Although daily parking fees may seem insignificant when planning the cost and expenses of a vacation to Florida, it can easily add up if you are buying a bunch of theme park tickets in the area, or paying for Ubers or Lyfts to Orlando International Airport. Free parking means having money to spend on other aspects of your trip. Walt Disney World and Universal Orlando parking lots are both notoriously difficult and expensive. At the Universal Orlando theme parks, parking rates are usually $27 with the exceptions of special event nights like the Halloween Horror nights. Luckily, there are plenty of prime parking options around Universal Studios Orlando. You can also avoid the fee by seeking other methods of transportation and visiting the parks during off-peak hours.
1. Pick a hotel with a free shuttle service.
Research and book a resort hotel that offers free shuttle service to and from Universal Orlando. If you search on a hotel search engine or the hotel's website, look for a list of complimentary services that the hotel offers. While some may simply offer valet parking, many offer a shuttle service that generally runs every half hour or every hour depending on the time of year.
All eight Universal Orlando Resort Hotels feature an on-site shuttle service that has a bus parking drop off station at the start of Universal’s City Walk, where guests can enter the park. Some resorts, like Cabana Bay, are just a short walk away from different parts of the park. Cabana Bay specifically features a walking bath to Universal’s waterpark, Volcano Bay. No parking spot needed!
Additionally, specific levels of Universal’s annual passholder program receive free parking. Consider ridesharing with a friend who is a passholder, or become one yourself to get this prime upgrade.
2. Board the Orlando metro city bus system called LYNX
Board the Orlando metro city bus system called LYNX, which has routes running throughout the major streets of Orlando. Since Universal Studios Florida is a major tourist attraction, there will be a few lines that make direct stops for pick up or drop off at the park entrance or other places close to Universal Blvd. Visit the LYNX city bus website (golynx.com) and look for a bus schedule and route that is closest to your location. As of the time of publication, the bus fare costs $2 one way.
3. Universal parking costs are waived between 6 p.m. and 10 p.m.
Universal parking costs are waived between 6 p.m. and 10 p.m. While there is free self-parking, it's important to know that different parts of the theme park, such as the Islands of Adventure, sometimes close after 6 p.m. However, Universal Orlando's City Walk pavilion is open until 2 a.m. year-round. The Universal Cinemark box office sells movie tickets to showings as late as 10:30 p.m. Be sure to save your parking receipts in case you have any issues getting out of the parking garage. Guests with accessibility issues should note that accessible parking might be taken at the listed times.
4. Ask friends and family for a drop off
If you have friends or family who live locally, ask them to drop you off in the parking area nearest to the front gate to avoid fees and the headache that comes with regular parking.