Let's be honest, visiting a theme park without having to worry about bringing children along is pretty carefree. Add babies and kids to the mix, and there's no such thing as a simple day trip any longer. However, there is nothing quite like experiencing the magic of a theme park through the eyes of a child. Universal Studios brings millions of visitors to its two U.S. locations every year, and that includes many families with babies.
If you're headed to Universal Studios with a baby, you probably have a lot of questions including:
What should I pack for my baby?
How can I make the experience as low-stress as possible?
Are there any rides they can go on?
Though your time at Universal Studios will probably include a lot fewer thrills than when you went sans children, with the proper planning, we promise the trip with your baby will a major deposit in the memory bank!
What to Pack When Taking a Baby to Universal Studios
Remember the days you could just throw on a tank top and shorts and hop in your car for a day full of fun? Once you have a baby, you soon realize that it just doesn't work like that anymore. Who knew something so small would require so much stuff?
So before you do anything else, make sure you have everything that your baby is going to need for all the hours you're going to spend during your trip to Universal Studios.
Baby Sunscreen - Bring plenty of sunscreen approved for baby's sensitive skin. Even if it's cloudy, all of your baby's exposed skin should be slathered in sunscreen.
Sunhat and baby sunglasses: This is just another layer of sun protection for your little babe.
Extra diapers and wipes: Figure out how many diapers you think you'll need and then toss in a couple more. Because you just never know.
An Extra Outfit: I'll just say this. Any time I ever forgot an extra outfit for my babies when they were small they let me know how big of a mistake that was. Bring the extra clothes.
Hoodie or Jacket: Even if it's going to be a warm day, you might have so much fun that your day turns into night even if you hadn't planned on it. Have a hoodie or jacket in case it gets a little chilly.
Essentials for On the Go Sleep: Long, warm days at theme parks lead to sleepy babies. And often they'll fall asleep in a snap. But other times all of the overstimulation can make it difficult for your baby to fall asleep, so you want to make sure you have the items that help them to calm down and relax. Bring their favorite lovey, blanket, paci, etc. to make sure that they're able to fit in a little snooze.
Feeding Time Essentials: If you're feeding formula or have bottles of breastmilk, we recommend that you bring more than they would normally drink. Just in case you have a spill (ahhh! been there) or your baby needs more with the heat, you'll want to have a extra. Additionally,
Pro Tip: Bring a Baby's Brew portable bottle warmer which we'll talk more about below.
Stroller with Canopy: We recommend that you bring a stroller that offers shade with a canopy as well a storage spot underneath. Obviously, you're going to have a lot of gear with you and you're not going to want to carry it all. And with all those miles of walking, a stroller is a necessity. You could also choose to rent one within the park.
Baby Carrier: Though it may seem like having both a stroller AND baby carrier might be overkill, we think you'll be happy to have both. There are designated parking areas for your stroller for when you want to go on a ride or an area not conducive to a stroller. This would be the perfect time to use a baby carrier. Plus, this might be a much more cozy spot for your little one to take a nap.
Backpack w/cooler: You're going to cover a lot of ground on your trip, and a backpack is just easier to handle than a diaper bag! Keep in mind that if you're going to bring a cooler bag to store your baby's milk, it needs to be no larger than 8.5″ wide x 6″ high x 6″ deep.
Tips to Make Your Universal Studio Visit With Your Baby Low Stress
So part one is done - you're packed up and feel prepared to tackle a day at Universal Studios. But what about once you're in the park? There are definitely some hacks to make your day go smoother. Because the last thing you want is a tantrum from your sweet little cherub when things don't go their way.
Ultimately, babies stay content as long as they're getting their needs met. The best way to make sure they stay happy through hours of sun and stimulation at a theme park is by being proactive. Here are our top recommendations.
1.) Keep a bottle warmed and ready for the second your baby is hungry. We know babies can go from calm to screaming in two seconds if they don't get what they need. We recommend bringing the Baby's Brew portable bottle warmer to ensure your baby gets their milk at the perfect temperature as soon as they need it. The Baby's Brew is safe to warm both breastmilk and formula and will keep plenty of charge for a full day at Universal Studios.
2.) Take advantage of the conveniences provided for families with babies. Here are some of what is offered at the Universal Studios parks to help families with little ones make the best of the day:
- "Child Swap" program - this is the perfect way for adults with young children to still enjoy all the rides. Each attraction has a family "waiting room" where one adult family member can stay with the little one(s) while the other rides. When that person is finished riding, the other adult can take a turn with no extra waiting!
- Childcare facilities - No, this isn't a babysitting service, but instead a designated place for you to provide care for your baby. There are nursing rooms, changing stations, rocking chairs, etc. If you need a quiet spot away from the action, this is a good place to take a breather.
- Lockers - These can be really helpful when you have a lot to bring with you. Are you a pumping mama? Utilize the lockers near the childcare area to store your pump during the day and then use one of the nursing rooms to pump!
3.) Opt for preferred/prime parking. Though you'll have to pay a little extra, this will really cut down your walking time to and from your car. Being exhausted from the walk before your day of fun isn't how you want to get started. And at the end of the day when you have a tired baby on your hands, you'll be thankful that your car is that much closer.
4.) Keep your baby cool. Whether it's a fan attached to their stroller, a cooling towel placed around them, or lots of shade breaks, keeping your baby cool on a long, hot day will keep them comfortable.
5.) Be flexible. We can't stress this enough. Going into your experience with grand expectations will only serve to let you down. No matter how well you plan, babies can be unpredictable. Though it's fine to go into your day with a list of attractions and rides you'd like to see and do, just know that you may have to readjust. Going in with a flexible attitude will help you all have a lot more fun.
Rides and Experiences with Your Baby at Universal Studios
Though your baby won't technically remember this early trip to Universal Studios, you most definitely will. Plus you'll have the pictures and Instagram posts to prove it. But can you really do much with a baby at a theme park?
Though much of the excitement that Universal Studios has to offer is more suited towards older children and adults, you'll find attractions for your baby to enjoy, too.
2.) Interact with characters. This is one of the best ways to maximize your Universal Studios experience with your baby. If you want to see your little one's eyes light up (and get some darling pics, too) this is a great way to do it!
3.) Find rides where your baby can join you. This may be a little tougher depending on the age of your baby, but little ones with proper head control will be able to sit next to you on the few rides sprinkled around the park that don't have any height requirements.
Whether you're going to Orlando or Hollywood, both Universal Studios have pages with a wealth of information about the specific rides and attractions you can add to your itinerary with a baby in tow. Definitely check these out before you go!