The Complete Guide to Visiting Universal Orlando Resort with Kids

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Universal Orlando Resort is known for its intense and thrilling attractions.

The Jurassic World Velocicoaster, Hollywood Rip It, Ride It, Rock It!, Hagrid’s Magical Creatures Motorbike Adventure, Harry Potter and the Escape from Gringotts, Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey, The Revenge of the Mummy, Jurassic Park River Adventure, and The Incredible Hulk Coaster are just a few examples of the thrilling attractions that await in a visit to Universal Studios Florida, Universal’s Islands of Adventure, and Universal’s Volcano Bay at Universal Orlando Resort.

Universal Orlando Resort
Credit: Universal Twitter

However, there is a misconception that due to that plethora of thrill rides that Universal Orlando is really more for teenagers and adults, rather than children.

If you’re considering taking your child to Universal Orlando Resort, there are plenty of attractions and experiences that they surely won’t forget.

Here’s a look at everything you need to know for taking your child to Universal Orlando Resort.

Things to Know When Visiting Universal Orlando With Kids

Related: Comparing Universal Orlando Resort Hotel Benefits

If you’re taking the kids to Universal Orlando Resort, there are many things that you want to be aware of.

When is the best time to visit Universal Orlando?

The best time to visit all depends on what you’d like to get out of your stay at Universal Orlando Resort. If you’re looking to avoid the busiest crowds of the year and have the shortest wait times possible, it’s recommended to visit in late January and through the first portion of February before Spring Break crowds begin to populate the Parks.

While Central Florida weather is always a little unpredictable, it should be noted that during this time the weather can be all over the place, but typically it feels really nice during the day and is not too hot, which is great for the little ones who might be grumpy in the hot weather.

Universal Orlando Resort
Image Credit: go.carolinas.aaa.com

If you’re looking for the most magical experience, nothing beats taking the little ones to Universal Orlando during the holidays. From the Macy’s Parade to the Grinch character meet-and-greet to Grinchmas in Seuss Landing at Universal’s Islands of Adventure, it is a special time of the year that takes place starting in mid-to-late November and running through the first weekend of the New Year.

Holidays at Universal Orlando
Credit: Universal Orlando

Also, keep in mind that Universal’s Volcano Bay may be closed due to inclement weather depending on the time of year you go.

Can you bring a diaper bag or stroller to Universal Orlando?

You can absolutely bring a diaper bag or stroller. There is stroller parking that will need to be used at attraction entries as you are not allowed to bring your stroller in line, into a show, or most restaurants and diaper bags are welcome.

Universal Orlando says this about strollers for rent at the Parks:

Single or double strollers are available for rent upon entering Universal Studios Florida™ and Universal’s Islands of Adventure™, or you may bring your own stroller if you find it more convenient. Strollers and Electronic Convenience Vehicles (ECVs) will not be available for rent at Universal’s Volcano Bay™.

Here is a look at the acceptable and prohibited items when it comes to things you might want to pack for your little one from Universal Orlando’s website:

Acceptable Items

  • Bottled Water (maximum 2 liters)
  • Small snacks that do not require heating
  • Any food required for medical purposes and medically-indicated nutritional supplements
  • Any food required for special dietary needs
  • Baby food/baby formula
  • Soft-sided insulated bags no larger than 8.5″ wide x 6″ high x 6″ deep

Prohibited Items

  • Glassware or glass containers
  • Open containers or drinks containing alcohol
  • Hard-sided coolers
  • Soft-sided coolers larger than 8.5″ wide x 6″ high x 6″ deep
  • Picnic lunches; any food that requires heating or refrigeration; folding chairs
Universal Orlando Water Taxi
Credit: Universal Orlando

What are the height requirements for rides at Universal Studios Florida and Universal’s Islands of Adventure? 

Height requirements vary by attraction starting at 34” and working its way up, which we’ll dive more into below. There are posted height requirements at every single ride and Universal Orlando Team Members at the entrance of each queue can measure your child.

Is Child Swap available? 

Child swap is when your party waits through the line together and then a portion of your party goes on the ride while a portion stays off with a child who does not meet height requirements. When the first portion of the party has returned, the other portion of the party who sat off the first time gets to go. It’s available for every attraction, but each attraction varies how it is done, so you should see a Universal Orlando Team Member at the front of each queue to be directed on how to get child swap.

Credit: Universal
Credit: Universal

Comparing Universal Studios Florida and Universal’s Islands of Adventure For Kids

Here is a list of height requirements for rides at Universal Studios Florida and Universal’s Islands of Adventure that you can use to see what attractions your child can ride, but keep in mind there are more than just rides to experience at the Parks.

Universal Studios Florida

  • Despicable Me Minion Mayhem™
    Must be at least 40″ (102cm). Children between 40″–48″ (102cm-122cm) must be accompanied by a supervising companion. Persons under 40″ (102cm) must experience this attraction from an adjacent stationary seat.
  • E.T. Adventure™
    Must be at least 34″ (87cm). Children between 34″–48″ (87cm-122cm) must be accompanied by a supervising companion.
  • Fast & Furious – Supercharged™
    Must be at least 40″ (102cm). Children between 40″–48″ (102cm-122cm) must be accompanied by a supervising companion.
  • Harry Potter and the Escape from Gringotts™*
    Must be at least 42″ (107cm). Children between 42″–48″ (107cm-122cm) must be accompanied by a supervising companion.
  • Hollywood Rip Ride Rockit™*
    Must be at least 51″ (130cm) and no more than 79″ (201cm).
  • MEN IN BLACK™ Alien Attack™
    Must be at least 42″ (107cm). Children between 42″–48″ (107cm-122cm) must be accompanied by a supervising companion.
  • Race Through New York Starring Jimmy Fallon™
    Must be at least 40″ (102cm). Children between 40″–48″ (102cm-122cm) must be accompanied by a supervising companion.
  • Revenge of the Mummy™*
    Must be at least 48″ (122cm).
  • The Simpsons Ride™
    Must be at least 40″ (102cm). Children between 40″–48″ (102cm-122cm) must be accompanied by a supervising companion.
  • TRANSFORMERS: The Ride-3D
    Must be at least 40″ (102cm). Children between 40″–48″ (102cm-122cm) must be accompanied by a supervising companion.
  • Woody Woodpecker’s Nuthouse Coaster™
    Must be at least 36″ (92cm). Children between 36″–48″ (92cm-122cm) must be accompanied by a supervising companion.

Universal’s Islands of Adventure

  • The Amazing Adventures of Spider-Man®
    Must be at least 40″ (102cm). Children between 40″–48″ (102cm-122cm) must be accompanied by a supervising companion.
  • Cat in the Hat™
    Must be at least 36″ (92cm). Children between 36″–48″ (92cm-122cm) must be accompanied by a supervising companion.
  • Doctor Doom’s Fearfall®*
    Must be at least 52″ (133cm).
  • Dudley Do-Right’s Ripsaw Falls®*
    Must be at least 44″ (112cm). Children between 44″–48″ (112cm-122cm) must be accompanied by a supervising companion.
  • Flight of the Hippogriff™
    Must be at least 36″ (92cm). Children between 36″–48″ (92cm-122cm) must be accompanied by a supervising companion.
  • Hagrid’s Magical Creatures Motorbike Adventure™*
    Must be at least 48” (122cm).
  • Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey™*
    Must be at least be 48″ (122cm).
  • Jurassic Park River Adventure™
    Must be at least 42″ (107cm). Children between 42″–48″ (107cm-122cm) must be accompanied by a supervising companion.
  • Jurassic World VelociCoaster*
    Must be at least 51” (130cm).
  • The High in the Sky Seuss Trolley Train Ride!™
    Must be at least 36″ (92cm). Children between 36″–48″ (92cm-122cm) must be accompanied by a supervising companion.
  • The Incredible Hulk Coaster®*
    Must be at least 54″ (138cm).
  • Popeye & Bluto’s Bilge-Rat Barges®
    Must be at least 42″ (107cm). Children between 42″–48″ (107cm-122cm) must be accompanied by a supervising companion.
  • Pteranodon Flyers™
    Please note that Pteranodon Flyers™ is designed for children 36″–56″ (92cm-143cm) tall. A child meeting this requirement must accompany guests over 56″ (143cm) tall. Children between 36″–48″ (92cm-122cm) must be accompanied by a supervising companion.
  • Skull Island: Reign of Kong™
    Must be at least 36″ (92cm). Children between 36″–48″ (92cm-122cm) must be accompanied by a supervising companion.

*These rides have test seats available so that Guests can determine comfort and fit for themselves before riding.

If you’re looking at the two Parks for the rides that will be most accessible to children, E.T. Adventure Ride has the shortest height requirement of any of the attractions. After E.T. Adventure Ride, several attractions have 36” height requirements.

universal orlando resort
Credit: Universal

But, keep in mind, there is more than just rides to experience.

Universal Studios Florida is home to three world-class entertainment shows in Animal Actors Live! On Location, The Monster Horror Makeup Show, and The Bourne Stuntacular, all of which do not have height requirements to experience. While Monster Horror may seem scary on the outside looking in, it is actually a comedy show that many children will enjoy.

Related: Universal’s Epic Universe Erects Two NEW Buildings as Construction Ramps Up

At Universal’s Islands of Adventure, the young ones are bound to fall in love with Seuss Landing. An entire island dedicated to Dr. Seuss’s beloved children’s books. There are character meet-and-greets, rides, and play areas to enjoy.

IOA entry
Credit: ITM

Both Parks are home to some incredible meet-and-greets, including the DreamWorks Destination character meet-and-greet and Despicable Me meet-and-greets at Universal Studios Florida, and the Marvel character meet-and-greets at Universal’s Islands of Adventure.

The Wizarding World of Harry Potter

No matter which theme park (or both) you decide to visit, you and your young ones will be amazed at the detail of The Wizarding World of Harry Potter.

What is the Hogwarts Express and can my child ride it?

Everyone is welcome on the Hogwarts Express, but you must have park-to-park admission to ride it. The Hogwarts Express travels to and from the Hogsmeade Station (Universal’s Islands of Adventure) to King’s Cross Station (Universal Studios Florida), which will bring you to Diagon Alley.

Related: Universal Could Be Adding New Ride to Wizarding World of ‘Harry Potter’

Hogwarts Express
Credit: ITM Krysten S.

Here is what Universal Orlando says about Diagon Alley, located at Universal Studios Florida:

Follow in Harry Potter’s footsteps as you walk through the streets of London, and enter Diagon Alley™ where you’ll find many of the wizarding world’s most famous establishments. Dine at the Leaky Cauldron™, see a wand choose a wizard at Ollivanders™ wand shop, and get ready to travel deep below Gringotts™ bank for a multi-dimensional thrill ride.

Credit: Universal

Here is what Universal Orlando says about Hogsmeade, located at Universal’s Islands of Adventure:

Nestled at the foot of Hogwarts™ castle, you’ll find this snowcapped wizarding village bustling with enchanted shops, an inviting tavern and more. Explore the corridors and classrooms of Hogwarts™. Take off with Harry Potter™ and his friends to soar above the castle on a journey like no other.

Universal Orlando Wizarding World of Harry Potter
Credit: Universal Orlando

There is so much to enjoy no matter whether you ride the rides or not in The Wizarding World of Harry Potter at both locations. From having a wand select you, to exploring the halls of Hogwarts, to riding the Hogwarts Express, to enjoying a cup of butterbeer (yes, kids can have it!) there is something for everyone, including the little ones.

Kid-themed Experiences and Play Areas at Universal Orlando Resort

In addition to rides, shows, and the various other experiences we’ve mentioned, there are four distinct play areas specifically designed for the kids to enjoy at Universal Orlando Resort.

At Universal Studios Florida, Woody Woodpecker’s KidZone is home to two play areas Fievel’s Playland and Curious George Goes To Town. There are massive water areas for them to cool off (and get soaked if they wish) on a hot day and there is also a play area located at the back of Curious George Goes To Town where kids can collect, throw, and shoot soft foam balls.

Related: Universal Reopens Attraction After Nearly Two Years Closure

Universal Orlando’s official description for Fievel’s Playland reads:

Inspired by the films An American Tail and Fievel Goes West, kids can explore a whimsical playground filled with oversized props. They can climb a 30-foot spider web, crawl through giant tin cans, cross swaying rope bridges, explore an enormous cowboy boot, splash in a 1,000-gallon cowboy hat and take on a twisting 200-foot water slide.

Universal Orlando’s official description for Curious George Goes To Town reads:

Join Curious George in this playground overflowing with fun. Enter the town’s cartoonish buildings and grab a pump, hose or lever in the water play area. Discover activities for inquisitive little ones in the Animal Show tent. And head to the Man with the Yellow Hat’s Ball Factory to throw, blast, and launch thousands of soft foam balls.

Curious George Goes To Town
Credit: Universal Orlando

Over at Universal’s Islands of Adventure, there are three distinct play areas for kids to enjoy.

In Seuss Landing, there is If I Ran the Zoo (please note this experience is currently close). The official description for the play area reads:

Step into the wacky habitats of bizarre creatures in this play area inspired by Gerald McGrew’s unusual zoo. Slide down tunnels in Zomba-ma-tant, catch a Natch in a cave in Kartoom, or trap beasts in the wet play area. But beware the Scraggle Foot Mulligatawny—unless you like getting sneezed on.

Seuss Landing
Credit: Universal

In Toon Lagoon, there is Me Ship, The Olive. The official description for this play area reads:

Well blow me down. This colorful ship is an imaginative play area packed with fun from bow to stern. Across three decks you’ll find passageways, slides, climbing nets, horns, an interactive piano and more. You can even squirt unsuspecting passengers of Popeye & Bluto’s Bilge-Rat Barges® with water cannons as they sail by below.

Me Ship, The Olive
Credit: Universal Orlando

And finally, in Jurassic Park, there is Camp Jurassic. The official description for this play area reads:

This mega recreation area is a multi-level prehistoric playground where kids can have mammoth-sized fun. Explore dark caves and amber mines, climb dinosaur-capture nets and negotiate swaying suspension bridges as the ground rumbles with the roar of dinosaurs.

Camp Jurassic
Credit: Universal

All of these areas are immersive and can be one of the highlights of your entire trip because of the memories made in the unique experiences, which may be designed for the kids but no doubt are fun for the entire family.

Will you be taking your child to Universal Orlando Resort soon? Let us know in the comments.

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