My last visit to Universal Studios was in 2012, and as Universal can turn out half a new park in the same time it takes Disney to finish building a car park, you’ve got to believe there is a ton of new stuff I want to explore here, as well as re-visiting some old favorites! Here are the attractions I can’t wait to jump on in each of the parks next month (OMG I can say next month now!)
Harry Potter and the Escape from Gringotts
This is the big one from Universal! I have heard nothing but praise about this next generation immersive ride, and nothing but dread about how crazy the queues get! I will be making a beeline for this at opening that’s for sure! I’ve heard the queue theming alone is incredible. None of Diagon Alley was open during my last visit so I can’t wait to see it all here.
Revenge of the Mummy
One of my most favorite roller coasters of all time, it doesn't even seem like a rollercoaster throughout most of it! Between the special effects, the surprises, and the incredible set this is no ordinary coaster! I could ride this all day, and the queue fits in perfectly in Universal’s ‘backstage at the movies’ aesthetic, as it takes you from movie set to the supernatural as you head further in. It’s a little scary, and a lot of fun!
Men in Black Alien Attack
This is Buzz Lightyear’s Space Ranger Spin’s bigger and more hardcore brother, and as long as you can hold on to your lunch, it’s much better! The set is huge and incredible, there are a lot of unexpected twists and a competitive element that ups the ante from the Disney version. Don’t forget to never press the red button….
Transformers: The Ride 3-D
This is another new addition since my last visit, and I am a huge Transformers! Transformers is the perfect addition to universals repertoire and again, I’ve heard good things about this rollercoaster come simulator ride.
This isn’t listed as an actual ride and it is technically classed as transport, as it goes between both parks but I chose to add it here because we all know it’s a major attraction! Apparently each way show different scenes and I can’t wait to see both. It's seemingly really realistic too, I’ve seen some pictures of their version of King's Cross station and it’s early similar to the old version of King’s Cross here in London before the reascent re-do.
Islands of Adventure
Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey
I love this ride! It’s worth it for the queue alone, it’s a fully detailed Hogwarts! Honestly, the special effects in the queue are almost as exciting as the ride. You wind through the castle before you board visiting the defense against the dark arts classroom, Dumbledore's office and so much more. The ride itself is so immersive that you totally lose sight of what is actually real. It’s so in depth I can’t even describe it, but image you're on a broomstick, being flung around on a robot, while simulated and real scenes play out in front of you, with roller coaster elements to boot. Often described one of the best rides ever created for immersiveness, this is as good as it gets! However, because of this it is also bloody terrifying! If you don’t want to have a Death Eater coming right into your face while you are helpless to get away, ask for the castle tour which just takes you through the queue area, skipping the ride.
I have loved Dragon Challenge ever since it was called Dueling Dragons back in it’s pre-Harry Potter days. It went through an overlay when Harry flew into town but the actual ride stayed the same, with a couple of relevant props added to the already cool cave like queue line. The premise is simple, there are two coasters that run alongside each other and race to the end, each one is supposed to be a different kind of Dragon from the Triwizard Tournament. It’s heart racing and a lot of fun!
Skull Island: Reign of Kong
This is the newest ride to either of the parks and I can’t wait to try it out. It’s had some crazy hype about it’s use of scare actors, technology and the scale of the set. I have great memories of the old king Kong ride from the 90’s so I'm looking forward to giving this grown up, seemingly terrifying version a go, if I don’t chicken out!
The Incredible Hulk Coaster
As far as coasters go there is nothing really crazy technology wise at play here, other than the vertical climb that blasts you, somewhat unexpectedly, to the top of the track so fast you’ll be wondering what’s going on. However, this is one of the smoothest coasters around and there’s a reason it’s often voted one of the best coasters in Florida. There are more twists, turns and drops here then you can shake a stick at. It’s recently had a new queue added and a track replacement, bringing it more up to date, which I am hoping they do with the rest of Marvel Superhero Island before Disney create their own version in the near future.
The Amazing Adventures of Spiderman
Another beauty from Marvel Super Hero Island and one of the rides that set the standard for all rides that followed at Universal. This is another that mixes rollercoaster ride technology with simulators to give you a really immersive experience. The queue for this is always long but it is so much fun!
An extra nod goes out to the water rides at Island of Adventure as no one gets you wet like Islands of Adventure (take that as you will!)
What’s your favorite ride at Universal?