Visitors Guide to 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 ongoing survey of Theme Park Insider readers. Locations with star ratings ranked especially highly among our readers. Vote here to take part in our surveys and submit your picks for top attractions.

New for 2024

DreamWorks Land - This retheme of the former Woody Woodpecker's KidZone features character meets, play areas, a "Po Live!" digital interaction, the DreamWorks Imagination Celebration indoor musical show, and the Trollercoaster - a Trolls-themed Vekoma Junior Coster.

CineSational: A Symphony Spectacular - This new nighttime spectacular on the park's lagoon honors Universal's movie music with water screens, fountains, fireworks and drones. It's best viewed from Central Park.

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. Transformers: The Ride 3D
    Motion base ride in Production Central. Height requirement: 40 inches
    Transformers: The Ride 3D
  4. Men in Black: Alien Attack
    Interactive dark ride located in World Expo. Height requirement: 42 inches
  5. The Simpsons Ride
    Motion base show in Springfield. Height requirement: 40 inches
    The Simpsons Ride
  6. The Bourne Stuntacular
    Live and mixed-media stunt show in Hollywood
    The Bourne Stuntacular
  7. ET Adventure
    Dark ride located in Woody Woodpecker's Kidzone. Height requirement: 36 inches
  8. Universal Orlando's Horror Makeup Show
    Comedic demonstration in the Pantages Theater in Hollywood
    Universal Orlando's Horror Makeup Show
  9. Villain-Con Minion Blast
    Interactive walk-through in Minion Land. Compete in this interactive shooting contest to become the next member of the Vicious 6 super-villain group.
  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.

  • Kang and Kodos' Twirl 'n' Hurl: spinner
  • Animal Actors on Location: live animal show
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
  • Hollywood Rip, Ride, Rockit: Maurer Rides X-Car roller coaster with on-board music. Height requirement: 51 inches
  • Minion Land
    • Despicable Me Minion Mayhem: motion base theater ride

Where to Eat


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

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 (MCO).

If you are renting a car while visiting Orlando, you can save on toll road fees by getting a Visitor Toll Pass at the Orlando airport rather than renting a toll transponder from your rental car company: Toll Discounts Return for Orlando Theme Park Visitors


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 three Premier hotels: Portofino Bay, Hard Rock, and Royal Pacific. 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.

Early Park Admission: If you stay at any Universal Orlando hotel, on select dates you might get Early Park Admission, which will get you into The Wizarding World of Harry Potter - Diagon Alley and sometimes other attractions one hour 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 are visiting alone, take advantage of potential single rider lines to reduce your wait times. Single rider often is available on Harry Potter and the Escape from Gringotts, Hollywood Rip Ride Rockit, Men in Black: Alien Attack, and Revenge of the Mummy.

The longest mid-day wait times in the park are for Gringotts and Despicable Me, followed by Mummy, Transformers, and Fast and Furious. Note that park strategy will change after Villain-Con opens, but for now, do Despicable Me at park opening, followed by Gringotts, then Mummy, and then Transformers, if you can get to it before 11am. Otherwise, leave it for the early evening. Hollywood Rip, Ride, Rockit usually has a mid-afternoon lull, if you want to hit it then. Pick up other attractions around the park at your convenience.

Just don't bother with Fast and Furious if it has more than a minimal wait, however. The overwhelming consensus here is that the longer you wait for this experience, the less you will like it.

Universal Orlando News