A Guide To Universal Studios Florida
Now first off when people think of theme parks they think of roller coasters! Now Universal Studios is quite a tame park for rides, unlike Islands of Adventure next door. I personally think it is a great park for families with younger kids because its not primarily focused on large rides, but more so simulators.
1) The BEST ride by far is the Hollywood Rip, Ride, Rocket! You can't miss it. It starts with a fast vertical climb and what goes up ... must come down! You get to choose 1 of 30 songs to listen to while you ride too, however you'll probably be screaming the whole time and miss the whole thing! It is a reasonably long ride of 1 minute 37 seconds and definitely worth the wait in line. It has a few loops, twists and drops so be warned and it is a high speed roller coaster. The top speed is 105 km/h (65 m/p/h)
2) The new ride of 2013 is Transformers: The Ride. This is an indoor 3D simulator coaster, much like that of Spiderman in Islands of Adventure. Throughout the ride large 18m screens project 3D videos of the Transformers. There are no loops or twisting however the cart does spin (not violently) a lot and moves quite fast at times. It is suitable for young children but may be frightening at times with darkness and large robots. It is a definite must do!
3)The next must do is Revenge of the Mummy! This ride is indoors so when that rainy Florida weather hits you can still enjoy this ride. It is based off the movie "The Mummy". It's top speed is much slower than Hollywood Rip, Ride, Rocket only reaching speeds of 72 km/h (45 m/p/h). It is a high speed coaster with sudden drops and stops but no looping or twists. It is one of my favourite indoor coasters to date and is definitely one the whole family can enjoy! It again is a long ride of 2 minutes 57 seconds.
4) The Simpsons is up next which is a 3D simulator ride. This ride is very long at 4 minutes 30 seconds long and is an amazing experience and is visually stunning. It also has no loops and twists and is suitable for young children *make sure you reach height requirements!*
5) Shrek 4-D is a 4D movie experience for the whole family to enjoy. You sit in individual seats which move, water gets squirted at you and air is blown at your feet all the while in 3D to make it feel as if you are in the movie with your favourite characters! There are seats available which do not move also! Before the film there is a pre show where you get background info by Pinocchio, Gingy, The 3 pigs and the Magic Mirror as well as the evil Lord Faarquad! It has a running time of 12 minutes and is well worth the wait!
6) Animal Actors on Location is an interactive animal show. It shows you how they train animal actors for movies and has a lot of audience participation. They have animals such as "Marley" from Marley and Me, the dog from Men in Black and "Beethoven" from Beethoven. It is a hilarious. It lasts 25 minutes and is in an outdoor theatre. It is suitable for all ages.
7) Finally the Men in Black: Alien Attack is an interactive slow moving ride for all the family. you are given "laser guns" in which you have to shoot as many aliens as you can throughout the ride. The cart does spin quite quickly at times so guest prone to motion sickness may want to sit it out. It is a fun family activity and again is indoors.
There are many more rides and attractions in the park such as Terminator, Despicable Me and Twister. I have just included the ones my family and I most enjoyed.
Hints and Tips
1) Arrive early and leave early to avoid crowds and storms or arrive late after the storms to get to enjoy the park.
2) After 6pm parking is only $5 so if you wish to go back and do the park again because you didn't get on everything this is a great way to do that. The park is open until 10pm.
3) If you stay in a Universal hotel or resort you get early and late access to the park before it opens and after it closes to avoid the long lines.
4) Try not to bring a bag! For most rides you need to store it in a locker and though it is free it can be a lot of hassle. I recommend wearing clothes with zip pockets to store tickets, money and phones and to avoid bringing a bag.
5) Try to avoid going to Orlando during school holidays as this is when they get crowded beyond belief! September is a good time to visit!
6) You can get Express Passes to skip the lines but these are very expensive and not worth it in my opinion.
7) Single Riders lines are a great way to avoid lines. Your party will be split up but you will get to enjoy the ride quicker and with older children it is a good idea.
8) Child Swap is available for all rides where one adult member can stay with the kids while everyone enjoys the ride and then the adult minding the kids gets to enjoy the ride after.
9) Get the Universal Studios app. for up to date ride and attractions waiting times!