The Universal Studios parks offer some of the best rides and attractions in the world. However, like any other theme park, the home of Harry Potter and Jurassic Park has rules in place to keep guests and staff members safe. Some even exist just so the park can make additional profits.
Most of Universal’s rules adhere to common sense and can be found online, while others make you question what inspired them to be written in the first place. To be as prepared as possible for your next Universal getaway, check out these weird rules the park will expect you to follow.
10 No Discounts On Butter Beer
Enticing guests to buy souvenir cups is a marketing and money-making method theme parks have been using for decades. Universal guests with these cups only have to pay $1.49 for refills. Within the Wizarding World of Harry Potter, fans can purchase a souvenir butter beer mug, but they shouldn’t get too hopeful that the fantasy drink will come at a discounted price. With or without the themed cup, witches and wizards still pay full price for their butter beer. However, if used in other areas of the park, the mug may be used for discounts on soda refills.
9 RFID Chips Prevent Unlimited Refills
This cup in Universal Studios has a chip to prevent refills. pic.twitter.com/soyUBoAnhK— Mildly Interesting (@interestmild) October 6, 2019
Universal has gone a step further than most restaurants these days to prevent free refills. Their Coke Freestyle cups are intended to be used for one day of unlimited refills at their designated kiosks. These machines offer a large variety of different beverages, but don’t go thinking you’ll be able to bring in the cup in the next day and bypass the system for free drinks. The bottoms of these cups are tagged with an RFID chip that will prevent the machines from dispensing unless additional days of drinking are purchased.
8 Paying For Express Passes
Don’t show up to Universal Studios expecting the same FastPass+ system as Disney World. Disney FastPasses guarantee guests three opportunities to skip the line, but Universal charges their guests for a similar experience. As of October 2019, these passes start at $69.99 on top of a ticket. Universal ExpressPasses are sold in limited quantities and buyers are given access to an exclusive line. Be sure to research crowd levels before purchasing these tickets, as lines are often short enough during the slow season to bypass this purchase and still get the full park experience.
7 No Loose Articles Allowed In Line For Large Rides
In another comparison to Disney, the home of Mickey has policies that make it easier to carry a bag around the park than it would be at Universal. For safety reasons, both parks require guests to remove loose items before larger rides. In most cases, Universal has locker rooms where riders can store their belongings before entering the queue. Critics often describe the rooms as a tight space that is confusing to navigate. As an alternative, Disney offers storage areas within the ride vehicles that can hold purses, fanny packs, sunglasses, and other items.
6 No Hoverboards Or Segways
Think again if you were debating whether or not to bring your hoverboard or segway into Universal because they are not permitted. Consider packing your walking shoes instead. This rule also forbids skates, rollerblades, skateboards, and other kinds of wheeled transportation systems. Drones and other Unmanned Aircraft Systems should be left at home as well. The use of these products could interfere with the flow of traffic throughout the park and potentially lead to injury. Exceptions to these rules are made to include ADA mobility devices and strollers.
5 No Riding The Hogwarts Express Without A Park-To-Park Ticket
Without having researched beforehand, a Universal Studios park guest might think they have access to every ride on the property. There is one exception to this among Universal’s Orlando parks. Visitors are only permitted to ride the Hogwarts Express train ride when they present a Park-to-Park ticket. The train acts as admission sites between Universal Studios and Universal’s Islands of Adventure, which can be convenient if attendees don’t want to walk back to the front of the park. Without the dual park ticket, however, this attraction cannot be boarded.
4 Intense Coasters Require Riders To Go Through Metal Detectors
Outside all Universal rides is a sign describing the attraction's safety warnings and regulations. Most prevent guests with heart conditions, back or neck conditions, and expectant mothers from riding for their wellbeing. More extreme attractions require riders to secure their belongings in lockers. Certain Universal rides, like the Hollywood Rip Ride Rockit and The Incredible Hulk Coaster, have even gone so far to ensure riders have left their cell phones, keys, and spare change off the ride by installing metal detectors. This addition was implemented after an uptick in theme park incidents regarding riders with cell phones.
3 No Dressing Up As Staff
Whereas Disney Parks are known for discouraging adults from dressing up as characters from their properties, Universal is very encouraging of this fanfare. It’s common to see people of all ages dressed in Hogwarts robes and other forms of cosplay in the Florida and California heat. Universal does draw the line on guests wearing costumes when it could interfere with the safety of the park and its guests. Because of this, clothes that impersonate Universal staff and emergency personnel are forbidden from being worn inside the parks.
2 No Costumes for Halloween Horror Nights
Every fall, Universal breaks out extra thrills and scares for its Halloween Horror Nights event. During the select days throughout September, October, and November, the park operates as usual during the days. Come nighttime, Universal offers exclusive haunted houses and entertainment for the spooky season. Since this event features Universal’s “scare-actors” who interact with guests in frightening situations, park guests are required to leave their costumes at home for the night. This includes masks and face makeup too, as they could become a safety concern for attendees.
1 No Digging Through Garbage Cans Or Fountains
The majority of people might not even consider doing this, but it is against Universal’s rules to dig through through their garbage cans. Along with this, guests are forbidden from removing coins from the park’s fountains, nor are they permitted to urinate anywhere but in the restrooms. These rules are logical and sanitary and were likely written knowing the vast majority of guests would abide by them. Luckily for guests, there are restrooms and trash receptacles located regularly around the park to help keep it clean for visitors.