The Top 10 Universal Studios Theme Park Attractions

June 1, 2015, 11:06 AM · For this week's Top 10, we are honoring the best of Universal Studios' theme park attractions, as rated by Theme Park Insider readers. Remember, you can rate and review all the rides, shows, restaurants, and hotels listed on the site, and registered readers also can submit reviews and photos. Just follow the Park Reviews and Hotels links above.

10. Popeye and Bluto's Bilge-Rat Barges
Universal's Islands of Adventure

Popeye and Bluto's Bilge-Rat Barges

Does anyone under the age of 40 remember Popeye and Bluto? If they do, they know them as the characters from this underwear-soaking rapids ride at Universal Orlando.

9. Waterworld
Universal Studios Hollywood, Universal Studios Singapore, Universal Studios Japan


The classic example of a theme park attraction that surpasses its original IP, the Waterworld stunt show probably has played to more fans at these three Universal theme parks by now than ever saw the derided Kevin Coster film of the same name.

8. Studio Tour
Universal Studios Hollywood

Studio Tour

The original Universal Studios attraction endured as a visitor favorite, even with a new Fast & Furious overlay and 4D encounter still to come, later this month.

7. Incredible Hulk Coaster
Universal's Islands of Adventure

Incredible Hulk Coaster

The Bolliger & Mabillard launch coaster might have the greatest opening sequence in coaster history.

6. Harry Potter and the Escape from Gringotts
Universal Studios Florida

Harry Potter and the Escape from Gringotts

When all the elements are working in synch, Gringotts offers one of the most impressive technical achievements in the industry, while letting us take part in one of the climatic battles of the Harry Potter series.

5. Transformers: The Ride 3D
Universal Studios Singapore, Universal Studios Hollywood and Universal Studios Florida

Transformers: The Ride 3D

Transformers remains one of the world's most popular film franchises, and Universal's ride distills the franchise to its essential element — non-stop, immersive action.

4. Revenge of the Mummy
Universal Studios Florida

Revenge of the Mummy

Fans' favorite version of Universal's Mummy coaster offers a story within a story, with a curse that's terribly "real."

3. Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey
Universal's Islands of Adventure and Universal Studios Japan

Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey

Now in 3D in Japan, Universal's original Harry Potter ride is coming next year to Universal Studios Hollywood, too.

2. Hogwarts Express
Universal Studios Florida and Universal's Islands of Adventure

Hogwarts Express

Shuttling visitors between Universal Orlando's two Wizarding Worlds, the Hogwarts Express rides are our readers' favorite Harry Potter attractions.

1. The Amazing Adventures of Spider-Man
Universal's Islands of Adventure and Universal Studios Japan

The Amazing Adventures of Spider-Man

Why on Earth are some fans so eager for Disney to buy the Marvel theme park rights when Marvel fans already get to enjoy one of the world's greatest theme park attractions in Orlando and Japan? With its 4K upgrades, Spidey once again rules as Universal's top theme park ride.

Replies (16)

June 1, 2015 at 11:23 AM · My opinion varies from this list, as should most, but for the most part it makes sense! All these attractions are great, although myself and everyone I know in my group prefer Transformers over Spider-Man, but the wall crawler is more than deserving.

Hopefully the new King Kong ride makes its mark on this list and Fast and Furious Supercharged pushes the Studio Tour further!

June 1, 2015 at 11:25 AM · Interesting list. Have not experienced the Express or Gringotts which will be remedied soon. Not sure I would put Forbidden Journey behind anything, as it is the pinnacle of theme park attractions. I will throw out an attraction that gave me as much thrills as any attraction on the planet: The House of Horrors. Sad that it shut down, but I guess keeping it staffed was difficult and costly. Rip Ride Rocket is fairly fun, but not better than anything above other than the generic raft ride. I will say it is very nice to have the drying machines near the water rides, though. I think after King Kong, they should probably shut down the Atlantis attraction and fill it with something, since that is probably below E.T. to me. How about a ride through House of Horrors? Or a Walking Dead themed haunted house?
June 1, 2015 at 11:27 AM · Good list. Spider Man really is fantastic, so is Transformers. When I go to Universal there really isn't a single big ride I'd skip, their parks are very fun with a great mixture of thrill and theme.
June 1, 2015 at 11:39 AM · I've ridden both Spider-Man and Transformers and for me, Spider-Man is still a better ride. I know it was a specific decision to not have music in the ride during Transformers, but the lack of music greatly reduces the emotional impact the ride has. Imagine seeing the films, "Jaws" or "Psycho" without music. It simply would not as good. That's the biggest reason Transformers isn't as good as Spider-Man.
June 1, 2015 at 12:04 PM · Hogwarts Express #2... What, Did I miss something?
I like the train ride but not #2 Heck not at #10..

Where is my beloved Jurassic Park river adventure ride? Has to be in the top 10.... Especially if you are in the front seat....

How about Rip Saw Falls.... Great hill and double bump at the end...
Dragon Challenge? (fire and Ice)

And Spider-Man has a better story to follow than Transformers.. But both are decent.

June 2, 2015 at 6:11 AM · Great list! These rides offer remarkable experiences. I'm not even a big fan of Harry Potter and the train ride is awesome! Universal knows how to pay attention to detail especially when it comes to Harry Potter. I'm really happy to see Bluto's Barge make the list because I've never seen so many people laugh at one time on a ride. Also I've never seen so many people get so soaked...
June 1, 2015 at 2:18 PM · Tough to do a top ten list with Universal since they probably have at least 15 attractions deserving of a spot. But this is a very representative sample. A lot of these are toss ups that could easily go up or down a couple of notches because they are all quite excellent.
June 1, 2015 at 2:19 PM · Here's my personal list of what are (in my opinion) the 10 best rides in Universal Orlando:

# 10-Shrek 4D. Using all the special effects typical of a 4D movie, this attraction perfectly captures what we've come to love about the Shrek films; great animation, lovable characters, and well-written satttyre of both classic fairy tales and pop culture

#9-Jurrassic Park River Adventure. This ride is on here for three specific reasons. First one is that I can't help getting all excited when the guide says "Welcome to Jurassic Park" and the theme music comes on. Second reason is that the dinosaur AAs still look impressive to this day. my favorite one being the huge T-Rex at the end which makes for one of the most terrifying climaxes on any theme park ride. Third reason can be summed up in two words that were previously mentioned above: front row.

#8-Dragon Challenge. Two awesome suspended coasters for the price of one, need I say more?

#7-Hollywood Rip Ride Rockit. My sister's personal favorite. I do have a couple of problems with this ride. First off, it can get really rough sometimes. Plus it's annoying how much they're persisting to not letting you bring any loose articles. (Metal detectors, really?!) And there have been multiple times where the song selection screen started being uncooperative. Nonetheless, it's still a fun roller coaster with a great soundtrack and spectacular views at night.

#6-Men In Black Alien Attack. This is a fun ride even if you're not a big fan of the franchise. It's also right behind Toy Story Midway Mania for my favorite shooter dark ride. Ironically enough, I'm the biggest gamer in my family, and yet my mom still always beats me by a thousand points somehow...

#5-Incredible Hulk Coaster. Very few can match the power and fury of Hulks monstrous rampages, and this ride is a testament to that! No matter where you are in Islands of Adventure, you're bound people screaming on this ride! It's great height,multiple inversions, "roaring" speed, and wicked launch that still gets me anxious make this is an absolute must-ride for all coaster fans visiting Central Florida.

#4-The Simpsons Ride. I've never been a diehard Simpsons fan, but this ride is still the perfect blend of hilarity and thrills. What's probably the best part about this ride is how it spoofs just about everything having to do with theme parks! Also, this is probably the only queue line where I don't mind getting stuck for a little while because the videos they play are that entertaining!

#3-The Amazing Adventures of Spider-Man. The wall crawler is my favorite superhero and one of my first childhood icons. And I don't think I could honestly ask for a better ride for him. If you ask me it's a bajillion times better than Transformers for having an original layout and ride system, having a soundtrack, and for not being based on a crappy movie.

#2-Revenge of the Mummy. The Mummy movies themselves may be dated, but this one still looks great. The story and setting are detailed and creepy, the thrill level is extremely high, and the special effects are awesome. Makes me sad that so many of Universal's rides are screen-based now...

#1-Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey. God, where do I even begin with this one? This was actually a no-brainer. Before Harry Potter, Disney was leagues ahead of Universal. But they've really been catching up since this little number came in to play. (Though they've still got a long way to go before catching up to Disney.) The queue is exceptionally well-themed, bringing us through famous classrooms in Hogwarts and even letting us meet characters from the films. The ride is one shocking moment after another, as you get chased by almost every monster in the Wizarding World. Honestly, what more could you ask for? Great story, intense thrills, wonderful theming...screw Hogwarts Express! This is truly the best Harry Potter ride ever.

June 1, 2015 at 2:37 PM · Overall, this looks like a pretty good list. However, as I've only been to USH I can't comment on most of these. I will say that I'm a little surprised that Despicable Me didn't make it given how popular the ride and film franchise is. That may be my favorite attraction at USH and is probably my favorite non-Disney simulator attraction.
June 1, 2015 at 2:46 PM · Spider-Man, keeping it real since 1962. Still the best IP in Universal's bank IMHO.
June 1, 2015 at 3:33 PM · Alas, I haven't had the opportunity to ride any of these but Incredible Hulk is the one that immediately grabs my attention and would be my first choice.
June 1, 2015 at 3:33 PM · Alas, I haven't had the opportunity to ride any of these but Incredible Hulk is the one that immediately grabs my attention and would be my first choice.
June 1, 2015 at 7:16 PM · I have Spider-Man much, much lower on my list...same with Hogwarts Express. I'd go with Forbidden Journey, Transformers, Mummy, Gringotts, Jurassic Park as my top five.
June 2, 2015 at 12:16 AM · It's interesting that Forbidden Journey really divides people. I know many people rate it as the most incredible ride ever conceived but there are also a lot of reviewers out there who, like me, are left impressed at the technical wizardry on display but totally non-plussed by the screamingly incoherent storyline and relentless noise. It's like being strapped into a chair and slapped around the face for 4 minutes. Sometimes less is more and Universal don't seem to have learnt that yet....
June 2, 2015 at 3:15 AM · Good list. My only disagreement is I would replace either transformers or spiderman with Jurassic Park. Although they are great rides, having the same ride track and very similar experience should disqualify one from being on such a short list. Although I do agree that the dinos could use an upgrade and with the new film coming out now would be a great time but hey I'm not complaining as Universal is already pumping out fast and furious, kong, and Volcano Bay as we speak!

I would go

1. Forbidden Journey
2. Jurassic Park
3. Mummy (orlando)
4. Spiderman/Transformers
5. Hogwarts

June 2, 2015 at 3:37 AM · Great list, I'm another one who's please to see Popeye's barges on there, it really is a fun ride as long as you don't mind getting soaked! I loved Hogwarts express and Gringotts when I visited last month but my favourite is Men in Black. I think it’s my competitive nature but I never get bored of shooting the aliens and always want another ride to beat my top score!

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