Experiences Featured Tips

So You’re Going to Universal Studios Hollywood with a Pre-schooler!! RIDES EDITION (Updated 7/2023)

Planning a trip to Universal Studios Hollywood with young kids? I’ll admit- I was once under the impression that there wasn’t much there to do with younger children. I figured most rides were geared towards bigger kids and we were best waiting until they were older. I’m here to tell you that I was wrong! We’ve spent the past summer doing regular trips to Universal Studios Hollywood and it’s been an absolute blast. We have found new things to do every time we go! Here are some suggestions for your preschool age kiddos.

Nearly all USH rides have a height requirement, but don’t let that scare you off! Like many other theme parks, the magical number here is 40 inches. Typically, kids hit this height somewhere between the ages of 3 and 5 years old. 2 out of my 3 kids hit it somewhere during age 3, but my sweet late bloomer Wesley hit it closer to 4.5 years old. If your kiddo hasn’t hit it yet, then fear not! There are still plenty of rides to enjoy!

Mario Kart: Bowser’s Challenge
Height Requirement: 40 inches

This ride simulates Mario Kart using both a practical course and AI technology. While it is slow moving, it can be very overstimulating on all the senses! You are moving through a dark ride with a lot of really cool animatronics direct from various Mario Kart courses. But you also have the VR headset, which allows you to see your opponents, your teammates, and any items you acquire. Try not to miss the item blocks as you need shells to rack up points by hitting your opponents and the baddies along the way. Older kids will love the competition of this game, but younger ones may find it difficult to understand the controls and how the ride works. Still, it can be a lot of fun whether you’re competing or not. The VR visor clicks on to the headset a few inches in front of your face, so no need to worry about glasses wearers on this ride; it’s not a problem! Mario Kart just opened in February 2023, so it is currently the most popular ride in the park. Early access is available to purchase for Super Nintendo World, but if you can’t do that then I recommend waiting until the end of the day when crowds tend to die down. The queue is almost as exciting as the ride itself, with tons of easter eggs for Mario and Nintendo fans.

Silly Swirly Fun Ride
Part of the Minions area, this ride has no height requirement and can be enjoyed by all the littles! It takes you for a quick 360 spin where you can see the whole park and sweeping views of Los Angeles. All of our kids love this ride and the wait is typically pretty minimal. A total winner in my book!

The World Famous Studio Tour
This epic ride around the studio’s backlot has no height requirement, but be warned. There are intense moments throughout, including a simulated earthquake, shark attack, car chase, and a King Kong and T-Rex fight. While the tram itself doesn’t move fast, the simulated experiences certainly give that illusion! It is also a 45-60 minute journey, so for newly potty trained littles it can be a bit much. My 3 year old daughter has done the tour a handful of times with her brothers, but won’t usually choose it when it’s just the two of us.

The Secret Life of Pets: Off the Leash
Height Requirement: 34 inches
This all new dark ride takes you through the streets of New York with Max, Duke, Gidget, and Snowball. As a dark ride, there are no sudden drops or movements, just a calm ride through various silly scenes. This is a very tame ride that I’m sure will be enjoyed by everyone! Almost as good as the ride is the queue, which takes you through the high rise NYC apartment building filled with pets doing silly things while their owners are away. It definitely makes waiting in line easier, and with this being the newest ride in the parks, the wait can get substantial throughout the day.

Flight of the Hippogriff
Height Requirement: 39 inches
This is a fun way for littles to experience some Harry Potter magic in the Wizarding World! Though this coaster is short (like 45 seconds short), your littles will get to experience a thrill ride that gives a great view of Hogwarts and Hogsmeade below. There are a few small drops, bunny hops, and small twists and turns, but all in all this coaster is very tame. All 3 of my kids love this ride, but Vada seems to love it the most. The great thing about a short roller coaster is that if your kids are unsure whether they can handle it, it’s so short they won’t even have the time to be scared! Plus, the line moves quickly with two coasters going- one loading, one riding.

The Simpsons Ride
Height Requirement: 40 inches
This simulator takes you through Springfield as you follow the Simpsons family through various antics and escaping Sideshow Bob. Vada thinks the Simpsons are hilarious, so this ride is really fun for her.

Despicable Me Minion Mayhem
Height Requirement: 40 inches
Another simulator, this one is great because it loads so many people on at once (the experience is in a big theater with many smaller vehicles). The minions are fun, as always, and make the kids laugh. In this ride, you are “turned into” a minion and must go through rigorous minion training with Agnes, Edith, and Margo. 

Transformers: The Ride-3D
Height Requirement: 40 inches
A 3D simulator with some practical elements, in this ride Optimus Prime enlists you to protect the Allspark from Megatron and the Decepticons. This ride can be a little intense at times as all the evil robots are after you, and it’s very much a Michael Bay ride (read as: explosions, slow mo), but nevertheless, Vada loves the robots and really enjoys this ride! It definitely can be a lot of fun. The biggest drawback is that the 3D glasses fog very easily with a mask on.

Depending on how tall your little one is, there are even more rides to explore at Universal Studios Hollywood! But if rides aren’t your thing, there is still more to do for kids. Check out my next post for a round up on play areas, character meet and greets, and shows that your little one will love!


  • Reply
    Baby Boomer Super Saver
    August 30, 2021 at 4:24 am

    This is a great review! I would not have thought about toddlers not being able to visit and enjoy Universal Studios Hollywood, because I’d assumed that there would be lots of rides and activities for this age group. It’s great that you listed height requirements and the feedback about your kids’ enjoyment.

    • Reply
      December 27, 2021 at 6:16 pm

      Thank you for reading!

  • Reply
    L - Franglais27
    August 30, 2021 at 11:09 pm

    These sound like handy tips for those wanting to enjoy the rides with a small child in tow where the ride specifications need to be considered too!

    • Reply
      December 27, 2021 at 6:16 pm

      Totally. Thank you for reading and commenting. There really is a lot for small kiddos to enjoy!

  • Reply
    My Hollywood
    September 30, 2021 at 9:24 pm

    Transformers is a lot of fun for all ages!

    • Reply
      December 27, 2021 at 6:17 pm

      Transformers is one of our must rides every trip. All the kids love it.

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