A Guide to Conquering Every Coaster at Universal Orlando

A Guide to Conquering Every Coaster at Universal Orlando

Building up the courage to finally ride an intense coaster is a fulfilling accomplishment.

Universal Orlando has a wide range of world-class coasters between its two parks: Universal Studios Florida and Islands of Adventure. With so many options, some coasters are bound to be more intense than others. Understandably, not everyone wants to dive straight into the deep end and ride the scariest coaster in the park without warming up.

Hesitant or younger riders may be working their way up to the biggest coasters at Universal Orlando. So, where should they start? If you want to ease into those coasters, here’s the order I would suggest, from least intense to most intense.

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My Suggested Order

9. Pteranodon Flyers

Universal Islands of Adventure

Pteranodon Flyers is a light ride experience with a scenic view over Jurassic Park. Here, young riders can soar under a dinosaur. It also pairs well with the neighboring Camp Jurassic play area. The track layout has limited coaster elements, mostly featuring mild turns.

The coaster itself has very calm thrills. However, something to keep in mind—considering it’s a kids’ ride—is that the track is relatively high in the air. Pteranodon Flyers is an inverted coaster, meaning riders’ feet will hang freely below the ride. The ride vehicle is also designed to sway with the turns. It is a secure and safe attraction, but this is all good information to know if the rider may have a fear of heights.

All in all, this is a good ride for the young ones. Please note that adults can only ride Pteranodon Flyers if accompanied by a child. More specifically, riders over 56 inches must be accompanied by a guest between 36 and 56 inches.

Pteranodon Flyers Summary
  • Low speed
  • Gentle thrills
  • Moderate height
  • Rider restrictions

8. Universal Studios Florida's Junior Coaster

Standing at about 28 feet tall, this junior coaster is the smallest at Universal Orlando Resort. Reaching speeds at a little over 20 mph, it’s a step up from Pteranodon Flyers. It is still a relatively gentle coaster made for kids and the kids-at-heart. It’s a good starter coaster for braver tykes.

The coaster features some slight drops and turns that are rather smooth. With its short ride duration and modest stats, this ride would make for a nice first coaster. Plus, parents and adults can ride along for extra support if they meet the ride requirements.

You may know this ride as Woody Woodpecker’s Nuthouse Coaster, but it’ll have a new name soon in part of the recently announced Dreamworks land coming in 2024. As of the recording of this video in August 2023, this coaster is temporarily closed, but it will reopen under a new name along with the new land.


USF's Junior Coaster Summary
  • Low speed
  • Low thrills
  • Fun for all

7. Flight of the Hippogriff

Universal Islands of Adventure

Flight of the Hippogriff is very similar to the junior coaster in Universal Studios. It is slightly taller, standing a little over 40 feet, which makes it a tad faster, nearing 30 mph. The ride experience in my opinion is a bit bumpier than the other junior coaster. Because of that, it may be slightly more intense, but still very much appropriate for young riders.

This coaster is situated nicely in The Wizarding World of Harry Potter next to Hogwarts; that means riders can get a picturesque view of the castle and also see a good bit of Harry Potter theming throughout the ride. In a good way, the spectacular sights may distract fearful riders from the light scare factor—the attraction has a lot of magical and wondrous views to appreciate.

Flight of the Hippogriff Summary
  • Low speed
  • Low thrills
  • Slightly rough
  • Great views

6. Harry Potter and the Escape from Gringotts

Universal Studios Florida

Harry Potter and the Escape from Gringotts is an indoor roller coaster with dark ride elements. Much of the attraction is like a 3D simulator, but the ride still has a good amount of roller coaster moments.

This may be considered a spoiler, so skip ahead if you want to be surprised. The coaster’s first major element is a tilt track that releases the train into a roller coaster section. The drop along with the themed environment may be somewhat intense. The coaster also includes several small launches, ending with a relatively intense launch for the finale.

The coaster’s statistics have not been made public. There are no official ride height and speed numbers, but it is estimated to be similar on paper to the aforementioned junior coasters at Universal Orlando Resort. The ride overall is a step up from those junior experiences.

As for the setting, the ride’s theme may be a bit dark and scary for younger riders, depending on how brave they are. For the most part, the coaster runs at relatively low speeds in a low-light setting. It is not an extreme roller coaster, but the story and thrills combine for a mildly intense experience. All in all, it is a smooth ride that kids and hesitant riders can enjoy once they’re ready.

Escape from Gringotts Summary
  • Moderate thrills
  • Surprise elements
  • Intense themes
  • Dark setting

5. Revenge of the Mummy

Universal Studios Florida

Revenge of the Mummy is functionally and stylistically fairly similar to Escape from Gringotts. Determining which of the two is more intense is really a coin flip. In my opinion, Revenge of the Mummy has slightly more intense coaster moments with a slightly scarier setting and storyline.

Revenge of the Mummy is an indoor roller coaster with slow dark ride sections and grand sets. The roller coaster elements are moderate, mostly consisting of small spaghetti bowl sections. These portions of the ride take place almost entirely in the dark with some frightening visuals. The coaster features multiple launches and some sudden braking that can be a bit jarring.

With a height of about 45 feet and a top speed of 40 mph, Revenge of the Mummy isn’t an overly forceful coaster by itself, but the immersive, horror-themed setting may sway someone’s decision to ride it.

Much like Escape from Gringotts, the ride is suitable for younger or hesitant riders as long as they’re ready—just expect a few good scares, launches, and airtime moments.

Revenge of the Mummy Summary
  • Moderate thrills
  • Small launches
  • Scary visuals
  • Dark setting

4. Hagrid's Magical Creatures Motorbike Adventure

Universal Islands of Adventure

Hagrid's Motorbike Adventure teeters on the line of being a family coaster and a thrill coaster. The stats don’t jump off the page, reaching 50 mph at a max height of 65 feet. The track has some surprises and launches throughout—the final one being decently intense.

The one stat that is eye-popping is this ride’s $300 million reported cost, making it the most expensive roller coaster at Universal Orlando Resort and the second most expensive in the world. With that kind of budget, Hagrid's Motorbike Adventure is a highly themed and story-driven roller coaster. The ride has rich thematic elements and several surprises throughout the layout.

The following may be considered spoilers, so skip ahead if you would like to be surprised. Those hesitant about riding Hagrid's Motorbike Adventure may want to know beforehand the ride has a fast backward section in addition to a 17-foot drop track. The backward section is only a short portion of the ride. The drop track element is sudden, but it is a small drop—nothing to be worried about if you’ve done the other coasters earlier on this list.

For a frame of reference, Hagrid's Motorbike Adventure is somewhat similar to Expedition Everest at Disney's Animal Kingdom—just with added launches.

As for the rest of the layout, Hagrid's Motorbike Adventure is one of the smoother coasters I have ever been on. Most of the ride features frequent launches, swooping turns, and modest drops. The coaster is a vast journey, being the longest at Universal Orlando. It is, however, a speedy ride that gives riders that wind-in-your-face feeling.

It’s worth noting that Hagrid's Motorbike Adventure has a unique seating configuration. The coaster seats two per row; riders have the choice of sitting on a motorbike or a sidecar. The motorbike has a forward-facing seat like most roller coasters; riders do not have to straddle the bike like on an actual motorcycle. This seat is slightly higher off the track and has a more open-air feeling. The sidecar is lower and feels closer to the track. Both seat options are safe for riders as long as they meet the ride requirements of 48”. They provide different experiences and make Hagrid's Motorbike Adventure one of the more reridable coasters out there.

Hagrid's Motorbike Adventure Summary
  • High thrills
  • Lush theming
  • Surprising elements
  • Unique seats

3. Hollywood Rip Ride Rockit

Universal Studios Florida

Hollywood Rip Ride Rockit is one of the first attractions guests will come across once they enter Universal Studios Florida. Near the entrance of the park, the coaster’s 167-foot-tall vertical lift hill can be seen from all around Universal Studios. That towering lift hill makes Rip Ride Rockit the tallest roller coaster at Universal Orlando—and it also makes it among the scariest.

Many riders may get sweaty palms looking at the vertical lift hill. The lift hill may scare away some riders, but it is probably the most intimidating section of the whole coaster. After the vertical lift hill, Rip Ride Rockit has many zippy coaster sections with a top speed of 65 mph.

Rip Ride Rockit, and its tall drops, is the most intense coaster on this list so far. For those with a fear of going upside down, don’t worry—Rip Ride Rockit has no inversions, despite what it may look like.

At first glance, the coaster seems as if it goes upside down; however, Rip Ride Rockit’s massive loop is actually a non-inverting loop. This means the ride vehicle twists on top of the loop and never actually goes upside down. Nonetheless, it is a striking feature in the Universal Studios skyline.

Rip Ride Rockit has a reputation for being a rough coaster. Personally, I heavily agree. This may vary depending on your experience.

Rip Ride Rockit is amped up with the addition of onboard audio. The coaster’s lap restraints have built-in touch screens. Here, riders can pick a song from a pre-selected list and listen to their song of choice throughout the nearly 4,000 feet of track.

One other quirk to point out is that this coaster has several mid-course brake runs. These moments do take away from the thrill, but they provide a bit of a breather for riders while giving everyone a chance to take in the views from high up.

Overall, Rip Ride Rockit is a moderately intense coaster with some unnerving features. If you don’t mind the idea of being up high, going pretty fast, and getting jostled around, Rip Ride Rockit is worth trying out.

Rip Ride Rockit Summary
  • Intense thrills
  • Scary moments
  • Onboard music
  • Bumpy experience

2. The Incredible Hulk Coaster

Universal Islands of Adventure

The entrance of Islands of Adventure is decorated with extravagant theming—the sky is also painted with a gamma green roller coaster track. The roaring Incredible Hulk Coaster is one of the more iconic rides in the theme park world.

This is a high-thrill coaster that goes over 100 feet in the air at a top speed of 67 mph. It’s the first coaster on this list with inversions and has the most of any single Universal Orlando coaster. Before riders are whipped into The Hulk’s seven inversions, the coaster starts with a tire-propelled launch that hits 40 mph in two seconds.

The Incredible Hulk Coaster is an incredibly harsh coaster—it’s intense and snappy, packing a punch throughout the layout. The Hulk is the only roller coaster at Universal Orlando with over-the-shoulder restraints. Riders are nice and secure this way, but the restraints along with the forceful coaster elements may lead to some headbanging. It’s not the smoothest coaster at Universal Orlando, despite being completely retracked back in 2016. But, it is certainly ridable and a must for any thrill seeker.

The Incredible Hulk Coaster was one of those milestone coasters for me personally. I’ll never forget waiting years to finally be tall enough to ride, only to be terrified when I actually did it. My legs were shaking when I was next in line. But guess what? Conquering The Hulk is a part of why I love coasters to this day. It can be a gateway to even bigger and better coasters.

The Hulk is among the more extreme coasters in Orlando, rivaled only by a few others around the city and—of course—the final attraction on this list.

Hulk Summary
  • Extreme thrills
  • Seven inversions
  • Forceful launch
  • Rough moments

1. Jurassic World VelociCoaster

Universal Islands of Adventure

The hunt is on. Universal’s newest roller coaster is rated among the world’s best. VelociCoaster is an elite ride that has some of the most daunting elements on any coaster out there.

VelociCoaster is a multi-launch coaster with a nerve-wracking top speed of 70 mph, making it the fastest coaster at Universal Orlando. While it has only four inversions compared to Hulk’s seven, VelociCoaster is packed with other dramatic elements—such as a 155-foot top hat, an 80-degree drop, and a full-speed heartline roll just over the lagoon.

The coaster is split into two major sections. After the first launch, the train is sent racing through a tight-winding spaghetti bowl with several inversions and tight turns. This portion of the ride is disorienting in the best ways, but the real thrills come in the second half.

After the second launch, that’s when riders will be sent up to the coaster’s highest point, plunging down a nearly vertical drop and immediately into a zero-G stall; this drawn-out element hangs riders upside down. The coaster’s finale is the renowned Mosasaurus Roll, which is widely considered one of the more intense inversions in the world.

Dinosaur-loving thrill seekers will appreciate VelociCoaster’s theme, taken directly out of the Jurassic World franchise. First-time riders may want to know ahead of time that VelociCoaster has lap bars, not over-the-shoulder restraints. This gives the attraction a freeing feeling while also being safe and secure for riders.

VelociCoaster definitely deserves the praise it gets. Riding VelociCoaster is rewarding. If you’re not ready for it yet, that’s OK; you’ll get there someday if you try out the other coasters on this list and work your way up. But, once you ride VelociCoaster, you can then take on any other coaster at Universal Orlando—and quite frankly, mostly any other coaster in the world.

VelociCoaster Summary
  • Extreme thrills
  • Four inversions
  • Two launches
  • Lap bar restraints

Go Conquer Some Coasters!

Best of luck taking on Universal’s most thrilling coasters! Of course, everyone’s different, so make personal judgment calls while conquering these roller coasters; this is all just the order I personally would suggest.

As a side note, you may have noticed most of the intense coasters are in Islands of Adventure. For that reason, it may be a good option to start in the other park—Universal Studios Florida—and move on to Islands of Adventure once you’re ready.

With a new theme park coming in a few years, this is an exciting time when new coasters are on the way at Universal Orlando. Even once you build up the bravery to ride all the current coasters, there’s always something new to look forward to.

Have fun out there!
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