Universal Studios Orlando

Florida Guide > Universal Parks

Universal is the main competitor to the Disney parks in Orlando and is split into three main areas – Universal Studios, Islands of Adventure & Universal Studios City Walk.

City Walk is Universals version of Downtown Disney & has a wide variety of restaurants, clubs, cinemas & stalls selling Universal merchandise. Islands of Adventure has the largest number of ‘big, scary rides’ & Universal Studios is probably the park most suited to parties of mixed age groups.

There is quite a long walk to the entrance to the parks from the car parks & there are a couple of options here. Firstly valet parking where your car is parked for you leaving you free to start your day straight away or preferred parking where you are allocated a space nearer to the entrance. Both of these are probably worth the extra charge if you have anyone in your party who would not relish a long walk. Buggies & wheelchairs are available to hire as usual but these are situated within the parks so there is quite a walk first.

Once inside Universal the first thing to do as always is to collect several maps & agree on a place to meet up if you get lost! There is also the usual ‘Express Ticket’ option so it’s a good idea to organise some of these straight away.

The first of the new rides is “Revenge of the Mummy” & this is definitely not for the feint hearted or those under 48” tall!! It’s a twisting turning ride where you encounter beetles, fireballs & mummy warriors, often in the dark! Shrek 4-D is another new ride & is very popular so be prepared to queue – suitable for all ages though & a must for Shrek fans. Back to the Future is also great fun but the height restriction is 40” and it can make those who don’t like simulator rides feel a little sick! Men in Black is your opportunity to ‘zap the aliens’ from your car but beware you must be over 42”. Surviving ‘Earthquake’ is also quite a thrill!

When you’ve had enough of all this excitement its good to head over to the farthest area of the park which has a calm atmosphere like a small fishing village, a nice place for a snack to replenish energy levels. While you’re here try ‘Jaws’ – one of the older rides but still a boat trip with one or two surprises!!

There are a couple of attractions which are hard to categorise – ‘Twister’ is more like a moving show with effects and Terminator 2 is part film & part live show. Both worth a trip! There are also a couple of shows for when you need a sit down, Animal Planet Live features performances from monkeys, snakes, pigs, birds to name a few and also the Universal Horror Make Up show.

No matter what your age, don’t miss ‘ET’s Adventure’ – climb on your ‘bike’ & soar above the clouds to help ET save his planet. The younger members of your party are also catered for on the ‘Nuthouse Coaster’ but they do have to be 36” high. There are two good children’s play areas for little ones & you will be in serious trouble if you miss the ‘Barney’ show!!

Disabled access is generally good; stop by at guest services first to get an information pack. There’s definitely a full day out to be had at this park - there’s all the usual dining options from snacks on the go to sit-down full service meals & of course shops to get those all important souvenirs!!

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