Movies to Watch Before Your Trip to Universal Studios in Orlando

Movies to watch before your trip to Universal Orlando.

Our trip to Universal Orlando was definitely one for the books!

A big part of any vacation is the anticipation in the weeks leading up to it. To get our kids even more excited about the trip, we watched some movies and shows that are featured in rides and areas at the theme park!

Here are the movies we watched (or wish we had watched) before our trip to Universal Orlando.

(You can also check out the movies you should watch before going to Universal’s sister park Islands of Adventure.)

1. Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone

We were probably the MOST excited about the Wizarding World of Harry Potter. They were especially excited to visit Diagon Alley at Universal!

We’ve watched all of the Harry Potter movies, but if you don’t have time or don’t want to do that, at least watch the first one – Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone. It will give you the best idea of the magical world and introduce you to Diagon Alley.

Girl at Diagon Alley at Universal Orlando.
(The girls were so excited to make magic with their wands at Diagon Alley.)

2. The Mummy

This movie was a blast from the past! I remember being traumatized by the Scarab beetles as a kid and beetles still freak me out to this day.

We watched this movie one rainy afternoon before our trip and my kids were completely unfazed by these little creepy-crawlies. In fact, they enjoyed The Mummy more than I thought they would.

Lainey loved the Revenge of the Mummy roller coaster at Universal Orlando. She was glad that she watched the movie ahead of time so that she knew who the characters were.

Revenge of the Mummy ride at Universal Orlando.
(This photo of the Revenge of the Mummy ride is courtesy of

3. Transformers

I couldn’t talk my youngest into watching Transformers, but Lainey was willing to give it a shot. And she liked it!

Before your trip to Universal Orlando, I would watch the first Transformers movie (Transformers) to at least get an idea of who the characters are and how Transformers ‘work’. There is a 3-D Transformers ride at Universal and you can also meet a Transformer!

The Transformers ride at Universal Studios in Orlando.
(My girls could care less about Transformers, but my nephew would have LOVED it!)

4. E.T. the Extra Terrestrial

I was unable to get a copy of E.T. before our trip to Universal. But we all rode E.T. Adventure together. It was so much fun, but my kids had no clue what everything was.

Even though they enjoyed the ride, I think the kids would have liked it better if they understood more about the story. Before our next trip to Orlando, we’ll definitely be watching E.T.

On the E.T ride at Universal Orlando.
(The E.T. ride was so much fun & full aliens!)

5. Despicable Me

Of course, the minions are characters that my kids are very familiar with. And my youngest LOVED Despicable Me Minion Mayhem at Universal Orlando.

I think Lyvi ended up riding it 2 or 3 times before we left! If you are going to the theme park with young kids, make sure to watch Despicable Me before your visit.

(This photo is courtesy of the Orlando Informer.)

6. Shrek

Sadly, Shrek 4-D was one ride that we didn’t get to do during our first trip to Universal. But it was definitely characters that my kids recognized right away when they saw the ride/theater.

Make sure to watch Shrek with your kids before your trip to Orlando! We’ll definitely be checking it out on our next visit.

(This photo is courtesy of the Orlando Informer.)

7. The Fast and the Furious

We didn’t watch The Fast and the Furious with the kids before our trip to Universal Orlando. Because it’s not a movie that our girls would really be interested in (and it’s a little violent for an 8 & 10-year-old).

However, for older kids and adults, definitely watch The Fast and the Furious before you hop on Fast and Furious – Supercharged at Universal Orlando.

(This photo is courtesy of the Orlando Sentinel.)

8. The Simpsons

While The Simpsons cartoon isn’t really for kids, we did let ours watch a couple of episodes before our trip. There is a whole section of Universal dedicated to this iconic cartoon.

Springfield: Home of the Simpsons has several rides, games, and restaurants based on the cartoon and is truly an immersive experience.

Make sure you catch at least an episode or two of The Simpsons before visiting Springfield!

Girls standing in front of The Simpson ride at Universal Orlando.
(Even though they didn’t ride this one, they still wanted a picture!)

9. Men in Black

My siblings and I loved this movie when we were kids! Will Smith has been one of my favorite actors ever since!

This ride is a motion simulation ride (which I found out the hard way ISN’T for me – just ask my niece, I puked all over her), so I didn’t get on it. But it sounds like so much fun! You use a laser gun to shoot the aliens attacking you!

Definitely watch at least one of the Men in Black movies before your trip to Universal!

(This photo is courtesy of Orlando Park Stop.)

10. Jimmy Fallon

Race Through New York Starring Jimmy Fallon is another motion simulation ride (so, I declined) that takes you on a fun-filled race both above and below New York City.

Admittedly, I’m not familiar with Jimmy Fallon’s show, but the ride includes some of the characters, such as Hashtag the Panda and a barbershop quartet. Before you head to Universal, you might want to catch a show or two so you’ll know what to expect.

(This photo was courtesy of Travel Weekly.)

11. Woody Woodpecker

My kids loved the newest Woody Woodpecker movie and I loved the old cartoons from my childhood. So, he was definitely a face we all recognized when we saw his roller coaster at Universal.

This roller coaster is perfect for little kids who may not have ever ridden one before. My girls weren’t very impressed with it, but they did it anyway.

(This photo is courtesy of the Orlando Informer.)

Our trip to Universal Orlando was one that we’ll never forget!

And we even hope to go back again this year, thanks to the Freedom Passes we purchased through the MWR!

I definitely recommend watching some of these movies and shows before your trip. It makes it better, especially for the kids, when they see familiar characters and props from the movies they watched at home!

Make sure you check out the list of movies to see before going to Islands of Adventure (Universal’s sister park)!


  1. Ks1986
    August 20, 2022 / 5:05 pm

    Just an FYI. Men in Black is not a motion simulator ride. It’s a dark ride where shoot aliens.

    • findingmandee
      August 29, 2022 / 10:09 pm

      Maybe I’ll try it next time! The motion simulations make me sick, so I didn’t even try it.

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