Ultimate Guide to the Best Rides at Universal (2021)

Going to Universal and want to make the most of your time? We’ll break down the attractions and let you know which are the best rides at Universal.

Universal Orlando’s theme parks have tremendous varieties of rides and attractions. Whether you’re new to the parks or a universal veteran, you’ll want to make sure you know all about every ride and attraction.

Since time is money in a theme park, we want to save you time by giving you the complete rundown of all the rides. We also want to make sure that you know which are the best rides at Universal Orlando.

We’ll break down the rides by each theme park and each section of the Universal Parks, then let you know which are the best rides at Universal.

Universal Studios Florida

Occasionally referred to as Universal Studios Orlando, Universal Studios Florida is a television and film-based theme park, “where you can ride the movies.”

The rides in Universal Studios Florida are about 80% indoor and 20% outdoor. Thus, most attractions in this park are indoor dark rides, roller coasters, and motion simulations. Prepare to wear a lot of 3D goggles.

I wish Universal would sell themed or personalized 3D goggles that you could purchase to use on each attraction. We could enjoy 3D goggles that fit better on different-sized heads and over varieties of eyewear.

If you want to spend less time out in the local climate elements, Universal Studios Florida is the park for you.

Production Central

Production Central is the first neighborhood you pass through after entering Universal Studios Florida. It looks and feels like you’re on movie sets, that you’re in the middle of tv and film production. You can peek behind the scenes and dive into the movies.

first hill of Hollywood Rip Ride Rockit
the first hill of Hollywood Rip Ride Rockit

Hollywood Rip Ride Rockit

The Hollywood Rip Ride Rockit is a music-themed roller coaster. It features an initial vertical ascent, a loop, and helices. (That’s the plural form of helix.)

This roller coaster is definitely a Thrill Ride. You are strapped very securely into the seat, so it is difficult to move the round, but it does keep you safe on the ride.

You can select which song you would like to listen to during your ride. It features various rock and roll, country, and hip-hop songs for your enjoyment. You can also ride with a few songs by The Chrystal Method, a perfect soundtrack for a thrilling roller coaster.

It is an excellent roller coaster, but it is a little rough for me. The few times I have ridden it, it gave me a slight headache.

Despicable Me Minion Mayhem

If You Love Despicable Me for the minions, you will love this ride stop. It is a simulation ride featuring characters from the movies. It is often humorous and adorable!

Until 2019 it was a 3D ride requiring you to wear goggles for the ride. It was changed to a 2D deride in May of that year, eliminating the need to wear the 3D glasses.

Shrek 4-D

Shrek 4-D is a 4D ride based on characters from the Shrek movie. The fourth dimension refers to the physical effects of the seats moving and vibrating and the water that gets sprayed at you At strategic points during the ride.

The ride and the pre-show both require 3D goggles.

If you’re susceptible to it, the seats’ movement could cause you to experience motion sickness. If you don’t want to risk that there are non-moving seats available so you can enjoy the ride as a 3D ride.

Fans of Shrek, Donkey, or any of the franchise characters will get a kick out of Shrek 4D at least once.

Transformers: The Ride – 3D

Transformers: The Ride – 3D
Transformers: The Ride – 3D

The Transformers attraction is a 3D ride based on characters from the Transformers movies. For this 3D ride, you do need to wear 3D glasses.

This ride is what is called a dark ride or a ghost train. That means you get into vehicles that take you through the ride with some special lighting to accentuate the visual effects.

Transformers the ride reminds me a lot of The Amazing Spider-Man ride (covered later) in Islands of Adventure, only with Optimus Prime and Megatron instead of Spidey and Doc Oct.

Even though I’m not familiar with the movies or the characters, I immensely enjoyed this ride and will probably ride it every time I visit Universal Studios Florida. I consider it one of the best rides at Universal.

What is The Best Attraction in Production Central?

I would love to say that the Hollywood Rip Ride Rockit is the best ride in Production Central, but it is a little rough for me. Therefore my decision is in favor of Transformers the ride 3D.

New York

This neighborhood makes you feel like you’re in a New York movie set. It’s got city streets and alleys that feel like 1940s New York City. It features two rides, both of which I enjoyed thoroughly.

Race Through New York starring Jimmy Fallon

Race Through New York is another 3D simulation ride featuring The Tonight Show host Jimmy Fallon. The ride races you through New York City, where you can see lots of famous New York City locations and a few characters from The Tonight Show.

Jimmy Fallon is pretty funny throughout the ride, and the effects are entertaining. I enjoy all of the New York City sights. Since it is a 3D simulation ride, you do have to wear the 3D goggles.

Revenge of the Mummy

The Mummy is an indoor roller coaster based on The Mummy movie franchise. It features several characters from the movies with some significant visual effects. It is definitely one of the best rides at Universal.

The queue is excellent. If you love The Mummy films, you’ll love theming as you meander through the line, themed with objects from the movie sets. It’s like walking underground farther inside The Mummy’s tomb.

Brendan Fraser’s scenes are funny. Universal refreshed Revenge of the Mummy this past year. It now features less Brendan Fraser, but he still has there hilarious scene towards the end of the ride.

If you are a fan of “The Mummy” or great roller coasters, you will love this ride.

Since it is a roller coaster, no 3D goggles are required. The car moves in different directions. My wife, who frequently suffers from motion sickness, never has any issues writing Revenge of The Mummy.

Another fun thing about the ride is that it exits into a gift shop that features Egyptian-themed souvenirs and clothing. If you’re a fan of Egyptian mythology, you’ll delight in this store.

What is the Best Attraction in New York?

While Race through New York starring Jimmy Fallon is a fun ride, we have to pick one. The nod goes to Revenge of the Mummy. It’s not only the best Universal Studios rides; it’s one of Orlando’s best rides.

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San Francisco

I really like the San Francisco neighborhood. It looks a lot like the Fisherman’s Wharf area of San Francisco. I just wish it had a better attraction.

Fast & Furious Supercharged

Fast & Furious Supercharged is another dark ride based on The Fast & Furious movies. Without spoiling the attraction, you’re a passenger on a bus and find yourself in a car chase with characters from the films.
The ride is action-packed with great special effects.

The storyline seems like it is good, and 3D goggles are not required. I’m also a big fan of Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson. With those things in mind, I fully expected to love this ride.

I have only seen one of the Fast & Furious movies. I’d like to see them, but I just haven’t yet. I fully expected to enjoy this ride, but I could not get into it, and I would be okay not writing it again.

Fast & Furious Supercharged
Awesome car in Fast & Furious Supercharged queue

What is the Best Attraction in San Francisco?

Nothing. I’m just not impressed with this ride; it’s one of the least enjoyable attractions in the parks.

World Expo

The World Expo neighborhood was initially supposed to replicate the 1964 World’s Fair in Queens, New York. It’s been through many changes, and the Springfield Home of The Simpsons neighborhood took over some of it.

That leaves World Expo pretty sparse. That, along with Fear Factor Live’s temporary closure, renders it a relatively quiet corner of Universal Studios Florida.

Men In Black: Alien Attack

Men In Black alien attack is another Dark Ride with the added enjoyment of shooting at aliens Four Points.

The effects are good shooting at the aliens is fun, and the cars make some pretty fun maneuvers. You will particularly enjoy this ride if you are a fan of the Men in Black movies.

Fear Factor Live

Fear Factor Live is a live show with stunts based on the NBC TV show Fear Factor. I’ve never been interested in stunt shows, not even the Indiana Jones stunt show at Hollywood Studios in Disney World, and I’ve never been interested in eating gross things.

Therefore I’ve never been interested in checking out Fear Factor live. It is also temporarily closed during the time of the coronavirus pandemic.

Springfield, USA

Fans of The Simpsons will find Springfield, USA, fantastic and fun. It has so many locations and characters from The Simpsons TV series. You feel like you’re in the cartoon and delight in its many Instagrammable sites.

Entrance to The Simpsons Ride
Entrance to The Simpsons Ride

The Simpsons Ride

The Simpsons Ride is a motion simulator ride. It’s inside but in a stationary vehicle with all of the motion occurring on a screen in front. It is also one of the best rides at Universal.

Although I tried this ride with low expectations, The Simpsons Ride would have exceeded higher expectations. It’s fun, funny, and entertaining. Like the cartoon, the ride is self-aware. The characters make fun of the ride, make fun of the Universal parks, and even take a nice crack at Walt Disney World.

The seating area tilts and shakes some to compliment the motion simulated on the screen. It won’t surprise me if the motion simulation causes motion sickness for those susceptible to it.

Kang & Kudo’s Twirl ‘n Hurl

Kang & Kudo’s is a spinning ride based on the Allien creatures from the Simpson’s for which it’s named.

Much like the Dumbo ride n Magic Kingdom and the One Fish Two Fish ride in Islands of Adventure, you can raise and lower the flying saucers you sit in as you travel around with the alien spinning in the middle.

While spinning, you hear funny comments, insults, and puns from various Simpsons characters. While raising and lowering your saucer, you can aim for targets for additional sound effects.

Kang & Kudo’s Twirl ‘n Hurl
Kang & Kudo’s Twirl ‘n Hurl

What’s the Best Ride in Springfield?

Although The Simpsons Ride is tough to beat for its creativity and humor, younger riders may enjoy Kang & Kudo’s Twirl ‘n Hurl more.

Woody Woodpecker’s KidZone

Woody Woodpecker’s KidZone is a fun neighborhood for younger parkgoers. The only issue is that it’s not likely your kids will be familiar with the cartoons or characters in this neighborhood.

I love those old cartoons and introduced my kids to them. Although friendly for the entire family, it.

E.T. Adventure

This delightful ride recreates the movie scene in which the alien levitates the kids’ bikes to help them escape the authorities chasing them. It’s definitely a family-friendly attraction.

It’s an indoor dark ride simulating riding bicycles. The bikes take flight to avoid capture and fly you around to see various characters and scenes from the movie. That’s the first part.

Then it gets weird. We won’t spoil it for you. It’s not scary or anything, just an unexpected turn away from immersion in the movie. Although friendly for the entire family, it will help if everyone has seen the movie.

Woody Woodpecker’s Nuthouse Coaster

Woody Woodpecker’s Nuthouse Coaster
Woody Woodpecker’s Nuthouse Coaster

Woody Woodpecker’s Nuthouse Coaster is a family-friendly roller coaster. I love the small roller coasters such as this one and Goofy’s Barnstormer in Magic Kingdom.

At 44 seconds, the ride is short and sweet, fun for smaller kids. I wouldn’t consider it a thrill ride. I simply enjoy the small roller coasters.

Being a fan of old cartoons in general and Woody Woodpecker specifically, I love the theming. As with many of the kids’ roller coasters, the seating may be a little tight more many adults.

What’s the Best Ride in Woody Woodpecker’s KidZone?

More than most attractions, this one depends on you. I’m a huge fan of small roller coasters, and I’m a much bigger Woody Woodpecker fan than I am an E.T. fan. For me, the nod goes to Woody Woodpecker’s Nuthouse Coaster.

My wife and kids are E.T. fans, so E.T. Adventure is their favorite.

Hollywood

The Bourne Stuntacular

The Bourne Stuntacular is another live-action stunt show based on, you guess it, the Jason Bourne movies.

Since I’m not a fan of stunt shows, I didn’t put effort into seeing this show. I will make a point of it on my next trip to Universal Orlando Resort, and for a good reason. I can’t imagine the need for any stunt show, much less two stunt shows.

It opened June 30, 2020, so it’s not even a year old yet. I feel like I need to see it to hopefully understand why Universal thought a second live-action stunt show (in the same park) was a good idea.

What’s the Best Ride in Hollywood?

Yeah, right.

The Wizarding World of Harry Potter Diagon Alley

Now, we get to the primary reason we love the Universal Orlando Resort theme parks and why seeing stunt shows is such a low priority for me. As we mentioned in episodes 11 and 13, the theming and immersion in the Wizarding World of Harry Potter are fantastic.

Want to know everything your young witch or wizard needs to do on their trip to the Wizarding World of Harry Potter?
Download the Witch and Wizard’s Guide to the Wizarding World!

While everyone will enjoy Diagon Alley, it is a must for every Harry Potter fan. Like Universal Studios Florida, Diagon Alley is mostly indoors and mostly shops. Be sure you find Knockturn Alley. It’s a great place to take a break from the heat.

Being mostly indoors, shopping, snacking, drinking, and shows comprise most of Diagon Alley’s real estate, but it features two spectacular attractions.

While this post is all about the rides, remember that walking, shopping, and snacking in Diagon Alley feels like you’re in the movie. Even with only two attractions, we spend a lot of time in Diagon Alley simply enjoying being there. Also Butterbeer.

Hogwarts Express

To enter the queue for Hogwarts Express, you enter Kings Cross Station from outside Diagon Alley. It’s just like the movies. As you approach the train station, you’ll get a chance to pass through the wall at Platform 9 ¾. Be sure to have your phone ready to take a video!

Seeing the legendary Hogwarts Express when you walk enter the platform is breathtaking for Harry Potter fans who have loved seeing it in the movies for so many years.

On the train, you sit in compartments exactly like the compartments the students ride in on their trips back and forth to Hogsmeade Station. I don’t want to give too much away, but you’ll see various characters and a few scenes from the movies.

The Hogwarts Express treats you to more than one experience. You’ll want to ride this train multiple.

Harry Potter and the Escape from Gringotts

Diagon Alley’s main attraction is Harry Potter and the Escape from Gringotts is an indoor steel roller coaster that immerses you into a story set in the caverns of the Gringotts wizarding bank. Gringotts is one of the best rides at Universal.

Calling the queue for this ride amazing is a dramatic understatement. The theming of the queues in Universal’s Wizarding World of Harry Potter gives new meaning to the word attraction.

Attractions used to consist of zig-zagging rows of lines in rooms with a few decorations from the movie or genre until you finally reach the ride. These new attractions immerse into the world and into fascinating stories.

After enjoying the life of a witch or wizard in banking at Gringotts’s, the roller coaster thrills and delights!

The cars stop, start, and spin along the roller coaster’s track while weaving you into a fascinating tale with dazzling special effects starring the movies’ original cast.

Escape from Gringotts is another ride that moves enough to trigger motion sickness. I often use my wife as a reference for motion sickness. While she is susceptible to it, she loves Escape from Gringotts and never suffers motion sickness riding it.

What is the Best Ride in Diagon Alley?

Although The Hogwarts Express is a marvelous experience, Escape from Gringotts runs away with this one.

What are the Best Rides at Universal Studios Florida?

The best attraction for you depends on your level of thrill-tolerance/enjoyment and which franchises you most enjoy. Here is a breakdown

For older parkgoers and thrill-seekers, these are the top 3, which considers a combination of thrills and immersion.

3. Transformers: The Ride-3D
2. Revenge of the Mummy
1. Harry Potter and the Escape from Gringotts

For those seeking thrill over immersion, Hollywood Rip Ride Rockit likely tops this list.

Universal Islands of Adventure

A second park in the Universal Orlando Resort is Islands of Adventure. This park consists of 8 themed islands surrounding a lagoon. In these Islands, you can immerse yourself into fantastic myths, movies, and comics. This park has Universal’s most popular attractions.

The attractions in Universal’s Islands of Adventure are about 80% outdoor and 20% indoor, the opposite of adjacent Universal Studios Florida. Mostly outdoor attractions means this is where you can enjoy the gorgeous central Florida climate.

Mostly outdoor rides means that this is the park with the water rides. In addition to ranking the park’s best rides, we’ll separately rank the best water rides.

Toon Lagoon

This island features old-school newspaper comics. If you can introduce your kids to some of these cartoons and comic strips in advance, they’ll be more excited when they see this land.

Dudley Do-Right’s Ripsaw Falls
Dudley Do-Right’s Ripsaw Falls

Dudley Do-Right’s Ripsaw Falls

A classic flume ride with a little roller coaster mixed in, Dudley Do-Right’s Ripsaw Falls features superb scenes and theming from the cartoon. The logs have a little more to hold securely in place than most flume rides since it’s slightly more intense.

Not all flume rides I’ve ridden will get you wet, but this one will definitely get you wet. Be prepared to be wet. Or use your 3-Park Tickets and head over to Volcano Bay.

Popeye and Bluto’s Bilge-Rat Barges
Popeye and Bluto’s Bilge-Rat Barges

Popeye and Bluto’s Bilge-Rat Barges

Just as Dudley’s is a little more intense than most flume rides, Popeye and Bluto’s Bilge-Rat Barges is a slightly more intense whitewater rapids ride. Between the splashes, waterfalls, spraying, and people squirting you from Me Ship, the Olive, there is no avoiding getting wet.

What is the Best Ride in Toon Lagoon?

I’m partial to flume rides. I wish I could live in a city where flumes were the sole source of transportation. Many prefer the raging rapids of the Bilge-Rat Barges. This one’s really a toss-up.

Marvel Super Hero Island

Walking into Marvel Super Hero Island feels like walking into the pages of a comic book. The architecture and colors are designed to feel like you’re in a comic book. It seems like a big island since it boasts 3 snacking/dining locations, 4 shops, and 4 attractions!

Storm Force Accelatron

Storm Force Accelatron is a teacup ride themed with Marvel character storm. It’s a standard teacup ride, including the center wheel with which you can give yourself extra spin.

As luck would have it, spinning faster assists Storm in stopping the evil villain Magneto!

Doctor Doom’s FearFall
Doctor Doom’s FearFall

Doctor Doom’s FearFall

Doctor Doom’s FearFall is a drop tower ride themed after the villain Dr. Doom. He uses his ride to scare you and use that energy against the Fantastic Four. It’s a rather tall drop tower ride at 185 feet, and your car reaches speeds close to 40 miles per hour.

Amazing Adventures of Spider-Man

The Spider-Man ride is a 3D dark ride requiring 3D goggles. If you enjoyed the Disney XD animated Spider-Man series, you’ll love this ride. It puts you into the cartoon. It even features some of the same voice actors from the Disney series.

How all this worked out with Marvel/Disney rights, I have no idea.

The effects are dazzling and immersive. Like most Universal dark rides, you’re a character in the story. I don’t want to spoil the story for you, but the effects and sensations are spectacular.

Although one would think this ride would cause motion sickness, my wife enjoys it without effects.

Incredible Hulk Coaster

You can’t miss it. This Hulk of a ride can be seen from almost everyone in the parks. All the green and lights create super-cool theming.

The action is intense and non-stop from start to finish. It begins by launching you out of the chute at a speed exceeding 40 miles per hour and quickly reaches 67 Miles per hour.

Many consider the Incredible Hulk Coaster to be the best in Orlando. Although it’s smooth, the force from all the loops really pushing you into the seats. Because of all the loops and inversions, the restraints secure you tightly.

The Incredible Hulk Coaster is even more intense than the Hollywood Rip Rockit.

What’s the Best Ride in Marvel Super Hero island?

I personally prefer the Amazing Adventures of Spider-Man, partially out of nostalgia and partially for the sensations caused by the visual effects.

However, The Incredible Hulk Coaster is a wildly entertaining ride and considered by most the be the best roller coaster in town. If you seek thrills, Hulk will be your fave.

The Incredible Hulk Coaster
The Incredible Hulk Coaster

Skull Island

Skull Island is the youngest island of adventure in IOA and only has one attraction. It is a great one.

Skull Island – Reign of King Kong

Although part of the attraction takes outdoors, Reign of Kong is considered a dark ride. It’s also trackless, like Hollywood Studios’ Rise of the Resistance and Mickey and Mini’s Runaway Railway.

It was based on the 2005 King Kong film (that is the one with Jack Black), and the director Peter Jackson was consulted for the ride. Like all Universal attractions, Reign of Kong is a fantastically fun immersion into the movie and the story.

Jurassic Park

Jurassic Park Island is themed on the movies.

Pteranodon Flyers
Pteranodon Flyers

Pteranodon Flyers

Pteranodon Flyers is a steel, suspended roller coaster simulating a pteranodon flying over Jurassic Park. It’s only 80 seconds long. Many complain about that length, but it is a roller coaster. Most of those small roller coasters are in that 60-second range.

It looks like a fun ride. I know I would love it since I love the small roller coasters. However, I’ve never been able to ride it. Only guests between 36 and 56 inches (or accompanied by someone that height) are allowed to ride Pteranodon Flyers.

As a parent, I’m happy that the parks have a ride solely available for small children. As a parent whose children are no longer young enough, I really want to ride this ride!

Jurassic Park River Adventure

A water ride based on the movies and book. You ride along a river in a raft while viewing Jurassic Park wildlife. That means dinosaurs! The story involves dinosaurs running wild, immersing you in a fun, adventurous story.

Jurassic World VelociCoaster – Coming Summer 2021

We’ll update the post as soon as the VelociCoaster opens. You can see the track from many places in the park. You get a great view of it from Flight of the Hippogriff.

VelociCoaster will be the tallest and fastest launch roller coaster in Florida. It will no doubt change the list of best rides at Universal!

What’s the Best Ride in Jurassic Park?

I don’t like getting wet, so I don’t pick Jurassic Park River Adventure. I’m too tall to ride Pteranodon Flyers. (I’ve never been too tall for anything.) Check back with me in the summer, so I can definitely declare VelociCoaster the winner.

Seuss Landing – Rides for Kids

If you love Dr. Suess, you’ll love Seuss Landing. I think it’s one of the coolest places in Orlando. It’s full of wacky, zany, Suess-inspired colors and architects and features several family rides.

High in The Sky Seuss Trolley Train Ride

The Suess Trolly is an elevated train that takes you on a tour of Seuss Landing. It not only provides great views of Seuss Landing. It offers great views of the entire park.

Plan to ride it a few times. It features two different tracks, and the views at night create a unique riding experience. Keep an eye out for loads of Dr. Seuss characters.

I don’t come across many fellow fans of the Sneetches, and fans will love this ride. Even though it’s one of the slower rides, it’s one of my favorite rides.

Caro-Seuss-El

At first, Caro-Seuss-El may look like a classic carousel, but it is so much more. It’s full of characters from Dr. Seuss’s stories. Some of the characters are interactive. Don’t be afraid to pull on the reins.

Caro-Seuss-El isn’t scary at all, but going round and round may trigger motion sickness.

One Fish, Two Fish, Red Fish, Blue Fish

Another spinning, ascending, and descending ride, but inspired by Dr. Seuss. It’s similar to Dumbo and Kang & Kudo’s Twirl and Hurl with the added possibility of getting a little wet!

Cat in The Hat

Cat in The Hat is an indoor dark ride inspired by the book and cartoons. You ride along with Sally and her brother as they experience (endure) a wacky day with the Cat in the Hat, Thing One, and Thing two.

In addition to the zany fun, another great thing about this attraction is the use of classic animatronics rather than relying on technology.

The ride used to have more spins, but much of that has been removed. It’s a much tamer experience now.

The Wizarding World of Harry Potter – Hogsmeade

Hogsmeade Village is a magical, marvelous land full of scenes from the movies. Like the rest of Universal’s Islands of Adventure, Hogsmeade Village has mostly outdoor attractions. Although it has few shopportunities, you’ll find no shortage of Wizarding World souvenirs in Hogsmeade.

Download the Witch and Wizard’s Guide to the Wizarding World and make sure your young witches and wizards have a magical day at Universal!

Hogwarts Express

Hogsmeade Village is the second station for the Hogwarts Express. The one train travels back and forth between the stations. You can enjoy a different experience each way, so again, plan to ride it more than once.

Hogwarts Express-Hogsmeade
Hogwarts Express-Hogsmeade

Flight of the Hippogriff

Flight of the Hippogriff is another family-friendly roller coaster. Although Hagrid’s hut and the animatronic Hippogriff are fun parts of the queue that takes you into the Forbidden Forest, the best part of this ride is the spectacular views of Hogwarts Castle and Hogsmeade Village.

You also get an excellent look at the Jurassic World VelociCoaster.

I don’t recommend risking taking videos or photos on a roller coaster, even a kiddie roller coaster. Just enjoy the short ride and amazing views.

While loads of fun, Flight of the Hippogriff isn’t fast enough to consider it a thrill ride and won’t likely trigger motion sickness.

Flight of the Hippogriff
Flight of the Hippogriff

Harry Potter and The Forbidden Journey

Although the Forbidden Journey is another motion-based dark ride, it is a completely different experience.

After a queue that takes you on a tour of Hogwarts Castle, you get to pass by the Defense Against the Dark Arts classroom, the Room of Requirement, the Gryffindor common room, and Dumbledore’s office!

Even if you don’t hop on to the main attraction, the tour of the castle is worth every Harry Potter fans’ time.

Then after a puff of Floo Powder, you enter a visually amazing and immersive story that takes you all through Hogwarts Castle and around the castle grounds. Without giving too much away, you’re essentially flying along with a few characters riding around on their brooms.

Because the ride vehicle spins and tilts in every conceivable direction, this is the ride most likely to cause motion sickness.

Hagrid’s Magical Creatures Motorbike Adventure

Hagrid’s ride is a multiple-launch steel roller coaster. The seating really enhances this ride. You either ride on the seat of a motorcycle or in the sidecar. You’ll want to experience both seats for this ride. I can’t recommend the first seat enough. You will feel like you’re flying!

This ride replaced the Dragon Challenge roller coaster, which was previously my favorite and definitely one of the best rides at Universal. I was sad to see it replaced. Until I road Hagrid’s Motorbike Adventure!

Hagrid’s Magical Creatures Motorbike Adventure
Hagrid’s Magical Creatures Motorbike Adventure

While this is another immersive attraction that places you in the center of a Wizarding World story, Hagrid’s Motorbike adventure is a legit rollercoaster with a few twists and great scenery, including several creatures from the books and movies. You’ll grow to love Hagrid even more!

Although quite thrilling and fast, the ride is quite smooth and doesn’t trigger much motion sickness. I don’t want to give too much away. However, for the sake of hopefully preventing you from getting sick, I’ll say this.

I’ll hide the text so that you can’t see it unless you feel you might suffer from motion sickness. Just drag and highlight the empty space to see the text. Conversely, if you want a little extra thrill to your experience, highlight it for a tip.

On the left turn over the pond, staring down at your reflection is a unique experience. However, it might also trigger motion sickness.

What is the Best Ride in Hogsmeade Village?

This is the toughest call. I love all three rides for various reasons. While The Forbidden Journey and Hagrid’s Motorbike are both unique experiences, I’ll have to give the nod to Hagrid’s.

Amazing Adventures of Spider-Man
Amazing Adventures of Spider-Man

What Are The Best Rides at Universal Islands of Adventure?

This park is full of amazing attractions, so it’s tough to rate. These are my top 5, though.

5. High in the Sky Seuss Trolly Ride
4. Amazing Adventures of Spider-Man
3. The Incredible Hulk Coaster
2. Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey
1. Hagrid’s Magical Creatures Motorbike Adventure

Ryan says that Amazing Adventures of Spider-Man is the best ride at Islands of Adventure. I’d have a hard time arguing with that.

Check back to see if riding Hagrid’s Magical Creatures Motorbike Adventure changes Ryan’s mind!

The Volcano Bay

Volcano Bay is Universal Florida’s water park. You can purchase tickets for only the park or as part of a package granting access to move between all three Universal parks.

Universal heats the water in most Volcano Bay attractions to around 80 degrees so that the park can remain open all year.

Another important thing to know about Volcano Bay is that it’s tucked between three Universal Resort hotels and doesn’t have its own parking. Thus, if you’re not staying in a Universal property, you’ll have to park in the Universal parking area near CityWalk and take a shuttle to Volcano Bay.

Krakatau Aqua Coaster

Krakatau is a “water coaster.” Your 4-person canoe flies up and down hills, around twists and turns, and into the massive Krakatau Volcano. You’ll get plenty wet with the splashes and plunging into a raging waterfall.

It resembles a flume ride, only with more accelerations, and the canoes are inflatable.

Lines will form for this ride, so ride it early.

Ohyah & Ohno Drop Slides

Twisting turning slides in which you shoot out and drop four or six feet into a splash pool.

Each slide has a long name.

  • Ohyah of Ohyah & Ohno Drop Slides
  • Ohno of Ohyah & Ohno Drop Slides

For Ohyah, you have to climb the side of a cliff before entering the slide. It has a four-foot drop into a splash pool.

Ohno is a little more extreme since you have to climb a rope bridge to get to the slide, and it has a six-foot drop into a pool.

TeAwa the Fearless River

Are you a fan of lazy rivers? TeAwa may not be for you. It’s a high-speed river that simulates roaring rapids and currents. It even requires life jackets.

You can drop into this ride any time.

Honu ika Moana

This attraction is comprised of two slides with long names.

  • Honu of the Honu ika Moana
  • ika Moana of the Honu ika Moana

You have to climb stairs for these slides, but you don’t have to carry your raft. The rafts each carry 5 people.

Honu of the Honu ika Moana is the blue slide, the sea turtle side. Honu is the more intense of the two sides. It has two walls that you slide up, feeling like you could fly over the edge.

ika Moana of the Honu ika Moana is the green slide, the whale side. Mostly indoors, it takes you through lots of twists and turns.

Ko’okiri Body Plunge

In the middle of the volcano is Ko’okiri, the tallest body plunge slide in America. This is a thrill-seekers slide.

You get locked in a tube, cross your arms and legs, then listen to music and wait for the trap door to open and drop you down the 125-foot chute.

Kala & Tai Nui Serpentine Body Slides

You also climb the Volcano for these two body slides that drop you from trap doors.

Kala blue

Tai Nui green and considered the most intense ride in the park.

What Are the Best Rides at Universal’s Volcano Bay?

3 Ko’okiri Body Plunge
2 Honu ika Moana
1 Krakatau Aqua Coaster

What is Universal’s Best Family-Friendly Attraction?

  • Flight of the Hippogriff
  • Despicable Me Minion Mayhem

Wizarding World of Harry Potter

Whether or not you’re a Harry Potter fan, Universal’s Wizarding World is one of the most fantastic immersive experiences anywhere. I think it’s better than Star Wars Galaxy’s Edge in Hollywood Studios.

Harry Potter fans could happily spend their entire vacation in Diagon Alley and Hogsmeade and never visit the rest of the park. I recommend packing tissue for your first time visiting the Wizarding World. If you’re a Harry Potter stan, you will get misty.

A few things to remember when planning your day. Hogsmeade Village is mostly outdoor attractions, and Diagon Alley is mostly indoor attractions. If you want to get out of the heat or rain, head over to Diagon Alley. For lovely weather, Hogsmeade Village is your land.

Universal’s two parks don’t always close at the same time. About two hours before the earlier closing park closes, take the Hogwarts Express to the other park. I recommend this for two reasons.

Firstly, about an hour before closing, the line for The Hogwarts Express gets really long. You’ll waste your last hour standing in line.

Secondly, riding the Hogwarts Express to enjoy an extra hour of park time is significantly more fun than walking to switch parks via the front gate.

I’ve seen people wasting time upgrading their Single-Park tickets to Park-to-Park to tickets a half-hour before closing time to enjoy that extra hour. I recommend purchasing Park-to-Park tickets from the get-go.

Complete the Entire Universal Orlando Journey

What do you think are the best rides at Universal?

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Next on All Things Travel, Episode 44: What would you like us to discuss?
Previously on All Things Travel, Episode 42: Best Disney Dining Planning Tips.