If you haven’t visited Universal Orlando yet, you might be overwhelmed with all the attractions and rides the place offers.
The many choices at your disposal can be too much; you might even be confused about where to go first.
We understand the dilemma. After all, Universal Orlando is a massive place with tons of things to see and do. So if you’re planning to visit it for the first time, you should have a list of activities you should do first.
Luckily, we’re here to help you out. This guide will show you what you should do first, no matter what when visiting Universal Orlando.
Preparing ahead of time is the key to having a great time at Universal Orlando.
Before you visit, we recommend coming up with a list of attractions and activities you should do.
Especially if it’s your first time, here are the things you’d want to do first no matter what:
- Ride a roller coaster
- Ride the E.T. Adventure Ride
- Meet the dinosaurs at Raptor Encounter
- Witness a live show
- Ride the Hogwarts Express
- Visit Diagon Alley
- Don’t forget to try a butterbeer
There are lots of rides, shows, and attractions throughout Universal Orlando. But if you want to make the most of your vacation, prioritize the ones on this list first.
7 Things You Should Do First at Universal Orlando No Matter What
Before arriving at Universal Orlando, you should rule out some activities you are not interested in.
Perhaps you’re scared of thrill rides or have a particular fear of aliens. You might want to cross them off your list as much as possible.
This way, you’ll only be left with the things that sound exciting to you. Regardless, we recommend you not skip the activities included in this list.
After all, they’re the ones that can make your Universal Orlando experience worth it. Let’s get started:
1. Ride a Roller Coaster
If you’re a fan of rollercoasters or just thrill rides in general, then you should ride at least one of the roller coasters at Universal Orlando.
There are a lot of them around the park, each with varying thrill levels that should be enough to satisfy the thrill seeker in you.
As far as we know, there are 8 roller coasters between Universal Studios Florida and Islands of Adventure. Most of them are high-speed thrill rides, while some are family-friendly rides.
Depending on how daring you are, we highly recommend trying any of the following:
- Flight of the Hippogriff
- Harry Potter and the Escape from Gringotts
- Hagrid’s Magical Creatures Motorbike Adventure
- Hollywood Ride Ride Rockit
- Incredible Hulk Coaster
- Jurassic World VelociCoaster
- Revenge of the Mummy
- Woody Woodpecker’s Nuthouse Coaster
If you bring kids, you can instead go for the family-friendly rides: the Woody Woodpecker, Flight of the Hippogriff, Hagrid’s Magical Creatures, Motorbike Adventure, and Harry Potter and the Escape from Gringotts.
Meanwhile, the rest are high-speed thrill rides that will get your adrenaline pumping from start to finish.
2. Ride the E.T. Adventure Ride
There are lots of exciting rides throughout Universal Orlando, but if we are to pick which ride you should never miss, that should be the E.T. Adventure Ride.
Its ride is exciting, and the real adventure before you even hop on the roller coaster is a fantastic experience.
Besides, it was the only ride remaining when Universal Orlando opened in 1990.
Inside, you’ll be able to come face to face with E.T., who will ask you to help save his dying planet, and the only way you can do that is to hop on the ride and journey through the sky.
The ride will take you on a magical space journey filled with otherworldly creatures and space oddities.
The best part is that it’s a motion-simulation ride, so you can take your kids and go on an out-of-this-world adventure.
It’s an enjoyable experience you should try when visiting Universal Orlando.
3. Meet the Dinosaurs at Raptor Encounter
The Raptor Encounter is where you’ll meet a well-known character from Jurassic Park, one of the most beloved franchises ever.
Here, you’ll meet the raptor Blue in her natural habitat alongside 3 different raptors.
What’s exciting about this is that it’s not a static statue of Blue but an animatronics instead.
This makes the experience fun, interactive, and scary at the same time. If you and your kids love dinosaurs, then drop by the place.
If you’re brave enough, you’ll learn interesting facts about the dinosaur and even take a picture with her.
It’s a unique character meet-and-greet experience that will stay in your memory for the rest of your life.
4. Witness a Live Show
If you want to take a break and listen to live entertainment, live shows are your friend. You can stumble upon many live shows during your daily adventure throughout Universal Orlando.
There’s the Horror Make-Up Show which features some comedic tutorials; the Blues Brothers Show, where you can witness some soulful musical styling; and the Superstar Parade, where characters from Nickelodeon parade through the streets of the resort.
These are just a few live shows you can witness as you roam.
They often provide a brief respite from all that walking you do throughout the day. And, of course, they bring with them fun, exciting, and memorable entertainment.
5. Ride the Hogwarts Express
The Hogwarts Express is the transportation that will take you from Universal Studios Florida to Islands of Adventure and vice-versa.
It offers a truly magical experience that will make you feel like you’re inside the Wizarding World of Harry Potter.
And if you’re a fan of Harry Potter yourself, then all the more reason not to miss this ride. We recommend getting on the ride early in the day to avoid crowds and having to wait in longer lines than usual.
6. Visit Diagon Alley
To complete your Harry Potter experience, visit and explore the Wizarding World, especially Diagon Alley.
Here, you’ll find a highly-detailed area that perfectly captures the magical place from the Harry Potter movies.
The place has many fun and exciting things to explore, uncover secrets, and witness magical stuff.
There are even some areas that only a few people know of, and if you take the time to explore, you’ll be surprised by the amount of stuff you can find.
Even if you’re not a Harry Potter fan, you can still enjoy the magical experience that Diagon Alley has to offer.
7. Don’t Forget To Try a Butterbeer
Finally, make sure to try a Butterbeer at least once. Universal Orlando has tons of stuff related to the Wizarding World of Harry Potter, and Butterbeer is a favorite among the crowd.
If you’re wondering, Butterbeer combines butterscotch and cream soda flavor, complementing a frothy topping.
We recommend trying it anyway, even if you feel you won’t like it. You’ll be amazed to discover how delicious and tempting it can be.
We recommend trying it anyway, even if you feel you won’t like it. In particular, try to get them from the Hog’s Head Pub at Hogsmeade or the Fountain of Fair Fortune at Diagon Alley.
That wraps up our list of the 7 things you should do first during your visit to Universal Orlando.
While there are many attractions and rides throughout the resort, your vacation won’t be complete if you miss any of the ones we included.
So make sure to include them in your daily schedule, and while you’re at it, explore every nook and cranny you can find. Who knows? Some exciting surprises might await you!
Frequently Asked Questions
How Do I Get the Most Out of My First Visit?
Before you even visit Universal Orlando, make sure you devise a plan. As much as possible, research the best times to visit the resort, especially if you want to avoid massive crowds.
Also, try to stay on the property to access most attractions within walking distance.
If you want to visit during busy times, consider buying a Universal Express to skip lines and save time.
Which Rides Should I Go on First?
That will depend if you’re all adults or if you have kids with you.
If you’re an adult, you can go for the thrill rides immediately and decide which one to choose, depending on your preferred thrill level.
On the other hand, if you have kids, we recommend family-friendly rides, especially Harry Potter and the Escape from Gringotts and the Flight of the Hippogriff.
Generally, we recommend the Wizarding World rides as they open first in the morning.