Universal Orlando is divided into two distinct parks - the original Universal Studios Florida and Islands of Adventure, and is home to some of the best rides you’ll find in the Orlando area. From completely enclosed dark rides to one of the wettest and wildest river rapids expeditions you’ll find anywhere, Universal is packed with rides that aim to please.
5. The Simpsons Ride (Universal Studios Florida)
If you are a fan of the animated series, you won’t want to miss the ride! The Simpsons Ride features the same brand of snarky humor you’ll find in the show. If you have never seen the program, don’t despair, you’ll still have a blast.
The Simpsons characters are rendered in CGI, so they look a bit different that you may be used to, but the voice actors from the series provide the vocals, so everyone sounds just right. The ride itself is a motion simulator (this location was originally the “Back to the Future” ride), and is a great example of the genre. The ride shines in its humor, eyecatching décor and funny details and touches you’ll see just about everywhere. The line for this attraction can be very long, but there is plenty to do along the way (including several animated sequences created for the ride. The Simpsons Ride is worth the wait and a must see for any series fan.
4. Popeye and Bluto’s Bilge Rat Barges (Islands of Adventure)
Universal Orlando’s Popeye themed-river rapid ride may be the best water ride in Florida - or anywhere else. Packed with story elements, unexpected splash zones and unpredictable ride movements, the Bilge Rat Barges set a high standard for water rides.
You will get soaked on this ride, no matter where you sit. The unexpected changes in speed, constant turning and twirling of the ride vehicles and random waterfalls and splash zones will hit every member of your boat; there is no safe seat. If you are looking for the longest, fastest, wettest ride in Florida, look no further than Popeye and Bluto’s Barges.
3. Revenge of the Mummy (Universal Studios Florida)
Part-roller coaster, part-traditional dark ride, with a touch of “haunted house” appeal, Revenge of the Mummy has something to offer everyone. Beginning with a super-fast launch, the Mummy takes you through some unexpected dips and turns and offers plenty of creep-tastic sights along the way. The coaster itself is rather tame, but the experience is greatly enhanced by the visual effects and the unexpected motion of the ride vehicles. Revenge of the Mummy has no loops or inversions.
Where this ride shines is in the creepy special effects, from innovative scenery and props to a mass of crawling, very real looking scarab beetles. Revenge of the Mummy is likely to be scary for small children; even some kids that are tall enough to ride may want to pass if they are sensitive to scary details. Love a good scare? Then you’ll be thrilled with the Mummy!
2. The Amazing Adventures of Spider-Man (Islands of Adventure)
The original Amazing Adventures of Spiderman debuted in 1999, and has been a crowd pleaser ever since, offering a unique “4D” ride experience. Guests aboard the ride are treated to a seamless combination of simulator and 3D video technology that wholly integrates riders into the storyline.
Spiderman has long held one of the top spots at Universal Orlando (or any of the Orlando theme parks), but the recent HD makeover sends Spidey over the top. Universal has pulled out all the stops to make the new and improved version truly an improvement—making a great ride even better.
1. Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey (Islands of Adventure)
The Wizarding World of Harry Potter has become such a popular attraction for Universal Orlando that it has decided to add a second Harry Potter-themed land to Universal Studios Florida. Part of the reason for that popularity is Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey, the headlining attraction in the Wizarding World.
The queue area alone is better than many other actual rides - it is not unusual to pass a group that has gotten caught up in the effects and forgotten to move forward through Hogwarts Castle. The addition of a new storyline, one not drawn directly from the books, will be of interest to any Harry Potter fan, and the technology and thrills offered by the ride itself can’t be beat. Expect to see plenty of integrated video and motion - and to wonder “how did they do that?” about a dozen times when you take the Forbidden Journey.