• The Top Kid-Friendly Rides at Universal Studios

The Top Kid-Friendly Rides at Universal Studios

Luiz Alberto H.

Created: Mar 18, 2024

Last Updated: Apr 25, 2024

The Top Kid-Friendly Rides at Universal Studios

Ahhh Universal! The land of movies, Homer Simpson, the Minions and much more. It's not exactly a thrill-seeker's paradise like Islands of Adventure, but man, is it packed with fun for everyone. Surprisingly though,it’s not the best destination for families with toddlers but, hey, if your kiddo's around five or older, Universal Studios is a blast for the whole crew.

In fact, Universal only has two attractions that you can go with a toddler: Hogwarts Express and Kang and Kodos’ Twirl ‘n’ Hurl. Many don’t even consider the Hogwarts Express a true attraction, since it’s used primarily so you can move from Universal Studios to Islands of Adventure and vice-versa. If you are visiting Universal with a toddler, you can still have fun by checking the sights and relaxing, but there is a good chance you will all have more fun at Islands of Adventure and Walt Disney World.

Universal studios store (3).webp

This is, however, a good theme park for kids from 5 all the way to 10 years old. Universal Studios is a paradise for motion simulators and indoor roller coasters. Revenge of the Mummy and Escape from Gringotts are two amazing roller coasters, and they are perfect for the younglings that are looking for something a little bit more intense before they are ready to take on the VelociCoaster and The Incredible Hulk Coaster.

So, what are some of the best kid-friendly rides at Universal Studios? We selected a few for you, based not only on how great they are, but also the perfect age range for each one. We give you quick details if a ride is set in the dark, if it can be scary for younglings and any sort of info that can help you decide if a particular attraction is appropriate for your little ones.

Of course, it can be really hard to pick an exact age range which is adequate for each offering, but we tried our best. With that in mind, let us show you a list of kid-friendly rides in this awesome theme park. After that, we are going to analyze each single ride and why they might be good for your children or not. Let’s see:

Good for every Age range:

  • Hogwarts Express - King’s Cross Station (requires Park-to-Park ticket)
  • Kang and Kodos’ Twirl ‘n’ Hurl

Good for Ages 3+

  • E.T. Adventure

Good for Ages 4+

  • Race Through New York Starring Jimmy Fallon
  • The Simpsons Ride
  • Fast & Furious – Supercharged
  • TRANSFORMERS: The Ride-3D
  • Despicable Me Minion Mayhem

Good for Ages 6+

  • Harry Potter and the Escape from Gringotts
  • Illumination’s Villain-Con Minion Blast

Good for Ages 8+

  • MEN IN BLACK Alien Attack

Good for Ages 10+

  • Revenge of the Mummy

Ride Height Requirements

No Height Requirement

  • Hogwarts Express - King’s Cross Station (requires Park-to-Park ticket)
  • Kang and Kodos’ Twirl ‘n’ Hurl

No Hand Held Infants

  • Illumination’s Villain-Con Minion Blast

34” (87 cm) or more

  • E.T. Adventure

40” (102 cm) or more

  • Race Through New York Starring Jimmy Fallon
  • The Simpsons Ride
  • Fast & Furious – Supercharged
  • TRANSFORMERS: The Ride-3D
  • Despicable Me Minion Mayhem

42” (107 cm) or more

  • Harry Potter and the Escape from Gringotts
  • MEN IN BLACK Alien Attack

48” (122 cm) or more

  • Revenge of the Mummy

51” (130 cm) up to 79” (201 cm)

  • Hollywood Rip Ride Rockit 

In-Depth Overview

Hogwarts Express - Diagon Alley Station

Details: good for all ages; you move from Universal Studios to Islands of Adventure; requires park-to-park ticket.

Howgarts Express Universal 3.webp

This isn’t exactly a ride per see, but a quick way to traverse from Universal Studios to Islands of Adventure. You do need a park to park ticket to use this service, and then it’s time to board a train and ride all the way to Hogsmeade in Islands. Choo-choo!

So, is this a fun ride? Kinda, yeah, especially for first timers. Kids get to ride a train where they can see different visual effects being projected against the windows, and details that won’t go unnoticed by fans of Harry Potter. You should probably only come here if you really want to move from one theme park to the other, not as a way to check out this ride. Standard queues can take all the way from 30 to 50 minutes, which is a lot for a train that will basically take you from point A to point B. This “ride” takes around 4 minutes, which at least is a good opportunity for you to sit down and enjoy the AC, especially during the hot Florida Summer.

Kang and Kodos’ Twirl ‘n’ Hurl

Details: spinning ride; good for every age range.

Ahhh Kang and Kodo, our favorite Simpsons characters! …well, not really, but I do like these aliens that mostly appear during the Treehouse of Horror specials (which are some of the best ever Simpsons episodes). Kang and Kodos is a classic spinning ride, similar to Magic Kingdom’s Dumbo the Flying Elephant and the Magic Carpets of Aladdin. You board a vehicle for 2-3 guests and then you spin for 2 minutes until it’s over. Simple and directly to the point.

One of the good things about this ride is that wait times rarely exceed 10 minutes. You also get to listen to classic Simpsons characters like Homer, Bart and Grandpa as you spin around, which is a nice touch. Your vehicle automatically moves up and down, with random, short drops that toddlers love. Kang and Kodos is basically the only ride for toddlers in Universal Studios, so you should definitely come here with your little ones. Oh, you know what? There is also a good chance that your children will love Springfield more than this ride, since there are several Carnival games scattered around and a lot of catchy colors everywhere. This is certainly one of the best spots for young children and toddlers, even if you just plan to walk around and visit the shops.

E.T. Adventure

Details: dark ride; you get suspended in the air near the end; some alien-animatronics can be scary.

et adventure universal (1).webp

With a bunch of the original rides like Jaws and Back to the Future gone, it's refreshing to see E.T. standing the test of time, refusing to wave goodbye and go home. Well, he does go home near the end of this dark ride, and you actually get to see his alien planet, full of aliens singing and celebrating your arrival. Now, will little ones get scared by some of them? Maybe. While some of these aliens might be a tad intimidating for little ones, none of them are overly large, and they don't linger in the spotlight for too long.

E.T. is a dark ride where you enter a vehicle for multiple guests, created to resemble the iconic bike from the movies. The ride clocks in at a solid 4 minutes and 30 seconds, which is a respectable duration for an old attraction like this one. Don't expect any sudden drops, sharp turns or intense moments though. Towards the end, your vehicle does get lifted into the air, mirroring that iconic scene from the movie where E.T. escapes from the cops. But don't worry, it's nothing too extreme. Think more along the lines of Peter Pan's Flight in Magic Kingdom rather than something like Pteranodon Flyers in Islands of Adventure.

This ride has one of the most original twists up to this day. Before boarding, you simply provide your name to a park operator. Then, near the end of the journey, E.T. himself will call out the name of each guest. It's a cool touch, especially because it adds a personal connection for kids when they hear E.T. himself spelling out their names.

Race Through New York Starring Jimmy Fallon

Details: 3D motion simulator.

One of the many motion simulators in Universal Studios, and probably one of the most… ehhh… ones. This is a 4 minute ride which takes you from Jimmy Fallon’s set, then all the way to the streets of New York, the down the chaotic NY subways, then to the… moon… and back to his set. Let’s say that you visit a lot of places in just four minutes, and we aren’t even in Epcot.

Will most kids care about who Jimmy Fallon is, or what is going on? Nah. But they might find it fun to board a vehicle and just run through New York with a bunch of weird stuff happening in front of them. There are a lot of visual effects across the streets of New York, with crazy characters popping up that will certainly entertain your children. This is also one of the rare simulators which use live action instead of cartoon and pure CGI, which might also be something different and cool for the kids.

I have to say that the queue for this ride is pretty cool, with a bunch of memorabilia taken from the original show. There is also a live performance taking place most of the time, with the Ragtime Gals welcoming guests and putting on a fun performance before it’s finally time to head to the main attraction. Race Through New York is, in fact, a pretty simple motion simulator, which might be great news for the younglings. It’s similar to The Simpsons Ride, but with a bigger vehicle and real actors. Your vehicle twitches to the sides, but you aren’t moving forward like in the Amazing Spider Man or Transformers 3D. Hey, I’m pretty sure that the kiddos will have a good time.

The Simpsons Ride

Details: motion simulator.

Universal studios simpsons ride.jpg

From one motion simulator we move to… another motion simulator! Oh, boy, sit down because we will be visiting a lot of them in this guide. Well, this is at least a very charming ride, even if a lot of guests just consider it okay. Kids tend to love this one, since it’s a very colorful attraction with good animation and crazy things happening on the screen. It’s based on the Simpsons, after all, so of course you’d come face to face with a bunch of weird caricatures and easter eggs from the tv series. Homer, Bart, Lisa, Maggie, they are all here and are also joined by most of the secondary cast as well.

The Simpsons ride replaced the old Back to the Future ride, and not many upgrades were made. The ride does feel a bit old and stale, but kids shouldn’t care about this. You board a vehicle for eight guests and then go on an adventure through Springfield which lasts 4:30 minutes. Much like the previous Jimmy Fallon ride, your vehicle only twitches to the sides and never actually moves forward like in Transformers 3D. You can definitely say that this is a good entry point for kids when it comes to motion simulators. No sharp turns, nothing too scary, and good animation, which should bring a laugh out of them.

Fast & Furious – Supercharged

Details: motion simulator; might be so bad it’s good (it’s not).

Universal  ride fast and furious.webp
Universal©

Warning: this ride is a meme. It’s not that good and, in fact, you just need a quick Google search to see that something went very wrong here. But, hey, I do think that you should bring your kids to every attraction they can ride at least once. So, yeah, you should definitely bring them here! Even more so if they failed to make their bed in the morning or are slacking with homework, this will teach them. Just kidding…

The main problem with Fast & Furious Supercharged is that it’s yet another motion simulator in Universal Orlando, and it’s not even one of the best ones. Your kids will definitely have a better time at the Transformers 3D Ride, The Simpsons Ride or Minion Mayhem, which makes the existence of Fast & Furious a big question mark.

So, what is this one about? You board a train similar to the one used for the defunct Disaster! Ride, which apparently evolved with time and became a real disaster with Supercharged. Then it’s time for a motion simulator with screens on both sides, with… stuff… happening. Vin Diesel, The Rock and a bunch of the actors from the multi-billion franchise appear to say some things, sometimes people shoot guns and there is even a guy with a flamethrower. I don’t exactly know what’s going on most of the time and it looks like the script was written in an early version of ChatGPT.

The ride isn’t good, but your kids can still have a fun time! As I said, there is a guy with a flamethrower, which can be… cool, yeah! There are also cars and even a helicopter flying from one screen to the other. Helicopters are cool, huh? This ride only takes 2:30 minutes, which is 2:30 more than it should, but it’s not a long time. The visual effects and textures don’t look good, but there is a good chance that all the spectacle will be enough to make your kids at least enjoy it a bit.

TRANSFORMERS: The Ride-3D

Details: 3D motion simulator; can be a little bit scary for younglings since it features giant robots.

Universal Studios Transformers ride.JPG

Yet one more motion simulator, this time heavily inspired by Islands of Adventure’s The Amazing Adventures of Spider Man. I mean, if you are going to get inspiration from something, it might as well be from one of the best dark rides in the world, right? Transformers 3D does a good job, by the way. I don’t think it’s better than Spider-Man, no, but I would say it’s one of the best dark rides in Universal Studios, and I’m not even that big on the Transformers. Good job, Optimus Prime!

Transformers does feature one thing that kids (and adults tbh) love to see: giant robots fighting each other for about 4 minutes and 30 seconds. Transformers might not have the charm of Spider-Man and his cast of supervillains, but it does have nice effects and some cool setpieces. Expect chase sequences, a lot of explosions and robots flying on digital screens. You do see animatronics of classic Transformers like Bumblebee, but you only see them fighting in the digital sequences, which might be a bummer for some. I mean, it would be sick to see the actual giant animatronics fighting, but the work needed for that sounds incredibly challenging.

It’s hard to say if this ride is scarier than Spider-Man for the little ones. It doesn’t feature Green Goblin trying to blow you up with grenades, but some of the giant robots on screen can look rather intimidating. Your vehicle takes some unexpected turns and spins at least once or twice, much like the Spider-Man ride. Towards the end, there's also a simulation of a free-fall, which might be intense for younger riders.

Despicable Me Minion Mayhem

Details: 3D motion simulator.

Universal Studios minions land.jpg

Hey, Universal Studios makes it easy when I can just copy/paste “motion simulator” everywhere, thanks! This is a fun ride, by the way, and you should definitely bring your children here. In theory, Minion Mayhem is a very simple motion simulator: you sit down on a vehicle, put on 3D glasses and enjoy the ride. Your vehicle remains stationary throughout the ride, akin to The Simpsons Ride, but with slightly crisper visual effects and a larger screen. Well, this attraction is also more recent, so it makes sense that some things are a tad better.

Minion Mayhem lasts about 4 minutes, but there's an additional 4 minutes of pre-show fun featuring Gru and other characters from the Despicable Me franchise. It's another great reason to visit, you also get to enjoy a special short film, which is always a hit with the kids. Oh, you even get to visit Gru’s house and his lab, which is a great chance to take fun pictures with your family.

As for the ride itself, it's quite tame. The main storyline involves guests being shrunk to the size of minions and getting into the kind of mischief those yellow guys are known for. There are no sudden movements and everything is very gentle. It is, after all, a motion simulator designed for the little ones, and a great first option if your kids are between 3-6 years old.

Harry Potter and the Escape from Gringotts

Details: indoor roller coaster; 3D dark ride.

Escape from Gringotts Universal Harry (1).webp

Welcome to one of the best rides in the entire park! If we had to put Gringotts against Islands of Adventure’s Forbidden Journey in a cage match, I’d choose Gringotts every time. This is just a very fun indoor roller coaster, with dark ride elements thrown in and one of the most amazing queues you will find in Universal Orlando. True, the queue for Forbidden Journey is amazing, but let me say that the Gringotts one is just as good. For the Harry Potter fan out there, the queue is already enough to give this attraction two thumbs up.

This is the main Harry Potter ride in Universal Studios, so make sure to come here early with your little ones. The queue can get quite long, especially in the morning and around lunchtime. Gringotts is a fun mix of a dark ride with an indoor roller coaster. Much like Revenge of the Mummy, your vehicle does move slowly in the initial sections, and you get to see a bunch of familiar characters from the movies played by the original actors, like Voldemort, Harry Potter, Ron and Hermione. I do wish that the visual looked more sharp - they look especially blurry thanks to the 3D effects - but kids shouldn’t care about this that much.

What about the roller coaster section, you might ask? It’s fun! The entire ride takes around 5 minutes (I do think Universal is adding the pre-show to that time), but the coaster segments are probably only around 30% of that. There are a few drops and turns, but nothing I'd consider too intense. In fact, it's similar to a coaster like Revenge of the Mummy, maybe even a little less intense. However, it's still a lot of fun, especially with all the 3D visual effects happening as you speed around.

Oh, as I said, you do come face to face with the Dark Lord Voldermort, and there is also a fire breathing dragon, which might be scary for the little ones.

Illumination’s Villain-Con Minion Blast

Details: moving walkway shooter.

MINION LAND

I know, you are asking yourself “what in the blazes is a… moving walkway shooter”? Yeah, I can’t blame you. Well, imagine something like Men In Black: Alien Attack. That one is an interactive shooting gallery where you board a vehicle and shoot creatures, right? In Minion Blast, you are standing still, holding a blaster and letting a moving platform guide you across a digital screen, as you just point at enemies, shoot and try to get a high score!

Yeah, this one manages to be even more video-gamey than MIB: Alien Attack. It’s pretty cool that you can actually hold a laser rifle and aim it anywhere you want, and this attraction even goes beyond that: there is a button for your default shot, but you also have limited ammunition on a secondary trigger to fire a more powerful blast.

Remember that you will be standing up during the entire ride, so you might want to come here after lunch or after relaxing a little, so your little ones are full of energy. I bet they will have fun here. There is a lot for gamers to enjoy in this ride, and it’s just fun to see how chaotic the screen can be with dozens of guests aiming and shooting at anything and everything they see. Yeah, there are several explosions and everything on the screen seems to be breaking up as everyone is shooting non stop. It’s pretty funny.

This ride lasts 5 minutes, so get your trigger fingers ready. As for queue times, expect anything from 15 minutes all the way to 30 minutes on average, which isn’t bad for a 2023 attraction.

MEN IN BLACK Alien Attack

Details: dark ride; interactive shooting gallery; might get scary at the end.

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The OG shooting gallery in Universal Orlando. Men in Black: Alien Attack is great, and it's enjoyable for both kids and adults alike. It also has the perk of having very low wait times of 5-15 minutes, and one of the fastest single rider lines in Universal Orlando.

So, what’s this one about? You board a vehicle for up to six passengers and then it’s time to move around and fire at a bunch of animatronics to try and get a high score. It’s similar to Magic Kingdom’s Buzz Lightyear’s Space Ranger Spin, but better. The animatronics are more well made, the environments are way bigger and the ride is overall more charming. There are buildings surrounding you and everywhere you look there is something different happening, like aliens hiding behind windows, inside trash cans, moving inside bushes and so on. It’s great.

The animatronics are more charming than scary in my opinion, but they *are* aliens after all, and it can be a bit scary for children. Also, keep in mind that your vehicle may suddenly spin from time to time, particularly in a section where your car faces another one filled with guests. Here, you'll need to aim and shoot at each other's sensors on the top, causing the "enemy" vehicle to spin out of control.

I’d say that the scary part is at the end, where your vehicle ends up swallowed by a giant alien. Your car races inside and starts spinning wildly until the alien burps you out. It might be a bit intense for young ones, but it's over quickly.

Revenge of the Mummy

Details: indoor roller coaster; has a scary and dark queue; has some scary elements during the ride.

Universal Studios revenge mummy entrance.JPG

Ah, Mummy, how I love you. I love Brendan Fraser, Imhotep and this awesome indoor roller-coaster. This is hands down one of the best rides at Universal Orlando and one of the top roller coasters in Universal Orlando. It's an awesome blend of a dark ride and a roller coaster. The first half takes you through an ancient tomb as you spot mummies and evil scarabs, while the second half ramps up the excitement with high-speed twists and fun drops.

I wouldn’t call Revenge of the Mummy too intense, at least when it comes to the roller coaster elements. The roller coaster section is actually fairly brief: you are launched up (even if it’s not super fast), then there is a small main drop, a few sharp turns, another drop and… I guess that’s it? I wish it lasted longer, but it’s still a good experience, thanks to all the build up.

I'd argue that the dark ride portion is just as impressive, if not better, than the roller coaster section. However, it's important to make sure your little ones are comfortable with it, as the ride features a lot of fire effects and numerous animatronics of not-so-friendly mummies. There is also a moment where your car stops in front of a digital screen, and scarabs are shown emerging from it, filling the room around you. Oh yeah, that also happens while Imhotep is saying that your soul belongs to him and blah, blah, blah. Typical evil stuff.

One thing that can be rather scary for your children is the queue. Seriously, this queue is so dark that sometimes you need to raise your hand to notice what’s in front of you. The atmosphere resembles an ancient tomb, which makes sense, but can also be very unsettling. There are even park operators hiding in secret spots sometimes, and they are there just to spook guests that pass by! I’ve never seen them spooking little kids, though, and I imagine they are trained to just avoid them, since the queue is already so spooky. 

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