One of the reasons I’ve urged people to bring their babies to Disney World before they turn 3 is because they’re free before 3! This is the same rule at many theme parks across the country, including Universal Studios Orlando! I’ve taken both of my boys free before they turned 3 to Universal Studios Orlando, and am here giving my review on whether or not it is worth it to bring them just because they’re free!
Before I get into my thoughts on this, let’s just address that Walt Disney World & Universal Studios are two very different parks! I always tell people it is never too early to take your kids to Walt Disney World because even at three months old on Blake’s first trip to Disney, I could bring him on nearly every ride! It is such a baby friendly park that them being free is honestly just surprising because of how much they qualify to do! However, Universal is a very different experience and most of the rides have minimum height requirements. Where Blake could do almost all rides at Disney, he could do almost no rides at Universal!
I took Beckett to Universal Studios Orlando for the first time when he was 2, and he was able to do about 6 rides total between both parks in Universal Studios (Universal Studios Florida & Islands of Adventure are the two different parks that make up Universal Studios Orlando – you’ll need a park to park ticket to visit both in the same day). We went with our extended family as part of a family Florida trip, so it made sense to take him with everyone and get in free since he could do a few rides!
Just last week, we took Blake to Universal for the first time. He’s a year and a half and 28″ tall. He was only tall enough to do 1 ride, which was actually just sitting in a non-moving seat in Shrek 3D, so really a 3D movie without the fun effects. It was super hot & he was basically confined to enjoying the sights while everyone else was off doing the fun stuff. We did do the Barney show & lots of snacking to keep him content, but overall he seemed miserable compared to how happy & immersed he is when we visit Disney World. Of course, let’s not forget that it was so hot it felt like our skin might melt right off, but we used our stroller fan so he was at least kept cool & comfortable that way!
From what I’ve said so far, you’d probably think I’d say I’ll never take Blake back to Universal until he’s taller, and I think I did say that a couple of times while we were there that I wouldn’t bring him back. However, Beckett is now 5 & was able to do 10 rides in Universal Studios Florida (we stuck to one park since it was a busy holiday & I honestly didn’t want to pay for the park-to-park tickets since Blake couldn’t do much anyway!) Beckett ended up having a blast riding rides with his aunts, my mom, and me, and if we had the opportunity to go back, I wouldn’t be opposed to taking Blake back again if it meant Beckett could have another fun day. That said, realistically we will probably put any future theme park time toward Disney for a few more years at least. I’m happier when we’re all happy, and we’re definitely more of a Disney family! 😉
So overall, due to the fact that I have 2 boys and one is now old/tall enough to enjoy Universal Studios, it was worth bringing my baby in for free even though the day wasn’t as fun for him. However, if you’re a parent to any kid under age 3 or under 36-40″ and don’t have an older/taller child who could really enjoy Universal Studios, you’ll find Disney to be a better place to spend your theme park time at this age, and bring them to Universal when they can do more than 1 or 2 rides!
What do you think? Have you brought your baby/toddler to Universal Studios? What are the fun things you do to make it worthwhile to bring them along when they’re not tall enough for most/any of the rides?