Unlike Disneyland Resort, Universal Studios Hollywood is not all about entertaining kids and babies. The park has become more kid friendly, especially in recent years, but its focus is on entertaining movie fans. If you are headed to Universal and have small children (let’s call them future movie fans), you will all have a better time if your little ones are having fun too. That is why we are here to show you all the ways to have a great time with small children at Universal Studios Hollywood.
There are two rides that allow children under 40 inches at Universal Studios Hollywood: the Studio Tour and the Super Swirly Fun Ride at Super Silly Fun Land. Most rides can accommodate children who are at least 40 inches (Jurassic Park requires 42 inches, and the Mummy has a 48-inch height requirement). Children over 40 inches will most likely enjoy Despicable Me Minion Mayhem (Lily was scared she was going to be turned into a minion the first time she rode it) and The Simpsons Ride (may be scary for younger kids). You can read more about Universal Studios Hollywood's height requirements.
If you are taking little ones on the Studio Tour, follow our advice on where to sit so your kids are safe and protected from the action in King Kong, Fast and Furious, and that realistic shark. If you have children under 40 inches you will also need to look into other kinds of entertainment— besides rides — in the park. The good news is there is a lot to do!
One way to beat the heat and entertain kids of all sizes is to get wet at Super Silly Fun Land. Pack a swim suit, towel and some sunscreen, because your little minions will be jumping and splashing with all their new friends in the spray area equipped with more than 80 different water play features and slides. There is a changing room nearby.
Other splash-and-play areas include the water area where many Fast and Furious cars from Furious 7 are displayed as well as some fountains you can play in outside the park at Universal Studio Walk.
Meet Minions and Other Friends
Just outside of Despicable Me Minion Mayhem, you can meet a minion. Maybe Kevin. Or Bob. Or one of those other guys. You may have to wait for a little bit, but we noticed that there was no wait time to meet a minion in the gift shop right where the Minion ride exits in Super Silly Fun Land. You can also meet Margo, Agnes, and Edith just outside Miss Hattie’s Home for Girls at certain times throughout the day.
Around the park keep your eyes open for classic characters like Betty Boop, Dracula, and Doc Brown from Back to the Future. You little ones may not know them, but they are fun to spot and meet. Kids will enjoy seeing Donkey in his waffle hut outside of the Shrek 4D show.
Keep in mind, that meeting characters can sometimes be scary for little ones. They are just so big and like nothing else they've ever seen! If this happens, don't force an encounter. You can try holding your little one while you approach or try again later. You can also talk to your child in advance about the very tall minions they may see at the park and remind her they are friendly. For Lily, some characters may always be too scary (hello, Jack Skellington).
The brand-new Raptor Encounter down in the Lower Lot, featuring 15-foot-tall Velociraptors, is one with high scare potential. The experience is terrific, but these life-like creatures may be too much for your little one.
Walk and Climb with the Dinosaurs
Speaking of dinosaurs, nearby in the Lower Lot, there is a Dinoplay climbing and play area next to Jurassic Park that is perfect for entertaining kids while waiting while other family members to go on rides. It is also fun to watch the boats make a splash at the end of the Jurassic Park ride.
Use Child Switch and Single Rider
Taller people in your party can ride the big rides while someone waits with the baby or toddler in a child switch room, then the other person can take turn without having to wait again. Ask employees near the entrance of a ride about the child switch program.
You can also take advantage of single rider lines. The line for Jurassic Park can be long, but Leap and Tad went on the single rider line while I played with Lily in the Dinoplay area, and they hopped out of the boat, refreshed and exhilarated before we knew it. Both rider switch and single rider options are great ways to manage crowds in the lower lot and manage your time in the park.
See a Show
One of the best shows for entertaining small children at Universal Studios Hollywood is the Animal Actors Stage. Try to arrive early to get a seat closer to the front so little ones can see the dogs and cats and small animals do their tricks. You may even get to meet a famous animal star. Tad enjoyed meeting an owl from a Harry Potter movie. Kids may also enjoy Shrek 4D. If you buy a Front of Line Pass you’ll have a special seating area and can stay after certain show times for a more intimate meet-and-greet with some of the animal stars.
There is a special effects stage that kids may find interesting or maybe a little scary, depending on your kid. Let your tadpoles know that the stunts in the show are pretend. Water World is a popular show, and if it is really hot when you visit you may want to sit in a splash zone to cool off. We frogs have no fear of the water, but if you do not like to get wet, choose your seat wisely or buy a poncho.
Both Super Silly Fun Land and The Simpson’s area have carnival games that kids can enjoy. Perhaps you can win your souvenir? Lily won a prized minion and fluffy unicorn like Agnes’s. That pretty much made her day. Here’s a money-saving secret if you plan to play games. When we made a purchase at one of the stores, they gave us a voucher for two-for-one carnival games, which we were able to use multiple times. Ask about this in the gift shops before you play.
Things to See
There is plenty to see at Universal. Window shop in the gift shops both in the park and at Universal CityWalk. Check out the movie memorabilia in the air-conditioned NBC Universal Experience. Watch people get soaked on the boats at the end of Jurassic Park. Take pictures near the Hollywood sign after exiting the Studio Tours tram. Have fun with all the colorful details in Springfield and Krustyland. Go in the stores and restaurants in Springfield to see life-size statues of Simpson’s characters.
While little ones may not have seen most of the movies that are inspiration for the attractions, they will have fun spending time with you, eating fun treats, playing in water, window shopping, and meeting their favorite minions. That’s the ticket to entertaining small children at Universal Studios Hollywood. And if you are also heading to Disneyland with your little ones during your visit, make sure to check our advice for bringing a toddler or baby to Disneyland.