The Wildest Roller Coasters at Universal Orlando

When Universal Studios Florida first opened in 1990, it didn’t offer any roller coasters. It wasn’t until 1999, with the opening of Islands of Adventure (the second theme park at the resort), that Universal debuted its first major roller coasters. And by “major,” we mean world-class, Six Flags-worthy thrill machines that’ll knock you for a loop–literally.

Universal’s rides and attractions have long been edgier and more extreme than its arch-rival, Disney, and its roller coasters make the case. But like its Mousey competitor, Universal’s coasters are more than just thrill rides. They include themes and tell stories, often through the incorporation of highly sophisticated effects.

The rollercoasters listed here are ranked from mild to wild to help you gauge whether you and your park posse would be able to handle the thrills. If you are something of a ride wimp, start with our guide on how best to approach Universal Orlando before you go.

01 of 09

Woody Woodpecker's Nuthouse Coaster

Woody Woodpeckers Nuthouse Coaster at Universal Studios Florida

Universal Studios

The first coaster to open at Universal Orlando, the Nuthouse is a very tame ride that is quite accessible to just about everybody. With a height of 28 feet and a top speed of 22 mph, its stats are even milder than The Barnstormer, a comparable attraction at Disney World’s Magic Kingdom. With a duration of 44 seconds, there isn’t enough time to get too worked up about the barely-there thrills anyways. If your kids have never been on a coaster, or if it’s been years since you’ve been on one, the Nuthouse is a great gateway ride.

Location: Universal Studios Florida

Thrill Rating (0 to 10): 2.5

Height requirement: 36 inches

Continue to 2 of 9 below.
02 of 09

Flight of the Hippogriff

Flight of the Hippogriff coaster at Universal Orlando

 Universal Orlando

One of the attractions at the original Wizarding World of Harry Potter, Hogsmeade, Flight of the Hippogriff is (barely) a step up from Universal’s Woody Woodpecker-themed coaster: this family ride is also relatively mild. It climbs 43 feet, hits 29 mph, and lasts just over one minute. Aside from a static Hippogriff (a magical creature in Potter lore) and a drive-by past the exterior of Hagrid’s hut, the outdoor coaster does not include much theming.

Location: Islands of Adventure

Thrill rating (0 to 10): 3.25

Height requirement: 36 inches

Continue to 3 of 9 below.
03 of 09

Pteranodon Flyers

Pteranodon Flyers ride at Universal Orlando

Universal Studios

Located in Jurassic Park, Pteranodon Flyers gives passengers an aerial view of the dinosaur-themed land. Suspended from a single-rail track, the vehicles resemble the flying reptile for which the ride is named. With only two seats per single-car train, the capacity is extremely low, and wait times can be interminable. (Note that Universal Express is not available for Pteranodon Flyers.) The gentle ride does not include any sharp turns or hills, but its height and open-air seats can cause a bit of squeamishness.

Location: Islands of Adventure

Thrill rating (0 to 10): 3.25

Height requirement: 36 inches

Continue to 4 of 9 below.
04 of 09

Harry Potter and the Escape from Gringotts

Diagon Alley at Universal Orlando

Universal Studios

You can’t miss Gringotts Bank; it’s the place with the fire-breathing dragon perched atop it. That’s where you’ll find this wonderful Harry Potter-themed attraction.

This ride is really more of a "dark ride" than a roller coaster, but the first few moments as well as the finale dish out some satisfying thrills. The 3-D, media-based effects, which incorporate enormous screens, take visitors for an incredible adventure with Harry and the gang in the vaults deep beneath the goblin bank. It’s not to be missed; although, if you are wary of coasters, you might want to check out our in-depth assessment of the thrills that Harry Potter and the Escape from Gringotts delivers.

Location: Universal Studios Florida

Thrill rating (0 to 10): 4

Height requirement: 42 inches

Continue to 5 of 9 below.
05 of 09

Revenge of the Mummy

Revenge of the Mummy ride at Universal Orlando

Universal Studios

Billed as a “psychological thrill ride,” the first half of Revenge of the Mummy is slow-moving but nevertheless keeps passengers on edge with its freaky mind games. Impressive effects unleash the Mummy’s curses on guests. Just before all hell breaks loose, the vehicles hightail it away for an action-packed second half. The launched coaster hits 40 mph as it navigates the inky blackness of the creature’s netherworld. There are no inversions, nor are there any big drops, but the ride does pack a punch.

Location: Universal Studios Florida

Thrill rating (0 to 10): 6.5

Height requirement: 48 inches

Continue to 6 of 9 below.
06 of 09

Hagrid’s Magical Creatures Motorbike Adventure

Harry Potter film stars on Hagrid coaster at Universal Orlando

Universal Orlando

Another hybrid dark ride/coaster, the effects and animatronics on Hagrid’s are great. But the attraction doesn’t sacrifice anything on the coaster side of the equation. It features no less than seven launches, a 65-foot spike, a section that sends passengers riding backwards, and, well, an element that I won’t give away here, but will take you by surprise–and definitely thrill you. Hagrid’s is quite popular and frequently has long waits.

Location: Islands of Adventure

Thrill rating (0 to 10): 6.5

Height requirement: 48 inches

Continue to 7 of 9 below.
07 of 09

Hollywood Rip Ride Rockit

Hollywood Rip Ride Rockit coaster at Universal Orlando

Universal Studios

Unlike most of Universal’s other coasters, Hollywood Rip Ride Rockit is not tied to a movie franchise, nor does it have much of a theme. Its schtick is that passengers can choose the song they want to hear as the soundtrack to their ride. With its vertical lift hill (be sure to empty your pockets before boarding!) and its large, non-inverting loop, this coaster is unusual. As the train makes its way around the loop, its track twists so that passengers are never upside down. At 167 feet tall and reaching 65 mph, Hollywood Rip Ride Rockit is a major-league coaster. Note that the ride can be a bit rough.

Location: Universal Studios Florida

Thrill rating (0 to 10): 7.5

Height requirement: 51 inches

Continue to 8 of 9 below.
08 of 09

The Incredible Hulk Coaster

Hulk-Coaster.jpg
© Arthur Levine.

Like its namesake, The Incredible Hulk is a beast of a coaster. It starts with an uphill launch in a 150-foot-long tunnel that catapults passengers from 0 to 40 mph in 2 seconds. (Fun fact: The energy required to propel the tires for the launch is so great, Universal built a power plant solely dedicated to the ride.) The train emerges 110 feet in the air and immediately enters a zero-G roll–and that's only the first few moments. Hulk delivers six more inversions and includes especially intense positive G-forces that max out at 4 Gs.

Location: Islands of Adventure

Thrill rating (0 to 10): 8

Height requirement: 54 inches

Continue to 9 of 9 below.
09 of 09

Jurassic World VelociCoaster

Jurassic World VelociCoaster at Universal Orlando

Universal Studios

We started this list by stating that Universal isn’t shy about dialing up the thrills on its rides. Well, the park gurus really cranked it up for VelociCoaster. Get a load of these stats: two launches, one of which revs up to a breathless 70 mph; a 155-foot-tall top hat tower that sends passengers racing up and down at a freaky 80 degrees; a 100-foot-long zero-G stall element that keeps passengers hanging upside down for a ridiculously long time; and a finale barrel roll a few feet above a lagoon. Needless to say, VelociCoaster is not for the squeamish. As if the coaster wasn’t thrilling enough, the attraction adds the suspense of velociraptors on the prowl.

Location: Islands of Adventure

Thrill rating (0 to 10): 8.5

Height requirement: 51 inches

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