When going to a theme park, there are times when you will need to rent a locker to store your “stuff” for periods of time. In most cases, these lockers are located toward the entrance, while additional ones may also be found near water attractions. However, Universal is unique with its elaborate network of electronic lockers located throughout both Islands of Adventure and Universal Studios Florida. In many cases, you are required to use them, whether you want to or not. Today, I’m going to discuss the best ways to utilize these lockers to help you save both time and money.
As expected, you will find the standard lockers available to rent just inside the entrance to both parks. These currently cost $8.00 for the day, and you can come and go as you please. They may be your best bet if you have larger items that you simply want to store for the entire day. However, they are not necessarily convenient if you find yourself towards the back of the park wishing to grab something that you have stored there. Also, with a little strategy, you could save $8.00.
Many of the attractions at both Universal parks have lockers available to store small items while you ride. The team members are adamant about bringing nothing with you while you ride. They even installed metal detectors at several of the coasters to make sure there is absolutely nothing in your pockets. I can only imagine that there have been guests injured by flying cell phones, keys, etc. Since most of the rides have separate load and unload areas, you can’t simply leave your possessions next to the coaster to pick up after you ride. It is for this reason that attraction lockers exist.
Most of these lockers are easily accessible to all guests. They are electronically activated with a fingerprint and are free “while you ride.” Now, while reserving your locker on the computer screen, it will give you a specific amount of time where it is free. If you return after the allotted time, it can cost you quite a bit to retrieve your items. However, the time is usually 60-90 minutes longer than the posted wait time for that attraction. This means that in most cases you could leave your items in the locker for much longer than the time it takes to ride. During busier times of the year, this time could be upwards of 2 hours. With some of the attractions being centrally located in each park, you could use these lockers to store things that you’d rather not carry from place to place. However, it is important to note the time, so you don’t end up having to pay to retrieve your items. Also, these are not huge lockers, but you can store things like purses and average backpacks without much trouble.
The attraction lockers can certainly help for convenience, but I want to talk about a specific way to save some additional money in the process. Although most of them are free, there is a catch. When you approach the entrances to the “water rides” at Islands of Adventure you will see the typical lockers nearby. However, as you get closer, you will notice that these lockers aren’t free! Universal figures that most guests will pay (at least $4.00) to keep their items dry. Since there doesn’t seem to be an option at that point, most people fork over the payment to enjoy the attraction. Since there are three water rides, many guests end up spending $12.00 to keep their belongings stowed. This is where a strategy is needed, and I’m going to give you an example of how it worked for me recently.
Yesterday, my son and I went to Islands of Adventure. We planned on enjoying a few of the water rides, so we arrived in our bathing suits. I brought a change of clothes in a standard-sized backpack. After entering the park, we made our way to the lockers near the Incredible Hulk coaster. Although the wait time was only 5 minutes, the lockers were good for 90 minutes! After reserving the locker, we went over to Spider-Man, followed by Rip Saw Falls (twice), then Pteranodon Flyers, and The Jurassic Park River Adventure. We enjoyed all of these attractions while our belongings stayed dry in a free locker. After picking up our bag, we were able to change into dry clothes and enjoy the rest of our day. You can also utilize this strategy, starting from the back of the park at the lockers near Dragon Challenge.
There are a few things that are important to keep in mind if you decide to use the Universal attraction lockers to their fullest. First, they aren’t as big as the ones you’ll find at the front of the park. Second, you need to pay attention to the time so that you aren’t charged for being late. Finally, there may be a little extra walking involved if you use the “water ride” strategy, but I think you will find that it is worth it!
I hope you enjoy “Tour Guide Tuesday.” If you want additional tips while you’re in the parks, WDW Guided Tours is happy to help!