Some rides at Universal Studios Orlando are worth the wait. Others, not so much. If you have limited time in the park, or simply want to know which rides will deliver the most entertaining experience, look no further than the list below.
It’s formulated to help you have the best time without falling victim to unnecessary waits, poor storytelling, and motion sickness. Universal Studios Orlando is home to some of the most exciting and innovative rides in the county, so use this list as a resource to make sure you don’t miss out on the best it has to offer.
10 Skip - TRANSFORMERS: The Ride-3D
Based on a series of movies that has let down audiences on multiple occasions, TRANSFORMERS: The Ride-3D already has many challenges to overcome.
This dark ride does successfully immerse riders into the world of the movies with excellent theming but it falls short because it appears to be a rebranded version of The Amazing Adventures of Spider-Man ride next door in Islands of Adventure.
The dark and unclear storytelling of this ride doesn’t stand up against Spidey’s colorful comic book escapade. Even without being overshadowed by Spider-Man, this ride can be very overwhelming to people who might get motion sickness from being more up close and personal with a car than most mechanics.
9 Can’t Miss - Harry Potter and the Escape from Gringotts
The only ride in Universal’s Diagon Alley section of the park is impressive from the moment riders get in line through to their lap bars getting released. Muggles get a tour of the wizarding bank as they wait, meeting impressive animatronic goblins and going down in a simulated elevator until they eventually get in their cart.
What follows is a coaster of dives, twists, and turns that puts riders right in a pivotal scene from the series. Dark ride elements ensure audiences understand the story and 3D moments are used when appropriate, making for minimal motion sickness.
8 Skip - Despicable Me Minion Mayhem
Unless accompanying someone who is an avid Despicable Me fan, the often very long line for this ride is not worth the wait. This motion simulator is reminiscent of a 10-minute long revamp of the Regal Cinemas rollercoaster trailer that used to remind movie-goers to buy concessions and to use the garbage cans.
Its plot is fairly straightforward as Gru turns guests into minions who eventually join in the highly stimulating antics of Margo, Edith, Agnes, and Gru’s other minions. Minion Mayhem is incredibly kid-friendly and does have funny moments, but all in all, it falls short because of jerky vehicles and a heavy reliance on the ride’s single screen.
7 Can’t Miss - Hollywood Rip Ride Rockit
This ride has intense thrills without the frills of many of the franchise-based rides in Universal Studios. While more theming could improve the line experience, this coaster is still one of the most intense rides in the park.
An interactive element that allows riders to choose which song they want to listen to as they soar around the park adds a nice touch. The Hollywood Rip Ride Rockit stands out as a headliner even as guests approach the park. The vertical lift hill and red track are hard to miss in the skyline and set the stage for a day of excitement ahead.
6 Skip - Race Through New York Starring Jimmy Fallon
Another victim of Universal’s overuse of screen-based rides, Jimmy Fallon is (spoiler alert) doomed to lose in this race to audiences day after day.
The queue for this ride is less tedious than normal rides, giving guests the chance to view memorabilia from The Tonight Show through the ages. In the upstairs portion of the wait, there is a meet and greet with a panda and live entertainment from a barbershop quartet that only dedicated viewers will likely remember the names of.
After that, the attraction is fairly lackluster. Riders buckle themselves in theater-like seating and they might not even notice the floor moving below them while they’re busy defeating Fallon in the race.
5 Can’t Miss - Revenge of The Mummy
Unsuspecting riders might not know what they’re getting into when they step into the line for Revenge of the Mummy. This dark, indoor coaster might just be the most thrilling ride in the park.
It has fast launches, sends riders backward, and takes advantage of a mix of practical effects and screen projections for exciting storytelling. The immersive adventure keeps riders guessing as they are told conflicting stories of whether or not they have truly been cursed. Only once it’s too late do they learn the truth.
4 Skip - Fast & Furious – Supercharged
Without seeing the movies, one can hope by the name of this ride that it would be full of speedy twists and turns. Unfortunately, it isn’t. Fast & Furious – Supercharged places riders shoulder to shoulder in a bus vehicle with a lap bar to keep them in place as the excitement is simulated around them.
Passengers are led past many screens and join Vin Diesel in a corny car chase. By the end of the ride, the cast has assured riders they are a part of the group’s family so many times that the riders might as well start holiday shopping for their newfound siblings in the gift shop.
3 Can’t Miss - E.T. Adventure
It’s easy to overlook this children’s dark ride since it isn’t as over the top as Universal’s other rides but E.T. doesn’t disappoint. In fact, this is the only ride that is still in operation since Universal Orlando's opening day in June 1991.
The wait for this ride is a good way to cool off from the Florida sun. It’s dim, made to look (and smell) like a forest, and features the award-winning director himself, Steven Spielberg. The charm continues when guests fly away on bicycles and see the colorful home-world of E.T. Riders even get a personal thank you for helping him.
2 Skip - Kang & Kodos' Twirl 'n' Hurl
This ride is nothing more than fine. It’s a spinner, just like many other amusement parks have, except this one is branded to fit in with the Simpsons decor.
Guests can control when their vehicles move up or down at their leisure. They rotate around a space alien who is trying to destroy Springfield, never really working up to the “hurl” in its name—although, that’s probably a good thing.
Kids might enjoy this one but for the full Simpsons experience, walk across the sidewalk and hop on The Simpsons Ride for more immersion.
1 Can’t Miss - MEN IN BLACK Alien Attack
Under the facade of a boring educational exhibit, this ride gets turned on its head when recruits are thrust into a training exercise at the MIB headquarters. The fun continues when riders are handed a laser gun and get to compete against other recruits to see who can earn the most points by shooting aliens.
Animatronic creatures are around every corner, so don’t worry about being overwhelmed by disorienting screens on this one. With some twists, turns, and other surprises along the way, Alien Attack makes for an exciting interactive experience out of an already beautifully designed dark ride.