8 Best Universal Studios Rides

Universal Orlando Resort Globe
(Image credit: Dirk Libbey)

In the theme park world, Disney is still the king, but Universal Resorts and Destinations is one theme park company that should not be overlooked. Universal has some incredible theme park attractions that are worth making a point to check out, whichever coast you happen to be on. 

Whether you’re visiting Universal Orlando Resort or Universal Studios Hollywood, there are some top-tier rides you won’t find anywhere else, and that need to be experienced if you’re even a little bit of a fan of either the types of rides or the movies they are based on. Here’s a look at some of the best rides you’ll find at Universal theme parks. 

Minion blast

(Image credit: Universal Orlando Resort)

Illumination’s Villain-Con Minion Blast - Universal Studios Florida 

Illumination’s Villain-Con Minion Blast has a name that’s a mouthful, but the attraction itself is not nearly as confusing. You get handed a blaster and step onto a moving walkway, where you fire away at various targets, racking up points. The fact that Minion Blast doesn’t even use a ride vehicle makes it one of the more accessible attractions in recent memory, and it’s fun for everybody. There’s enough variability to make every experience a little different, so it’s always fun.

MarioKart: Bowser's Challenge

(Image credit: Universal Studios Hollywood)

MarioKart: Bowser’s Challenge - Universal Studios Hollywood 

The biggest new addition to the Universal Creative Portfolio since the Wizarding World of Harry Potter has been Nintendo. The first Super Nintendo World in the U.S. opened in 2023 at Universal Studios Hollywood with its marquee attraction, Mario Kart: Bowser’s Challenge. The ride combines a traditional dark ride style with special AR glasses, that let you blast turtle shells at targets just like in a game of MarioKart. An app lets you keep score as well as unlock special achievements, giving you even more reason to ride again and again.  

Universal's Velocicoaster Ride

(Image credit: Jessica Rawden)

Jurassic World Velocicoaster - Universal Islands Of Adventure 

Roller coasters are a staple of any theme park, but Universal’s Islands of Adventure has some of the best. The Jurassic World Velocicoaster is the pinnacle of thrills at a U.S. Universal resort. It sends you flying through a raptor paddock at high speed, with plenty of loops and spins to get your blood pumping. It’s one of the most exciting new roller coasters in years and one that is not to be missed on your next trip.  

Secret Life of Pets: Off the Leash at Universal Studios Hollywood

(Image credit: Dirk Libbey)

Secret Life Of Pets: Off The Leash - Universal Studios Hollywood 

If there’s one thing that Universal theme parks don’t have a lot of, it’s simple, traditional, dark rides. Secret Life of Pets: Off the Leash is proof they should do more. Through some cool visual fun, the rider is dropped into the world of the Secret Life of Pets franchise as a pet in need of a home. The various characters of the movies are recreated as lovely animatronics, with additional screens used to enhance the story. It’s simple and fun for the whole family.

Hagrid's Magical Creatures Motorbike Adventure

(Image credit: Universal Orlando Resort)

Hagrid’s Magical Creatures Motorbike Adventure - Universal Islands Of Adventure

The Wizarding World of Harry Potter is a big part of Universal’s focus. Both Orlando theme parks have separate Harry Potter-themed lands, with the Hogwarts Express taking guests between them. Any fan is going to want to check out every ride, but the crown jewel has to be Hagrid’s Magical Creatures Motorbike Adventure, one of the best roller coasters of the last few years. With its unique ride vehicle, made up of a motorcycle-style seat and a sidecar, the way it includes a surprise drop element, to its large and well-designed animatronics, this coaster simply has everything.

Jurassic World: The Ride

(Image credit: Universal Studios Hollywood)

Jurassic World The Ride - Universal Studios Hollywood 

A good log flume-style ride is a must have for any major theme park and Universal Studios Hollywood has a great one with Jurassic World: The Ride. An updated version of an old Jurassic Park-themed attraction, the ride uses a combination of animatronics and screens to make you feel like you’re floating down a river inside Jurassic Park before things go wild, and only going off a massive waterfall will save you. Hopefully, the Jurassic Park River Adventure at Universal Islands of Adventure will see this upgrade someday. 

Revenge of the Mummy

(Image credit: Universal Orlando Resort)

Revenge Of The Mummy - Universal Studios Florida 

The Mummy movie franchise starring Brendan Fraser has been over for decades, but it lives on in the form of the Revenge of the Mummy indoor roller coaster. The coaster has a fantastic meta-story that sees Fraser getting ready to film a new Mummy movie when the curse of the mummy is accidentally awoken. The coaster, with a few legit scares, is excellent in itself, but the ride is also hilarious, as Fraser gets frustrated with assistants who can’t bring him his cup of coffee. We're glad rumors Revenge of the Mummy might have vanished, have so far turned out to be untrue.

Universal Studios Hollywood electric tram with riders

(Image credit: Universal Studios Hollywood)

The Universal Studio Tour - Universal Studios Hollywood 

Maybe not a “ride” in the traditional sense, but it does require you to get into a vehicle, and it’s one of the most iconic theme park attractions in the world. The Universal Studio Tour, which is converting to electric vehicles, takes you into the backlot and past the soundstages of Universal Studios itself. On the right day, you might see your favorite celebrities working on a TV show or a movie. 

There are two traditional “attractions” that are part of the tour, King Kong 360 which puts you on the Skull Island set in the middle of a battle between Kong and some dinosaurs, and Fast & Furious: Supercharged, which has your “party bus” racing alongside Dom and his family. Both of which were so popular they became stand-alone attractions in Orlando. 

Theme parks are always changing and evolving. Universal Resorts and Destinations is in the middle of building a new theme park at Universal Orlando Resort, and what we know about Epic Universe so far indicates it will also have some killer attractions. Universal Kids Resort in Frisco Texas is also sure to have plenty of fun rides for families. And then there’s the Fast & Furious roller coaster under construction at Universal Studios Hollywood. 

While these are the best Universal theme park attractions today, tomorrow it could all change.

Dirk Libbey
Content Producer/Theme Park Beat

CinemaBlend’s resident theme park junkie and amateur Disney historian, Dirk began writing for CinemaBlend as a freelancer in 2015 before joining the site full-time in 2018. He has previously held positions as a Staff Writer and Games Editor, but has more recently transformed his true passion into his job as the head of the site's Theme Park section. He has previously done freelance work for various gaming and technology sites. Prior to starting his second career as a writer he worked for 12 years in sales for various companies within the consumer electronics industry. He has a degree in political science from the University of California, Davis.  Is an armchair Imagineer, Epcot Stan, Future Club 33 Member.