Thinking of bringing your little one to Universal Orlando? While the theme park destination has a reputation for thrill rides that appeal to older kids, there's also plenty of fun aimed at the preschool crowd. Keep in mind, too, that admission is free for kids under age 3.
Visiting Universal Orlando with a preschooler? Here are tips for squeezing the most out of your trip.
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Go when big kids are in school.
One huge advantage of traveling with kids under 5 is that they're not yet tied down to a school schedule. The upside is that you can visit when older kids are in school, theme parks are less crowded, and hotel prices are less expensive. September is a particularly good time to visit, and January is also a smart bet.
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Choosing a hotel at Universal Orlando Resort makes it easy to nip back to your home base when everyone needs to unwind and recharge. The four on-site hotels range in price from value-priced to upscale, and there's a fifth hotel on the way in 2016. Guests staying at on-site resorts get free Universal Express Unlimited Passes, which is a huge perk.
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Aim for Islands of Adventure.
If you're spending just one day at Universal Orlando, plan on heading to Islands of Adventure, which has the most rides and attractions geared to little ones. Make a beeline for Seuss Landing, a section of the park themed to the whimsical world of Dr. Seuss. In Marvel Hero Island, Storm Force Accelatron is a spinning ride with no height minimum, while over at Jurassic Park, kids at least 36 inches tall can take flight on the Pteranodon Flyers. In the Wizarding World of Harry Potter, the Flight of the Hippogriff is an ideal first coaster for the under-5 crowd.
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Bring or rent a stroller.
Wear your comfiest shoes because you're going to walk for miles. Even if your child is outgrowing her stroller at home, you'll be grateful to have one at this theme park. You can bring your own or rent a stroller at the entrance of each theme park.Continue to 5 of 8 below.
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Build in downtime.
Want to enjoy the fun when crowds are lightest? Plan to arrive to the parks early and take a break in the middle of the day for lunch, afternoon naps, and downtime at the pool. You can head back for a second stint in the parks in the afternoon, after everyone has decompressed.
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Don't forget about the live shows.
Universal Orlando is at its heart an entertainment venue offering a wide array of live shows featuring familiar characters, fun music, and a chance to get off your feet and relax. Shows that are right up preschoolers' alley include "A Day in the Park with Barney" and "Animal Actors on Location" at Universal Studios. Next door at Islands of Adventure, check out the pirate-themed "Eighth Voyage of Sindbad" and the Seuss favorite, "Oh, the Stories You'll Hear."
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Be prepared for the Florida sunshine and heat. In your day bag, bring extra sunscreen, a hat, and perhaps a sweatshirt for air-conditioned venues. Each park has splashpads and fountains where little ones can cool off—so think ahead and bring your child's swimsuit or an extra change of dry clothes.
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Find kid-friendly meals.
Not only will you find kid-friendly restaurants at the Universal Orlando resorts and inside both theme parks, but Universal CityWalk offers dozens of eateries with child-friendly fare.