Top 10 Best Rides at Universal Studios Florida

Universal Studios Florida is one of the most popular theme parks in the world and invites guests to come "ride the movies." USF is a part of the larger Universal Orlando Resort, which includes Islands of Adventure, Volcano Bay, CityWalk, and more. The general theme of Universal Studios Florida is that of a movie set, with rides and shows based off of popular movies such as E.T., Despicable Me, and the Harry Potter series. While the park has experienced numerous changes over the years, it has remained a great place to spend time, and as of 2018, it is the most popular non-Disney theme park in the United States.

Note: The name "Universal Studios Florida" specifically refers to the Studios park, so don't put Islands of Adventure rides on this list.
The Top Ten
1 Revenge of the Mummy

This ride has always been one of my favorites at the Universal Orlando Resort, and it still holds up after 14 years of operation. This is for sure the best indoor coaster out there, even considering beloved Disney attractions like Space Mountain and Rock 'n' Roller Coaster. In fact, I dare say it's one of the best coasters in Florida, period.

Everything about this attraction works so well, from the setup in the queue to the special effects and the actual coaster itself. The queue is essentially a behind-the-scenes look at The Mummy film. As you go further into the queue, it transitions into what seems like an ancient Egyptian tomb. With the atmosphere slowly becoming more foreboding, it feels less and less like a set. It's definitely one of the more interesting queues out there.

The ride itself is one of Universal's best attempts at using physical sets and effects. While there are screens mixed in, there is much more to it than that. The ceiling of fire is my favorite part of the ride, and that initial launch is also very thrilling. The coaster itself is very smooth and is filled with fog and numerous visuals of the mummy. The ending brings us back to the comedic behind-the-scenes tone that we saw at the beginning of the ride.

Even after having ridden this ride several times, I still think it is very impressive. It remains one of my favorites at Universal, even with all the recent additions to their parks. This one is for sure not to be missed!

2 Hollywood Rip Ride Rockit

At a height of 167 feet (51 m), Hollywood Rip Ride Rockit is the tallest ride at the Universal Orlando Resort and the second fastest behind The Incredible Hulk Coaster. This ride allows you to choose from a variety of songs from different genres and make your own music video. The choices include songs from The Black Eyed Peas, Evanescence, The Beach Boys, and more.

If you don't happen to like any of the song choices, there are plenty of hidden songs that you can access by typing in a three-digit code once you get strapped in. The secret song list has everything from The Muppets to Metallica. I've never tried it, but I really ought to sometime in the future.

The ride itself has some unique elements, such as the non-inverting loop just after the first drop and the vertical lift hill. As far as coasters go, it's a little on the rough side and has a few mid-course brake runs along the way. It might not be a favorite with coaster enthusiasts. However, it's still a really fun ride that is quite unlike any other out there.

My favorite time to ride it is at night, with the flashing lights on the vehicles and the view of Orlando from the top of the lift hill. It's also a lot more fun if you happen to get the front seat, especially going up that lift hill. Overall, this is one of my favorites at the resort, and I always try to make sure to get at least one ride in per trip.

3 Harry Potter and the Escape From Gringotts

When I rode this for the first time back in 2015, I was very impressed by the queue, but found myself underwhelmed by the ride itself. I just didn't think it lived up to Forbidden Journey, which I consider the best ride across both Universal parks.

However, when I rode it again this summer, it was a lot better than I had remembered and has risen a bit in my Universal ride rankings. Is it a bit screen-heavy? Yes, but the ride really is a complete blast from start to finish, with great visuals, technology, and fun coaster segments. The only real problem I still have with it now is that the ending feels a bit abrupt, but other than that, I appreciate this ride a lot more now than I once did.

My opinion on the queue is unchanged from before. I think it is the single best queue for a ride there is, maybe with Flight of Passage at Animal Kingdom coming close. The theming is top-notch all around, the effects are great, the coaster portions are fun, and it's really just an impressive ride all around. Definitely don't miss out on this one when you go to Universal.

4 Transformers: The Ride

Even though I don't care for the Transformers franchise at all, I still think that this is an incredibly fun ride, albeit not quite as good as The Amazing Adventures of Spider-Man, which this kind of copied. The best thing about the ride is that while some simulator/motion-based rides lack that immersion, this one really makes you feel like you're in a Transformers movie. It doesn't feel like you're just looking at a screen.

I can't say that about some others *cough Fast and Furious cough.* It's loud, thrilling, and action-packed. It's everything you'd want a Transformers ride to be, and even though it might be easy to write off as just another simulator, this is definitely one of the better ones. If you're going to ride any simulator at USF, I'd recommend this one above the rest.

5 Men in Black: Alien Attack

One of the most unique rides at Universal Studios, this is a shoot-em-up ride similar to Buzz Lightyear's Space Ranger Spin at the Magic Kingdom, and in my opinion, a better version of it. The ride takes you through the streets of New York, where the incentive is to shoot up aliens and try to get a higher score than the opposing team.

I think the whole team dynamic makes it more fun than Buzz, plus you can actually lift the guns here. My favorite part is when you go in the scanner and the other team is revealed to be aliens in disguise. My only real gripe is that it's kind of on the short side, but overall it's a good ride that's definitely worth checking out.

6 Hogwarts Express

While this is more of a means of transportation than it is an actual ride, I think the incredible theming is enough to warrant a place on this list. Everything from the queue to the train compartments captures the spirit of the Harry Potter series and makes getting from one park to another an enjoyable experience.

There are two separate journeys this ride offers: one going from IoA to USF and another from USF to IoA. I personally prefer the latter, as I find it more exciting going towards Hogwarts castle rather than into everyday London, but that's just me. However, I think you should definitely try to ride both ways throughout your time at Universal, as they are completely different experiences.

I honestly find this to be more enjoyable than a lot of the actual rides in the park, as it's something unique and not anything you can experience elsewhere. The closest thing Disney has to this is the Monorail, and that's still not really comparable to this. It's not going to be the first thing you head for when you enter the park, but definitely don't miss out on it, as it's one of the most immersive attractions at the resort.

7 The Simpsons Ride

Oh, The Simpsons Ride, how mixed my feelings are towards you. This is an attraction I enjoy, but I also tend to dread riding it because it almost always makes me feel nauseous afterwards. I don't tend to get motion sick on rides, but considering that this is supposed to be a ride that Krusty the Clown built, perhaps it makes sense to get easily nauseated.

Some people are still mad that this replaced Back to the Future, but I only rode BttF once. I remember getting sick on that as well and didn't have any particular affinity for it, so I didn't mind the change to The Simpsons. I'd probably like it more if there weren't already so many simulator attractions in the parks. It's kind of like riding the same ride, just themed to a different movie/show essentially.

That being said, The Simpsons has things that stand out about it, such as the classic Simpsons humor, fun story, great queue, and other attributes that help it stand out from the pack. Overall, while it's not one of my favorites, it's definitely a fun one that you should try at least once.

8 E.T. Adventure

This is the only ride on this list that has been here since the park opened. It's also one of the only rides in the park I'd really call "kid-friendly," as well as one of the few that doesn't rely on screens. So already, this ride has quite a bit going for it.

Considering it's been here since the beginning, this ride is nostalgic for a lot of Universal fans, much the same way the now-defunct Jaws and Back to the Future were. It would be pretty sad if this one closed down as well, especially if it were to be replaced with yet another simulator. (Sorry, I know I've mentioned the overabundance of simulators in this park enough, but it really is a problem.)

The ride starts with the famous chase scene from the movie and the sudden take-off into the sky. The story of the ride is to go to E.T.'s home, The Green Planet, and save his friends from dying through his magical touch. I think it's interesting that it starts off with a scene we know and then approaches new territory in the second half of the ride.

The ride overall is pretty mellow, but it's a nice break from all the simulators in the park. It's a great ride for kids, being pretty much Universal's answer to the highly popular Peter Pan's Flight at the Magic Kingdom. Probably the best part is when E.T. says your name at the end.

9 Race Through New York Starring Jimmy Fallon

If I'm putting this on the list, that's how you know this park could use some help in the creative department. Yes, this ride is pretty weird and overall meh, but I can honestly say that even with all the flak I saw it getting before I rode it, I ultimately didn't think it was all that bad.

I at least enjoyed it more than Fast and Furious: Supercharged, which was definitely subpar. The biggest bummer with it, I would say, is that it's yet another simulator in a park full of them, so it doesn't really stand out. The "story," if I can even call it that, is basically just racing Jimmy Fallon across New York with various 3D gags thrown at us.

Overall, it's definitely not the best, but I also think there are worse, such as F&F

Would I wait very long for it? No, but it's at least got an entertaining queue, there are some funny moments, and if you've never done it before, I think it's worth doing at least once.

10 Despicable Me: Minion Mayhem

Personally, I find the Despicable Me series overrated beyond belief, and I think that this ride is pretty overrated as well. I'd honestly be perfectly fine if I never rode it again.

However, looking at it from a first-timer's eyes, it's a pretty fun simulator attraction and fans of Despicable Me and the minions are sure to get a kick out of it. The queue is impressively themed, it's got some funny moments, and it does its job as a simulator in making you completely nauseous.

You wouldn't think a ride based on Despicable Me would pack that much of a punch, but unless you're sitting in one of the immobile seats, it's honestly on par with rides like The Simpsons and Transformers in terms of motion sickness. Overall, while I don't think it's among the best Universal has to offer, is it a fun ride that's worth doing at least once? Yes.

The Contenders
11 Jaws

Despite the fact that it was shut down, I still consider this the best attraction that was ever at the park. It relied on massive physical sets, exciting special effects, and menacing animatronic sharks. Even the best motion simulators cannot replicate the feeling of being pursued by a massive Great White Shark.

This attraction was extremely immersive, fun, and made you feel as though you were in the movie. As you cruised past the "jaw-dropping" scenes, you were given a feeling that cannot be given by today's screen-based rides. This ride gave the thrill of a lifetime because everything that happened during it was real. The sharks were real animatronics that you felt you could reach out and touch.

One doesn't receive the same three-dimensional experience that Jaws gave with today's motion simulators. Jaws was the perfect attraction and an example of what a ride should be. "Ride the Movies!"

12 Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey

Good ride, but not Islands of Adventure.

13 Jimmy Neutron Rocket Blast Ride
14 The Hulk

The Hulk roller coaster was my first roller coaster with a loop in it. All the nostalgia.

15 Back to the Future: The Ride (Universal Studios Theme Parks)
16 The Funtastic World of Hanna-Barbera
17 Kongfrontation
18 Caro-Seuss-el

The only carousel where you can control your mount's facial movements. And where else are you going to be able to ride an elephant-bird or cow-fish? Even the Mulligatawnies are still there as of early July 2022, despite the book they're from falling victim to cancel culture.

19 Hagrid's Magical Creatures Motorbike Adventure
20 Twister: Ride It Out
21 Dr Doom's Fear Fall
22 VelociCoaster
23 Poseidon’s Fury
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