (and adults!) until the next meal. Granola bars, crackers and fruit & nut mix are all great options for quick bites on the go.

8. Sunglasses

Keep the sun out of our eyes with a cheap pair of sunglasses. Just remember to take them off during a roller coaster ride! You wouldn’t believe all the sunglasses and phones that you can find broken on the ground underneath. I have been wearing this pair since I bought them in 2020 and they are still my favorites! I always take a couple of pairs with me in case I lose one.       

Woman is sunglasses standing on street at universal studios

9. Park Map

Make sure you download a park map on your Universal Studios Hollywood Mobile App, so you know what ride you’re headed to next. It will also tell you how long the wait is for each line too. 

10. Chapstick

Chapped lips are brutal, and the Florida sun can do a number on them too. Keep them moist with some chapstick. Make sure you buy it with SPF!

11. Laynard

Lanyards are another item that is perfect to use at Universal Studios, especially if you are not bringing a fanny pack. If you are using the lockers or have an Express Pass, you will need to scan your ticket frequently. Instead of having to pull the ticket out of your pocket or bag each time, it is easier if you just use a lanyard hanging around your neck!

The 5 different colors of the neck strings of these ticket holders made it easy for each member of our family to know whose lanyard was whose. And we liked that there is a breakaway buckle on the strap. The plastic ticket holder pouch does reseal to keep passes dry inside.

Universal express pass inside laynard
Mom and three boys standing at universal studios

12. Credit Cards and Cash

If you are staying at a Universal Studios hotel, you can use your key card to make purchases. But it is always a wise idea to have a backup plan to buy things since keys can become demagnetized, there could be an issue with the card scanner, or the system could go down for payments. You never know! So having at least one credit card and some cash is smart when visiting the theme parks.

13. Hand Sanitizer or Wet Wipes

Your hands will get disgusting in a theme park. It’s that simple. Between dragging your hands across the railings, grasping handle bars, climbing into ride vehicles and touching merchandise, your hands are going to pick up God knows how many germs throughout the day. When it comes time to eat a snack or a meal, you will definitely want to clean your hands before touching food!

A small bottle of hand sanitizer is smart to have attached to your backpack or inside your fanny pack. Cleansing cloths, such as Wet Wipes or Dude Wipes, are my preferred choice. I prefer clothes that can wipe off dirt, sticky messes and germs as opposed to rubbing liquid hand sanitizer on your hands.

14. Zip-loc Bags

Zip Top bags, such as Ziploc, are a multi-purpose item that is just smart to bring no matter where you’re going. Think of them as the duct tape of the theme park world. There are so many ways that you can use a zip top bag, including:

  • Packing snacks
  • Bringing uneaten food home from the restaurant to eat later
  • Protecting your phone on water rides
  • Keeping small items organized
  • Filling with ice for a cool pack for burns, bruises, blisters, etc.

Plastic bags are incredibly thin and lightweight so you can pack a few without weighing you down, and they could be a lifesaver during the day.

15. Mini First Aid Kit

Yes, there is a first aid station inside Universal Studios but if you need something quickly it’s nice having it right there. This little kit is great and very compact.  Our miniature first aid kit includes:

  • Band Aids
  • Blister Band Aid
  • Ibuprofen or Acetaminophen
  • Benadryl
  • Motion Sickness Pills

16. Harry Potter Wand

One of the things that makes Universal so fun for a Harry Potter fan is using an interactive wand throughout the Wizarding World of Harry Potter. You can buy wands in Universal which is a fun experience in and of itself, but they aren’t exactly cheap. If you want to buy one ahead of time you can search second hand apps like Mercari or Poshmark. Just be sure that the wand you are buying is from Universal, as these are the only kind that will work with the interactive elements in the park.  

If you or your child aren’t as invested in the interactive element and you just want to buy a fun prop to carry around the park, here is a great option from Amazon.

Boy standing in Harry Potter world with wand and dragon behind him

Bonus:

AirTags are a great multipurpose item to bring with you to the park. You can stick one in your bag so if you accidentally leave it somewhere you can easily find it. Also attaching AirTags to your children is a great safety precaution just incase you accidentally get separated. These little holders are great to attach to belt loops. Or you can get these waterproof bracelets that will hold a AirTag in them. 

Final Thoughts

My family and I just love Universal Studios, almost as much as we love Disney (but not quite ;)). And while most things on this list are similar to what you would need for other theme parks, there are a few things that are unique! So I hope you found this Universal Studios Packing List helpful as you prepare for your own trip! What other essentials do you pack for theme parks? Let me know in the comments!

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16 Important Things to Pack for Universal

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Kimberly Shearer Vacation Pointers blog writer

Hi! My name is Kim. I’m the mom of 3 boys, the wife to 1 husband, and the driver of a 2013 Toyota Sienna. I love Jesus and my family, I have an obsession with getting a good deal, and if I had it my way I’d spend every weekend at Disney World trying a new food shaped like a Disney character…

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