Universal Studios opened in 1990 to give audiences what they craved – an inside look into their favorite movies.
Universal Studios Orlando is broken up into two theme parks: Universal Studios and Islands of Adventure. These parks are famous for their movie themed rides and attractions, not to mention their movie props and behind the scenes style of entertainment!
Before your next trip to Universal there are some movies that you just HAVE to watch in order to fully appreciate the details and work that has gone into these areas of the parks. these 40 movies and one TV Show fall into 7 different Franchises. We’ve only included titles that precede the creation of the associated attraction as newer additions to the franchises might differ from what you’ll see.
1. The Harry Potter Series
Sure, this is more than 1 movie, (it’s really 8 movies), but you have to watch the entire series in order to understand the Wizarding World and its troubles. The Harry Potter movies in order are:
- The Sorcerer’s Stone
- The Chamber of Secrets
- The Prisoner of Azkaban
- The Goblet of Fire
- The Order of the Phoenix
- The Half Blood Prince
- The Deathly Hallows Part
- The Deathly Hallows Part 2
The Wizarding World of Harry Potter in Universal Studios has drawn the largest crowds in Universal Studios since it opened in 2010. Both Diagon Alley in Universal Studios and Hogsmeade in Islands of Adventure fully immerse guests into the Wizarding World that we have read about and seen on the screen. These areas are almost exact replicas to the version we know.
There are 4 rides in the Wizarding World of Harry Potter. There is the Escape From Gringotts, The Hogwarts Express, Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey, and Hagrid’s Motorbike Adventure. In addition to these attractions, the Wizarding World is full of interactive elements that are more fully appreciated after seeing all of the movies, such as wands, magic, and looking for Kreature over at number 12 Grimmauld Place.
Links to Associated Wizarding World Content:
- When is the Best Time to Visit the Wizarding World of Harry Potter?
- Harry Potters Wizarding World: All About the Magic Wands
- Why Every Harry Potter Fan Needs to Visit Madam Malkin’s
- Ranking Butterbeer's at Universal Orlando Resort
- Wizarding World Spells, Secrets, and Tips
- Treats From The Harry Potter Books That You Can Get in Universal Studios!
- 5 Hidden Details at Escape From Gringotts
- All About the Hogwarts Express
- Hogsmeade vs. Diagon Alley at the Universal Orlando Resort
- Dark Look Inside Borgin & Burkes
- Unlocking Magic: How Much Are the Wands at Universal Studios Orlando?
2. Jurassic Park
You can hear the music. The classic John Williams music at the intro into Jurassic Park. Well, you are going to be reliving Jurassic Park if you plan on visiting Islands of Adventure and you want to know everything you can about this prehistoric theme park. Universal Studios even has the dino egg incubator section just like the movie. Don’t forget what we learned then about all of those dinos being female…
There have been quite a few more Jurassic Park movies since the first one in 1993, and Universal Studios Orlando has adapted and added in the new elements. This land is chalk full of easter eggs, so to better enjoy them be sure to watch the whole dino-loving series!
Jurassic Park (1993)
The Lost World: Jurassic Park (1997)
Jurassic Park III (2001)
Jurassic World (2015)
Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom (2018)
Battle at Big Rock (2019) on Amblin Entertainment website
Jurassic World Dominion (2022)
The Jurassic Park section of Islands of Adventure features one Jurassic ride, the Jurassic Park River Ride Adventure. Be prepared to get wet! While the movies used a Jeep to get around, the teams at Universal Studios decided to stay true to the book and make it a boat ride adventure. Let’s just say that there are some surprises…
In addition to the big ride, there are some interactive elements like the dino science center where you can see the nursery and talk with the scientists. TIP: See if you can find the can of Barbasol!
Our absolute favorite attraction is a relatively newer attraction and it is a meet and greet with Blue. We meet Blue, the raptor, in the more modern versions of the series and find that she is simply misunderstood, but never forget that she is a meat eating predator!
3. The Mummy
Is there any hero better than Brenden Fraser? He was witty, cunning, fast, and charming, and even if he was kicking your butt, you just couldn’t hate him. The Mummy was not only box office hits, but has become a bit of a cult classic with the fandom of Brenden Fraser growing since his retirement.
There are 3 movies in The Mummy Series:
Sadly, there is only one attraction dedicated to this movie franchise, but Universal Studios made it count! Revenge of the Mummy is one of the most popular rides in all of Universal Studios Orlando, and still continues to rack up high wait times. This attraction starts out as if you are behind the scenes of the filming of The Mummy and it is taking place within the actual tombs. Then you find out that the curse is more than a script… It’s real!
Real talk – This roller coaster ride is insane! (In a good way) It takes place in a lot of darkness and there are props, sounds, scarabs, and even real fire. No matter how many times you ride it you will be in for some serious thrills.
Can someone please just get Brenden some coffee?? #iykyk
4. Despicable Me Series
Who doesn’t love the little minions from Despicable Me?? With their mumbo jumbo babble, to their undying, uncoordinated devotion to their master, the minions just steal everyone’s hearts!
Gru and the minions can be found in the Despicable Me series. As of 2022, there are 4 films, but we feel pretty confident that they are planning a 5th! There is:
Right at the entrance of Universal Studios you will be greeted with the 3D simulated attraction, Despicable Me Minion Mayhem. The fun and childishly rude humor can definitely be better understood when you see the movies. Overall, it’s just a good time and great for smaller children because of the low height requirement.
In addition to the ride, there are also minions throughout Universal Studios. You can see them in various meet and greets, parades, and if you’re lucky, you can see Gru in his crazy-looking car trying to make a quick getaway with the minions. Be sure to bow to King Bob!
5. The Simpsons
The Simpsons movie isn’t exactly the most favorite movie of all time, but everyone has to agree that the show is pretty epic. The Simpsons is now the longest running animated show of all time, and only second to being the longest running show overall. (Sesame Street is the show that beat it.) Even if you’re not a huge fan of The Simpsons, you NEED to have a good weekend binge before your next trip. It is absolutely required, and here’s why…
There is an entire land dedicated to The Simpsons and the details are absolutely amazing. You can absolutely jump into the cartoon and have a Duff down at Moe’s, get a giant donut, find graffiti from El Barto, and get a squishee over at the Kwik-E-Mart. There is also a 3D simulator ride that puts you in a brand new episode as well.
BONUS FACT: The absolute must watch episode is Season 14 Episode 12 – “I’m Spelling As Fast As I Can”. This is the episode where Homer becomes addicted to the famed Ribwich. This is a must watch because when you come to Universal Studios you can march right down to the Krusty Burger and order your own Ribwich! Enjoy. Your arteries won’t. But your stomach will.
See this related post: The Ultimate Simpsons Day at Universal Studios
6. Men in Black
This 1997 classic was Will Smith and Tommy Lee Jones in their absolute prime. The music was great, the CGI was way ahead of its time, and the comedy was on point. Despite being close to 30 years old, this movie still holds up to the times and is just as fun as when we watched it all those years ago.
7. Spiderman & Hulk
Yeah, this is awkward. MCU has taken over the superhero movie world and it’s owned by the rodent down the street, not naming names or anything. BUT Universal Studios Orlando’s Islands of Adventure is still home to Marvel Superhero Island from the days that they did own it.
Think of the Toby McGuire era of Spiderman movies, which in our opinion was the superior versions of Spiderman.
7. Fast and the Furious
It’s all about the family! Listen, the Fast and the Furious franchise started off really cool in the early 2000s, but it quickly became absolutely ridiculous when they started getting to movie 9. Even still, back in 2015 Universal Studios was like, “Yes! Let’s give the fans a movie ride that compiles all of the most ridiculously fake aspects of these movies into one attraction!”. This is the case of a ride that is just so bad that it’s good, and we love it.
Bonus: Count how many times the characters say “family” in the pre-show and the ride. We counted 22.
- The Fast And The Furious (1997)
- 2 Fast 2 Furious (2003)
- Fast & Furious (2009)
- Fast Five (2011)
- Fast & Furious 6 (2013)
- The Fast And The Furious: Tokyo Drift (2006)
- Furious 7 (2015)
- The Fate Of The Furious (2017)
- Fast & Furious Presents: Hobbs & Shaw (2019)
- F9 The Fast Saga (2021)
Comments, Questions, be sure to leave them in the Comment Section Below!
Did we leave any movies out?
This Universal Orlando Guide Post By: Erin Schreiver
Erin loves going to Universal with her family and all things Harry Potter! Check out her bio.
Want to get the lowest price on your Universal Orlando Resort Hotel? Contact Our Recommended Expert Travel Agent