10 Most Thrilling Rides at Universal Orlando

Universal's Parks Are Known for Thrills. These Are the 11 Scariest.

Universal Orlando Globe
Universal Orlando

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!

  • 01 of 10
    The Hulk universal orlando
    LiftLaughLipstick / Pixabay

    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.

  • 02 of 10
    Rip Ride Rockit
    © Arthur Levine

    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.

  • 03 of 10
    Revenge of the Mummy
    Pierre André / Wikimedia Commons

    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.

  • 04 of 10
    Dr Dooms
    Dave Walker / Flickr / CC BY 2.0

    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.

    Continue to 5 of 10 below.
  • 05 of 10
    Forbidden Journey
    © Arthur Levine

    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.

  • 06 of 10
    Jurassic Park
    © Arthur Levine

    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).

  • 07 of 10
    Gringotts
    Courtesy of Universal Orlando. Used with permission.

    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.

  • 08 of 10
    Spiderman Universal orlando
    © Arthur Levine

    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.

    Continue to 9 of 10 below.
  • 09 of 10
    Transformers Universal Orlando
    © Arthur Levine

    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.

  • 10 of 10
    Simpsons.jpg
    © Arthur Levine

    Thrill scale: 3.5
    Location: Universal Studios Florida

    This is one of Universal's attractions that barely moves more than a few inches in any direction, but effectively uses theme park trickery to scare the daylights out of passengers. The motion simulator ride features motion-based seats that move in sync with the wacky action projected onto an enormous domed screen. Passengers feel as if they are riding with Homer and the gang at the not-especially-safe Krustyland theme park. Watch out for the giant wrecking ball on the rickety roller coaaster!