Tuesday, 29 May 2012

Taking the Toddler to Universal Studios

A couple of weekends ago, Hubby and I decided to try taking Scarlett to Universal Studios for the afternoon. We actually visited the theme park once before with my husband's work and had enjoyed it when Scarlett was about six months old. Obviously, there was not much she could do then but we thought there might be a bit more she could try out now.

We took the compulsory photo of the Universal logo just as New Zealand came into view and then headed into the park. We had booked our tickets online so we just handed over our printouts and were straight inside. We had taken a  bit of a gamble that the park would not be too crowded on a Saturday afternoon and we were pleasantly surprised by the relatively small crowd. The longest we waited for any ride was twenty five minutes and most we were in a line for five minutes or less. There were a couple of rides that we did not go on because of the wait time but most of those were not suitable for Scarlett anyway.

Just as we arrived we caught a glimpse of Shrek and Princess Fiona as they headed back into the castle. Scarlett was very impressed!

We initially focused most of our time on the Madagascar and Far Far Away sections of the park as they had the most age appropriate rides for us. We started off on the Crate Adventure Madagascar ride which took us through some scenes from the movies on a boat. It was fun for Scarlett but fairly tame. We then headed over to the carousel which is also animal themed. Scarlett had not been big enough to ride on anything but a fixed wagon last time we were here but this trip she was keen to ride an animal by herself. She and Daddy had a great ride while I tried to get some photos without much success.

We also really enjoyed the Shrek 4 D movie. Scarlett was very surprised by the moving seats and all the effects. It was a lot of fun. As we came out of the Shrek movie we were just in time to see all the characters from Madagascar. Scarlett had her photo taken with Alex.

In the interests of an authentic Theme Park experience we introduced Scarlett to the joys of the corn dog. She was pretty impressed! It was pretty warm and sunny (maybe 33 degrees C 91 F) so the key thing was to keep drinking! 

We really enjoyed having a look at the Lost World section of the park where we had a fly on some dinosaurs. Scarlett and Daddy really enjoyed that ride but it was a bit too scary for me. There is a great ride through the rainforest but the wait time was over an hour so we gave that one a miss.

Scarlett had seen a ride which involved driving Model T style cars through an archaeological dig. We promised her that we would go on it and that she could drive. Sadly it had the longest wait time of the day at  25 minutes and it was too long for Scarlett. All her grumpiness evaporated though as she steered the car around the course. She really enjoyed the ride although it is not that exciting for anyone over the age of about 6 I would think.

We continued around the park and were surprised to see the duelling roller coasters at Battlestar Gallactica only had a five minute wait time. Tet was keen to have a go so Scarlett and I sat under the coasters and tried to spot Tet. We did not see him but he enjoyed the first ride. I sent him back to try the other one and he declared it quite scary. The two coasters loop in through each other. One is a ride on cart sort of set up and the other is a shoulder harness dangling ride. I was waaaay to chicken to have a go but it was fun watching all the other folk enjoying themselves and Scarlett found some pretty coloured stones to play with so it was a nice break.

We decided to head for the exit with a brownie and ice cream break on our way back through the park. Scarlett also attempted to join a dance crew on stage before starting her own breakdance in the crowd. It was a tad embarrassing but she was surprisingly good! 

The best part of the day for Scarlett though was having her photo taken by Po from Kung Fu Panda as were leaving the park. She loves the movie and the character was really fun, mock fighting with the children and making a real effort.

What a shame they both had their eyes closed!

Overall, it was an excellent day out. The park is free until the age of four so it was just the adults who had to pay. $74 a ticket means it is not a cheap day out but we did enjoy ourselves. We intend to go back in September with Scarlett's grandad.


  1. Oh Wow - that looks so fun!! Great pics Claire xxx

  2. I love IOA and Universal Studios, when my oldest boy was 2 through 4 we took him to Universal to play as we had annual passes. Back when they were affordable :) Looks like you had a great time!

  3. I am so glad you posted this! We are heading there in a couple of weeks with my kids grandparents! I am worried about the crowds as well, but hopefully it will be quite like then. I showed my kids the pictures and now they are really excited!! So glad your little Miss, and you guys had fun, you have gotten us ready and happy to go!