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Universal Studios Attractions (with comparisons to Disney World)

Universal Studios Attractions (with comparisons to Disney World)

There are a range of Universal Studios attractions available to guests, including a fan-favorite and classic ride that is definitely a must — the E.T. Adventure. This is also an opening-day ride.

From The Wizarding World of Harry Potter’s Diagon Alley, to everything for fans of The Simpsons, to an attraction inspired by Fast and the Furious, the theme park certainly isn’t short on variety when it comes to both rides and entertainment.

Below is a list of Universal Studios attractions that you’ll find during your visit, along with important details like height requirements, single rider options, and more.

Important: Not every attraction listed below may be available due to health and safety restrictions.

Locker Rentals

Before we dive into each attraction, you need to know about locker rentals.

Unlike Disney World, where you can take your belongings (like a backpack, purse, fanny pack, etc.) on every ride with you, Universal has certain restrictions when it comes to personal items on specific attractions.

Universal has all-day locker rentals and single-time use lockers at select attractions. Some are free, whereas others cost a fee.

universal locker rentals

Depending on the attraction, you may need to put your belongings inside a locker before riding.

There are even some rides where you can’t take anything on with you, including your phone, and you’ll have to walk through a metal detector so Team Members can make sure.

Here’s what else you need to know…

All-Day Locker Rentals

These lockers provide unlimited access throughout the day. They are only available on a first-come, first-served basis.

You can find large and family-size lockers to rent near Universal Studios’ park entrance.

locker rentals at universal studios

Here are the sizes:

  • Large lockers (starting at $10 per day): 12″ x 13″ x 16.9″
  • Family-size lockers (starting at $15 per day): 12″ x 16.25″ x 16.9″

Family-size lockers are only available at Universal Studios.

Single-Time Use Lockers

You will find single-time use lockers at the entrances of these rides:

  • Revenge of the Mummy
  • MEN IN BLACK Alien Attack
  • Hollywood Rip Ride Rockit
  • Harry Potter and the Escape from Gringotts

Standard-sized lockers are 14″ x 5.5″ x 16.9″ and are “free” — up to a certain point.

Before we get to that tidbit, let’s talk the larger lockers. These are for oversized items, are 12″ x 13″ x 16.9″, and cost $2 during the posted wait time.

However, any ride locker will begin charging you $3 per additional 30 minutes, with a $20 per day maximum.

universal studios attractions lockers

The smaller lockers don’t require a deposit, but if you go over the time, you’ll have to use either cash or a credit card to remove your items from the locker.

If for some reason a ride breaks down (or something else happens totally out of your control) and you end up waiting longer than the posted wait time when you first entered the queue, you can ask a locker attendant to override the locker charges that may have accrued.

To access a locker, all you have to do is simply follow the on-screen instructions.

Make sure you have your ticket ready, because you’ll scan it before and after. If you have to pay, both cash and credit cards are accepted.

Universal Studios Transportation

Universal Studios has one form of in-park transportation and an extremely popular one at that — the Hogwarts Express.

Here’s what you need to know about the Harry Potter-themed locomotive that doesn’t just transport guests, but is also a magical train.

Hogwarts Express

hogwarts express

If you ever wanted to ride the Hogwarts Express just like Harry, Hermione, and Ron, Universal Studios gives you that chance.

When you’re onboard, you’ll get to experience characters, creatures, and scenery straight out of the movie.

Anyone under 48 inches must have a supervising companion with them in order to ride. Hogwarts Express is also accessible by wheelchair and EVC.

Important: The only way you can ride is if you have a Park-to-Park admission ticket, which gives you access to both theme parks on the same day.

At Universal Studios, you’ll hop on via Platform 9 3/4 at King’s Cross Station in the London area of the park near Diagon Alley and travel to Hogsmeade Station at Islands of Adventure.

platform nine and three quarters hogwarts express

The train ride from King’s Cross Station to Hogsmeade Station is about 4 minutes. Overall, it’s a quick ride.

That said, Hogwarts Express is popular, meaning wait times build. You can easily walk over to Islands of Adventure in about 10 minutes or so.

For an additional cost, you can also use the Universal Express Pass for Hogwarts Express, which allows you to skip the regular line.

If you’ve never been on Hogwarts Express before and are a Harry Potter fan, we definitely recommend it.

Hogwarts Express: King’s Cross Station

king's cross station

King’s Cross Station can be found in the London area of Universal Studios and located near Diagon Alley.

This is where you wait in line to board the Hogwarts Express, just like in the Harry Potter books and movies.

There’s even a 9 3/4 platform. Thanks to a very cool special effect, you even have the chance to “walk through the wall” to access the platform, where you’ll then board the train.

Tip: Usually, both Hogwarts Express and King’s Cross Station are open for Early Park Admission.

Before diving into the attractions available at Universal Studios, here’s a handy tip: you can set a wait time alert in the Universal app to notify you when an attraction goes under a specific wait time. Make sure you have notifications turned on.

wait time alert universal studios

Also, unless otherwise noted, guests using a standard wheelchair, an EVC, or a motorized wheelchair must transfer to the attraction’s seat. For further assistance regarding closed captioning on attractions or other accessibility information, be sure to ask an attractions attendant.

Now, here’s everything you need to know about Universal Studios rides, including if Universal Express is available, if child swap is a feature, when to visit, tips, how each attraction compares to a ride or show at Walt Disney World, and much more.

Universal Studios Attractions

Diagon Alley

Harry Potter and the Escape From Gringotts

harry potter and the escape from gringotts

Height requirement: 42 inches (supervising companion required for children 42″ to 48″)
Universal Express available: Yes
Single rider option: Yes
Child Swap: Yes
Open for Early Park Admission: Varies, but usually (schedule available online)

When to visit: Within the 1st hour
Recommended for: Anyone tall enough to ride
Disney World comparison: Along the same lines as Flight of Passage, Star Tours, and other 3D/4D simulator rides, but a roller coaster
Tips: The 3D/4D simulator experience may cause motion sickness; there’s an attraction seat you can test outside of the entrance; virtual line is sometimes used; try the single rider line for shorter wait
 
▶ Watch video

New York

Race Through New York Starring Jimmy Fallon

race through new york starring jimmy fallon

Height requirement: 40 inches (supervising companion required for children 40″ to 48″)
Universal Express available: Yes
Single rider option: No
Child swap: Yes
Open for Early Park Admission: No

When to visit: Within first 2 hours or last 2 hours
Recommended for: After you’ve hit up your top or the most popular attractions
Disney World comparison: As a 3D simulator experience, it’s kind of like Star Tours and may cause motion sickness
Tips: Uses a virtual line, meaning you’ll pick your party size and return time rather than waiting in a standby line (similar to Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance’s virtual queue at Hollywood Studios); guests may remain in standard wheelchair (does not apply to ECV or motorized wheelchairs); test seat available at entrance
 
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Revenge of the Mummy

revenge of the mummy

Height requirement: 48 inches (all guests must meet height requirement to ride)
Universal Express available: Yes
Single rider option: Yes
Child swap: Yes
Open for Early Park Admission: No

When to visit: Either in first 2 hours or towards park closing (last 2 hours)
Recommended for: Anyone tall enough to ride
Disney World comparison: This is an indoor roller coaster and similar to Space Mountain, but more thrilling with fire and all kinds of cool effects
Tips: May use a virtual line during busier times; there’s an attraction seat you can test outside of the entrance; use single rider line for shorter wait
 
▶ Watch video

Production Central

Despicable Me Minion Mayhem

despicable me minion mayhem

Height requirement: 40 inches (supervising companion required for children 40″ to 48″)
Universal Express available: Yes
Single rider option: No
Child swap: Yes
Open for Early Park Admission: Varies, but usually (schedule available online)

When to visit: Within the 1st hour
Recommended for: A fun 3D attraction for anyone tall enough to ride
Disney World comparison: Has a similar sensation as Star Tours and Soarin’
Tips: For best view, try to sit in the middle of the center rows; may cause motion sickness due to simulation; guests may remain in standard wheelchair (does not apply to ECV or motorized wheelchairs); stationary seating is available upon request; guests under 40 inches must use stationary seating
 
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Hollywood Rip Ride Rockit

hollywood rip ride rockit

Height requirement: 51 inches (all guests must meet height requirement to ride; no more than 79 inches)
Universal Express available: Yes
Single rider option: Yes
Child swap: Yes
Open for Early Park Admission: No

When to visit: First 2 or last 2 hours
Recommended for: If you like intense thrill rides and roller coasters
Disney World comparison: There’s nothing quite this intense at Disney World, but it’s like Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster at Hollywood Studios
Tips: You can pick your own music to listen to as you ride (there’s also a secret menu of songs); test seat available at entrance; You must pass through a metal detector to ride (loose articles are prohibited, meaning you can’t carry your phone on the ride)
 
▶ Watch video

Shrek 4-D (permanently closing on Jan. 10, 2021)

shrek 4d

Height requirement: None
Universal Express available: Yes
Single rider option: No
Child swap: Yes
Open for Early Park Admission: No

When to visit: Anytime
Recommended for: Families and Shrek fans; a good time filler
Disney World comparison: Similar to It’s Tough to be a Bug! at Animal Kingdom
Tips: This is about a 23-minute show, so make sure you plan your time, accordingly; the seats move, but there is stationary seating that’s available upon request; guests may remain in standard wheelchair (does not apply to ECV or motorized wheelchairs)

▶ Watch video

TRANSFORMERS: The Ride 3-D

transformers universal

Height requirement: 40 inches (supervising companion required for children 40″ to 48″)
Universal Express available: Yes
Single rider option: Yes
Child swap: Yes
Open for Early Park Admission: No

When to visit: First 2 or last 2 hours
Recommended for: Transformers and 3D attraction fans
Disney World comparison: Similar to Star Tours, but a bit more intense
Tips: May cause motion sickness due to the simulator
 
▶ Watch video

San Francisco

Fast and Furious – Supercharged

fast and furious supercharged

Height requirement: 40 inches (supervising companion required for children 40″ to 48″)
Universal Express available: Yes
Single rider option: Yes
Child swap: Yes
Open for Early Park Admission: No

When to visit: First 2 or last 2 hours
Recommended for: Fast & Furious fans; try after your top rides
Disney World comparison: Along the lines of other simulator rides, like Star Tours
Tips: May use a virtual line during busier times; this is another attraction with a simulator, so be warned if you’re prone to motion sickness
 
▶ Watch video

Springfield, U.S.A.: Home of The Simpsons

Kang & Kodos’ Twirl ‘n’ Hurl

kang and kodos' twirl n hurl

Height requirement: None (supervising companion for children under 48 inches)
Universal Express available: Yes
Single rider option: No
Child swap: Yes
Open for Early Park Admission: No

When to visit: Anytime
Recommended for: Time filler for families (and Simpsons fans)
Disney World comparison: Like Dumbo and Aladdin in Magic Kingdom and TriceraTop Spin at Animal Kingdom
Tips: Only ride if you have time; the wait time is usually pretty low
 
▶ Watch video

The Simpsons Ride

the simpsons ride

Height requirement: 40 inches (supervising companion required for children 40″ to 48″)
Universal Express available: Yes
Single rider option: Sometimes
Child swap: Yes
Open for Early Park Admission: No

When to visit: First 2 or last 2 hours
Recommended for: Fans of The Simpsons
Disney World comparison: Simulator like Star Tours
Tips: It is a bit jerky and may cause motion sickness
 
▶ Watch video

Woody Woodpecker’s Kidzone

Curious George Goes To Town

curious george goes to town

Height requirement: None
Universal Express available: No
Single rider option: No
Child swap: No
Open for Early Park Admission: No

When to visit: Anytime
Recommended for: Kids to play; a great place to burn off energy or if you need a time filler
Disney World comparison: Like The Boneyard at Animal Kingdom or Casey Jr. Splash ‘n’ Soak Station at Magic Kingdom
Tips: A nice, open area to escape the big crowds; there are also benches to rest
 
▶ Watch video

E.T. Adventure

e.t. adventure

Height requirement: 34 inches (supervising companion required for children 34″ to 48″)
Universal Express available: Yes
Single rider option: Sometimes
Child swap: Yes
Open for Early Park Admission: No

When to visit: First 2 or last 2 hours
Recommended for: Everyone (good for families)
Disney World comparison: Similar to dark rides, like Peter Pan at Magic Kingdom, but a bit more thrilling
Tips: This is the last original attraction remaining, so it’s definitely worth your time; guests may remain in standard wheelchair (does not apply to ECV or motorized wheelchairs)
 
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Fievel’s Playland

fievel's playland

Height requirement: None
Universal Express available: No
Single rider option: No
Child swap: No
Open for Early Park Admission: No

When to visit: Anytime
Recommended for: Little ones
Disney World comparison: Like The Boneyard at Animal Kingdom or Casey Jr. Splash ‘n’ Soak Station at Magic Kingdom
Tips: A great area for kids to burn off energy or if you need a break; there’s also a 3-story water slide little ones will love
 
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Woody Woodpecker’s Nuthouse Coaster

woody woodpeckers nuthouse coaster

Height requirement: 36 inches (supervising companion required for children 36″ to 48″)
Universal Express available: Yes
Single rider option: No
Child swap: Yes
Open for Early Park Admission: No

When to visit: Anytime
Recommended for: Little ones and families
Disney World comparison: Like Barnstormer in Magic Kingdom
Tips: May not open at park opening (sometimes an hour after)
 
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World Expo

MEN IN BLACK Alien Attack

men in black alien attack

Height requirement: 42 inches (supervising companion required for children 42″ to 48″)
Universal Express available: Yes
Single rider option: Yes
Child swap: Yes
Open for Early Park Admission: No

When to visit: First 2 or last 2 hours
Recommended for: Anyone tall enough to ride
Disney World comparison: Like Toy Story Mania at Hollywood Studios and Buzz Lightyear’s Space Ranger Spin at Magic Kingdom
Tips: Every 10 shots will earn you 1,000 points, so don’t worry if you miss targets (here are some other ways to earn a high score); guests may remain in standard wheelchair (does not apply to ECV or motorized wheelchairs)

▶ Watch video

Entertainment & Parades

Diagon Alley

Celestina Warbeck And The Banshees

celestina warbeck and the banshees

Height requirement: None
Universal Express available: No
Single rider option: No
Child swap: No
Open for Early Park Admission: No

When to visit: Multiple shows throughout the day
Recommended for: If you need to fill a gap in your day or want a short break
Disney World comparison: Similar to several stage shows at the parks, like the musical performances you can watch inside the World Showplace during festivals at Epcot.
Tips: There is standing-room only, but the show is only about 10 minutes
 
▶ Watch video

Gringotts Money Exchange

gringotts money exchange

Height requirement: None
Universal Express available: No
Single rider option: No
Child swap: No
Open for Early Park Admission: No

When to visit: Anytime
Recommended for: If you’re looking for a cool, Harry Potter-themed souvenir; a good time filler
Disney World comparison: Kind of like Disney Dollars, which are no longer available for purchase
Tips: Another place to experience the life-like goblins, like in the Harry Potter and the Escape From Gringotts queue; you can actually exchange U.S. currency for Gringotts bank notes and use them for purchases in Diagon Alley and Hogsmeade
 
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Knight Bus

knight bus in diagon alley

Height requirement: None
Universal Express available: No
Single rider option: No
Child swap: No
Open for Early Park Admission: No

When to visit: Anytime
Recommended for: Harry Potter fans; a good time filler
Disney World comparison:  There isn’t anything quite like this at Disney World
Tips: You can’t actually ride the Knight Bus; this is more of an interactive experience that makes for cool photos and videos
 
▶ Watch video

Ollivanders

ollivanders

Height requirement: None
Universal Express available: No
Single rider option: No
Child swap: No
Open for Early Park Admission: Varies, but usually (schedule available online)

When to visit: Anytime
Recommended for: Harry Potter fans and those who want a wand souvenir
Disney World comparison: Like custom gifts you can get across the parks, including handbuilt lightsabers at Savi’s Workshop or building droids at the Droid Depot
Tips: There’s another Ollivanders in Hogsmeade at Islands of Adventure; depending, not everyone will be able to participate in the show, aka have your wand “choose” you
 
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The Tales Of Beedle The Bard

tales of beedle the bard

Height requirement: None
Universal Express available: No
Single rider option: No
Child swap: No
Open for Early Park Admission: No

When to visit: Multiple shows throughout the day
Recommended for: A good time filler or if you need a short break
Disney World comparison: Puppetry like Finding Nemo — The Musical at Animal Kingdom, but on a much smaller scale and without music
Tips: There is standing-room only, but the show is only about 10 minutes
 
▶ Watch video

New York

The Blues Brothers Show

blues brothers at universal

Height requirement: None
Universal Express available: No
Single rider option: No
Child swap: No
Open for Early Park Admission: No

When to visit: Multiple shows throughout the day
Recommended for: A time filler
Disney World comparison: Similar to the shows that once played in the Backlot at Hollywood Studios
Tips: This is a standing-room only show and something you can catch in passing; it’s one of the more fun street shows
 
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Marilyn and the Diamond Bellas

marilyn and the diamond bellas

Height requirement: None
Universal Express available: No
Single rider option: No
Child swap: No
Open for Early Park Admission: No

When to visit: Several shows throughout the day
Recommended for: A time filler
Disney World comparison: Along the lines of the street shows that used to play in the Backlot and a similar vibe you’d have with the Citizens of Hollywood at Hollywood Studios
Tips: This is a standing-room only show and something you can easily catch in passing
 
▶ Watch video

Sing It!

irish imports universal studios

Height requirement: None
Universal Express available: No
Single rider option: No
Child swap: No
Open for Early Park Admission: No

When to visit: Several showings throughout the day
Recommended for: A time filler
Disney World comparison: Along the lines of Epcot’s Voices of Liberty, but this a cappella group sings more current and modern songs
Tips: This is a standing-room only show and something you can easily catch in passing; if you’re a Pitch Perfect fan, this is for you
 
▶ Watch video

Palace Theater Arcade

palace theater arcade universal

Height requirement: None
Universal Express available: No
Single rider option: No
Child swap: No
Open for Early Park Admission: No

When to visit: Anytime
Recommended for: A time filler
Disney World comparison: Like many of the arcades located at Disney Resort hotels
Tips: For a price (you buy tokens), you can play both new and classic arcade games
 
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Hollywood

Universal Orlando’s Horror Make-Up Show

universal orlando's horror make up show

Height requirement: None
Universal Express available: No
Single rider option: No
Child swap: No
Open for Early Park Admission: No

When to visit: Multiple shows throughout the day
Recommended for: A time filler
Disney World comparison: There isn’t anything quite like this at Disney World
Tips: A good place to stop and take a break on a hot day; the show is about 25-minutes and you’ll see special effects come to life; there’s also audience participation
 
▶ Watch video

The Bourne Stuntacular

the bourne stuntacular

Height requirement: None
Universal Express available: No
Single rider option: No
Child swap: No
Open for Early Park Admission: No

When to visit: Multiple shows throughout the day
Recommended for: Everyone (works as a time filler, if you need a break, but definitely a cool show to check out)
Disney World comparison: Similar to the Indiana Jones Stunt Spectacular at Hollywood Studios
Tips: The action and stunts can be very loud (you may want to bring ear plugs); guests using an ECV or motorized wheelchair must transfer to a standard wheelchair (see an attendant if you cannot transfer)
 
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San Francisco

Beat Builders

louie's restaurant universal studios

Height requirement: None
Universal Express available: No
Single rider option: No
Child swap: No
Open for Early Park Admission: No

When to visit: Several shows throughout the day
Recommended for: A time filler
Disney World comparison: Similar to JAMMitors, who play in the World Showcase at Epcot
Tips: This is a standing-room only show and something you can easily catch in passing
 
▶ Watch video

Sprinfield, U.S.A.: Home of the Simpsons

Simpsons Games

simpsons games at universal

Height requirement: None
Universal Express available: No
Single rider option: No
Child swap: No
Open for Early Park Admission: No

When to visit: Anytime
Recommended for: A time filler
Disney World comparison: Just like Fossil Fun Games in DinoLand, U.S.A. at Animal Kingdom
Tips: It is $6 per game or $25 for a 5-game card
 
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Woody Woodpecker’s Kid Zone

Animal Actors On Location!

animal actors on location

Height requirement: None
Universal Express available: No
Single rider option: No
Child swap: No
Open for Early Park Admission: No

When to visit: Several shows throughout the day
Recommended for: A time filler; good for families
Disney World comparison: Like the bird show in Asia at Animal Kingdom
Tips: This is kid-friendly and not a scary, animal show; some animals you’ll see may include birds and dogs
 
▶ Watch video

Wolrd Expo

Fear Factor Live (remains shutdown and will permanently close on Nov. 1, 2021)

fear factor live

Height requirement: None (supervising companion required for children under 48″)
Universal Express available: No
Single rider option: No
Child swap: No
Open for Early Park Admission: No

When to visit: Multiple shows throughout the day
Recommended for: A time filler
Disney World comparison: Based on audience participation, along the lines of the Indiana Jones Stunt Spectacular
Tips: If you want to volunteer, arrive about 70 minutes before showtime
 
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Parade Route

Universal’s Superstar Parade

universal's superstar parade

Height requirement: None
Universal Express available: No
Single rider option: No
Child swap: No
Open for Early Park Admission: No

When to visit: Usually only one showing later in the day around 5 p.m.
Recommended for: Everyone, especially if you like parades (makes a good time filler)
Disney World comparison: Similar to Disney World parades in the sense you can see lots of characters at once
Tips: The parade route starts next to Louie’s Italian Restaurant in New York, wraps through Production Central, goes through Hollywood and exits next to the Horror Make-Up Show theater
 
▶ Watch video

Central Lagoon

Universal Orlando’s Cinematic Celebration

universal orlando's cinematic celebration

Height requirement: None
Universal Express available: No
Single rider option: No
Child swap: No
Open for Early Park Admission: No

When to visit: Usually only one showing at night (may not run every night, so check the schedule)
Recommended for: Everyone
Disney World comparison: Like the now-closed Rivers of Light at Animal Kingdom and also World of Color at Disney California Adventure
Tips: There are dedicated standing-room only viewings areas in Central Park next to Hollywood; there are three tiers to hold guests and a grassy area, with the third level serving as the best spot (better views and you won’t get as wet) 

▶ Watch video

There are quite a few Universal Studios attractions to try when visiting the Orlando-based theme park. We’ll be sure to keep this guide updated with the latest information.

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