It has been a busy summer in the Humrich household. Last time I shared a post like this we had spent a week at Lake Powell. You can see more on that adventure here. We love Lake Powell because it’s something we do every year with my husband’s family. We look forward to it every year!
I am happy to say we’ve added another destination to our family adventures. I don’t know that we will go every year but it’s definitely happening again! Over Labor Day weekend we took the kids (and the grandparents) to Universal Studios. We visited both parks, Islands of Adventure and Universal Studios Florida. Plus we hit the water park, Wet ‘N Wild before they close for the opening of Volcano Bay.
One of the biggest concerns I had was having enough to do for my 3 year old. He’s at that age where he wants to be big enough to do everything. It was tough for us to go on rides that he couldn’t, oh the tantrum we had on our hands when we walked up to this and had to explain he wasn’t big enough…
Provide By Universal Orlando
So we made it a point to find all the rides that he could ride and attractions he could take part in. My husband has been to Universal but I had not. There are a couple of ways we were able to enjoy the whole park as a family with toddlers at universal orlando.
Tips for seeing more of the park:
- Stay on site. We stayed at Loews Royal Pacific and it only took us 7-10 minutes to leisurely walk from our hotel to the park entrances.
- With the hotel stay you will also get express passes free. Express passes can cut wait time in half and during off season there’s hardly any wait. We were able to see more of the park and rides.
- VIP tours. If you have the opportunity to spend a day on a VIP tour, I highly recommend it. You will get insider info to the park as well as instant access to the rides while on tour. Some of the rides do not have express pass access (like Escape from Gringots) and we were able to ride those during our tour so we did not have to take the time to ride those rides on our other days in the park.
Shout out to our tour guide who did a fabulous job telling us all about the parks and giving us the best tips for keeping the toddlers happy! And the girl on my left? That’s Allison of Cupcake Diaries. It was so fun to hang out with her family all weekend!
So here’s the insider info and the best ways to keep a toddler (who really really wants to ride big roller coasters) happy. So here’s the run down by park of the rides for toddlers at Universal Orlando.
Universal Islands of Adventure
Seuss Landing – There are two rides kids of any age can ride, One Fish, Two Fish, Red Fish, Blue Fish doesn’t have a height limit but kids will need a parent to ride. You also get wet on this ride! The Caro-Seuss-el doesn’t have a height restriction either. Our kiddo was able to ride rides that had a height requirement of 36 inches so he could also ride The Cat in the Hat, which he absolutely loved!
Fun Fact: The buildings were all formed with foam and then covered with concrete and painted. This helped them create the curved shape of the houses and buildings. There are also no straight streets in Seuss landing.
Hogsmeade – We had the opportunity to be in Hogsmeade after park closing for 2 hours (don’t be jealous… ok I would be too!) and it was amazing! One thing about both parks that I absolutely love is that the whole park is in character. I honestly felt like I had stepped into a Harry Potter movie. And I may or may not have freaked out a little bit with excitement. In Hogsmeade, Flight of the Hippogriff has a 36 inch height requirement. And of all the rides my 3 year old rode this was his favorite. It’s quite the roller coaster for the littles! After each ride he jumped up and said “more time!” This ride does have Express Pass so we lost count of the number of times we rode it.
Jurassic Park – Not going to lie, I also freaked out with excitement in this part of the park too. There’s a dinosaur sighting area that we skipped just in case it scared the littles. The Pteranodon Fliers attraction has a height limit of 36 inches and no Express Pass Entrance. You can take one kid per adult and adults must have a kid with them. The wait for this ride as about 30 minutes. My little enjoyed it but the hubs says it’s pretty short for the wait.
Universal Studio Florida
Diagon Alley – Again with the Harry Potter. Oh. My. Word. It’s amazing to just walk around this place! Check out the shops for fun. There are not rides for toddlers in this area but you can ride the Hogwarts Express between the two parks and both of my kids absolutely loved it! It’s a fun virtual ride the whole family can enjoy! It does not have an Express Pass but you can get into the Harry Potter an hour early if you stay in one of the on site hotels.
Curious George Goes to Town – This was one of my 3 year old’s favorite places. We had a very hard time getting him out of the ball room. It’s seriously a big room full of foam balls. There are tubes running everywhere that shoot balls, collect balls, and drop balls from the ceiling. Beware that the entrance to the ball room is a water area and kids are ready to get you with a water gun. Stick to the outer sidewalk to stay dry.
E.T. Adventure – This ride has a height requirement of 36 inches. You take a bike ride (with E.T. on the front in a basket) through the park and then into space to travel to his home planet. It’s an indoor ride and there’s so much to see! My 3 year old was in awe the whole ride. This is one of the last original rides in the park!
Both parks have virtual experiences the little kids can enjoy too. Some of them, like the Terminator, might be too much for them to handle. My kids fell asleep…
I know this post has been Universal information overload but we enjoyed our trip so much I wanted to share some insider tips with you. Our only regret was not staying an extra day to just relax at the hotel pools (you can pool hop between the on site hotels). We were so tired from the days at the park we never got a chance to check them out. I hear there’s a lazy river and a water slide!
Have you been to Universal Orlando? What is your favorite part of the parks?