Universal Hollywood is known for its high-speed thrill attractions, such as Transformers: The Ride – 3D and Revenge of the Mummy: The Ride. But did you know that it’s also a great destination for the whole family?
Here are our favorite family attractions, as decided by my 6- and 10-year-old:
STUDIO TOUR –
You’ll board a tour bus for a trip through the backlot area. A tour guide, along with a funny video starring Jimmy Fallon, explains all the different buildings and how they are used. You’ll see sound stages where assorted television shows and movies have been filmed, and lots of movie sets. They talk about how some of the sets get “repurposed” over the years. My kids really enjoyed learning more about how movies are made, especially the different types of special effects features!
We saw the set from Jaws
The Wisteria Lane neighborhood from the TV show Desperate Housewives (one of my personal favorites!)
The set of Who-ville from Jim Carrey’s How the Grinch Stole Christmas
And so many others!
There were some surprises along the way, like a flood, an earthquake, and an exciting rescue by King Kong, but by that time, the kids already understood that everything was “make-believe” and were not scared. They found the whole experience very exciting, especially when our tour needed to be absolutely quiet while passing a show that was being filmed right there!
Be sure and take a restroom break before getting in line! This ride is about an hour long, and there are no bathrooms along the way. Also, use the time in line to talk to the kids about how movies and TV shows are made, so they can get the most out of this great educational opportunity!
SUPER SILLY FUN LAND –
This area is a replica of the carnival in Despicable Me. It’s so colorful and happy-looking, it’ll make you want to hang out all day! The largest section is actually a giant splash park, with over 80 water features to get your little ones soaking wet! Just the perfect thing during a hot summer day (remember to bring a towel and a change of clothes in your backpack!)
If you’d rather not get wet, don’t worry, there’s also a dry playground area for kids, and the Silly Swirly Fun Ride will take you up high for a breeze and a view over the whole area. There’s no height requirement to ride it, but kids under 48 inches tall will need to ride with someone 14 years or older.
Of course, a carnival wouldn’t be complete without some arcade games where you can try and win prizes – maybe even a stuffed “It’s So Fluffy” unicorn!
THE SIMPSONS RIDE
This ride takes place in Krustyland, a cartoon theme park built by Krusty the Clown. You’ll love all the details in this area!
Once you get inside the ride queue, you discover that Sideshow Bob has escaped from prison and wants to get revenge on Krusty and the Simpson family. The characters are voiced by the original actors, and this ride is really fun for the whole family! One of the characters saves the day, giving the ride a happy ending, but I won’t spoil it here….
The ride vehicle moves around a lot, so if you have neck or back problems, or get motion sickness easily, you may want to sit this one out. Guests need to be at least 40 inches tall to ride, and people who are 40-48 inches will need to ride with someone who’s over 14 years old.
DESPICABLE ME MINION MAYHEM
My family loves the Despicable Me movies and all the characters, so I knew this ride would be a big hit!
In the queue area, you find out that you’re being recruited to become a minion, and Gru’s daughters are going to help with your training. What could possibly go wrong??
This is another simulator-type ride, and your seats will move and jerk a lot. If you think this will bother you, just ask to be seated in the area that doesn’t move, and you can still enjoy the movie! Riders must be over 40 inches tall to do this attraction, and people who are 40-48 inches need to ride with someone who is 14 years or older.
When the ride is over, you can be a part of a Minion Dance Party, and then shop for Despicable Me merchandise, including adorable Minion shirts and fluffy unicorn backpacks.
FRONT OF LINE PASS
Although this isn’t an attraction, I think it’s a “Must Do” for families planning to visit this park for just one day of your vacation. Purchase this pass before you go the park, and you’ll get a card that allows you one-time access to the priority line at each attraction. It’s expensive, but it allows you to basically walk on to every ride! Such a sanity saver when traveling with your kids, plus you’ll be able to do the whole park easily in just one day.
I’m Brenda Arnold-Richard, and I’m a travel agent with Travel With The Magic. Contact me to help you get the most out of YOUR family’s vacation! Email Brenda@travelwiththemagic.com so we can get started today, and my services are completely free! I also specialize in Disney vacations.