Managing motion sickness at Universal Orlando

Managing motion sickness at Universal Orlando

Managing motion sickness at Universal Orlando

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It’s a beautiful day, and you and your family have finally made it to Universal Orlando Resort. You are eagerly making your way to the most anticipated ride; with every step moving quicker and each stride longer, you finally make it to the entrance. You are so excited to finally experience this attraction together. The time comes to finally take a seat and strap in, and the grin on your face says it all. The ride begins and that first drop, turn, or dip wipes that grin right off your face, and all of your energy is focused on making it through the experience without getting sick.

The ride finally stops and the clapping begins. While most clap due to the exciting thrill they just experienced, you clap because the ride is over and you are excited to be on solid, non-moving ground. All of a sudden it hits you – how are you going to have fun on all these attractions when you’ve encountered the worst theme park villain of all time: motion sickness?

No need to fear! There are so many options and helpful tricks to battle motion sickness and not let it interfere with your thrilling day at Universal Orlando. Perhaps you know you get sick and really don’t mind sitting out on some of the rides because it’s not your thing. We will go over some of the great experiences Universal offers that won’t make you sick and sometimes are easily missed, along with some attractions to avoid at all costs to not ruin your whole day. Whether you are planning your big dream vacation or are considering investing in annual passes to Universal, this guide will help with managing motion sickness on your next trip.

Plan Before You Go

You may be well aware of your motion sickness issues, or perhaps it’s your first time visiting a theme park; my best advice is to have a plan before you go. The worst thing is being stuck at the park and having to find Dramamine, and good luck finding a non-drowsy variation!

Important: You should always consult a doctor for any medical advice. This blog post is meant to show the author’s experience, not to replace the important role that a medical professional should play.

Take a trip to local drugstore and head to the pharmacy to pick up a mix of different remedies; an oral medicine such as Dramamine (non-drowsy), drops to put behind the ears like Motioneaze, or (by far my favorite) motion sickness bands such as Sea Bands. Motion sickness bands may not be the most attractive look, but it’s definitely the most beneficial. Give yourself and your family time to try all three types of remedies before you arrive for your vacation, as sometimes you may still get drowsy with a non-drowsy oral medicine. Another obstacle is NOT what you’re looking for during your vacation!

Motion Sickness Remedies available at any drugstore
Motion Sickness Remedies available at any drugstore

Which rides may induce motion sickness?

To help give a better idea of what to expect on each ride, I have divided the rides at both Universal Studios Florida and Islands Of Adventure into five categories, 1 being the easiest to ride and 5 being the most challenging and not recommended to ride with motion sickness. A summary along with some helpful hints has been given regarding each category.

Please note, these rankings are subjective. Some guests may have more difficulty with simulators opposed to the major coasters or vice versa. Please use your best judgement when deciding what attractions to experience. For official ride safety information, take a look at the Universal Orlando Resort Rider’s Guide (PDF).

Least likely to induce motion sickness (1 out of 5)

These rides are slower moving, laid back, enjoyable rides; your motion sickness may not even be affected. These rides are number one on the list to go on.

Universal Studios Florida

Islands of Adventure

The Hogwarts Express at Universal Orlando Resort
The Hogwarts Express at Universal Orlando Resort

Manageable for guests prone to motion sickness (2 out of 5)

These rides are manageable for guests with motion sickness and are fun to enjoy with the whole family. There will be sharp turns, drops, twists at high speeds along with some 3D effects. One of the remedies will be a necessity for these rides so you can fully enjoy them.

Universal Studios Florida

Islands of Adventure

Tricky for guests prone to motion sickness (3 out of 5)

These rides are more intense and become the trickiest with motion sickness; they include simulators and high-speed indoor coasters. Simulators are always the most challenging for people who struggle with motion sickness, but of course these are usually the most popular and anticipated rides that you don’t want to miss. A remedy will be required to to experience these rides.

Over time, I have experimented with the rides to see what is least motion sickness inducing. I have come to a conclusion that the seat you pick to sit in is a huge variable.

Most simulator and indoor coasters are composed of 4 rows, seating 4 per a row. What I have determined is the “claustrophobic” feeling of sitting up against one of the 2 side walls severely increases the motion sickness. This being said, when loading into the vehicle try to sit in the middle seats, seat 2 or seat 3. The results are a much more enjoyable ride experience.

Along with sitting in the middle seats away from the two side walls, wear those motion sickness bands. They will help balance you during these rides, resulting in less feeling sick and feeling more exhilarated.

Universal Studios Florida

Islands of Adventure

The Amazing Adventures of Spider-Man ride vehicle at Universal Orlando Resort
The Amazing Adventures of Spider-Man ride vehicle at Universal Orlando Resort

Likely to induce motion sickness (4 out of 5)

These rides are the big monster roller coasters with the steep drops, upside down spins, and extreme high speeds. These rides can still be tricky even with motion sickness remedies. I would urge you to try the other categories first and get a sense for how you are feeling. If you were doing great with previous category’s rides then by all means try one of this category’s rides and see how you do. If the previous category of rides were a bit of a challenge, I would not attempt the any of the rides below.

Universal Studios Florida

Islands of Adventure

Hollywood Rip Ride Rockit at Universal Orlando Resort
Hollywood Rip Ride Rockit at Universal Orlando Resort

Extremely likely to induce motion sickness (5 out of 5)

These are the rides I urge you not to try if you suffer from motion sickness. However if you have been able to ride the other rides with ease, using one the motion sickness remedies, then maybe give them a try. If you have had any difficulty with the previously mentioned rides please avoid these rides at all costs.

Universal Studios Florida

Islands of Adventure

What do I do while I wait?

If you are in a situation where the rest of the family wants to go on the ride and it’s a long wait, no problem! You can still go through the queue of the ride with the family, just let the ride attendant know you will not be riding. You can walk through the line with the group and wait in the child swap area while the rest of the group is on the ride, without feeling alone outside by yourself for the duration of their wait time.

Perhaps you welcome a bit of quiet time to relax while the others get in line for a ride that is too much for you to handle, why not go enjoy a refreshing drink or pastry at a nearby cafe?

Enjoy a pastry while you wait at Beverly Hills Boulangerie near Despicable Me Minion Mayhem.
Enjoy a pastry while you wait at Beverly Hills Boulangerie near Despicable Me Minion Mayhem.

Rides aren’t the only form of entertainment!

With such a busy day in front of you, the shows and interactive experiences that Universal Orlando offers may be forgotten or overlooked. When struggling with motion sickness the following are fantastic alternatives that really give you the satisfaction of being immersed in another world just like the rides. My number one shows not to miss at each park are Poseidon’s Fury at IoA and Blues Brothers at USF.

Universal Studios Florida

Sitdown Shows

Nighttime Show

Street Shows

Islands of Adventure

Sitdown Shows

Street Shows

Poseidon’s Fury at Universal's Islands of Adventure
Poseidon’s Fury at Universal’s Islands of Adventure, a must do experience.

Many may not realize that USF also offers Universal’s Superstar Parade, along with character meet and greets offered at both USF and IOA. Take advantage of these opportunities and make memories in between ride attractions. To see a full list of character meet and greets visit Character Guide in the OI Universal Center.

Secret Life of Pets comes to Universal's Superstar Parade
Secret Life of Pets comes to Universal’s Superstar Parade
Knight Bus Interactive Character Meet and Greet at Universal Studios Florida
Knight Bus Interactive Character Meet and Greet at Universal Studios Florida

By far, my favorite and most magical form of entertainment at the parks besides the attractions would have to be the interactive wand experiences. This form of entertainment does require an interactive wand to be purchased ($47.95 + tax), however if you and your family enjoy the Wizarding World of Harry Potter, I promise this is well worth it. Not only is it fun and exciting to take part in casting spells, it is also a bit of a scavenger hunt to find all of the interactive locations with your map, nestled in both Diagon Alley at USF and Hogsmeade at IoA.

Casting Spells in Diagon Alley at Universal Studios Florida
Casting Spells in Diagon Alley at Universal Studios Florida

Don’t let motion sickness keep you from having fun

Good luck on your next trip to Universal Orlando! I’m an annual passholder who struggles with motion sickness, but I can promise you every time I go to Universal I have a wonderful time and make magical moments. I hope all of these tips will help with planning a trip you won’t forget!

For over 200 more free pages of Universal Orlando planning information, visit our OI Universal Center.

What are your tips for dealing with motion sickness at Universal Orlando? Leave them in the comments!

Mia Cintron Mia was born and raised on Florida’s Space Coast, her favorite activity is exploring the theme parks with her hubby, and making unforgettable memories. She wants to share her experiences and advice that drive her love for the theme parks with others. You can follow her journey on Instagram, Facebook, and her blog.

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