Home » Destinations » Your guide to all the rides at Universal Studios Orlando {updated for 2022}

Your guide to all the rides at Universal Studios Orlando {updated for 2022}

Our family loves a theme park, so Orlando is one of our favorite cities to visit! And although we have a big place in our heart for that “other” magic place, we truly love Universal Studios Orlando.

Why do we love Universal so much? Well, lots of reasons! But here’s a few:

  • Annual passes are very affordable and worth buying if you plan to visit the parks for more than just a couple of days. We tend to visit Florida on a fairly regular basis, so we’ve gotten a lot of use out of our passes.
  • Big roller coasters!
  • Delicious food.
  • Two words: Harry Potter.

But today’s post is all about the rides at Universal Studios. What will you find there? Which rides can little ones go on? What rides might be too intense for some? What do we think are the best Universal rides?

Read on for our Universal Studios rides list, and start making your game plan for your next visit!

kids at universal studios orlando
Our brave team of ride testers and reviewers!

Universal Studios Rides

Universal Studios Orlando is packed with fantastic rides for visitors of all ages. Fast, slow, funny, scary, and everything in between. But if you’ve never been, or you just want to remember what’s there, here’s your guide to all of the rides at Universal Studios Orlando!

I’ve grouped the rides by section, starting near the front of the park in Production Central, heading straight back into New York, going clockwise around the lake, and finishing up in Hollywood (which actually has no rides, but be sure to catch both the Horror Make-up Show and the Bourne Stuntacular).

Let’s get our ride on!

Production Central

Despicable Me: Minion Mayhem

Height requirement: 40″
Thrill factor: 2/5

Despicable Me Minion Mayhem

If you’ve ever wanted to become a Minion, this ride is for you! On the screens throughout the queue line, you learn that Gru is hiring people to get turned into Minions, and “Minion Quizzes” are given to test your “Minion IQ.” This helps to keep you entertained while you wait — which could be a while. Minion Mayhem usually has one of the longest wait times in this park, and on busy days you could be facing a 2–3 hour wait.

During the ride, you get trained by Gru’s adopted daughters on how to be a Minion, which goes a bit wrong when Agnes, the youngest, needs to save Gru’s anniversary present, celebrating their adoption day.

The ride vehicles sit 8 people total, 4 in front and 4 in back, and the auditorium of ride vehicles all face one screen. The vehicles are simulators which rock from side to side and make you feel like you are moving forward and back, while staying in one place. There are also stationary seats for those who would prefer to experience the ride without movement.

This ride is perfect if: You like the Despicable Me movies, enjoy a medium thrill, and want to laugh AND cry (happy tears).

Hollywood Rip Ride Rockit

Height requirement: 51″–79″
Thrill factor: 5/5

One of the tallest rides in Universal, towering over the park at 167 feet tall, Hollywood Rip Ride Rockit is a major roller coaster that goes 65 miles per hour. Probably the most harrowing part of the ride is the beginning — it takes you up toward the sky at a 90-degree angle before dropping you into a series of drops, loops, twists, and turns.

To add to the fun, you can choose from a wide variety of music to listen to while you speed through the ride. This is one that is fun to go on multiple times, because you can choose different music, giving you a unique experience every time.

This ride is perfect if: You like serious thrills and want to rock out while you ride!

Transformers: The Ride 3D

Height requirement: 40″
Thrill factor: 3/5

Transformers The Ride-3D

Transformers: The Ride is an indoor experience that utilizes 3-D screens to put you right into the story. You ride along with Evac as he tries to get the Allspark out of the city and away from Megatron. The ride vehicle drives along a track as it bumps, shakes, tilts, and turns, while 3-D imagery makes everything seem even more real and intense. And the minimum height is only 40 inches, so brave little ones can join in on the fun!

This ride is perfect if: You’ve always wanted to be a Transformer or you have little ones who enjoy a medium thrill.

New York

Race Through New York Starring Jimmy Fallon

Height requirement: 40″
Thrill factor: 2/5

Race Through New York Starring Jimmy Fallon is a 3-D simulation ride that takes you through the streets of New York (as well as some other unexpected places), as you race Jimmy Fallon in his Tonight Rider. Like Despicable Me: Minion Mayhem, you are seated in a large room with a big screen at the front. The seats move as you look at the screen, making the whole experience seem very real. But I think the best part of the attraction is the queue! There are fun interactive games to play and hilarious clips from the Tonight Show to entertain you while you wait your turn.

This ride is perfect if: You are a fan of the Tonight Show and/or simulation rides.

Revenge of the Mummy

Height requirement: 48″
Thrill factor: 4/5

Revenge of the Mummy

Universal has a lot of 3D and simulation-style rides, so Revenge of the Mummy is a nice treat because it’s a true, indoor roller coaster! The queue line starts off on the set of The Mummy movie, where you hear that news of a curse has been going around. You soon find out that the curse is real, and the spirit of Imhotep is here to take your souls.

The scary elements can be a bit intense — this ride was too much for our 7-year-old who otherwise enjoys roller coasters. The ride goes backward, as well as forward, and incorporates a launch and a false ending. Ghostly swoosh!

This ride is perfect if: You like high-speed, story-driven, indoor coasters.

San Francisco

Fast and Furious – Supercharged

Height requirement: 40″
Thrill factor: 3/5

Fast & Furious Supercharged

Fast and Furious – Supercharged takes you on a ride based on the Fast and Furious movies. With screens on both sides of the ride vehicle (party bus!), it makes it seem like you’re really there with all of the characters you know. And of course, it wouldn’t be Fast and Furious without cool cars and big explosions.

This ride is perfect if: You like the Fast and Furious movies, enjoy a medium thrill, and love rocking out on a party bus!

The Wizarding World of Harry Potter – Diagon Alley

Hogwarts Express – King’s Cross Station

Height requirement: n/a
Thrill factor: 1/5

Universal Studios came up with an innovative way to get guests from one park to another: let them ride the Hogwarts Express! This takes what could have been a boring tram ride and makes it into an immersive Harry Potter experience. You’ll need to have a park-to-park pass that allows you admission into Universal’s Islands of Adventure, because that’s your final destination.

The Hogwarts Express looks exactly like the famous train from the books and movies, and you can see magical scenes out your “window” as you travel (be sure to watch the window AND the compartment doors), taking you to the Hogsmeade area in Islands of Adventure. Sure beats walking!

Be sure to take the train both ways, because the experience is different depending on your direction!

This ride is perfect if: You’re heading to Islands of Adventure or you love Harry Potter!

Harry Potter and the Escape from Gringotts

Height requirement: 42″
Thrill factor: 4/5

Located in the heart of Diagon Alley, Harry Potter and the Escape from Gringotts is one of the newest and most exciting rides the park has to offer. It’s an indoor roller coaster that stops several times to treat you to some fantastic 3D scenes. The ride is immersive, making you feel like you’re really in the movie! 

This ride is perfect if: You love roller coasters or you’re a Harry Potter fan!

World Expo

Men in Black Alien Attack!

Height requirement: 42″
Thrill factor: 2/5

On Men In Black Alien Attack, you become new recruits to the Men In Black alien-fighting agency, with a test of your skills that turns into a real alien emergency!

Everyone piles into a ride vehicle with individual seats (3 in front and 3 in back) equipped with a laser blaster. As you ride through the city streets, you blast aliens at every turn! The ride keeps track of your score so you can see who is the best defender of the planet. Pro tip: Near the end of the ride, press the red button when instructed for an extra 100,000 points! 

This ride is perfect if: You like interactive rides and have a competitive spirit!

Springfield: Home of the Simpsons

The Simpsons Ride

Height requirement: 40″
Thrill factor: 2/5

The Simpsons Ride

If you’re a fan of The Simpsons, you’ll love the Springfield area of the park, which is perfectly themed to make you feel like you’re in the cartoon!

Head to the huge Krusty the Clown head to ride The Simpsons Ride. You’ll enter a simulator vehicle and follow along as Homer, Marge, Bart, and Lisa are forced by Sideshow Bob to ride an unfinished roller coaster. What happened to Maggie? She’s just hanging out with Grandpa…right?

This ride is perfect if: You love The Simpsons and want to feel like you’re part of the show!

Kang & Kodos’ Twirl ‘n’ Hurl

Height requirement: n/a
Thrill factor: 1/5

The other ride in Springfield is the Kang & Kodos’ Twirl ‘n’ Hurl. These friendly aliens won’t try to eat you…or will they? The Twirl ‘n’ Hurl is a “Dumbo”-style ride where you can control your spaceship up or down as you ride in a circle.

Despite the name, this is a pretty tame ride, great for little ones.

This ride is perfect if: You or your family members prefer a calmer ride.

Woody Woodpecker’s KidZone

Woody Woodpecker’s Nuthouse Coaster

Height requirement: 36″
Thrill factor: 2/5

Woody Woodpecker’s Nuthouse Coaster is a kiddie coaster that takes you on a quick tour through the Nuthouse. And to make it even better, the wait time is usually very short! Our little ones like to yell, “Again! Again!” after almost every ride, and this one is perfect to take them on a few times in a row.

This ride is perfect if: You have little ones, some time to spare, and/or all the other rides have long waits.

E.T. Adventure

Height requirement: 34″
Thrill factor: 1/5

E.T. Adventure

E.T. Adventure is the only current ride at Universal that was there when the park opened back in 1990! This dark ride puts you on a bike, “pedaling” through the forest to save E.T. from government agents, before flying over the city and eventually bringing E.T. to his home planet.

The ride vehicle is suspended from above, which makes the flying feel real! This is a relaxed ride with music you might recognize from the movie. The queue line features behind-the-scenes clips and interviews with the movie’s cast and crew, before sending you into the forest to board your bike.

Before you enter the forest, a worker usually asks your name. At the end of the ride, E.T. says goodbye to you, calling you by your name! Or at least he tries. E.T. doesn’t always get it right, but that’s part of the charm.

This ride is perfect if: You prefer a gentler kind of ride or want to feel like you’re back in the ’80s.

The best order to ride Universal Orlando rides

We usually park hop between Universal Studios and Islands of Adventure on any given day, and we usually begin in Islands of Adventure. But if you’re doing one full day at Universal, you can really maximize your time and hit every ride. It also helps (in a big way) if you go during a slower time of year!

My first tip is to arrive nice and early. Most people don’t, which means you’ll be able to get on several rides before the crowds really start pouring in, and you’ll be that far ahead of them.

If you’re hardcore, you can purchase Express passes — either the version that allows you to jump to the front of the line once per ride, or the unlimited pass. But these are a significant additional expense and therefore not an option for everyone.

Be sure to download the Universal app, so you can score some virtual queue passes! These virtual passes are free and allow you to choose a time to return to a ride later in the day. Usually Universal either offers a stand-by line OR virtual queue, so if a ride is offering them, you will need to get one to ride. Be sure to check first thing, as the park is opening, and if there aren’t any available, keep refreshing. More will appear throughout the day. And keep your eye on the app because sometimes a ride will transition to using virtual queue later in the day.

Although it might be tempting to run directly to the biggest rides, if you intend on riding everything that’s not actually what I’d recommend. As you enter the park, you’ll first come to Despicable Me and I recommend jumping on first thing, as the wait time tends to climb quickly and never recover as the day goes on. Then, you can hit Rip Ride Rockit before heading deeper into the park.

Here’s the order I suggest hitting the rides, but of course you might need to adjust based on any virtual queue passes you’ve snagged or the current wait times.

Universal Studios Orlando ride order

  1. Despicable Me: Minion Mayhem
  2. Hollywood Rip Ride Rockit
  3. Transformers: The Ride 3D
  4. Harry Potter and the Escape from Gringotts
  5. Hogwarts Express (though best to hit this whenever you are switching parks, if you have a park-to-park pass)
  6. Revenge of the Mummy
  7. Race Through New York Starring Jimmy Fallon
  8. Fast and Furious – Supercharged
  9. The Simpsons Ride
  10. Kang & Kodos’ Twirl ‘n’ Hurl
  11. Men in Black Alien Attack!
  12. E.T. Adventure
  13. Woody Woodpecker’s Nuthouse Coaster

What to do other than rides at Universal Studios

In addition to the rides, there are lots of other things to entertain you at Universal Studios! There are shows, play areas, and special events.

Universal Studios Orlando shows

As you wander the park, you’re likely to come across plenty of performers — singers, dancers, characters, percussionists, and more! Try to catch those when you can, but you may also want to carve out time to catch the larger shows.

In Diagon Alley, catch performances by Celestina Warbeck and the Banshees and The Tales of Beedle the Bard.

Animal Actors on Location

In Woody Woodpecker’s KidZone, you can watch Animal Actors on Location, where they demonstrate how Hollywood animals are trained to perform on movie sets. It’s a cute show, and the animals are impressive! The show doesn’t seem to ever change, so if you’ve seen it once, you’ve seen it a million times. If it’s your first time or you just really love seeing the animals perform, it’s probably worth finding time to catch one of the performances.

In Hollywood, you’ll find the Horror Make-up Show. The performers are very funny as they show how some of the special effects are performed on horror movie sets. It might be too intense for the younger crowd, though.

Bourne Stuntacular

And also in Hollywood, introduced in 2020, is the Bourne Stuntacular. I have to say, my husband and I actually have a background as theme park and theatre performers and we are hard to impress. This show is incredible! The way they’ve combined digital and real-life elements blurs the line between what’s real and what’s Hollywood magic. You’ll definitely leave asking, “How did they do that?!”

At the end of the day, catch the Cinematic Celebration over the water and enjoy images and scenes from your favorite Universal movies.

And parades are back! Catch Universal’s Superstar Parade or a seasonal parade. They are a great way to relax, enjoy a snack, and see lots of fun characters as they dance by.

Universal Studios Orlando play areas

Kids will love to play in both Fievel’s Playland and Curious George Goes to Town — two playgrounds with fun water features.

Fievel's Playland

Universal Studios Orlando special events

Depending on the time of year, there maybe some fun additional events taking place at Universal Studios! From Mardi Gras, to Halloween Horror Nights, to Christmas in the Wizarding World, there’s always seasonal fun to be had! Get the latest here (I also love their crowd calendars)!

Best Universal Studios food

Last, but definitely not least, I want to share some of our favorite foods you can find in Universal Studios Orlando. You could eat your way around the park all day, just be sure you don’t head straight onto a roller coaster afterward, unless you have a strong stomach!

We love to get the refillable popcorn bucket, because once you buy it, it’s only $2 (less with an annual pass discount!) to fill it up! It’s a cheap way to get the whole family powered back up in between meals.

I love the Leaky Cauldron, especially their cottage pie, wedge fries, and Scotch eggs. Add a Butterbeer and you’ll really feel like you’re in London, dining in Diagon Alley!

Leaky Cauldron

I’m also a fan of the Chicken and Waffle sandwich you can get at Cletus’ Chicken Shack in Springfield. Add a Flaming Moe’s for a drink with style!

Central Park Crepes

Central Park Crepes is another favorite, especially the Thanksgiving Feast crepe they offered during the holidays last year. Delicious and very filling!

And there are so many other options, that you’re sure to find something you love — from burgers and beer, to pizza and ice cream, to seafood, and even giant donuts!

Big Pink donut Universal Studios

I hope you have an incredible visit to Universal Studios Orlando, and please come back and tell us all about it!

Headed to Universal’s Islands of Adventure, too? Check out this post on all the Islands of Adventure rides!

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Universal Studios Orlando ride guide
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