Contrary to popular belief, Universal Studios isn’t just aimed at the older family members. There are rides shows and attractions throughout both Universal parks suitable for young children and even toddlers 36 inches and under. For those under 3 entrance is free! We’ve visited with this age several times and discovered that there is more for little ones than you may first think!
If you’re taking your little one to Universal Studios, but you’re unsure which rides are suitable and what your child will even be able to enjoy, then I’ve narrowed down all the rides, attractions and shows in both parks that are suitable for toddlers 36 inches and under, so keep on reading!
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!
Rides for Toddlers 36 Inches and Under
Universal Studios Florida
Hogwarts Express Kings Cross Station
Children under 36 inches are probably too young to know anything about Harry Potter, but that doesn’t mean they don’t know anything about trains.
The Hogwarts Express runs from Kings Cross Station in Universal Studios Florida, to Hogsmeade in Islands of Adventure. If you have a park-to-park ticket, you can hop on the train and eliminate the walk between the two parks. Yes, the walk may not be that long, but with kids, it can feel like a marathon. Strollers and wagons go in a separate carriage – the train guard will help you and you collect when you reach the other end.
As you climb into the train carriage, your entire family will feel like they’re off on their first year at Hogwarts. The little ones may just feel like they’re going on a really cool train, but that’s still fun in their eyes. For more tips for the Wizarding World of Harry Potter see here.
Kang & Kodos’s Twirl ‘n’ Hurl
Springfield is home to the twirling spinner ride called Kang & Kodo’s Twirl ‘n’ Hurl. The ride is like all standard up and down spinning rides that you’ll find in theme parks all over the world, just with a Simpsons twist.
There is no height requirement for the Twirl ‘n’ Hurl, but an adult and a small child can comfortably fly around in the saucer, pretending to be aliens or just taking in the sites of Springfield.
In my opinion, the ride doesn’t go excessively fast, and the dipping of the saucers isn’t sudden, so it is perfectly suitable for young children.
Animals On Location
This is a brilliant show and fun for all family members. Plus it’s a welcome sit down in the shade, whilst watching some amazing animals and birds. You may even get picked to help!
The entrance to E.T is the most scariest part, but if you can persuade your child that the pine forest at nightfall is just pretend, they will love the ride. Similar to the old Shrek 4D ride, during the E.T ride, you’ll be seated on a bike simulator and ride through the sky just like E.T himself. Along the way you meet colorful creatures, flora and fauna and of course you succeed in your mission!
E.T Adventure requires children to be over 34 inches and with an adult present at all times. As it is a simulator ride, there is also alternative seating so your child can still enjoy the ride, just without the movement.
Islands of Adventure Rides for Toddlers and Pre-schoolers
Storm Force Accelatron
Your standard teacup ride, but make it superhero!
Storm Force Accelatron has you seated in your own personal spinning superhero cup, and the best part is you control how much you spin. With no minimum height requirement, all children can pretend to be superheroes, spinning as much or as little as they want.
Me Ship, The Olive
Toon Lagoon is home to a few immersive playgrounds, the first being Me Ship, The Olive. The playground themed as a ship has multiple stories with a selection of slides, water cannons, and climbing nets.
The toddlers of the family can stroll around pretending to be a sailor, pull and twist buttons and dials or they can shoot water at unlucky passengers on the water ride Bilge Rat Barge that flows near the playground! We got got!
Dinosaur lovers will thoroughly enjoy the Camp Jurassic playground. The playground has impressive dinosaur and prehistoric theming, climbing areas, slides, cannons to shoot raptors and unsuspecting people below, and even little splash areas that are perfect for a 5 minute cool down. A favorite area is the caves filled with misty and colored lights, including an echo cave!
For the taller toddlers, the Pteranodon Flyers allow children between 36 inches and 56 inches (with an adult accompanying them) to soar across the skies of Camp Jurassic.
The ride is fairly slow-moving, but your child is sitting in front of you in their own swing. I’d personally only take my child if they were mature enough to sit still and hold on (don’t worry, they are also strapped in,) so keep that in mind.
Jurassic Park Discovery Center
The Discovery Center in Jurassic Park is an excellent place to skip the heat and let your child walk around discovering everything from dinosaur bones to identifying dinosaur eggs.
Identifying the fossils is fun, with some screening tech that you move around a wall. Identifying some dinosaur eggs is another great activity just across the room. You select an egg, and then the pull and push levers to enable the egg to be analysed. You then see if your guess is correct.
A little known secret is if you time your visit right, you can watch a raptor hatching from an egg! We sadly missed this part but watch out for a team member dressed as scientist in a white coat – they will by the rotating eggs and start chatting about the hatching process. An egg will start to wobble, move and then start to crack, and et voila, a baby raptor is born! Dino fans will absolutely love this part! There are no set times for the egg hatching but it happens several times daily between 10am – 5pm.
There are two other ‘shows’ to watch out for: a toddler dino check up and a fossil presentation.
All age groups can enter the Discovery Center and there is something for everyone to enjoy, especially all the dinosaur lovers.
The High in the Sky Seuss Trolley Train Ride
Toddlers 36 inches and over can ride on The High in the Sky Seuss Trolley Train Ride found in Seuss Landing.
There are two different routes on the ride, both of which are extremely toddler-friendly with no drops, high speeds, or jerky turns.
As you go along, you’ll also hear stories which of course, in true Dr Seuss style, will all rhyme. The views of the park are well worth it!
One Fish, Two Fish, Red Fish, Blue Fish
Islands of Adventure’s version of Kang & Kodos Twirl ‘n’ Hurl is One Fish, Two Fish, Red Fish, Blue Fish. The rides are fairly similar; you sit in your own little fish and spin around, slowly rising and falling while listening to the classic One Fish, Two Fish, Red Fish, Blue Fish poem.
There is no minimum height requirement, but riders under 48″ require an adult supervisor sat next to them.
Caro-Seuss-el is the Dr. Seuss version of a classic carousel. With no minimum height requirement, all children can choose between a horse-like character (with mum or dad standing next to them) or a booth seat.
The Cat in the Hat
Toddlers 36 inches and up can ride with a parent on the indoor Cat in the Hat ride. The cars do spin gently from side to side as they go along the track.
There is music, dark spots with flashing lights in parts, so that’s something to consider if you’re taking small children or children who would find this too stimulating. If in doubt, watch a full run through of the ride with point of view below.
If I Ran the Zoo
Another themed playground is If I Ran a Zoo, where your kids can run around in different areas, splash about in the splash pad areas and shoot water from cannons. It’s one of our favorite places to cool off in Islands of Adventure, and I highly recommend bringing a spare change of clothes. Don’t forget to pull the interactive levers and see colorful strange looking animals appear!
The Hogwarts Express Hogsmeade
Like the Universal Studios station, the Hogwarts Express Station in Islands of Adventure can take you over to Universal Studios Florida as long as you have a park-to-park ticket.
Shows for Toddlers at Universal
Shows for Toddlers at Universal Studios Florida
Animal Actors on Location Show
The only show suitable and entertaining for young children in Universal Studios Florida is the Animal Actors on Location Show in the Woody Wood Pecker’s Kidzone.
Cats, birds, puppies, and other animals perform adorable tricks and stunts while also interacting with the audience. The entire theatre is shaded, and it’s a great place to cool down, relax and take the weight off your feet before heading back out to the park.
Sometimes they even allow photo opportunities with the animals, so it’s a good idea to stick around after the show.
Shows for Toddlers at Islands of Adventure
Oh! The Stories You’ll Hear
Possibly one of the best shows for young toddlers is the Oh! The Stories You’ll Hear show in Suess Landing.
The well-known Dr. Seuss Characters perform songs and dances in their bright and colourful costumes, even dancing with the audience at the end.
Frog Choir and Triwizard Spirit Rally
Although the little ones won’t understand the Harry Potter references, the cast members performing in the Frog Choir and Triwizard Spirit Rally perform dance routines with ribbons, do stunts like backflips and frontflips, and of course, my kids favourite part, sing with the frogs. Just check the Universal App for show times!
If you are only choose to do one park at Universal and can’t decide between Universal Studios or Islands of Adventure, then rest assured with toddlers in tow, there are plenty of activities in both!
Share the Google web story on Universal for Toddlers?
If you have enjoyed this post and found it useful, here are some ways you can say thanks and support Visiting Orlando With Kids
1. Follow Visiting Orlando With Kids on the following platforms for exclusive content:
2. JOIN our friendly Visiting Orlando With Kids Facebook Group which includes lots of ideas & tips for things to do and helpful advice about your holiday or vacation to Orlando and surrounding areas – with input from members who live or visit these places regularly.
3. Share this post with your friends.
Thank you for your support as always.