***Be sure to scroll down for the awesome giveaway!***
Living in Orlando, people often think that we frequently visit the many theme parks we have in the area. This is not necessarily true, though. As I’m sure is the case for many of you, life often gets in the way of having fun on a regular basis. There is work to be done, household and family responsibilities, and everyday errands to attend to. Sometimes, you need an escape from it all, even if it’s in the same city you live in.
That’s why it was a treat for our family to be a part of the Universal Orlando Resort blogger tour held a couple of weeks ago. During this trip, we were able to take a mini-vacation right here in our own city, though honestly, we nearly forgot we were still in Orlando. It was nice to visit the Universal theme parks again; it had been nearly five years since we had visited Universal Orlando. We also had an opportunity to play tourists and stay at one of the on-site hotels, Loews Portofino Bay Hotel, instead of driving back and forth from our home. This definitely helped us feel like we were on vacation and provided us with the chance to experience the theme parks at another level.
During our visit, we visited both Universal Studios and Universal’s Islands of Adventure, both of which have changed quite a bit since the last time we had been there. Both parks have fun rides for the younger kids, such as my baby girl. She’s a tall five year old, but even still, isn’t quite to the 48 inch height requirement that many of the bigger rides require. However, there is plenty at both parks that will please your preschooler. Here’s some of what our family enjoyed.
7 Ways Preschoolers Will Have Fun at Universal Orlando Resort
1. Woody Woodpecker’s Kid Zone
This area is located at Universal Studios and is made for the little ones. Within this space, you can find a variety of fun for toddlers, preschoolers, and elementary-aged kids.
- Woody Woodpecker’s Nuthouse Coaster: If you have a thrill seeker like my girl, your child will be disappointed to find out she can’t ride Hollywood Rip Ride Rockit. Luckily, there are mini roller coasters, such as this one, for the kids to enjoy.
- Curious George Goes to Town: Perfect for the very-hot summer days we have here in Orlando, this play area allows the kids to run, get wet, and splash around in a Curious George themed water playground. On our last day at Universal Orlando, we dressed baby girl in her bathing suit and let her have fun for a couple of hours with Curious George before coming home.
- A Day in the Park with Barney: My girl is a bit past her Barney days, but this show and Barney-themed plaza is perfect for toddlers and babies.
- Fievel’s Playland: A huge playground where all kids can have fun, your child will enjoy crawling, climbing, and running through Fievel’s world. There’s also a fun water tube slide that my daughter says, “zips you down with twists and turns!”
2. Meeting Super Heroes at Marvel Super Hero Island
Though your kids may not be familiar with all of the super heroes that reside at Marvel Super Hero Island, they will definitely have fun seeing them parade down the street and getting to know them as they pose for pictures and get their autographs. At Universal’s Islands of Adventure, baby girl was able to meet comic book characters Spider-Man, Captain America, Wolverine, Storm, and Rogue. I think the only one we missed was Cyclops, one other X-Men available to meet and greet. We also met some villains, Dr. Doom and Green Goblin, who weren’t actually so evil, but provided some comic relief. The Green Goblin wasn’t too fond of baby boy’s Spider-Man hat and called it “the ugliest hat I’ve ever seen!”
*Bonus: Be sure to also check out The Amazing Adventures of Spider-Man ride while at Marvel Super Hero Island! It was by far one of my girl’s favorites.
3. Seuss Landing
Located at Universal’s Islands of Adventure, Seuss Landing brings the fun of Dr. Seuss to life. It is really one of the most fun areas of the park with lots of rides for the kids that you’ll also love.
- The Cat in the Hat: Based on the famous book by Dr. Seuss, this ride spins around and guides you through the story.
- Caro-Seuss-el: As baby girl describes it, “there’s lots of wacky animals to ride” on this Dr. Seuss themed carousel! We enjoyed the fact that baby boy could ride along with us as there are stationary bench-like seating available for those that can’t or don’t want to ride on an animal.
- One Fish, Two Fish, Red Fish, Blue Fish: Our tour guide told us to pay attention to the song played on this ride, otherwise we may get soaked by the fish. Little did we know, that it doesn’t matter if you do or don’t follow the instructions, you’ll still get wet!
- The High in the Sky Seuss Trolley Train Ride!: A view from the top as a train takes you over Seuss Landing.
- If I Ran The Zoo: Perfect for toddlers, this is a small play area that also has a splash section for the kids to have fun with water.
*Bonus: Combine lunch with a fun show and character meet and greets by dining at Circus McGurkus Cafe Stoo-pendous at Seuss Landing. This was a treat for my girl as we were able to experience character dining without the need for reservations.
4. The Wizarding World of Harry Potter
Baby girl did not yet know who Harry Potter was, but once we found out we were taking a trip to Universal Orlando, we introduced her to the character by watching the first two movies in the series. This definitely helped her understand some of what she saw in this section of Universal’s Islands of Adventure. But, even if your kids aren’t familiar with the books or movies, they will enjoy the fun window displays as you walk through the streets of The Wizarding World of Harry Potter, the Flight of the Hippogriff ride, and Butterbeer (we all preferred the frozen version). Check out some of our photos of the Wizarding World of Harry Potter to get a glimpse of the beautiful buildings and fun.
5. Learning About New Characters and Films (Well, new to them, old to us.)
There are plenty of iconic characters at both parks of Universal Orlando Resort. But, the younger crowd may have a hard time relating to some of the ones that provide you and I with flashbacks from our childhood. Luckily, as you walk through the parks, you’ll have the perfect chance to introduce new movies and characters to your children, such as:
- E.T.: Though she’s never seen this movie, baby girl truly enjoyed the E.T. Adventure ride at Universal Studios and thought it was cool this was a part of my husband and I’s childhood. Of course, she now wants to see the movie to learn more about the “cute little alien” called E.T.
- Woody and Winnie Woodpecker: My girl enjoys getting autographs from and taking pictures with various characters. So, even though she’d never heard of Woody Woodpecker before, she thought it was awesome to meet him and his girlfriend, Winnie. The good thing is that this creates an interest and opens up a conversation, allowing her father and I to tell her all about who the character is and even showing her video clips we find online. You can find Woody and Winnie at Universal Studios, particularly in Woody Woodpecker’s Kid Zone.
- Toon Lagoon characters: There is an entire area at Universal’s Islands of Adventure dedicated to cartoon characters from the past, including Popeye, Bluto, and Olive. In Toon Lagoon, your kids will enjoy playing at Me Ship, The Olive and those that are tall enough can have fun on Popeye & Bluto’s Bilge-Rat Barges or Dudley Do-Right’s Ripsaw Falls.
6. Meeting Characters They Already Know
Of course, there are plenty of characters to meet at Universal Orlando Resort that your preschooler probably already knows and loves. Some of the characters baby girl got to meet included:
- Dora and Diego
- Scooby and Shaggy
- Curious George
- Madagascar crew
7. Blue Man Group Show
The Blue Man Group show has been at Universal Orlando Resort for a few years, but this was our first time seeing it. I’m so glad we got a chance to do so too! It was definitely a highlight of our trip. All of us enjoyed the show and though we (and some of the other parents) weren’t sure if our little ones would like it or could handle sitting in on the show, our girl laughed the entire time! I checked in with some of the other bloggers that took their kids, and they also had a good time – from the three-year-olds to the older kids.
Special thanks to the Universal Orlando Resort team, Loews Hotels, and organizers of the trip. My family and I had a wonderful time and enjoyed meeting and hanging out with the other bloggers and their families.
Now, it’s your turn to have some fun at Universal Orlando Resort! Two (2) of you will win a package of four (4) two-day, two-park tickets. See more information and enter to win below.
Universal Orlando Resort Giveaway
*****Giveaway has ended and is closed*****
Enter for your chance to win four (4) two-day, two-park tickets to Universal Orlando Resort. Each package of 4 tickets is valued at $539.96. Tickets are to be used by June 11, 2012, or winner will forfeit prize. Giveaway is for park tickets only and does not include travel, lodging, or other expenses. See full official rules here. [pdf]
How to Enter
Required entry: If you’d like to enter this contest, simply leave a comment below telling us which Marvel Super Hero your child (or you!) would love to meet.
Extra entries (optional):
Each of the following will count as 1 extra entry. You’ll need to leave a separate comment for each entry.
- Follow @modernmami on twitter.
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- Write a blog post on your own blog sharing the details of this contest. Be sure to include a link back to this post. Leave a comment with your post link.
All entries must be in by Friday, June 10, 2011 at 11:59 pm EST. You must be 18 or older and have a valid U.S. address to enter. Remember to leave a separate comment for each entry. The winner will be chosen using Random.org and will be notified via email. (Please be sure to provide a valid email address with your entry.) Winner will have 24 hours to respond and claim prize, otherwise a new winner will be chosen. See full official rules here. [pdf]
Disclosure: My family and I were invited to Universal Orlando Resort as part of a blogger/media press tour. All expenses paid. No compensation received.
Photo credits: modernmami.com, Kristen Doyle, Universal Orlando Resort