Universal Studios Hollywood Rides – Ride Guide to Universal Studios California

While some people may say otherwise for almost everyone the main reason to visit a theme park is for the rides. Universal Studios Hollywood does have a lot more to offer than just rides but it also has a pretty outstanding collection of top rides too. Here we take a look at all the Universal Studios Hollywood Rides and Attractions.

Check out our Top 10 Rides and Attractions at Universal Studios Hollywood Guide if you are looking for a “Best Of” or Highlights Guide.

Universal Studios Hollywood Rides


Note – we have rated and reviewed every ride at the park but the scores are not 100% reliable guides to how good or bad a ride is. Rides are very subjective and what is important for one person is meaningless for another. So Check out our individual ride reviews and guides to know if a ride is right for you!

Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey

Hogwarts Universal Hollywood

This ultra-high-tech and heavily themed Harry Potter adventure has helped, in part (along with the Wizarding world itself, see below) re-invigorate the park fortunes and visitor numbers as people flock to see the magic of the Harry Potter Universe.

The Ride itself is a technological masterpiece combining old-school theming with high-tech 4D video and some real Robotic Wizardry. It needed to be a good ride in order to not be overshadowed by the queue area which takes you on a journey through Hogwarts castle and is an amazing experience on its own. Probably the only Queue you actually want to move slower to take everything in!

Our Rating – 4.3 ⭐⭐⭐⭐ – Read More…

Flight of the Hippogriff

This is one for the Kiddies. This steel coaster is pretty mild and has a mere 39″ height restriction. It’s a fairly tame ride that should be tolerable for most kids. However, for adults and coaster fans, it’s a very tame ride. The theming of the ride Queue is pretty fun and it’s well worth a ride

Our Rating – 3.2⭐⭐ – Read More…

World Famous Studio Tour

One of the real highlights of the Park and the main reason people come. This is where it all started and probably the number one ride/attraction in the Studios. It is no longer the behind-the-scenes look it once was but has now morphed into a ride/tour hybrid that is pretty spectacular.

The Trams tour around current movie sets and sound stations along with sets of old that have been retained for nostalgic value, along with some ultra-modern ride elements such as:

  • Fast and the Furious – Supercharged
  • King Kong 360 – 3D

The Tour retains many of its older well-known elements too such as the Jaws Scene, Flash Flood, Earthquake set, and visit to the Bates Motel from Psycho. It’s a wonderfully unique and entertaining experience and one not to be missed.

Our Rating – 4.5 ⭐⭐⭐⭐– Read More…

Mario Kart™: Bowser’s Challenge

Super Nintendo world Mario Kart racer suits

We really did not get along with this ride at all. After hours of queueing (Not really we were VIP) the overall experience of the ride was terrible. The Dark Ride elements are actually really good, but not something you want to spend 2-3 hours queueing for. If you are big Nintendo and Mario fans then the models are really cool, but it is just basic dark ride theming and nothing to get overly excited about.

The big news here is the AR headsets that are designed to overlay characters onto the actual world and allow you to do battle with the opposing team. But it really does not work and the two worlds, the AR and Real, are completely separate. You either play a pretty awful game on a small field-of-view screen or pay attention to the world around you. You can’t do both and you largely miss the ride trying to fire Koopa shells at some 8-bit characters floating in front of your eyes.

It’s possibly the most disappointing ride experience we have had, and we have done a lot of rides.

Our Rating – 2 ⭐⭐ – Read More…

Overall Super Nintendo World is a fun place to visit with loads of hidden extras, a Fun Dining option, and loads to see and do in this immersive Video Game experience. It’s just the ride that is a massive letdown.

DreamWorks Theatre Featuring Kung-Fu Panda

Replacing the less-than-stellar Shrek 4D the Dreamworks theatre was opened as a way for the Studios to quickly utilize any new films that are released on their Dreamworks label. The Theatre will remain for many years but the “featuring” will change as new releases come and go. At least that is the theory.

The State of the Art Theatre is a cross between a regular theatre and a motion simulator that takes you on a journey through the world of the DreamWorks universe in question.

The Current Kung-Fu Panda film takes you on a virtual boat ride through ancient China and is a pretty decent spectacle, while not completely overwhelming.

Our Rating – 3.8 – ⭐⭐Read More…

Despicable Me Minion Mayhem

The Despicable Me ride is a 4D Motion Simulator ride that takes you on a hilarious adventure through the Minion World. It starts off with you entering the Despicable Me House before a couple of pre-shows break up the queue and set the mood. Then it’s off to the Lab for the main ride.

The Ride Technology is Similar to the Dreamworks theatre above and utilizes a large 3D screen with movable seats that simulate the motion experienced in the ride. It’s a really fun experience but definitely geared towards kids who love Minions. But Despicable Me humor works for most ages.

Our Rating – 4.0 ⭐⭐⭐⭐ – Read More…

Transformers: The Ride – 3D

Transformers The Ride 3D

One of the world’s most underrated rides in Our opinion. It always gets good reviews but fails to really get the attention we think it deserves. It’s not scary but incredibly fun. It is a blend of State of the art 3D screens and a bouncy bumpy ride car that gives the real illusion you are experiencing the intense action sequences going on in front of you.

The ride mechanics are very similar to the much-loved “The Amazing Adventures of Spiderman ” at Universal Florida, Which gets many plaudits and awards, for us, Transformers is a Superior experience but just doesn’t get the credit. Maybe because it’s standing on the shoulders of Spiderman, but better is better, and this is a great ride!

Our Rating – 4.6 ⭐⭐⭐⭐ – Read More…

The Simpsons Ride

Universal Studios Hollywood Simpsons

A motion simulator ride with a twist. The twist being it’s hilariously funny as your ride starts off in a parodied Krusty Land theme park on a typically over-the-top roller-coaster before breaking free and wreaking havoc in and around Springfield.

The Theming is excellent with great pre-shows to keep you entertained and the ride is exciting and funny as it happily pokes fun at the theme park industry. The ride is not afraid to make fun of itself along with its rivals and gets quite a few laughs along the way.

Our Rating – 4.3 ⭐⭐⭐⭐ – Read More…

Revenge of the Mummy – The Ride

The Revenge of the Mummy – The ride is a much-lauded ride and the winner of many awards such as the Golden Ticket Awards: Best Indoor Coaster for several years running.

We are not so keen on it really. We find it just too violent. Not in the “content” sense but physically the ride is just so jerkily Violent that it actually hurts. This is not helped by the seat design, an oddly shaped hard plastic bench that exaggerates any jerks quite painfully.

If this can be ignored the ride is a pretty decent romp through an Egyptian Tomb with some pretty stunning special effects including loads of real fire. It’s just such a rough ride it’s hard to enjoy.

Our Rating – 3.0 ⭐⭐– Read More…

Silly Swirly Fun Ride – Super Silly Fun Land

Unless you have kids who pretty much will not ride anything else you can give this a miss. It is a merry-go-round ride that allows riders to control their height via a lever. Very much like Dumbo the flying elephant. While we love Dumbo, it’s the nostalgia value that gets the marks, and with the Silly Swirly Fun ride, there is little of that.

Attached to the Super Silly fun land, a Minion-themed play area it’s a fun way to keep the kids entertained for a while but it’s not our favorite area of the park and one to keep to a minimum.

Our Rating – 2.2 – ⭐⭐ Read More…

Jurassic World: The Ride

Jurrasic Park Ride RIP

The Jurassic Park: The Ride was always one of our firm favorites at Both Universal Parks. And when we heard it was being removed from Hollywood our hearts dropped! Only to be resurrected by the knowledge it was being replaced by Jurrasic World: The Ride.

The Ride is more of a reworking of the old ride and features rethemed elements from the updated franchise. We loved the old ride but some of the Dino’s were pretty dated and Shabby, it had a nostalgic charm, but could still do with a refresh!

The new ride has the same water elements and huge drop at the end but the story and effects have all been brought right up to date. But the reviews are mixed and some people cannot see past the old ride…Find out our thoughts here!

Our Rating – 3.9 ⭐⭐ – Read More…

The Secret Life of Pets: Off the Leash

Secret Life Of Pets - Off The Leash

This new attraction opened in 2021, a little delayed for obvious reasons, and takes guests into a frolic-filled New York City. The Ride is a dark flat ride and is very much in the Style of Disney. There is no real ride element just a placid journey through the chaotic pet-filled New York Streets.

The Queue is meticulously themed as you walk through the Pet’s apartment, with detailed sets and fun animatronics. When you finally board the Ride vehicle the effects and animatronics really go up a level.

There is a lot going on during your ride around the City. The animatronic models are fantastic and everything is really detailed, and some of the effects really are pretty cool, such as the firework scene, and there is a lot of humor. But we feel it lacks the usual ride thrills that Universal usually offers. Definitely a kid’s ride, and not really “off the leash” in our opinion, but still cute and pretty fun.

Our Rating – 3 ⭐⭐ – Read More…

Shows and Attractions

Wizarding World of Harry Potter

Wizarding World Of Harry Potter
Wizarding World Of Harry Potter – Hogsmeade

The Wizarding World of Harry Potter is now the biggest draw at Universal Studios and for Harry Potter fans it’s a fantastic place. The whole area has been transformed into the Hogsmeade Village, complete with Snow, on the rooftops and the Hogwarts Castle looming large on the outskirts.

The world features two Harry Potter Rides (Mentioned Above) and there is a load of Potter-themed shops and restaurants from the films along with characters and shows going off at various parts of the day. Anyone into Harry Potter will love the area whether you are 6 or 60.

Check out our Full Guide to the Wizarding World Of Harry Potter here…

Read More…

Ollivander’s Wand Shop

Ollivander’s Wand Shop is a Triple attraction really. Inside the Shop, you witness the Wand Choosing Ceremony from the Film, And if you are very lucky it might be you who chooses the wand. After this, you can buy your very own Wand from the wand shop. These come in a variety of styles from characters in the film and cost an eye-watering $52.00 for an interactive wand. Parents beware!

The wands are pretty cool though and are not only intricately designed in the style of your choice but also work to activate a number of cool interactive displays dotted around Hogsmeade. You get a Map to show you where the displays are and how to activate them.

Read More…

Character Encounters

Universal Studios Hollywood Character Encounters
Universal Studios Hollywood Character Encounters- Megatron and the Raptor Encounter

There are some REALLY cool Character Meet and Greets in the Studios. These are very different from the Disney-style queue up for a photo-style meet and greets and are more of an interactive show where you can grab a photo if you want. We tend not to bother and just watch along with the Character interactions.

Our Favorites are the Raptor Encounter and the Megatron Meet and Greet. Megatron is seriously funny as he mocks and insults the guests and the raptor really can get out of hand at times. Watching Kids burst into tears as the Life-size (well actually a lot larger than life-sized) is very amusing

Read More…

Special Effects Show

An informative and entertaining Stage Show lifting the lid on some of the tricks of the trade and how movie special effects both new and old, are accomplished.

We love the show and it’s very informative but the 25 Min running time feels like a lot of time out of your day. It is well worth it if you have the time but might take a back seat to some of the more Big Hitting attractions.

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Water World

Honestly, we feel this attraction has run its course and were pretty surprised when it Reopened after closing. It is actually a very cool special effects stunt show that in its time was incredible, but we just feel the Tie-in to an old and stale Movie needs updating. Most people are surprised it’s still going and due to the Movie, Tie in being so Poor, they are reluctant to give 20mins (plus queuing time) to the show.

It’s well worth it if you just ignore the tie-in and enjoy the stunt show for what it is. Great Stunts, funny script, and spectacular explosions and effects. We don’t think a show this good should be lost but there has to be a better direction to take it?

Read More…

Universal’s Animal Actors

Last but not least.

Movies featuring animals are often the favorites of family members of all generations, but how do they get the animals to do

The Animal Actors Show is meant to lift the lid on how Animals are used in films and show you the tricks of the trade. In reality, that would be pretty boring, so this is really just animals doing neat tricks, which is pretty cool.

The Actors, both animals, and Humans all do a great job of entertaining the crowd and the show is a great way to take a little time out from the park and enjoy some fun light entertainment.

Read More…

Have Your Say.

Got any Questions? Feel free to drop us a comment below asking us anything about Universal Studios Rides and attractions. We keep as up-to-date as possible and endeavor to ride everything new as and when it comes out. Some of our views are not quite the mainstream so feel free to let us have it if we disagree with you about your favorite ride! or attraction.

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