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Tips for Universal Studios Hollywood with Young Kids (2024)

Tips for Universal Studios Hollywood with Young Kids (2024)

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What can babies, toddlers and preschoolers do at Universal Studios Hollywood? This complete guide offers tips on the best attractions for doing Universal Studios Hollywood with young kids, as well as ideas for dining, shows, souvenirs and more.

Entrance arch and palm trees at Universal Studios Hollywood

Universal Studios Hollywood with Young Kids

Located about an hour drive north of the Disneyland Resort, Universal Studios Hollywood is an oft-added theme park during a Southern California family vacation.

This movie-themed amusement park is known for its backlot studio tour, immersive rides, and popular character greetings. This article will help you make a decision about taking young children along with tips on what little kids can do at Universal Studios Hollywood.

Universal Studios Hollywood globe fountain in front of theme park

Should You Take Little Kids to Universal Studios Hollywood?

The newly added SUPER NINTENDO WORLD has made Universal Studios Hollywood even more desirable for a SoCal trip. But is there anything for young children to do at Universal Studios Hollywood?

This article will answer the top questions for families with little kids.

  • Are there kid-friendly attractions?
  • For kids that don’t meet the height restrictions, is there a rider switch pass?
  • What is there for a baby, toddler or preschooler to do at Universal Studios Hollywood?

Find out what there is for young kids to do at Universal Studios Hollywood, along with tips on the best dining locations and maximizing a full day with your entire family. This article will answer these questions and more!

Keep reading for a one day Universal Studios Hollywood itinerary for little kids and what to skip during your visit.

Plush toys in super nintendo world

Do Little Kids Need a Universal Studios Hollywood Ticket?

All guests that are 2 years old and younger do not require a theme park ticket. Babies and toddlers under three years old have complimentary admission to Universal Studios Hollywood.

For everyone else in the family, these are the ticket options available. Universal Studios Hollywood tickets are date sensitive. You’ll need to know your exact travel dates before purchasing. No additional theme park reservations are required.

SUPER NINTENDO WORLD park ticket at Universal Studios Hollywood

General Admission – One day entry to the theme park. Child ticket for ages 3-9 and adult tickets are for guests aged 10+.

Universal Express – The Express Pass offers one-time per day access through the Express line for each participating ride (excluding Mario Kart: Bowser’s Challenge). The Express Pass is a separate line that offers a shorter wait time (ie: “front of the line” entry).

An added bonus: Express Pass offers reservation-free entry into SUPER NINTENDO WORLD.

VIP Experience – This is the ultimate way to tour Universal Studios Hollywood with exclusive backlot access and more! The VIP Experience has an age minimum and guests must be at least 5 years old.

Southern California Discount Travel

My travel partners at Get Away Today offer both discounted theme park tickets and SoCal-area hotels to fit any budget! Many hotels include exclusive discounts like free parking, complimentary breakfast or even free nights, just for booking through Get Away Today.

When you’re ready to book your Southern California vacation, my friends at Get Away Today are ready to help! Call 1-855-GET-AWAY to book your trip.

BONUS DISCOUNT! – Mention code REWRITTEN to receive an extra discount off your SoCal vacation package of two or more days.

Universal Studios Hollywood Height Restrictions

A majority of the rides at Universal Studios Hollywood have a height requirement, limiting babies, toddlers and preschoolers. Height markers are posted in front of the entrance to attractions that have a height restriction.

height marker outside Mario Kart: Bowser's challenge ride at Universal Studios Hollywood

Some of the attractions require that guests meet the minimum height requirement and also have a “supervising companion”. Kids that fall into that height range must be accompanied by another guest (age 14+) in the ride vehicle with them.

Therefore, if your child’s height falls within this range, they must be accompanied on the ride. That eliminates use of the Single Rider line on that specific attraction.

Universal Studios Hollywood Ride Height Requirements

  • The Secret Life of Pets: Off the Leash: 34″ – Supervising companion required between 34-48″.
  • Flight of the Hippogriff – 39″ – Supervising companion required between 39-48″.
  • Despicable Me Minion Mayhem – 40″ – Supervising companion required between 40-48″.
  • Mario Kart: Bowser’s Challenge – 40” – Supervising companion required between 40”-48”.
  • The Simpsons Ride – 40″ – Supervising companion required between 40-48″.
  • TRANSFORMERS: The Ride-3D – 40″ – Supervising companion required between 40-48″.
  • Jurassic World — The Ride – 42″ – Supervising companion required between 42-48″.
  • Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey – 48″
  • Revenge of the Mummy — The Ride – 48″

How Does Rider Swap Work at Universal Studios Hollywood?

If your child doesn’t meet the height requirement or doesn’t want to ride, Universal Studios Hollywood child switch program works very well.

Child Switch works a little differently than rider switch programs at other amusement parks. Each of the participating attractions at Universal Studios Hollywood has a dedicated waiting room for this purpose.

My family used the child switch room at Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey with my daughter who didn’t meet the height requirement. The room is just outside of the attraction boarding area, with plenty of benches inside.

We watched a Harry Potter film while we waited for the rest of our group. When my husband and son returned after their ride, I was able to ride with my son while my husband waited with our daughter.

road crossing signs in front of hogwarts castle at Universal Studios Hollywood

Using Child Switch at Universal Studios Hollywood

When you wish to use the child switch, simply ask the attendant at the front entrance.

Your party stays together through the line. Children will accompany you through the line (no strollers).

Child-Switch waiting areas are located near the loading zones of designated attractions. These waiting rooms can also be used for other family members who don’t want to ride.

One guest in your group steps into the room with the child while the rest of the group rides. Then that person switches places with another adult after the ride so the second person can have their turn. There is no additional waiting in line.

Universal Studios Hollywood Rides with Child Switch

  • Transformers: The Ride – 3D
  • Despicable Me Minion Mayhem
  • Revenge of the Mummy
  • Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey
  • The Simpsons Ride
  • Jurassic World – The Ride
  • Mario Kart: Bowser’s Challenge
Entrance to The Mummy Ride at Universal Studios Hollywood

READ MORE about the rides and attractions, single rider, disability pass and more in this article about Universal Studios Hollywood tips for first time visitors.

Family Center at Universal Studios Hollywood

A dedicated Family Center at Universal Studios Hollywood is located near the front of the park. Walk towards the restrooms near the WaterWorld show. The Family Center is at the bottom of the ramp next to the family restroom.

Within the Family Center, guests may occupy one of the quiet rooms for a variety of reasons. Nursing mothers may feed their baby inside. Families may use a room as a decompressing space for a special needs child. There are also all-gender family restrooms inside the Family Center.

Keep reading for age-specific needs including strollers, nursing and diaper changing areas.

inside family center at Universal Studios Hollywood

Taking Babies to Universal Studios Hollywood

Unfortunately, the offerings for babies at Universal Studios Hollywood are extremely limiting. Newborns and infants are not permitted to ride anything.

Only a few rides will permit a baby aboard, and that is only if they can sit independently. This includes the Silly Swirly Fun Ride and World Famous Studio Tour. Even at that, the Studio Tour isn’t all that kid-friendly.

If you must bring a newborn, infant or baby into the park, know that you’ll be need to use Child Switch or Single Rider for most attractions. The baby will need to wait with one adult while the other adult rides. The following are a few more things to know about bringing a baby to Universal Studios Hollywood.

single rider sign at Universal Studios Hollywood
Many attractions offer a Single Rider line for older kids or adults who can ride alone

Pack a Diaper Bag

Additional supplies will be limited in the park, so it’s highly recommend to pack extra diapers, wipes, baby food and other essentials.

Consider renting a locker for the day to store extras. Paid lockers allow for unlimited in and out privileges.

Universal Studios Hollywood Stroller Rentals

Bring your own stroller for baby’s comfort, along with a front carrier for holding infants while waiting in lines.

Single and double strollers are available for rent at Universal Studios Hollywood. Wagons are also permitted within this theme park.

Theme Park Nursing Areas

Guests with babies may breastfeed anywhere they wish around the theme park. There are also designated facilities inside the First Aid stations and Family Center.

Diaper Changing Areas

All restrooms at Universal Studios Hollywood have diaper changing stations inside.

Things for Toddlers to Do at Universal Studios Hollywood

Height restrictions will limit toddlers from most of the attractions at Universal Studios Hollywood. Even the very kid-friendly Secret Life of Pets has a 34″ height minimum, which may eliminate toddlers from riding.

There are definitely more things to do at Disneyland with a toddler when compared to Universal Studios Hollywood.

Make sure to measure your toddler at home before going to Universal Studios Hollywood. Compare your youngster’s height to the requirements to plan your visit ahead of time.

These are the details on a few fun attractions for toddlers. There are more tips for the best shows and rides at Universal Studios Hollywood with young kids further in this article.

Planning a Southern California vacation and wondering if a day at Universal Studios Hollywood would be fun for the entire family? This deep guide shares Universal Studios Hollywood tips including discount tickets, thrill rides & motion sickness, whether the park is good for little kids, child-swap feature, The Wizarding World of Harry Potter and ideas on maximizing your day.
Frog Choir at The Wizarding World of Harry Potter

DreamWorks Theatre Featuring Kung Fu Panda is a multi-sensory attraction that doesn’t have a height restriction. However each guest is buckled into their own moving chair. There are non-moving chairs for guests who would like experience the show while holding a young child.

Super Silly Fun Land – The Silly Swirly ride is here, along with a wet and dry play area. Silly Swirly is a fun spinning attraction without a height restriction, similar to Dumbo the Flying Elephant at Disneyland.

There are also arcade games just like in the Despicable Me movie for anyone who wants to try and win a fluffy unicorn!

Super Silly land carnival games at Universal Studios Hollywood

Universal Studios Hollywood Toddler Tips

Here are a few additional toddler details to know:

Potty Training – There are both regular restrooms as well as family restrooms throughout the theme park.

Escalators to Lower & Upper Lots – Kids must be removed from the stroller before riding up and down the escalator to the other levels of the park. If you’d rather not hold your toddler on the multi-level escalator ride, consider taking the elevators.

World-Famous Studio Tour – This tram ride through the backlot of Universal Studios Hollywood has no height restriction, which means toddlers can ride. This hour-long tour may not be entirely toddler friendly (especially for those kiddos that are potty training!)

There are some potentially scary moments, including a ride-through 3D King Kong attraction, Fast & Furious, and realistic earthquake scene. Not to mention Jaws! Consider your toddler’s personality before boarding.

Studio Tram vehicle at Universal Studios Hollywood

Universal Studios Hollywood with Preschoolers

Preschoolers that are taller than 40″ are golden when it comes to meeting the height requirements for most attractions. Your mileage may vary whether they’ll actually want to go on these Universal Studios Hollywood thrill rides!

Universal Studios Hollywood rides can be intense

Some of the attractions at Universal Studios Hollywood are intense, with realistic and immersive virtual reality visuals. Extreme noise, motion, and powerful imagery are combined within rides like Jurassic World – The Ride and Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey.

While older kids and teens enjoy the full immersion into these cinematic worlds, sensitive preschoolers may balk at the heightened graphics. Consider watching YouTube on-ride videos ahead of your trip to know if a particular ride will be appropriate for your preschooler.

What to Do at Universal Studios Hollywood with a Preschooler

Outside of the thrill rides, there are still some fun areas at Universal Studios Hollywood to do with preschoolers.

Despicable Me Minion Mayhem – Fans of the franchise will appreciate stepping into Gru’s house for “Minion training”. Let the fart gun jokes begin!

Mario Kart: Bowser’s Challenge – This is the newest Universal Studios Hollywood attraction, located in SUPER NINTENDO WORLD. Preschooler gamers will likely enjoy the slow moving, kid-friendly ride that encourages riders to collect coins on this interactive attraction.

Riders wear a hat and goggles to view the 3D effects. However the heavy combination may prove uncomfortable for very young kids.

Places for Kids to Play at Universal Studios Hollywood

Several play areas inside Universal Studios Hollywood are fun for young children, but which ones are best for the ages of your kids? This section discusses the three kid’s play areas around the park.

Super Silly Fun Land Wet Zone

This water play area within the Minions-themed Super Silly Fun Land is good fun for all ages. There are over 80 different water features including a splash pad and sprayers. Kid are encouraged to wear a swimsuit and shoes are required. There are changing rooms nearby, along with storage lockers.

Wet play area in Super Silly land at Universal Studios Hollywood

Super Silly Fun Land Dry Zone

This colorful play area invites young kids to climb, jump and slide. This spot is tucked away near the entrance to Silly Swirly and is great for toddlers.

Minion play area at Universal Studios Hollywood

DinoPlay

This dinosaur themed play structure is located near Jurassic World – The Ride. Naturally, this play spot is a great place to take younger kids who can’t ride the attraction.

There’s a full-size T. Rex skull and dinosaur eggs, a jungle climber, and a rope plank bridge. The climbing structures at DinoPlay are most appropriate for preschoolers and older kids.

dino-play area in Jurassic World at Universal Studios hollywood

Universal Studios Hollywood Dining with Kids

All dining within Universal Studios Hollywood is quick service. There isn’t any mobile ordering and food is simply ordered on location, as needed. This means that guests will need to stand in line and order meals in person at each chosen restaurant.

Restaurants within Universal Studios Hollywood and Universal CityWalk offer indoor and/or outdoor patio dining. There are high chairs available for babies and toddlers at all restaurant locations.

Sign for Minion Cafe restaurant at Universal Studios Hollywood

There are some dining locations in the CityWalk area that are full service restaurants, with extensive menus and wait staff. CityWalk is located just outside the gates of Universal Studios Hollywood, with dozens of eateries within quick walking distance.

Toothsome Chocolate Emporium is the newest restaurant, with a hearty adult menu and several good options on the kid’s menu. But it’s mostly all about the desserts! Other good dining locations include Johnny Rockets, Panda Express and Jamba Juice.

Extreme milkshakes at Toothsome Chocolate Emporium & Savory Feast Kitchen

Best Places to Eat with Kids at Universal Studios Hollywood

Food at Universal Studios Hollywood is very kid-friendly. Some locations have kids meals, while other restaurants offer main courses for sharing. There are also a variety of snack carts with offerings like soft pretzels and ice cream bars.

These are a few suggestions for dining with young kids. For additional details, view the menus of restaurants on the Universal Studios Hollywood app.

  • Cletus’ Chicken Shack – Cletus’ Peep-Fried Chicken Platter
  • Hollywood and Dine – Pork Ramen Noodles
  • Jurassic Café – Yogurt Parfait
  • Minion’s Café – Classic Grilled Cheese
  • Palace Deli & Market – Macaroni & Cheese
  • Studio Café – Personal Pizza
  • Toadstool Café – Power-Up Spaghetti Marinara
  • Three Broomsticks – Fish and chips with Butterbeer, chilled or frozen
Princess Peach cupcake at Toadstool Cafe in SUPER NINTENDO WORLD
Princess Peach cupcake at Toadstool Café in SUPER NINTENDO WORLD

What to Pack for Universal Studios Hollywood with Kids

Bring a day bag or backpack with you into the park, packed with your essentials for a day at the theme park. These are some suggestions on what to pack for children. For additional ideas on what to bring, read more in this Disney packing list for kids.

  • Bottled water
  • Snacks, including granola bars, baby carrots, Goldfish crackers, pretzels or whatever your kids enjoy.
  • Baby needs, including bottles, formula, food, sipper cup
  • Hand sanitizer
  • Weather-appropriate extra change of clothing, including a jacket and hat
  • Sunscreen
  • Swimsuit, towel and waterproof shoes for play in the Super Silly Fun Land wet zone
  • Children’s pain reliever, including Tylenol
  • Travel first aid kit, including bandages and antibiotic ointment
  • Wet Ones to clean off hands in between washing

Best Souvenirs for Young Kids at Universal Studios Hollywood

Ready to choose a great souvenir in the gift shop but not sure where to begin? Naturally, there are shops located all over the theme park with ideal souvenirs for young kids. These are a few fun suggestions that are great for a variety of ages.

Power-Up Band for SUPER NINTENDO WORLD

This interactive wrist band allows both children and adults to collect digital coins and keys throughout the SUPER NINTENDO WORLD area. At various locations throughout this “land”, guests have the opportunity to play games, punch blocks, and earn points (ie: coins and keys) that are synced to the Universal Studios Hollywood app.

Row of power up bands in super nintendo world at Universal Studios Hollywood

There is a printed map inside the Power-Up Band box which shows where points can be earned. Likewise, you can also access locations through the phone app. Once you’ve collected three keys, you’ll receive access into a secret section to play the Bowser Jr. Shadow Showdown.

The Power-Up band comes in a variety of styles representing Mario, Luigi, Princess Peach, Yoshi, Toad, and Princess Daisy. Each band costs around $40. The bands are worn like a “slap bracelet”, which may be bulky on smaller kids.

If you plan to visit Universal Studios Hollywood multiple times, the Power-Up Band can be used on subsequent visits.

Wand from Ollivanders

Ollivanders wand shop is a combination show experience and souvenir shop within The Wizarding World of Harry Potter. Ollivanders sells interactive wands to be used at various points through this area.

With exacting motions using the wand, “magic” happens within the shop windows. Wands can also be purchased from a cart located within this area.

Planning a Southern California vacation and wondering if a day at Universal Studios Hollywood would be fun for the entire family? This deep guide shares Universal Studios Hollywood tips including discount tickets, thrill rides & motion sickness, whether the park is good for little kids, child-swap feature, The Wizarding World of Harry Potter and ideas on maximizing your day.
Ollivanders wand shop at The Wizarding World of Harry Potter

Each wand comes with a guide of spells so that kids can practice at home. There are assistants located throughout The Wizarding World of Harry Potter to help with spells and offer advice.

These collector wands come in a variety of styles representing witches and wizards from the book and film series. Expect to pay up to $75 cost for an interactive wand. You can also save a considerable amount by purchasing a non-interactive play wand version, which is ideal for younger children.

A wizarding wand can be brought back into Universal Studios Hollywood on later visits. The wands also work at Universal Orlando in Florida.

Candy from Honeydukes

Also located in the Wizarding World of Harry Potter, Honeydukes is a must-stop for all things sweet! But you won’t find the usual treats here, as everything within this whimsical shop is based upon the Harry Potter series.

The candies at Honeydukes make great take home souvenirs, including Chocolate Frogs, Fizzing Whizzbees, and Bertie Bott’s Every-Flavour Beans.

candy shelves and giant rainbow lollipop in honeydukes shop in Universal Studios Hollywood

More Great Universal Studios Hollywood Souvenirs for Kids

Adopt-A-Pup

Animal loves and fans of The Secret Life of Pets will love this small gift shop. Kids can “adopt” a puppy and purchase assorted merchandise, including accessories and a pet carrier. The Secret Life of Pets attraction exits through The Pets Store so you can’t miss this shop if you go on that ride.

Pressed Pennies

My son’s very favorite souvenir anywhere we go is the inexpensive pressed penny. Machines are found in gift shops all around Universal Studios Hollywood and designs vary depending on your location.

Many machines will accept a single dollar bill in exchange for one design on a penny. Other spots have machines that take a credit or debit card, offering 8 different designs for $5 cost.

Jurassic World shop has merchandise for dinosaur lovers of all ages!

Universal Studios Hollywood Itinerary for Young Kids

This itinerary is designed for travel with younger children. I’m sharing a top list of things to add to your visit with the most popular attractions for the whole family.

Pick and choose which attractions best suit your family and follow the insider tips I’ve shared throughout this section. Use Rider Swap and the Single Rider line for attractions in which your child is unable to ride.

Planning a Southern California vacation and wondering if a day at Universal Studios Hollywood would be fun for the entire family? This deep guide shares Universal Studios Hollywood tips including discount tickets, thrill rides & motion sickness, whether the park is good for little kids, child-swap feature, The Wizarding World of Harry Potter and ideas on maximizing your day.
You’ll “meet” a Jurassic Park dinosaur on the Universal Studios Hollywood tram tour!

SUPER NINTENDO WORLD

This Mario Bros. video-game themed land is the most popular spot at Universal Studios Hollywood. Consider starting your day in this newly opened area in the lower lot.

Book an Entry Reservation – A virtual line reservation system is often required for entry into SUPER NINTENDO WORLD. Book through the “Virtual Line” tab on the app. Note: This is only for entry into the area, not a virtual queue for the attractions.

SUPER NINTENDO WORLD at Universal Studios Hollywood

SUPER NINTENDO WORLD Early Entry – As an alternative to scoring a virtual line admission, Universal Studios Hollywood sells an early entry admittance to SUPER NINTENDO WORLD, available through the app.

Buy your Universal Studios Hollywood tickets through Get Away Today at a discount. Then purchase the SUPER NINTENDO WORLD early entry in the app (cost is $20 per person for one hour, pre-opening access).

Entrance to Universal Studios Hollywood including red carpet and sign for SUPER NINTENDO WORLD

Dine at Toadstool Café – This adorable indoor restaurant is extremely kid-friendly, with animated screens, an immersive storyline and delicious food.

First thing upon entering SUPER NINTENDO WORLD, I highly recommend grabbing a waitlist return time card at the restaurant entrance. After you’ve played throughout SUPER NINTENDO WORLD, return during your designated time for a meal.

Mario Kart: Bowser’s Challenge, Power-Up Key Challenges and Character meet ‘n greets – Expect long lines for all things. Luigi, Mario and Princess Peach meet guests throughout the day in SUPER NINTENDO WORLD.

Read more about exploring this new area with my friend Becca’s Super Nintendo World Tips from This Crazy Adventure Called Life.

Mario kart driver outfits inside SUPER NINTENDO WORLD

Jurassic World

Jurassic World – The Ride – Realistic water ride with dinosaurs and peril, just like in the Jurassic Park movie franchise. And I didn’t even mention the steep water drop at the conclusion!

Use the Child Switch waiting area or visit the Dino-Play structure with young kids that cannot ride.

Raptor Encounter – Multiple dinosaurs greet guests throughout the day in this area. Handlers may carry a baby raptor or there might be a lumbering triceratops. The more frightening velociraptor might scare kids, so try watching from a distance to weigh your child’s personal comfort level.

Triceratops meet n' greet at Jurassic World area in Universal Studios Hollywood

Other Things to Do in the Lower Lot

Transformers: The Ride – 3D and Revenge of the Mummy are intense attractions. Even if your preschooler meets the height minimum for Transformers, consider using the Child Swap area. There’s a lot of swift movement in the ride vehicle and powerful action that takes place in a 3D war zone in this thrill ride.

Transformers Meet ‘n Greet – Meet with Optimus Prime, Bumblebee and Megatron, the most famous Transformers. Some kids may be terrified by the larger-than-life Autobots that tower over them. My kid didn’t want to get close so we watched safely from afar.

bumblebee and optimus prime transformers meet & greet at Universal Studios Hollywood

Minion Land

Moving back up to the upper lot of Universal Studios Hollywood, head for the Minion-themed area. This section will have the most kid-friendly attractions and a play area.

Character Greetings – Movie characters meet here for hugs and photos, including Gru and Minions.

Despicable Me Minion Mayhem, Silly Swirly Fun Ride, and Super Silly Fun Land – See previous sections earlier in this article that detail more about the rides, wet zone, dry play area, and carnival games found here.

The Secret Life of Pets: Off the Leash – This whimsical dark ride is charming and fun. The queue is especially entertaining, with appearances by animals from the movie. Keep note of the 34″ height restriction that may limit toddlers from riding.

Animated dogs Inside the queue of Secret Life of Pets

The Wizarding World of Harry Potter

Most very young children won’t know who Harry Potter is, but this enchanting land is still magical for all ages.

Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey – The 48″ height restriction limits most young kids from riding this attraction. Adults and older kids should take advantage of Single Rider or Child Swap.

Entrance to the Wizarding world of harry potter at Universal Studios Hollywood

Flight of the Hippogriff – Super short, not-too-scary roller coaster located in the Wizarding World of Harry Potter area. This is an ideal first coaster for young kids.

Frog Choir and Triwizard Spirit Rally – These two live shows take place on a small stage to standing room only crowds. Both are fun and lively but the Frog Choir is especially appealing, as a chorus of frogs croak along with the singers!

Butterbeer – This can’t miss beverage is sold in a variety of styles, including chilled, frozen and hot. There are even fudge and ice cream versions. The taste is sweet and creamy (like butterscotch) and very kid-friendly.

Butterbeer at The Wizarding World of Harry Potter

Other Things to Do on the Upper Lot

Springfield – Fans of The Simpsons series will enjoy walking through this colorful area, complete with details from the show. There are many fun photo ops here, including Moe’s Tavern and meet and greet locations in front of the Quik-E-Mart. The Simpsons Ride is a wild ride simulator featuring the cartoon crew.

Springfield sign at Universal Studios Hollywood

World-Famous Studio Tour – This studio backlot tour is a must do. However if you have a baby that can’t ride or a fidgety toddler, you’ll need to plan the tour into your day.

Consider splitting up your group during your child’s naptime. This way one adult can wait with the sleeping child, while the rest of the party does the tour (then switch).

The tour is a full hour long. If you are swapping out waiting with young kids, understand that the Studio Tour will eat up several hours of the day.

Character Greetings – A multitude of familiar faces and favorite characters greet guests along the streets of Universal Studios Hollywood. We spotted Marilyn Monroe, Poppy from Trolls, Scooby Doo, King Julian from Madagascar and Donkey from Shrek.

character meet and greet of Poppy at Universal Studios Hollywood

My daughter didn’t know who Frankenstein was, but enjoyed meeting him just the same! Character appearance times and locations are not found in the Universal Studios Hollywood app. Ask a park employee for details on the day of your visit.

Little girl meeting Frankenstein and his bride at Universal Studios Hollywood

What to Skip at Universal Studios Hollywood with Young Kids

WaterWorld

While action-packed, WaterWorld is also edgy and violent. There are intense fight scenes that include punching, guns and water cannons. If you have a perceptive toddler or preschooler that may be upset by these visuals, consider sitting this show out.

Virtual reality imaging and 3D effects may be too intense for some young kids at Universal Studios Hollywood. Consider skipping intense thrill rides with preschoolers, even if they meet the height requirements.

Studio Tour

As I’ve stressed throughout this article, the Studio Tour is a must do. But it’s not for small children. Babies can’t go on the tour. Toddlers will be scared of certain elements. And preschoolers are sure to get bored on the hour-long tour of studio backlots and movie sets.

This attraction does not offer child swap. Consider having adults take turns on the tour so that everyone in your group can do it.

row of studio tram vehicles at Universal Studios Hollywood

How to Get to Universal Studios Hollywood

Many families seeking to visit Universal Studios Hollywood are adding this theme park to their California vacation. With Disneyland as a main destination, some families want to add a single day visit at Universal to their trip. Here’s what you need to know.

  • Universal Studios Hollywood is located in Universal City, just over 3 miles from the famed Hollywood.
  • Disneyland is 36 miles south, in Anaheim. Expect a drive of at least one hour between the two locations.

L.A. traffic can be a major factor here, making that trip time double during heavy congestion through the city.

Aim to drive outside of rush hours. Early morning and late night hours will be best if you wish to avoid traffic jams.

Universal Studios Hollywood Transportation Tips with Kids

Renting a Car

The most economical option for families on a budget. However, if you’re unaccustomed to driving in heavy traffic, taking the wheel on Los Angeles freeways can be a deal breaker.

When driving in a car with a child, California state law requires the use of a car seat. Consider bringing your own from home or borrowing one through the rental car company. A travel car seat like the WAYB Pico is ideal for toddlers and older.

WAYB Pico travel car seat for forward facing children

Ride Share

Yes, Uber and Lyft will take you, though this is sure to be a pricey expenditure. Keep in mind that the cost fluctuates for ride share dependent upon the time of day.

California ride share vehicles do not offer car seats. Bring your own from home, especially for babies and toddlers.

For preschoolers and older kids, consider a portable car seat, like the Bubble Bum inflatable booster seat.

Bubble Bum Inflatable booster is great for travel

Shuttle Service

Generally the best option, especially for larger groups. Karmel Shuttle will pick up at your chosen Anaheim area hotel for the drive to Universal Studios in a private van that seats up to 9. The price is for one-way, so don’t forget to book the return trip back to Anaheim!

As noted before, you’ll need to bring a car seat (check California state laws as to the ages that require one).

Karmel Shuttle also offers transportation from various SoCal airports with curbside service to the hotel for your convenience.

Booking a Hotel for a Universal Studios Hollywood Vacation

Overnight in Universal City Area

The Garland – Just a mile drive from the theme park, this hotel also offers a complimentary shuttle back and forth.

Holiday Inn Express North Hollywood – Burbank Area – This is where my family stayed during our summer trip. The rooms are decently sized and the hotel offers a free hot breakfast. The three mile drive to Universal Studios Hollywood is quick on side streets.

Overnight in Anaheim Area

  • Homewood Suites by Hilton – Conveniently located next to the Toy Story parking lot, which offers Disney bus transportation to the park. Complimentary hot breakfast and clean suite rooms are a perk!
  • Anaheim Marriott Suites – All-suite hotel less than 2 miles from Disneyland, this location sleeps up to 6.
  • SunCoast Park Hotel Anaheim – Within walking distance of Disneyland, the studio suites are a roomy option.

LEARN MORE about planning a SoCal vacation, including things to do during Spring Break in Southern California.


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