So if you're like us and don't have much of an option on whether or not you're taking your baby to Universal Studios, or if you have older kids who would love it and just don't want to leave the baby behind when the rest of the family goes, these tips are for you!
1. Take Snacks
Universal is actually pretty picky about what food items they allow in the park. So sorry, a picnic lunch is not an option. But they do allow any and all baby food/snacks. We had fruit and veggie squeeze pouches, crackers, nutrigrain bars, milk, and juice. It's pretty amazing how food can distract a baby!
2. Bring a stroller that can easily fold.
The park is broken up between an upper lot and a lower lot. The two connect with a system of escalators. There is an elevator option for strollers or handicapped individuals, but then you have to wait quite awhile for a tram to come and take you the rest of the way. Save yourself the time and just fold up the stroller on the escalators. That's how we did it and we don't regret it. The escalators are a bit of an experience themselves anyways that you won't want to miss. The view is seriously gorgeous.
3. Take a break with the animal show.
I didn't plan on going to any shows. Babies aren't usually quiet in such situations. But after hearing about the animal show, we decided to choose some isle seats and risk it. So glad we did! Kymri loved watching the animals do different tricks and clap along with the crowd when they did something spectacular. It was nice to sit and rest for awhile and Kymri was able to enjoy something she had never seen before. There are a number of other shows in the park, but we knew that none of them would work for us. Just know your kid and what will work for you.
4. Take advantage of the most amazing rider swap ever.
I thought Disney had a good set up for rider swaps. If you're familiar with it, basically one parent waits with the baby and then gets a front of the line pass to return with one other person. At Universal, the basic idea is the same, but the set up is way better! Each ride has a rider swap area with toys or videos or something else for the kids to do while they wait. Kymri l.o.v.e.d it! It was so great to not just spend the 15 minutes pacing and trying desperately to keep my baby entertained. Each room was themed after the ride and had a different activity. It totally kept Kymri's attention the whole time. Kudos, Universal.
Jurassic Park Rider Swap Waiting Room
Transformers Rider Swap Waiting Room
5. If you're nursing, be prepared for some discomfort.
I was reeeeally glad that I had just weaned Kymri from nursing before we went to Universal. There would have been no.where. to nurse comfortably. Unlike Disney, there is not a baby station. The restrooms have changing tables, but that is just about all you will find. I read a blog post that told me there would be a baby's room, but that was apparently dated. When I asked a worker to point me in the direction of the baby's room so that I could change a messy diaper, I was told that they haven't had one of those for years. It wasn't the end of the world to change a diaper in the restroom. It just wasn't as nice. For nursing mothers, just be prepared to get a little creative.
6. Be willing to change your plans and skip some things (or take backup).
Let's be real. Kids are wonderful, but they don't exactly fit into a nice little mold all the time. We had to take things slow and follow Kymri's cues. She is a super easy going baby, so it wasn't so bad. But I saw others struggling with young children a bit more than we were. Our focus for the trip was The Wizarding World of Harry Potter, and we did not feel like we had to miss anything at all. The rider swap was perfect and Kymri could do everything beyond the rides. She really enjoyed watching the street performers and going in to all of the shops. Now, having said that, the rest of the park is not quite as baby friendly. As much as Brad and I would have loved the backlot tour, it just wasn't a good idea for us. While there is technically no height restriction on the ride, I knew that it would get a little rough and Kymri wouldn't like it. I was also sure that the giant gorilla and dinosaurs would scare her quite a bit. And it's about a 45 min ride. So we didn't want to take turns and use up 2 hours of our day. So we skipped it. For us, that was totally fine. But some people go to Universal Studios specifically for the Studio Tour. If you're one of those people, consider going with someone who doesn't mind watching the baby for an hour. Maybe they can catch the animal show while you take the tour. In all, just be willing to be flexible.
Basically, don't be dissuaded from taking a baby to Universal Studios. While the park is definitely not geared towards babies and young children, it's not absolutely impossible to have a great time with kiddos in tow as some people might make you feel. Follow your gut, be as prepared as possible, and you really can have a great day at Universal Studios with your baby!