The Ultimate Universal Studios Orlando Rides Guide

Give ‘em the old razzle-dazzle! (Or, in Universal’s case, lots and lots of screens.) Like the other Studios in Orlando, Universal Studios Florida is an ode to show business, from popular film franchises to classic cartoons. The park has seen some changes over the years, and while it’s lost some beloved attractions, this family-friendly park is still a must for fans of movies and television.

Whether you’re looking for scream-inducing thrills or kid-friendly fun, there are plenty of Universal Studios Florida rides. We go through the ones that simply can’t be missed, along with which ones you can skip if you’re pressed for time.

Visiting Universal Studios Florida

Universal Studios Globe with smoke

Although we do consider many of the rides at Universal Studios Florida to be family-friendly, keep in mind that, with the exception of 4 rides (Fievel’s Playland, Hogwarts Express – King’s Cross Station, Kang & Kodos’ Twirl ‘n’ Hurl, and Shrek 4-D), the rest of the Universal Studios rides do have minimum height requirements. However, these height restrictions, particularly for the less thrilling rides, are usually within reach for many children.

Furthermore, even if a ride’s height requirement is out of reach, literally, for the park’s littlest visitors (or if it’s simply too intense), their parents and any other applicable riders can still enjoy it by using Universal’s Child Swap. This allows one member of your party to stay back with the too-small child while the rest of your group rides.

Then, once they’ve finished, the person who waited can go on the ride without needing to wait in line. To do this, just make sure you let a Universal team member at the front of the attraction’s entrance know that you want to use Child Swap (or Rider Switch, Parent Swap, etc. – they’ll know what you mean) before entering the queue so they can point you in the correct direction.  

A couple of other kinds of lines you should also be aware of at Universal Studios Florida are the Single Rider Line and Universal Express. As you can probably guess from the name, the Single Rider Line is for those who are either traveling alone or who don’t care whether they sit next to other people in their party. Unlike the regular and Express Pass lines, the Single Rider Line is only used to fill in empty spots in groups when seating an attraction, so the line doesn’t move as quickly or as regularly. Although, if there is a Single Rider Line at an attraction, it can be a great way to save some time as long as the line isn’t too long.

Alley way with shops

If you really want to save some time, however, your best bet is to invest in a Universal Express Pass. These are Fast Passes, Universal style. Available on only select Universal rides, an Express Pass lets you skip the line and save massive amounts of time. Though Disney’s FastPasses are complimentary, you’ll need to pay extra for a Universal Express Pass. But don’t worry, you don’t need to make a decision when buying your Universal Orlando tickets – you can also add on an Express Pass in the Universal Orlando mobile app and at kiosks located throughout the park.

Universal Studios During COVID-19

The COVID-19 pandemic has done quite a number on Orlando theme parks. Fortunately, it doesn’t really negatively impact your Universal Studios experience, with safety guidelines being relaxed as the virus slowly recedes. Face masks are only required indoors, including at restaurants and shops, as well as throughout all attractions. That means, from the start of the queue until you exit the ride, the mask must be covering both your nose and mouth. Social distancing must also be observed whether you’re in the restrooms washing your hands, waiting in line, on the rides, eating in the restaurants at Universal CityWalk, or more. 

Fortunately, no rides at Universal Studios Florida are currently closed due to COVID-19. Even the most high-touch attraction, Fievel’s Playland, has reopened to the public. That being said, Single Rider Lines are currently closed as a result of the pandemic. 

The Absolute Best Rides at Universal Studios Florida Ranked

Planning a trip to Universal Orlando and wondering about Universal Studios’ best rides? From the wholesome fun of E.T. Adventure to the eye-popping effects of Harry Potter and the Escape from Gringotts to the thrills and chills of the Mummy ride, Universal Studios Florida has some can’t-miss attractions for guests of all ages.

Here’s our list of the best rides at Universal Studios Florida that you won’t want to skip out on during your next Universal Orlando vacation, with more details in the complete Universal Studios rides guide in the next section: 

1. Harry Potter and the Escape from Gringotts

Harry Potter and the Escape from Gringotts uses the same 3D/4D effects incorporated into many Universal Studios rides. However, its immersive theming rich with details and roller coaster-like ride experience keeps Escape from Gringotts feeling fresh and exciting rather than repetitive and tired. 

Ride attraction vehicle for Gringotts

2. Revenge of the Mummy

Revenge of the Mummy is arguably one of the best indoor coasters out there, and that’s coming from huge fans of Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster at Disney World’s Hollywood Studios. While not as fast as its Disney counterpart, with its special effects and a few surprises, this award-winning coaster (named the Best Indoor Roller Coaster by AmusementTODAY’s Golden Ticket Awards for the past 11 years) shouldn’t be missed. 

3. MEN IN BLACK Alien Attack!

Men in Black attraction venue and lake

While it won’t be for everyone, fans of shooting gallery-style rides like Magic Kingdom’s Buzz Lightyear Space Ranger Spin (like us!) or those with a competitive streak won’t want to miss MEN IN BLACK Alien Attack. We love the immersive queue here, as well as trying to outshoot and outscore the rest of our group.

4. E.T. Adventure

While this mellow attraction may be too tame for some Universal Studios visitors, what E.T. Adventure lacks in thrills, it more than makes up for with pure nostalgia. This kid-friendly dark ride is a true Universal Studios classic, and a must for us anytime we visit. 

5. Hollywood Rip Ride Rockit

Roller coaster track drop with vehicle

Of all the theme parks in Orlando, Universal Orlando is about as thrilling as it gets. So, we’d be remiss to leave Universal Studios’ main thrill ride, Hollywood Rip Ride Rockit, off our best Universal Studios rides list. Sure, it’s a little jerky and you might get off feeling slightly scrambled in the head, but the coaster’s high-speed twists and exciting drops set to a soundtrack of your own choosing make this one of the top rides in the park. 

Complete Universal Studios Rides List

If you’re looking for an Orlando theme park with a well-rounded mix of thrills and family-friendly fun, Universal Studios Florida should be near the top of your list. With Diagon Alley at the Wizarding World of Harry Potter, plenty of thrill rides including three different roller coasters (with one just for the kiddos!), and a smattering of kid-centric attractions, there’s a bit of something for everyone here.

If you’ve never visited before, one thing you should know before going is that Universal loves its motion simulation rides – usually heavy with 3D or 4D effects –  with most of the action projected onto massive screens in the background, especially at Universal Studios. In fact, with no less than 12 Universal Orlando rides utilizing motion simulator screens in some way (8 of them at Universal Studios alone), it’s starting to become a bit of a problem.

Universal Archway entrance with trees

Unfortunately, despite different theming and ride styles, many Universal rides end up feeling kind of similar. That being said, the use of screens does help to cram a lot of action into a smaller space, meaning more room for more rides. Plus, lots of screen-based indoor rides also mean lots of air conditioning. So, trade offs?

Without any further ado, here are all the rides at Universal Studios Florida. 

Despicable Me Minion Mayhem

Don’t just join the Minions, become one, as you and the rest of the audience become part of Gru’s latest experiment. Once shown in 3D, Despicable Me Minion Mayhem features the same laughs and heartwarming family fun in less eye-popping 2D. Luckily, the loss of a dimension doesn’t make this ride any less fun. 

Minion Mayhem is one of the park’s simpler motion simulator rides, with the theater basically turned into one large ride vehicle and a massive screen at the front. Is it especially impressive technology? Nope, but Gru’s lovable family and the antics of the Minions are entertainment enough. Located at the front of the park, the lines here can be extra-long, so save your visit for the end of the day for the shortest line. 

Gru home with ride signage on roof

Type: Kid-Friendly Ride

Height Restriction: 40” (101cm) or taller, supervision required if between 40” and 48” (122cm)

Skip the Line: Express Pass, Child Swap

E.T. Adventure

Hop on a bike and help E.T. escape from NASA officials who are hot on his trail before blasting off for his home planet: The Green Planet! This slow-moving dark ride takes its cue from Disney’s Peter Pan’s Flight at Magic Kingdom – only instead of a pirate ship, it’s a bicycle (with E.T. riding shotgun in the basket); and rather than London and Neverland, it’s the woods of Earth and the weird-but-wonderful creatures of The Green Planet. 

E.T. Adventure attraction entrance

As the park’s only OG, opening-day ride remaining, it’s the ultimate Universal Studios classic. Sure it’s cheesy, but that’s the beauty of it! For adults, anyway. Kids will get a kick out of it whenever E.T. pops his head up from the bike basket to peek outside. (Or at least I did, anyway, when I came here to visit for the very first time – on my 5th birthday.) 

Type: Kid-Friendly Ride

Height Restriction: 34” (86cm) or taller, supervision required if between 34” and 48” (122cm)

Skip the Line: Express Pass, Child Swap

Fast & Furious – Supercharged 

Board a party bus and put the pedal to the metal alongside the family (both yours and the Torettos) in Fast & Furious – Supercharged. This full-throttle tram-style thrill ride starts with an extended queue the Toretto family’s warehouse filled with the supercharged spoils from Dom’s street races before thrusting you in the thick of a high-speed car race through the streets of San Francisco with the help of some of Universal’s ubiquitous screens. 

Exotic cars inside a garage

We’ll admit, this isn’t our favorite Universal Studios ride. Blame it on the screens or the overly long queue, but it doesn’t come close to the action-packed thrills that the Fast & Furious franchise is known for. That being said, Fast & Furious fans won’t want to miss it; and if the lines aren’t long or you’ve already accomplished everything else on your list, it’s still a fun ride to check out. 

Type: Thrill Ride

Height Restriction: 40” (101cm) or taller, supervision required if between 40” and 48” (122cm)

Skip the Line: Single Rider, Express Pass, Child Swap

Fievel’s Playland

Fievel’s Playland isn’t so much a ride as it is a themed play area. While Universal calls Fievel Mousekewitz a “popular animated character,” I’d call him a classic. Still, even though kids these days may not be familiar with the adorable little immigrant mouse from the old country, his playland is a fun spot for kiddos today to blow off some steam for a while. 

Playground with a parent and kids

Even the littlest visitors will enjoy exploring the larger-than-life settings of An American Tail: Fievel Goes West – from a mouse’s-eye view. Think: massive cow skeletons and cities made of empty cans and boxes. 

Type: Kid-Friendly Ride

Height Restriction: None

Skip the Line: None

Harry Potter and the Escape from Gringotts

Journey to the bowels of the wizarding world’s most secure bank on this rollicking, 4D thrill ride. Harry Potter and the Escape from Gringotts uses Universal’s beloved screens to great effect, with riders embarking on a daring, underground escape from Voldemort and Bellatrix alongside Harry, Ron, and Hermione.  

Dragon on top of a bank building

As one of the only Harry Potter World rides in Diagon Alley at Universal Studios, the line here is typically very long. However, like most of the Wizarding World rides, the highly themed queue here helps time pass quickly. This is also one of the few Universal rides that doesn’t require you to stash your phone in a locker, so spend some time taking pictures of the ride’s impressive goblin animatronics and other fun details. 

Type: 3D/4D Thrill Ride

Height Restriction: 42” (107cm) or taller, supervision required if between 42” and 48” (122cm)

Skip the Line: Single Rider, Express Pass, Child Swap

Hogwarts Express – King’s Cross Station

All aboard the Hogwarts Express – King’s Cross Station bound for Hogsmeade, Hogwarts, and the rest of Universal’s Islands of Adventure. That’s right, this ride is also transportation in disguise. If you ever wanted an excuse to walk less, this is it. Even better, you can even make the return trip from Hogsmeade station (i.e. the park next door). 

Train station full of people

We love the queue here, from the recreation of the famed London Tube station to the magical crossing to Platform 9¾. Once you’re on the slow-moving train, you’ll be on your way past the streets of London and through the English countryside, with favorite characters from Harry Potter passing by just outside. Anything from the trolley, dears?

Type: Kid-Friendly Ride

Height Restriction: None

Skip the Line: Express Pass

Hollywood Rip Ride Rockit

Rock on to the music of your choice as you cruise around the track at speeds up to 65 miles per hour on Hollywood Rip Ride Rockit. The first of the Universal Studios roller coasters you’ll come to in the park, Hollywood Rip Ride Rockit is the park’s only outdoor roller coaster, as well as the most extreme of the bunch. Once you’ve strapped in, choose your soundtrack (quickly – you’ll only have around 30 seconds before the ride begins) then hold on for dear life as you speed through a 167-foot drop, several corkscrews, and a non-inverted loop. 

Roller coaster with major drop

Off all the roller coasters at Universal Orlando, Rip Ride Rockit is probably the bumpiest, but we think it’s well worth the occasional jostling. It also happens to be one of the most popular rides in the park, so everyone else seems to agree. If you arrive early in the day, hit this ride up right when you enter, or keep an eye out for shorter lines throughout the day. Don’t forget to put your things in a locker before you get in line!

Type: Thrill Ride

Height Restriction: Between 51” (129cm) and 79” (201cm)

Skip the Line: Single Rider, Express Pass, Child Swap

Kang & Kodos’ Twirl ‘n’ Hurl

Green monster with tentacles attraction

Blast off on a carnival-style spinning ride based on the Evil Alien duo from The Simpsons on Kang & Kodos’ Twirl ‘n’ Hurl. Only open on Saturdays and Sundays, there’s nothing new or innovative here, so feel free to give this one a pass if you’ve got a full schedule (or a delicate constitution). However, if you’ve got a stomach of steel, a penchant for spinning, or kiddo or two, then it’s a pleasant distraction from the typical Universal rides – as long as the lines are short, anyway. 

Height Restriction: None

Type: Kid-Friendly Ride

Skip the Line: Express Pass, Child Swap

MEN IN BLACK Alien Attack!

See if you’ve got what it takes to put on that iconic suit and sunglasses in MEN IN BLACK Alien Attack. A shooting gallery-style ride in the same vein as Buzz Lightyear’s Space Ranger Spin at Magic Kingdom, this ride puts you through the paces as an agent trainee, as you track down rogue aliens hiding on the streets of New York City. 

Men in Black attraction venue and lake

With its location near the back of the park, lines here tend to be fairly reasonable. And even if there is a longer line, the immersive queue that feels as if you stepped off the street into MIB headquarters makes the wait worthwhile. The ride vehicles spin around quite a bit here, so you are required to stash your stuff in a locker before getting in line. 

Type: Thrill Ride

Height Restriction: 42” (107cm) or taller, supervision required if between 42” and 48” (122cm)

Skip the Line: Single Rider, Express Pass, Child Swap

Race Through New York Starring Jimmy Fallon

Ever wished you could be a part of Jimmy’s studio audience for a taping of The Tonight Show? Well, now you can (kind of), during this 3D road trip around the Big Apple. A motion simulator ride similar to Despicable Me Minion Mayhem, for Race Through New York Starring Jimmy Fallon, riders tip, tilt, and bounce in front of a towering screen as they chase after Jimmy and a jam-packed cast of other Tonight Show characters. 

NBC building with fireworks and crowd

This isn’t our favorite of the large-screen, motion-simulator rides at Universal Studios – it’s a little cheesy for our tastes. However, you can tell that Universal put a lot of thought into designing the queue experience here, with occasional musical performances and random visits from characters like Hashtag the Panda to help pass the time. Lots of comfy seating and charging ports make this an extra enjoyable wait. 

Type: 3D/4D Ride

Height Restriction: 40” (101cm) or taller, supervision required if between 40” and 48” (122cm)

Skip the Line: Express Pass, Child Swap

Revenge of the Mummy

Come face to face with an army of mummies and a swarm of scarabs in Revenge of the Mummy, Universal’s original storytelling coaster. This unique indoor roller coaster sends riders on a spine-tingling chase through the dark and into the stuff of nightmares, with adrenaline-pumping practical effects and more than a few surprising twists and turns. 

Mummy reaching arms out

The Revenge of the Mummy ride is one of Universal Studios’ most popular rides, so lines here can get long. However, as long as team members are loading the ride from both sides, lines tend to move fast. Regardless of the wait, we think it’s more than worth it. Be sure to put your things in a locker before jumping in line so you don’t get sent back. 

Type: Thrill Ride

Height Restriction: 48” (122cm) or taller

Skip the Line: Single Rider, Express Pass, Child Swap

Shrek 4-D

Don your OgreVision glasses and open your nostrils for this adventure into the sights, sounds, and smells (oh dear) of the world of Shrek. More of a  film than a ride, Shrek 4-D follows Donkey, Dragon, and the ride’s namesake ogre as they try to rescue Princess Fiona from the clutches of Lord Farquaad. 

Shrek and Donkey swinging on a chain

Just like the films, Shrek 4-D is laugh-out-loud funny for kids and adults alike. That being said, the video quality could definitely use some updating. The ride’s location at the front of the park means that there’s almost always a line, especially in the morning. Visit in the last couple hours before the park closes or during mealtimes for the shortest wait.  

Type: 3D/4D Ride

Height Restriction: None

Skip the Line: Express Pass, Child Swap

The Simpsons Ride

Set out for Springfield and follow everyone’s favorite cartoon family on their trip to Krustyland during The Simpsons Ride. Join Homer, Marge, Bart, Lisa, and Maggie on Krusty’s Thrilltacular, Upsy-Downsy, Teen-Operated Roller Coaster for this motion-simulated, chaos-filled romp that dishes out calamity and hilarity in equal measure. 

Krusty the Clown attraction entrance

While screens are used on many Universal rides, The Simpsons Ride is one of the park’s simpler motion simulators, with ride vehicles facing one 80-foot-tall, domed Omnimax screen. Luckily, the ride’s plentiful sight gags and physical humor are a good match for the simple ride system. Remember, this is The Simpsons we’re talking about, so some of the humor can be on the more graphic, adult side of things, though most of it will go over younger riders’ heads. 

Type: Thrill Ride

Height Restriction: 40” (101cm) or taller, supervision required if between 40” and 48” (122cm)

Skip the Line: Single Rider, Express Pass, Child Swap

TRANSFORMERS: The Ride 3D

Join the Autobots as you battle alongside Optimus Prime and Bumblebee in a knock-down, drag-out fight with the Decepticons for the powerful AllSpark. The fate of humanity rests in your hands (no pressure), as you board the Transformer, Evac, and embark on a high-stakes game of keep-away against the evil Megatron and his murderous Decepticons.

Optimus Prime on top of a building

In our opinion, TRANSFORMERS: The Ride 3D is one of Universal’s more successful screen-laden 3D rides. Set pieces combined with state-of-the-art projections make for some truly thrilling action sequences. While the story is familiar for fans of the movies, it’s immersive enough to leave even the youngest riders feeling like they’ve saved the world. 

Type: 3D/4D Ride

Height Restriction: 40” (101cm) or taller, supervision required if between 40” and 48” (122cm)

Skip the Line: Single Rider, Express Pass, Child Swap

Woody Woodpecker’s Nuthouse Coaster

Do you have a little one who wants to get in on the thrills but is too short for the likes of Hollywood Rip Ride Rockit? Then Woody Woodpecker’s Nuthouse Coaster is for you. This pint-sized roller coaster flies through Woody’s nut factory, and just like the classic cartoon, this classic coaster has its fair share of puns, jokes, and kid-friendly twists and turns. 

Woody Woodpecker’s Nuthouse Coaster Sign

Type: Kid-Friendly Ride

Height Restriction: 36” (91cm) or taller, supervision required if between 36” and 48” (122cm)

Skip the Line: Express Pass, Child Swap

Well, that wraps up our guide to all the Universal Studios rides. We ranked our favorites, we waxed philosophical about the perks of the Single Rider Line – now it’s your turn. What’s your top ride at Universal Studios Florida? Which rides do you think could use some updating? What’s worth skipping? Let us know in the comments! 

Then, get to planning your next Universal Orlando vacation. Need some first-timer tips and tricks? Hack your trip with our Universal Orlando Planning Guide. And for those of you wondering how to save some cash on your upcoming Universal vacation, you won’t want to miss our discount Universal Studios tickets.