TouringPlans is pleased to welcome guest author Jon Self.
The peak seasons at Universal Orlando Resort (UOR) can be daunting for numerous guests due to extended wait times for attractions and food. However, one of the major advantages of visiting during UOR peak seasons, like spring break weeks and winter holiday weeks, are the extended park hours. UOR parks commonly close at 7:00 p.m. or earlier during off-peak times of year. When the parks close that early, guests do not get to enjoy the enhanced experience of some great attractions after dark.
At night, UOR offers a fabulous CityWalk experience. Of course, UOR is well-known for their seasonal Halloween Horror Night nighttime events. The views at night across the lagoon at Islands of Adventure make great photo ops. The London waterfront area at night at Universal Studios Florida should not be missed. However, there also are year-round attractions at UOR that you should not miss the chance to experience at night, especially if you are thrill-seeker. Many UOR guests talk about how Skull Island: Reign of Kong is better at night. Some guests comment on how the water rides are boosted by the darkness. But there are five attractions that truly stand out as terrific during the day but far better at night.
In fifth place, we venture over to Universal Studios Florida and get up our courage to ride Hollywood Rip Ride Rockit. The ride begins sending you up the lift hill at a 90-degree angle 17 stories in the air, so you get a fantastic view of evening sky. At the top of the lift hill, you are plummeted down rapidly which is only enhanced by blackness. After that, the light package combined with your musical choice blaring in the speakers might cause you feel as if you are flying. If you are a thrill seeker, then this attraction should be done at least once at night.
For the rest of nighttime suggestions, we need to venture over to Islands of Adventure. In fourth place for attraction at UOR most enhanced by night, we need to enter the park and then turn left to go to Marvel Super Hero Island. We will be entering the Latveria Embassy to be a test subject for Doctor Doom’s Fearfall. We will have our fear extracted after being strapped into our seats. After some literal fog effects, we will rapidly be hurled into the night sky 185 feet vertically. During the day on this attraction, you get a great view of portions of the park (if you can stop screaming). At night, you get a fabulous view of the lights around the area. As you might imagine, the darkness adds to the fear factor. Dr. Doom will thank you for your donation of fear and, if you survive, you will thank him for the enhanced nighttime thrill.
After that, we may need a calming attraction. Fortunately, we can walk to Seuss Landing for our third-place ride. It goes by the protracted name of The High in the Sky Seuss Trolley Ride! This is a relaxing ride over the Seuss Landing area in which you hear one of two Seuss-like stories depending on which track you ride. The views during the day can be enjoyable. However, at night, you can enjoy the light packages around UOR while relaxing. Veterans of nighttime events at UOR lovingly call this attraction the palate cleanser before they tackle more exhilarating nighttime temptations.
Speaking of more thrilling temptations, the second most enhanced by darkness UOR attraction is back over at Marvel Super Hero Island. This mean green machine is known as The Incredible Hulk Coaster. By Orlando area standards, this is an angry coaster. You are launched out of a large green tube reaching 40 mph into a dive roll. The coaster reaches 67 mph at top speed turning your world literally upside down several times and even through a mist effect tunnel along the way. This coaster commonly has long wait times due its popularity. Now envision, you are strapped into your seat. After that, the ride vehicle enters a large tube with light effects but at the end of the tube all you see is dark sky. You are then launched rapidly into that night sky. The coaster continues with propelling you into the darkness where you perceive the excitement even more due to lack of sunlight to guide your eyes. You may not always like the Hulk when he is angry, but you will love him at night!
Before we discuss the obvious best current attraction at night, there is a vicious predator in UORs near future that could soon be the best nighttime attraction. Coming summer of 2021, the Jurassic World VelociCoaster will begin launching riders up to 70 mph through rock formations, high speed turns, and even to encounter some raptors.
However, until that day comes, the best attraction at night and attraction most enhanced at night on UOR property is Hagrid’s Magical Creature Motorbike Adventure. Before we even think about the nighttime effect on this attraction, this is arguably the second-best attraction currently in all of Orlando area behind Rise of the Resistance at Walt Disney World. On this incredible Wizarding World-themed story coaster, you travel on magical motorbike (or sidecar) on an extraordinary voyage. Now imagine riding your motorbike through the Forbidden Forest at night. The experience is amazing. Even theme park veterans come off this attraction at night amazed by the quality.
So many of the attractions and features at UOR are enhanced at night. If you find yourself able to go to UOR when park hours extend later into the night, then you should take that opportunity. UOR is great in daylight but many of the attractions become vibrant at night.
Do you have any Universal Orlando attractions that you feel are must-dos at night? Let us know in the comments.
Jon Self is an avid theme park fan who has the high privilege to serve as a pastor at an American Baptist Church (fbcmacomb.com) while also trying to find the proper life path with his loving spouse, a bigger theme park fan than myself. You can follow him at @pastorjonself on Twitter and read more of his writings at faithelement.net.