Universal Orlando Resort

How to Handle Motion Sickness at Universal Orlando

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TouringPlans is pleased to welcome back guest author Jon Self.

The attractions at Universal Orlando can be very thrilling. There are thrilling roller coasters like VelociCoaster. There are incredible dark rides like SpiderMan and Forbidden Journey. There are classic-style spinning rides like Storm Force Accelatron. There are well-themed 3-D simulator attractions like Simpsons attraction.

If you are someone who can experience motion sickness, then that paragraph may seem intimidating. Motion sickness is a common ailment caused by disorientation of the sense of balance/equilibrium usually caused by repeated motions such as movements in a car, a turbulent plane, or rapid spinning.  Motion sickness can be displayed in unpleasant symptoms like nausea, vertigo, intense sweating, general feeling of discomfort, and vomiting. Generally, when the disorientation stops, the feeling subsides but, in some cases, it can last a few days.

If that sounds like a bad theme park day for you, then you are not alone. There is something about the human condition that causes us to desire thrills. What if you are thrill seeker but may experience motion sickness? First, consult a physician. You should never take the word of part-time blogger over a doctor.

Having said that, here are some common suggestions from Universal Orlando veterans of easy to purchase options you can try to alleviate motion sickness. You may find that using some of these in combination will help based on other’s experiences:

  • Seabands: These are acupuncture type wrist bands. For some guests, these are magical.
  • Medicine to Take: The most common options are Bonine and Dramamine. These are pills you would take in preparation for potential motion sickness experience. Many guests that suffer motion sickness praise these.
  • Other Options: Some guests claim great value in queasy drops/pops, ginger supplements, and peppermint oils.

Based on your situation, you may want to consider a doctor prescribed option, such as a Scopalamine patch. This is worn behind your ear so this is more of commitment. However, people who commonly face motion sickness at Universal Orlando without it, enjoy their time far more with it.

If you are going to be trying a new-to-you attraction and are concerned about motion sickness, then there are some broad recommendations:

  1. Make sure you do not ride on an empty or full stomach. I realize with all the incredible food options at Universal Orlando this will be a tough balance. However, this recommendation could make a ride thrilling without sickness later.
  2. As obvious as this sounds, wear comfortable clothes especially around your stomach. With the pressure of ride restraints added to tight clothes, this could be a recipe for a disaster.
  3. Bring some antacid tablets with you. These should not take up much space and you might really need one after a trip with Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey.
  4. Stay hydrated. The Florida sunshine can cause anyone to feel weak even before potential motion sickness. Also, unless you have a carbonated beverage addiction like me, try to limit your carbonated soft drinks to a normal daily amount as opposed to a theme park amount.

A Universal Orlando vacation can be enjoyed even if you tend to experience motion sickness. You probably will want to practice some of these methods in advance to see how your body reacts before all the excitement of Universal Orlando. You will want to consider what specifically causes your motion sickness. You may be fine on the wildest roller coaster but cannot handle a basic spinning ride. In contrast, you may sometimes get sick riding in cars or planes. If that is true, then the simulator attractions with screens may cause you to think twice.

Whatever your concern about motion sickness, you may want to work your way through less thrilling attractions before attempting the more thrilling attractions Universal Orlando has to offer. The most common attractions to cause varying degrees of motion sickness are:

  • Bourne Stuntacular
  • Jurassic World VelociCoaster
  • Incredible Hulk Coaster
  • Storm Force Accelatron
  • Skull Island: Reign of Kong
  • Race Through New York with Jimmy Fallon
  • Despicable Me Minion Mayhem
  • Harry Potter and the Escape from Gringotts
  • Amazing Adventure of SpiderMan
  • Transformers
  • Hollywood Rip Ride Rockit
  • Revenge of the Mummy
  • Hagrid’s Magical Creatures Motorbike Adventure

In fairness, apart from the two attractions that go backwards briefly, most Universal Orlando veterans that experience motion sickness, do not experience it often on those attractions. If you are vulnerable to rapid spinning, then the Men in Black attraction and Cat in the Hat attraction may upset your stomach, so add them to your list.

(photo by @bioreconstruct)

However, the two scariest attractions for people who get motion sick are Simpsons attraction and Forbidden Journey attraction. The Simpsons attraction gets the most votes for causing sickness. The combination of simulator technology, a rough ride, and the fact that the simulator is exaggerating the thrills of a roller coaster leads to this issue. If you feel any type of motion sickness and suggested treatments do not make you feel confident, please skip this attraction.

Your last decision regarding attractions is Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey. This is a world-class attraction, but it records the most incidents of guests getting sick. This attraction is a wonderful mix of screen-based elements and practical sets. Guests claim the screens are the toughest part regarding motion sickness, but the advanced ride vehicle system clearly adds to the thrills and potential sickness. Even if you decide not ride this attraction, you should experience the queue since it takes you inside Hogwarts castle.

Universal Orlando is an incredible resort, but you may need to plan wisely if you are vulnerable to motion sickness. Your days at Universal Orlando will not be ruined if you must skip a few attractions. Enjoy yourself in your time away from the real world.

Do you suffer from motion sickness? What has been your experience with attractions at Universal Orlando? 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 Jon. You can follow him at @pastorjonself on Twitter and read more of his writings at faithelement.net.




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13 thoughts on “How to Handle Motion Sickness at Universal Orlando

  • If you get motion sickness. Do not ride the simpsons ride!!! Ruined my day

  • Did Islands of Adventure today Hagreds Magical Motorcycle Ride was first…Very fun but felt nauseous after. Then went and did HP Forbidden Journey and was immediately sick. I had to close my eyes the entire time and was sick for an hour after. At the end of the day I was feeling good so thought why not try Forbidden Journey again…bad idea. Same affect on me. I rode all other 3-D rides and had no issue for the most part. Spiderman I got through most but had to close my eyes for a couple spots. I bought dramamine and have tums to help tomorrow.

    • April,

      Yes, UOR can be tough on motion sickness. I did both those attractions today. I thought they were better about motion sickness today.

  • The only ride at Universal that makes me motion sick is Fast and Furious Supercharged! Did it once and I’m never doing it again, but I was fine on more intense simulators like Harry Potter & The Escape From Gringotts, The Simpsons Ride, and The Amazing Adventures Of Spider-Man!

    • well, that is good to hear you have a great reason to avoid this attraction if friends ask you to ride it with them!

  • I ride velocicoaster and is was the Best coaster in my life

  • I have been diagnosed with vertigo; I do not do upside down roller coaster rides so I can’t comment on those but I’ve done all of the simulator rides. The worst ride for me is The Simpson’s. I’ve tried it twice and it’s just too much. HP rides were fine, even MIB with the spinning. I typically take meclizine before I head to the parks but forgot it on our last trip and did ok. The best advice I have received if I start to feel dizzy is to focus on something stationary. It always works for me. Closing my eyes makes it so much worse. I agree with keeping hydrated and eating light or watching a show right after eating.

    • Tammy, glad you found a way to enjoy UOR.

  • I got a little nauseous the first time I rode The Forbidden Journey, was fine on The Simpson’s Ride. The Spiderman ride did me in. I felt dizzy and actually laid down on the sidewalk in front of the attraction after.

    • Kevin, that can happen. something not covered in this article is that the order your do the attractions matters in terms of motion sickness.

  • I’ve also found that on the simulator rides you can usually lock your vision on a very outer point of the screen for a few moments to let your brain realize you’re not actually moving in the way your eyes and ears are tricking you into believing.

    That and Zofran tablets from the Dr are cheap and nip motion sickness fast!

  • On the motion simulator rides (HP Forbidden Journey, and Disney Animal Kingdom Avatar ride), closing your eyes when the ride gets very “swoopy” helps a lot because you shut out the visual stimulus, and the actual ride isn’t moving nearly as fast as the visuals suggest. (This is from someone who doesn’t do any roller coaster more intense than 7 Dwarves Mine Train).

    • yes, standard advise on forbidden journey is to close your eyes especially for the screen portion if you are feeling sick at all.

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