13 Best Rides For Kids At Universal Studios Hollywood

As Universal Studios Hollywood annual pass holders we’ve had the pleasure of visiting the theme park in various capacities over the years.

However, our first trip with kids was overwhelming, to say the least, as for the first time ever we had to consider the height restrictions and fear factor of the rides as to what would be best for them.

We’ve learnt a lot from these experiences and wanted to put together a guide to help other parents and guardians navigate Universal Studios Hollywood with kids.

Below is a list of what we believe to be the best rides at Universal Studios Hollywood for kids broken down with height requirements, fear rating and other important information we think you should know.

1. Mario Kart: Bowser’s Challenge

📏 Height Requirements: 40” – Children under this height can ride with a supervising companion
😬 Fear Factor: 0

Mario Kart: Bowser’s Challenge is the newest ride to open at Universal Studios Hollywood and is situated in the recently opened Super Nintendo World area of the park.

As this ride is so new it often has wait times as high as three hours – a wait that may not be ideal for those travelling with younger kids.

Sadly right now it’s not possible to use an Express Pass to skip the line for Mario Kart: Bowser’s Challenge. Instead, it seems (albeit not confirmed) that VIP Experience guests will be the only guests who are able to skip the line.

However, a VIP Experience is in our opinion so much more than just Super Nintendo World. Therefore we wouldn’t recommend going on this guided tour with the sole purpose of skipping the line on Mario Kart: Bowser’s Challenge.

This ride mirrors that inside the Super Nintendo World at Universal Studios in Osaka, Japan and uses AR technology constructed through a Mario hat and visor.

This ride allows you to play Mario Kart in real life, and compete with other riders both during your ride and afterwards (provided you connect your PowerUp band to the steering wheel when boarding).

The technology and incredible virtual reality used in this ride are what make it the best ride at Universal Studios Hollywood. Better still it’s not fast, or scary like some of the other rides on this list which means it’s suitable for the entire family.

Super Nintendo World has some of the best things to do in Universal Studios Hollywood including immersive dining experiences and interactive gaming elements.

2. Raptor Encounter

📏 Height Requirements: None
😬 Fear Factor: 3

Situated in the Jurassic Park area of Universal Studios Hollywood down in the Lower Lot is the Raptor Encounter.

This performance takes place multiple times a day and see’s you come face-to-face with a dinosaur.

This experience doesn’t have any height requirements, but the realism and interaction with the dinosaurs may prove scary for younger guests.

Thankfully, you can see the performance from various areas of the Lower Lot without getting too close or interacting with the dinosaur which makes it ideal for parents who maybe just want to see how their child might react in advance.

While guests looking for the Raptor Encounter experience will be required to queue in line directly to the left of the escalators down to the Lower Lot, we recommend that those looking to watch the performance from a distance wrap around to just behind the escalators near the stairs for the best view.

Those travelling with dinosaur enthusiasts may also want to check out the DinoPlay area which is located just past the entrance to Jurassic World – The Ride.

This interactive play area has just undergone an extensive refurbishment and gives kids the chance to excavate giant dinosaur fossils, explore a full-size T. rex skull, dinosaur eggs and more.

3. World-Famous Studio Tour

📏 Height Requirements: None
😬 Fear Factor: 3

The World-Famous Studio Tour (often referred to as The Backlot Tour) takes you on a one-hour tram ride behind the scenes of a real film studio which has been the home to a number of movie and TV show sets including; Desperate Housewives, The Good Place and the new Bel-Air TV series.

This ride has no height requirements (again, we went on with our 14-month-old during our recent visit).

However, the children will be asked to remain seated throughout the ride for health and safety reasons (there are also no bathroom breaks, or getting off the tram at any point).

While a Studio Tour doesn’t necessarily sound scary, there are some elements of this experience that may unnerve younger guests these include;

  • Plane Crash Wreckage: Featured in Steven Spielberg’s War of the Worlds.

  • Flash Flood Simulator: Complete with water and fire.

  • King Kong 360 3-D: A 4-D simulator ride that sees you encounter King Kong himself.

  • Fast & The Furious Supercharged: Another 4-D simulator ride that sees you race alongside Dom and the gang.

  • Bates Motel: Watch as Norman Bates removes a body from the famous hotel, as a witness he’ll try and ‘take care’ of you too.

While all of these experiences last less than three minutes, none of them are optional.

Plenty of people have filmed this tour and made it into a Youtube video, so if you’re unsure as to whether or not it’ll be too scary for your little one then it may be good to watch one of these videos in advance – of course, sadly, there will be spoilers.

4. Secret Life of Pets: Off The Leash

📏 Height Requirements: 34″ – Children under 48″ will require a supervising companion
😬 Fear Factor: 0

One of the latest additions to the Universal Studios Hollywood park is the Secret Life of Pets: Off The Leash ride.

Based on the hit animated film of the same name, this ride is perfect for all ages but does have a rather tall height requirement given the film’s target audience so be sure to watch out for that.

As you wait for this ride you’ll do so inside the New York City apartments of the characters featured in the film which is sure to keep little kids entertained.

The ride itself sees you board a specially designed vehicle that looks like a pet carrier.

The ride itself is a trackless, motion-based attraction that takes you through various scenes and environments from the movies.

You’ll see all of your favourite characters, including Max, Duke, Snowball, and Gidget, as they help you in your journey to being adopted.

One of the best things about this ride is the special effects. As you move through the different scenes, you’ll experience a range of sensory effects, including water, wind, and even smells.

However, none of these experiences are scary or that intense, so it should be a very enjoyable ride for the entire family.

5. Flight of the Hippogriff

📏 Height Requirements: 39″ – Children under 48″ will require a supervising companion
😬 Fear Factor: 2

Flight of the Hippogriff is a fantastic introductory roller coaster ride for little kids.

Situated inside The Wizarding World of Harry Potter, just across from Hogwarts Castle this ride is inspired by the magical creature Hippogriff, a cross between a horse and an eagle.

As you approach the ride, you’ll be greeted by Hagrid, the lovable half-giant gamekeeper of Hogwarts.

If you’re travelling with Harry Potter fans, consider buying an interactive wand which can be used to cast spells around this area of the park.

Then, after a short safety briefing, you’ll climb aboard a wicker Hippogriff and take a thrilling flight through the Forbidden Forest past the pumpkin patch and Hagrid’s hut.

Even if you’re kids aren’t huge Harry Potter fans they’ll still likely enjoy the thrills that this ride has to offer.

6. Dreamworks Theatre Featuring Kung Fu Panda

📏 Height Requirements: None
😬 Fear Factor: 0

The Dreamworks Theatre featuring Kung Fu Panda is not so much a ride as it is a multi-sensory attraction experience.

Think of it more like a cinema experience with a few added extras, rather than a ride since you don’t actually move anywhere like you would on other rides inside the park.

The theatre in which the attraction is hosted features a 180-degree screen and 360-degree surround sound as well as special effects, such as water, wind, and scent which make the experience feel even more realistic.

During the short film showing you’ll be transported to the world of Kung Fu Panda, where you’ll follow Po and his friends as they battle villains to protect their home.

The action will feel up close and personal, and the special effects will make you feel like you’re right in the middle of it all.

This ride isn’t scary, and with no minimum height requirement, it’s suitable for all ages, making it one of the best rides at Universal Studios Hollywood for families.

7. Silly Swirly Fun Ride

📏 Height Requirements: None
😬 Fear Factor: 1

Situated in Super Silly Fun Land just behind Despicable Me: Minion Mayhem is The Silly Swirly Fun Ride.

This is the only genuine ride (aside from the World-Famous Studio Tour) inside Universal Studios Hollywood with no height requirement which makes it one of the best rides for families travelling with small children.

We went on this ride with our 14-month-old little boy during our most recent trip to Universal Studios Hollywood and it was perfect. Just make sure the child can sit up on their own unaided.

This ride rarely has a standby line of more than ten minutes, however, it does go surprisingly high which provides an incredible 360-degree view of the land below as you circle around.

Thankfully, the height of your ride vehicle can be adjusted using the lever in front of you if children begin to feel uncomfortable.

Based on our personal experience we’d recommend the person travelling with the child sits on the outside of the vehicle and the child on the inside as it’s less scary and doesn’t have a gap for climbing out of the ride vehicle.

This area in general is a fantastic area to hang out as a family if you’re travelling with young children as there are a number of carnival games (for an additional cost), a huge play area with water features (be sure to bring a change of clothes for this if you’re travelling in the summer) and a dry play area too.

8. Jurassic World – The Ride

📏 Height Requirements: 42″ – Children under 48″ will require a supervising companion
😬 Fear Factor: 3

The Jurassic World ride is the only water ride at Universal Studios Hollywood.

Located in the heart of the Lower Lot this ride features the latest technology in rollercoaster development making the immersive land and dinosaurs all the more realistic.

During this ride, you’ll get caught in the fray as an Indominus rex is confronted by her archrival, the Tyrannosaurus rex. This epic battle will see you pummelling down an 84ft drop into a pool of water (as such, you will likely get wet).

There’s a number of great dining options down here in the Lower Lot including; Starbucks, Jurassic Café, Mummy Eats, Panda Express, Studio Scoop and Studio Café.

Sadly, while many youngsters love dinosaurs, not all of them can go on this ride as the minimum height requirement is 42” with an accompanying adult of 48” or taller or 48” when riding solo.

9. Despicable Me Minion Mayhem

📏 Height Requirements: 40″ – Children under 48″ will require a supervising companion
😬 Fear Factor: 1

Despicable Me Minion Mayhem is sure to be a hit with Minion lovin’ families. This ride sees join Gru on an adventure to become a Minion.

During this time you’ll take a trip through Gru’s laboratory, but of course, the journey doesn’t quite go to plan!

This ride is a great introductory ride to motion simulation projections for kids as for the most part it’s just a show, with a large projection on the screen at the front and a number of single rows of seats that move slightly through motion simulation.

It’s not a roller coaster, so you don’t go anywhere on a track, there are no heights and it’s not really that dark so the family-friendly factor is 10/10.

10. Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey

📏 Height Requirements: 48″
😬 Fear Factor: 4

Located inside the incredible Hogwarts Castle in the Wizarding World of Harry Potter is the Harry Potter And The Forbidden Journey ride.

During this ride, you’ll soar above the castle grounds alongside Harry, Ron and Hermione in an unforgettable and thrilling adventure.

Throughout your journey, you’ll come face-to-face with an array of magical and terrifying creatures on this one-of-a-kind attraction.

This ride is incredible but does have some limitations.

Most notably, guests with a waistline of 40” or more may struggle to fit into the seats and subsequently be unable to ride. Test seats are available outside the ride to check before getting in line.

11. Transformers: The Ride 3-D

📏 Height Requirements: 40″ – Children under 48″ will require a supervising companion
😬 Fear Factor: 4

Transformers: The Ride 3-D is an immersive thrill ride located within Universal’s Lower Lot.

This ride uses a combination of 3D media and flight simulation technology to take you into the middle of a war zone as you fight alongside Optimus Prime and try to survive as you protect the All spark from the Decepticons.

Just to the side of this ride opposite the Studio Cafe, you’ll find character meet-and-greet opportunities with characters from the franchise including; Bumblebee, Optimus Prime and even one of the Decepticons.

This ride isn’t scary in the sense of heights but can be scary how realistic the battle between Optimus Prime and the Decepticons feels at times, especially with the 3D technology used.

12. The Simpsons Ride

📏 Height Requirements: 40″ – Children under 48″ will require a supervising companion
😬 Fear Factor: 4

Located inside Springfield, in Universal Hollywood’s Upper Lot is The Simpsons Ride.

This motion simulation ride sees you head out on a journey with The Simpsons to Krusty’s the Clown’s newest theme park Krustyland.

However, unlike Universal, Krusty hasn’t invested the time or money into the park and as a result, you’ll be experiencing some incredible high-speed twists and turns.

This ride is in our opinion one of the worst for motion sickness, throwing you forwards, backwards and side to side quite dramatically.

As such if you have a negative experience with motion simulation we’d recommend skipping out on this ride or taking some motion sickness medication (with approval from your doctor).

13. Revenge of The Mummy – The Ride

📏 Height Requirements: 48″
😬 Fear Factor: 5

In our opinion, one of the scariest rides at Universal Studios Hollywood is The Revenge of the Mummy.

This dark ride is located in the Lower Lot of the theme park and is perfect for thrill-seeking families.

Board the ride vehicle and be propelled at speeds of up to 45mph in virtual darkness as you flee from Mummy’s revenge.

Unlike many other rides at Universal Studios Hollywood, this is a physical, track-based rollercoaster ride.

While there are no real heights involved as it’s still indoors, the darkness and story / theme of the ride combined with some special effects can make it scary for younger guests.

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