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What Is the Best Ride at Universal Studios Hollywood™?

Hippogriff
There are many famous rides at the Universal Studios Hollywood™ theme park. Some are known for their thrilling twists, turns, and inversions. Others are known for their intricate design, giving fans a chance to spot hidden details from their favorite movies.

Your ideal ride at Universal Studios Hollywood™ may depend on whether you are after a breathtaking adrenaline rush, a light, and family-friendly journey, or something in between. Listed below is aRes Travel’s pick for the best ride at Universal Studios Hollywood™, as well as the many deserving runners up.

9. Flight of the Hippogriff

The Wizarding World of Harry Potter™ may be the first area you visit on your trip to Universal Studios Hollywood™. The best known Harry Potter ride is listed below, but the Flight of the Hippogriff is also worth mentioning. It is a much smaller roller coaster than its counterpart, designed to appeal to a younger audience.

The size of this ride means it only lasts for a minute. However, this can make it perfect for a family with children. It might be a particularly good choice for children who are unused to large roller coasters.

There are some elements of a classic roller coaster ride, including an initial drop. There are some curves, turns and dips, but also a brake run to slow the train down. Thrill-seeking roller coaster fans will consider it very tame. However, many Harry Potter fans will enjoy the tribute it makes to the books. This includes sound effects and animatronics, referencing well-loved characters such as Hagrid.

As well as being a good option for small children, this ride is notable for its view. Hogwarts™ Castle, an amazingly detailed construction, is clearly visible during the initial lift. This gives fans of the movie franchise a chance to appreciate the scene of the castle and its mountain backdrop.

8. The Walking Dead

While this may not be the most traditional of rides, it has made a huge impact on many visitors to Universal Studios Hollywood™ since it was introduced. Guests walk through the attraction, witnessing the scenes of the hit zombie horror show the Walking Dead up close.

Universal Studio Hollywood’s strengths are often seen in its appreciation of film craft, and this has a big impact on the success of the Walking Dead. The attention to detail in every hallway and room along the maze-like, walk-through ride allows visitors to feel as though they are really in the show. This includes sets based directly on some of the more iconic scenes from the show. The experience starts at the hospital at which the protagonist Rick Grimes wakes up in episode 1.

The actors taking part, in the style of a Halloween haunted house, make this experience particularly unusual. The costumes and prosthetics are good enough to withstand the close scrutiny that you will be afforded when you come face to face with the zombies.

While this attraction does not offer the speed that many others on this list do, it is still highly ranked. The special effects, atmospheric chills, and theatrical tension make it well worth a try.

7. Despicable Me Minion Mayhem

The Despicable Me franchise, along with its beloved Minion characters, make this a perfect ride for visitors with families. Fans of the movie might want to experience the ride even if they do not have children. The scripting, story, and humor match well with the original’s characters and core themes.

The ride is one of the Universal Studios Hollywood™ signature screen-based attractions. It uses motion simulation technology to create the movement of the ride as you watch the action play out on screens around you.

Universal Studios Hollywood™ has made a special effort to build this ride into its surroundings. The facade of the ride features the cartoonish designs of the suburban street that was the setting for much of the original story. It is also placed near Super Silly Fun Land, which is themed around the Despicable Me movies. This can help visitors get into the spirit of the ride before it starts.

While the movement of the ride does not result in a high thrill level, the writing and dialogue are highly enjoyable. Fans of the original will find much to appreciate throughout the short narrative that guides the ride, with the motion simulation serving to place them within the action.

6. The Simpsons

This ride is based on the Simpsons TV show and is another example of the Universal Studios Hollywood™ excellent motion simulator rides. There are plenty of moments for fans of the show to enjoy throughout this ride, starting with the time spent in line. Classic clips of the show are projected for visitors to watch while they wait their turn, allowing you to anticipate the more extended scenes that will be part of the main ride.

The ride is heavily based on the story, set in the show’s fictional theme park Krustyland, founded by the show’s character Krusty the Clown. Guests are sectioned into groups of eight before viewing the start of the story, that depicts Sideshow Bob takes over the theme park. The Simpsons then take the guests along on their ensuing adventure.

You will watch the scenes playing out on a dome surrounding the cars. The cars themselves move around on their bases but do not travel within the ride. The motion is matched up with the action on the screens, and there are many practical effects as well.

The actors from the tv show were brought in to voice the characters in the ride. This, as well as the humor brought in throughout the scenes, pays excellent tribute to the show and its fans. However, the clear storytelling also allows those less familiar with the show to still enjoy themselves.

5. Revenge of the Mummy

Unlike many of the most popular attractions at Universal Studios Hollywood™, Revenge of the Mummy is not a motion simulator ride. While there are a number of projected scenes and special effects to enhance the story and experience, the ride is a classic roller coaster.

Revenge of the Mummy mixes fast sections with slow. This allows the build-up of tension to take effect, while also providing the thrills of a speeding indoor roller coaster. The beginning of the ride starts quite slowly, introducing the riders to the premise of a forbidden tomb, and warning them of the danger within.

Harry Potter ride
The roller coaster’s features do not include inversions or loops. However, the dark indoor setting allows the tight turns and drops to have a more tense effect than an outdoor roller coaster might. There are a few special moments, such as when the train moves back and downward to simulate a fall into a tomb.

While the ride is relatively short, it allows for plenty of scares during its run. The use of projection and narrative elements is minimal in comparison to many other Universal Studios Hollywood™ rides. However, the physical thrill of the roller coaster might make this ride the first choice for many visitors.

4. Transformers: The Ride in 3D

This ride follows a narrative based on the Transformers film franchise. The ride takes the form of a car journey taken alongside the Autobots, using motion simulation to create the sensation of speed. You are given a pair of 3D glasses to wear during the ride, allowing you to immerse yourself in the action.

Fans of the movie franchise will appreciate the attention given to the action scenes played out during the ride. Smaller details add to the experience, such as the car you ride in taking the role of “EVAC,” one of the transformers. The story is based on an adventure to retrieve the Allspark, a plot device fans will recognize.

This is a combination of a motion simulation and a dark ride. Some of the most impressive parts of the ride are when the sets seem to merge with the animation on the screens. The sets themselves add a great deal to the experience. Although the screens provide the details, the large structures add to the dimension and scale of the adventure.

The additional size lends itself to the action of the story and scenes. The transformers appear to be several stories tall as they fight around, and sometimes on, the vehicle. The technology matches the experience perfectly, for an excellent ride.

3. Jurassic Park/Jurassic World

This is remembered as many visitor’s favorites, a water-based ride inspired by Steven Spielberg’s Jurassic Park franchise. The original ride, a raft based adventure, was known for its special effects and water features.

The new ride is being updated to include some parts of the Jurassic World franchise. Many of the old elements will remain, and the ride is still a water-based attraction. However, Universal has stated that indoor sections will be added to the outdoor ride to showcase some new scenes. This includes a screen that will be used to simulate the presence of the aquatic dinosaur Mosasaurus in its tank, as seen in the new movies.

The theming for the new ride is similar to the old one, utilizing an external facade of rock structures and jungle plants. The new section will include a raptor encounter attraction. The story of the ride has been updated to include the Indominus Rex, also from the new franchise. However, old favorites such as the T-rex will also be included.

Although the new ride has not been opened yet, the popularity of the original indicates that Jurassic World is headed for success. In keeping many of the original elements and adding the new technology Universal Studios Hollywood™ is known for, this ride will certainly draw crowds.

2. Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey™

This dark ride has one of the longest waiting times at Universal Studios Hollywood™, and for a good reason. As well as celebrating a hugely popular film franchise, the ride is an amazing blend of 3D scenes and motion simulation.

The long lines that the ride attracts have been prepared for, with various scenes and special effects on display for visitors to view while they wait. The line itself goes through the Hogwarts™ Castle structure, which boasts many beautiful details and easter eggs for fans to spot and enjoy.

The ride’s motion uses a technology known as a “robocoaster,” mechanical arms that control the movement of the benches used for seating. As well as being impressively advanced, this technology creates the illusion of floating benches instead of traditional ride cars. There are plenty of other illusions to be enjoyed throughout the ride.

Famous characters and familiar scenes appear throughout the ride. Projected scenes are combined with sets and practical effects. The theatricality keeps the story moving, and creates a number of fun moments.

The way the projections are merged with the motion of the robocoaster is especially effective. It prevents those on the ride from distinguishing between real and simulated motion, keeping them in the fantasy as much as possible.

Given the popularity of this ride, some may be surprised that it is not the top pick. However, our choice for the best ride is something even more special.

1. Studio Tour

Universal Studios Hollywood™ is a celebration of the art of movies, and there is no better way to experience this than through the studio backlot tour. As a ride, it is slow, as it takes place on a tram rather than a roller coaster or raft. However, the magic of going behind the scenes of a studio backlot and seeing what goes into making a movie is a special thrill. This attraction is a staple of Universal Studios Hollywood™ and is the longest running ride at the park.

You can view scenes and sets from classic movies, such as the Bates Motel from Alfred Hitchcock’s Psycho. Street sets such as a New York road and Wisteria Lane from the Desperate Housewives series are also included, as well as sets for movie styles like Westerns.

The ride also includes some more interactive elements, demonstrating the wonders of movie special effects. You can experience both a simulated earthquake and a flood from the safety of the tram.

Tributes to new movies also have a place on the tour. One section is devoted to the Fast and the Furious franchise, featuring a high-speed chase scene complete with explosions. There is also a spectacular 3D tribute to King Kong. In addition to these scenes, artifacts such as famous vehicles from iconic movies can be spotted throughout the tour.

The tour takes 45 minutes to complete, during which visitors are entertained with narration by Jimmy Fallon. The scenes are played on a 360-degree screen, so everyone has a view. This is a truly immersive experience, not to be missed as part of your Universal Studios Hollywood™ trip.

Final Thoughts

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