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Working for Universal Orlando brings all sorts of benefits, from special discounts to insider information. The best perks, though, are also the most random. If you keep an ear out, you will find all sorts of fun opportunities that are not mentioned in the employee manuals. To make the most of your job, stay open to new experiences, never turn down an offer without an excellent reason, and get to know people across all departments and job descriptions.

Here are my 6 favorite random things to do as a Universal Orlando team member!

1. Attend previews

Bill and Ted's Excellent Halloween AdventureBill and Ted's Excellent Halloween AdventureAt Employee Preview Night, you can see the year's Halloween Horror Nights event before it opens to the general public.

Universal Orlando prides itself on delivering an amazing experience to its guests. Yet every gamer knows that you can’t get a quality finished product without extensive beta tests. Who better to serve as beta testers for new theme park attractions and experiences than the people who already work for the company? As a Universal team member, you will get first crack at new rides, parades and other activities.

One of the most anticipated nights on the team member calendar is Halloween Horror Nights’ Employee Preview Night. Shortly before the event opens to the public, it opens solely for team members and their invited guests. Imagine a private after-hours party just for you, your coworkers and your guests! Together you will form the first group ever to walk through the current year’s hotly anticipated haunted houses and scare zones, and to see the year’s signature shows.

2. Eat at the Grill

HHN CostumesHHN CostumesTeam members flock to see the Halloween Horror Nights costumes and makeup in detail.

Naturally, every theme park has one or more cafeterias for the employees to eat while they are working. Universal’s Employee Grill, however, is arguably one of the best. The food is excellent, consisting of many of the same dishes served in the parks at a fraction of the cost. Yet the atmosphere is what really sets the Grill apart.

Universal works hard to instill a feeling of family among its team members, regardless of department, job title or managerial status. Everyone is comfortable with everyone else, and this easy camaraderie plays out at the Grill, forming a sort of 1950s-style hangout where the best part of the meal is spending time with friends from across the parks. The crowd level really swells during Halloween Horror Nights, when many people spend their off hours at the Grill examining the actors’ costumes and makeup in detail.

3. Hang out with the 3rd Shift cleaning and maintenance crews

Third Shift Cleaning CrewThird Shift Cleaning CrewThere is something special about walking the streets late at night, when only the 3rd shift cleaning and maintenance crews are out.

Universal Orlando allows team members to spend time on property at all hours of the day and night. Whether the parks are open or closed, your employee ID will allow you access. When I worked for Universal and lived in an overcrowded apartment, I often took advantage of that privilege to get away from home for a few hours late at night.

Like all theme parks, Universal uses the nighttime hours, when the parks are closed, to perform deep cleaning and maintenance. The men and women who work on those crews are almost legendary for their abilities, but what I learned is that they are also among the most fascinating people I have ever met. Some of my favorite memories involve sitting at the Grill at 3 a.m., sharing a late-night snack while listening to their stories.

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