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Universal Orlando for Beginners – Families with Young Children – Blog TouringPlans.com


When you’re researching a vacation or watching TV commercials, it may seem like Universal Orlando only includes gigantic roller coasters, vicious dinosaurs, action movie properties, and contraction simulators. It’s easy to think that there’s nothing to do for a young family, or for those who are dizzy, at the resort.

Truth is really more murky than perception. True, Universal offers more exciting attractions than Disney, and all the shows and attractions are more intense than the Disney equivalent. While ET Adventure is very similar to Peter Pan, the former includes a police chase and heavy fog effects, the latter not. And Universal advertises more to teens and teens than Disney.

Still, Universal does some things for young families much better than Disney, and in fact uses the perception of being a haven of emotion as a benefit to those with younger children.

Walks

Universal’s attractions range from carnival trips to epic adventures, dark and scenic walks to exciting roller coasters. To find the best attractions for kids, check out our attraction surveys for decades. Below are the attractions that preschoolers have rated with the best score in theme parks:

Universal Studios Florida

  • Woody Woodpecker’s new home coasters
  • Hogwarts Express
  • Kang & Kodos Twirl n Hurl
  • Despicable Me Minion Mayhem
  • ET Adventure
Islands of adventure

  • High in the Sky Seuss Trolley Ride
  • Dear Seuss-el
  • Pteranodon Flyers
  • The cat in the hat
  • Hogwarts Express

TouringPlans offers a great day plan for parents with young children that incorporates these attractions, several other popular attractions for all ages, and still offers enough time for breaks.

For rides where children are not allowed or are too afraid to ride, a rider change service is offered. Similar to the Disney Rider Switch, one parent stays with a child while the other experiences an attraction. But for our money, we believe that Universal is superior in almost every way.

First, the party waits together in the queue, so adults won’t have to wait in two queues to ride. Second, for the expectant father, there are rider exchange rooms that include benches, toilets, and entertainment (usually suitable for the attraction movie or interactive element). Rider Swap is available at some Universal Studios Florida and Islands of Adventure attractions.

Get to know and greet

Attractions are not the only thing kids want, they want to meet characters too!

Fortunately, meeting the characters at Universal is a less stressful experience than at Disney. Unlike Disney, Universal has largely avoided the concept of “meeting and greeting attraction” such as Princess Fairytale Hall in the Magic Kingdom. In contrast, the characters are more natural while walking on the ground or in joint experiences. Some characters, such as Shrek or SpongeBob, are in designated areas. And because of Universal’s reputation among teens and adults, the characters see fewer crowds than at the Mouse House.

To learn more about meeting and greeting characters at Universal, read our articles on how and where to find your favorite (or not) furry friends.

Playgrounds

Want to know the best kept secret in Universal? It’s yours amazing theme playgrounds.

While Disney has eliminated most of its playgrounds, Universal has kept theirs in top shape. Universal Studios Florida has Feivel’s Playland and Curious George Goes to Town water parks and Curious George Ball Factory dry playground (think thousands of foam balls are being thrown everywhere). All three playgrounds are located on Woody Woodpeckers KidZone. At Islands of Adventure in Jurassic Park there is Jurassic Camp, a Tom Sawyer Island-like theme area, and the If I Ran the Zoo playground at Seuss Landing.

More Activities

Parents know that sometimes you only need small surprises and activities to make your child’s day. Here are some suggestions for other park activities that have little or no waiting:

  • Animal actors on KidZone: Get to know different animals and how they are used in movies and on television. The friendly host demonstrates how dogs do tricks with non-verbal commands, how birds are filmed while in flight, and many other friendly tricks with animals. In addition to the standard animals, the show features otters, cranes, a porcupine and a pig that wants to fly. Animal actors perform several times a day with the first screening around 11:00 p.m.
  • Street shows: Univeral performs several smaller staged shows in its parks that do not require queuing or sitting in a large theater. These street shows feature New York (Blues Brothers and Beat Builders), Hollywood (floats from the Super Star Parade), Diagon Alley (Celestina Warbeck and Tales of Beedle the Bard), and Hogsmeade (Frog Choir and Triwizard Spirit Rally). The shows perform all day long; check out the Universal Orlando app for schedules.
  • Chariot hunts: Take part in fun car hunts during the Christmas and Halloween seasons! Visit participating stores to purchase a map that will guide you through both parks and CityWalk to collect stamps. After collecting each stamp, you receive a unique item, such as an exclusive Christmas ornament or evil candy.
  • Minigolf: CityWalk is home to Hollywood Drive-In Golf, Universal’s own themed mini golf course. Drive-In offers two courses, each on the theme of a fun and whimsical 50’s B-movie. The price starts at $ 18.99 per adult and $ 16.99 per child, with discounts for playing 36 holes.
  • The pool: Yes, kids love the pool. Staying at the property offers some of the best pool options in Orlando just minutes from the park gates. Read our article on Universal Orlando Pools.

Do you have any favorite activities with your children in the parks? Leave them in the comments below!

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