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Our Guide to Overcoming Motion Sickness at Universal Orlando

by Mommy Frog on October 22, 2019 35

Overcoming Motion Sickness at Universal Orlando - PinterestAs much as I love hopping on the rides at Universal Orlando Resort, I have to be cautious because of my motion sickness. Rides such as Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey can quickly turn my day upside down. It's something I've had to deal with since I was a small froglet. My family learned about this — the hard way — when we did a spinning ride at a local fair. Let's just say that the words "funnel cake" stir up some bad memories.

If you’re like me and unfortunately suffer from motion sickness, then this post is for you. I'll let you in on my secrets and tips for overcoming motion sickness at Universal Orlando. That way, you can prepare for those motion simulator rides and roller coasters, which I'll break down with their potential triggers. Of course, there are also plenty of activities and experiences at the parks that you can still enjoy and avoid motion sickness!

Top Tips For Overcoming Motion Sickness at Universal Orlando

Overcoming Motion Sickness at Universal Orlando - Diagon Alley at Universal Studios

Plan, Plan and … PLAN

You can save yourself a headache — as well as a stomachache — if you do your research and know what rides have the biggest potential of inducing motion sickness at Universal Orlando. Showing up completely unaware that Revenge of the Mummy or Harry Potter and the Escape from Gringotts can upset a sensitive stomach can quickly lead to a nightmare once the rides get going. You’ll want to know what rides have the biggest motion sickness potential. That’s why we’ve listed a few that have been known to turn me green (err... I should say greener). Hop here to see them now!

It should also be said that not everyone has the same type of motion sickness. High speeds may make you feel worse than a 3D ride. You may be fine with 3D ... as long as your seat doesn't move. Be aware of the factors that lead you to motion sickness and steer clear of the rides that have them!

Pack the Right Stuff

Overcoming Motion Sickness at Universal Orlando - Spider-Man

If you don't want to miss out on swinging with Spider-Man — even though this motion-sickness-inducing ride will shake your stomach — then I suggest packing the right products and using them. Bring plenty of Pepto Bismol (the pill form is most convenient while at the parks) or whatever nausea medicine works best for you. I find that Dramamine is the best for me. It's most handy if you're able to take one before you hop on a ride!

Want to try something more natural? Ginger root is known for its soothing elements. Try taking a ginger root supplement before and after, and drink plenty of water. Some people also swear by acupressure bands for overcoming motion sickness. I have yet to try this out, but hey, it is worth a shot!

Watch What and When You Eat

What I eat before I ride at Universal Orlando largely impacts my potential for getting sick. While it's hard to resist some good ole cheesy nachos, it might not be so great when I feel them slowly coming back up on Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey. Slugulus Eructo! Bland foods are the best to soothe and prevent upset stomachs — think pretzels, crackers or a bland sandwich. Just try to avoid anything too spicy, sugary, greasy and fatty! Caffeine can also make an upset stomach worse.

Perhaps it sounds counter-intuitive, but avoid riding on an empty stomach (it may make you feel even worse). You wouldn’t want to chow down on a full meal minutes before jumping on a ride, either. The sweet spot is snacking on those bland foods about 30 minutes to an hour before going on the ride.

Sit in the Middle

Before you hop on the ride, strategically plan where to sit. Sitting in the middle tends to be more stable than on the sides, where you may feel more rocking and swaying. The same logic applies to roller coasters. Avoid the front and back rows. Generally, there will be ride attendants who assign rows at the loading station. Just politely request a middle row instead of switching spots so you don’t mess up the workflow.

While on the Ride

Overcoming Motion Sickness at Universal Orlando - Transformers The Ride

So, you didn't listen to any of the warnings, you went ALL IN at the Hot Dog Hall of Fame at CityWalk and didn't take a Dramamine before, and now you're sitting on TRANSFORMERS: The Ride 3-D feeling pretty green ... what to do?

Believe me when I say this has happened plenty of times to me before. It can easily make a 4-minute ride feel like 30 minutes! If you find yourself in this situation, there are a couple of things you can do to try and ease the symptoms a bit. Try closing your eyes for the duration of the ride, lay your head on the head rest and keep it as still as possible! Take slow, deep breaths to help calm yourself. You could also try applying pressure at the top crease of your wrist with two fingers. (This works similar to an acupressure band.)

I'm not sure of the scientific reasoning behind this, but I always find smiling helps me get through a nauseating ride. Maybe it's convincing me that I'm having a great time or there really is something scientific ... whatever it is, it works for me! You'll find tricks that work for you, as well.

Last Call

You love Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey, but you know it will knock you down for the rest of the day. Plan your day around it! Make sure whatever ride triggers your motion sickness the most is the final attraction of your day. It's never fun to walk around with the results of motion sickness at Universal Orlando, but knowing that they won't spoil your entire day can make things a little better.

Rides with the Biggest Potential for Motion Sickness at Universal Orlando

Overcoming Motion Sickness at Universal Orlando - Revenge of the Mummy

As promised, I'm going to break down the Universal Orlando rides that can induce motion sickness. Ranging from motion simulators to roller coasters, these rides have the potential to make you sick. Remember, what makes me sick might not trigger your motion sickness. Use this list simply as a guide.

Universal's Islands of Adventure

The Amazing Adventures of Spider-Man

This ride is a 3D motion simulator. The ride vehicle also spins as you transition from screen to screen. For me personally, I can handle most of the ride … until the last couple of scenes. Not to spoil any specific story details, but once we begin swinging across New York City, my stomach is feeling something else that’s not spidey senses.

Storm Force Accelatron

It’s Universal’s version of a spinning teacup-style ride. ‘Nuff said.

Skull Island: Reign of Kong

Overall, it’s fairly mild considering it’s a 3D motion simulator. For this ride, you’re sitting in a large, bus-sized vehicle (which by the way runs without a track — super cool!). There are large screens on both sides while the truck shakes with movement.

Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey

If only I could drink a potion that would prevent motion sickness on this ride (or really any, but especially this one)! Out of all the rides in Islands of Adventure, this one gets me the most nauseous. I don’t know if it’s because you’re pretty close to the screens or if it’s the ride’s unique robotic arm system, but you’ll definitely want to prepare for this one.

Incredible Hulk Coaster

Oddly enough, I don’t get motion sickness on roller coasters as much as the simulator rides. However, I know other frogs avoid roller coasters for this reason! The Incredible Hulk has a grand total of seven inversions that can leave you dizzy and disoriented afterwards.

Hagrid’s Magical Creatures Motorbike Adventure

Universal’s latest ride is a high-speed roller coaster that packs in seven launches, backwards motion and a vertical drop. Gotta know what you’re up against, right? I will say that I fared better while sitting in the sidecar than on top of the motorbike.

Motion Sickness at Universal Orlando - Hagrid's Magical Creatures Motorbike Adventure

Universal Studios Florida

Harry Potter and the Escape from Gringotts

Harry Potter and the Escape from Gringotts is a 3D motion simulator ride that includes short roller coaster sequences. The carts mildly spin between screens, as well. *Spoiler alert: There is a small drop at the beginning, but you can’t see how far down it goes, which could trigger motion sickness. Despite everything that happens, I don’t feel awful after this one. Must be magic!

Hollywood Rip Ride Rockit

Just the sight of the vertical lift and initial drop will probably have you shaking your head. However, that’s the “worst” part of the ride. It has a non-inverted loop (the first of its kind), which means you never truly go upside down. This roller coaster features multiple drops. If you don’t do well with that type of falling motion, sit this one out.

Motion Sickness at Universal Orlando - Hollywood Rip Ride Rockit

Revenge of the Mummy

This roller coaster sometimes surprises frogs with its intensity since it is fully indoors. The more thrilling coaster sequences happen in very low lighting, so it’s hard to see the twists and turns. However, it does not go upside down. At one point, you move backwards for a short time. Lastly, there are some sudden stops.

The Simpsons Ride

The Simpsons Ride is notoriously known for being one of the worst rides for motion sickness at Universal Orlando. Even frogs who aren’t prone to motion sickness can feel a bit nauseous afterwards.

TRANSFORMERS

This 3D motion simulator ride is comparable to The Amazing Adventures of Spider-Man with slightly more intensity and a longer time in front of the screens.

Race Through New York Starring Jimmy Fallon

It’s another 3D motion simulator. This time, you’re seated in a large flying theater that moves. Try to sit in the middle if you can.

Despicable Me Minion Mayhem

The motion simulator ride originally had 3D elements, but it recently switched to 2D, making it a tamer experience for me. You can also sit in stationary seats at the front if you don’t want to deal with the rockiness.

Kang & Kodos' Twirl and Hurl

I think the name of this ride is self-explanatory … yes, it is indeed a spinning ride. However, it truly isn’t as bad as it sounds. You fly your own saucer around an alien from Rigel 7 and can make it swoop up and down.

Overcoming Motion Sickness at Universal Orlando - Kang & Kodos

Alternative Experiences to Avoid Motion Sickness at Universal Orlando

Don't be discouraged if you think you won't be able to handle the motion simulators and roller coasters. You can still have a fantastic time at the parks, which have many shows, entertainment and other experiences to offer.

Shows

Universal Orlando has several sit-down and street-style shows that you don't want to miss. Over at Universal Studios Florida, be sure to watch the Universal Horror Make-Up Show (that's one of our favorite hidden gems!). You can also catch Fear Factor Live and Animal Actors on Location. Tadpoles will love A Day in the Park With Barney at Universal Studios Florida and Oh! The Stories You'll Hear! in Islands of Adventure.

The street-style shows are also loads of fun when you pass by them. We enjoy rocking out to The Blues Brothers and The Studio Brass Band in Universal Studios Florida, or watching the Frog Choir and the Triwizard Spirit Rally in Hogsmeade.

Of course, you'll have to end the night with Universal Orlando’s Cinematic Celebration. This nighttime spectacular uses water curtain projections, water fountains and fireworks to celebrate your favorite Universal Pictures movies and characters.

Character Greetings and Parade

Meet your favorite characters at the various character zones throughout both of the parks. We've got a separate post that covers everything you need to know about meet-and-greets at Universal Orlando. You can also catch them in Universal's Superstar Parade, which happens every day at 5 p.m.

Interactive Wand Experiences

Motion Sickness at Universal Orlando - Wand Choosing Show

The Wizarding World of Harry Potter provides a magical escape to both Hogsmeade and Diagon Alley. There are so many details packed into these immersive areas that you can spend lots of time just exploring. However, the best part has to be the interactive wand spots!

But first, you should head to Ollivanders (which can be found in both parks) and attend the Wand Choosing show. If you're lucky enough to be the wizard or witch that the wand maker selects, you'll be paired with the wand that chose you. Even if you're not the chosen one, it's fun to experience, and you can still pick out a wand after the show.

Once you've gotten an interactive wand, you'll get a map of the spots where you can perform magic with your wand! It's a dream come true for tadpoles and fully grown frogs alike.

What are your tips for overcoming motion sickness at Universal Orlando? Let us know in the comments below!

Related: Choosing The Best Universal Orlando Ticket For Your Family

Hoppy planning!

Keep hopping, Mommy Frog!
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Oct 24, 2019 at 1:04 p.m. Kelly Says...

Thank you! We just got back from Orlando and spent the day at Universal. I tend to get more motion sick on simulator rides, so I wanted to be prepared. I tried the motion sickness patch before the trip, but it made me feel really squirrelly. So at the parks I wore the seasickness bands at all times and took the non drowsy Dramamie (or Bonine) which is basically the ginger root a half hour or so before the rides. Worked like a charm. I won't say I didn't get a little queasy at times, but very little and manageable. Your advice on when and how much to eat was spot on too.

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Oct 24, 2019 at 8:19 a.m. FrogBlog Says...

You are so welcome, Kelly - we're so hoppy you found this useful (and that you made it through with minimal discomfort!).

Hoppy planning!

Mommy Frog

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Oct 4, 2019 at 2:14 p.m. Alison Says...

Thank you so much. This is the best detailed advice I really wanted to know before we make our visit. It has really put my mind at rest rather than panicking once I'm there.

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Oct 4, 2019 at 9:19 a.m. FrogBlog Says...

You are so welcome, Alison - we are just hoppy to help!

Hoppy planning!

Mommy Frog

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Sep 26, 2019 at 7:31 p.m. Motion Sick Mommy Says...

Thank you so much for the details on how to avoid motion sickness at Universal Orlando. After a terrible experience at Bush Gardens involving a sickness-inducing ride, I am so leery about which rides I can survive and still enjoy the day. I never thought to take something to keep me from throwing up beforehand, beyond just Dramamine, which won't prevent vomiting (sadly, I already know this!). Good advice. I'll wait until the end of the day to ride Spider-man, if at all.

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Sep 26, 2019 at 3:05 p.m. FrogBlog Says...

We are just hoppy to help, from one Motion Sick Mommy to another! :)

Hoppy planning!

Mommy Frog

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Aug 26, 2019 at 11:33 p.m. Tara Says...

Are your ride descriptions of when you've taken medicine or when you haven't?

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Aug 27, 2019 at 12:23 p.m. FrogBlog Says...

Hi Tara!

Our bouts with motion sickness are pretty mild, so these were all written before medicating. If yours is moderate to severe, we'd recommend medicating beforehand to be on the safe side. You know you best!

Hoppy planning!

Mommy Frog

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Mar 29, 2019 at 3:06 a.m. Joe Says...

Just got back from Universal and islands of adventure and experienced motion sickness for the first time in a long time. I’m 46 and can remember the carnival ride cobra or spider at a very young age that I would never do rides with multiple spinning axis because they made me very sick. The Himilaya, swings, graviton and a tilt a whirl are somewhat bearable to go on with the kids. But this weekend I realized we were in a new age of motion simulation! I was fine on the spider man, mummy and the other simulator rides and coasters that I did in the park 20 years ago. Hulk Still rules! And the rock and roll coaster is not that good compared to Montu or Kumba either. The newer simulator rides seem to take it to the next level with full simulator immersion where you simply don’t see the edge of the screen in you periferal vision. The Jimmy Fallon New York ride had me in a really bad panicked situation! As soon as that ride started I was instantly nauseous and was panicking that I would puke all over the other patrons. I raised my hands up to try to get them to stop the ride, they didn’t so then I tried unbuckling my seat belt and it wouldn’t, finally I looked as far as I could to the outside of the screen to get a steady reference of an exit door and then the immediate urge to vomit started to subside, I would slowly turn back to the screen and the sensation would creep back in. Finally it was over and I didn’t recover until a nice relaxing lunch and some coke. Later I went on the Potter ride in the same park and I felt the sensation again but was able to overcome it and if I simply looked around the ride vehicle to outside the viewing screen it would instantly ease the nausea. I also had a hint of it in King Kong a ride that is so fun I think I was able to keep the nausea at bay with a smile on my face. That ride seemed to have no reference point outside the screen so I don’t know where I would look to get over the sickness if I couldn’t overcome it with the enjoyment. I felt the ride designers know this would be a common issue and in these newer rides they tend to put you in and out of simulation by alternating to props then back to simulation. Without that these newer rides would be a no go for me. In the end I think you can still have a great time with motion sickness and maybe the tip of seeking a view of a solid portion of the building or not looking at the screen momentarily will help others as it did for me. I was able to ride multiple times with my son but will not be going on the Jimmy Fallon ride ever again!

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Mar 13, 2019 at 3:02 p.m. Jodi Heilman Says...

Do all the attractions, such as Poseidon's Fury, Transfromers, etc have the easy exit after the queue but before boarding the ride? We did the easy exit at Gringotts last year and loved the experience through the queue and would love to do more attractions this year.

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Mar 15, 2019 at 9:49 a.m. FrogBlog Says...

Hi Jodi!

It's so fun that theme parks are making the queues so interactive now, isn't it? We know for sure that Transformers has a similar exit (we found this out when the ride broke down once and we needed to leave the line quickly). We'd imagine most do, but unfortunately don't have a definitive answer - the ride attendants will of course know more, and the Frog Pond may also have some inside knowledge on this to share :)

Hoppy planning!

Mommy Frog

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Mar 11, 2019 at 3:15 a.m. Sheri Says...

I confess I get motion sick very easily and often sit out while the rest of the family enjoys the rides. However, I would still like to wait in line with them and see some of the things inside (like the castle of Hogwarts). Do the rides offer a last minute exit before boarding?

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Mar 12, 2019 at 9:03 a.m. FrogBlog Says...

Hi Sheri,

Yes, they do! You could sit and wait for them in the child swap area that is right where the ride is loaded and unloaded.

Hoppy planning!

Mommy Frog

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Nov 13, 2018 at 5:09 a.m. Andrew Curiel Says...

Does anyone know if the Harry potter and the forrbidden journey ride in Hollywood leave a lasting motion sickness?

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Nov 13, 2018 at 10:07 a.m. FrogBlog Says...

Hi Andrew!

The combination of physical and screen effects can make some people a bit queasy, but we've never had a problem with this ride causing any lasting sickness beyond a few minutes after the ride.

Hoppy planning!

Mommy Frog

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Jun 29, 2018 at 2:19 p.m. K Says...

I'm curious about the new Fast and Furious ride. Does anyone know if it tends to be rough for those with motion sickness, or know of a similar Universal ride to compare it to?

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Dec 18, 2018 at 2:33 a.m. Nicole Says...

I tend to get motion sickness very easily, but the fast and furious ride was fine. The Jimmy Fallon ride was by far the worst for me

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Jul 6, 2018 at 10:37 p.m. Mrs G Says...

It is all virtual. The vehicle is actually parked but it feels like you are moving with fans, water spraying, heat, etc. It was underwhelming.

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Oct 15, 2018 at 7:05 p.m. Christina Says...

Don't be so quick to brush it off! For some of us who suffer from motion sickness, our brains feeling like we're moving and our bodies knowing we're not is a HUGE trigger.

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May 15, 2018 at 6:34 a.m. Pat Says...

I’ve found Hyland’s motion sickness tablets to be excellent for both motion and sea sickness, and they don’t make me sleepy.

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May 4, 2017 at 8:39 p.m. Den Says...

Love, love, love the 3D rides precisely because I get nauseous on the regular roller coasters. At least with a 3D ride I can close my eyes and it all goes away - you can't do that on a roller coaster.

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Apr 19, 2017 at 4:05 p.m. Betty Says...

I put on the Scopolamine patch before our Universal trip. It worked perfectly for the full three days we were there. DH has bad side effects with it, but works for me.

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Apr 19, 2017 at 1:34 a.m. Scott Says...

I recommend Relief Band.

It's worn on your wrist like a watch and puts an electronic pulse on the nerves. Will shut off motion sickness like a switch. Really.

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Apr 16, 2017 at 8:58 p.m. Stephanie Says...

We have annual passes and I feel your pain. We pick one ride that I know I will get sick on and save it til the end then go home. If you can't do that, go on a water ride (at IOA) right after the ride that made you sick, or the pop up fountains at Kid Zone, the cool water will make you feel a little better. Also, first aid has beds that you can rest on if nothing else works and your in air conditioning. Have your family grab you a Sprite or gingerale and rest for a little while.

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Apr 16, 2017 at 3:50 p.m. Courtney Says...

Take Bonine its over the counter and better than Dramamine since Bonine doesn't make you drowsy like Dramamine does and doesn't interfere with most medications or alcohol!

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Apr 15, 2017 at 11:30 p.m. Marion Says...

How is the Men In Black ride for motion sickness?

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Apr 15, 2017 at 8:24 p.m. FrogBlog Says...

Hi Marion,

There are portions of Men In Black ride that spin.

Hoppy Planning!

Mommy Frog

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Apr 15, 2017 at 3:21 p.m. john tourbin Says...

to many rides were motion movements, I must push a wheel chair for my wife who loves the rides but will not go because of me. only one ride offered stationary seats,are there any more like this? our trip was ruined because of my stomach

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Apr 15, 2017 at 8:32 p.m. FrogBlog Says...

Hi John,

Despicable Me Minion Mayhem, Shrek 4-D and Terminator 2: 3-D offer optional stationary seats.

Hoppy Planning!

Mommy Frog

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Oct 1, 2017 at 1:29 p.m. Penny Says...

Are the stationary seats clearly visible to the public or do we have to ask specifically?

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Oct 1, 2017 at 8:42 p.m. FrogBlog Says...

Hi Penny,

It varies by attraction. Ask the team member at the entrance before you enter the line. They will inform you where the stationary seats are.

Hoppy planning!

Mommy Frog

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Apr 15, 2017 at 2:27 p.m. Mom of 2 boys Says...

Exactly right ... very disappointed that most of the rides are simulators or heavy motion - UGH!!! Dramamine, plus PLENTY of water to elevate headaches. This is, unfortunately, why so many people can't spend a week at Universal like at WDW -- lack of "family" rides.

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Mar 8, 2018 at 12:51 a.m. Cross country mom Says...

Oh boy, had never been on a simulator ride before going to Harry Potter at Universal and it was a nightmare! Literally had to keep my eyes closed throughout and still thought I wasn’t going to make it. Made me long for the old days of more family friendly rides!

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Mar 26, 2018 at 12:02 a.m. Jen Says...

I feel your pain! Last November I went on that original Harry Potter ride first and couldn’t enjoy the rest of the day because I had to close my eyes the whole time too! I was so excited because I love anything Harry Potter and am going back there next week...this timed armed with PSI bands, pepto bismal chewables, draminine and some other motion sickness pill....I guess I’ll try that ride again as the last one of the day and hopefully not feel like I’m going to keel over. I feel like such a stick in the mud with these things! It really stinks that all the cool rides at both Universal’s make me so sick to my stomach and head!

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Mar 22, 2017 at 5:39 p.m. Jules Says...

Just returned from a first trip to Universal Orlando a couple of weeks ago. I was so disappointed that almost ALL of the rides were motion simulated. I took Gravol (a ginger root remedy) and still felt ill. We didn't ride all of the rides because I just couldn't stomach any more!! Next time (if there is one) I may try the patch behind the ear!!

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