Florida Guide > Other Parks
Universal Studios (10)
We visited Universal Studios as a family of two adults and a seven-year-old Boy during early August, which is a very busy period. Universal operate their equivalent of Disney’s FastPass, which is called Universal Express (UE for short).
Unfortunately because we were let down by our arranged transport (booked through Virgin – never again), we did not get into the park as early as we had intended and we suffered the consequences of this for the rest of the day – an early start at Universal is definitely advisable.
We managed to get onto most of the major rides but only once on each, but give here our thoughts on the day.
Shrek 4D – This was an excellent experience with good effects and a funny storyline, before you go into the theatre itself there is an entertaining pre show story. This ride does get very busy very quickly – in fact because of our late start we actually went on it another day before then going into the Islands of Adventure, this is because on our trip to Universal although the first thing we did was go to get UE ticket for Shrek, the first available time slot was after 6-30 that evening!
Jimmy Neutron’s Nicktoon Blast – A very enjoyable ride with the whole theatre taken up into the air and under the sea where you get to see most of the Nickelodeon characters. This is a ride that you don’t have to be young too enjoy.
Earthquake – The Big One – Before the main event you visit two stage sets to see some secrets explained, you are then taken on a subway ride when a full scale earthquake occurs while you are stopped at a station. Although I think that this is one of the older attractions – it really doesn’t show it. The effects are very good and extremely realistic but not too scary, a very good ride.
Jaws – Probably the biggest disappointment of the day for us as we queued for a long time but found the ride to be a bit dated with effects that somehow don’t quite live up to the standards set in the rest of the park.
Despite this it can be quite scary for younger children although much of the sting was taken out of it for us due to the fact that our guide, who is in charge of the boat, was talking so fast as to be incomprehensible. Normally I believe that the guides tend to add to the experience and I would guess that how good your guide is dictates how good an experience you have.
Men In Black – Alien Attack – We found this to be a very good ride and suitable for all ages, the cars are laid out with two rows of three seats which makes them good for various group sizes – and all seats have a gun.
The ride is very interactive with different things happening depending on the quality of your marksmanship – you even get the opportunity to shoot an opposing team’s vehicle causing them to spin round (if they don’t get you first).
TIP – keep shooting the aliens until their eyes turn red.
Back to The Future – This is a simulator ride similar to Star Tours & Body wars, however we found this to be rougher and more intense than the others, as a result this may not be one to take younger children on. We did enjoy the ride although it had a very long queue.
ET Adventure – This is a very good ride if you have younger children but older kids will also enjoy it. You escape the police on a bicycle and travel to ET’s home planet.
It is similar to Disney’s Peter Pan ride but we thought the effects on this one were much better. Again you can see some very long queues.
Overall we had a very good day at Universal. There seems to be more room so you don’t feel as crowded as at some of the other parks, however it has to be said that Universal feels less well organised than the Disney parks. Some of the queues were huge and definitely the longest that we experienced while in Orlando, but then the rides themselves seemed longer and (in most cases) were more enjoyable once you got onto them.
Our own suggestion as to how to tackle Universal is to make sure you arrive early, then get a UE for Jimmy Neutron before joining the queue for Shrek. Once you’ve done Shrek you should be able to go into Jimmy Neutron.
Once you have done these you should make haste down the right hand side of the lake and visit ET, Back to the Future and Men in Black – make sure you use the UE as soon as you are able to. Hopefully this way you can get onto the best rides before the queues build up too much leaving you the chance to see the rest of the park and maybe do some of the big ones again later.
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Page added on: 22 July 2005
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