Universal Studios Orlando in Florida, USA
Universal Studios in Orlando is made up of two different theme parks that are situated right next to each other – Universal Studios Florida and Universal’s Islands of Adventure. If you want to visit both parks on the same day you will need to purchase park-to-park passes. This is especially important if you want to visit the Wizarding World of Harry Potter which is spread over the two parks.
This post will concentrate on what we loved most about Universal Studios Florida when we visited in September with our boys aged 9 and 11.
Wizarding World of Harry Potter
The absolute highlight of Universal Studios Orlando is the Wizarding World of Harry Potter. In our opinion it’s best to head straight here as soon as possible as the main ride, Escape from Gringotts does not have an express pass option. With so much to do at Diagon Alley, we have posted a separate blog about it – read our Wiizarding World of Harry Potter post here.
Springfield: Home of the Simpsons
If you love The Simpsons TV Show you will have to visit Springfield which features some old favourites such as the Krusty Burger, Lard Lad Donuts, Duff Brewery and Moe’s Tavern. There are plenty of sideshows where you can win prizes as well as two rides – Kang & Kodos’ Twirl ‘n’Hurl and the animated 3D adventure simply called The Simpsons Ride.
Other 3-D Attractions
The kids loved the following 3-D rides and shows which are very popular at Universal Orlando.
- Transformers: The Ride 3D – an epic battle against Megatron and the Decepticons.
- Despicable Me Minion Mayhem – become a minion on this adventure with Gru and his daughters.
- Shrek 4D – this 4D film adventure picks up from where the movie Shrek left off.
- Terminator 2 in 3D – this live action show will leave you on the edge on your seats.
There are only two actual rollercoasters in this park which are;
- Hollywood Rip Ride Rockit – this ride was a favourite of ours as you choose the music to listen to while looping around on this outdoor rollercoaster. Don’t forget to watch your videos as you leave the ride.
- Revenge of the Mummy – an indoor rollercoaster probably not suitable for younger kids that don’t like rides in the dark as it’s pretty scary.
- Universal’s Superstar Parade – this street parade features the crew from SpongeBob SquarePants, Dora & Diego as well as some Despicable Me favourites. You can also meet up with characters and have your photo taken with them.
- The Blues Brothers Show – an outdoor show featuring Jake & Elwood
- Marilyn & the Diamond Bellas – watch Marilyn Monroe and her Bellas perform.
While Universal Studios does not have as many activities for the younger ones as some of the other theme parks in Orlando, if you head over to Woody Woodpecker’s Kidzone there are some attractions they should really enjoy.
- Woody Woodpecker’s Nuthouse Coaster – a rollercoaster for the little ones.
- E.T. Adventure – take ET home on a magical bicycle adventure.
- Curious George Goes To Town – interactive playground where you might just get wet!
- Fievel’s Playland – outdoor playground complete with waterslide.
- A Day in the Park with Barney – a sing along show that toddlers will love.
- Animal Actors on Location – a live show featuring an array of animals.
Just up from Woody Woodpecker’s Kidzone is the Men in Black Alien Attack which the young kids will love as they get to zap away the alien invaders in a shooting gallery inspired ride (similar to the Buzz Lightyear rides at Disney).
A lot of the attractions and rides here can be accessed with the Skip the Line Express Passes which we would recommend at this park as the queues can be pretty long (which are best avoided in the heat of Orlando).
At some of the main rides there are complimentary lockers where you can store your personal belongings while at that particular attraction which is handy. If you prefer all day lockers you can hire one just inside the main entrance for either $10 or $12 for the whole day.
If travelling with younger kids there is also a child swap option at each ride so the adults don’t miss out on all the fun!
We would recommend staying at one of the On-Site Universal Hotels as they not only provide Express Passes for each person for the length of your stay, guests are also entitled to early park admission which gives you access to one of the Universal parks an hour before its scheduled opening (see early park admission calendar here).
We chose to stay at the Hard Rock Hotel – read our review here.
For more information on Universal Studios Orlando go to: www.universalorlando.com