25 Best Rides at Universal Studios Orlando Theme Parks

PHOTO: Universal Studios in Orlando, Florida. (Photo by Lauren Bowman)
Lauren Bowman
by Lauren Bowman
Last updated: 10:00 AM ET, Fri October 12, 2018

Three Parks for Three Times the Fun

Universal Orlando has three exceptional theme parks-Universal Studios, Islands of Adventure and Volcano Bay. Opened in 2017, Volcano Bay is Universal's water theme park. Although Universal Studios may be best known for their interactive Wizarding World of Harry Potter areas-Hogsmeade in Islands of Adventure and Diagon Alley in Universal Studios-the rides throughout the rest of the parks are filled with just as many thrills and entertainment.

Krakatau Aqua Coaster, Volcano Bay

Where else can you go on a water rollercoaster?! You'll be launched up by conveyor belts to the middle of the volcano only to drop back down the bottom. Although there are no loops, you'll get plenty of thrills with this ride.

The Incredible Hulk Coaster, Islands of Adventure

The Incredible Hulk Coaster is one of the first sites you see in Islands of Adventure from Universal CityWalk, and the screams from thrill-bound seekers on this ride might be the first thing you hear upon entering the park. Lockers are provided for all your loose items, and they are serious about participants taking everything out of their pockets-you'll have to walk through a metal detector before queueing. This coaster is unlike any in the park-you're immediately shot up the first hill and dropped down into multiple twists, turns and loops.

Revenge of the Mummy-The Ride, Universal Studios

Wow! This is a great ride, but maybe a little scary for smaller children. You'll need to stow your loose belongings in a free locker near the entrance of the ride. Then prepare yourself as you try to flee from the mummy, Imhotep. And just when you think the ride is nearing the end, you'll be plunged into the darkness.

Ohyah & Ohno Drop Slides, Volcano Bay

These enclosed water slides twist and turn until they shoot you out into a drop pool. The Ohyah (green) slide has a four-foot drop while the Ohno (purple) slide has a six-foot drop. Just be sure to hold onto your sunglasses-lifeguards can only check the drop pool every so often throughout the day for lost valuables because they have to close the ride.

Harry Potter and the Escape from Gringotts, Universal Studios

You've walked through Diagon Alley in Universal Studios and seen the dragon atop Gringotts blow fire, but now it's time to make your way through the bank to a 3D adventure. The premise of the ride is from the seventh Harry Potter book-Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows-when Harry, Ron and Hermione break into and then escape from Gringotts. This is a topsy-turvy ride, so be sure to secure all belongings.

Punga Racers, Volcano Bay

This is a great ride to do with friends! There are four slides, and you can race one another to the bottom on mats. Do-overs are a must on this ride.

Popeye & Bluto's Bilge-Rat Barges, Islands of Adventure

You're sure to get turned around on this 10-person circular raft ride. Travel down rapids as Popeye tries to retrieve Olive Oyl from Bluto. Visitors not on the ride can participate by firing water cannons at those in the rafts-just to make sure everyone on board gets drenched.

E.T. Adventure, Universal Studios

Help E.T. return to his dying home planet to restore health and happiness. Board the group bicycles and take off before federal agents catch you. Then arrive on E.T.'s home planet and see the transformation. Universal Studios makes this personalized by taking your name in a 'passport services' queue before the ride and using it during your trip.

Honu of the Honu ika Moana, Volcano Bay

It's hard to think of raft rides as 'thrill' rides, but don't be surprised if you feel your stomach drop on this one. With two huge walls that you'll travel up-and then back down-on, this ride is sure to get your adrenaline going.

Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey, Islands of Adventure

The queue for this ride is my favorite in any of the Universal parks-you get to walk through the Herbology Greenhouses into the Hogwarts castle, see where the house points are kept, walk through Dumbledore's study, and hear the talking portraits that line the castle walls. Then there's the ride itself-join Harry, Ron and Hermione on an adventure through the castle and Forbidden Forest to escape a dragon. No it doesn't follow a plot from the books or the movies, but it incorporates many of the elements from the wizarding world.

TeAwa the Fearless River, Volcano Bay

Universal Orlando really re-thought water rides at Volcano Bay. This fast-flowing river is anything but lazy, and all guests are required to wear life jackets, with good reason, while circling around on this ride. There is a much slower paced lazy river, the Kopiko Wai Winding River, for those wanting a more relaxed journey.

Ko'okiri Body Plunge, Volcano Bay

Only for the truly fearless. As you march up the multitude of steps to the middle of the volcano, your adrenaline really starts to kick in. Step inside the space-capsule and participants are dropped 125 feet at a 70-degree angle.

Hollywood Rip Ride Rockit, Universal Studios

The Hollywood Rip Ride Rockit is Universal Studios top thrill ride. A true rollercoaster, you'll get to pick your music before the ride takes off and then rock out as you race up to 65 mph around the track. This ride is open-and lit up-during Universal's Halloween Horror Nights.

Jurassic Park River Adventure, Islands of Adventure

You're sure to get wet on this ride as you try to escape the jaws of a T. Rex by plunging down an 85-foot drop. This is a great ride for those hot Florida days, and there are 'People Dryers' stationed outside the exit of the ride. If you, or someone in your family, is a true lover of Jurassic Park be sure to check out the New Jurassic World Kids' Suites at Loews Royal Pacific Resort.

Kala & Tai Nui Serpentine Body Slides, Volcano Bay

Climb into the heart of the volcano to get to these slides. Enter into a space-like capsule as you prepare to be dropped into the slide-just don't look down, or you may chicken out. Although not a straight drop like the Ko'okiri Body Plunge, the Kala and Tai Nui intertwine as you race to the bottom of the volcano.

Hogwarts Express, Universal Studios & Islands of Adventure

So you could exit the front of Universal Studios and re-enter at Islands of Adventure, or you can stay immersed in the Wizarding World of Harry Potter by taking a trip on the Hogwarts Express. You can board at either park-Hogsmeade Station in Islands of Adventure or Kings Cross Station in Universal Studios-and join other wizards on their way to/from Hogwarts. Be sure to ride the train both ways as the adventure is different depending on which direction you're going.

Fast & Furious-Supercharged, Universal Studios

Fast & Furious is a brand new ride at Universal Studios. You'll get to walk through a mechanic shop-be prepared to stop as giddy car enthusiasts fawn over the muscle cars-and into a 'staging area' where the premise of the ride is set-up by one of the crew members. The ride itself is a blend of 3D action and movements from your vehicle.

Raki of Taniwha Tubes, Volcano Bay

The Raki of Taniwha tube ride is a great ride to catch your breath from all the thrills of faster water slides. There are two tracks to choose from, but both are equally fun for you to enjoy with a partner.

Skull Island Reign of Kong, Islands of Adventure

Hop on an all-terrain safari vehicle to navigate into the heart of treacherous jungle where beasts rule. Just when you think you'll get eaten by a dinosaur, Kong appears to fend off the predator. The vehicle is thrown off course and you have to take the rough route back to camp.

Men in Black Alien Attack, Universal Studios

Another ride where you'll need to store your loose belongings before you board-and you'll be glad you did. Full of spins, twists and turns you'll be fighting off aliens as a MIB trainee. This is a great ride for groups-compare your scores at the end to see who the true sharpshooter is.

Puihi of Maku Puihi Round Raft Rides, Volcano Bay

Puihi of Maku Puihi is a large raft ride that spins you around and down a few twists and turns. Part of the ride is enclosed, but then the ride opens up and shoots you down a sizable drop. Walking up all of those steps to the top of the ride also gives you a great view of the park.

Dudley Do-Right's Ripsaw Falls, Islands of Adventure

Similar to the Jurassic Park River Adventure, the Dudley Do-Right's Ripsaw Falls sends visitors down a waterfall after rafting through twists, turns, and a 'p'unny adventure between Snidely Whiplash, Nell Fenwick and Dudley Do-Right. You can also watch your family shoot down the 75-foot flume from a walkway, but be sure to stand far enough back if you don't want to be in the splash zone.

Race Through New York Starring Jimmy Fallon, Universal Studios

The ride boasts a 'virtual queue.' Upon entering, you'll be given a color card-then you can explore the history of The Tonight Show and live music from The Ragtime Gals. Once your color is called, you'll join your group to board your vehicle. Once onboard, Jimmy Fallon will lead you on a chase through New York City.

The Amazing Adventures of Spider-Man, Islands of Adventure

The Amazing Adventures of Spider-Man was one of the first rides to begin incorporating 3D technology in the Universal Studios' parks. Escape from Spider-man's arch-enemies as you travel through New York City and 'thrown' around by Spider-man's webs. Be on the lookout for the Stan Lee cameos.

ika Moana of the Honu ika Moana, Volcano Bay

The much tamer raft ride that shares a launch station with Honu, this rides has a few twists, turns and drops, but it's sure to provide more of a leisurely raft ride than the blood-pumping Honu raft ride.

Get ready for shrills and thrills with these rides at Universal Studios Orlando.

For the latest travel news, updates and deals, subscribe to the daily TravelPulse newsletter.

Topics From This Media to Explore

Get To Know Us Better

Agent At Home

Helping leisure selling travel agents successfully manage their at-home business.

Subscribe For Free

Agent Specialization: Group Travel

Laurence Pinckney

Laurence Pinckney

CEO of Zenbiz Travel, LLC

About Me
Agent At Home

Helping leisure selling travel agents successfully manage their at-home business.

Subscribe For Free

Agent Specialization: Group Travel

Laurence Pinckney

Laurence Pinckney

CEO of Zenbiz Travel, LLC

About Me