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UNIVERSAL STUDIOS ESCAPE

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Universal operates two parks, Universal Studios and Islands of Adventure.  Universal Studios is a movie park.  That is to say, all rides and shows are, for the most part, based on movies that have appeared in the theaters.  It is also a working studio.  It is not uncommon to see actual production crews filming on the streets.  Islands Of Adventure on the other hand is just as the name implies, an adventure park.  Rides and shows here are based on movies, books, myths or cartoons.  Each of these parks are reviewed on a separate page.  As always, if you see a photo to the right of a review click on it to see the full size image.

UNIVERSAL STUDIOS

1. DESPICABLE ME   (H) 40

(1) RECOMMENDED AGE GROUP:  7 AND UP

(2) THRILL LEVEL: 5

(3) ENTERTAINMENT LEVEL: 8

(4) PRIORITY LEVEL: *****

(5) AIR CONDITIONED: YES

(6) SUMMARY: Despicable Me is a great addition to the park.  It's the same ride as Jimmie Neutron but the over all experience is ten times better.  Two pre-shows and a fun 3D movie inside makes this a must see attraction.

(7) WAITING TIME:  40 minutes

(8) BEST TIME TO SEE:   early or late in the day

 
2. Twister

(1) RECOMMENDED AGE GROUP: 7 AND UP

(2) THRILL LEVEL: 6

(3) ENTERTAINMENT LEVEL: 9

(4) PRIORITY LEVEL: *****

(5) AIR CONDITIONED: YES

(6) SUMMARY: This show vividly recreates a scene from the hit movie TWISTER.   To be exact the scene where a twister strikes the drive in movie theater.  The effects are top notch and a twister is created right on the sound stage in front of you.   High winds, driving rain and explosions are some of the things you will experience.   This show is not to be missed but a word of warning, you will get wet.

(7) WAITING TIME: 40 MINUTES

(8) BEST TIME TO SEE: EARLY OR LATE IN THE DAY

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3. REVENGE OF THE MUMMY (H) 48

(1) RECOMMENDED AGE GROUP:  7 AND UP

(2) THRILL LEVEL:  9

(3) ENTERTAINMENT LEVEL:    8

(4) PRIORITY LEVEL: *****

(5) AIR CONDITIONED: YES

(6) SUMMARY: Well, the verdict is in. I rode the Mummy and it is a great ride. Although it could be a bit longer, especially for some of the scenes. I will not go into any detail about the ride so that I do not spoil it for you but suffice it to say the effects will blow you away and hold on tight. This is a must see ride.

(7) WAITING TIME:  45 minutes or more during peak times

(8) BEST TIME TO SEE: EARLY MORNINGS AND EVENINGS

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4. The Gruesome, Gory,
    Horror Makeup Show (R)

(1) RECOMMENDED AGE GROUP: ALL

(2) THRILL LEVEL: 2

(3) ENTERTAINMENT LEVEL: 7

(4) PRIORITY LEVEL: ****

(5) AIR CONDITIONED: YES

(6) SUMMARY: During this show you will see how special effects such as masks, bullet wounds and knife cuts are created. The show is conducted by a host and a guest effects artist from the studio. They sometimes use a volunteer from the audience which adds to the humorous overtones of the show. A very interesting and enjoyable show but may not be suitable for some very small children.

(7) WAITING TIME: 30 MINUTES

(8) BEST TIME TO SEE: MORNINGS

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5. Disaster, You're In The Movie

(1) RECOMMENDED AGE GROUP: 7 AND UP

(2) THRILL LEVEL: 8

(3) ENTERTAINMENT LEVEL: 7

(4) PRIORITY LEVEL: ****

(5) AIR CONDITIONED: YES

(6) SUMMARY: This attraction can have a long line which winds through what is supposed to be a prop storage area. I have never seen anything moved or removed from there. It is interesting however. At the end of the line you go into an air conditioned waiting area where volunteers are selected to participate in one of the two pre-shows. Volunteers are selected to "participate" in a new disaster film.  Then you enter the first pre-show where the premise of the ride is explained.  After that you go to another room where the volunteers are shot against green screens performing various stunts.  Next is the ride and you experience an earth quake.  At the end the scenes shot earlier are incorporated into the ride footage.  Watch for grandma.

(7) WAITING TIME: 35 MINUTES

(8) BEST TIME TO SEE: LATE AFTERNOON AND EVENINGS

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6. The Simpson's Ride  (H) 40

(1) RECOMMENDED AGE GROUP: 7 AND UP

(2) THRILL LEVEL: 7

(3) ENTERTAINMENT LEVEL: 9

(4) PRIORITY LEVEL: *****

(5) AIR CONDITIONED: YES

(6) SUMMARY: This ride opened May 1st and is a must see ride for all Simpson's fans as well as non-fans.  Ride the Crusty roller coaster at CRUSTY LAND while Sideshow Bob is trying to get his revenge on Bart Simpson.  All computer animation and a great story line.  The cue area is filled with monitors showing clips from the series as well as some new stuff.  Inside the building while waiting to board there are all kinds of things to watch around the room.  There are even some digs at Disney and references to the rides predecessor, BACK TO THE FUTURE.

(7) WAITING TIME: TOO EARLY TO TELL BUT EXPECT LONG LINES.

(8) BEST TIME TO SEE: ANYTIME

 

 

 

7. The E.T. Adventure

(1) RECOMMENDED AGE GROUP: 4 AND UP

(2) THRILL LEVEL: 6

(3) ENTERTAINMENT LEVEL: 8

(4) PRIORITY LEVEL: ****

(5) AIR CONDITIONED: YES

(6) SUMMARY: E.T.'s home world has suffered a disaster and they need E.T. to come home so that his healing finger can save the planet and only you can bring him there. That is what you'll hear after you pass through the cueing line and enter the pre-show. After the pre-show the doors open and you'll go into a lobby of sorts to pick up your ID card. Then you'll start your walk through the dust forest to the ride. Watch all around you. There are plenty of things to see including globs of dust on all of the trees.  They need to clean this attraction up a bit.   At the end of your walk will be the ride. Hand your ID card to the attendant and climb aboard your bike. The bikes are fastened to a platform and all you have to do is sit there and enjoy the ride. The platform is a sort of tram which will carry you to E.T.'s home planet. A fun ride with some nice special effects and a surprise at the end.

(7) WAITING TIME: 40 MINUTES

(8) BEST TIME TO SEE: MORNINGS AND EVENINGS

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8. Animal Actors Live

(1) RECOMMENDED AGE GROUP: ALL

(2) THRILL LEVEL: 3

(3) ENTERTAINMENT LEVEL: 6

(4) PRIORITY LEVEL: ****

(5) AIR CONDITIONED: NO

(6) SUMMARY: Located between E.T. and Back To The Future, this is a show where you can watch animals being put through their paces.  The show is somewhat predictable if you've ever seen any other shows of this type. The first two photos at the right are of the old show.

(7) WAITING TIME: NONE

(8) BEST TIME TO SEE: SEE SCHEDULE OF SHOW TIMES

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9. Beetlejuice Graveyard Review

(1) RECOMMENDED AGE GROUP: ALL

(2) THRILL LEVEL: 4

(3) ENTERTAINMENT LEVEL: 9

(4) PRIORITY LEVEL: *****

(5) AIR CONDITIONED: NO

(6) SUMMARY: Sit back and watch a rock ní roll review which features some of the real monsters of rock ní roll. Frankenstein, The Bride of Frankenstein, Wolfman, Dracula, and Beetlejuice put on a rock show that's to die for. This show was totally revamped in 2006 with new music and routines. There's lots of singing and dancing combined with a touch of humor makes this one of the best shows at Universal Studios Florida. All seats are good but arrive about 15 minutes early to get the best seats which are on the two aisles toward the center of the theater six to twelve rows back.

(7) WAITING TIME: NONE

(8) BEST TIME TO SEE: SEE SCHEDULE OF SHOW TIMES

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10. SHREK 4D (R)

(1) RECOMMENDED AGE GROUP:  ALL

(2) THRILL LEVEL: 7

(3) ENTERTAINMENT LEVEL:  9

(4) PRIORITY LEVEL: *****

(5) AIR CONDITIONED: YES

(6) SUMMARY:  One of the newest attractions at Universal, Shrek picks up where the movie leaves off. Join Shrek and his new bride as they head out on their honeymoon.  This is a 3D movie that also uses motion seats and other sensory stimulation to enhance your experience.  If you liked the movie you'll love this attraction.

(7) WAITING TIME: ONE HOUR OR MORE DURING PEAK PERIODS

(8) BEST TIME TO SEE:  DURING THE DINNER HOUR OR LATE IN THE DAY

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11. Jaws, The Ride

(1) RECOMMENDED AGE GROUP: 

(2) THRILL LEVEL:

(3) ENTERTAINMENT LEVEL:

(4) PRIORITY LEVEL:

(5) AIR CONDITIONED:

(6) SUMMARY: This ride is permanently closed to make way for phase 2 of the Harry Potter experience.  Expect new attraction in 2014.

(7) WAITING TIME:

(8) BEST TIME TO SEE:

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12. The Terminator II 3D (R) 

(1) RECOMMENDED AGE GROUP: 7 AND UP

(2) THRILL LEVEL: 7

(3) ENTERTAINMENT LEVEL: 9

(4) PRIORITY LEVEL: *****

(5) AIR CONDITIONED: YES

(6) SUMMARY:  This show is a 3D movie combined with live performances that is sure to blow you away.  Live actors on and around the stage are combined with the original cast in the movie to give you a show that you will not forget.  The production is seamless so you actually think that you see the live actors become part of the movie.   Don't miss it!

(7) WAITING TIME: 35 MINUTES

(8) BEST TIME TO SEE: EARLY MORNING OR  EVENINGS

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13. The Blues Brothers Show

(1) RECOMMENDED AGE GROUP: ALL

(2) THRILL LEVEL: 3

(3) ENTERTAINMENT LEVEL: 8

(4) PRIORITY LEVEL: ****

(5) AIR CONDITIONED: NO

(6) SUMMARY: The Blues Brothers, made famous by Dan Akroyd and John Belushi in a Saturday Night Live sketch, are portrayed by a couple of talented near look alikes. The show takes place on the steps and street outside an apartment house on Delancey Street in the studios New York section. Watch and listen as they belt out some of the great songs that made them famous. Songs like Rubber Biscuit and other hard driving blues songs will have you joining in and clapping your hands to the music. Afterwards meet and talk to Jake and Elwood Blues. A really great show, don't miss it.

(7) WAITING TIME: NONE

(8) BEST TIME TO SEE: SEE SCHEDULE OF SHOW TIMES

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14. Men In Black (Alien Attack) (H) 42

(1) RECOMMENDED AGE GROUP: 7 AND UP

(2) THRILL LEVEL: 8

(3) ENTERTAINMENT LEVEL: 8

(4) PRIORITY LEVEL: *****

(5) AIR CONDITIONED: YES

(6) SUMMARY:  This is sort of the ultimate laser tag game.  You shoot at the aliens and your fellow riders in other cars and they shoot back at you.  A hit on an alien scores points, while a hit on a car by an alien or another car causes that car to spin wildly.   Did I mention that they can do the same to you?  A whole lot of fun, but not if you get motion sickness. Six passengers per car compete against another car for the honor of becoming one of the MEN IN BLACK.  It takes a high score to join the force.   Even though we won the competition we did not have a high enough score to become one of them. We will just have to keep trying.

(7) WAITING TIME: 60

(8) BEST TIME TO SEE: EARLY OR VERY LATE IN DAY

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15. WOODY WOODPECKER COASTER (H) 36

(1) RECOMMENDED AGE GROUP: ALL

(2) THRILL LEVEL: 2

(3) ENTERTAINMENT LEVEL: 3

(4) PRIORITY LEVEL: **

(5) AIR CONDITIONED: NO

(6) SUMMARY: Located in the KIDS ZONE near the ET ride, this coaster is for young children that may find the rest of the park a little intimidating.  It's a short ride and does not go very fast.

(7) WAITING TIME: 5 MINUTES

(8) BEST TIME TO SEE: ANYTIME

 
16. FEAR FACTOR

(1) RECOMMENDED AGE GROUP: ALL

(2) THRILL LEVEL: 4

(3) ENTERTAINMENT LEVEL: 6

(4) PRIORITY LEVEL: ***

(5) AIR CONDITIONED: NO

(6) SUMMARY: You can audition to be part of this show or you can just sit and watch.  All of the gross stunts that you are use to on television.  People play for prizes but you may have to go to more than one show to win them anything good.  This show is not always operating.

(7) WAITING TIME: SCHEDULED SHOWS

(8) BEST TIME TO SEE: SEE MAP FOR SHOW TIMES

 
17. RIP RIDE ROCKET  (H)  52

(1) RECOMMENDED AGE GROUP: 7 AND UP

(2) THRILL LEVEL: 9

(3) ENTERTAINMENT LEVEL: 7

(4) PRIORITY LEVEL: *****

(5) AIR CONDITIONED: NO

(6) SUMMARY: This is Universals newest roller coaster.  Located just past Jimmy Neutron this coaster is a one of a kind.  With a vertical lift hill, 360 degree loops where you never go upside down, and a music score that you pick from a list before you go up the hill, this ride is truly unique.  Lots of fun but I didn't like the lift hill.  You are lying on your back as you go up and your legs tend to want to go back towards your chest.  The first drop though not long is the best part of the ride.  Might be scary for younger riders.  Not a good ride for younger riders as their first coaster experience. 

(7) WAITING TIME: ONE HOUR

(8) BEST TIME TO SEE: EARLY MORNING

 

 
18. TRANSFORMERS

(1) RECOMMENDED AGE GROUP: (H) 40 INCHES

(2) THRILL LEVEL: 7

(3) ENTERTAINMENT LEVEL: 8

(4) PRIORITY LEVEL: ****

(5) AIR CONDITIONED: YES

(6) SUMMARY:  This ride is similar to Spiderman over at IOA.  It does have some very unique aspects to it which make it well worth seeing.

(7) WAITING TIME: 40 MINUTES

(8) BEST TIME TO SEE: EARLY MORNING

 
19. HARRY POTTER, DIAGON ALLEY

(1) RECOMMENDED AGE GROUP: 7 AND UP

(2) THRILL LEVEL: 9

(3) ENTERTAINMENT LEVEL: 8

(4) PRIORITY LEVEL: *****

(5) AIR CONDITIONED: NO

(6) SUMMARY: This area is supposed to open on June 28, 2014.  The Hogworts Express will connect the to lands but you need a two park pass to board it.  Will review it once I have seen it first hand.

(7) WAITING TIME: LONG

(8) BEST TIME TO SEE: EARLY MORNING

 

 

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