Universal Studios advice, just for you. Universal Studios is awesome. Regardless of age you can have fun in this place. It’s spaciously laid out so you can always find some space to chill. It has so many amazing rides and things going on, you’ll love it.
But before going through with my Universal Studios advice, let me give you an overview of this fantastic theme park.
“Better than Disney? Maybe IT IS!”
Who is it suitable for?
Any age really. At one end of the scale, you have a junior Woody Woodpecker Rollercoaster and Barney the Dinosaur. 2023 UPDATE – Both these attractions are now closed. Don’t worry there is still plenty for younger children to enjoy but the current loss to this area of the park does limit attractions for young children. Over in Islands of Adventure you have Dr Zeus Land but in Universal it is lacking for really young children. The best thing to do is get your measuring tape out and measure your child. Check that against the height restrictions and you’ll know if your young one will be able to get on much. They can still enjoy a trip to Diagon Alley, ride on Kang & Kodos’ Twirl ‘n’ Hurl, this is in Simpsons and is very similar in style to Dumbo in Magic Kingdom.
On the other end of the scale, you have Rip Roaring Rocket and The Mummy. In between, you have Simpsons, Transformers, Jimmy Fallon, Minions and so much more. Saying that in our experience, our daughter started to really enjoy Universal when she reached 42 inches in height. This meant she could ride Hagrids!
Are the rides as crazy as everyone suggests?
Yes. Say no more really. Rip Ride Rocket will almost pull your face off it’s that fast! Transformers will make you smile so much, it’s so interactive. Simpsons might give you motion sickness so be careful with that one. A personal favourite is Jimmy Fallon, that ride has such cool theming. I love the Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon so I think that elevates the ride experience for me. My personal favourite moment is when Tariq from The Roots raps the safety instructions. Now in 2023 we also have Hagrid’s so there is lots of crazy fast rides. Make a note though, if you have a youngster under 42 inches tall they won’t be able to ride the more crazy rides.
If you can find Diagon Alley it is well worth a visit. I won’t go into too much detail here as it’s worthy of its own post but needless to say, if you’re a Harry Potter fan, it will completely blow you away. Make sure you pay a visit and look for the Dragon!
This is also where you will find Escape from Gringotts. This ride is not for the faint hearted but even if you’re not going to ride make sure you join the queue. The whole queue is beautifully themed and will give you lots of enjoyment even if you don’t end up riding.
Now, this ride is a real classic. From the Egyptian Zombies outside the attraction to the theming inside it’s done so well. The ride itself is pretty scary too. It was recently refurbished but the queue area is as dark and scary as ever. I’m always surprised at how fast this old coaster goes.
This ride opened in 2017 and is very different. The queueing for the ride is as important as the ride itself which, to be honest, is pretty standard. We love Jimmy Fallon though so the queue for the ride was the best bit. I was a bit gutted that you couldn’t buy a Roots T-shirt in the gift shop though.
Places to eat
We’ve eaten at some pretty average places in Universal Studios itself. Most of the time now we will grab snacks in the park and then when we leave we’ll eat in City Walk where the choice is better. But if you are looking for a sit down meal you can eat in various restaurants including the Leaky Cauldron in Diagon Alley.
Gift Shops – Standard!
No Universal Studios advice would be complete without a mention of the gift shops. Like Disney, each ride has its own gift shop where you can buy gifts. And near the entrance, there is a huge Universal shop selling every t-shirt and merchandise imaginable.
No Universal Studios advice would be complete without a mention for the sweetshop just as you leave. A great chance to get some goodies for the journey back to your hotel or Villa.
Express Pass Universal Advice
You can Express pass every ride in Universal Studios so if you want to experience as much as possible it can be worth factoring that into your budget. Expect to pay between $99 and $199 per person per day for an Express Pass. If you get the unlimited one you can pass it between people as they don’t relate to a particular person. It’s worth getting there early if you don’t want to upgrade your ticket.
Virgin Holiday customers get to enter the park an hour early and most people use this to get up to the Harry Potter stuff and smash it in before the queues get too big. PLEASE NOTE, since this article was written back in 2017 Virgin Holidays do not get early entry to the parks. Virgin do provide an amazing Orlando experience but early entry is not part of it. If you want early entry to Universal Studios or Islands of Adventure, you must be staying at a Universal Hotel.
Universal Studios Advice tip of the DAY!!!!!
Some days Universal seems to be quiet so don’t rush to buy an Express pass until you can see the queues, there are plenty of places to buy the passes should you wish to upgrade your ticket.
After enjoying Disney when our daughter was young we do find ourselves going to Universal more and more. Disney still has a pull for us all but Universal is just so much fun. The wait times are usually less and the park just doesn’t seem as crowded as Disney.
So our daughter was 2 the first time she went to Disney and I think the switch to Universal has probably started over the last two years (she’s nearly 10 as I write this). So hopefully that helps you based on the ages of your own kids. If you’ve got teenagers you might find they have much more fun at Universal than Disney.
TOP TIP – If you’re thinking of booking a holiday to Orlando a cheaper way to do it is to book Cabana Bay Hotel. This hotel is a Universal hotel. It is a walk away from Volcano Bay water park (it’s actually right next door) and only a mile from City Walk, Universal Studios and Islands of Adventure. You can walk to them or get a shuttle bus, the buses are very regular. The Hotel is a moderate one so not totally fancy but it does have a gym, two bars and two pools. Basically it has everything you need for your stay. You won’t need a car and you can get some really reasonable prices. So this is my top tip for Universal Studios advice.
All in all Universal Studios is a brilliant day out. I would recommend doing this park in a day and Islands of Adventure on a separate day. It’s also worth noting that out younger party members 4 and 8-year-old girls much preferred the Magic Kingdom. Saying that we know a family with 11 and 13-year-old boys who don’t do any Disney and focus on Universal for their whole stay so its horses for courses as these things are.
I hope you’ve enjoyed this article on Universal Studios advice.