Everything That You Ever Wanted To Know About Parking at Islands of Adventure

Can I bring my car to the park?

Sure. Well, you can't drive it into the park itself. That would be quite the scene. However, Universal has two huge parking garage structures. Just follow the traffic flow -- and any attendants you may see along the way -- and they will show you to your spot.

Sweet. This is free, right?

No. Parking costs $8 for each car. It is $12 for preferred parking.

Preferred? Does that mean that they will they roll out the red carpet once I step out of the car?

Good luck waiting for that. It is preferred because it is closer to the parks -- though it's probably not worth it, especially if you arrive early. Escalators and moving sidewalks line the garages so even if you are parked far away it won't be much of a haul.

Is there valet parking?

Sure is. Just follow the signs. The valet area is right by the Citywalk movie theater and it will run you $16. Naturally you should also tip the folks parking and retrieving your car. A buck is fine. More is always appreciated.

Isn't there a parking pass or something like that?

No. But if you have a premium annual pass -- one that is good all year long -- standard parking is included. You can still valet. They will charge you just $8 instead of $16 when it's time to get your car back. Just show them your annual pass.

Where is this garage, exactly?

You can't miss it. They are two huge multilevel garage buildings. Thanks to the moving sidewalks they eventually join together and drop you off at the Citywalk entrance. At that point you are just a few paces away from going left to Islands of Adventure or taking a right and heading to Universal Studios Florida.

Will I still have to pay even if I'm just going to grab a meal at Citywalk?

Short stays, validated at the eateries, will be discounted -- or just show up after 6pm when parking is free no matter where you decide to go.

I've got this great idea. I pull up just shy of the tollbooth. I turn off my car. Kick it once or twice and mutter something about "in my day, cars just didn't break down like this" before running off to enjoy a day at the park. Will this work?

If you do, let's just say I towed you so.

Well, can't I just park outside of Universal Orlando and walk on over?

Some folks will do this. There are actually a few hotels adjacent to the park where guests can just walk on over. However, it's a bit of a hike and if you wonder why Orlando pedestrians have frightened faces it's usually because of the reckless out-of-town drivers. Even those hotels have free shuttle busses. Use them.

With tens of thousands of guests, how will I find my car at the end of the day? I thought I was parked in Minnie 25 but I just can't find my ride. Dude, where's my car?

Minnie 25? You're in the wrong park, bub. The Universal lots are numbered and colored-coded. Just make a mental note -- or jot it down. Red, yellow and blue areas are assigned Universal characters (like Kong, Jaws and Jurassic Park). The first of the three numbers refers to the floor you're in and then the next two numbers refer to the section within that floor. If you forget all this, flag down one of the many security cars patrolling the lot. They won't snicker. It will probably help if you remember exactly when you arrived at the park.

What if my car won't start or I lost my keys on that wicked-nasty Hulk cobra roll?

Again, flag down a security car patrolling the lot. They may not have all the answers but it's always a good start.

I didn't notice the exit on the way in. Is there really a way out or is this part of Universal's plan for world domination -- one tourist at a time?

Follow the exit signs. You will be out in no time. It may be a bit crowded around closing time so it's never a bad idea to consider grabbing dinner in the Citywalk area or checking out a movie at the multiplex.

I keep wondering. I'm a Question. You're an Answer. I can see that we're hitting it off just splendidly. Care to park?

I'm flattered but learn to take No for an Answer.

Of course, parking isn't a concern if you are staying at one of the three onsite resorts -- where you can walk over to any of the theme parks or just enjoy the leisurely shuttle boat rides. So you might want to consider pulling up a discounted online rate for the romantic Portofino Bay, the hip Hard Rock Hotel or the majestic Royal Pacific Resort.

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