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The Very Best Queues at Universal Orlando

by Tad on September 26, 2019 2125 Orlando

The Best Queues at Universal Orlando‘Sup! Tad here. As the Frog Family’s thrill seeker, I’ve hopped in line for so many rides, shows and attractions at Universal Orlando Resort that I’m THE self-proclaimed ride expert there. As much as I love the actual rides, waiting in line is an entire experience of its own. With every new attraction, queue designs have gotten more immersive and epic over the years! They deserve their own appreciation post, so I’ve put together my definitive ranking of the very best queues at Universal Orlando. (These picks are solely based on the queue, not the ride itself!)

Lines are no fun, and it seems like the ride designers know it, too. Boring switchbacks and safety instructions playing on repeat just don’t cut it anymore. Nowadays, the queues use modern technology to include backstories, audio-animatronics, virtual waiting rooms or even live actors to keep park guests entertained. Sure, you can skip to the front of the line with an Express Pass or get in the shorter Single Riders line … by doing so, you might skip over major parts of the queue. But for these rides, I highly recommend going through the regular line if it’s your first time. Without further ado, cue the best queues at Universal Orlando!

The Best Queues at Universal Orlando

10. The Amazing Adventures of Spider-Man

Best Queues at Universal Orlando - Amazing Adventures of Spider-Man

This amazing adventure begins inside The Daily Bugle newsroom. You snake through the cubicles where you see empty desks and abandoned sandwiches. While inside the newsroom, you hear and see live coverage that all of the villains — Hobgoblin, Hydro-Man, Doctor Octopus, Electro and Scream — have joined together to steal the Statue of Liberty. The Daily Bugle's editor, J. Jonah Jameson, wants to send you out to cover this breaking news, thus setting up the ride's storyline.

What I love about the queue is that it keeps the cartoonish theme not only with the videos playing, but everywhere you look. As somewhat of a video journalist myself, I find the various signs hanging on the walls quite amusing.

9. Hagrid’s Magical Creatures Motorbike Adventure

Best Queues at Universal Orlando - Hagrid's Magical Creatures Motorbike Adventure

In the newest of the best queues at Universal Orlando, venture deep into the Forbidden Forest. The queue gives you the first look at the brand-new roller coaster’s track, which stays mostly out of view from the entrance. You’ll stroll by Hagrid’s hut and pumpkin patch before reaching and entering the abandoned, ivy-covered ruins in the Forbidden Forest — a new setting that was created exclusively for the ride. Inside the ruins, Hagrid has set up a terrarium where he kept his Blast-Ended Skrewts before they outgrew it and a nursery for his hatching dragon eggs. In the pre-show, Hagrid and his dog, Fang, join Arthur Weasley, who is helping Hagrid duplicate the motorbike and its sidecar. See if you can spot the tribute to the former Dueling Dragons ride!

8. Revenge of the Mummy

Best Queues at Universal Orlando - Revenge of the Mummy

The queue starts out as if you’re getting a behind-the-scenes movie set tour of the fictional sequel to "The Mummy," "Revenge of the Mummy." You initially see displays with various props and costumes while a mockumentary video plays, explaining how the mummy’s curse was proven to be real while filming the original movie, and a crew member has now mysteriously disappeared. Then, you enter a dimly lit room that looks like an archeological dig inside an Egyptian tomb. You can interact with elements that add to the creepiness factor. For instance, reach into a hole in the wall to try to grab a ruby, if you dare.

7. MEN IN BLACK Alien Attack

Best Queues at Universal Orlando - Men In Black

While you’re outside of the building that resembles the 1964 New York World’s Fair, it looks like you’re waiting to experience an exhibit called “The Universe and You!” After stepping inside, a retro video for the exhibit starts, only to be interrupted by a MIB agent who explains you’re being recruited and need to undergo training. After a ride in an elevator, the queue then snakes down the hallways of the MIB headquarters. You pass by the break room where the “worm guys” are drinking coffee.

But my favorite part comes next … the Immigration Room! While walking on the upper level, look down at the computers and control center with alien twins, Bob and Bhnxaxx, helming operations. If you want a closer look, ask the team members at the ride entrance if the “secret” immigration tour is available (which is usually in the afternoon when they have more team members working, but not on a super busy day). I love combing through the intake forms and Weekly World News tabloid clippings on the desks. Just keep in mind it’s not always available, but if it’s a particularly slow day at the park, it doesn’t hurt to ask!

6. Hogwarts Express — King’s Cross Station

Best Queues at Universal Orlando - Hogwarts Express: King's Cross

It’s the moment you’ve been waiting for … you get to hop aboard the Hogwarts Express for a one-way trip to Hogwarts! You'll feel like you’re actually in London as you walk into King’s Cross Station. By the way, if you ask a King’s Cross employee how to find Platform 9 ¾, they will look at you in confusion or remark how crazy you sound. You pass by the Divine Magic perfume ad that Harry and Dumbledore see in the "Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince" movie. Don’t worry about getting hungry in line because you can buy chips (or as the Brits across the pond say, crisps) at a mini market in the middle of the queue.

Once you walk up a flight of stairs, you’re close to Platform 9 ¾. From a distance — thanks to some magical special effects — you’re able to see the people in front of you walk straight through the brick wall. After turning the corner, the Hogwarts Express and an animatronic Hedwig greet you on the platform!

5. Fast and Furious — Supercharged

Best Queues at Universal Orlando - Fast and Furious

The building’s exterior looks like an abandoned warehouse surrounded by a chain-link fence and no trespassing signs. But once inside, it’s clear that the Fast and Furious crew has set up their headquarters here. The queue winds through the car garage, which features the original models and replicas from the films. Keep an eye out for Easter eggs that pay tribute to former attractions, such as Disaster! and Beetlejuice’s Graveyard Revue. Before you get to the loading area, you stop for two pre-shows in the family break room and Tej’s war room, where live actors interact with Mia and Tej via video calls. These short chats set up the ride’s main storyline.

You have the option to use this ride's virtual queue by setting up a return time at a kiosk outside the attraction. There is also a standard line, a Single Riders line and an Express Pass line (which is shared with the virtual queue). When waiting in line, you’re able to access Fast & Furious trivia games through the Universal Orlando app.

4. Race Through New York Starring Jimmy Fallon

Best Queues at Universal Orlando - Race Through New York Starring Jimmy Fallon

Out of the best queues at Universal Orlando, this one is the most unique. Race Through New York Starring Jimmy Fallon changed the waiting game by implementing Universal’s first virtual queue when it opened in 2017. When you’re at the park, you can reserve a time slot at a kiosk outside the attraction or through the Universal Orlando app. You can roam around the park until it’s your return time.

As soon as you’re inside, you’re given a color-coded card on the first-floor lobby. While you're here, you can take a look at the history of "The Tonight Show" and its hosts throughout the years. When the color of your ticket is illuminated in the lobby, you can go upstairs to a second waiting area known as the Studio 6B Club. You can relax on comfy couches, watch clips from "The Tonight Show" or play a racing-style video game called “Jimmy Drive.” They’re not always there, but you might also catch a live performance from The Ragtime Gals or a meet-and-greet with Hashtag the Panda. Once the lights turn the same color as your ticket again, there's a short line before entering the ride’s flying theater.

3. Skull Island: Reign of Kong

Best Queues at Universal Orlando - Skull Island

If you thought the Revenge of the Mummy queue sounded creepy, Skull Island: Reign of Kong takes it to a whole new level. As you might expect, the queue is lined with hundreds of skulls, as well as spooky skeletons. One particular room features an animatronic shaman who’s eerily chanting in the middle of a giant skull illuminated by fiery effects. Before you hop on the ride, you face another terrifying animatronic — an enormous slug-like parasite with rows of teeth.

But that’s not all! The best (or maybe, worst for some) part of the queue happens to be the hidden scare actor. Yes, you read that right. You never know if a native of Skull Island will pop out to scare unsuspecting riders. Sometimes the native will scare the daylights out of my dad. But other times, there are no jump scares at all. For this reason, Lily and Mommy Frog usually sit this ride out.

2. Harry Potter and the Escape from Gringotts

Best Queues at Universal Orlando - Harry Potter and the Escape from Gringotts

In the Harry Potter series, Gringotts is the Wizarding World goblin-run bank located at Diagon Alley. The ride’s queue recreates the grand marble lobby, as seen in the films. Once you enter the queue, you see massive chandeliers and extremely detailed animatronic goblins working behind long counters. As you move past the lobby, you’ll walk by vaults, offices, newspaper clippings — and even the shadows of Harry, Ron and Hermione.

There’s a short pre-show that sets up the ride’s story in Bill Weasley’s office with the eldest Weasley sibling himself and Blordak, a goblin employee. (The ride's storyline ties in with Harry, Ron and Hermione's break-in attempt in "Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows"). Fellow Potterheads, see if you can spot the moving Weasley family portrait near the bottom left of the scene! After you pass a guard who appears to be under a sleeping spell, you step inside an elevator simulation that truly makes you feel like you’re plunging miles underground. Finally, you’ll ascend a spiral staircase that leads you to your magical cart with hanging stalactites above.

1. Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey

Best Queues at Universal Orlando - Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey

I don’t think there’s anything more magical than stepping inside the Hogwarts castle for the first time. Universal Orlando knocked it out of the Quidditch pitch! With a little help from the film series’ art design team, Hogwarts is fully brought to life. The journey through the castle starts outside at the school’s greenhouse where Herbology lessons take place (don’t worry, there aren’t any mandrake screams that will kill you). Once you enter the castle, you’ll pass by the giant hourglasses that keep track of House points and the griffin statue that guards Dumbledore’s office.

The Portrait Gallery features moving portraits of the Hogwarts founders and dozens more. Listen closely to their conversations about Hagrid losing a dragon and how Hogwarts has opened its doors to muggles for the first time. Next, you’ll pass through Dumbledore’s office and his lifelike projection will talk to you. Similarly, Harry, Ron and Hermione greet you in the Defense Against the Dark Arts classroom. Be on the lookout for props used in the films in these incredibly detailed rooms! You’ll also encounter the Fat Lady portrait and the Sorting Hat at the end of the captivating queue.

Do you agree with my ranking of the best queues at Universal Orlando? If you'd switch or replace one, share it in the comments below!

Related: Ultimate Guide on When to Use Universal Express Pass

Stay cool!

Keep hopping, Tad!
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651–700 of 2116 comments
Oct 19, 2019 at 4:20 p.m. Emily W. Says...

My favorite queue is Hogwarts/Forbidden Journey (of course), but my favorite non-Potter queue is Spider-Man! My kids loved Race Through New York with Jimmy Fallon! Universal does a great job with details that make the queue experience fun.

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Oct 19, 2019 at 3:47 p.m. april floyd Says...

We have been using undercover tourist for our Orlando needs for the last 10 years! Never a disappointment! Thank you!

Reply
Oct 19, 2019 at 3:41 p.m. Rebecca G. Says...

Helpful post!

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Oct 19, 2019 at 3:04 p.m. Briana Says...

So much great info. Thanks.

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Oct 19, 2019 at 1:16 p.m. Kristen Says...

Cannot wait to try Hagrid's queue! Harry potter rides have the best!

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Oct 19, 2019 at 1:05 p.m. Melis657 Says...

Awesome, cant wait to see these

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Oct 19, 2019 at 11:43 a.m. Andrea Banks Says...

We loved the Mummy!!

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Oct 19, 2019 at 10:57 a.m. Bobbi Kwiakowski Says...

This list is spot on for the attractions I know. So it makes me super excited to read about the ones I have not been to yet. Can't wait to go experience then for myself ????

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Oct 19, 2019 at 10:31 a.m. Ktulip444 Says...

Great information, quick, concise, planning a trip is SO much easier! ????

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Oct 19, 2019 at 8:29 a.m. Xavier Carthen Says...

Im packing ready to go!

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Oct 19, 2019 at 5:39 a.m. chay Says...

i can't wait to go. Perfect vacation for my family! I hope i win!

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Oct 19, 2019 at 3:59 a.m. AmberP Says...

We waited a while in some of these, but they were all worth it! I've promised to take my niece for her 16th birthday, and I cant wait to ride Hagrids motorcycle!

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Oct 19, 2019 at 2:48 a.m. Christy T. Says...

I’m not sure...I haven’t made it there yet!!! ????

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Oct 19, 2019 at 1:43 a.m. Mary M. Says...

Would love to see the new Harry Potter ride!

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Oct 19, 2019 at 1:37 a.m. Ivon Pedraza Says...

I would love to be able to enjoy a getaway to Universal Studios and experience both Amazing parks, especially the Wizarding World of Harry Potter! We haven’t taken a vacation in like 3 years and a getaway would just be Awesome! Thanks for sharing these great tips!

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Oct 19, 2019 at 12:47 a.m. Trgolian Says...

I’d love to go!!

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Oct 18, 2019 at 11:43 p.m. Marianne Says...

How fun!

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Oct 18, 2019 at 11:27 p.m. Becca Says...

I can't wait to explore!

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Oct 18, 2019 at 11:09 p.m. Tracy Says...

I can't wait to take my family to Disney!

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Oct 18, 2019 at 11 p.m. HeatherM Says...

Our family is excited to go to Harry Potter world and taking advantage of great ticket deals from Undercover Tourist.

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Oct 18, 2019 at 10:46 p.m. HaleyB Says...

Honestly a garbage queue makes all the difference on how much I enjoy a ride.

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Oct 18, 2019 at 10:31 p.m. Krista Grimm Says...

We’ve never been to Universal!

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Oct 18, 2019 at 9:57 p.m. Emily Says...

UT is the bomb!!

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Oct 18, 2019 at 8:42 p.m. Jessica Rubinstein Says...

Such a helpful list! Can't wait to visit for the first time

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Oct 20, 2019 at 1:15 a.m. NESSIM ANGEL Says...

I will definately visit some of thse next time in orlando

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Oct 18, 2019 at 8:18 p.m. Rhowley1 Says...

Such a great read!

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Oct 18, 2019 at 7:56 p.m. Abigail Sikes Says...

I want to win!!

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Oct 18, 2019 at 7:18 p.m. Jenn Says...

I wanna win so I can give my big brother his last hurrah vacation... ????

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Oct 18, 2019 at 7:12 p.m. HBKOLLER Says...

Well now I can’t wait to get to go!! It sounds just perfect!!

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Oct 18, 2019 at 6:28 p.m. AnnaJ Says...

The Harry Potter queues are fantastic and so true to the movies!

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Oct 18, 2019 at 6:18 p.m. Lisab Says...

We love Harry Potter land! I just wish it wasn’t so busy!

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Oct 18, 2019 at 6:11 p.m. Stacey in FL Says...

Universal is the Happiest Place on Earth for OUR family!

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Oct 18, 2019 at 5:05 p.m. Erika Says...

I can't wait to be able to take my kids.

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Oct 18, 2019 at 4:59 p.m. Sam Says...

Cant wait to go!

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Oct 18, 2019 at 3:50 p.m. Betty young Says...

A chance of a lifetime! It looks like so much fun! ❤️❤️❤️❤️

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Oct 18, 2019 at 3:46 p.m. Sebastian Says...

Gotta love a good Queue to pass the time

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Oct 18, 2019 at 3:35 p.m. ElizabethAR Says...

I cannot WAIT to come and bring two little wizards with us!

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Oct 18, 2019 at 3:24 p.m. Erin Says...

The Hagrids queue was amazing. Loved being "under the floorboards"!

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Oct 18, 2019 at 6:15 p.m. Courtney Siemer Says...

Love this would love to go to Universal!

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Oct 18, 2019 at 2:47 p.m. Barb Says...

Yeah

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Oct 18, 2019 at 2:43 p.m. Rachel Bales Says...

I would sooo love to visit Universal with my daughter it would be unforgettable

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Oct 18, 2019 at 2:12 p.m. Marcilena Cabello Says...

Any of the marvel rides queues are by far my favorite to be able to walk through, harry potter world is also fascinating to see how you really feel like you're part of the movies

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Oct 18, 2019 at 11:57 a.m. Kelli McPhail Says...

Can’t wait to try Hagrids ride!

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Oct 18, 2019 at 11 a.m. Amanda Says...

Can't wait, will be there after Christmas!

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Oct 18, 2019 at 10:31 a.m. Jordan Varcadipane Says...

This list is on point. Dont forget ET because its a classic and I just love it!

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Oct 18, 2019 at 9:51 a.m. Alejandra Says...

Can’t wait to go back in December!

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Oct 18, 2019 at 6:09 a.m. DEFrost Says...

Universal is awesome! Love undercover tourist and all the savings they give!

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Oct 18, 2019 at 4:22 a.m. Becky Eggers Says...

We took a trip to Universal this summer and the kids can’t stop talking about the return trip!!

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Oct 18, 2019 at 3:36 a.m. Dallas Says...

Such good info !!

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Oct 18, 2019 at 3:19 a.m. Brittany Stevens Says...

Amazing site with the most valuable information for getting the most out of our trips!!

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Oct 18, 2019 at 1:37 a.m. Mike from Utah Says...

Best time to ride Harry Potter is when they are doing the light show outside Hogwarts castle. You can just walk onto the ride over and over

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Oct 18, 2019 at 1:30 a.m. Marlana Says...

I will say that these Queues are awesome! They really help pass the time in line!!

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