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Review of Universal Studios Orlando with Kids

 

Review of Orlando with Kids

Islands of Adventure Universal Studios Ticket Options at Universal Studio and Islands of Adventure

Tips for Saving Money on an Orlando Vacation

Wizarding World of Harry Potter

I would recommend a day for each park, Universal Studios and Islands of Adventure, especially if it is a time of the year when the parks are more crowded.  

Universal Studios

Universal Studios offers kids of all ages a journey into many wonderful movies and TV Series through attractions and shows.  You will see unforgettable and unique tributes to Jaws, ET, Shrek, Twister, Men in Black, and Fear Factor.  The six themed areas include Production Central, New York, San Francisco/Amity, World Expo, Woody Woodpecker's Kidzone and Hollywood.  In each of these areas the streets and buildings are theme oriented and they feature a combination of shows, rides, restaurants, stores and character appearances. The magic of the movies is felt throughout this entire park.  Be sure to look at the names of stores and restaurants because many will have a link to some movie.  It does help young kids to relate to the rides if they saw some of these movies prior to your visit, so think about some movie nights before you go. 

Hollywood

In the Hollywood section you are enjoy the shops and boutiques of Beverly Hills Rodeo Drive and Hollywood Blvd. Check to see if you can find the star of your favorite actor or actress. 

It is also home to the Universal Horror Make-up Show which we found to be very entertaining.  Tricks of the trade are shown in a comedy fashion.  My kids loved it.  Shows run at a specific time so be sure to check the schedule.

Lucy - A Tribute is a showcase to the life of Lucille Ball with great memorabilia. The Great Terminator 2 was a great attraction with live action as well as video presentation.

New York

New York offers street vendors, Fifth Avenue stores, restaurants, show and rides.  It is home to Revenge of the Mummy, thankfully it was one of the rides where I opted out, which is a roller coaster ride set in the darkness of an Egyptian pyramid.

Twister which was a very cool walk through attraction where you see the effects of a twister with wind, rain and falling debris.

The Blues Brothers outdoor show was lots of fun with Jake and Elwood (Blues Brothers), the famous car, great music and of course attitude.  This is a scheduled show so be sure to check the times so that you do not miss it.

Production Central

Production Central is the park's main entrance area.  In this area you will find Shrek 4D which was quite entertaining with minimal motion, and neat effects.

In addition, it is home to the Universal Music Plaza Stage which is  a permanent stage used for live concerts at various times in the year.  We happened to be there during the four month long Mardi Gras celebration and therefore were able to catch the Beach Boys in concert.  This was probably the highlight of the trip for my kids.  They expected fun at amusement parks but they never expected to see a real concert.  We were very close to the stage and totally enjoyed the atmosphere, songs and overall experience. 

This is also the area where the Hollywood Rip, Ride, Rockit resides.  A must do roller coaster for the thrill seekers in your group. 

San Francisco/Amity

When you travel to San Francisco you will find Jaws, Beetlejuice Rock and Roll Graveyard Revue, Disaster! A Major Motion Picture Ride ... Starring You, and Fear Facor Live.  

Beetlejuice is a live show featuring Dracula, Frankenstein and his Bride, Wolfman and of course Beetlejuice.  It is a cute show with fun music so be sure to check the schedule for show times.

Fear Factor was one of our favorites it located between San Francisco and World Expo.  If you are interested in participating in the show they have auditions earlier in the day so check when you get there for information.  Six participants perform demanding, possibly unpleasant, stunts until they are eliminated.  As an adult my advice is DO NOT volunteer as an audience helper unless you have nerves of steel and a stomach of stone.  It is ok for the kids to volunteer all of their participation is shooting water guns at participants.  This was a great live show that was lots of fun to watch.  Be sure to check the scheduled times for this show to fit it into your schedule. 

Disaster is a casting call for the latest feature film "Mutha Nature", starring Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson.  Guests are chosen to portray villains for the film and then you are on to an earthquake in an underground subway setting.  So how does this all fit together in the end you view a movie clip featuring YOU in the midst of this disaster flick. 

In Jaws the great white shark is loose in the water and you are on a boat.  Of course your boat eventually gets attacked and the shark comes right up to you.  You may want to keep small kids away from the side of the boat.  Also, depending on where you are seated you could get wet.

Woody Woodpecker's Kidzone

Woody Woodpecker's Kidzone is a combination of live shows, water attractions, a  playground and rides.  The youngsters in your group will love this area.  Shows include A Day in the Park with Barney that pre-schoolers will love and Animal Actors on Location, which highlights how animals are trained for films.  

Curious George Goes to Town is a water-based interactive playground.  You might want to consider bathing suits for this area. Woody Woodpecker's Roller Coaster is a coaster designed for kids.  The E.T.  Adventure ride, where you are taking a bike ride with ET to save his friends, is definitely for young kids but is very cute.  Both of these rides are popular ride so lines could be long. 

World Expo

World Expo is home to three attractions: The Men in Black Alien Attack, Fear Factor and The Simpsons Ride.   The Men in Black Alien Attack is a ride where you take part in a cyberspace battle to shoot aliens in order to save New York City.   The second attraction here is The Simpsons Ride which is a motion simulator which takes you along with the Simpsons as they visit a theme park called Krustyland.

Park Tips

The best way to see the park is by getting there when it opens.

Wear comfortable shoes.

You should have sun block, sun glasses and even a hat. 

You are allowed to bring water bottles and snacks into the park and I would advise you to do so.  Food is expensive.

Preferred parking gets you close to the entrance especially if you are there when the park opens.

Do your homework in advance and know where in the park you want to start to try and avoid crowds and lines.

Lastly, if you are traveling with older children or all adults try using the "singles only line" for the rides.  We did this for the first time this trip and it cut the wait time from 40 minutes to 10 minutes.  I was worried at first that we would get separated but we were within a minute of each other at all times.  We did this on the high intensity roller rides where you really can't talk to the person next to you anyway.    The single line just fills in the ride when there are not enough for an individual group to fill it.  For instance if the ride holds 4 people and there is a group of 3 they will take one from the single line to fill the ride.  Works great so give it a try!!!