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Universal Studios Florida – The Front Lot: Introduction

 

In movie studio parlance, the front lot is where all the soundstages, as well as the administrative and creative offices, are located — as opposed to the back lot, which contains the outdoor sets. Here at Universal Studios Florida, the Front Lot is a small antechamber of sorts to the theme park proper, which can be looked on as one huge back lot. On the Front Lot you can take care of minor pieces of business on your way into the park — like renting a stroller — and here you can also return when things go wrong — to register a complaint at Guest Services, or seek nursing aid for an injured child, or check Lost & Found for that priceless pearl earring that flew off in Revenge of the Mummy. You will find the following services on the Front Lot:

To your left as you enter the park are . . .

Lockers. There are two small bays of electronically controlled lockers. The rental fee is $8 for the day with in-and-out access, and the machines accept both bills and credit cards. If these are full, you can find more lockers (including some larger and more expensive ones that are handy if you have a lot of stuff) on the other side of the plaza.

Mail. You'll find a small U.S. Postal Service drop box to the right of the lockers. Stamps are available at On Location (see below). Phone Cards. Also near the lockers is a phone-card vending machine.

Stroller & Wheelchair Rentals. Wheelchairs are $12 a day and strollers $15. Double strollers are $25. Slightly more elaborate strollers, called "kiddie cars," feature a kid's steering wheel and cup holders and rent for $18 and $28 respectively (when available). A motorized "electric convenience vehicle" (ECV) is yours for $50 for the day. ECVs and wheelchairs require a $50 deposit and a signed rental agreement; ECVs can be reserved a week in advance and this is highly recommended. You must be over 18 to rent an ECV. Both ECVs and wheelchairs can be transferred from park to park.

To your right as you enter the park are . . .

Guest Services. This office performs a wide variety of functions. You can pick up information and brochures about special services and special events. If you have a complaint about anything in the park, make your feelings known here. They also field compliments. So if some Universal employee has made a positive difference to your experience in the park, make a note of their name and take a moment to share your experience here. It really does make a difference for those outstanding employees.

Guest Services will also exchange some (but not all) foreign currency, to a maximum of $500, for a flat fee of $5. If you exchange the limit, that works out to a one percent fee, a better deal than you’ll get elsewhere.

If you’ve come to Universal Studios Florida for the day and like what you see, Guest Services can upgrade your one-day pass to any of Universal Orlando’s multi-day pass options. The price you paid for your one-day pass will be deducted from the price of the multi-day pass. In other words, you will pay exactly what you would have paid had you purchased the multi-day ticket in the first place.

There are some simple rules: Upgrades must be purchased before you leave the park. Everyone in your party who wants one must show up with their one-day pass stub in hand. Free or complimentary passes are not eligible for upgrades.

Upgrades are non-transferable and Universal enforces this feature by requiring your signature on the pass and requesting photo ID when you return, which can be the next day or five years hence. The pass stays valid until you use it. If you really liked your visit, you can also sign up for an Annual Pass here.

ATM. Next to the Studio Audience Center is an outdoor ATM, where you can get a cash advance on your Visa, MasterCard, or Discover credit card at any time. The machine is also hooked into the Cirrus, Plus, NYCE, AFFN, and Maestro systems for those who would like to withdraw money from their bank account back home. A $2.50 fee may be charged for use, in addition to any fee levied by your institution.

Studio Audience Center. There is far less television production at Universal than there used to be, but TNA Wrestling (as seen on Spike TV's Impact Wrestling and Live Pay-Per-View) is regularly produced here. If anything is being taped on the nearby soundstages during your visit to Universal Studios, this is the best place to get information and tickets. A show can have an audience of 50 to 300 and tape one to six episodes on a single day.

Each show will have a minimum age requirement, which can vary greatly. Tickets are free and distributed on a first-come, first-served basis. Show up early, but try not to be disappointed if you come up empty. Some tapings, including TNA, can be attended without a theme park ticket. Call (407) 224-6000 for more wrestling information.

Family & Health Services. Nursing aid is also available here, under the Studio Audience Center marquee, should you need it. There is also a “family bathroom” if, for example, you need to assist a disabled spouse. A special room is set aside for nursing mothers. If you just need to change a diaper, you will find diaper-changing facilities in restrooms located throughout the park.

Lost & Found. The Studio Audience Center window does double duty as Lost & Found. Items that if lost elsewhere would probably be gone forever have a surprising way of turning up at theme parks. The good feelings the park experience generates must make people ever so slightly less larcenous. Universal personnel always check the rides for forgotten belongings. Items are kept for 30 days. You can call (407) 224-4244.

Lockers. Here are more of those electronic lockers, with still more lockers just around the corner in a narrow, easy to overlook passageway that leads to Hollywood Boulevard and the T2 theater. Daily rental is $8 or $10, depending on size, and allows unlimited in and out access.

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Universal Orlando 2011

 

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