Staying fit at Universal Orlando Resort: easy ways to make healthy choices
I always think about the sweets and decadent food choices when we start talking about out next vacation, and particularly when we know we’re heading back to Universal Orlando Resort. But then the second I start to feel like we’ll just be throwing our fitness goals away, I remember how easy staying fit at Universal actually is. Yes, there are endless opportunities for fun, but also there are countless chances to be active, make smart choices and before you know it, staying fit at Universal Orlando isn’t even something to worry about. Check it out!
What you'll find...
- Top Tips for Staying Fit at Universal Orlando Resort
- Best use of Calories at Universal Orlando
Top Tips for Staying Fit at Universal Orlando Resort
That might sound a little ridiculous when you start thinking about fudge and Butterbeer, but just go with me for a minute. Staying healthy on vacation is a breeze with a couple of simple choices that will give you the energy to have fun.
Note: we originally wrote this piece for the Universal Orlando Resort blog as part of our partnership on the Universal Blog Squad.
1. Getting Your Steps in at Universal Orlando
I’m just going to start here because it’s the most simple thing you can do and you won’t even realize it’s happening. If you’re a person that uses apps and equipment to track your steps throughout the day, or if you have activity goals, you’ll almost immediately see yourself meeting them. Just look at our step tracking. Crazy!!! We weren’t even thinking about it and we were killin’ it!
Staying on your feet and actively seeking out your next moment of excitement, you’ll cover more ground than a Tansformer chasing down a Decepticon. Trekking from the Wizarding World of Harry Potter to the Cowfish in the Universal City Walk, you’ll earn that delicious sushi burger.
Best Ideas for Extra Steps
There aren’t a ton of shortcuts to get between the parks at the Universal Orlando Resort, but there is definitely the long way. Plan to walk all of the way around the lagoon of City Walk to cover a little more ground. And the same goes for getting between the hotels and parks: you either walk or take a shuttle of some type.
Tip: either start or end your day by walking back to your hotel instead of using the provided shuttle bus or water taxi. Go between the parks by exiting the the main gates and entering the other park’s gate vs taking the Hogwarts Express every time (as cool as it is).
And you can’t forget that Volcano Bay can be a part of your time at the Universal Orlando Resort. Get in your extra steps and really work the glutes by climbing the volcano to do the drop slides. The slides aren’t the only way to get your heart rate up; that hike up through the mountain…
2. Staying Fit in the Universal Orlando Hotels
One of the benefits of staying in a large, beautiful hotel is that you are guaranteed a few key amenities. The Universal Orlando Hotels are no exception. Hotels today make traveling for health easy!
Have you ever gone on a vacation with the family and snuck out of the hotel room early to do a workout, even just a short one? You know, you get up and do a little treadmill, lift a few light weights, drink a big glass of water, and then you feel like you’re in total control of your day. We try to do this whenever and wherever we’re traveling and being at Universal it’s easy.
And seriously, starting the day with just a short, dedicated workout does really make a difference in the day. You are more alert, have a little extra energy (surprisingly), and you’ve had some time alone to clear your mind.
Tip: start this early workout habit while you’re traveling and you’ll be inclined to do it more at home too. At home you’ll be able to do your HITT or go for a jog and remember that you started this awesome habit while you were on vacay.
Rock Om: Hard Rock Hotel yoga program
If you’ve booked the Hard Rock Hotel at Universal Orlando, you’re in for an extra special treat. I love practicing yoga, whether in a class or out in the world. The Hard Rock Hotel has the perfect system in place to support a continued yoga practice while at Universal.
Rock Om is available through the in-room television and is so simple. Here’s how you enjoy the quality yoga instruction from the comfort of your room:
- Request the Rock Om yoga kit from guest services
- Turn on the television and select your in-room programming
- Choose which of the yoga sessions you’d prefer depending on time and skill level
From gentle poses for relaxation and stretching to a full series of vinyasa flow, you’ll be able to pick and choose the pieces you need for a complete (or quick) yoga practice. Love this program!
3. Universal Resort Running Routes
Many people either don’t know about it or just forget to ask, but many hotels have running route cards available through the front desk. Universal Hotels are no exception. When you first check in, or once you know you’re ready to roll, check with the front desk for a running route. They’ll be able to provide a small map with clear instructions directing you on a three mile loop around the Universal Orlando Resort.
Tip: even when you’re using a running route map that’s provided, always be extra aware of vehicles and pedestrian rules. Safety first, always.
If the guest services desk at your hotel doesn’t have the running route maps available, ask for assistance planning out your route. Universal Orlando maps are available online (on your phone) or on paper nearly anywhere on property. Somebody can for sure make some recommendations.
4. Stress-free Dining Choices at Universal
So you don’t want to think about the active side of staying fit while at Universal Orlando, that’s totally okay. All you have to do to keep health in mind is elect to make a few smart choices at meal and snack times. Luckily for anybody who wants make some health-conscious dining decisions in advance, Universal has their dining locations’ menus online, including info about food allergies. This is a great way to evaluate which lunch choices will fit the fun food requirements of the kids and the healthier choices for anybody looking for them.
Tip: one of the most delicious and healthiest options we found at Universal Orlando was actually the Steak Salad at the restaurant inside Galaxy Bowl at Universal’s Cabana Bay. Fresh greens and hearty protein in a fun atmosphere. And I mean, bowling while eating salad just sounds healthy.
Something to consider when you’re plotting out your family’s dining options is that sit-down restaurants will typically have a wider variety of health-conscious choices than a quick service restaurant will, and also easy ways to work around food restrictions and allergies. Taking the time to sit together and enjoy a meal instead of eating on-the-go will provide a chance to relax, connect about the fun you’ve all been having, and have some great menu items for all tastes.
Tip: restaurants such as Mythos (Islands of Adventure) or Lombard’s Seafood Grille (Universal Studios Florida) take reservations. If there are shows you want to catch or if your party is splitting up during the day, having a reservation will help to keep you on point for the experiences you want to have.
5. Be a Kid: the More Fun the Better
This goes without saying but laughing and being crazy burns calories like there’s no tomorrow and it’s one of the ways we are always staying fit when we’re traveling anyways. There are plenty of thrills and big-kid attractions all around Universal Orlando, but take time to act like a little kid too. Be crazy and get soaked at Curious George Goes to Town. Do the ropes course with the kids in Camp Jurassic. Climb the stairs to all of the tallest slides at Volcano Bay.
Basically, say yes to having all the fun. The happiness hormones start to flow and you feel better and more alert as you let go. Dopamine and oxytocin make you alert and energetic. Serotonin helps you get a good night’s sleep. Put the fun together with your body’s physiological response and you have no reason to not act like a kid. And joining in with the kids is part of keeping them active and healthy. Healthy kids are happy kids!
Best use of Calories at Universal Orlando
Planning on just going for the gusto since you’re going to be on vacation? Awesome! That’s what we do, and we still feel like we’ve done a good job staying fit at Universal because we make healthy choices paired with the fun. Our favorite caloric investments, meaning that we just enjoy them no matter how unhealthy we know they are, throughout the Universal Orlando Resort are still pretty smart choices (except for some obvious indulgence):
The Big Pink Donut in Springfield – Universal Studios Florida
Butterbeer in the Wizarding World of Harry Potter – USF & Island of Adventure
Crazy fudge flavors in Seuss Landing – Islands of Adventure
All the Neapolitan pizzas at Red Oven Pizza Bakery – Universal City Walk
Hot Pressed Cuban Sandwich at the Hideaway – Cabana Bay
Doner Kabobs at Atomic Tonic – Cabana Bay
Doesn’t it feel great knowing the staying fit at Universal Orlando Resort isn’t difficult?! Especially since we’re always working to stay in shape and healthy for our family, spending time at Universal has proven to be, time and again, an active family experience… and we come home in better shape than when we arrived!
Want to pin this for your own motivation and travel planning for a trip to Universal Orlando? Go for it!!!
Rob Taylor is the founder of 2TravelDads, the original LGBT Family Travel blog. Focusing on ecotourism and education, 2TravelDads inspires LGBT families (and traditional families also) to go beyond their usual getaways and use travel to learn about and be part of a bigger world. “Traveling the globe and giving the kids a broad worldview.”