In this guide to the best movies to watch before going to Universal Studios Orland we round up the best films to watch before entering Islands of Adventure and the Universal Studios Park to familiarise yourselves with all the characters you will meet in the theme park.
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Movies to Watch Before Going to Universal Studios Orlando
Harry Potter Film Franchise
The Wizarding World of Harry Potter is one of the biggest draws when heading to Universal Studios in Orlando. The Wizarding World of Harry Potter features in both Orlando parks – Universal Studios and Islands of Adventure.
I would recommend watching the whole franchise before you go but the ones that will really enhance your enjoyed of the Universal Studios see of the park are
Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone
The reason why I think Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone is the best film to watch before going to Universal Studios is because Diagon Alley features most heavily in this film and Diagon Alley is the land featured at universal Studios.
As you walk through the Diagon Alley Wall, the land reveals itself and you will really feel like Harry Potter entering the Wizarding World for the first time.
Also an absolute must for your time in the Wizarding World of Harry Potter is to do the Ollivanders Wand Experience. To fully appreciate this experience it would be best to watch the first film before you go.
I would also recommend watching:
Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban
As you can have your picture taken in front of the Night’s Bus. The Night Bus picks Harry Potter up when he leaves the Dursley’s after blowing up Auntie Marge.
To fully appreciate this picture spot it would be good to have watched this film recently.
Harry Potter and the Order of Phoenix
Another great photo spot is 12 Grimmauld Place. Grimmauld Place is home to the Black family and is used as the headquarters of the Order of the Phoenix in the fifth film.
To fully appreciate the detailing on this amazing photo spot make sure you watch the Order of the Phoenix before you go.
Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows (Part One and Part Two)
And finally we also recommend watching Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows before you go into Universal Studios. The reason for this is because my favorite ride at universal Studios, The Escape from Gringotts ride, is based on this film.
Both the ride and the film feature Harry, Hermione and Ron breaking into Bellatrix LeStrange’s vault in Gringotts. And the dragon that sits on top of Gringotts is from this film too. This ride is one of the most popular at Universal Studios and it can be worthwhile to get an Express Pass to ride this ride.
This film is an absolute must see movie before going to Universal.
For more information on what to bring to Universal Studios check out this post.
One of the most beloved rides at Universal Studios is E.T. On this ride you board Elliott’s bike and help ET escape Earth before heading to E.T.’s home planet.
If you have little ones that don’t know the film they won’t really appreciate the ride without having seen the movie.
Fast and Furious Franchise
If you have old enough children to watch the Fast and Furious Franchise then watching at least one film from the franchise will help you enjoy the Fast and Furious ride more.
Simpsons Movie or TV Series
Again, if your party are old enough then the Simpsons, either the film or tv series will help enhance your experience at Universal. There are several Simpsons rides in Universal Studios – Both the Simpson rides where you are chased through a theme park by side Show Bob and also the Kang & Kudos Twirl ‘n’ Hurl featuring the aliens.
Kang & Kudos Twirl ‘n’ Hurl is one of the few rides without a height restriction at Universal Studios so it would be good to introduce your party to the Simpsons before you travel.
On top of that there is the whole Simpsons world where you can pose with many Springfield landmarks such as the Jebidiah Springfield statue, try a giant pink donut or even grab a Duff beer and if you are lucky maybe meet Homer Simpson himself.
All of these things will be appreciated more if you have seen at least an episode of the Simpsons before you travel.
Men in Black
The Men in Black ride is a traditional shooter style game. We recommend watching the film before you head on this ride as the ride actually takes you through a scene of the movie, all beit it goes slightly wrong.
The ride is taken from the scene where Jay has his interview for the Men in Black agency where he shoots aliens.
Although the ride can be enjoyed without having seen the film, it is nice to have watched it before going to Universal.
SpongeBob Square Pants
Although there isn’t a SpongeBob ride at Universal there is a SpongeBob meet and greet. If you want enjoy the Meet and greet if you are traveling to Universal Studios with toddlers it is worth having seen this before travel.
Despicable Me and Minions
One of the most popular rides at Universal Studios is the Despicable Me Minion Mayhem ride. To enhance your enjoyment of this ride be sure to check out one of the Despicable Me movies or the minion movie.
And finally the last film I recommend watching before going to Universal Studios is Transformers. The Transforms 4D ride is very popular in the parks and watching any of the films from the franchise will help you enjoy this ride more.
Movies to Watch Before Going to Islands of Adventure Orlando
So now you know what movies to watch before going to Universal Studios we will turn our attention to the Islands of Adventure park.
But before we get into the movies you should watch, you might also be interested in our other Islands of Adventure guides:
Harry Potter Film Franchise
The Wizarding World of Harry Potter attractions fall across two parks. I have already gone into the films best to watch before Universal Studios but what about the films for the Hogsmeade Village side of the park at Islands of Adventure.
The movies I recommend watching before going to Islands of Adventure are
Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets
This is the first film that features the Hogsmeade Village. To fully appreciate the immersive Harry Potter experience we recommend watching Chamber of Secrets before you head to Islands of Adventure.
Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban
One of the big rides at Islands of Adventure is Flight of the Hippogriff. The Hippogriff features prominently in Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban So to understand the ride watching this movie will enhance your enjoyment.
There is a huge Marvel land in Islands of Adventure with some of the parks biggest thrill rides – I am looking at you Hulk Coaster.
Any of the Marvel Films will enhance your enjoyment of this land but I would recommend Spiderman and the Hulk films as the best that tie in with the rides.
Jurassic park and Juraisic World Franchises
One of the park’s most popular rides has to be the Jurassic World VelociCoaster. This world also features the Pteradon Flyers, Jurassic World River Adventure and the Blue the raptor meet and greet.
To fully enjoy all of these Jurassic area attractions I would watch one or all six of the films in this franchise – though my personal opinion is that the Jurassic Park Films are WAY better than the Jurassic World part of the franchise.
Cat in the Hat
Seuss Landing is the best area at Islands of Adventure for Toddlers. In this are you will be able to ride rides based on Cat in the Hat and meet characters from this film and other such as the Lorax. To make sure your little one enjoys this area check out as many of the Seuss movies as you can.
Our favourites include:
- The Grinch
- The Lorax and of course
- The Cat and the Hat
And finally, the last movie I recommend watching before Islands of Adventure is King Kong. This attraction has a low height restriction of 36 inches however the queue is quite unsettling so I only advise going on this and watching the movie if you are traveling with teenagers and adults.
Are there any other movies you recommend watching before traveling to Universal Studios or Islands of Adventure?