So you’ve got your Universal Orlando tickets, made your travel arrangements and now all that’s left to do is to start planning your trip!
With so much to see and do during your visit, you’ll want to ensure you make the most of your time, especially when it comes to rides. Express™ Passes and Single Riders are the most popular ways of dodging the queues, but to help you prioritise your time, we’ve put together a list of the must-ride rollercoasters and experiences in Universal Orlando, so you can fit more activities into your day.
We spoke to a number of bloggers about their recent trips to Universal Orlando, asking them what rides are their favourites and why they’d recommend them.
Flight of the Hippogriff
The Wizarding World of Harry Potter – Hogsmeade, Universal’s Islands of Adventure
Darcy, That Geekish Family: “My favourite ride at Universal Studios Orlando has to be The Flight of the Hippogriff. It's a wonderful roller coaster experience that gives you all the thrills, without all the fear-crushing scares. You soar through the air with the castle as your background, and the Hogwarts Choir as the soundtrack if you're lucky to ride while they are performing. The stroll through the woods to Hagrid's Hut is a great immersive experience. A plus side is that this ride is great for all shapes, sizes and ages!”
Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey
The Wizarding World of Harry Potter – Hogsmeade, Universal’s Islands of Adventure
David, Modern Life Is Good: “This is my eldest daughter’s (15) favourite ride. You really do feel like you are flying into the World of Harry Potter. The ride is fantastic fun and is one of the best attractions anywhere in the world. Even non-Harry Potter fans will love the experience.”
Harry Potter and the Escape from Gringotts
The Wizarding World of Harry Potter - Diagon Alley, Universal Studios Florida
Darcy, That Geekish Family: “The Escape from Gringotts is worth the wait! This totally immersive ride lets you tour the goblin's bank, get into the underbelly, and be a complete part of the ride while you wait. Just getting to walk through the lobby of this beautifully crafted area gave me goosebumps and seeing all the little details like shadows behind doors as if bank business was going on gave you something to look at around every turn. Once you get into the ride - it is awesome! I expected it to be a little cheesy, but I was NOT let-down. It’s not your typical ride experience - no sitting in a boat just floating through a puppet world, but really experiencing the escape! This is the ride we rush to first every time we visit the parks.”
David, Modern Life Is Good: “This is my youngest daughter’s (8) favourite ride. We were surprised she chose this ride as it perhaps is a little scary for small children. However, she informs us she loves it. Part 3D simulator and part coaster, the attraction does provide an unbelievable experience. Crowds are usually very long but it is worth the wait.”
Laura, Tired Mummy of Two: “The Escape from Gringotts is our all-time favourite ride in Universal Studios. Not only is the ride really immersive but the queue allows you to believe that you have really been transported to the wizarding world.”
Suzy, Our Bucket List Lives: “Our favourite ride at Universal Studios is Harry Potter and the Escape from Gringotts. Even the queue for the ride is fabulous. Part of the queue takes you into the bank of Gringotts and it is like walking onto a Harry Potter set. You also have your photo taken which you can purchase at the end with a Harry Potter scene in the background. The ride has a height limit of 42" (approx. 107cms). It is quite a scary ride and you sit in a carriage with others and you wear large 3D glasses that immerse you in the ride. There are drops and you are spun around very quickly at times, so it's better for kids aged 5 plus, although our 4-year-old loved it. The vehicle moves with the action and most of the time you have no idea what is coming next.”
Star, Autism Kids on Tour: I asked my children (14 and 12) which Universal rides are their favourite and the answers were a resounding: "The Escape from Gringotts!" They love Universal Studios because it has more grown up, faster rides.
Are you a big Harry Potter fan? For an in-depth look at The Wizarding World of Harry Potter, make sure you check out superfan’s guide here.
Men in Black: Alien Attack
World Expo, Universal Studios Florida
David, Modern Life Is Good: This is my wife’s favourite ride and is a fun family experience where you get to shoot aliens in the middle of New York City. The whole family can compete and attempt to be the highest scorer. There is a skill to this attraction, and apart from Mrs Modernlifeisgood, we are all rubbish at it. Her big scoring tip is to listen carefully when you should press the red button!
Hollywood Rip Ride Rockit
Production Central, Universal Studios Florida
Meagan, Yellow Van Travels: “This is my favourite ride in the entire park. It is a huge roller coaster with lots of fun twists, turns and drops. One of the unique things about it is that you get to choose the music you hear while you ride. It is a very fun roller coaster and I was able to do the single rider line and ride it multiple times in a row without waiting in line.”
Cora, Inside Our Suitcase: “Our favourite ride at Universal Studios Orlando is the Hollywood Rip Ride Rockit. We love how it towers above the other rides in both Universal Studios and Islands of Adventure, and how it’s interactive allowing you to customise your rollercoaster experience by choosing a song of your choice. I always pick Daft Punk, Stronger (although I made my partner, Helen listen to ‘I Will Survive’ the first time she went on it!).
Beth, Twinderelmo: Without a doubt, the best ride was the Hollywood Rip Ride Rockit. The small lap belt is sure to give you an adrenaline rush - I walked off with legs feeling like jelly. By far the most amazingly thrilling ride I’ve ever been on. An absolute must at Universal!
Woody Woodpecker's Kidzone, Universal Studios Florida
Star, Autism Kids on Tour: Although I also really like my children’s favourite rides (The Hulk and The Escape from Gringotts), my personal favourite has to be E.T. Adventure because it reminds me of visiting as a child and is the only ride left from back then.
Revenge of the Mummy
New York City, Universal Studios Florida
Nikida, Theme Park Hipster: “Revenge of the Mummy is my absolute favourite ride at Universal Studios Florida! It's my must-do attraction at Universal Studios because it not only combines the high-speed thrills of a roller coaster, it also engulfs you in the hidden secrets and stories surrounding the ride. You will use all of your senses on this one-of-a-kind attraction. It’s an indoor roller coaster dark ride. It is highly themed with props prompting you to believe you’re on the set of the Mummy movie. The wait time is always pretty decent. It rarely goes beyond 30 minutes, unless it’s a super crowded day. The queue for this attraction has wonderful interactive effects, so be sure to explore the dark caverns.”
Karen, Missing Sleep: "My favourite ride is the Revenge of the Mummy, I rode it with my mum aged 70 and my two boys who were 9 and 10 at the time. I like that it doesn't focus on screens, as a lot of the rides at Universal are screen-based so this mixes things up a bit. It's very thrilling and edgy, I love the speed of the ride especially the launch and the fact it’s in the dark. But it’s not too frightening as both my boys wanted to ride again. They soon got used to the mummies popping up to scare them and enjoyed the drops and corners as the mine cart sped around the track."
The Amazing Adventures of Spider-Man
Marvel Super Hero Island, Universal’s Islands of Adventure
David, Modern Life Is Good: “I loved it when I first rode it 20 years ago on my first visit to Islands of Adventure, and it was the stand out attraction. The effects are stunning, and the ride really makes you feel part of the movie. It is still top of my list whenever I visit.”
The Simpsons Ride
World Expo/Springfield, Universal Studios Florida
Mellissa, The Diary of a Jewellery Lover: “My favourite ride at Universal Studios is The Simpsons Ride. It's such a brilliant simulator ride, and the pre-show consisting of cartoons is a great way to start the fun. It all starts on a rollercoaster in Krustyland and goes down (and uphill) from there. Watch out for Side Show Bob, the giant baby Maggie, and the Death Drop. A must do if you ever go to Universal.”
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