10 Best Universal Studios Apps
The Universal Orlando Resort is a popular vacation destination with a string of attractions based around Universal Studios' many media franchises such as the Harry Potter movies and Jurassic Park. Check out 10 of the best mobile apps out there from official apps to tour guides and location-sharing services that you can use to help plan your trip to Universal Orlando and keep it hassle free.
Universal Orlando Resort App (Android, iOS, Free)
If you're only going to grab one app for your trip to the various parks of the Universal Orlando Resort, it should be the official Universal Orlando Resort App (Android, iOS). It provides a variety of planning and in-park tools and features to help make your trip hassle-free. Users can check out ride and show wait times, explore detailed maps and navigation directions, and receive in-park notifications about news and special events. A particularly neat feature is the ability to set "wait time alerts" that will notify you when the wait time for a particular ride or attraction hits a certain threshold, allowing you to bypass longer waits.
Magic Guide for Universal Studios Orlando (iOS, Free)
VersaEdge Software's Magic Guide for Universal Studios Orlando functions as a comprehensive third party companion app for Universal Orlando, with GPS-assisted maps, crowd-sourced ride wait times, attraction and restaurant details, and more. You can look up restaurant menus, call for reservations, set up a dining plan and share them with your contacts. Select features, such as the Food Finder and Restroom Finder are unlocked with an in-app purchase.
Universal Orlando Lines (Android, iOS, Free)
TouringPlans.com's Universal Orlando Lines app (Android, iOS) is another popular third-party option when it comes to a planning a Universal Studios Orlando trip, though to really make the most out of it, you'll need to be a subscriber to TouringPlans.com. The app presents "actual wait" times for a variety of Universal Orlando attractions, customizable step-by-step itineraries, restaurant menus and a predictive crowd calendar. Some features, such as the restaurant menus and touring plans are available for free, while the crowd calendar and wait time lists are only available to subscribers.
Disney Wait Times and Touring Plans (iOS, Free)
UndercoverTourist.com is a popular choice for discount tickets, accommodations and car rentals, and they also have a popular third-party guide, Disney World Wait Times and Touring Plans, which also includes support for Universal Orlando wait times and tour plans. You can quickly look up up-to-the-minute wait times for Universal Orlando rides and attractions, as well as access free, customizable touring plans for Universal Orlando. In addition, the app includes a predictive crowd calendar, with daily hours and estimated crowd levels and the best times to visit.
Family Locator (Android, iOS, Free)
Such theme parks as Universal Orlando are big places, and it's easy to lose track of family members and miss rendezvous points. A good location sharing app, like Family Locator by Life 360 (Android, iOS), can keep you connected to family members and friends, especially for teens and tweens that you trust to split up unsupervised. The app allows for easy location sharing, with a Circles organization model that allows you to selectively share your location to given groups rather than broadcasting it to all your contacts. Geofenced locations can also notify you if a contact arrives or leaves.
Glympse (Android, iOS, Free)
If you're looking for a location sharing app that's less of a cyber-nanny and more of a tool to help you and your friends or family to meet up or check in, give Glympse (Android, iOS) a try. The app requires no sign-ins, instead taking advantage of your existing mobile number or email. Users can send out a "Glympse", which shares your current location and/or your ETA to a location either through the app or a Web link, and the Glympse also self-destructs, being valid only for a particular window of time. It's a great tool for checking in location, coordinating a meet or sending out an ETA, without putting yourself under the yoke of a more intrusive location sharing system.
Dark Sky (iOS, $3.99) & Weather Timeline (Android, $0.99)
The weather can make or break a visit to a theme park, so having a reliable weather forecast can be a lifesaver. Dark Sky (iOS) and Weather Timeline (Android) are both excellent premium weather forecast apps for their respective platforms, providing extended forecasts, as well as hyperlocal, almost down-to-the-minute warnings of rainfall thanks to data taken from Forecast.io. With clean, no-nonsense, ad-free interfaces, both apps are great tools for travel planning and all-around weather forecast use.
Florida 511 (Android, iOS, Free)
Florida 511 (Android, iOS) is a free travel information app backed by the Florida Department of Transportation that delivers up to date traffic information and travel times all across the state's major interstates, highways and turnpikes. The app uses GPS to provide you with traffic updates relevant to your location, with updates and alerts available in map, text or audio-based formats. Users can upload their own incident reports, share traffic info to friends and contacts, and save custom travel routes for easy reference.
Orlando My Way (Android, iOS, Free)
Universal Orlando isn't the only attraction in the Orlando area of course, and the free Orlando My Way (Android, iOS) app delivers news about Orlando and surrounding theme parks. It's also an Orlando city guide, events calendar and "best of" location recommendations for drinking, dining and theme parks. Plus it has a local weather forecast.
plug in (Android, iOS, Free)
Another handy guide to things to see and do around the Orlando area besides theme parks is plug in (Android, iOS), a free events and entertainment guide. The app features a calendar of upcoming events, workshops and concerts, as well as details about bars, happy hours, and restaurants, complete with directions. Users can check out reviews, bookmark upcoming events or locations, and create and send plans from within the app.