Heading to the theme parks with kids is a totally fun and exhausting adventure.
The good news is that it’s totally worth it, and the other good news is that we have some tried and true hacks for making this trip a little easier on parents and caregivers alike!
There are a number of hacks we’ve learned taking our kids to the Universal Orlando parks, but here are the top hacks we’d recommend. Bring a spare change of clothes (As water rides and play are everywhere). Pack a lot of snacks as these can sometimes be hard to find (but they have a lot of sweets!). And lastly, plan for the weather with items like fans, ponchos and spare socks as the weather is unpredictable on vacation!
Beyond that, there are an additional sanity saving hacks for your trip to Universal!
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Pictures need to be taken when you first enter the Parks
Y’all, my kids are pooped in the afternoons between the excitement, the sun and the stimulation. OR if we head into the parks in the afternoon, by the time the nighttime entertainment starts, they are totally tapped out.
If you want some really nice pictures for your memory books, or your social channels, plan them out in the mornings. This includes the iconic scenes, the character images, the birthday celebrations and the multi family pics.
Bring your Own Stroller for kids 9 and under
One of the most asked questions in forums and groups is the time old stroller debate.
Now, I’m not going to assume anything about your kids or parenting styles, but my kids need a stroller.
Come late afternoon ALL the kids are so tired, cranky, and really need to be pushed around to finish out the day.
And yes, you can rent a stroller at Universal, but I prefer to have one I can take back to the hotel with me!
There’s a ton of stroller rentals, so go with one you trust that has good reviews. I recommend Kingdom Strollers, mostly because of how reasonably priced they are and how easy it is to pickup at the airport or have delivered to the resor.
Whatever you do, plan for a stroller as you will be walking 10k+ steps a day! This is especially important if you only have One Day to do everything you want in the Wizarding World of Harry Potter!
Pack lots of water and snacks
Here’s the hack that has saved our hineys more times than I care to share!
There is something about kids not being able to drink anything during the day, and then they turn into water deprived terrors at bedtime and wake several times at night for water.
We avoid that nighttime dehydration (Through learning trial and error the hard way!) by bringing our own reusable water bottles and keep track of how much each kid drinks. I keep a little note in my phone for how many I want them to drink, and how much they have drank so we can evaluate if they ‘need another snack’ or just really need some fluids!
We use a stainless steel water bottle, as we’ve had the plastic ones break when dropped on the hot asphalt at the parks.
You can get your very own stainless steel Disney Themed Bottles at Target, and Amazon has our favorite (non disney) water bottles too!
While I’m blessed with good healthy sleepers at home, going on vacation is another story.
Call me a ‘master in trying random sleep hacks’ if you will, but we’ve found a few things over the years that we can’t live without when it comes to sleep. BECAUSE sleep can make your break your vacation.
The first and most important thing is a noise maker. We used to use our phones (and there’s an app for that!) but ended up getting a portable one to keep the noise away from our heads and more at the foot of the beds.
Between guests next door, people walking the halls, doors opening and closing from 5 am to 11 pm, and proximity to the pool… the noise maker drowns it all out for relaxing sleep for our kids!
The other things that we use occasionaly but always have on hand are:
>Water/Snacks for the Room (cuz your SOL if a kid is hungry and the shops are closed!)
>Eye Covers (my preschooler has grown to love his)
>Melatonin (we use the kids MaryRuths Brand, but Genexa is a recommended Melatonin Free Option too!)
Part of making a Stress Free Universal Orlando Vacation is knowing what expect and having those tricks up your sleeve to make the most of your trip.
Ziploc Baggies for Everything
These baggies are SO handy! While I do use a number of reusable options (like these small wetbags for dirty clothes) I also pack a few reseable bags for the parks.
We use them for:
Clothing Sets so everything is organized and easy to grab
Keeping our Phones from getting wet on water rides and in the rain
Premake Snacks to keep the kids satisfied. One Bag of grapes from the store is the same price as what you’d pay in the quick serve! Even with the dining plan I always recommend you bring snacks!
Consider the Weather
Repeat after me, “It will rain on my trip, and it will not ruin my vacation”
If there is *one* thing that irks me, it’s that people expect the weather to be perfect on their trip. While no one can control the weather (that we know of), there’s some common sense when planning your trip.
It can rain during any of the 365 days in Florida (most common from June-September).
There is a high likelyhood of a cool breeze in the evenings (great for light sweaters!)
It’s *super*common in the fall/winter/spring to have a colder below 60 degree day followed by an 80+ day.
And holidays are wacky because some Thanksgivings we are wearing shorts and sweating, and other times we need to light the fireplace.
If planning for the weather just makes sense, congrats your on the right path! If you’d like some gentle realities about what to expect, there’s several things to learn!