Are you planning a visit to Universal Studios? Today we are sharing the Universal Studios ride guide and the best rides at Universal Studios Orlando with kids.
Universal Studios Florida has come a long way with its rides and attractions since opening day in 1990. We have visited a lot as a family and keep going back because there are so many things to do at Universal with kids.
Some attractions are more thrill ride than others, and today I am sharing our best rides at Universal Studios Orlando with kids.
Typically the best rides are also the most popular rides at Universal Studios so be sure to check out our guide for planning a visit to Universal Studios to maximize your time in the park.
Overview of the Universal Orlando Parks
Universal Orlando has Universal Studios, Islands of Adventure, Volcano Bay water park, and Universal CityWalk (shopping and dining area).
Islands of Adventure has Seuss Landing, Jurassic World/Jurassic Park attractions, Skull Island: Reign of Kong, and Hagrid’s Magical Creatures Motorbike Adventure.
This post is going to cover the attractions at Universal Studios, not Islands of Adventure. Both parks are at the Universal Orlando resort but require separate admission. Read 10 Best Rides at Islands of Adventure for more on that park.
Complete Guide to Universal Studios Rides
- Despicable Me Minion Mayhem
- Villain-Con Minion Blast (Opening Summer 2023)
- E.T. Adventure
- Fast & Furious Supercharged
- Harry Potter and the Escape from Gringotts
- Hogwarts Express-King’s Cross Station
- Hollywood Rip Ride Rockit
- Kang & Kodos’ Twirl n Hurl
- Men in Black Alien Attack!
- Race through New York Starring Jimmy Fallon
- Revenge of the Mummy
- The Simpsons Ride
- Transformers: The Ride 3D
Live Shows at Universal Studios Florida
- Animal Actors on Location!
- Beat Builders
- Celestina Warbeck and the Banshees
- Ollivanders Experience in Diagon Alley
- The Blues Brothers Show
- Sing It!
- The Bourne Stuntacular (live show, special effects)
- The Tales of Beedle the Bard
- Universal Orlando’s Horror Make-Up Show
For more information about what rides are best for small children read this post: Universal Studios Height Requirements and Scare Factor (A Guide for Families)
Best Rides at Universal Studios
Lets start with the attractions currently at the Universal Studios Florida park. A lot of the rides at Universal Studios are screen based and have 3D elements.
Plan your day riding the most popular rides first. If you have Universal express pass it will help you avoid the long lines.
If you do not have express passes consider using the single rider line or visit the popular attractions first thing or closer to park close. Express Pass is included with your stay on Premier properties.
Best Attractions at Universal Studios Florida
Harry Potter and the Escape from Gringotts
I love Escape from Gringotts! It may be my favorite ride at the park. Gringotts is located in The Wizarding World of Harry Potter Diagon Alley area of Universal.
It has all the elements that I find make an amazing attraction. It has a great story and atmosphere, and the attraction itself is family friendly.
As you enter Gringotts bank you walk along rows of Goblins that look up every now and then, almost as if they are real. Then you make your way to the elevator down to the bank.
As you exit you head into a pre-show area where you learn more about what kind of adventure you will be going on.
After that you pick up your 3D goggles, walk up the winding stair case and board your train to Gringotts. This ride is themed so well and really blows me away every time I ride it.
The actual ride is an indoor roller coaster that has launches and 3D screens through the attraction. Even if you have not seen the Harry Potter movies this is still a great attraction.
E.T. Adventure is an original attraction from opening day at Universal Studios. My kids have never seen the movie but there are a few reasons we always want to ride.
First you tell the team member attendant your name as you enter the attraction and ET personalizes your goodbye at the end of the ride. The last few visits my kids have enjoyed coming up with creative names for ET to say goodbye to.
Second it is a dark ride that takes you through E.T.’s adventure from Earth to his home planet. You hop aboard bikes to make this journey and it is the only attraction in the park that doesn’t use screens or 3D technology.
E.T. is a fun ride that I think most families would enjoy when they visit Universal.
Race Through New York starring Jimmy Fallon
This attraction follows Tonight Show host Jimmy Fallon as he races through New York. We see all the popular NYC sites as we experience fun 3D effects. This ride is not the most amazing ride ever but it is enjoyable for everyone in our family.
The pre-show for Jimmy Fallon is different than any other attraction at the park. Guests are given a color group to know when it is there turn to line up for the ride.
As they wait they are entertained by touch screen games, a singing group, or an opportunity to sit on the bench and rest a bit.
Men in Black: Alien Attack
Men in Black is another popular ride at Universal Studios that allows guests to train at becoming agents in this fun alien shooting attraction.
The kids love this ride and we all have fun seeing our scores at the end. My biggest complaint is the car spins and this can make me feel really dizzy.
It doesn’t spin the duration of the ride but when it does it can be a bit much for me. I would ride it at least once on your visit but if you are prone to motion sickness be prepared.
Transformers: The Ride 3D
Transformers 3D is much like Spiderman at Islands of Adventure. You board a vehicle and make your way through the attractions. The attraction combines moving vehicles with 3D screens and is a good ride.
If you love Transformers you will enjoy it. Most kids will be okay with it. There is a bit of violence similar to what you find in the movies. It also tends to be very loud.
Despicable Me Minion Mayhem
This used to be one of my favorite attractions at the park but recently they removed the 3D glasses and it is now a basic simulator ride. Kids will really enjoy this and the story is super cute.
I suggest making time to ride Despicable Me as it is a great ride for families. They even have stationary seating for younger children or people sensitive to motion.
The Mummy is a well themed indoor roller coaster. It does have a few scary elements but overall it is great for school aged kids and up.
It is a thrilling and intense roller coaster that may not be suitable for small children. Guests also need to use the free lockers to stow their belongings before they ride.
New Attractions Coming to Universal Studios
In January 2023 Universal Studios closed their KidZone area. This included meeting your favorite characters from DreamWorks as well as Shrek and Fiona. There was also a Curious George water area, a Feivel playground, and Woody Woodpecker’s Nuthouse Coaster.
Universal has not announced what the new replacement will be. Expect it to be a kid friendly area. I will share more as updates are announced.
Another new attraction replacing the Shrek 4D show will be the Villain-Con Minions Blast attraction. This will be located on the newly named are Illuminations Way, across from the Despicable Me Minion Mayhem attraction.
Not a lot of details have been released but guests will be on a moving walk-way. There will also be a new dining area Minions Café opening.
Our Least Favorite Universal Studios Rides
These are based on our own opinions after riding multiple times. If you love these rides or want to try them go for it!
Hollywood Rip Ride Rockit
Hollywood Rip Ride Rockit didn’t make the list because although it is a fun roller coaster I wouldn’t say it is for every kid. It is a pretty intense ride and only for the brave coaster lover in your family.
It also has become rougher in the last few years. Keep this in mind when deciding to ride.
The Simpsons is another ride we enjoy to ride once and that is it. It often causes us to feel queasy after riding. It is another fun ride but be warned about motion sickness on this one.
Finally Fast & the Furious Supercharged just doesn’t hit the mark. It has a story that doesn’t translate well and the general consensus is that this ride isn’t very good. There is potential for it so maybe someday it will be improved.
The one good thing about Fast & the Furious is the actors during the pre-show. They do a great job at entertaining the crowd.
Overall the rides and attractions at Universal Studios are great for families. I suggest riding each one at least once and make your own list of best rides at Universal Studios Orlando for your family.
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