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OI Priority List: Universal Studios Florida

If you are unsure how to use this list, please review the information presented after the list of attractions. Also, note that this list includes summary information for the attractions. To learn more about each theme park and its roster of experiences, and to view thousands of full-screen images and hours of HD video, visit our library of information on Universal Studios Florida and Islands of Adventure.

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#1 – Harry Potter and the Escape from Gringotts
The Wizarding World of Harry Potter – Diagon Alley. Restrictions and access: 42 inches; must stow loose articles in free lockers before the attraction’s entrance; has Express Pass access; usually has a single-rider line. Summary: impressive tour through Gringotts Wizarding Bank followed by a multi-dimensional, multi-sensory 3D track-based motion ride (remember, single-rider line skips the tour). Wait times: varies widely based on crowds and ride uptime, anywhere from 10 to 180 minutes.

#2 – Despicable Me: Minion Mayhem
Production Central. Restrictions and access: 40 inches to ride the motion simulator; otherwise, there are stationary platforms available; must be 48 inches to ride alone; has Express Pass access (note: Express wait is unexpectedly high here, usually up to half of the posted standby time). Summary: join Gru and the girls in this family-friendly 3D simulator ride featuring an all-new storyline, new animation, and plenty of minion shenanigans. Wait times: 30 to 45 minutes on slower days, 90 to 120 on busier days.

#3 – Transformers: The Ride – 3D
Production Central. Restrictions and access: 40 inches; has Express Pass access and a single-rider line. Summary: as a NEST recruit, jump into this intense 3D simulator experience and prepare for battle alongside Optimus Prime and Bumblebee. Wait times: 30 to 60 minutes throughout most of the day, and up to 90 minutes in the middle of very busy days.

#4 – Hollywood Rip Ride Rockit
Production Central. Restrictions and access: 51 inches; must stow loose articles in free lockers just past the attraction’s entrance; has Express Pass access and usually has a single-rider line; also has a front row line. Summary: high-speed outdoor roller coaster where you pick your soundtrack. Wait times: generally above 30 minutes and possibly as high as 60 minutes or more.

#5 – Shrek 4D
Production Central. Restrictions and access: none; has Express Pass access. Summary: standard 3D movie experience with 4D in-the-theater special effects. Wait times: this is the most popular kids’ attraction at USF. During busy periods, the wait can be as long as 60 minutes.

#6 – Revenge of the Mummy
New York. Restrictions and access: 48 inches; must stow loose articles in free lockers adjacent to the attraction’s entrance; has Express Pass access and a single-rider line. Summary: Revenge of the Mummy is a not-to-be-missed high-speed, indoor roller coaster. Wait times: this is an older attraction, but, as a fan-favorite, the wait times can get higher than 45 to 60 minutes when the park is at its busiest.

#7 – The Simpsons Ride
World Expo/Springfield, USA. Restrictions and access: 40 inches; has Express Pass access. Summary: motion-simulator ride chock full of characters straight from the show and generous portions of Simpsons humor. Wait times: typically not longer than 30 minutes, and often no longer than 10 minutes.

#8 – Men in Black: Alien Attack
World Expo. Restrictions and access: 42 inches; must stow loose articles in the free lockers adjacent to the attraction’s entrance; has Express Pass access and a single-rider line. Summary: Men in Black is a shooter ride where you are the newest MIB recruit. Wait times: not often higher than 30 minutes, and there is a single-rider line if you don’t want to put up with that.

#9 – Ollivander’s Wand Shop
The Wizarding World of Harry Potter – Diagon Alley. Restrictions and access: none; does not have Express Pass access. Summary: meticulously-themed boutique where the wand chooses the wizard. Wait times: now that Ollivander’s Wand Shop is in both parks, wait times to see the show (or, perhaps, have a wand choose you) have come down dramatically to less than 15 minutes, even on busy days.

#10 – Universal’s Superstar Parade
See the in-park map for the parade route. Restrictions and access: none. Summary: Universal’s first-ever daily parade brings guests face-to-face with their favorite characters, larger-than-life floats, and dozens of street performers, all set to a high-energy soundtrack. Showtimes and other information: the parade is scheduled daily in the afternoon or evening (weather permitting). There are also additional meet-and-greet opportunities with the parade’s characters that occur throughout the day – see the “Party Zone” in the guide map for the schedule.

#11 – E.T. Adventure
Woody Woodpecker’s KidZone. Restrictions and access: 34 inches; has Express Pass access. Summary: gondola-style dark ride designed to appeal to younger guests. Wait times: typically not more than 30 minutes, and many times it is 10 minutes or less.

#12 – Kang & Kodos’s Twirl ‘n Hurl
World Expo/Springfield, USA. Restrictions and access: 48 inches to ride without an adult; Express Pass access. Summary: silly humans are “captured” and forced to “attack” their fellow man using the flight path of their flying saucer to activate targets. Wait times: since this is a simple attraction designed for kids, wait times generally hover around 10 to 20 minutes.

Shows at Universal Studios Florida

Tales of Beedle the Bard and Celestina Warbeck (The Wizarding World of Harry Potter – Diagon Alley) – no Express Pass access; elaborate puppet productions and the jazz stylings of Molly Weasley’s favorite singer. Fear Factor Live (World Expo) – has Express Pass access; a true-to-the-TV-show live version of Fear Factor, where USF guests volunteer to compete in scary and gross tasks. Universal’s Horror Make-Up Show (Hollywood) – has Express Pass access; just as much of a comedy routine as a behind-the-scenes look at horror effects. Animal Actors on Location (Woody Woodpecker’s KidZone) – has Express Pass access; see the animal stars of Hollywood perform in Orlando. Blues Brothers Show (New York) – no Express Pass access; street party that brings you face-to-face with the bad boys of blues, Jake and Elwood.

Stuff for the kids at Universal Studios Florida

Young travelers to Universal Studios Florida get their very own area: Woody Woodpecker’s KidZone. This is a surprisingly large section of the park that is strictly for the young and young at heart. Here you will find plenty of activities, character meet-and-greets, three shows, as well as two rides. It would not be difficult to spend at least a few hours just in KidZone. Once you’re done here, skip over to Springfield, USA for the Kang & Kodos spinner ride. Young Potter fans will also enjoy the shopping experiences and the treats (Butterbeer ice cream!) inside Diagon Alley.

Check out our complete guide to visiting USF with kids to learn more.

Full-service dining

Lombard’s (San Francisco) and Finnegan’s (New York).

The Hogwarts Express

We have not included the Hogwarts Express in the main section of our priority list because of its unique feature: it’s a mode of transportation between Universal Studios Florida and Islands of Adventure as well as a themed riding experience. (Remember, park-to-park admission is required; tickets can be upgraded at the train stations.) In any case, the Express does have Express Pass access, but wait times generally aren’t longer than 20 minutes in either direction, anyway – although times do peak in mid-afternoon, possibly going up to 45 minutes on busier days.

How to use the OI Priority List

Theme parks are always busiest in the middle of the day, generally from 10:00 am to 3:00 pm. This means, if you want to minimize your wait times, you will want to visit the popular attractions at the very beginning or the very end of the day. Then, save the middle of the day to either check out the less-popular attractions, see the live shows (which usually do not have wait times longer than waiting until the next performance), or head back to your hotel for some rest.

When scheduling your visits to the most popular attractions, such as Forbidden Journey, visit them at the beginning of the day, if possible, and not the end of the day. This is important because you never know when an attraction may be closed for mechanical reasons. If you visit an attraction at the end of the day and it is closed, you simply are out of luck; however, if you visit first thing in the morning and it is temporarily closed, at least you will have the opportunity to try again later on.

Is The Wizarding World of Harry Potter your top priority?

If so, please review the information on our how to ensure your trip to the Wizarding World is a success! page.

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