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Seven Tips to Get Kids Thrilled for Your Universal Orlando Vacation

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“We’re going to Universal!” 

This phase alone should get anyone of all ages excited for a vacation to Universal Orlando Resort. That being said, there might be someone in the family, like your teenager who’s been glued to their phone for months, who could use a healthy dose of enthusiasm for this upcoming adventure. So, here are seven tips to get your crew pumped for your visit to Universal Orlando Resort.

Your wallet will be thrilled when you purchase discounted admission to Universal Orlando Resort through your pals at Orlando Informer. It’s an easy way to save some dough to use on experiences with your family!

Universal Studios Florida
Universal Studios Florida

Get everyone involved in the planning process

We know you’re the mastermind behind those plane tickets, park passes, and hotel reservations. But hold on – before you start crafting the perfect itinerary, gathering everyone’s input will really make this trip one for the family scrapbook. From thrilling rides to delicious dining, there’s something for everyone.

Let’s start with the little ones. Ask them what their favorite characters and movies are. Have they been reading books about the world of Dr. Seuss? Do they run around the house pretending to be a superhero? Visit the park websites with them and see what they are interested in. This is also a good time to see if your little Slytherin is tall enough (or brave enough) to experience Harry Potter and the Escape from Gringotts

If you have older kids and teens at home, you’ve likely gotten a good handle on their interests by now. Have them take the reins and help shape your family’s park experience. Are they craving a milkshake from Toothsome Chocolate Emporium & Savory Feast Kitchen? Do they want some wave pool time at Volcano Bay? Taking their preferences into account keeps everyone on the same wavelength and makes the trip fun for all!

Browse vacation planning tools and websites together

Knowledge is power, so understanding the parks inside and out will aid you in getting the most out of your trip. Getting a lay of the land will help in making a plan with some wiggle room for spontaneity. Dive into vacation planning websites together to answer any outstanding questions and learn helpful travel tips, all while you bond over your collective excitement.

We at Orlando Informer just so happen to have over 200 pages covering Universal’s theme and water parks, hotels, and more for free. Our OI Universal Center is filled with tips, photos, videos, and reviews to help your family become park aficionados.

Plan themed movie nights

The Bourne Stuntacular at Universal Studios Florida
The Bourne Stuntacular at Universal Studios Florida

Leading up to your trip, set aside one night a week for a family movie night dedicated to the cinematic stories that will soon unfold before your eyes.

It’s perfectly fine to use this time for your 800th viewing of Despicable Me. However, the best use of movie night is introducing your kids to stories they don’t know. It will also gauge their ability to handle loud noises, scary things, and moments of peril.

For example, E.T. Adventure will be a lot more meaningful if they know who E.T. is. Stream one of the Bourne movies to see if they are interested in watching The Bourne Stuntacular. Bonus points if your family sits down to enjoy every Fast & Furious film together.

With a plethora of attractions based on films in a theme park that celebrates the magic of the cinema, family movie night becomes a preview into the adventures that await at Universal.

Start a countdown

Nothing helps build the excitement for a trip than counting down the days until it begins. Sure, you can cross the days off on a calendar. But why settle for the mundane when you can explore your creative side?

Design your own advent calendar, where each day unveils a travel necessity or accessory to pack away in your luggage. Or, opt for the tear-away countdown, eagerly ripping off each number every morning to unveil a new day of anticipation.

Have your kids earn their souvenir and snack money

Voodoo Doughnut at Universal CityWalk Orlando
Voodoo Doughnut at Universal CityWalk Orlando

Does your child long to wield a wand from Olivander’s Wand Shop? Is your teen itching to get their hands on the Instagram-worthy pink box of donuts from Voodoo Doughnut? Have them earn their souvenirs through doing chores and making their grade goals.

No big ticket item in mind? Well, let’s get creative! Divide your reward system into different categories: Splurges $50 and over, budget-friendly under $30, snack over $15, shirt under $35. The idea is to score their vacation wants by putting in the effort.

Get pumped about walking

Let’s talk vacation fitness. When both kids and parents are used to a desk-bound daily routine, stepping into 8+ hours on your feet all of a sudden can be a bit of a shock to the system.

On my most recent visit to Universal Islands of Adventure, I logged 12,789 steps. That’s 6.1 miles! Let’s prepare for this by getting your family on their feet. Start with 15-20 minute walks around your neighborhood with everyone clad in comfortable sneakers.

While we know that this might not get someone “excited,” it’s a step (thousands of them, really) towards setting the expectations of the experience.

Don’t over-excite your family

This last tip seems counter to what we’re talking about here. Keeping everyone excited about your Universal Orlando trip is fun, but be weary of pre-trip burnout. 

Be respectful of your group’s activities outside of theme park planning. Don’t shove attraction videos in your kid’s face immediately after school. While some of us live and breathe all things theme parks (raises hand), your family might not be on the same rollercoaster of enthusiasm. So, hold off on shoving POV attraction videos in your kid’s face the minute they come home from school. Let them do their own thing and understand when it’s time to ease in and out of the planning. 

If you drive them crazy with praise about the 70-mile-per-hour launch on Jurassic World VelociCoaster, their interest in this thrill could become nothing more than “Let’s get this over with.” Remember to save some magic and excitement for the parks. Everyone will enjoy it better that way.


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About Roby Brown

Roby is a former skipper of the World Famous Jungle Cruise who continues to use puns and dry humor at every opportunity. He’s a video producer/director and freelance themed entertainment show writer who has developed escape rooms, attractions, and immersive experiences. He’s written family-focused travel blogs on LA/Orlando vacation planning and misses Disneyland every single day.