Pick three or four things that you must see or do and plan your day along a rough geographical guide. Universal Studios Florida and Islands of Adventure are both relatively small, so walking from one end of the park to the other isn't as daunting as it is at some of the Disney parks.
For Families with Young Children
Waste no time: Hoof it to Woody Woodpecker's KidZone, where you and your kids can spend most of the day. If they're 36 inches or taller, don't miss multiple rides on Woody Woodpecker's Nuthouse Coaster. Try to make an early pit stop at Fievel's Playland (especially its water slide, which is slow-moving and has longer lines after 10:30am). Then adopt a leisurely pace to see E.T. Adventure, A Day in the Park with Barney, and, if you can squeeze it in, Animal Actors on Location!
Take a stroll down Hollywood Boulevard to Mel's Diner for a burger and a shake (and a brief reprieve from the chaos) before heading back and letting the kids loose at the wet-and-wild Curious George Goes to Town. After your kids have run down their batteries a bit, you can rest your feet at an afternoon showing of Animal Actors on Location! (if you didn't catch it before lunch).
For Older Children. Teens & Adults
A single day is usually sufficient to see the park if you arrive early and keep a fairly brisk pace. Skip the city sidewalks of the main gate and Terminator 2: 3-D Battle Across Time until later. Go to the right and tackle the Simpsons and Men in Black Alien Attack, and then make a counterclockwise loop to catch Fear Factor Live!, Jaws, Disaster! A Major Motion Picture Ride . . . Starring You!, Revenge of the Mummy, and Twister . . . Ride It Out. Break for lunch at some point in the midst of that quartet (there are plenty of eateries along the route), and then tackle the Shrek 4-D adventure, before catching the fun in Terminator 2: 3-D Battle Across Time. If you can manage to wait, save Hollywood Rip Ride Rockit (which debuted in mid-2009) for last, as lines will be longest early in the day.
A second day lets you revisit some of your favorites or see those you missed. With the pressure to hit all the major rides lessened, you can take on the park in a more leisurely fashion, ensuring a more enjoyable experience. You can also visit the Universal Horror Make-up Show and Beetlejuice's Graveyard Revue.
Note: This information was accurate when it was published, but can change without notice. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question before planning your trip.