A toddler and Universal Orlando Resort™: this is not typically something we seem to think of together, especially when considering where to vacation to next. I have to say, I was hesitant to bring my 2.5-year-old toddler to Universal Orlando Resort™. Was there enough for him to do? Would he enjoy it? Would we be able to spend a full day in the park? It turns out, the answer to all of these is yes! There was so much for us to do, I don’t think we had enough time to really see and do everything with him! No matter what the ages of those in your traveling party, there really is something for everyone at Universal Orlando!

 

 

I must admit that the Universal Orlando Resort™ seems to have a “magic” height of 42”. To be able to experience the many attractions within Universal Studios, Islands of Adventure and Volcano Bay, 42” or taller is what will get you there. What about those who don’t reach that “magic” height? What all can they do? The answer: a lot more than you think!

 

Rider Swap

 

Since most attractions in the Universal Orlando Resort™ have a minimum height that guests have to be to ride, it is important to know that these height restrictions are placed for everyone’s safety. Team Members at all of the parks made sure to verify my son multiple times for each attraction he was riding if there was a height requirement. It was to the point where he would just walk up and stand at the height stick until someone told him he was good to go! What happens when your child doesn’t meet the height requirement or simply doesn’t want to ride? I highly suggest utilizing rider swap in the parks.

 

 

 

How does this work? When you enter the line, either standard or Express, let the Team Member know at the entrance to the line know you’re wanting to rider swap. Everyone, including those not riding, will be allowed through the line. Once you get to the front of the line you’ll let the Team Member know you’re doing Rider Swap. They will take whoever is riding first and let them onto the ride and then they will show those not riding where they can wait and will issue them a pass to return once the first party is finished riding. One of my favorite parts about this is that you don’t need to use the lockers if those not riding or waiting to ride are willing to hold your bags! My other favorite part, the rider swap area is right in front of the attraction and air-conditioned! They have TVs, benches and changing tables in the rooms for those waiting.  The whole process is super simple and I love that everyone can stay together if they want to. I must say, even though my toddler was too short to ride, he adored walking through Hogwarts™ Castle and Gringotts™ Bank!

 

Islands of Adventure

 

Islands of Adventure is where you can meet your favorite superheroes, become a witch or wizard, discover the world of dinosaurs, explore Seuss Landing and so much more! Our favorite areas were Seuss Landing and the Jurassic Park Discovery Center™. We could’ve spent hours in both locations, and my toddler son still would’ve wanted to keep playing!

 

 

Rides

Attractions for that a toddler would love in Islands of Adventure can be found throughout the park. Here is a quick guide with height requirements for reference:

  • Marvel Super Hero Island™: Storm Force Accelatron – Under 48” Supervising Companion Required
  • Jurassic Park™: Pteranodon Flyers™- 36” minimum – 56” maximum – Guests under 48” – Supervising Companion Required. Guests over 56” must be accompanied by a guest within 36”-56”
  • The Wizarding World of Harry Potter™Hogsmeade™:
    • Flight of the Hippogriff™- 36” minimum. Guests under 48”: Supervising Companion Required
    • Hogwarts™ Express: Hogsmeade™ Station – Guests under 48”: Supervising Companion Required *Note: Park-to-park ticket is also required as this will transport you to Diagon Alley in Universal Studios*
  • Seuss Landing™:
    • High in the Sky Seuss Trolly Train Ride!™ – 36” minimum. For guests between 36”-48” a Supervising Companion is required.
    • Caro-Seuss-el™- Under 48” Supervising Companion Required
    • One Fish, Two Fish, Red Fish, Blue Fish™ – Under 48” Supervising Companion Required
    • The Cat in the Hat™ –  36” minimum. For guests between 36”-48” a Supervising Companion is required.
  • Skull Island: Reign of Kong™ – 36” minimum. For guests between 36”-48” a Supervising Companion is required. I would like to note that this is an intense attraction and might be scary for your toddler or young kids. We did not take my son on this as I know it would have been for scary for him.

 

 

There are several shows, character meet and greet opportunities, and play areas to keep your toddler entertained!

Shows

  • The Wizarding World of Harry Potter™Hogsmeade™:
    • Triwizard Spirit Rally – Procession from the students of Hogwarts™, Beauxbatons, and Durmstrang as they prepare for the Triwizard Tournament!
    • Nighttime Lights at Hogwarts™ Castle – Watch as the Hogwarts™ Castle comes to life with the Sorting Hat as your host! You’ll find projections to celebrate the 4 houses of Hogwarts™ in an absolutely beautiful show!
  • Seuss Landing™:
    • Oh! The Stories You’ll Hear! – Watch as some of your favorite characters such as The Cat in the Hat, the Lorax™, The Grinch™, Thing One™ and Thing Two™ and Sam-I-Am™dance to some of Dr. Seuss’s most loved stories! You’ll also find time at the end of the show for autographs and pictures with the characters!
  • Poseidon’s Fury – Under 48” Supervising Companion Required. Please note that this is an intense show featuring Poseidon, the Greek god of the sea, and evil Lord Darkenon. You’ll experience many special effects such as water, fire, laser lights, and complete darkness. It can be scary for little ones.

 

Character meet and greets

Please note that the character Meet and Greet schedules are subject to change at any time. Not all characters are guaranteed to meet at the same time or on the same day.

  • Marvel Super Hero Island™:
    • Spider-Man, Captain America, Cyclops, Wolverine, Storm, Rogue, Dr. Doom and the Green Goblin
  • Toon Lagoon™:
    • Betty Boop, Popeye the Sailor Man™ and Olive Oyl
  • Jurassic Park™:
    • Raptor Encounter
  • Seuss Landing™:
    • The Cat in the Hat, the Lorax™, The Grinch™, Thing One™ and Thing Two™ and Sam-I-Am™

 

 

 

Play areas

  • Toon Lagoon™:
    • Me Ship, The Olive – a three-story lay area with climbing nets, an interactive piano, passageways, slides and so much more!
  • Jurassic Park™:
    • Camp Jurassic – This is a multi-level playground with splash zones, slides, rope nets to climb and suspension bridges.
    • Jurassic Park Discovery Center™ – In the Jurassic Park Discovery Center™ you will be able to do DNA testing to find out what type of Dinosaur you would be, search for dinosaur bones in rocks, check out how the dinosaurs see and hear, check out dinosaur eggs in the nursery and possibly even get to see a baby Velociraptor hatch!  
  • Seuss Landing™:
    • If I ran the Zoo™ – This is a water zone so be sure to have water shoes and a change of clothes for anyone looking to play. Here you will find water features, slides, and very unusual animals! It’s a great way to beat the heat and relax a little during the day.

 

Special events

  • The Holidays at Universal Orlando Resort brings in several fun options for your family to celebrate!
  • Christmas in the Wizarding World of Harry Potter™ – You’ll find stunning decorations and special entertainment such as holiday songs from the Frog Choir and a projection show on Hogwarts™ Castle called The Magic of Christmas at Hogwarts™.
  • The Grinchmas Who-liday Spectacular – This is a live telling of the story: How the Grinch Stole Christmas, and perfect for a toddler!

 

Universal Studios

 

Welcome to Universal Studios where you get pulled into the world of your favorite movies and TV shows! Here you can save the world, fight off evil villains, help your favorite characters, or be transported into your favorite animated shows. Some of our favorite areas here were the Springfield: Home of the Simpsons™ and Curious George Goes to Town™. Kang & Kodos’ Twirl ‘n’ Hurl (which is similar to One Fish, Two Fish, Red Fish, Blue Fish™ but Simpsons themed) was my son’s favorite ride in Universal Studios™! We went 3-4 times in a row and he only agreed to move on because I promised him ice cream. His other favorite area was Woody Woodpecker’s KidZone™, specifically the area of Curious George Goes to Town™. This is a water play area. When I say water play area, I mean you can get drenched! They have smaller splash areas for the littles, but they have areas where they drop buckets of water for bigger kids or braver littles! I strongly recommend bringing a change of clothes and some water shoes as you must wear shoes in this entire area.

 

 

 

Rides

  • Production Central
    • Shrek 4-D – Guests under 48”: Supervising Companion Required
    • The Wizarding World of Harry Potter™Diagon Alley™:
  • Hogwarts™ Express: Kings Cross Station – Guests under 48”: Supervising Companion Required *Note: Park-to-park ticket is also required as this will transport you to Hogsmeade™ in Universal Studios*
  • Springfield: Home of the Simpsons™:
    • Kang & Kodos’ Twirl ‘n’ Hurl – Guests under 48”: Supervising Companion Required
  • Woody Woodpecker’s KidZone™:
    • Woody Woodpecker’s Nuthouse Coaster™- 36” minimum. For guests between 36”-48” a Supervising Companion is required
    • E.T. Adventure™ – 34” minimum. For guests between 34”-48” a Supervising Companion is required.

 

 

 

 

Beyond the rides, there are several shows, character meet and greet opportunities, and play areas to keep your toddler entertained!

Shows

  • Park-Wide Performances:
    • Universal’s Superstar Parade™ – Come dance and play with some of your favorite characters! Dora and Diego, Gru, Agnes, Margo, Edit, and the Minions, Spongebob Squarepants will be there to party with you!
    • Universal Orlando’s Cinematic Celebration™ – Watch as you’re transported into the movies with this show of water, light and music of some of the worlds biggest movies
  • Production Central:
    • Studio Brass Band – Live performance of favorite theme songs.
  • New York:
    • Blues Brothers™ Show – Live Chicago-style street performance
  • The Wizarding World of Harry Potter™Diagon Alley™:
    • Celestina Warbeck and the Banshees – Listen to new songs from Molly Weasley’s favorite band
    • The Tales of Beedle the Bard – A fun trunk show retelling Beedle the Bard’s two famous tales
  • World Expo:
    • FEAR FACTOR LIVE – A live show testing competitors skills and bravery as they challenge their fears
  • Woody Woodpecker’s KidZone:
    • Animal Actors Live on Location!™ – Watch as animals of all sorts perform hilarious live skits, partake in audience interactions and watch funny videos featuring animals
    • A Day in the park with Barney™ – Watch a live performance by Barney with favorite songs and other fun special effects.

 

Character meet and greets

  • Production Central:
    • Shrek, Donkey, and friends; TRANSFORMERS™
  • The Wizarding World of Harry Potter™Diagon Alley™:
    • Knight Bus Driver
  • Springfield: Home of the Simpsons™:
    • Characters from the Simpsons
  • Woody Woodpecker’s KidZone™:
    • Spongebob and friends
  • Hollywood:
    • Character Party Zone: Dora the Explorer and Diego, Spongebob SquarePants, Despicable Me, The Secret Life of Pets
    • Hollywood Character Zone: Woody Woodpecker™, Curious George, Marilyn Monroe, Betty Boop™, Lucille Ball and Doc Brown

 

Play areas

  • Woody Woodpecker’s KidZone™:
    • Fievel’s Playland™ – Featuring a water area with Fievel’s Hat, slides, tin cans, ropes to climb. You’ll also find a waterslide which you use a raft to go down.
    • Barney’s Backyard – An indoor playground featuring BJ’s express train, interactive musical games, slides, and so much more
    • Curious George Goes to Town™ – This is a water play area. When I say water play area, I mean you can get drenched! They have smaller splash areas for toddler-aged children but they have areas where they drop buckets of water for bigger kids or braver littles! I strongly recommend bringing a change of clothes and some water shoes as you must wear shoes in this entire area.

 

 

 

Special events

  • Mardi Gras – Select nights at Universal Studios you’ll find the streets transform into a New Orleans style party the only Universal Orlando could put together! They have a parade (you can ride on the floats!), beads, Cajun food available for purchase, and nightly concerts all included with your park ticket into Universal Studios!
  • Universal’s Holiday Parade – A Macy’s sponsored parade featuring the Minions and Santa Claus

 

Volcano Bay

Volcano Bay water park is a fun, thrilling and also relaxing place to play for the whole family! They have a ton of water slides and attractions for bigger kids and adults, but the options they have for smaller kids is simply amazing! We spent several hours between Tot Tiki Reef™ and Runamukka Reef™.

  • Tot Tiki Reef™ features a smaller volcano built for toddler-aged children as well as a splash area and two slides.
  • Runamukka Reef™ allows the bigger kids, or braver littles, to play harder! They offer slides, water guns, geysers and water buckets.
  • Kopiko Wai Winding River™ – This lazy river is perfect for everyone in the family, including the smallest and youngest members! You’ll go on a scenic tour of Volcano Bay and even go through the Volcano! Be prepared for a few surprises such as water being sprayed.

 

 

 

I thoroughly enjoyed our trip to Universal Orlando Resort™ with our 2.5-year-old toddler! There is so much for him whether we travel with just him or with older kids in our party. Either way, it’s a great vacation option for families of all ages, and I can’t wait to head back!

 

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Katie Garmon

Katie Garmon

Travel Advisor

Contact Katie today, using the links below!