Ranking My (Current) Top 5 Top Five Universal Orlando Resort Thrill Rides
Universal Orlando Resort offers world-class thrill rides for the young (and those of us who are young at heart). Guests planning their first visit to Universal Orlando Resort often ask what are the must-do attractions for their time in the parks. While every guest has different tastes and likes, those seeking thrill rides will certainly NOT be disappointed at the wide array of offerings at Universal Orlando Resort. To help you narrow down your list, here are my Top Five Universal Orlando Resort Thrill Rides.
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Number 5: Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey
The theming of Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey alone earns it a spot on this list of the Top Five Universal Orlando Resort Thrill Rides. The attraction, which can be found in Islands of Adventure, brings Hogwarts Castle to life. The queue includes include talking portraits, the staircase to the headmaster’s office, and even the sorting hat!
The thrills begin when you climb aboard a flying cabinet and follow Harry into a quidditch match. In typical Harry Potter fashion, things do not go according to plan and you find yourself in the Forbidden Forest and face to face with dementors! The mix of 3D and animatronics adds an additional element of fun to this ride.
Pro tip: Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey is one of the Universal Orlando Resort Thrill Rides that accepts Express Pass. Oh, and this is NOT an attraction you want to ride immediately after lunch!
Number 4: Jurassic Park River Adventure
I have to admit, the fact that you venture through the gates of Jurrasic Park while hearing ‘Welcome to Jurrasic Park’ at the beginning of this ride adds a bit of a nostalgia factor, which definitely influences my decision to place this attraction on this list of the Top Five Universal Orlando Resort Thrill Rides. Jurassic Park River Adventure (also found in Islands of Adventure) is a riverboat ride on which you WILL get wet, making it perfect for a mid-day cool down from the hot Florida sun.
Guests board a raft and set sail on an adventure into Jurrasic Park. Shortly after starting the ride, the boat makes a wrong turn and you end up traveling into the Raptor cage. Various dinosaur encounters await, including a close encounter with the fearsome T-Rex, before you make the final 85-foot plunge. You cannot go wrong with a ride on Jurassic Park River Adventure!
Pro tip: this attraction accepts Express Pass, and you may want to consider switching out your sneakers for sandals to avoid walking around in wet shoes for the rest of the day.
Number 3: Harry Potter and the Escape from Gringotts
This is the only Universal Studios attraction to make our list of the Top Five Universal Orlando Resort Thrill Rides. Like Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey, Harry Potter and the Escape from Gringott’s theming is on point with an inspiringly accurate recreation of Gingotts Bank. Fans of the movies (and books) are dropped directly into a scene from Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, during which Harry, Ron, and Hermoine must retrieve a Horcrux from the vault of no one other than Bellatrix Lestrange.
During your ride, you come face-to-face with Bellatrix and He Who Must Not be Named, survive an encounter with trolls, and end up rescued by being tethered to the tail of a dragon! This high-speed coaster combines high-speed thrills, special effects elements, Motion Simulation, and 3-D/4-D elements, making it a super fun ride!
Pro Tip: Harry Potter and the Escape from Gringotts accepts Express Pass, and the seats on this ride can be a bit tight so you may want to check out the test seat prior to riding.
Number 2: Hagrid’s Magical Creatures Motorbike Adventure
Prior to the opening of Number 1 on our list, Hagrid’s Magical Creatures Motorbike Adventure, which can be found in Islands of Adventure, would have certainly made the top spot on this list of the Top Five Universal Orlando Resort Thrill Rides. The theming is on-point, the ride is super fun and surprisingly fast, and surprise elements like a sudden backward launch and a surprise drop make this an attraction that must be repeated.
Guests board a Motorbike (or sidecar) during a lesson with Hagrid. Riders are immersed in magical creatures and elements from the movies, and Hagrid himself even makes an appearance! The line for this ride can be a bit long, so you may want to consider hitting it up first thing in the morning or closely monitoring the wait times on the app.
Pro Tip: Hagrid’s Magical Creatures Motorbike Adventure does NOT accept Express Pass, however groups that are ok with not riding together can take advantage of the Single Rider line.
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Number 1: Jurassic World VelociCoaster
From a thrill-ride perspective, Jurassic World VelociCoaster is not only number one on my list of the Top Five Universal Orlando Resort Thrill Rides, but my favorite coaster period (and I have ridden ALOT of coasters). Prior to moving to Florida, I often said I would consider hopping on a plane and flying down to Universal Orlando just to ride on VelociCoaster!
The theming of this ride is ON POINT, immersing you in the Jurrasic World universe from the beginning of the queue. Guests board a ride vehicle in which they will race raptors through the raptor cages and experience two launches, a top hat that provides incredible air time, and the famous (or infamous, depending on your perspective) “Mosasaurus Roll”, a heartline roll which takes place over the water at just under 55 MPH. With a top speed of 70 miles per hour and a drop of 140 feet (at an 80-degree angle), VelociCoaster is a MUST-DO for any coaster or thrill ride enthusiast!
Pro Tip: VelociCoaster does NOT currently accept Express Pass, however the wait times for this ride are always very reasonable (often ~ 30-45 minutes or less, even on busy park days. You also pass through a metal detector after leaving the locker area (which is in the middle of the queue), so be sure to empty your pockets.
You cannot go wrong with any of the rides on this list of the Top Five Universal Orlando Resort Thrill Rides. I had a tough time compiling it, as other attractions (including Revenge of the Mummy and TRANSFORMERS: The Ride-3D) certainly deserve to be on here!
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