When you see the Universal Orlando commercials you may think the parks are only for older kids or adults. This could not be further from the truth. Universal Orlando is the home of two award-winning theme parks offering something for every age. Here are the most family friendly attractions at the Universal Orlando theme parks.
Universal Orlando Theme Parks: Family Fun for Everyone
My family and I had not been to Universal Orlando together in quite awhile. When the opportunity to visit the parks came up last week, we jumped at it. The four of us had one day to see and do all the things we could. My teen and tween both love thrills. I was afraid that my eight year old would have to sit out the thrills at Universal because she wasn’t tall enough for them. While we did run into that on one attraction, Universal has a great remedy. She didn’t miss out on much and we were able to enjoy almost all of the attractions at both parks together.
Traveling Mom Tip: The big thrill rides at Universal that require a height limit of 54″ have a special certificate they will issue to the child. This allows her to return any time after she reaches the height requirement and go to the front of the line with her family. It never expires and is personalized. This leaves the younger ones something to look forward to on the next visit.
Universal Orlando Theme Parks
At The Studios, all attractions are solely based on movies and television shows. As you enter the park, you are greeted by characters such as Woody Woodpecker, Beetlejuice and Hello Kitty. While the kids may not be familiar with those old friends, they can meet a few Minions or even Shrek. If the winds aren’t too high during your visit, head outside of Transformers the Ride 3-D and meet a real Transformer. This is an awesome meet and greet opportunity and popular for both boys and girls. I am pretty sure I was more excited than the kids were to meet a 7 foot tall talking Megatron.
Our first ride of the day was Minion Mayhem, starring the whole cast of Despicable Me. This is perfect for the family with a height requirement of only 40″.
Once the ride is over we emptied into a fun dance party where we never knew who would be there to party with us. After a little silly fun with Minions, we were ready for a few thrills. Revenge of the Mummy is an indoor launch style coaster. It doesn’t go upside down, but it still gets your blood pumping in no time, trust me. My thrill seekers went back for a second run, while hubby and I sat that one out.
Transformers the Ride 3-D is fun for the whole family. It is your job to help the Autobots keep the all-spark safe from the Decepticons. Beware as you may hit a few bumps along the way!
No trip to Universal Studios is complete without a family bike ride on E.T.! This classic attraction is one of the few originals left at the park and while it may be dated, it brings back childhood memories for both adults and kids.
Our last ride at Universal Studios was Men In Black Alien Attack. With another 40″ height requirement ,almost anyone in the family can ride. We got in a moving vehicle and helped blast aliens out of the universe. Keep an eye out for Frankie the Pug; he may be worth some big points. This is a fun ride and can cause a little friendly competition in the family.
Traveling Mom Tip: When you exit the ride ask a team member if they are giving Immigration Tours. They will know what you mean and you may be in for a fun treat.
If you are traveling with little ones (five and under), spend the afternoon in Woody Woodpeckers Kid Zone. This play area has a huge playground, a Curious George Splash and Play Zone as well as a kids’ sized coaster. No visit would be complete without a visit to SpongeBob StorePants to meet your favorite under the sea pal.
Islands of Adventure
Islands of Adventure is just next door. This park is based on the written word. We loved the fact that with our park to park ticket we could bounce between the two all day. This park is home to a few more thrills, but tons of family favorites as well.
Traveling Mom Tip: With a park to park ticket you can ride the Hogwarts Express to go between the two parks. However, if you are in the front of the parks, it is easier to exit and enter thru the front gates as it is only a four minute walk.
Do you have a superhero lover in your family? Marvel Superhero Island is the place for them! The all new Hulk Coaster smashes thru this area like a roaring beast. This was my first ride on Hulk since the changes and holy cow it was amazing. If you like high speed thrills and inversions don’t miss this ride.
While the big kids in the family are on Hulk, the little ones can ride Storm Force Accelerator just next door. I can’t do spinning rides so Miss M. had to find new friends and ride solo. She loved it so much she rode three times. As we were walking through the area, a parade of super heroes on ATV’s came flying past us. Lucky for me I had on a Captain America shirt that day (ya know, like most moms do!). We had a moment and he let me hold his shield.
Escape the hot Florida sun in Toon Lagoon on Dudley Do Right Ripsaw Falls. Let me warn you first, you will get SOAKED! This is the best water ride I have been on. Actually, it’s a little more like a water coaster. My kids had no clue what was coming and laughed until they cried at how soaked they got on this ride.
Jurassic Park is home to a great playground for kids of all ages with climbing areas and water play. If you aren’t tired of the water rides head to the Jurassic Park River Adventure, where you may come face to face with a T-Rex! Speaking of dinosaurs, have you always wanted to meet one? The Raptor Encounter is fun and kinda frightening. Don’t miss it.
Lastly, you don’t want to miss Seuss Landing. This whimsical land is a perfect way to end your visit. You can even meet the Cat in the Hat or The Lorax. Take a spin on One Fish, Two Fish and hopefully the kids won’t get you with the surprise!
Wizarding World of Harry Potter
The Wizarding World is not a separate theme park, but it is very much a different part of the two theme parks. Hogsmeade Village resides in Islands of Adventure while Diagon Alley is in Universal Studios. For the true Harry Potter experience, be sure to have a park to park ticket so that you may ride the Hogwarts Express between the two areas.
When you step into Hogsmeade Village you are no longer in a theme park, you are immersed in all things Harry Potter. From moaning myrtle in the bathrooms to casting spells with interactive wands. You can even take a ride with Harry on the Forbidden Journey in Hogwarts. We rode the Flight of the Hippogriff, a quick little family coaster.
Traveling Mom Tip: Forbidden Journey is a VERY intense ride. I have ridden it once and that is really all I can handle. You can ask a team member at the entrance for a tour and you can still go inside Hogwarts and explore the Wizards School.
Once you finish exploring Hogsmeade Village, hop on the Hogwarts Express to Diagon Alley. Do not miss the Escape from Gringotts family attraction. I can’t really put my finger on what I would call it other than amazing. We rode twice because it was only a 15 minute wait. Diagon Alley is a great area to put your spells to work with the interactive wands. We made it rain on demand!
Traveling Mom Tip: There is no soda sold in the Wizarding World, because the kids didn’t drink it in the films. That is how realistic this area is – you really feel as if you are in the movies. You won’t miss it once you delight in a Frozen Butterbeer while you wait for an angry dragon to breath fire.
No matter how many days you choose to spend at the Universal Orlando theme parks, they will all be filled with fun for the entire family.
What is your favorite family attraction at Universal Orlando?