My family came up with a list of our top 10 rides at Universal Orlando. If you go, check them out and let us know if you agree. What’s great about this list is that it includes rides for all ages. I’m presenting this list in no particular order as our family and friends fight over which rides get the top 2-3 slots.
Flight of the Hippogriff
This ride can be found in the Islands of Adventure Hogsmead area. This is a great family coaster that looks like it’s made of wicker and wood. For Harry Potter fans, you’ll see Hagrid’s hut and a ‘real’ Hippogriff. This is a very enjoyable smaller coaster, which is good for kids and adults alike. You’ll get tossed and turned on this speedy coaster. Larger adults might find the cars a bit of a squeeze, but it’s still fun. The kids wanted to ride it a number of times. If you don’t like the loopty-loops or the high elevations, this coaster is for you.
Popeye & Bluto’s Bilge-Rat Barges
This ride is rip roaring splashing fun! On a hot day, this ride is a must. You WILL get soaked and love it! Riders sit in a huge round raft that holds about 12 people. You are plunged into a roaring river and ride the rapids swirling and bumping along the riverbanks. Just when you think it might be over, there is a conveyer belt that takes you up a huge hill simulating kind of a car wash with brushes and water sprayers. After this hill, you plunge once again into the river for another minute or so before the ride ends. With an Express Pass, we went on this ride 4 times in a row. It was a blast! Find this ride in the Toon Lagoon area of Islands of Adventure.
Dudley Do-Right’s Ripshaw Falls
This is more of a traditional log flume ride with a big surprise at the end. From the park walkway, all you can see if the huge final drop of this ride. When you head up the first hill, you think it may be just an up and down, but we were pleasantly surprised that there is quite a bit of riding around a longer flume ride at the top. This is the place to go if you are in need of a bath. You will be soaked head-to-toe, soap not included. Make sure your phone and wallet are in a sealed plastic container or in a storage locker. This is another ride in the Toon Lagoon area of Islands of Adventure.
Most of my family were afraid to go on this one so I went with a friend. I am a coaster enthusiast so I was dying to give this one a try. I found it to be one of my favorite coasters in the park. It’s a suspended coaster so riders are hanging under the track. This way, you can’t see what’s ahead so nearly every drop and spin come as a surprise. The barrel roles are intense. I have been dizzy before on coasters, but this was probably the first time I felt nearly drunk after getting OFF the ride. I was still wobbly on the path leaving the ride. It left me giggling. Find this ride in the Hogsmead are of the Islands of Adventure park.
We are huge Harry Potter fans so we were thrilled that this ride included a tour of the castle before the ride. We were lucky that the line was not too bad so we could take some time to really enjoy each room. The ride itself is a combination of motion, sets and movie screen effects. If you are prone to motion sickness, I suggest you don’t eat before you get on. I almost skipped it and I did need to close my eyes for some of the most intense motion simulation flying, but I still enjoyed it. My kids LOVED it. They went on 3 more times. This is another ride in the Hogsmead are of the Islands of Adventure park.
This is a classic hit for all coaster enthusiasts. The coaster starts with an amazing thrust like you are being shot out of a canon. Before you know it, you are screaming downward into a loop that dives into a tunnel under the lagoon. The G forces are pretty strong throughout this ride. The loops are HUGE and really fun. It’s quite a long ride as well so we felt like it was worth the wait. Find this ride in the Marvel Superhero Island area of Islands of Adventure.
The Amazing Adventures of Spider Man
This is one of the older 3D rides at the park, but it’s been recently updated to enhance the quality of the entire experience. We thoroughly enjoyed this ride and found it to be one of our favorite 3D rides. I was so impressed with the feeling of being thrown over and above the New York City skyline, crashing down etc. It was really immersive and realistic. We rode this ride 3 times. Find this ride in the Marvel Superhero Island area of Islands of Adventure.
This ride opened in summer of 2014. It provides a shuttle for visitors between the Islands of Adventure and Universal Orlando. If you are a Harry Potter fan, it is not to be missed! The ride is even different in each direction as it would be for Harry and his friends. The ride from Universal (aka London) to Hogwarts has a bit more mystery and will be familiar to both movie and book fans. If you can only pick one direction, I recommend this one. Other than the effects and video being a little better, the London station has air conditioning, which is key for hot Florida days especially if there is a line.
Escape from Gringotts
This was my personal favorite ride. It was an amazing combination of indoor coaster and 3D motion simulation. I did not get the motion sickness I felt on Forbidden Journey, probably because much of the motion was real and not simulated. Even getting to the main ride is fun. You walk through Gringotts bank, down into their records area and ride special elevators taking you ‘miles underground’ to the vaults. As long as you are inside, the line is air conditioned. If the line goes out the door, I suggest coming back another time because there is plenty of line inside. This ride can be found in Diagon Alley in the Universal Park.
This is possibly the hidden gem of Universal Florida. It is an indoor coaster that follows the theme of The Mummy movie a bit. There is steam, fire and of course MUMMIES! The coaster is fast and furious. Since it’s indoors it’s super dark so you can’t see what’s coming. Do be prepared for a few super fast stops which might push your lunch right out of your mouth. If you brace yourself properly, you’ll be fine. We loved it so much that we rode this ride 4 times. This ride is a bit hidden on the back street of the Universal Park.
So there is our list. I highly recommend checking out The Orlando Informer for itinerary ideas and other tips for selecting rides at Universal Orlando that will fit your family. If you are looking for a place to stay, we loved the Loews Portofino Bay Hotel.