These are the 10 best rides at Universal Orlando

26 April 2023

Whether you visit Universal Orlando Resort for thrilling high-speed roller coasters or slow-paced family-friendly rides, one thing is for certain — there really is something for everyone.

Choosing the best of the best is no easy task, but the 10 rides listed here represent the most exciting and most immersive attractions, the rides that make you feel like the star of your favorite movies and TV shows.

You’ll find the location and height requirement listed for each ride, and also which require you to put your belongings in a locker or offer child swap.

Related: Best restaurants at Universal Orlando Resort

Child swap is an offering at select locations where a room is available for families who need to alternate riding and waiting with children who do not meet the minimum height requirement or who aren’t quite ready to face down a particular ride.

At rides that require you to store loose items (including bags), small complimentary and large paid lockers are available for you to use while you ride. Just be sure to keep your park ticket with you, as you’ll need it to scan back into your locker and retrieve your belongings.

The last and most important thing you should know before hopping on any ride at Universal Orlando is that you can skip the standby line on most attractions with a Universal Express pass. You can purchase Universal Express as a ticket add-on, but it also comes complimentary when you stay at Universal’s premier-level on-site hotels.

Without further ado, here are the top ten can’t-miss rides at Universal Orlando.

Best rides at Universal Studios Florida

Harry Potter and the Escape from Gringotts

TARAH CHIEFFI/THE POINTS GUY

Location: The Wizarding World of Harry Potter — Diagon Alley.
Rider requirements: 42-inch minimum height. Child swap is available.
Other information: Loose items must be placed in a locker.

Harry Potter and the Escape from Gringotts takes riders deep into the vaults of Gringotts Bank, where you’ll join Harry, Ron and Hermione as they attempt to escape the Wizarding World’s darkest forces. This ride blends the thrills of a high-speed indoor steel roller coaster with physical set pieces and 3D screen projections to make you feel as if you are fighting Voldemort right alongside Hogwarts’ most esteemed wizards.

Related: From Butterbeer to magic wands: Everything you need to know about Universal Orlando’s Wizarding World of Harry Potter

Harry Potter and the Escape from Gringotts does have its thrilling moments, but it doesn’t have any inversions or big drops, so the ride is considered family-friendly.

Loose items are prohibited, and there are free small and large paid lockers available before you enter the queue for the ride.

Revenge of the Mummy

TARAH CHIEFFI/THE POINTS GUY

Location: New York backlot.
Rider requirements: 48-inch minimum height. Child swap is available.
Other information: Loose items must be placed in a locker.

Revenge of the Mummy brings the most thrilling moments from 1999’s “The Mummy” starring Brendan Fraser to life (Fraser even makes a special appearance at the end of the ride). The premise of the ride is that you are visiting the set of a fictional sequel to the movie called “Revenge of the Mummy,” where you learn that mummies, tombs and antiquities inside may be more than just props.

With a top speed of 40 mph, this indoor steel roller coaster isn’t the fastest coaster at Universal Orlando. However, the physical effects, like mummies appearing out of nowhere, hundreds of scarabs crawling across the walls, and soul-stealing threats from the mummy Imhotep, can make Revenge of the Mummy scary for younger riders.

E.T. Adventure

TARAH CHIEFFI/THE POINTS GUY

Location: KidZone.
Rider requirements: 34-inch minimum height.

If you are reading this, there is a decent chance you’ve seen Steven Spielberg’s mega-hit 1982 sci-fi film, “E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial.” There’s also a pretty good chance you’ve recreated the iconic flying bicycle scene on your own bike. The E.T. Adventure ride removes the make-believe factor and lets you actually take on a flying bike with E.T. along for the ride.

On this family-friendly ride, you’ll gently travel over the town where E.T. crash-landed before accompanying him on a journey to his home on the Green Planet. Along the way, you’ll meet E.T.’s alien friends and receive a personalized farewell from E.T. himself before you exit the ride.

Men in Black Alien Attack

TARAH CHIEFFI/THE POINTS GUY

Location: World Expo.
Rider requirements: 42-inch minimum height. Child swap is available.
Other information: Loose items must be placed in a locker.

If your first thought after seeing the movie “Men in Black” was that you had what it takes to join the Men in Black as an alien-hunting secret agent, this ride is for you. On Men in Black Alien Attack, riders wield laser guns and attempt to zap the hundreds of aliens who have taken over New York City. Each rider is scored based on how many alien targets they hit during the ride.

The aliens are more silly than scary and shouldn’t be too intense for kids. However, those who get dizzy easily should be aware that there are a few spots along the ride where your ride vehicle spins out of control. Just close your eyes and it will pass quickly.

At the end of the ride, a large screen displays your vehicle’s average score and Agent J makes a final determination on whether or not you have the skills to become a full-time agent. If you are lucky during your visit, you can take advantage of one of Universal Orlando’s best-kept secrets — you can ask for an “Immigration Tour” at the entrance to the ride and if a team member is available, they will give you a behind-the-scenes tour of the ride.

Transformers: The Ride — 3D

UNIVERSAL ORLANDO RESORT

Location: Production Central.
Rider requirements: 40-inch minimum height. Child swap is available.

Transformers: The Ride — 3D drops riders into the middle of a steel-versus-steel battle between the evil Decepticons and the heroic Autobots. In this 3D motion simulation ride, you must assist Optimus Prime, Bumblebee and the rest of the Autobots in retrieving the AllSpark from Megatron and the other Decepticons.

You know, just your normal day of saving the world from the bad guys.

This ride is not fast-moving, but the immersive nature and larger-than-life Transformers battles make it very exciting. When you exit, you can often meet Optimus Prime, Megatron and Bumblebee outside of the ride.

Best rides at Universal’s Islands of Adventure

Hagrid’s Magical Creatures Motorbike Adventure

UNIVERSAL ORLANDO RESORT

Location: The Wizarding World of Harry Potter — Hogsmeade.
Rider requirements: 48-inch minimum height. Child swap is available.
Other information: Loose items must be placed in a locker.

Hagrid’s Magical Creatures Motorbike Adventure is quite a mouthful, but it’s appropriate for a ride so full of thrills, immersive storytelling and magical creatures. Dubbed a “story coaster” by Universal, this coaster takes riders deep into the Forbidden Forest aboard an enchanted motorbike.

In addition to seven high-speed launches and a 70-degree vertical spike, Hagrid’s Magical Creatures Motorbike Adventure has a few surprises in store that are best kept spoiler-free (in other words, avoid POV YouTube videos if you’ve never ridden before).

What’s also fun about this ride is that the experience feels completely different depending on whether you ride on the motorbike or in the sidecar.

This is the only ride on this list that does not accept Universal Express, so it’s best to arrive early and head straight for The Wizarding World of Harry Potter so you can get on the ride before the line grows longer than a tentacle of Devil’s Snare.

Jurassic World VelociCoaster

UNIVERSAL ORLANDO

Location: Jurassic Park.
Rider requirements: 51-inch minimum height. Child swap is available.
Other information: All items must be placed in a locker. You will pass through a metal detector.

Jurassic World VelociCoaster can be described in just one word — relentless. Set in a paddock full of sharp-toothed Velociraptors, this coaster starts with a high-speed launch and doesn’t slow down until you make it safely back to the load station. In fact, the ride starts with a 50 mph launch and speeds up to 70 miles per hour about halfway through.

It’s not just the speed that makes this one of the most thrilling rides at Universal Orlando. In addition to the two launches, you’ll experience four inversions, a 150-foot-tall “top hat” hill, a zero-gravity inverted stall and lots of air time.

Related: How Universal is stepping out of the mouse’s shadow to become the hottest theme park

The ride does accept Universal Express access, but it’s still one of the most popular rides at the park. If you are staying at one of Universal’s on-site hotels and can get into Islands of Adventure for an early entry (one hour before the park opens to day guests), your best bet is to knock this ride out first.

The Incredible Hulk Coaster

UNIVERSAL ORLANDO RESORT
Location: Marvel Super Hero Island.
Rider requirements: 54-inch height. Child swap is available.
Other information: All items must be placed in a locker. You will pass through a metal detector.

As you approach The Incredible Hulk Coaster, you can get a pretty good idea of what you’re in for if you take a look around. You can hear the Hulk’s rumbling roar as the coaster train shoots out of the launch tunnel and see the seven inversions along the aptly-colored green track.

What you can’t find out until you are strapped into the ride is that you’ll come blasting out of that launch tunnel at a top speed of 67 mph and splash down into two subterranean trenches (don’t worry, the splashes are just for effect and you won’t get wet).

You will have to pass through a metal detector to get on this ride, so all loose items, including your cell phone and sunglasses, will need to be placed in a locker before you ride.

The Amazing Adventures of Spider-Man

TARAH CHIEFFI/THE POINTS GUY

Location: Marvel Super Hero Island.
Rider requirements: 40-inch height. Child swap is available.

On The Amazing Adventures of Spider-Man ride, you are more than just a passive observer of the web-slinging superhero’s adventures. You are trailing Spidey as an amateur reporter for New York City’s Daily Bugle. Unfortunately, you’ve chosen to tag along on an evening when the Sinister Syndicate is up to no good.

This motion simulator ride moves along a track but also utilizes 3D projections, physical sets and practical effects like fire balls and splashes of water to bring Marvel’s two-dimensional comic book world to life.

The style of the ride makes it feel like a comic adventure and not like you are in real danger from Hobgoblin and Electro, so any child tall enough to meet the minimum height requirement should enjoy this one.

Veteran Spider-Man fans should keep an eye out for cameos by Spider-Man co-creator Stan Lee during the ride. He pops up in multiple scenes, starting with a near-miss crash with a garbage truck driven by Lee.

Jurassic Park River Adventure

TARAH CHIEFFI/THE POINTS GUY

Location: Jurassic Park.
Rider requirements: 42-inch minimum height.

Visiting a theme park teeming with living, breathing and very hungry dinosaurs … what could go wrong? On Jurassic Park River Adventure, the answer is, “A lot.”

The ride begins innocently enough. You enter a raft for a relaxing dinosaur observation ride, encountering friendly prehistoric friends like a Brachiosaurus and a Stegosaurus. Dinosaurs can be unpredictable, though, and you’ll quickly find yourself dealing with more teeth than you bargained for when you hopped aboard this river raft ride.

When you reach the top of a hill facing down a Tyrannosaurus rex, the only escape is down an 85-foot drop where you will get wet. You can bring a poncho or use the full-body “cyclone dryers” near the ride’s exit (additional fee required) and lockers are available but optional.

Bottom line

It’s not easy to choose the 10 best rides at Universal Orlando because every ride at the Orlando theme park resort is someone’s favorite.

Some, like those in Seuss Landing at Islands of Adventure, are perfect for families with young children, while kid-friendly coasters like Flight of the Hippogriff in Hogsmeade are great for those dipping their toes into the world of thrill rides.

There are also extreme coasters like Hollywood Rip Ride Rockit and its 90-degree vertical lift hill. But these rides encompass the best thrills and themed experiences at Universal Orlando that all guests can enjoy.

Related reading:

Part luxury, all rock ‘n’ roll: What it’s like at the Hard Rock Hotel at Universal Orlando
Universal Orlando guide: Tips from frequent visitors
How to use points to save money at Universal Orlando
The most surprisingly charming hotel I’ve stayed at in years: Universal’s Cabana Bay Beach Resort

 

Need Help?

Please use the contact form to get support or send an email to [email protected].