Disney World, Sea World, Universal Studios--welcome, welcome, welcome to Orlando, Florida ... the vacation capital of the world! One could probably spend a whole summer here and still not see all there is to see. From Mickey and Minnie Mouse to Shamu the whale to Hary Potter and Spider-Man, Orlando has so much to experience, it's any tourist's one-stop vacation mecca! Of course, the summer months are the peak time of year, but each park also caters to the seasonal changes as well. At Christmas, there's Mickey's Very Merry Christmas Party! During the month of October, Universal Studios is host to the famous Halloween Horror Nights! All one has to do is drive down Orlando's famous International Drive to see just how the area has grown to fit any visitor's every need. Guests can pretty much find every restaurant imaginable to eat at. A fan of miniature golf? No problem! Orlando has more mini-golf courses per square mile than anywhere else around! What? Souvenirs are what's missing? Say no more! From t-shirts to seashells to personalized license frames--you're sure to find it here!
But this quiz focuses on one park, in particular, Universal Studios Orlando! This resort actually encompasses two parks in one, Islands of Adventure and Universal Studios. But that's okay. Need to see them both? It's already been taken care of; just purchase a Two-Park Pass! But maybe, before anyone jets off to central Florida ... take a minute or two to check out our quiz! Read about the rides and decide how to tackle the park beforehand. Maybe it'll help, maybe it won't. But, that's okay too. Just have fun!
A Day in the Park With Barney: NOW or EXPRESS PASS LATER
The cuddly purple dinosaur of TV fame leads his sidekicks Baby Bop and BJ in an audience sing-along of toddler classics. A short preshow featuring a live actor playing “Mr. Peek-a-boo” gets the kids all warmed up before they enter Barney’s Park. The show is held indoors on a raised, Y-shaped stage placed in the middle of the theatre. This allows most of the audience to be seated within a few rows of Barney.
Revenge of the Mummy: NOW or EXPRESS PASS LATER
Revenge of the Mummy is an indoor dark ride based on the Mummy flicks, where guests fight off curses and vengeful creatures while flying through Egyptian tombs and other spooky places on a high-tech roller coaster. As far as special effects go, they’re pretty good. And that includes the video effects, animatronics, lighting, and fire-spewing gas vents. All things considered, it's pretty clever.
Shrek 4-D: NOW or EXPRESS PASS LATER
Shrek 4-D follows the adventures of Shrek, Donkey and the Dragon as they attempt (again) to rescue Fiona after she's kidnapped by Lord Farquaad. The pre-show area is themed as "Lord Farquaad's Dungeon" and has the Three Little Pigs and the Gingerbread Man warning riders about the pains and tortures in store for everyone, that is until the Farquaad appears to droll on about his evil plan to reclaim his lost bride.
Animal Actors On Location: NOW or EXPRESS PASS LATER
It's a live show (fun for kids and adults alike) featuring performing dogs, birds, pigs, and a menagerie of other animals in a covered outdoor stadium. The presentation is a hearty mix of video segments with live sketches, jokes, and animal tricks performed onstage. A human trainer acts as the show's host, and explains how most of the animals are conditioned to perform the tricks.
Caro-Seuss-el: NOW or EXPRESS PASS LATER
This one is totally outrageous! The full-scale merry-go-round is made up entirely of Dr. Seuss characters, each of which has an interactive effect (wagging tongues, blinking eyes) that the rider can control. While you turn, an orchestra of ridiculous instruments plays like an old-style calliope. A gentle ride, even for the smallest children.
Skull Island: Reign of Kong: NOW or EXPRESS PASS LATER
The ride is imagined to be an original adventure story, set in the 1930s. Guests are explorers with the "8th Wonder Expedition Company," which has set up its base camp near an ancient temple inhabited by a Kong-worshiping tribe. The experience is an outstanding one; featuring both animatronic figures and live actors who regularly startle unwitting guests!
Storm Force Accelatron: NOW or EXPRESS PASS LATER
Off you spin to the accompaniment of a simulated thunderstorm (courtesy of X-Men's Storm, of course). The flashing lights and the loud music really have an effect on the senses! A familiar storyline involving the rest of the X-Men as well, loosely ties this ride to the Marvel Super Hero Island area.
Curious George Goes to Town: NOW or EXPRESS PASS LATER
Yes, it's simply an interactive playground with wet stuff. In addition to innumerable spigots, pipes, and spray guns, two giant roof-mounted buckets periodically dump a thousand gallons of water on unsuspecting visitors below. Kids who want to stay dry can mess around in the foam-ball playground, also equipped with chutes and tubes.
The Amazing Adventures of Spider-Man: NOW or EXPRESS PASS LATER
The story is that you’re visiting the Daily Bugle newspaper (where Peter Parker/ Spider-Man, works as a photographer). The Sinister Syndicate (consisting of Spidey's archenimies Doc Oc, the Hobgoblin, Electro, Hydro, and Scream) have used and anti-gravity gun to steal the Statue of Liberty. You’re recruited on the spot by editor J. Jonah Jameson to get the story. You board a "SCOOP vehicle" and follow the “Spider Signal” straight into an epic battle right along side the web-slinger.
Dudley Do-Right's Ripsaw Falls: NOW or EXPRESS PASS LATER
Ripsaw Falls is only one of Universal's water rides and maybe the most fun of all. Riders sit single-file in log boats and float along a man-made river, drifting past scenes telling the story of Snidley kidnapping Nell, with Dudley's brave rescuing. There are several medium-size drops during the 5-minute ride and a heart-stopping 75-foot one near the end.
The Cat in the Hat: NOW or EXPRESS PASS LATER
This indoor attraction recounts the entire Cat in the Hat story from beginning to end. Guests ride on “couches” through different sets inhabited by animatronic Seuss characters. Of course, mayhem ensues when the Cat brings Thing 1 and Thing 2 over to play, and the bothersome goldfish tries to maintain order in the midst of it all, but the entire mess is cleaned up just before mom gets home.
ET Adventure: NOW or EXPRESS PASS LATER
This attraction is (obviously) inspired by Steven Spielberg's classic 1982 film E.T. The Extra-Terrestrial. Interestingly enough, this is the only ride at Universal that's remained essentially unchanged since the opening day. All guests board a bicycle-like ride vehicle and go on an adventure returning everyone's favorite Extra-Terrestrial from Earth to his failing home planet.
The Eighth Voyage of Sinbad Stunt Show: NOW or EXPRESS PASS LATER
Held in a large, open-air auditorium, the stunt show follows Sindbad the Sailor and his sidekick Kabob as they search for treasure in a mysterious cave. Sindbad and Kabob meet several monsters and an evil queen and brave some water explosions, 10-foot-tall circles of flame, and other eruptions as they rescue a princess in distress.
Fear Factor Live: NOW or EXPRESS PASS LATER
Fear Factor Live is a stage version of NBC's hit gross-out show! In the theme park version, six volunteers compete for one grand prize. Any contestants crazy enough to take the chance must be 18 years or older (with a photo ID to prove it) and weigh at least 110 pounds.
The Incredible Hulk Coaster: NOW or EXPRESS PASS LATER
First, you’ll be shot like a jet, going from 0 to 40 mph in just 2 seconds, flung upside down into a zero-gravity barrel roll 100 feet off the ground; which will, of course, induce weightlessness. You're then thrown immediately into a pair of cobra rolls and a vertical loop of more than 100 feet, and then into a below-ground tunnel! Two more rolls and another loop follow. Whew! Who's ready for a break?
The Simpsons Ride: NOW or EXPRESS PASS LATER
Sideshow Bob secretly arrives at Krustyland and plots his revenge on Krusty and Bart for sending him to jail. Bob gets even by making things go wrong with the attractions that the Simpsons (and you) are riding. There are dozens of dips, turns, climbs and drops during the ride, and there are probably hundreds of one-liners and visual puns.
Transformers: The Ride 3-D: NOW or EXPRESS PASS LATER
Recruits to the Cybertron war enlist by entering the N.E.S.T. Base (headquarters of the heroic Autobots and their human allies). Inside, video monitors catch you up on the backstory. Basically, the Decepticon bad guys are after the Allspark. Your job is to safeguard the shard. The highly evil Megatron and his pals Starscream and Devastator threaten the mission, but don’t worry, we have Sideswipe and Bumblebee to back us up.
Harry Potter and the Escape From Gringotts: NOW or EXPRESS PASS LATER
You enter through the bank’s lobby, where you’re critically appraised by glowering animatronic goblins. Then you'll ascend a spiral staircase into the stalactite-filled boarding cave where your vault cart awaits. Beyond that, you'll get spritzed with water, blasted with warm air, and sprayed with fog. The story, the visuals, and the projected images are simply amazing. Many consider this to be the best ride in the park.
Woody Woodpecker's Nuthouse Coaster: NOW or EXPRESS PASS LATER
This is a short, relatively low roller coaster designed to introduce small children to this kind of amusement park ride. In terms of theme, size, and scariness, the Nuthouse Coaster is small enough for kids to enjoy but sturdy enough for adults, though its moderate speed might unnerve some smaller children.
Race Through New York Starring Jimmy Fallon: NOW or EXPRESS PASS LATER
Jimmy Fallon has lent his name, image, and his personality to this 3-D attraction. If that all sounds good to you than you'll probably like Race Through New York Starring Jimmy Fallon. Guests are led on a go-kart-style ride through New York City to see the Statue of Liberty as well as the lovely sights of the subway and the East River. And the ending involves a trip to the moon.
Pteranodon Flyers: NOW or EXPRESS PASS LATER
This one is definitely meant for the little adventurers. They'll love this chance to take flight beneath the 10-foot wings of a Pteranodon, a prehistoric flying reptile. You'll get an amazing view of all the theme park excitement below as they slowly fly through the air in a comfy seat suspended from a track above. While the seat does swing gently from side to side, there are no sudden or scary movements.
Hogwarts Express: NOW or EXPRESS PASS LATER
Part of the genius of the Hogwarts Express is that it takes you from Diagon Alley at one park and over to Hogsmeade at the other, kind of like the novels and films. The counterpart to the Hogsmeade Station in King's Cross station, a landmark London train depot that has been recreated a few doors down from Diagon Alley's hidden entrance.
Poseidon's Fury: NOW or EXPRESS PASS LATER
The Greek gods Poseidon and Zeus duke it out, with Poseidon as the main character. He fights with water and Zeus fights with fire, though both sometimes resort to laser beams and smoke machines. The special effects are amazing! The plot begins to unfold as you pass through a couple of antechambers and finally into the main theatre.
Hollywood Rip Ride Rockit: NOW or EXPRESS PASS LATER
Rip Ride Rockit is Universal Studios' most advanced coaster. It's a sit-down coaster that runs on a 3,800-foot steel track, with a height of 167 feet and a top speed of 65 miles an hour. The "X-Car" vehicles are more comfortable than most other kinds and uses less restrictive restraints, making for a more exhilarating ride.
Popeye & Bluto's Bilge-Rat Barges: NOW or EXPRESS PASS LATER
Bilge-Rat Barges seats 10 riders at a time on a circular raft down a canyon of gushing rapids, waterfalls, twists, turns and dips. Some of the scenery is visually interesting, like the 18-foot octopus crammed into a cave two sizes too small, What you are immersed in is water ... everywhere. This ride was made to guarantee that everyone gets drenched!
Jurassic Park River Adventure: NOW or EXPRESS PASS LATER
In the River Adventure, guests board tour boats for an aquatic journey through the grounds of Jurassic Park. Everything is tranquil as the tour begins, as the boat floats among large herbivorous dinosaurs. But, wait! Something goes horribly wrong, and your tour boat is nudged off course by a dinosaur at exactly the most inopportune time: just as you're floating past the vicious raptor enclosure, whose gates have been mysteriously unlocked and left open!
One Fish, Two Fish, Red Fish, Blue Fish: NOW or EXPRESS PASS LATER
Guests climb aboard a fish-shaped vehicle mounted to an arm, and around they spin. One can raise or lower their fish 15 feet in the air while traveling in circles, and trying to avoid streams of water sprayed by other fish mounted to "squirt posts" around the ride. You can avoid most of the spray by going up or down at the right time.
Kang & Kodos' Twirl 'n' Hurl: NOW or EXPRESS PASS LATER
The Twirl 'n' Hurl is more than just eye candy for Springfield U.S.A. Guests ride around in little flying saucers while the alien narrators, Kang and Kodos hold pictures of Simpson characters. You can make them speak and spin by steering your "craft" to the proper altitude. All the while, Kang commands you to destroy Springfield and makes insulting comments about humans.
Men in Black: Alien Attack: NOW or EXPRESS PASS LATER
Guests are loaded up into a 6-passenger spinning ride vehicle and are sent into an inauspicious "training room" shooting gallery. But, wait! Your training is cut short when it is revealed that a real alien spaceship has landed in New York and you must save the city! Most of the meat of the ride consists of "driving" around Manhattan in your MIB vehicle and shooting aliens.
The Blues Brothers Show: NOW or EXPRESS PASS LATER
In the New York area across from the lagoon, The Blues Brothers Show features Jake and Elwood crooning out a few of the hit songs from the classic 1980 movie musical, including such hits as, Soul Man and Sweet Home Chicago. The brothers are joined on stage by a live saxophone player and by "Mabel" the waitress, who belts out an impressive Aretha Franklin cover to start out the show.
The High in the Sky Seuss Trolley and Train Ride: NOW or EXPRESS PASS LATER
This is an elevated train ride through and around the buildings in Seuss Landing. Trains chug along elevated tracks while a voice reads a Dr. Seuss story over the train’s speakers. As each train makes its way through Seuss Landing, it passes a series of simple animatronic characters in scenes that are part of the story being told.
Despicable Me Minion Mayhem: NOW or EXPRESS PASS LATER
One of the most popular rides among guests, Minion Mayhem involves motion simulators moving and reacting with a cartoon projected on an IMAX screen. The projection system is high-definition and 3-D, as well. The story combines elements from the animated movie Despicable Me, starring Gru, the archvillain, along with his adopted daughters and his loveable, little, yellow Minions.
Doctor Doom's Fearfall: NOW or EXPRESS PASS LATER
Strapped into a seat with your feet dangling, blasted 200 feet up in the air, and then allowed to partially free-fall back down. Whew! The scariest part of the ride by far is the suspense and apprehension that builds as you sit, waiting for the ride to launch. Rocketing up and then plummeting down are actually the best parts, with one, fleeting moment of negative-g “air time” at the top of the ride!
Flight of the Hippogriff: NOW or EXPRESS PASS LATER
This outdoor, elevated roller coaster is mainly designed for young guests old enough to know about Harry Potter, but not yet tall enough to ride Forbidden Journey. This attraction offers excellent views of the areas within Wizarding World and of Hogwarts. The theming is also very good, considering that this isn't a major attraction.
Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey: NOW or EXPRESS PASS LATER
This ride provides the only opportunity at Universal Studios to come in contact with Harry, Ron, Hermione, and Dumbledore as portrayed by the original actors. Half the attraction is a series of preshows, setting the stage for the main event, a wild dark ride. Most say it's really a split decision on whether to take one's time and enjoy all the preshows, or just rush through and go straight to the ride.