Universal Studios Florida

Universal Studios Florida

Universal Studios Florida opened June 7, 1990 and welcomed nearly 11 million visitors in 2019, making it the most visited non-Disney theme park in America. Its sister park, Universal's Islands of Adventure opened in 1999, creating an expanded Universal Orlando Resort.

In addition to its regular lineup of attractions themed to popular movies and TV shows, Universal Studios Florida hosts Halloween Horror Nights on select evenings in September and October, closing early on those days for this after-hours, hard-ticket event.

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Our recommendations below come from our annual survey of Theme Park Insider newsletter subscribers. Locations with star ratings ranked especially highly among our readers. Subscribe here to our free weekly email of theme park news to participate in the next ranking survey.

Certain locations may not be available due to Covid-19 restrictions.

New for 2023

Villain-Con Minion Blast - Guests compete in an interactive "motion-based pathway" attraction to become the next member of the The Vicious 6 from the Minions movies. Anchoring a new Minions land with Despicable Me: Minion Mayhem and a new Minions Cafe when it opens in summer 2023.

What to Do

Top 10

  1. Revenge of the Mummy ★ ★
    Indoor roller coaster located in New York. Height requirement: 48 inches
  2. Harry Potter and the Escape from Gringotts ★ ★
    Indoor roller coaster dark ride located in The Wizarding World of Harry Potter - Diagon Alley. Height requirement: 42 inches
    Read Robert Niles' review of Harry Potter and the Escape from Gringotts.

    One of the goblins tellers in Gringotts Bank. Photo by Robert Niles.
  3. The Bourne Stuntacular ★ ★
    Live and mixed-media stunt show in Hollywood
    The Bourne Stuntacular
  4. Universal Orlando's Horror Makeup Show ★ ★
    Comedic demonstration in the Pantages Theater in Hollywood
    Universal Orlando's Horror Makeup Show
  5. Men in Black: Alien Attack ★ ★
    Interactive dark ride located in World Expo. Height requirement: 42 inches
  6. Transformers: The Ride 3D
    Motion base ride in Production Central. Height requirement: 40 inches
    Transformers: The Ride 3D
  7. The Simpsons Ride
    Motion base show in Springfield. Height requirement: 40 inches
    Read Robert Niles' review of The Simpsons Ride.
    The Simpsons Ride
  8. ET Adventure
    Dark ride located in Woody Woodpecker's Kidzone. Height requirement: 36 inches
  9. Hollywood Rip, Ride, Rockit
    Maurer Rides X-Car roller coaster with on-board music you can pick, located in Production Central. Height requirement: 51 inches
    Check the "secret playlist" for Hollywood Rip, Ride, Rockit.
  10. Hogwarts Express
    Railway in The Wizarding World of Harry Potter - Diagon Alley. [Transports visitors one-way to The Wizarding World of Harry Potter - Hogsmeade in Islands of Adventure. Therefore, Park-to-Park tickets are required.]

Other Attractions

Starting with turning right the Today Cafe and heading down Hollywood Boulevard.

Central Park Woody Woodpecker's KidZone
  • Animal Actors on Location: live animal show
  • Note that the rest of Woody Woodpecker's KidZone closed in January 2023.
Springfield
  • Kang and Kodos' Twirl 'n' Hurl: spinner
The Wizarding World of Harry Potter - Diagon Alley
  • Celestina Warbeck and the Banshees/Tales of Beedle the Bard: two live shows on the Carkitt Market stage
  • Ollivander's Wand Shop: live show
San Francisco New York Production Central
  • Despicable Me Minion Mayhem: motion base theater ride

Where to Eat

Recommended

  • Leaky Cauldron ★ ★ ★
    Counter service British pub fare in The Wizarding World of Harry Potter - Diagon Alley
    Leaky Cauldron
  • Finnegan's
    Irish pub and table service restaurant in New York
  • Lombard's Seafood Grille
    Table service seafood in San Francisco

Buy Tickets

Park Map

Universal Studios Florida is part of the Universal Orlando resort, located near the intersection of Interstate 4 and Florida's Turnpike in Orlando, about 17 miles from the Orlando International Airport.

Strategy

Before you go: Get your tickets in advance. Note that you will need a Park-to-Park ticket (Universal's term for what Disney calls a Park Hopper) to ride the Hogwarts Express, which shuttles riders between Islands of Adventure and Universal Studios Florida. If you don't care about Hogwarts Express, do the one park per day Base Ticket if you would prefer. Once you have your tickets, download and create an account on the Universal Orlando app [Apple | Android], which you will use for Universal's Virtual Line for select rides and Mobile Ordering for food.

Universal offers a paid front-of-line ticket called Universal Express but the resort gives that access away for no extra charge to guests at its Premier hotels (listed above). With Universal Express Unlimited benefits starting at $90 per person per day for everyone else, you might find splurging to stay at one of Universal's top three hotels well worth the higher room prices. You get the front-of-line benefit from the day you check in until the day you check out, so a one-night stay at a Premier hotel gets everyone in your family (up to five people) free Universal Express Unlimited access for two days. Follow the links in the "Universal Orlando Resort hotels" section above to check prices and book.

Early Park Admission: If you stay at any Universal Orlando hotel, you will get Early Park Admission, which will get you into The Wizarding World of Harry Potter - Diagon Alley and often Despicable Me Minion Mayhem. If the line for Minion Mayhem is under 15 minutes, do that then head back to Diagon Alley to ride Escape from Gringotts before the park opens to everyone else.

Morning of your visit: If you are not staying at a Premier hotel, wait to make a decision about buying Universal Express until you get into the park and see what the day's crowd level is actually like. Look at the posted wait times on the Universal Orlando app, and if they seem reasonable to you, skip the upcharge. If you want the front-of-line access, you can buy Universal Express inside the park near the front gate and at designated shops. If you have Universal Express - whether from your hotel or through a direct purchase - you don't need to worry about strategy. Just ride what you want, when you want to.

If you don't have Express, when you get to the park, open the Universal Orlando app and book places in the Virtual Line for Fast & Furious or Jimmy Fallon, if they are available. Select a return time right around lunchtime if you can, so that you can use the early morning to go on more popular attractions before their lines get too long. Use Virtual Line again to reserve a time for the other attraction once your return time for the first has passed.

As you make your first Virtual Line reservation, head to Revenge of the Mummy, then to Transformers and then to Rip, Ride, Rockit before continuing around the park to ET, The Simpsons Ride and Men in Black. Pick up the shows in the afternoon and evening. If you did not have early entry, go the Gringotts first, then pick up the attraction order above, riding Minion Mayhem after Rip, Ride, Rockit.

If you are visiting alone, take advantage of available single rider lines to reduce your wait times. Single rider is available on Harry Potter and the Escape from Gtingotts, Hollywood Rip Ride Rockit, Men in Black: Alien Attack, and Revenge of the Mummy.

Universal Orlando News