13 Can’t Miss Rides & Attractions at Universal Studios Orlando

A trip to Orlando’s Universal Studios typically goes hand in hand with a Walt Disney World vacation. While both parks are completely different, they are alike in that they both offer world class themed rides, entertaining shows, and top notch attractions. Both parks are completely worthy of a separate vacation.

Universal Studios rotating globe – Orlando, Florida
However, if you do plan on squeezing both theme parks into a single vacation, be sure to purchase a multi day pass to Universal, which is home to 2 fantastic parks of its’ own. It will be nearly impossible to get on all the rides and see all the shows in a single visit (especially if you visit during the busy summer season). If budget or time limits you to 1 day, be sure to check out the attractions and rides listed below and purchase a fast pass which jumps you to the front of the line!

Islands of Adventure theme park at Universal Studios in Orlando, Florida
Islands of Adventure opened in 1999 at the same time as CityWalk. With the 2 parks plus Citywalk in such close proximity, there is an overload of fun things to do!
Islands of Adventure and Universal Studios are both well-maintained, staffed by friendly smiling faces, and feature a beautiful design and layout. Both Universal Studios and Islands of Adventure offer one of a kind movie themed rides that cannot be found anywhere else. Park to park tickets are needed to access both parks on the same day. Luckily, the new Harry Potter inspired Hogwarts Express provides an easy, enjoyable ride to and from each park.

Below are 13 of the best rides and attractions found within Orlando’s Universal theme parks. Take a look at the winners and be sure to incorporate at least a few into your trip plans!

  1. Diagon Alley (Universal Studios)
    Diagon Alley – Universal Studios Orlando
    Diagon Alley, part of the extravagant, Wizarding World of Harry Potter is a must-see for Harry Potter fans: the only place in the world where you will feel as if you are in the Harry Potter films. The films are brought to life in a magical way with all your favorite shops, treats, and characters from the franchise making appearances. Even if you are not a “Potterhead,” you have to admit that they did an excellent job designing this park. The excitement of Harry Potter fanatics is in the air and you cannot help but join in!

The Knight Bus at Diagon Alley – Universal Studios in Orlando, Florida
The Knight Bus is a perfect photo opportunity!
The highlight here is the “invisible to muggles” London shopping district, featuring a handful of shops recognizable from the movies. Other attractions at Diagon Alley include the Hogwarts Express (transportation between parks) and Harry Potter and the Escape from Gringotts (a fun themed 3D/roller coaster ride).

Platform 9 3/4 – the perfect photo opp while waiting for your train ride!

The Platform 9 and 3 quarters sign at King’s Cross Station.
The Platform 9 and 3 quarters sign at King’s Cross Station.
Escape from Gringotts is one of the best rides at the park; an entertaining 3D roller coaster experience.
Escape from Gringotts is one of the best rides at the park; an entertaining 3D roller coaster experience.
As you walk around the Diagon Alley shops, you will be transformed into the world of Harry Potter. You will forget you are at Universal as you pick out your own wand at Ollivander’s, sip Butterbeer, and purchase a Chocolate Frog for your ride on the Hogwarts Express.

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