When you think of Universal Studios, you probably think of big rollercoasters designed with adults and teenagers in mind, and for the most part, this is true. Still, there are rides and sections of the park suited to the little ones of the family who will be sure to have a great family day out in Orlando, regardless.
If you’re trying to decide if Universal Studios is worth visiting with your little ones, keep on reading to find out the Universal Studio rides for toddlers and some tips and tricks I’ve learned along the way. The rides below include rides for younger toddlers below 40″ and those who just make the 40″ cut.
Note this article has been recently updated as many of the toddler attractions (Curious George, Woody Woodpecker, Fievel’s Playground) have been permanently closed at Universal since January 2023, to make way for a new area for that age group. All we know at the moment is it is not Minion, Trolls or Shrek themed but watch this space for updates whilst work is underway. We do know it will be amazing!
What is Universal Studios?
Before we begin, it’s useful to understand the different sections of Universal Studios, as it can get confusing.
The main theme park splits into two sections, Universal Studios and Universal’s Islands of Adventure, and if you purchase a park-to-park ticket, you can switch between the two parks that are a few hundred meters apart and also connected by the Hogwarts Express. (It’s a different experience each way and you must have a park to park ticket to go on this ride.)
The Universal Franchise also has a themed water park called Volcano Bay, about a mile away from the regular theme parks and is included in the three park explorer ticket.
Toddler Tips for Universal Studios
Before we get into the toddler-friendly rides at Universal Studios, I’d like to share some tips and tricks when visiting the parks.
When to Visit Universal Studios
Like most places, the summer months see a massive increase of visitors to Universal Studios, so if you can try to avoid these months and visit during the off-peak season (October – February).
The off-peak season is the best time to visit Universal Studios because not only will the waiting times be a lot shorter, but you also won’t be dealing with the blistering Florida sun.
Schedule in Naps
The Universal parks are huge and although they can be done in a day, dragging your children around in the heat from morning to evening is sure to end in tears.
I’ve found heading back to the hotel and scheduling a nap during the hottest part of the day, and returning to the park in the late afternoon results in happier children, happier parents, and a reduced amount of breakdowns.
SPF Top Ups
This one may seem obvious, but it is easy to forget after the initial application to top up your entire family’s SPF throughout the day. Aim to reapply sunscreen every 2 hours, especially around lunchtime when the sun is at its hottest.
Purchase a Sunglass Strap
A tremendous amount of sunglasses get lost at theme parks each and every year, so if you or anyone in your family is wearing any to the park, think about purchasing a strap to prevent them from falling off during a ride.
Rent a Stroller
Renting a stroller can drastically change the outcome of your day, and Universal has both single and double strollers for rent at the entrance of their parks. If you park hop via Hogwarts Train, you” be given a ticket when you drop your stroller off at the station and can pick up a new stroller at either Hogsmeade or Kings Cross Station.
Take Advantage of the Rides “Child Swap”
Universal Studios Child Swap feature allows your entire family to enter the ride’s queue, and once at the front, section off into riding and non-riding groups.
One parent can ride the ride while the other waits with the small child in a waiting room. Once the ride is complete, the adults’ swap places and parent two can ride without waiting in the queue again. This feature is even better if you have an older child riding as well, as they will get to ride back to back with both parents.
Use the Baby Care Centres
The baby care centre in Universal Studios is near the lockers at Lost and Found and First Aid center
The centres have changing tables, nursing rooms, rocking chairs and microwaves so you can quietly take care of your child away from the hustle and bustle of the park.
Hire a Locker
Especially if you have little ones, hiring a locker frees up your hands and means you aren’t carrying an extra bag of heavy items around the parks with you.
Rides for Toddlers in Universal Studios
Universal Studios splits into eight sections, only one of which (World Expo) doesn’t have a ride or show suitable for young children.
World Expo is home to Men in Black “Alien Attack”, but it is only suitable for children with a minimum height of 42 inches.
The remaining kid-friendly rides on this list are suitable for young children, with some rides requiring a minimum height of 40 inches, which I will note.
So, if you’re wondering what are the best rides at Universal Orlando for toddlers, let’s get into it!
Despicable Me Minion Mayhem
Despicable Me Minion Mayhem is like the old Shrek 4D, where you’ll be sitting in a moving theatre, following along with a story of the distinctive yellow minions.
Minion Mayhem is an extremely popular ride at Universal, so it’s a good idea to get there as early as possible to avoid long queues.
As with all motion simulators at Universal Studios, if your child prefers a non-moving seat, they are at the front of the theatre. Unfortunately, children under 40 inches aren’t allowed to enter the ride.
Transformers: The Ride – 3D
The third and final ride suitable for young children in Production Central is the Transformers 3D ride.
Children 40 inches or over can ride the Transformers ride, but it is important to note that there are intense moments along with fighting scenes that may not be suitable for all children.
If your child is a thrill-seeking daredevil, they’ll love throwing on their 3D classes and joining Optimus Prime and Bumblebee fight to keep the AllSpark out of Megatron’s hands.
Race Through New York Starring Jimmy Fallon
Race Through New York Starring Jimmy Fallon, is another motion stimulator requiring a minimum height of 40 inches.
Join Jimmy Fallon as you race through New York City with all your favourite characters from the Tonight Show.
Fast and Furious: Supercharged
Kids love cars, and the Fast and Furious: Supercharged ride not only allows you to race through the streets in a motion simulator street chase, but you’ll also experience a massive selection of tricked-out vehicles in the garage queue while you wait. One thing to be wary of is, is language. As you sit in your ‘party bus’ one of the characters uses the word ‘p’ word once. Otherwise you are then in a huge 3D car chase!
The Fast and Furious: Supercharged ride requires children to be over 40 inches.
The Horror Make-Up Show – no height requirement but not really suitable for young kids
Although the Horror Make-Up Show has no minimum height requirement, it involves fake blood, monsters, and gory scenes, which may not suit your little ones. I thought I would mention this in case the no height restriction confuses.
London and Diagon Alley
Calling all Harry Potter fans to the Hogwarts Express at King’s Cross Station.
The Hogwarts Express runs between the two parks, and with a park-to-park ticket, you can save yourself the walk to Universal’s Islands of Adventure and hop on the train in Universal Studios and end up in Hogsmeade at IOA. Enjoy all the secrets and tips of the Wizarding World of Harry Potter here.
Tales of Beedle the Bard and Celestina Warbeck Shows
As you gather around the stage, you’ll witness a trunk show with props and puppetry as performers retell the famous tales of Beedle the Bard.
Kang & Kodos’s Twirl ‘n’ Hurl
The iconic Simpson’s drooling alien twirls you around in a spinner ride that also moves up and down by controls in each saucer.
Kang & Kodo’s Twirl ‘n’ Hurl has no minimum height requirement, so the little ones, even if they aren’t familiar with the Simpsons, will love swooping around in their flying saucer.
The Simpson’s Ride
Another ride for the slightly taller kids of 40 inches or above is the Simpsons Ride which puts you in a motion-simulator vehicle that crashes through Krustyland with Homer, Marge, Bart, Lisa and Maggie.
The ride lasts for 8 minutes, and if you, or anyone in your family, are prone to motion sickness, it’s probably best to leave this one out.
Animal Actors on Location Show
Head into the Animal Actors on Location set to witness some ingenious animals perform tricks and stunts directly in front of you.
Birds, cats, puppies, and other animals interact with the audience and provide a calm and enjoyable show that will captivate the babies and little ones of the family. It’s all shaded so a great respite from the heat too!
If you stick around after the show, you may even get a photo opportunity with the fluffy cast members.
E.T Adventure is based on the well-known Steven Spielberg film from 1982. You begin the indoor ride by watching a short movie about E.T with Steven Spielberg explaining that you need to help E.T get home and save his friends. The queue winds through a dimly lit night-time forest which may seem a little daunting for some younger children at first. Then the dark ride begins on a bike motion simulator and riding through the sky, looking over rooftops as you help E.T!
E.T Adventure requires children to be over 34 inches to ride, and alternative seating is available should you need it.
You can find characters all over Universal Studios, and the times they make an appearance vary. However, here are the usual meeting points where you can say hello to your favourite characters and snap a photo or two.
- Marilyn Monroe – New York near Macy’s
- Doc from Back to the Future, near the Back to the Future car
- The Men in Black – World Expo outside of the Men in Black Alien Attack
- Knight Bus Conductor – London Waterfront outside Diagon Alley
- Minions – Exit of Minion Mayhem
- Dora the Explorer and Diego – Hollywood
- Gru, Agnes, Edith, Margo and Vector – Hollywood
- Hello Kitty – Hollywood
- Madagascar Penguins – Hollywood
- Betty Boop – Hollywood
- Homer, Marge, Bart and Lisa – Springfield outside of the Kwik-E-Mart
- Optimus Prime, Bumblebeebee and Megatron – Eight Avenue in Production Central
- Scooby-Doo, Shaggy, and the Mystery Van – Woody Woodpecker’s KidZone
- SpongeBob SquarePants, Squidward, and Patrick – Woody Woodpecker’s KidZone
Are There Water Rides at Universal Studios?
Not currently. There used to be a water ride at Fievel’s Playland in Universal Studios for little ones which closed in January 2023.
Is Universal Studios Kid Friendly?
It may not seem like it with those imposing rollercoasters, but there is lots to see which will keep little ones busy, including splash pads.
What Is the Minimum Height for Rides at Universal Studios?
Most rides for toddlers at Universal Studios require the child to be 34 inches or above. Before heading to the park, it’s a good idea to measure your child, so you know which rides they can or can’t go on.