Visiting Universal Studios in Florida with Young Kids

dragon spitting fire - diagon alley - Universal Studios in Florida

Here’s the deal. I’m not a fan of amusement park rides. I love visiting amusement and theme parks, but I detest going on the rides. I get thrill enough of seeing my kids and husband having fun while I watch from the sidelines.

Sometimes I’ll join on the easy rides that require very little thrill and adrenaline factors, but that’s about it.

I’ve been saving to visit Universal Studios in Florida for about three years now because I wanted my youngest boy to be of age to enjoy himself. Now that he was five years old, it was time to visit.

toon lagoon - Universal Studios in Florida

How Universal Studios in Florida Has Changed Me Into a Ride-Loving Mama

Universal has been on my radar for the most obvious reasons – The Wizarding World of Harry PotterMy oldest boy has been a huge fan and my little guy always follows in his footsteps. Plus, I was dying to see how well this part of Universal was done since the best of the best had a chance to work on it.  So coming here was a win-win for all.

hogwarts - Universal Studios in Florida

This part of Universal totally blew us away. It had everything we could’ve imagined and so much more.

We actually saved this part of the parks (it is split into two sections – Diagon Alley and Hogsmead) until the end.

diagon alley, Universal Studios in Florida

Why?

The main reason is we splurged and got the fast pass.

Recommendations On How to Enjoy the Park Best (With a Fast Pass)

We bought the three day pass to both parks, but only one day fast pass. If you are traveling with small kids I really recommend the three days. This way you can enjoy the first day of simple meandering around, checking out the shows (most shows aren’t on the fast pass) and checking out what rides you want to do the following day.

krusty land, simpsons - Universal Studios in Florida

Day 2 – this is when we used the Fast Pass to it’s fullest capacity. Most rides, except for some and most of the Harry Potter World ones (that’s why we saved it for last) are accessible with the Fast Pass.

Most of the rides are great for my youngest boy as well.

comic strip area - Universal Studios in Florida

Even though I’m not a huge fan of rides, I ended up getting a fast pass for myself as well. Unlike most parks, the fast pass is per person and can not be interchanged.

Is it worth the extra price – HELL YES!!!!

We came during the off season and the rides were still a good 75 minute wait each. With the pass we never waited more than 5 minutes.

spider man - Universal Studios in Florida

Because I did have the pass, I really had little excuse not to go on the rides and I’m sooooo glad I did.

Universal, in my opinion, has outrun Disney by miles with their rides. And, for the record, I love Disney but don’t like their rides.

Most of Universal’s rides are simulator rides. After doing one, I am hooked for life.

What these rides allow you to experience is beyond explanation. I couldn’t get enough. I wanted to go on each ride over and over again.

Yes, Universal still had some of the old-school styled roller coasters and free-falling rides, but they are a dying breed.

water ride - Universal Studios in Florida

Day 2 will be your longest by far, there are tons of rides and with the Fast Pass you want to enjoy them the fullest.

Day 3 – this is the day you catch up and suck it up, for the rides that don’t have the Fast Pass accessibility and give the rest of the time to Harry Potter World.

harry potter world - Universal Studios in Florida

Interesting note, even though most of the rides that don’t have the fast pass usually have a wait one hour or more, it moves super fast and the way the waiting lines have been designed is that it becomes part of the ride. So even if you are ‘waiting’ to get on the actual ride, you don’t really feel the wait as you do in other parks, that also have to catch up with this innovative design.

Info for Visiting Universal Studios in Orlando Florida

Prices:

Park to Park Admission – Both Universal Parks

1 day

  • Adult $155
  • Child $150

Single Park Admission

1 day

  • Adult $105
  • Child $100

*You get 20% off for every extra day up to the 4th one.

Harry Potter is a two part attraction

At Universal Studios Florida®: The Hustle and Bustle of DIAGON ALLEY™

  • Walk through the streets of London to Diagon Alley™.
  • Along the way you see many of the wizarding world’s most famous establishments.

At Universal’s Islands of Adventure®: The Charming Village of HOGSMEADE™

  • A village nestled at the foot of Hogwarts™ castle.
  • Stroll the streets and explore shops and eateries.
  • Wander through the classrooms and corridors of Hogwarts™,
  • Soar above the castle with Harry Potter™ on a ride called Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey™.

The Hogwarts™ Express

  • Travel between both Hogsmeade™ Station in Universal’s Islands of Adventure® and King’s Cross Station in Universal Studios Florida®.

Universal

This is actually a compound formed by two theme parks, a water park and five hotels and even a large area filled with restaurants, shows and shops called Universal CityWalk..

Universal Studios

  • TRANSFORMERS: The Ride-3D
  • Despicable Me Minion Mayhem
  • Hollywood Rip Ride Rockit®
  • The Simpsons Ride™   
  • Shrek 4-D
  • Revenge of the Mummy®     
  • MEN IN BLACK™ Alien Attack™
  • Terminator 2®: 3-D
  • E.T. Adventure®
  • Animal Actors On Location!SM
  • Curious George Goes To TownSM
  • Fear Factor Live
  • Fievel’s Playland®
  • Woody Woodpecker’s Nuthouse Coaster®
  • The Blues Brothers® Show
  • A Day in the Park with Barney™
  • Universal Orlando’s Horror Make-Up Show
  • The Wizarding World of Harry Potter™ – Diagon Alley™,
  • Hollywood Rip Ride Rockit®

Universal’s Islands of Adventure

  • The Amazing Adventures of Spider-Man®
  • The Incredible Hulk Coaster®
  • Doctor Doom’s Fearfall®              
  • Storm Force Accelatron®
  • Popeye & Bluto’s Bilge-Rat Barges®
  • Dudley Do-Right’s Ripsaw Falls®
  • Jurassic Park River Adventure®
  • Pteranodon Flyers®
  • The Eighth Voyage of Sindbad® Stunt Show
  • Flight of the Hippogriff™
  • Dragon Challenge™
  • Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey™
  • One Fish, Two Fish, Red Fish, Blue Fish™
  • The Cat In The Hat™
  • Poseidon’s Fury®
  • The High in the Sky Seuss Trolley Train Ride!™
  • Camp Jurassic®
  • Caro-Seuss-el™
  • Jurassic Park Discovery Center®
  • If I Ran The Zoo™
  • Me Ship, The Olive®
  • Oh! The Stories You’ll Hear!

 

 

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Article by Marina Kuperman Villatoro

Marina Kuperman Villatoro CEO of TravelExperta.com, a travel resource site to inspire families to travel with kids of all ages. Marina has been an expat 10+ years in Central America raising 2 boys in a multicultural, trilingual household. She travels all over the world with her family to give first hand experiences of where to eat, stay and play with kids. Needless to say, it’s never boring! Join Marina on Facebook and Twitter for more unique and boutique family travel!
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