If you have a tween or teen, you know this group can be difficult to please on any family vacation. Families visiting Universal Studios in Orlando, Florida will be pleasantly surprised to find the park not only appeals to tweens and teens, but seems to cater to them. With daredevil roller coasters, thrilling water rides, and some of the best attractions Florida has to offer, Universal Studios and Islands of Adventure will win over the tweens and teens in any family.

What Tweens and Teens will Love about Islands of Adventure and Universal Studios in Orlando, Florida-TravelingMom

Photo credit: Kirsten Maxwell – Teaching Traveling Mom


What Tweens and Teens Will Love About Universal Studios in Orlando, Florida

Universal Studios in Orlando, Florida, is one of those theme parks that will appeal to families with children of all ages, but it seems most suited to families with tweens and teens. The first time we visited with our children, our youngest was four and couldn’t ride most of the rides due to height requirements. He did find rides he loved in Seuss Landing and Marvel Super Hero Island, but there was not much else he could enjoy in Islands of Adventure. Fast forward five years and Universal Studios is an entirely different experience for our family. With a nine year old, tween, and teen, we could easily spend two days in the parks, exploring Islands of Adventure and Universal Studios Resort and loving every minute of it!

Of course this wouldn’t be a genuine review of the park if I didn’t ask my tween and teen what they love about Universal Studios, so here’s a summary of what they loved (and what they didn’t) from their point of view.


1. Awesome roller coasters

The roller coasters at Universal Studios are amazing! We love Rip Ride Rockit, where you get to choose the song you listen to while the coaster takes you on a wild ride. Other favorites include: Dragon Challenge (a double roller coaster that loop and corkscrew around each other), The Hulk (similar to Dragon Challenge but faster), Ripsaw Falls (not super fast, but super wet), Revenge of the Mummy, and Jurassic Park River Adventure. I would ride all of these over and over again!

Islands of Adventure and Universal Studios in Orlando, Florida Ripsaw Falls-TravelingMom

Ripsaw Falls is one of our favorites!
Photo credit: Kirsten Maxwell – Teaching Traveling Mom

2. Harry Potter everything

If your kids love Harry Potter, they will love Universal Studios in Orlando. In Hogsmeade they will find Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey (not for those with motion sickness), Dragon Challenge, and Flight of the Hippogriff (good for little kids). There’s also Honeydukes Sweet Shop (a favorite) and Olivanders wand shop. There’s a train between Hogsmeade (located in Islands of Adventure) and Diagon Alley (located in Universal Studios). Taking the Hogwarts Express between the two is fun and transports riders in no time at all. At Diagon Alley, visitors will love Harry Potter and the Escape from Gringotts. Wandering through the streets and exploring the shops and alleys is a must for any Harry Potter fan.

3. Delicious food

I have two words: butter beer. If you haven’t tried this magical drink, head to Universal Studios for this delicious concoction. Whether you have it frozen or regular, with or without cream, I promise it is refreshing on a hot Florida day. We usually eat at Three Broomsticks in Harry Potter World when we visit and have never been disappointed with the food. Other favorites include Lard Lad Donuts (with donuts as big as your head) in Simpsons Land and Mythos in The Lost Continent part of Islands of Adventure. Tweens and teens will love all of the food options to choose from in the two parks.

Islands of Adventure and Universal Studios in Orlando, Florida Honeydukes-TravelingMom

I know a lot of tweens and teens who would love Honeydukes!
Photo credit: Kirsten Maxwell – Teaching Traveling Mom

4. Easy to navigate

Islands of Adventure and Universal Studios are very easy to navigate as they are essentially big circles. It’s easy enough to have a meeting place if you get lost and find your way back to it. The parks aren’t too large, so it is easy to walk around and enjoy everything in a day.

5. Characters tweens and teens can relate to

Younger kids will relate to the super heroes and characters in Seuss Landing as well as those from Shrek and Despicable Me, but tweens and teens will like characters such as The Simpsons, Harry Potter, Jurassic Park, and King Kong. This is what makes Universal Studios different than other parks in Orlando. They appreciate an older audience and it makes it more appealing to tweens and teens.

Islands of Adventure and Universal Studios in Orlando, Florida Simpsons-TravelingMom

Many tweens and teens will love The Simpsons part of Universal.
Photo credit: Kirsten Maxwell – Teaching TravelingMom

Our family enjoyed this visit to Universal Studios in Orlando, Florida, but it seemed many of their rides are 4D or simulator based. If you have a child (or adult) who suffers from motion sickness like we do, this isn’t the greatest thing. If your family loves roller coasters, this park needs to be on your must-visit list. Families will not be disappointed, and tweens and teens will leave their complaints at the gate.

Looking for more Orlando fun? Check out these great posts from fellow TravelingMoms: Secrets of Diagon Alley and What Not to Miss at Universal Citywalk.