EDITOR’S NOTE: This blog was originally published in October of 2018 and then underwent extensive updates and editing in the fall of 2020 to remain current and relevant.
At Universal Orlando Resort, we offer fun for the whole family, which means there is no shortage of activities for the little ones. We’ve got you covered whether they want to splash around at Universal’s Volcano Bay, dive into their favorite storybook in Seuss Landing at Universal’s Islands of Adventure, or take flight on E.T. Adventure at Universal Studios Florida.
All of the experiences below will work for any of your children under 40” tall and I highly recommend checking out the height requirements for all our parks before you visit. Once you’ve done that, here’s a helpful list of fun things you can do with your kids at Universal Orlando.
Universal Studios Florida & Islands of Adventure
Attend a Wand Ceremony at Ollivanders
A stop by Ollivanders, makers of fine wands since 382 BC, is a must for any young witch or wizard. Just look for the storefront in either Hogsmeade or Diagon Alley and stop by to browse a large selection of wands. And if you’re lucky, your child might get chosen to be paired with a wand of their own in a personalized interactive experience with an Ollivanders wand maker. If selected, you’ll have the option of whether or not to purchase the wand that chose your child, which I highly suggest because then you can put it to use by practicing your spells at a number of interactive wand spots around Diagon Alley and Hogsmeade. Check out these tips before you visit to help you find all the interactive wand locations.
Meet Your Favorite Characters
Hug time! See your favorite characters come to life all around the resort. Whether you’re looking to fill up that autograph book or just capture another epic photo, your kids will surely never forget the time they finally met their favorite character.
Check out a list of all the meet and greets and where to find them.
Try Butterbeer in The Wizarding World of Harry Potter
Your first sip of Butterbeer is a Harry Potter fan rite of passage. But if you think that sounds delicious, wait till you try Butterbeer Fudge. Plan out a tasting tour for the whole family by reading about all the different Butterbeer treats before you visit.
Universal Studios Florida
Dance Along to Universal’s Superstar Parade
Take a break from your day for a little fun and dance. See your favorite characters up close in the Superstar Parade, including SpongeBob SquarePants and friends, Illumination’s Minions, your favorite furry pals from Illumination‘s The Secret Life of Pets and many more. Don’t forget to check the parade times before joining in the fun.
Share Some Nostalgia on E.T. Adventure
Revisit a piece of your childhood with your kids as you take flight to help E.T. save his home planet. Be sure your child listens closely to E.T.’s parting words at the end of the ride for a special personalized message. You can also recreate the iconic flying bike scene from the film as you exit in a can’t-miss photo-op.
Burn Some Energy at Woody Woodpecker’s KidZone
Among the many to-do’s in this area are the Animal Actors On Location! live show, Curious George Goes to Town play area, character meet-and-greets, and Woody Woodpecker’s Nuthouse Coaster, which is another great ride to introduce your children to the roller coaster experience.
BONUS: Cause a Little Mayhem with the Minions
OK, so your child has hit that 40” tall milestone and you’re looking for their first “big kid ride.” They now meet the height requirement for a number of Universal Orlando attractions, so you have a lot to choose from. I recommend starting with Despicable Me: Minion Mayhem. It’s funny, thrilling, and sure to be a hit with any kid who loves Illumination’s Despicable Me and Minions franchises.
Watch Universal Orlando’s Cinematic Celebration
Watch as your favorite moments from beloved films play out in spectacular fashion in this can’t-miss nighttime water and light show featuring scenes from Jurassic World, Illuminaton’s Despicable Me, the Harry Potter films and more.
Want to end your night at Islands of Adventure? Check out The Nighttime Lights at Hogwarts Castle.
Universal’s Islands of Adventure
Soar Around the Pumpkin Patch on Flight of the Hippogriff
Learn how to approach a Hippogriff before taking off on an adventure in the sky. Twist and turn and catch a breathtaking glimpse of Hogwarts castle and Hogsmeade on your journey. This is a great first-timer roller coaster for your more adventurous little ones.
Fly Over the Park on a Pteranodon
Struggling to read the name of that dinosaur? Don’t worry, you’re not alone. Glide high above Jurassic Park on Pteranodon Flyers. It’s a smooth ride and also one of the best spots throughout the entire resort to get an aerial view of the park. It’s also exclusive to kids; adults can only ride in the company of a child meeting the 36” height requirement.
Let Loose with Dr. Seuss
Wander into your favorite stories in Seuss Landing, a colorful and whimsical land inspired by the popular story books of Dr. Seuss. Ride a couch car through The Cat in the Hat or swoop up and down on One Fish, Two Fish, Red Fish, Blue Fish. Take a spin on the Caro-Seuss-el or take in a story at Oh! The Stories You’ll Hear. There’s plenty to do for the littler kids…and you. (See what I did there?)
Meet a Dinosaur in Raptor Encounter
Get your photo taken with Sierra the baby raptor or fan-favorite Blue from the Jurassic World movies. This is one of the most sought-after photo-ops in the entire destination, so make sure to put it on your must-do list. It’s also the closest you’ll ever come to getting face-to-face with a real raptor.
Learn and Play in Jurassic Park
Jurassic Park is a great place to spend significant time with your smaller children. Among the most kid-friendly experiences are Camp Jurassic (pictured above) and the Discovery Center. At Camp Jurassic, your kids can get some energy out playing in a jurassic-themed playground. In the Discovery Center they can browse fossils, experience a live raptor hatching, and even grab a bite to eat.
Universal’s Volcano Bay
Splash and Play at Runamukka Reef and Tot Tiki Reef
If you want a place to have fun with kids and also relax in the warm Florida sun while they burn some energy, then Runamukka Reef and Tot Tiki Reef at Volcano Bay water theme park are the places to be. Here kids of any age can splash and play all day even if they’re not quite ready to brave one of the numerous water slides around the park. After a day at the reef, they’ll never look at your local splash pad the same.
Grab a Sweet Treat at Voodoo Doughnut
It’s vacation, so doughnuts are on the menu regardless of time of day. And no trip to Universal Orlando is complete without a stop at Voodoo Doughnut. There you’ll find the most delicious and unique doughnuts with a barrage of flavors and playful designs to choose from, including the iconco Voodoo Doll doughnut. Check out their entire menu of deliciously delightful doughnuts.
Satisfy Your Sweet Tooth at Toothsome Chocolate Emporium
Let me tell you about a wondrous place, where whole cupcakes are used as milkshake toppings and chocolate is an essential ingredient for every meal of the day. The menu at Toothsome Chocolate Emporium is a chocolate-lovers dream come true, so your kids are sure to love it.
Chill at Universal’s Cabana Bay Beach Resort
One of the most popular hotels for families on our property — and for good reason — is Universal’s Cabana Bay Beach Resort. I mean, it’s tough to compete with a hotel that has its own bowling alley AND lazy river. And your kids will love that awesome view of Volcano Bay water theme park, which is just steps away.
Sleep Beside Dinosaurs in a Jurassic World Kids’ Suite
The Jurassic World Kids’ Suites at Loews Royal Pacific Resort will transport your child right to the island of Isla Nublar from Jurassic World and allow them the opportunity to sleep among the dinosaurs. The second you open the paddock door, you have entered the world where Velociraptors, Pterodactyls, and even the Indominus Rex roam.
Dinosaurs not really for your kids? Check out the Despicable Me Kids’ Suites at Loews Portofino Bay.
PRO TIP: If your children are too small or unwilling to go on a particular ride that you want to experience, take advantage of our “child swap” program. Each ride and attraction has a family room where one member of your party can wait with the little ones while the rest of your party rides. Once they are finished, switch places so whoever rode can stay with the kids, and the adult(s) who sat out can enjoy the ride.
Well, those are my recommendations. What are your favorite things to do at Universal Orlando with your kids? Share in the comments!