When looking for a family-friendly vacation spot, it can be challenging to find one location that appeals to a variety of ages. Some vacation spots lack the attractions needed to keep adventurous teens entertained, while others leave the little ones sitting in strollers with little to do. Universal Orlando offers a vacation that is sure to please family members of all ages.
For the Little Ones
Woody Woodpecker’s Kidzone and Seuss Landing are the two main areas specifically geared toward the younger ones. Filled with whimsical décor and kid-friendly rides, shows and attractions, children love being immersed in these storybook scenes come to life.
Camp Jurassic is packed with indoor, hands-on activities perfect to entertain the tots as older kids head to bigger coasters nearby. Me Ship, The Olive is a Popeye-themed playground with multiple levels of fun to explore.
There are other rides scattered throughout the parks that are good for all ages (see below), but before stepping into the queue, it’s a good idea to read the detailed descriptions in a tour book, as some rides could have slightly scary content or unpredictable turns.
Teens and Beyond
Adventure-seekers will find dozens of ways to get their adrenaline pumping at Universal Orlando. There are numerous high-thrill coasters like the new Jurassic World VelociCoaster, The Incredible Hulk Coaster with seven inversions and the Hollywood Rip Ride Rockit, which has a completely vertical ascent.
Universal Orlando is known for its creative integration of 3-D videos with high-action rides that make the rider feel like they’re right in the action. Through these creative and thrilling rides, one can escape from Gringotts, help the Transformers protect the AllSpark and partner with Spider-Man to save the world, just to name a few.
The themes in each unique section of the parks are stunning to take in regardless of age, but nothing tops the detail in The Wizarding World of Harry Potter. Be sure to pick up a wand at Olivander’s so its “magic” can be used to make the storefronts come to life. The Hogwarts Express transfers passengers between the two main parks in a memorable journey. Flight of the Hippogriff is a good “beginner” coaster for those 36” and higher. Each Wizarding World of Harry Potter has live performances throughout the day, and Hogsmeade has a Nighttime Lights at Hogwarts Castle worth staying until dusk to see.
The shows are spectacular! Animal Actors on Location will have you laughing at the silly and talented animal actors. The new Bourne Stuntacular utilizes an incredibly realistic video screen paired with real life stunt actors to put on a death-defying live show.
Other rides that work well for most ages are Despicable Me Minion Mayhem, The Simpsons Ride, Pteranodon Flyers, Kang & Kodos’ Twirl ‘n’ Hurl and Poseidon’s Fury.
Tips to Maximize Your Trip
Plan three full days for a visit so you can spend one day at Universal’s Islands of Adventure, another at Universal Studios Florida and use the third day to either return to favorite attractions or head to the waterpark, Volcano Bay. This also makes a visit to Universal Orlando perfect for a long weekend, so there’s no need to wait for winter, spring or summer break to plan your trip.
For the full experience, stay at one of the Universal hotels. They include early admission to one park each day and free shuttles to the parks and CityWalk, the restaurant and entertainment district. The brand-new value properties offer affordable accommodations, while the three premier resorts include the added benefit of a free upgrade to Express Unlimited. Express Unlimited is an add-on to your ticket that allows you in the Express Lane for almost all rides and attractions. This feature typically cuts the wait time by 75%, averaging around a 15-minute wait per ride. Express ticket options can also be purchased for an extra fee.
Arrive early to maximize your day. Wait times are often shortest first thing in the morning, so time your arrival to be about a half hour before the park opens so you can get to some of the most popular attractions like the new Hagrid’s Magical Creatures Motorbike Adventure (my family’s favorite ride) and Jurassic World VelociCoaster.
Be prepared—the water rides at Island of Adventure will drench you. These rides are a great way to cool down on a hot day, but be sure to bring a change of socks and shoes so you’re comfortable for the rest of the visit.
Free lockers are provided throughout the park, so you can bring a small backpack without worrying about how to stow it (check size recommendations on their website).
They are adding new rides and attractions each year, with CityWalk’s new escape rooms, Universal’s Great Movie Escape, opening soon. The two interactive missions use captivating storytelling and intricately detailed sets to take guests to the dinosaur adventures of Jurassic World or the time-traveling chaos of Back to the Future.
Universal Orlando Resort is a great way to spend a vacation with family members of all ages. UniversalOrlando.com