We travel with the kids but never forget the kid stuck inside of us! Our visit to Universal Studios Hollywood with a toddler and newborn was highly anticipated but also cautious. I love love love LOVE Universal Studios and no trip to Los Angeles would be complete without a visit here. Ofcourse this is a theme park more for the adults and older kids than the tots so I wasn’t sure what to expect. Infact I didn’t want to chicken out of going here because of the kids so I ensured that we got there at the very start of our trip! My initial plan was to hire a nanny so the hubs and I could navigate the park without worrying about the kids but my brother volunteered to watch them (at the park) so I enlisted his help. Luckily too because the hubs had to work and spent that morning at a Wifi-enabled Sushi spot on CityWalk! As park of IGTravelThursday I’ve included some of our Instagram shares!
Disclaimer : We received complimentary tickets but as always opinions are totally mine!
We only got to Universal Studios around noon and the park was closing at 5 p.m. during the winter which made me a bit concerned that we wouldn’t get through most of the rides. However we had the front of the line pass and it definitely was extremely useful. Even though the park wasn’t busy we were still able to get through more rides than we would have without them. Highly recommend these passes if it fits your budget!
As I mentioned I knew that the entertainment capital of the world was more about us than the kids but there’s plenty for the little ones to do. First up there are characters throughout the park and we lucked out by finding Spongebob as soon as we walked in ( I didn’t even know she KNEW who that was! SURPRISE!!). There’s quite a few kid friendly rides but we didn’t get to most of them ( hello I told you… it’s more about me this time!). We started off with Shrek 4-D and it was a bit dark in the theatre but the Little Monkey was absolutely fine and the only thing that bothered her was that the glasses were a bit too big for her. I had Baby Boy in the Bjorn and I must admit that I was worried about the jerky movements and the loud noises but I was holding him tight and he didn’t seem mind too much. There were stationary seats that the ushers recommended for us but you know us… we braved the regular seats!
We popped by the pub and picked up a pint of beer for us – you can walk around with a pint in hand! They were getting ready for the Minions ride which opens this spring but having a beer with the minions was as close as we got to that ride ;). There’s plenty to eat and drink at Universal Studios but we had some snacks in our bag (granola bar) and that’s what we ate since we were pressed for time.
Next up were all the rides that were adults only. Luckily there was a fantastic child swap area and truth be told we didn’t need our ”nanny’. Parents can each take turns to stay with the kids whilst the other went on the ride and then swap (without having to stand in line again). Brilliant idea and really well executed. I was impressed! The Revenge of the Mummy ride even had a change table in the child swap area (tables also available in the bathrooms throughout the park). We did this for Jurassic Park, Transformers and Revenge of the Mummy. I have always been a fan of Jurassic Park and to this day I love it!! I also now have a new favourite – Transformers 3 D !! Must try that one if you haven’t! Revenge of the Mummy was also very good. Seriously I am a Universal Studios junkie!!
The space is extremely stroller friendly despite the many escalators to get from one area to the next. There’s plenty of elevators but the wait times can be long. So long that quite a few times we emptied the kids and took the double stroller on the escalator. No issues! I do recommend a baby carrier if possible because of the constant in and out for rides. Sleeping babies can easily sleep the ride away in the carrier. Stroller wise there’s plenty of parking but I suggest finding one spot and parking there for each level. For example parking by the Transformers ride and then hopping around the Revenge of the Mummy and Jurassic Park.
Universal Studios has some fabulous interactive shows. I have watched WaterWorld numerous times but didn’t try that one this time. Instead we watched the Special Effects stage and it was a good opportunity for the Little Monkey to unwind as she sat on our laps to watch the show. We also did the Studio tram tour (again… I’ve done this soooo many times but still love it!). I wasn’t sure if they’d even allow kids on board but they did! The King Kong ride on the tour is what was the scariest but leading up to the ride I joked around with the Little Monkey and got her ready for King Kong. I did the same for the train station and airplane crash exhibits. She was absolutely fine with a quick hug as we went through dark spaces. Baby Boy in the Bjorn was clueless and the loud sounds didn’t affect him one bit. This is a 45 minute tour so if your little one has a short attention span it may be tricky but we didn’t hear any protests from her as there was plenty to see. Try and sit towards the middle of the tram (away from the sides) to ensure the kids stay securely and safely seated.
Walking through CityWalk at the end of the evening is a great way to unwind and process the fun filled day. There’s everything from candy to flip flops that can be purchased here and… an entire Hello Kitty store! We managed to sneak by that very quickly! I can’t end this article without mentioning how amazed we are with the customer service at Universal Studios. My brother lost his hat on the Jurassic Park ride and we were shocked to receive his hat in the mail this week! He made a note at the lost and found desk by the entrance/exit and they mailed it to us free of charge. They round up all the lost items and bring them to the lost and found centre each night and we could have easily waited half an hour or so for them to sweep through the rides but the free mailing throughout North America was a wonderful perk! Bring a jacket as it can get cold in the evenings!
Have you been to Universal Studios? Do you love it as much as I do?