For an unforgettable experience, visit Universal Orlando’s theme parks, Universal Studios Florida, and Universal’s Islands of Adventure. Universal Orlando, which opened in 1990, is the area’s second-largest theme park resort after Walt Disney World. Throughout its history, Universal Orlando has added new rides and attractions based on popular film and television franchises such as Shrek, The Simpsons, and, most recently, Harry Potter. The Wizarding World of Harry Potter added several rides to the park, resulting in massive success and a new surge of popularity for Universal Orlando. Before your next visit to these theme parks, plan out what you want to do, choosing from thrill rides, family-friendly attractions, and everything in between. To assist you, we’ve compiled a list of the top rides at Universal Orlando, so you know what should be at the top of your list.
Best Rides at Universal Studios Florida
- Harry Potter and the Escape from Gringotts
This attraction is the best ride at Universal Studios Florida and is the highlight of the Wizarding World of Harry Potter — Diagon Alley. The queue itself is spectacular, with goblins that appear to be straight out of a movie. The ride is also one-of-a-kind, combining dark ride and roller coaster elements with 3-D projections to create a truly immersive and exciting experience.
- Hollywood Rip Ride Rockit
By far the most exciting ride at Universal Studios Florida. The Hollywood Rip Ride Rockit roller coaster lets riders choose their own soundtrack (from 30 options, including “Stronger” by Kanye West and “Sabotage” by the Beastie Boys) before embarking on a vertical ascent for an exciting ride that reaches a top speed of 65 miles per hour.
- Revenge of the Mummy
This indoor coaster based on The Mummy is thrilling without being too scary, which is a welcome change from the other screen-based attractions at Universal Studios Florida.
- Men in Black Alien Attack
In this interactive dark ride, you’ll enter the Men in Black training facility and shoot aliens. With 120 animatronic aliens, this ride is entertaining and exciting enough to be repeated.
- E.T. Adventure
There’s a reason why E.T. Adventure is Universal Orlando’s only remaining opening day attraction. This ride is just as charming today as it was in 1990, with its bicycle ride vehicles, and it now adds a touch of nostalgia.
- The Simpsons Ride
During this amusing motion simulator ride, you can follow the Simpsons’ crazy antics. Fans of the show will appreciate all of the references and details, as well as the smooth and realistic movement (although it might be intense for those prone to motion sickness).
- Hogwarts Express: King’s Cross Station
In this attraction, board the fabled Hogwarts Express and immerse yourself in the magic of the Harry Potter films. The King’s Cross station looks exactly like the one in London, and it’s a quick and enjoyable way to get to Islands of Adventure. You can almost imagine yourself boarding the train to Hogwarts and arriving in Hogsmeade adds to the enchantment.
- Race Through New York Starring Jimmy Fallon
Fans of The Tonight Show will enjoy this Jimmy Fallon-led 3-D motion simulator ride that takes visitors on a tour of New York City, but the well-themed queue, which is modeled after 30 Rockefeller Plaza, is equally impressive.
- Despicable Me Minion Mayhem
This simulator ride, as one of the first attractions guests encounter upon entering the park, can have lengthy lines. It’s cute and entertaining for families, so fans of the Despicable Me films should see it.
- Kang & Kodos’ Twirl ‘n’ Hurl
This Simpsons-themed spinner ride is enjoyable for children, but it is not the most thrilling ride in the park.
- Transformers: The Ride 3-D
Several recently debuted rides at this park rely heavily on screens and motion simulators, and while it works for some attractions, this one is a little jerky, but fans of the Transformers films will enjoy it.
- Woody Woodpecker’s Nuthouse Coaster
This short family coaster is cute and fun, but it’s not worth the long wait (do today’s kids even know who Woody Woodpecker is?)
- Fast & Furious – Supercharged
Fast & Furious — Supercharged was one of the park’s newest rides, and many argue that it didn’t live up to the hype. Fans of the film series may want to go, but there are better rides at this park.
Best Rides at Universal’s Islands of Adventure
- Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey
This incredible dark ride combines cutting-edge technologies and a one-of-a-kind ride system to completely immerse guests in the Harry Potter story. It’s also housed in Hogwarts Castle, and the queue is incredible, with classroom replicas, a message from the Sorting Hat, and more. It’s worth riding again and again because you’ll almost certainly notice something new each time.
- Hagrid’s Magical Creatures Motorbike Adventure
Many people consider this well-themed coaster to be the best ride in the park, and it’s easy to see why once you ride it. Take a seat on Hagrid’s motorcycle and ride through beautiful scenery, meeting magical creatures along the way.
- Jurassic World VelociCoaster
This more recent addition to Islands of Adventure may be the most thrilling ride in all of Orlando’s theme parks. The Jurassic World-themed roller coaster is not for the faint of heart; it is tall, fast, and has multiple inversions, which adds to the excitement for thrill-seekers visiting the park. For coaster enthusiasts, this could be the best ride at Universal Orlando.
- Jurassic Park River Adventure
What begins as a relaxing boat ride through Jurassic Park quickly becomes a thrilling escape culminating in an 85-foot drop. Whether or not you like the classic dinosaur movie, this ride is worth seeing at least once.
- The Incredible Hulk Coaster
The Incredible Hulk Coaster, one of the most intense rides at Islands of Adventure, complete with inversions and a launch, is a must-see for all thrill seekers.
- Flight of the Hippogriff
Another delightful addition to the Harry Potter-themed land is this family-friendly coaster. The ride is brief, but it provides excellent views of Hogwarts.
- The Amazing Adventures of Spider-Man
Marvel Super Hero Island transports you inside your favorite comic books. The Amazing Adventures of Spider-Man is a dark ride with a 3-D simulator that immerses you in superhero action.
- Hogwarts Express: Hogsmeade Station
The Hogwarts Express allows visitors to travel between Universal Orlando’s two parks without leaving the Wizarding World of Harry Potter, making it a must-see if you plan to visit both parks in a single day. The Hogsmeade branch of the Hogwarts Express is just as entertaining as the King’s Cross branch.
- The High in the Sky Seuss Trolley Train Ride
Take a scenic tour above Seuss Landing — the ride has two tracks, so you can enjoy a different story the second time you ride. This is a pleasant, gentle ride that is ideal for families.
- Dudley Do-Ripsaw Right’s Falls
This ride, a classic log flume ride with a cartoon twist, is ideal for cooling off on hot Florida days.
- The Cat in the Hat
This dark ride transports you directly into one of Dr. Seuss’ most beloved stories, and it’s both entertaining for children and nostalgic for adults who remember it from their childhood.
- Popeye & Bluto’s Bilge-Rat Barges
On this bumpy water ride, sail through the rapids, but be warned: you will get very wet. Although it’s ideal for a hot Florida day, you may want to skip it if the sun isn’t shining.
This ride offers a fun twist on the classic amusement park attraction, with Seuss-inspired characters replacing traditional carousel horses.
- Pteranodon Flyers
This gentle dino ride was designed for children, so adults are not permitted to ride without a child measuring 36 to 56 inches tall. If you do get a chance to ride, you’ll get fantastic views of the park while soaring above it.
- Storm Force Accelatron
This hero-themed spinning teacup ride isn’t the most exciting option in the park, but it’s entertaining and worth a look if there’s no line.
- Poseidon’s Fury
This walk-through attraction is one of the few that is not associated with a film franchise, making it a one-of-a-kind addition to the park. The show, based on Greek mythology, combines special effects, film, and live acting, but it’s not a ride; instead, it’s an immersive, albeit cheesy and dated, experience. It also provides welcome relief on a hot summer day by allowing you to spend more time in the air conditioning.
- Doctor Doom’s Fearfall
This thrilling space shot-style ride isn’t for the faint of heart — brace yourself for some thrilling drops. The villain-themed attraction is thrilling for thrill seekers, but it’s not much different from the drop rides at your local amusement park.
- One Fish, Two Fish, Red Fish, Blue Fish
On this Dr. Seuss-themed spinning ride, board a flying fish. It’s ideal for younger children who can’t yet ride the park’s more intense rides.
- Skull Island: Reign of Kong
The animatronics are incredible, and the queue is well-themed, but the screen-based portion is a little lackluster, like Fast & Furious — Supercharged at Universal Studios Florida.