Here we go – this is our list of our Top 10 Rides at Universal Studios and Universal’s Islands of Adventures in Orlando Florida. We had a 5 day holiday there as part of our epic 3 week trip to Florida with our then 4 year old. These are our Top 10 rides for families with young kids (aged between 3-8 some height restrictions apply) at the two Universal parks. If you are going to visit for just 1-2 days then make sure that you include these rides.
In alphabetical order – so in no particular order of preference.
1. Despicable Me Minion Mayhem – Universal Studios
Height Limit 40″ (around 102cm) – This is a 3D ride. While you are waiting for the next ‘showing’ you wait in a room where the characters run you through what is about to happen. You need to help deliver a present and for that you have to become a minion. You have your own seat in rows and the action is in 4-D so expect a few special effects. The 3-D ride takes you on twists and turns and at times you feel like you are really on a roller coaster. This was great fun. The shop at the end of the ride is a good place to meet a Minion character.
2. E.T. Adventure – Universal Studios
Height limit 34″ (approx. 87cm) – The film E.T. has always had a special place in my heart and I was so excited about the E.T. ride. Yes, it was a little naff and a little outdated but I loved every minute of it. It clearly touched my son’s heart as well as he bought himself an E.T. on the last day and has taken it to bed with him ever since. You board a special bike with E.T. in the basket at the front and then fly over scenes from the film and E.T.’s home planet.
3. Flight of the Hippogriff – Universal’s Island of Adventure
Height restriction 36″ (approx 92cm) – Because of the early opening for hotel guests to The Wizarding world of Harry Potter, Hogsmeade we were able to ride this rollercoaster ride a couple of times with only very minimal queuing. In fact, we could have gone on it at least 4 times as our son wasn’t tall enough for the main ride in the castle. It is similar to a runaway train and it is very fast. It’s a great in-between ride for younger kids who aren’t quite ready yet for big roller coasters.
4. Harry Potter and the Escape from Gringotts – Universal Studios
Height limit 42″ (approx. 107cm) – This is more for children aged 5-6 and over but our 4 and a half year old went on the ride and loved it. But he goes on scary rides and this was pretty scary at times. Even the queue could freak some kids out. Saying that it is well worth queuing for this ride just to spend some time in awe at Gringotts bank. The characters appear real, they are done so well! This ride was pretty epic and I’m glad my son was tall enough as it’s one not to miss if you like fast-moving rides. There’s quite a steep drop at one point which is almost in total darkness, you have no clue that it’s coming! You move around fast from scene to scene and the vehicles move with the action.
5. Jurassic Park River Adventure – Universals Islands of Adventure
Height limit 42″ (approx. 107cm) – You will get wet, possibly very wet but it will be worth it. We LOVED this ride and went on it with no queue at all after rope drop on two different days. You ride in a large boat and can sit quite a few on a row. If there’s a lot of you on the boat you will get a lot wetter than if there’s just a few of you. This ride is epic and lots of fun with dinosaurs galore and a very big drop!. (This ride has now closed down to make way for a newer and even better Jurassic Park river ride. Which they are billing to be the best ride yet so there is no way that this ride can be omitted even if it’s shut for a few months)
6. Men in Black Alien Attack – Universal Studios
Height limit 42″ (approx. 107cm) – Because of the height limit I was expecting the Men in Black ride to be fast or at least scary. It wasn’t particularly either of these. If anything it was slightly comical at times. You sit in a moving vehicle and you go around the streets zapping aliens with your laser guns. This brings up a score in front of you. My son loved this and begged to go on again the next time we went. I have to admit that it was a lot of fun so I took him on again.
7. Skull Island: Reign of Kong – Universal’s Islands of Adventure
Height Limit 36″ (around 92cm) – The scariest part of Reign of Kong is the queue for this ride. It is dark and it’s winding and there may well be someone who gives you are very big surprise in there. He scared our son witless to the point that he was nearly crying by the time we got him on the ride. He was fine going on before that. We even knew he was there the second time we went on the ride and he still frightened the life out of us. So why on earth have I included this in our top 10?
This is a 4D ride where you take your 3D glasses and board a safari truck to ride around Skull Island to find King Kong. You are whizzed from one screen to another and honestly, it is so immersive and it feels so real. This was one of my most favourite Universal rides and I urge you to not miss it. We went on this right after the Jurassic Park river ride after the rope drop at Harry Potter and walked on both times. It won’t disturb your kids forever, I promise! But a lot of more nervous kids won’t be keen on the queue and the immersive aspects of the ride. My son had no hesitations going on again.
8. The Cat in the Hat – Universal’s Islands of Adventure
Height limit 36″ (around 92cm) – This was one of our son’s most favourite rides. I must admit that we rather liked it too. You sit in a cart and you are whizzed around as if you are travelling through a Seuss story book. Some of the spins are quite fast so I can understand the height restriction. It is not a scary ride though and it’s very bright, happy and colourful. This ride is indoors.
9. The high in the Sky Seuss Trolley Train ride – Universal’s Islands of Adventure
Height Limit 36″ (around 92cm) – I am not entirely sure why this ride has a height limit. It may because you have to sit in your own individual seat. It’s quite high up and you are strapped in. The ride isn’t particularly fast nor scary. The view of the park from up here is amazing and it’s a really fun ride. You sit two by two and you can fit four in one carriage. It’s a relatively long ride and worth it for the view.
10. Transformers The Ride 3-D – Universal Studios
Height Limit 40″ (around 102cm) – Transformers is a 3D ride where you sit in a ‘car’ and you are transported around the streets and other places where good and bad Transformers are battling each other. There are a few 4D effects such as air blasted at you to add to the movement etc. This is a fast paced ride and there are a few elements which may scare younger children. We loved it and my son is now a massive Transformers fan. It takes ages to walk to the front of the queue which can be frustrating when there is no waiting time. But it was much better than Spiderman which is a similar ride over at Islands of Adventure.
What’s your verdict? Agree? Disagree? If you’ve never been hopefully you will find this post useful.
Universal Orlando Tickets
Are you looking for 2-3 park tickets for Universal in Orlando, Florida? Most of the Facebook planning groups I’m in recommend this website for purchasing your tickets. These tickets will include the Hogwarts express from park to park.
For further information about each park and to find out which rides are suitable for young children including toddlers please see – Islands of Adventure Orlando Rides For Families with Young Kids and Rides at Universal Studios Florida For Families with Young Kids
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