ByMike Mack, writer at
Big fan of superheroes, movies, superhero movies... and writing about all of the above
Mike Mack

Central Florida is home to some of the best movie-themed attractions in the world. Disney World has served as the pinnacle of theme parks for more than 40 years while Universal Studios has been creating some incredible thrills of their own in recent years. Other than their locations, the two have one more thing in common: their attractions are primarily based on films.

If you’ve read my post about Disney attractions and my post about Universal attractions, you probably knew this was coming. With so many great attractions between the two companies and their six combined parks, it’s difficult to narrow the field and rank them, but that’s exactly what I’m going to do . I’m taking the 12 attractions that I listed in my last two posts and putting together a top five!

Without further adieu, here are the top five movie-based attractions in Orlando, Florida:

5. Toy Story Midway Mania

This may be the most fun you’ll have on any ride in Orlando, and it certainly fits in with the beloved movies. There are however, some other great rides that fit in just a little bit better and that is why this one comes in at number five. The interactive 3D adventure takes you through several different games and keeps a running tally of the points you earn throughout. Your favorite toys can be found at each game, explaining to you exactly what to do earn points. It’s a very unique experience that is fun for the whole family.

4. Monsters, Inc. Laugh Floor

Also in one of Disney’s parks, guests will be guided by the lovable Mike Wazowski as he ushers them into the Monster world and entertains them with a comedy show. Several comedically creative creatures tell jokes, speak with the crowd and even allow guests to get there own jokes told by texting them in. It’s a perfect transition from the end of the Pixar classic, as the monsters now get their energy from the laughter of human children instead of their screams.

3. Jurassic Park River Adventure

One thing that separates Disney and Universal from just about any other theme park is their impressive use of animatronics. Jurassic Park River Adventure is a perfect example of this. In fact, it’s their use of the massive robots that make this ride the perfect tribute to the movies. Guests hop aboard a small river boat and are taken back in time to see some incredibly believable dinosaurs. To be honest, the relaxing river ride would be entertaining enough, but the ride of course doesn’t go as planned and guests encounter some more, shall we say, aggressive dinos.

2. Star Tours

On the surface, a 3D motion simulator may not seem like the most thrilling experience. How do you change that? You make it so that people can experience one of the most popular movie franchises in history in a completely new way. Disney has done that in a big way with Star Tours. Guest can see some of their favorite characters and visit some of their favorite places from the movies. The best part is that the experience is always randomized and you never know exactly which exotic, intergalactic vista you are going to visit. You might ride it once and visit Hoth and Naboo and the second time you might be taken to Tatooine and the forest moon of Endor. That variety creates an added sense of excitement for an already exciting experience.

1. The Wizarding World of Harry Potter

I know this isn’t one ride or one attraction, but rather two large areas of both Universal parks. The reason I have chosen to go with the entirety of the two lands instead of just choosing one ride is this: you can take your pick of any Harry Potter themed attraction and it is going to be better than anything else Orlando has to offer. I’m not saying the rides are the most exciting or thrilling or even the most fun, but the theming is so incredibly impressive that it makes you forget you’re in a theme park. For a short time, you step out of the real world and into the world of the movies.

The word “immersive” gets thrown around a lot today when talking about theme parks, but in this case it fits. The rides, the shows, the food and the shops are all so authentic to the books and movies that they pull emotions out of even the most casual of Potter fans. The world of movie-themed attractions may have reached their peak with the Wizarding World, at least for now.

Disney and Universal have been innovating exciting new attractions for years, and they have some big things yet to come. If you love movies as much as I think you do, these are experiences that you don’t want to miss out on.


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