We’ve been to Universal Studios in Orlando a number of times, and while it’s certainly more tailored to the teens than Walt Disney World, the park still has plenty of fun things for younger kids too!
This post covers just the one park at Universal Studios, Orlando and doesn’t include Islands of Adventure (the park adjoining Universal Studios), City Walk or Universal Studios Resort’s water park, Volcano Bay.
This goes to show there’s actually a lot of things to do at Universal Studios Orlando for kids!
Table of Contents
- 1. Meet Shrek & Donkey
- 2. Play In Barneys Backyard
- 3. Ride Despicable Me Minion Mayhem
- 4. Get A Donut At Lard Lad Donuts
- 5. Watch Shrek 4-D
- 6. Cool Down In Fievel’s Playland
- 7. Watch Animal Actors On Location
- 8. Meet The Characters From Despicable Me Over Breakfast
- 9. Watch Universal’s Superstar Parade
- 10. Get A Wand At Ollivander’s
- 11. Shoot Aliens On The Men In Black Alien Attack
- 12. Ride The Hogwarts Express
- 13. Be An Alien On Kang & Kodos’ Twirl ‘n’ Hurl
- 14. Watch Universal Orlando’s Cinematic Celebration
- 15. Ride E.T. Adventure
- 16. Eat A Burger At Krusty Burger
1. Meet Shrek & Donkey
Just as you enter the Universal Studios park you’ll see the Shrek 4D ride on your right. A further 50 metres along by the exit of the ‘cinema’ you’ll find the meet and greet location for the characters from the movie franchise.
During our most recent visit, we had the pleasure of meeting Shrek and his wife Fiona. However, Donkey has also been known to make an appearance here too.
As the meet and greet is set back away from the main strip of the park you’ll often find that the queue is relatively short.
2. Play In Barneys Backyard
Barney is a children’s TV show from the early ’90s. It was cancelled in the late ’00s however, is still relatively well known in the USA.
While I feel this area is in particular need of a character overhaul the principles of the play area are still fantastic. Providing kids with a great chance to run around, climb, swing and explore.
Considering Dora and Diago from Dora The Explorer are both popular characters on the Universal Studios parade and otherwise not featured within the park I think these are a lead contender – Do you have any ideas for which character should feature here? Let us know in the comments.
3. Ride Despicable Me Minion Mayhem
This is a small simulation ride and does have a minimum height requirement of 40″ (children under 48″ will require a supervising companion to ride with them)
It’s a popular ride with all ages due to the huge popularity of the Despicable Me franchise.
If you have a Universal Studios Express Pass you can use it here if you don’t then be prepared to wait for anything up to 1 hour 20 minutes to ride – depending on how busy the park is on that particular day.
4. Get A Donut At Lard Lad Donuts
Lard Lad Donuts is situated inside Springfield, The Simpsons district of the park. Here you’ll be able to purchase a doughnut that’s likely bigger than your head.
Every time I go with the mission of concurring the entire doughnut myself in one sitting but never quite manage it. The perfect addition to any selfie in this park, your kids will be amazed by the size of this awesome colourful sweet treat!
5. Watch Shrek 4-D
Next up on our list of activities at Universal Studios Orlando for kids is a showing of the Shrek 4-D which runs continuously throughout the day.
Located at the entrance of the park opposite Despicable Me’s Minion Mayhem, this ride has no height restrictions and an average standby wait time of less than 20 minutes.
6. Cool Down In Fievel’s Playland
Fievel Mousekewitz is another character that the kids of today (and maybe even some of the adults) have probably never heard of.
Universal Studios chose to include this character within the park due to it being one of Steven Speilberg’s favourite animated characters.
Kids will shrink down to the size of a mouse, climbing through 30-foot spiders webs and giant tin cans. This play area also features a 1,000-gallon tipping cowboy hat – perfect for cooling off on those hot Florida summers days.
7. Watch Animal Actors On Location
No trip to Universal Studios Orlando with kids is complete without experiencing the incredible Animal Actors On Location show. This live-action show will allow you to see how professionals train animals of all shapes and sizes to perform for the camera.
This showing takes place multiple times throughout the day – we suggest viewing the schedule prior to your visit.
8. Meet The Characters From Despicable Me Over Breakfast
If your little one loves Despicable Me then there’s no better place to meet all the characters than at the Despicable Me Breakfast.
This experience does come at an additional cost and is situated just outside the park at the on-site hotel Sapphire Falls Resort at Universal Orlando Resort.
9. Watch Universal’s Superstar Parade
With just one performance a day, the Universal Superstar Parade is something no kid visiting Universal Studios Orlando should miss!
Kids will be amazed at these brightly coloured floats and love dancing along to music while waving to their favourite characters. Again we suggest checking the showing time in advance to ensure you catch this parade when visiting Universal Studios.
10. Get A Wand At Ollivander’s
For fans of the Harry Potter franchise, nothing’s more magical than purchasing your very own wand at Ollivander’s wand shop on Diagon Alley. Wands start from $25 but go right up to $48 + tax for an interactive wand.
The interactive wands can be used at shop windows in Hogsmeade and Diagon Alley to cast spells. This isn’t the cheapest souvenir at Universal Studios. However, it’s incredibly popular so I suggest saving in advance if you think this is something you or your kids might enjoy.
11. Shoot Aliens On The Men In Black Alien Attack
If you’re looking for things to do at Universal Studios Orlando for kids then look no further than the Men In Black ride. Even if your kids haven’t seen Men in Black, they’ll love the concept of shooting aliens and trying to get the highest score on this fun-filled ride.
Despite very little motion, all bags must be stored in one of the free lockers provided. Despite this, we love this ride, it’s lots of fun and often has a standby wait time of less than 40 minutes, one of the shortest in the parks.
12. Ride The Hogwarts Express
To ride the Hogwarts Express you’ll need a park hopper. That’s because the Hogwarts Express connects Universal Studios with the sister-park Islands of Adventure.
If you have a park hopper then this is without a doubt the coolest way to go between the two parks. This working steam train will take you inside the ‘real’ Hogwarts Express, escaped frog’s and all…
13. Be An Alien On Kang & Kodos’ Twirl ‘n’ Hurl
This is a classic ride that has had a wonderful character overhaul for The Simpsons area of Universal Studios. Everyones favourite aliens Kang and Kodo’s work simultaneously bouncing you into the air.
From experience, I’d recommend riding this prior to having a donut from Lard Ladd Donuts and not after…
14. Watch Universal Orlando’s Cinematic Celebration
The Universal Studios Orlando Cinematic Celebration takes place on the lagoon in the centre of the park on an evening (times are subject to change check the website in advance)
The show consists of projected images of Universal pictures movies and shows being screened onto the water alongside music and a light-show. There’s no doubt kids will want to try and spot their favourite characters!
15. Ride E.T. Adventure
Kids who visit Universal Studios Orlando today are probably unaware of the significance, importance and history of the incredible film E.T. However, despite this the E.T. Adventure Ride is still an absolute must!
The ride includes you boarding your very own bike and taking a journey into the dark unknown on your very own quest to help E.T.
16. Eat A Burger At Krusty Burger
If a donut in Springfield isn’t your thing then consider heading inside Mo’s and grabbing a Krusty Burger instead. Unlike the Mexican Bumble Bee food truck outside, in here also has air-conditioning and an expansive seating area.
Kids who are fans of the popular cartoon will marvel at the attention to detail of the decor and be highly amused at being able to eat something that we all thought was just reserved for our favourite yellow TV stars.
That concludes our guide on things to do at Universal Studios Orlando for kids. As always we’d love to know what you and your family got up to on a trip to Universal Studios Orlando, let us know in the comments below.