We’ve only been to Universal Orlando twice with our daughters, but they know right away what they like and don’t like. The following rides are located at both Universal Studios and Islands of Adventure parks, both of which are great for all ages.
1) Despicable Me – There is no doubt that this is the favourite all around for my tweens. They love the Despicable Me movies and the ride was awesome!
2) Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey – The Hogwarts Castle is amazing. I loved wandering through the castle and shops of Hogsmeade. You do not have to be a Harry Potter fan to appreciate this attraction and you don’t have to go on the ride to walk through the castle. My youngest absolutely loved the Forbidden Journey. She can’t wait to go back. And if you’re not riding, grab some Butterbeer while you wait!
3) Pteranodon Flyers – For anyone who loved the Jurassic Park movie there is nothing so exciting as walking through the gates and hearing the theme music, but many children/tweens will probably pass on the Jurassic Park River Adventure as it’s so steep. (I loved it) Our girls headed straight for the Pteranadon Flyers. This might seem like a mild ride to most, but it’s not childish at all. Parents, you can admit it. You actually want to try it don’t you? I did, and found out that parents are allowed, but only if they are accompanying a child! It was a lot of fun and reminded me of the flying rides that are so popular at Six Flags.
4) Storm Force Acceleration – This one made me sick just looking at it but for some reason tweens are immune to getting dizzy. They loved spinning in circles on this ride and it is perfect for tweens that are more nervous of the larger rides. It’s a lot like the Tea Cups at Disney World so if your kids love those it go find it for sure! It’s kind of tucked away in a hidden spot in the park so take the time to look at the map to find it.
5) Shrek 4-D – Even if you aren’t a big fan of the Shrek movies, you’re whole family will love this one. With the 4-D sensory effects added in, you feel completely immersed in the show, and it’s hilarious!
6) The Amazing Adventures of Spiderman – Now in high-tech 3-D, this is definitely one of the most fast paced, thrill rides on this list. It is incredible! An absolute must for any Spidey fan and any tween who loves thrill rides but not super huge roller coasters.
7) Popeye and Bluto’s Bilge Rat Barges – There is nothing better than a water ride on a hot day in Orlando. Everyone loves cooling down. Don’t want to be soaked afterward? You can rent time in a drying machine after you ride! Ok, so I’ll admit this was my favourite ride in the whole park so I might be recommending it just for you parents!
8) Camp Jurassic – While actually a play area and not a ride, I couldn’t leave this out. What child could resist such a huge playground with caverns and water features? Even adults love this playground because you’ll feel like a pirate or Huck Finn looking for treasure in all the hidden caves! Here’s a hint…make sure you plan out a meeting spot for your family. This place is huge and you can easily lose track of tweens, who like to run off on their own and if you have little ones…watch them VERY CLOSELY!
9) E.T. Adventure – I’ll be honest. This was closed when we were at Universal Studios and we were really sad. We all really wanted to do it and I know my girls would have loved it. Don’t miss your chance if it’s open. It’s a classic.
Flight of the Hippogriff – UPDATE! This roller coaster is now closed to make way for new things at Universal.
10) Hogwarts Express – If you’re a Harry Potter fan or not you need to get a park hopper ticket so you can take the Hogwart’s Express train from Hogsmeade to Diagon Alley. It’s so cool and the best way to go between the two parks!
I also want to add that I highly recommend purchasing the Universal Express Pass or staying on site. Line ups can get very long for the most popular rides. It’s well worth the extra cost to really enjoy your visit and be able to get on your favourite rides multiple times. We all know how tweens LOVE repetition!