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The Best Tips for Visiting Universal Orlando with Kids

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Are you planning a trip to Universal Orlando and stressing a bit over taking the kids? We are here to help with tips for going to Universal with kids. These tips will help your trip go smoother which will maximize the fun you and your family will have. Going to Universal Orlando with Kids is a ton of fun and a great way to make memories. Using my Tips for Visiting Universal Orlando with Kids will help you make your trip even better and hopefully cut down on your stress.

tips for visiting universal orlando with kids

Tips for Visiting Universal Orlando With Kids

If you are planning a family vacation to Universal Orlando with kids then there are some things that you can do to make your trip easier and less stress full. I am a mom of 4 and we have been taking trips and visiting theme parks since my kids were little. Along the way and during our visits to Universal in Orlando I have picked up a few things that make my life easier.

From planning to when we are there to make it as fun as possible for all of us while keeping the stress levels down. These Tips for Visiting Universal Orlando with Kids are based on my personal experiences with taking my own family to Universal Orlando Theme Parks. I hope they help you with your trip planning and memory making!

Even if you have a large family with varying ages a trip to Universal Orlando is a fun trip for everyone. When going to Universal Orlando with kids you will want to keep the ages of your kids in mind when going thru these Tips for Visiting Universal Orlando with Kids. I have included tips that might not apply to all ages, but will apply to your kids because of their age.

In our family, we have a 12 year age gap between our oldest and youngest child, and have done Universal Orlando multiple times. We have gone with our youngest being a baby, a toddler, and as a young child. All our visits have been fun for the whole family including our youngest. 

tips for visiting universal orlando with kids

Planning Tips for Visiting Universal Orlando with Kids

One of the biggest stress relievers I have found when it comes to planning a trip is to plan ahead. Planning ahead allows you to know what you are doing, save money and not feel like you are missing things that you want to do. Here are a few tips for planning ahead:

Buy tickets in advance

Most times when booking reservations for Universal Orlando Resorts or buying your theme park tickets, buying in advance will surely help you out. Not only will this secure your booking, but most of the time you can also save money.

Pick The Right Time to Go 

If you are not planning your visit around a specific event or holiday, it’s a good idea to plan your trip to avoid the peak seasons. This allows you to enjoy the park with fewer crowds and the ability to really make your way through the park. Peak Season, the times to avoid include the Summer and the holiday season (October-December).

Familiarize yourself with the park ahead of time

This is probably the most important part of having an efficient and successful trip to Universal Orlando with kids. I like to get online and pull up the park maps ahead of time to plan how I would like my day to go. Well in a rough way because when you are going anywhere with kids you know things can happen. I print out the map and have the kids tell me what attractions and rides they want to do. We then add in my husband’s and I’s items and then find the best possible route and plan to make sure everyone gets to do the things they want to.

Plan meals/breaks accordingly

Spending a long day at the theme park, you obviously need to take a break from having fun and enjoy some time to relax and have a meal and snacks. I like to try to plan my meals and snacks around what is going to make the most sense for my day. Additionally, I try to avoid eating around times that are the most popular to avoid long lines for food. This is also a great way to sneak in some rides with short lines, go on the rides while most people are eating and the lines are shorter. I recommend trying to catch a meal or snack either just before or just after peak meal times.

Download the Universal Florida App

With technology today, it is so helpful to have everything right in the palm of your hand. Download the Universal Florida App on your smartphone to really help with your trip. In the app you can purchase and access your park tickets, make merchandise and food/drink purchases, check ride wait times, and more. If your children have phones have them download the app as well. They can then help plan the park days with you for your trip to Universal Orlando with Kids.

Don’t plan a tight schedule

Visiting a theme park with kids means that they are going to see things and get excited. There will be times that you need to move slower than you would want to because the kids are with you. Going in with a must-see and must-do list is going to be stressful and you will have disappointment. You are going to want to do the things on your list and they are going to want to stop and see everything. Go into the trip with the mindset of relaxing, having fun, and doing what you can to avoid added stress.

Have the kids help with planning

If you have older kids or teens they can help you with the trip planning. This is one of my biggest Tips for Visiting Universal Orlando with Kids if you have older kids. Not only do you know what they have on their must-do list but it also teaches them planning skills.

Hotel Tips for Visiting Universal Orlando with Kids

Stay at a hotel with Early admission

If you have kids that wake up early, taking advantage of getting in the parks early can be a big help. If you’re staying at one of the Universal Orlando resort hotels, you may have access to Early Park Admission. This allows you to enter the park an hour before the general public, giving you a head start on the popular attractions and shorter wait times.

Stay at a hotel within walking distance of Universal Orlando

There are many hotels that you can walk to the Universal Theme parks from in under 20 minutes. When going to the parks with kids many times this is easier than waiting for a bus or boat to ride over to the parks. Hard Rock Hotel, Loews Portofino Bay Hotel, and Loews Royal Pacific Resort are 3 that you can walk from, but there are quite a few others as well.

Stay at a hotel with kid-friendly amenities

Make sure the hotel you are staying at is kid friendly. After a day in the parks having the option of going swimming in the pool is a must for us. Having a hotel room with a mini fridge and a coffee maker makes things easier when it comes to snacks and drinks.

In the Theme Park Tips for Visiting Universal Orlando with Kids

While you are in the park there are something that can make your day go smoother when you are going to Universal Orlando with kids. 

Dress kids in comfortable Clothing

When going to a theme park the idea of having everyone dress in cute outfits so you can take cute pictures sounds like a great idea. However, children do best when they are in comfortable clothing so it is best to have them wear things they like to wear and are comfortable in. When it comes to shoes, sneakers are best. I also suggest not having them wear new sneakers as there is a lot of walking. Sneakers that have been broken in and worn and are comfortable are the best option. 

Know that plans will fall thru

When you are visiting Universal theme parks there is so much to do and see that the kids will want to stop randomly and check things out.

Consider express passes 

If you want to maximize your time and minimize wait times, consider purchasing Universal Express Passes. These allow you to skip the regular lines at most attractions, which can be a huge time-saver, especially during busy periods. However, note that they are an additional cost on top of your regular park admission.

Take breaks and rest

With so much to see and do, it’s easy to get caught up in the excitement. Remember to take breaks and rest periodically, especially if you have younger children. There are plenty of seating areas, shaded spots, and indoor shows where you can take a break from the Florida sun.

Do the child-friendly attractions

Universal Orlando has a range of attractions suitable for children of all ages. Don’t miss out on the Wizarding World of Harry Potter, Seuss Landing, and the Despicable Me Minion Mayhem ride. These areas are filled with magical experiences and are sure to delight your children.

Know the Kid-Friendly Rides

Knowing what rides the kids will be able to ride ahead of time will make it easier when planning your day. It will also save kids from having meltdowns when they have their hearts set on riding a ride only to find out that they are too short to get on that ride.

Split Up to Ride Rides

If you have older kids and younger kids splitting up so everyone can go on the rides they want to and can ride is a great way to do the parks. We split up and take the kids on rides that are near each other. One parent takes the older kids and the other takes the younger kids. 

In our house, my husband likes roller coasters while I do not so it works perfectly. He takes the older kids on rides like The Incredible Hulk Coaster while I take the others on a ride like Amazing Adventures of Spider-Man. After the ride, we meet up and continue thru the park. This helps everyone get on the rides they want to ride and doesn’t leave others just sitting around waiting and doing nothing. 

tips for visiting universal orlando with kids

Do things the Whole Family Can Enjoy Together

While splitting up to ride rides makes sure everyone rides what they want to and can part of the trip is making memories together. There are many rides in both Universal Studios Florida and Universal’s Island of Adventures that the whole family can enjoy. 

If you have the park to park tickets the Hogwarts Express train is a great option for the whole family to enjoy and you can ride it to get from one park to the other. On the Universal Studios Florida side explore Diagon Alley and then ride Hogwarts Express to Hogsmeade in Universal Islands of Adventure. 

What Rides can the whole Family ride at Universal Orlando Theme Parks?

These are the rides and fun that are for kids 36 inches tall or taller that the whole family can enjoy together:

Universal’s Islands of Adventure:

  • Caro-Seuss-el
  • Flight of the Hippogriff
  • One Fish, Two Fish, Red Fish, Blue Fish
  • The Cat in the Hat
  • The High in the Sky Seuss Trolley Train Ride
  • Pteranodon Flyers
  • Storm Force Accelatron
  • Skull Island: Reign of Kong
  • Use interactive Wands in Hogsmeade
  • Oh the Stories You’ll Hear Musical
  • Frog Choir
  • The Mystic Fountain
  • Camp Jurassic
  • Jurassic Park Discovery Center
  • Character Meet and greets

Universal Studios Orlando:

  • Kang & Kodos’ Twirl ‘n’ Hurl
  • E.T.Adventure 
  • Use interactive Wands at Diagon Alley
  • Animal Actors on Location
  • Knight Bus
  • Character Meet and greets

Of course, as the kids get older and taller more ride options open up. The Simpsons Ride, Transformers 3D, and Despicable Me Minon Mayhem are added to the list of rides once a child is 40 inches tall.

When a child hits 42 inches tall they can also add Harry Potter and the Escape from Gringotts, Jurassic Park River Adventure, Fast and the Furious Supercharged, Men in Black Alien Attack, Popeye & Bluto’s Bilge-Rat Barges and Race thru New York Starring Jimmy Fallon to the list of rides they can ride.

Once kids are 48 inches tall thrill rides including Hagrid’s Magical Creatures Motorbike Adventure, Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey and Revenge of the Mummy roller coaster are ride options. 

What To Bring to the Universal Theme Parks with You

Going to a theme park with kids, especially young children is much different than going with adults. If you have a baby or toddler with you you will want to bring things that you won’t need if you are going with older children and teens. 

Fannypack or Crossbody Bag

Consider wearing a practical fanny pack or a compact cross-body purse to securely store your valuable items such as money, credit cards, phone, sunglasses, and more. By doing so, you can conveniently keep these essential belongings close to you while leaving everything else in a spacious diaper bag or safely tucked under the stroller. This arrangement ensures that when you park your stroller before hopping on a ride, you can rest assured that your valuables remain on your person, guaranteeing their safety and accessibility.


If you don’t have one already, I highly recommend grabbing a lightweight backpack to carry around the parks with you. Carrying a purse in a theme park is not the most ideal option, having a backpack allows for a little more freedom and of course is convenient when storing items such as money, phones, food, souvenirs, etc.

A Refillable Water Bottle

The Florida heat can be brutal and bottled water in a theme park can be expensive. Bringing a refillable water bottle is a great option to stay hydrated and save money. You can either use a water fountain or most food stands will fill your bottle for you for free.

Snacks and Food

Kids tend to get hungry at inconvenient times when at a theme park, mainly I find the young kids tell me they are hungry when we are waiting in line for a ride or attraction. I keep snacks in my backpack and then can easily access them as needed. If you have a baby with you then you will want to bring baby food and formula with you. 

Rain Ponchos

Florida weather is unpredictable and you never know when a downpour of rain might hit. They tend to pass pretty quickly but in the meantime, you will want to stay dry. You can find rain ponchos at your local store or on amazon for an extremely affordable rate compared to what you may in the parks. It’s always nice to be prepared!


If you are going with a baby this one is probably obvious to bring. However, I have found that kids ages 6 and under while they might not use a stroller at home need one while in a theme park. There is a lot of walking, they get tired quicker than everyone else, and having the stroller means they can rest their legs if needed. It also helps with carrying things. We hang our backpack on the back of the stroller when we are walking. 


Most of your time at Universal will be spent outdoors and in the sun. It is important to put on sunscreen before getting to the parks, but I also like to bring it with us and then reapply it during the day so no one gets sunburned. This is especially important it you are going to be spending time at Universal’s Volcano Bay water park. 

Which Universal Orlando Park is best for kids?

If you are going with young children then Universal’s Islands of Adventure is the best park to visit. There are plenty of things for the kids to do in each park, however, there are more rides at Universal’s Islands of Adventure than at Universal Studios Orlando for younger kids to ride. 

Which park is better for toddlers Universal or Islands of Adventure?

While Universal Studios Florida does have a few attractions suitable for toddlers Islands of Adventure offers a broader selection of toddler-friendly experiences.

Is Islands of Adventure good for little kids?

If you are planning to only spend one day at Universal Orlando theme parks then going to Islands of Adventure would be the better park to pick when going with little kids. 

What is the best age to take kids to Universal Orlando?

When taking kids to Universal it is better to look at their height instead of their age. Height plays a factor when visiting Universal and what rides kids can go on. Once a child hits 36 inches tall there are quite a few rides, and as they get taller more ride options open up. Children differ in height greatly even when the same age, so while my son at 6 could ride certain rides because he was tall enough, my daughter at 6 could not ride the same ones because she was too short. 

What is the best age to go to Harry Potter World?

As soon as they are interested in Harry Potter. They might not be able to ride the rides yet depending on their height but there is still a lot of fun to be had even if they are younger. As long as they like Harry Potter they will have fun. You can go to the wand shop and buy an interactive wand for the kids to do magic within both Harry Potter lands. There are also lots of tasty snacks and drinks like Butterbeer for the kids to enjoy.

Tips for Planning a Universal Orlando Vacation

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