13 Best Rides at Universal Orlando (Prioritize These)

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You could argue that the rides currently offered at Universal Studios Orlando pale in comparison to its sister park Islands of Adventure, at least on paper. 

For example, Islands of Adventure has Seuss and Marvel and the water rides like Dudley Do-Right’s Ripsaw Falls and the Jurassic Park River Adventure. Of course, there are also more flat rides like Doctor Doom’s Fearfall and One Fish, Two Fish, Red Fish, Blue Fish. 

However, ask me which park I prefer, and the race is suddenly tighter. There’s just something about Universal Studios Orlando. You’ve got the new Minion Land and the superior of the parks’ two Wizarding Worlds. You’ve got Springfield and the cities from New York to San Francisco. 

Maybe the park lacks a single attraction that competes with the great rides in Orlando, but there’s still something special about it. 

Read Also: Universal Studios vs Islands of Adventure in Orlando, Which Is Better?


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What are the best rides at Universal Studios Orlando?

Let’s take a look. Here are my favorite rides at Universal Studios:

E.T. Adventure Entrance Universal Studios
Universal’s E.T. Adventure is an enthralling dark ride (photo by James Overholt/HeyOrlando.com)

1. E.T. Adventure

This is what the Universal Orlando Resort theme parks need more of, in my opinion. There should be more classic dark ride adventures.

I loved the E.T. movie when it came out in the middle 80s, but haven’t carried a particular nostalgia for it into adulthood. I haven’t watched the movie in decades. But this dark ride takes you on an inexplicable adventure back to ET’s home planet. And it’s strangely enthralling. 

In its current configuration, Universal relies too heavily on variations of the motion-simulation ride, and the balance is off. Sure, you need motion simulators. They can be a lot of fun if done right and don’t take up too much space.

But you need good old-fashioned practical effect rides as well. 

Revenge of the Mummy Seating
Revenge of the Mummy offers thrills and a few scares (photo by James Overholt/HeyOrlando.com)

2. Revenge of the Mummy

This ride is a recently refurbished indoor coaster that offers some thrills and a few scares. It’s a fun ride, and at its age, is approaching classic status in the park. 

Harry Potter Escape From the Gringotts And Dragon
Gringotts is the only ride in Diagon Alley, but it’s a fan favorite (photo by James Overholt/HeyOrlando.com)

3. Harry Potter and Escape from Gringotts

Diagon Alley is the immaculately themed Harry Potter World entry for Universal Orlando. But it only has one ride.

Luckily, Escape from Gringotts is pretty good. You get to take a similar journey as Harry, Hermione and Ron when they had to break into and then out of Bellatrix Lestrange’s Gringott’s vault in a thrilling simulator ride.

Rip Ride Rockit Coaster
Rip Ride Rockit is great for kids and adults as well (photo by James Overholt/HeyOrlando.com)

4. Rip Ride Rockit

Rip Ride Rockit is a good mid-level coaster. There are technically no inversions, but you come really, really close. 

Instead, it actually has a non-inverting loop, which means it does have loops that technically do not make you go “fully” upside down. But it could be enough to make you dizzy.

There are definitely steep drops that make the coaster fitting for thrill-ride seekers. Plus, you get to select a song and rock out while you ride.

Transformers the ride
Transformers is a great motion simulator that doesn’t feel dated (photo by James Overholt/HeyOrlando.com)

5. Transformers: The Ride 3D

In my opinion, this ride is the best of the Universal motion simulators. Some people may vote for Skull Island: Reign of Kong in Islands of Adventure, or maybe The Amazing Adventures of Spider-Man.

But on the Transformers ride, the technology holds up better, and it doesn’t feel nearly as dated as some of the other adventure rides, including the far more recent King Kong. 

Universal's Men In Black Interior Entrance
Men in Black is a fun dark ride with plenty of practical effects and aliens (photo by James Overholt/HeyOrlando.com)

6. Men In Black Alien Attack

This is a fun, interactive dark ride. It’s a little like the Buzz Lightyear ride in the Magic Kingdom but with a larger target area and a jerkier ride vehicle.

Still, it’s got a lot of practical effects, and many of the aliens are cool. This ride is desperately needed at Universal Studios. 

Read Also: Is Universal Studios Worth It? An Honest Review

Jimmy Fallon's Race Through NY at Universal
Race Through New York is another fun simulator ride (photo by Daniel Munson/HeyOrlando.com)

7. Race Through New York Starring Jimmy Fallon

Honestly, this is a fun motion simulator ride. It starts out as if you’re on the set of the show, and you take a simulation ride with Jimmy through the studio, into the city and even get to “soar” above it.

Even though Universal relies quite a bit on simulators, I do enjoy this one.

8. Illumination’s Villain-Con Minion Blast

Take Men in Black, remove the ride vehicle and you’re close to this new Minions-themed attraction in the newly christened Minions Land. Is it my favorite ride? No. But it will likely be among the most popular rides in the park – especially with kids – and I’m glad it’s there.

Universal Orlando needs more and varying experiences. Sure, it’s a lot like the Men in Black ride, and it’s another ride full of screens, but it is different from the norm and the Minions seem to be among Universal’s more enduring pieces of IP. I’m glad to see them doubling down.

Despicable Me Ride at Universal Orlando
Despicable Me is a basic motion simulator, but the Minions are a lot of fun (photo by Daniel Munson/HeyOrlando.com)

9. Despicable Me: Minion Mayhem

Here is another pretty basic motion simulator ride that’s fun chiefly because the Minions are fun and funny.

The minions do more of the heavy lifting on this kid-friendly ride.

The Simpsons Ride Universal
The Simpsons Ride is another traditional motion simulator ride (photo by James Overholt/HeyOrlando.com)

10. The Simpsons Ride

This one has a fun queue. It’s overall a good little motion simulator ride in the more traditional sense that you’re not moving around at all.

Still, I had to close my eyes for large parts of it lest I put the hurl in another Simpsons Land ride.

Hogwarts Express Islands of Adventure in Hogsmeade
Hogwarts Express can be fun for Harry Potter fans (photo by Morgan Overholt/HeyOrlando.com)

11. Hogwarts Express

Located in King’s Cross Station, the Hogwarts Express is fun only if you’re a big Harry Potter fan. The theming is great, and all the little Easter eggs make it fun.

However – the King’s Cross Station queue is awful. If you see it listed as more than 25-30 minutes, do not engage. In fact, I think you’re better off walking over to Islands of Adventure and riding the Express from the Hogsmeade Station, which does not suck the soul out of your body like King’s Cross will. 

I will also say that in my experience, this is another ride in desperate need of a technology upgrade. The in-ride screens felt a little outdated and on one of our trips, our car didn’t have air conditioning. 

Universal's Twirl and Hurl in the Evening
The Twirl ‘n’ Hurl is a good ride for the kids and has generally short wait times (photos by James Overholt/HeyOrlando.com)

12. Kang & Kodos’ Twirl ‘n’ Hurl

I feel bad ranking this ride in this spot because I think this is something that Universal needs more of in both Florida parks.

In other words, Universal needs flat rides with shorter wait times for the kids and the crowds. It’s the relatively low-investment rides that give guests something to do if they don’t want to wait in the longer lines. 

Fast and the Furious Exterior Universal Orlando
Fast & Furious is a motion simulator that could also use some updating (photo by James Overholt/HeyOrlando.com)

13. Fast & Furious: Supercharged

To me, this is such a strange, strange ride. You get a motion simulation party bus vehicle and there are chases and fires and explosions and battles or whatever, but you’re on a party bus. Also, the screen technology is incredibly dated. The whole thing is overdue for an overhaul.

It’s odd to me that Universal has this incredibly popular piece of IP centered around some huge stars and some of the best cars in the world and this is what they have. 

You’re telling me a ride like the Test Track at Walt Disney World’s EPCOT but themed to Fast and Furious wouldn’t do well? There’s just so much opportunity and so little execution.

What is the most intense ride at Universal Florida? 

If you’re not including the Islands of Adventure attractions, the most intense ride at Universal Orlando is probably either the Revenge of the Mummy or Hollywood Rip Ride Rockit

The Mummy is an indoor roller coaster dark ride themed after the early 2000s Indiana Jones-esque adventure “The Mummy” starring Brendan Fraser. It has the usual dips and turns with some recently upgraded theming that puts it over the top. 

Of course, we’re relying a lot on the show to provide the thrills. The Mummy coaster only goes about 40 mph. It just feels faster because you’re indoors. 

The Hollywood Rip Ride Rockit, on the other hand, goes 65 mph and has a 167-foot drop.

Islands of Adventure Entrance Sign
Islands of Adventure has more intense rides than Universal Studios in general (photo by James Overholt/HeyOrlando.com)

How intense are Universal coasters? 

The coasters in Universal Studios Florida are not overly intense. They’re good rides, but they’re not going to make seasoned coaster riders hold on for dear life necessarily.

However, if you include Universal’s Islands of Adventure, the Incredible Hulk Coaster and the impossible-to-spell-correctly Jurassic World VelociCoaster are both pretty intense thrill rides. 

And if you’re wondering about Hagrid’s Magical Creatures Motorbike Adventure in the Hogsmeade portion of the Wizarding World of Harry Potter, I would say it’s more fun than it is intense.

Do you have a favorite ride at Universal Studios? If so, let us know in the comments!

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John Gullion

John Gullion, Managing Editor at the Citizen Tribune, is a freelance contributor for TheSmokies.com LLC – the parent company of TheSmokies.com and HeyOrlando.com.

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