I absolutely love roller coasters and have since I was a little girl. I used to cry and cry because I wasn’t tall enough to go on the rollercoasters. SO not fair that my parents could go but I couldn’t. Luckily I was really tall for my age and I got to ride earlier than most kids.
When we visited our dad in Florida each summer, we spent tons of time riding roller coasters, from Six Flags over Georgia, to Busch Gardens, to the thrill rides at Universal Studios Orlando. One of my absolute favorites was Back to the Future at Universal Orlando. That ride is now Simpson’s The Ride. I haven’t ridden it, but I’m sure it’s still really fun.
SO, SO much has changed at Universal Orlando since the last time I was there. I was really blown away by all the changes that have happened, all the new rides, and the way they’ve revamped things. On my list of new-to-me things to see: Diagon Alley and the ride Escape from Gringott’s, Hogsmede and Harry Potter & the Forbidden Journey, and Rip Ride Rock-it.
Now that you know about Halloween Horror Nights 24, where to stay in Orlando, and where you can have the most fun in Orlando, I’ll tell you where you can find the best thrills in Orlando. Between the two Universal parks, you can spend an entire day riding thrill rides and geeking out over the Harry Potter attractions, and still not see all the more low-key don’t miss things.
So for all of my thrill seekers in the house, here are the top thrill rides that you absolutely cannot miss at Universal Studios Orlando.
Tip #1: Start at Universal Studios
It’s easy to get caught up in the excitement at Islands of Adventure, but if you start at Universal Studios, you see the newest, most incredible attractions that you might have otherwise missed.
Minion Mayhem is a simulator that is not only a ton of fun, but really funny. We started our journey here and had a blast. It was a great way to start the day. Banana anyone?
Once you’ve tickled your funny bone, head over to The Transformers The Ride – 3D. This was enormous for me. I loved Transformers when I was a little girl and now Styles is obsessed. This ride was like going back 25 years and living childhood inside a Transformers movie. Note I said back 25 years, not current Transformers movies. This ride is really, really well done. Don’t miss it.
Once you’re feeling nostalgic, head over to The Mummy. The Mummy is one of my top three favorite rides anywhere. It is a phenomenal ride and scares the pants off of me each time I ride it. It’s thrilling without being a roller coaster and combines some fantastic elements of surprise that I can’t tell you about. This ride just embodies how Universal does things – Full out. They don’t play.
Tip #2: Spend some time with Harry Potter
Now it’s time to head over to to Universal Orlando’s newest expansion: Diagon Alley. Don’t be afraid to take your time in Diagon Alley. There are SO many of Universal’s “Surprise & Delight” moments that I lost track. There are interactive displays all over the place, little nuances that Harry Potter fans can appreciate to the fullest, and a ride that will take you into the depths of Gringotts in Harry Potter & The Escape from Gringotts.
People! THIS RIDE. I can’t even tell you how amazing this ride is. I was absolutely floored. As an enormous Harry Potter nerd, this ride was like living my fantasies – the PG ones anyway – and I haven’t recovered since. I’m ready to go back and escape from Gringotts again. Talk about a ride well done? This ride is extremely well done. I can’t even say anything else about it, it’s just mind blowing.
Once you’re done with Diagon Alley (not too quickly!) hop onto the train at Hogwart’s Station and head over to Hogsmede at Islands of Adventure. This is where your journey begins at IOA.
Tip #3: A line at Universal Studios isn’t your run of the mill boring line. It’s an experience
While you’re in the Harry Potter mood, check out Harry Potter & The Forbidden Journey where you ride on a broomstick through a forbidden journey with everyone’s favorite wizard. Yes, even if your favorite wizard happens to be a ginger. *ahem* The ride was quite thrilling and unlike anything else I’ve ever done. Don’t wear flip flops. All you’ll think about the whole time you’re riding is how you are afraid they’re going to fall off your feet. Don’t forget to really take a look at the decor while you’re waiting in line. Universal Studios certainly knows how to make waiting in line an experience rather than the mundane. I almost didn’t want to leave the line.
Afterwards, head over to the Dragon Challenge rollercoaster. I used to go to Islands of Adventure and ride it over and over and over with some of my best friends. My favorite is still the “Ice” side. This coaster brings you literally feet-to-feet with riders on the other coaster train. It is thrilling and fun and you can’t miss it.
Tip #4: Get Wet before the big coasters so you dry off faster
I’m all about going against the flow, so I would use this time to run over to Jurassic Park for a relaxing ride through the Jurassic period. There are ponchos for purchase if you don’t want to get wet, but I highly recommend also purchasing some Waterproof Eyeliner because I got a hydrant to the face and miraculously, my eyeliner stayed put.
Now that you’re all wet, head over to Marvel Island to play with the super heros.
I’m going to say this only once. Don’t be a chicken liver. Ride Dr. Doom’s Fear Fall. It is SO much fun. You never know what you’re going to get when you ride it, and it will leave your heart in your throat. If you’re a real thrill seeker, you wouldn’t blink twice about jumping into one of the chairs and riding this super thrilling ride. At one point in my life, it was my absolute favorite thrill ride in the world.
If you still need to dry off a bit, go check out The Hulk. I can’t say too much about this ride because there’s a super thrilling surprise, just know that you will never forget your first time. My favorite place to sit is the back but that’s true for any roller coaster with me. If you have a favorite coaster locale, sit there for your first ride, but try it all on this coaster.
Tip #5: Still in doubt? Experience it the VIP way
Are you afraid you won’t hit it all in one day? Never fear. Invest in a VIP tour. They are worth every penny and include free ponchos for those water rides, plus you get to skip all the lines. And people think you’re someone famous. Just make sure to wear your biggest sunglasses all day long.
Some images provided by Universal Studios Halloween Horror Nights 24 Press Kit