Universal Studios Florida

Orlando's top movie-themed park

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Universal Studios Orlando is considered the largest film and TV studio outside Hollywood. It also is the world’s #1 movie and TV-based theme park. If you have time to visit only one Orlando movie studio and you like thrill rides, this could be the one.

Perhaps best known for Harry Potter’s Diagon Alley, Universal Studios it also is home to one of Orlando’s hottest rides, Transformers: The Ride 3-D. It’s a lot like the upgraded Spiderman at Islands of Adventure but on steroids and with a lot of of neat gear.

If you’re a Homer Simpson fan, you’ll be pleased to know that the city of Springfield is located next to the Simpsons ride. Most of Springfield is a themed dining area—in an elaborate food court design—but it has its own ride.

The Hollywood Rip Ride Rockit roller coaster performs 3 first-ever maneuvers: Double Take, the world’s largest non-inverted loop, the Treble Clef, where guests burst through a building shaped like the music symbol; and the Jump Cut, a spiraling, negative-gravity move.

While  Universal Studios Orlando has other thrills almost as electrifying, it also offers tamer attractions like MEN IN BLACK intended for young children that many adults enjoy, too.

The park includes some of the most popular TV and movie icons with The Simpsons Ride, Shrek 4-D, Revenge of the Mummy, and the hoary, never very exciting E.T. Adventure based on a film meaningless to today’s tykes. In addition, Universal Studios Orlando also is a working film and TV production facility where you could spot a film crew at work on the back lot anytime.

Rounding out the playbill are live shows aimed at all ages, including Beetlejuice’s Graveyard Revue, a rock roll show featuring Universal’s greatest monsters and A Day in the Park with Barney, a kid’s sing and clap along with the world favorite (only?) purple dinosaur.

Universal Studios has its own  Superstar Parade that features such film characters as the minions from Despicable Me, E.B. from Hop, Nickelodeon’s Dora & Diego and SpongeBob SquarePants in a live, interactive parade.

On many nights after dark, “Universal’s Cinematic Spectacular — 100 Years of Movie Memories” multimedia show celebrates the movie companies classic films by projecting them onto cutting-edge waterfall screens. Narration by Morgan Freeman.

Starting in September and running through October Universal Studios at night transforms itself into Halloween Horror Nights, perhaps the greatest Halloween celebration of all. Sometimes gruesome but always thrilling, Halloween Horror Nights attracts people from all over the county.

Universal Studios Florida park hours vary according to season and special events.

For parking information, see the entry Universal–Where To Park.

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