10 Most Thrilling Rides at Universal Orlando

Universal's Parks Are Known for Thrills. These Are the 10 Scariest.

Universal Orlando Globe
Universal Orlando

Pandemic Update 

With the COVID-19 outbreak, Universal Orlando, as with virtually all parks, shuttered its gates in mid-March of 2020. It was the first major theme park operator to reopen. In early June, all three parks, Islands of Adventure, Universal Studios Florida, and Universal’s Volcano Bay water park, started allowing visitors to enjoy its attractions once again. The Florida resort has introduced many new guidelines, policies, and changes to promote safe operations amid the pandemic.

It is essential for visitors to learn what is different at the parks so that they know what to expect. According to Universal, all of the thrilling attractions listed below are open and available to ride. But with the new policies, you might have to use the resort’s Virtual Line system to book a time. You might also have to wait longer than anticipated because of reduced capacity on the attractions. These are just some of the things with which you should become familiar before you enter the parks.

To delve into the details and learn more, read our comprehensive guide to visiting Universal Orlando during the pandemic.

Universal’s Most Thrilling Attractions

Unlike the more restrained Walt Disney World, Universal Orlando lets it ride when it comes to thrills. (That's not to say that there aren't any thrills to be had at the nearby Mouse House.) Nearly all attractions, even ones intended for general audiences, include amped-up, in-your-face moments.

Visitors on the extreme low end of the thrill-tolerance spectrum may find themselves a tad challenged at Universal. But coaster-loving tweens and teens, as well as adults, who want to get their adrenaline pumping will find plenty of opportunities to test their mettle. (If you will be visiting the theme park resort with younger children in tow, check out the 9 best Universal Orlando rides for kids.)

The following are the 10 most thrilling attractions at the resort's two parks. As you might expect, roller coasters figure prominently. They can't match the world's fastest coasters for sheer terror, but the two Universal rides at the top of the list are truly world class and don't skimp on the thrills.

Most of the rest of the attractions offer a combination of physical and psychological thrills. Using innovative ride design and an impressive array of special effects, Universal is masterful at creating suspense, rattling nerves, and keeping guests on the edge of their seats—even if, despite appearances, the ride vehicles aren't really moving all that much. (Case in point: Although passengers are supposed to be revving over 100 mph on Fast & Furious – Supercharged, the “party buses” don’t move forward an inch during the chase scene.)

The rides are listed in order of the thrills they deliver, starting with with the most thrilling. Each attraction includes a 10-pont thrill scale with a maximum score of 10 equaling a solid "yikes!" down to the wimpiest rating of 0. You can read full reviews of most of the rides by clicking on their names.

By the way, if thrills just aren’t your thing (or the thing of someone with whom you will be visiting the parks), you might want to check out how to survive Universal Orlando if you are a wimp. Hint: Stay the heck away from the coasters!

10 of 10

The Incredible Hulk

The Hulk universal orlando
LiftLaughLipstick / Pixabay
Address
6000 Universal Blvd, Orlando, FL 32819, USA
Phone +1 407-224-4233

Thrill scale: 8
Location: Islands of Adventure

How's this for thrills? Hulk sends passengers soaring up its "Gamma Force Accelerator" tube only to turn riders upside down as they emerge. And that's only the first few seconds. Lots of inversions and crushing positive G-force moments follow in the wild ride.

09 of 10

Hollywood Rip Ride Rockit

Rip Ride Rockit

Arthur Levine

Address
6000 Universal Blvd, Orlando, FL 32819, USA
Phone +1 407-363-8000

Thrill scale: 8
Location: Universal Studios Florida

The daunting coaster sends passengers up a 17-story vertical lift hill (when Universal says empty your pockets before boarding, they mean it) and releases them into a steep drop at 65 mph. The twisting track meanders through Universal Studios' New York backlot and includes many attention-grabbing inversions.

08 of 10

Hagrid’s Magical Creatures Motorbike Adventure

Harry Potter film stars on Hagrid coaster at Universal Orlando

Universal Orlando

Address
6000 Universal Blvd, Orlando, FL 32819, USA
Phone +1 407-363-8000

Thrill scale: 7
Location: Islands of Adventure

With its stunning animatronics and lushly-designed scenes, Hagrid’s Magical Creatures Motorbike Adventure is one of Universal’s best dark rides. But it is also one thrill-tastic coaster. It includes multiple launches (more than any other coaster in the world when it debuted), a 65-foot tall dead-end spike, reverse motion, and a vertical drop (yikes!). We break down the Hagrid ride to help you determine whether you’d be able to handle it.

07 of 10

Revenge of the Mummy

Revenge of the Mummy
Pierre André / Wikimedia Commons
Address
6000 Universal Blvd, Orlando, FL 32819, USA
Phone +1 407-363-8000

Thrill scale: 6.5
Location: Universal Studios Florida

The first act of the Mummy ride presents some great animatronics and dark ride scenes. The second half delivers a pulse-quickening coaster ride in the dark. There are no inversions, but the ride is fairly intense.

Continue to 5 of 10 below.
06 of 10

Dr. Doom's Fearfall

Dr Dooms
Dave Walker / Flickr / CC BY 2.0
Address
6000 Universal Blvd, Orlando, FL 32819, USA
Phone +1 407-363-8000

Thrill scale: 6.5
Location: Islands of Adventure

While it has some cool Marvel themes, Dr. Doom's is essentially the same kind of drop tower ride found at many amusement parks. Blasting up and freefalling down the two towers provides some giddy positive and negative G-forces.

05 of 10

Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey

Forbidden Journey

Arthur Levine

Address
6000 Universal Blvd, Orlando, FL 32819, USA
Phone +1 407-363-8000

Thrill scale: 5.5
Location: Islands of Adventure

The original Wizarding World of Harry Potter - Hogsmeade invites muggles inside Hogwarts Castle to journey with Harry and his pals. The robotic arm ride system, a first of its kind, provides some wild, disorienting moments. In addition to being thrilling, the attraction is so well done, it tops our list for the best theme park ride in North America.

04 of 10

Tie: Jurassic Park River Adventure and Dudley Do-Right's Ripsaw Falls

Jurassic Park

Arthur Levine

Address
6000 Universal Blvd, Orlando, FL 32819, USA
Phone +1 407-363-8000

Thrill scale: 5
Location: Islands of Adventure

Ok, it's actually the 11 most thrilling rides at Universal Orlando. We lump Islands of Adventure's two flume rides together. Like most water rides, neither of them are particularly thrilling until the finale. But, oh, what finales. The logs on the Dudley Do-Right ride drop 75 feet (compared to the 52.5-foot drop on Splash Mountain) and appear to momentarily disappear underwater. Passengers aboard the Jurassic Park shoot-the-chutes ride, meanwhile, need to brace themselves for an 85-foot drop. Yikes! In both cases, be prepared to get positively soaked (which may or may not be a thrilling experience for you).

03 of 10

Harry Potter and the Escape From Gringotts

Gringotts

Courtesy of Universal Orlando

Address
6000 Universal Blvd, Orlando, FL 32819, USA
Phone +1 407-363-8000

Thrill scale: 4
Location: Universal Studios Florida

The featured attraction at Diagon Alley, the second Wizarding World of Harry Potter land at Universal Orlando, Escape from Gringotts combines real roller coaster thrills (although they are fairly tame) with Spider-Man-style ride-film trickery to tell a great story and kick up the excitement. A “real” roller coaster? And only a thrill scale of 4? If you are wondering this ride is for you (or somebody from your park posse), check out whether or not you could handle Escape from Gringotts.

Continue to 9 of 10 below.
02 of 10

The Amazing Adventures of Spider-Man

Spiderman Universal orlando

Arthur Levine

Address
6000 Universal Blvd, Orlando, FL 32819, USA
Phone +1 407-363-8000

Thrill scale: 3.5
Location: Islands of Adventure

The revolutionary Spider-Man ride, which incorporates 3-D scenes, 4-D film elements, motion-base vehicles, and more, wowed visitors when it first opened in 1999. A 2012 makeover, which enhanced the attraction with stunning 4K media, makes the entire experience, including the (simulated, thank goodness) freefall off the top of a skyscraper, all the more thrilling.

01 of 10

Transformers: The Ride 3D

Transformers Universal Orlando

Arthur Levine

Address
Sunset Blvd, Orlando, FL 32819, USA
Phone +1 407-363-8000

Thrill scale: 3.5
Location: Universal Studios Florida

The second attraction to feature Universal's groundbreaking roving motion-base ride system it developed for its Spider-Man ride (see above), Transformers offers the same kind of wild, frenetic action. The combination of 3-D photo-realistic imagery and the movements of the vehicles makes for a harrowing (in a good way) experience. The two-story show building includes an elevator to raise and lower the ride vehicles. Give Transformers a whirl, and help the Autobots save the world.

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Could You Handle Universal Orland's Most Thrilling Rides?