A Quick Tip to Boost Your Foster – Adoptive Family’s Trip to Universal Studios


Take the Trip from Fun to WOW

We took our first trip to Universal Studios Orlando after all of our children had been adopted from foster care. I remember asking people how we could make this adoption celebration special. I actually got this response a lot:

“A trip to Universal Studios is special all by itself.”

Yes. Yes. I understand that a trip to Universal is amazing. However, these are my kids. They have been through all sorts of abuses and neglect. They waited for years in the foster care system to officially be put into their forever family. This needed to be a celebration where the kids felt like they were the center of the world.

There are many things that we can tell your foster-adoptive family about to make your first trip a memorable one. However, when your family is trying to be budget conscious, you want to find those special touches that are:

  • Complimentary
  • Personalized
  • Actually is a Souvenir of the trip


Complimentary Pins

While these badges are not a secret, they are not openly advertised by Universal Studios that we have seen. There are two types of complimentary badges:

  • General Celebration
  • Birthday Celebration


Here’s the deal. All you have to do is simply tell a staff member what to write on the pin and viola – you have an instant souvenir that you can wear around the park. As an added bonus, don’t be surprised if staff members around the park read your badge to offer congratulations or happy birthday.

Where can you obtain these pins?


  1. Customer Service – Universal Studios Side
  2. Customer Service – Islands of Adventure


  1. The main gift shops by the front of each park
  2. Quality Quidditch Supplies in Diagon Alley (only witnessed them there once)
  3. The Blue Man Group Kiosk close to Jurassic Park in Islands of Adventure


How will you personalize your pin?

  • Adoption Day
  • Jan’s 1st Visit
  • 9th Birthday
  • Foster Family

Email us or comment below for more suggestions or tell us how you made your trip to Universal Studios. 


Written by
Co-founder and President of Transfiguring Adoption. Darren is a graduate of Illinois State University where he studied fine art. He offers foster and adoptive parents over a decade of experience in parenting foster and adoptive children, as well as his introductory to counseling training. Darren is the author of the "A Guide to Magical Creatures Around Your Home," book series. darren@transfiguringadoption.com LinkedIn: www.linkedin.com/in/darrenfink Book series: www.magicalcreaturs.com

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  1. We have four adoptive kids from forster care and we have been waiting to take them Universal till they were tall enough.
    They are all ready. Is there a ticket discount for ad o time kids for a yearly pass. I know it’s a big ask, but they have been through alot.


    • We have not discovered any discounts for day tickets or season passes for foster or adoptive children.

      We would suggest getting disability passes for the rides if any of our crew has a disability (this also includes PTSD, sensory processing issues, or any other issues or diagnosed behaviors that make it difficult for them to stand in line for a long period of time). You will be required to have your whole crew present to get the passes at the customer service building at the beginning of the park. The passes are presented to staff members at the entrance of rides. They check the current ride wait time, mark it on the pass and have you return after the allotted time to enter through the fast pass entrance. This gives you time to get everyone hydrated, use the bathroom, or get into a cool location while you wait.

      The other thing we have found at the park is that a large family can get the biggest bang for their buck for meal by ordering the Great Feast at The Three Broomsticks in the Hogsmeade section of the park. We have had four adults and 4 kids eat off of this meal.

      The BIGGEST points of advice we would give though are to keep your family hydrated and have a snack every two hours to avoid meltdowns (see this article: https://transfiguringadoption.com/the-perfect-wizarding-world-snack-to-prevent-meltdowns-in-your-foster-adoptive-kids/)

      Lastly, for any adoptive or foster family to have successful trip to Universal it is imperative that you take the trip slowly. If you plan on doing 8 rides in one day, half the number. Check-in with the family to see how the kids and you, yourself are doing. You may need to go back to the hotel to rest or just call it a day. Anything after the fourth ride is a bonus. Children from traumatic backgrounds tend to get easily overwhelmed and wore out in the parks. Thus, meltdowns are easily triggered and when the kids are wore out – it will quickly wear you out.

      Let us know if you want any other advice for making this a great trip.

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