Universal Orlando Resort has made its mark with the addition of the Wizarding World of Harry Potter. But beyond all that fun, both parks – Universal’s Islands of Adventure and Universal Studios Florida – has tons of fun for preschoolers too. We recently visited both parks and were overwhelmed with how many fun things there were. But before you go, here are 6 Tips for Preschoolers at Universal Orlando Resort.
Editor’s Note: This post was written by Rebecca Darling.
For many years, I assumed that it is for big kids – with exciting rides geared to tweens and teens.
We recently visited both Universal Studios Florida and Islands of Adventure for Traveling Mom realized that assumption was DEAD WRONG.
I took my 11 year old and 4 year old – both boys – and found attractions and shows that were perfect for both of them. Universal does an amazing job with theming and details – from Moaning Myrtle in the bathrooms at the Wizarding World of Harry Potter to the torches and dinosaurs in Jurassic Park, as each of the different areas within the parks make you feel like you are stepping into the movie. The rides are different than what you get at Disney, and for us it was great to experience all these new attractions.
Are there rides for preschoolers at Universal Orlando Resort?
The 11 year old was thrilled with both the Spiderman and Transformers 3D and the roller-coasters were unlike anything we had experienced before! The Hulk goes from 0-40 mph in seconds…seriously! As for my 4 year old, he was thrilled with all the rides in Seuss Landing and Woody Woodpecker’s Kidzone. In fact, my 4 year old was tall enough to ride on most of the 4D and 3D rides and he ended up loving them! So with rides, Universal Orlando had it covered.
What else does Universal Orlando Resort offer preschoolers?
Universal Studios Florida and Islands of Adventure have several shows and character appearances to keep Preschoolers happy. Universal characters such as SpongeBob Square Pants, Gru & Minions from Despicable Me, and Marvel Superheroes can be found at various times all over the park. Depending on your child’s interest, there are various shows throughout the 2 parks and a daily Universal’s Superstar Parade that features tons of fun characters. Again, Universal Orlando does a great job in entertaining Preschoolers in various ways.
What are some tips for preschoolers at Universal Orlando Resort?
Being that this was our first trip to the two parks, we really didn’t know what to expect on our trip. Luckily, we found some hidden gems and ideas throughout the park that made the day memorable for my 4 year old. I wanted to pass along these tips, so that you assume your preschooler won;t have a good time, because trust me, they will!
6 Tips for Preschoolers at Universal Orlando Resort
1. Cool off in the Jurassic Park Discovery Center.
Even in the beginning of May, we found Orlando to be hot, so we popped inside the Discovery Center at Jurassic Park just to sit down and cool off for a minute. My boys headed downstairs and we discovered a treasure trove of hands-on activities for them to do. Modeled after Mr. Hammond’s original Visitor Center (from the Movie), my boys played science games and even watched a baby dinosaur being hatched.
2. Find your Preschooler’s Favorite Character.
I mentioned previously that Universal has characters sitings all over the park. Take the time to map our and plan to meet your preschooler’s favorite – their reaction is priceless! My 4 year old has a new-found love of Spiderman and even runs around “shooting” out spider webs at everyone. So when we met Spiderman in Marvel Super Hero Island, he couldn’t wait to show him. Spiderman took the time to “practice” with him, asked him where he was from and even posed for a picture with him. I was super impressed with how much time the characters spend with each family and it made such an impression with my little man that he told everyone about it for days!
3. Take the time to play on a themed playground.
Both parks have lots of differently-themed playgrounds to play on like the 3 levels of Popeye’s Ship (Me Ship, The Olive) in Toon Lagoon, If I Ran the Zoo in Seuss Landing, or Curious George Goes to Town in Woody Woodpecker’s Zidzone. It’s a win-win – kids can play on a unique playground while older siblings ride the scary roller coasters and parents take a break in the shade!
4. Find affordable snacks.
Like any theme park, eating can get expensive. But we found a great deal that kept both kids happy. We purchased a Popcorn bucket in the morning for $5.99 and refilled it throughout the day for only $1.29. We also bought a refillable drink cup for $8.99 and refilled it for only $.99. And then we had 2 fun souvenirs to take home.
5. Take advantage of the child swap program.
Just because you have a little one doesn’t mean you have to miss out on all the big roller coasters. Universal Orlando Resorts had the best kid swap lounges on the big rides. For example, Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey had a room off of the loading area with couches and Harry Potter movies playing on TVs. My little guy didn’t want to leave. And we found this to be the case on most of the big rides – there was an enclosed room for the small child and parent to wait while the other parent rode the ride. Well worth it!
6. Purchase the Express Pass.
If you are traveling with preschoolers whose stamina might not be the same as your older ones, purchase the Express Pass. The Express Pass allows you to get in the front of the line through a separate entrance, bypassing the 30 – 60 minute wait for most rides. We found this to be especially helpful on the 3D & 4D rides/shows we all wanted to see. You can use the Express Pass over and over – there are no limitations and with the price only $29.99 (1 park) and $35.99 (both parks), I found it to be a wise investment.
My advice to you? Don’t assume that your little ones won’t enjoy Universal Orlando Resorts as much as Disney. To me, they were completely different parks with different experiences and memories made. I thought both parks at Universal Orlando were well done. We only had one day, so we unfortunately missed a few things, but I can defiantly say with confidence, we will not make a trip to Orlando again without visiting Universal Orlando Resorts.