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Universal for Toddlers & Preschoolers: Rides & Attractions At Universal Studios & Islands of Adventure.

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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! 

Universal for Toddlers & Preschoolers: Rides & Attractions At Universal Studios & Islands of Adventure.
toddler checking rides line height at Universal, orlando
Although it looks like only 2 rides over at Universal, there is actually plenty for little ones to do!

Rides for Toddlers 36 Inches and Under

Universal Studios Florida

Hogwarts Express train Universal
Hogwarts Express train at Universal Studios

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.

Inside the Hogwarts Express Train Carriage at Universal Studios
Inside the Hogwarts Express Train Carriage at Universal Studios

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 at Universal Orlando
Kang & Kodos’s Twirl ‘n’ Hurl

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. 

Kang & Kodos’s Twirl ‘n’ Hurl at Universal Orlando
Kang & Kodos’s Twirl ‘n’ Hurl

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. 

Fievel's Playland sign

Fievel’s Playland

The first of a few play areas in the parks is Fievel’s Playland. Found in the Woody Wood Pecker’s Kids Zone, the play area has sections for older kids and younger kids.  Fievel’s Playland ‘shrinks’ you down to give you a mouse size view of objects by making everyday objects huge. Kids’ LOVE it, especially splashing about in a sardine tin bath and clambering over boxes, tunnels, slides and nets!

Fievel's Playland has a great water play area where kids can 'bath' in giant tins cans!
Fievel’s Playland has a great water play area where kids can ‘bath’ in giant tins cans!

There is a water slide in the playland where an adult and small child can sit in a dinghy and go down a slight drop. Our three year old loved it after and immediately went on it again! It’s the only water ride in Universal! Studios!

water slide at fievel's playground universal studios
waterslide at Universal Studios in Fievel’s Playland

Slides and climbing areas can be found all over the park and, if assisted by an adult at times, would be more than suitable for children under 36 inches. 

Fievel's playarea at Universal Studios Orlando
Fievel’s Playland has slides, climbing areas, tubes, nets and is a lot of fun for little ones!
 Curious George Goes to Town at Universal
Curious George Goes to Town at Universal

Curious George Goes to Town

The second immersive playground in Universal Studios Florida is Curious George Goes to Town, also found in Woody Wood Peckers Kidzone. Be prepared to get wet in certain areas: There are plenty of warnings about the brilliant Soak Zone!

Curious George Goes to Town is a lot of fun for kids but bring dry clothes!!
Curious George Goes to Town is a lot of fun for kids but bring dry clothes!!

The park is split into three sections, with the first and second suited to older kids. With that being said, if a parent close by, they could also be tackled by the toddlers of the family. 

If you’d prefer to be in a quieter area with kids their own age, the park’s third section has a small play structure with small slides and very much appreciated shade. with seating area for grown-ups.

Woody Woodpecker Rollercoaster at Universal Studios
Woody Woodpecker Rollercoaster at Universal Studios

Woody Woodpecker Rollercoaster

The Woody Woodpecker Rollercoaster just makes it onto the list for toddlers, but only those that are 36 inches or over. On the coaster, you’ll join Woody as he runs around his personal nut factory, telling silly puns and jokes along the way.

Woody Woodpecker Rollercoaster ride at Universal Studios
Woody Woodpecker Rollercoaster ride at Universal Studios

The ride, at times, feels a bit fast, but there are no extreme drops or loops. It’s a great first rollercoaster for little ones.

Animal Actors on Location sign at Universal

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!

E.T Adventure ride at Universal Studios Orlando Florida

E.T Adventure

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.

Height Restrictions for Rides at Islands of Adventure
Height Restrictions for Rides at Islands of Adventure

Islands of Adventure Rides for Toddlers and Pre-schoolers

Storm Force Accelatron at Universal's Islands of Adventure Orlando
Storm Force Accelatron at Universal’s Islands of Adventure Orlando

Storm Force Accelatron

Your standard teacup ride, but make it superhero!

Storm Force Accelatron ride at Universal's Islands of Adventure Orlando
Storm Force Accelatron ride at Universal’s Islands of Adventure Orlando

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 Playground ship from across the lake at Universal Islands of Adventure
Me Ship, The Olive Playground ship from across the lake
Me Ship, The Olive entrance

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. 

shooting water canon from the Me Ship, The Olive
Shooting a water canon from the Me Ship, The Olive
Slide and baby area to the right on Me Ship, The Olive
Slide and baby area to the right on Me Ship, The Olive
Turn the wheel to make the furnace glow on Me Ship, The Olive
Turn the wheel to make the furnace glow on Me Ship, The Olive

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!

Camp Jurassic at Universal's islands of Adventure
Camp Jurassic

Camp Jurassic

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!

Inside the caves are swirling with mist and strange lights Shooting water at Camp Jurassic at Universal's islands of Adventure
Inside the caves are swirling with mist and strange lights at Camp Jurassic at Universal’s islands of Adventure
he mist and lights are a great sensory activity and a great way to cool down! at Universal's Islands of Adventure Camp Jurassic play area.
The mist and lights are a great sensory activity and a great way to cool down!
Shooting water at Camp Jurassic at Universal's islands of Adventure
Shooting water at Camp Jurassic at Universal’s islands of Adventure
Camp Jurassic water play at Islands Of Adventure
Camp Jurassic water play at Islands Of Adventure
Splash area at Camp Jurassic Camp Jurassic Universal's Island of Adventure
Splash area at Camp Jurassic Camp Jurassic Universal’s Island of Adventure
Camp Jurassic at Universal's islands of Adventure
Camp Jurassic rope bridge at Universal’s islands of Adventure
Tunnels and slides at Camp Jurassic at Universal's islands of Adventure
Tunnels and slides at Camp Jurassic at Universal’s islands of Adventure
 The Amber Caves at Camp Jurassic Universal IOA
The Amber Caves at Camp Jurassic Universal IOA
Echo Cave at Tunnels and slides at Camp Jurassic at Universal's islands of Adventure
Echo Cave at Tunnels and slides at Camp Jurassic at Universal’s islands of Adventure
Pteranodon Flyers
Pteranodon Flyers

Pteranodon Flyers

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. 

Pteranodon Flyers are only available if you have a child with you!
Pteranodon Flyers are only available if you have a child with you!

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 at Universal's Islands of Adventure
Jurassic Park Discovery Center

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.

Dinosaur fossil scanner Jurassic Park Discovery Center at Universal's Islands of Adventure
Dinosaur fossil scanner

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.

dinosaur egg scanner Jurassic Park Discovery Center at Universal's Islands of Adventure
Dinosaur egg scanner Jurassic Park Discovery Center at Universal’s Islands of Adventure
Hatching dinosaur eggs Jurassic Park Discovery Center at Universal's Islands of Adventure
Hatching dinosaur eggs happens here

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.

Watch a newborn dino hatch live in the Jurassic Center at Universal
Watch a newborn dino hatch live in the Jurassic Center at Universal

All age groups can enter the Discovery Center and there is something for everyone to enjoy, especially all the dinosaur lovers.

Watcb a toddler diino have a check up! at Camp Jurassic
Watcb a toddler diino have a check up!
Seuss Landing sign Universal's Islands of Adventure.
Seuss Landing sign Universal’s Islands of Adventure.

Seuss Landing

High in the Sky Seuss Trolley Train Ride sign at Universal's Islands of Adventure.
High in the Sky Seuss Trolley Train Ride sign at Universal’s Islands of Adventure.

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. 

High in the Sky Seuss Trolley Train Ride at Universal's Islands of Adventure.
High in the Sky Seuss Trolley Train Ride at Universal’s Islands of Adventure.

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 Ride sign at Universal's Islands of Adventure.
One Fish, Two FIsh, Red FIsh, Blue Fish Ride sign at Universal’s Islands of Adventure.

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. 

One Fish, Two FIsh, Red FIsh, Blue Fish Ride  at Universal's Islands of Adventure.
One Fish, Two FIsh, Red FIsh, Blue Fish Ride at Universal’s Islands of Adventure.

There is no minimum height requirement, but riders under 48″ require an adult supervisor sat next to them.

Caro-Seuss-el sign at Universal's Islands of Adventure.
Caro-Seuss-el sign at Universal’s Islands of Adventure.

Caro-Seuss-el

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 sign at Universal's Islands of Adventure.
The Cat in the Hat sign at Universal’s Islands of Adventure.

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.

Cat in the Hat ride at Universal’s Islands of Adventure.
Characters pop out at Cat in the Hat ride at Universal's Islands of Adventure
Characters pop out at Cat in the Hat ride at Universal’s Islands of Adventure.
It's dark with flashing lights in parts of the Cat in the Hat ride  at Universal's Islands of Adventure.
It’s dark with flashing lights in parts of the Cat in the Hat ride at Universal’s Islands of Adventure.

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 a Zoo Seuss Play area
If I Ran a Zoo,

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!

Inside Hogwarts Express carriage
Inside Hogwarts Express carriage

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. 

Splash Pads

Toon Lagoon splash pad at Universal Islands of Adventure
Toon Lagoon splash pad at Universal Islands of Adventure

Shows for Toddlers at Universal

Shows for Toddlers at Universal Studios Florida

Animal Actors Universal

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. 

Meet Poppy from Trolls and more at Dreamworks Destination
Meet Poppy from Trolls and more at Dreamworks Destination

DreamWorks Destination

Head to DreamWorks Destination for the continuous indoor disco where your favorite characters come out and dance with you! Poppy, Branch, Guy Diamond from trolls, characters from Madagascar and more! Two at a time come out and no one character is guaranteed.

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 at Islands of Adventure

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!

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