Movies to watch before going to Universal
If you’re planning a Universal vacation and wondering which movies to watch before going to Universal, this post is for you. If you haven’t checked it out yet, you don’t want to miss our 2023 Universal Orlando Planning Guide.
What better way to get in the mood for your vacation than watching some of the movies on which the rides and attractions are based?
After all, Universal Orlando is a theme park based on the movies!
Here are over 30 movies to watch before going to Universal, but there are plenty more. This list should give you hours of entertainment to help you get excited about your Universal vacation.
All movies are linked on Amazon, and some are even included in Amazon Prime. Make sure to sign up for a free trial if you’re not yet a Prime member.
All links have options for Blu-ray or Prime Video. Some of the movies can also be found on Netflix or Hulu.
If you don’t have Universal tickets yet, check Undercover Tourist for the best deals.
Do I need a rental car in Orlando?
I like to get around as needed while on vacation, so I rent a car. I recommend renting a car from Discount USA Car Rental. They offer the best rates available if you fly into Orlando or Sanford.
Sadly, they do not have flying cars, but you don’t pay until arrival, so if you find a flying car elsewhere, you can cancel anytime.
Movies to watch before going to Islands of Adventure:
I decided to group the movies to watch before going to Universal by the park. That way, if you’re only visiting one park, you’ll know which ride belongs to which park. Let’s get started with Islands of Adventure.
It will make you even more excited to meet Blue and a special baby raptor at the Raptor Encounter. Did I mention the brand-new Velicicoaster?
There are a lot of Marvel movies, but not all of them are related to Universal Orlando since Disney now owns Marvel. Here are the best ones to watch before your Universal vacation:
Skull Island: Reign of Kong is one of the most popular rides at Universal Orlando. This (mostly) family-friendly ride features the largest animatronic in Orlando.
Harry Potter Movies
As a Wizarding World fan, I couldn’t create this list without mentioning the Harry Potter movies. Although it’s not confirmed, it’s rumored that there could be a Fantastic Beasts “world” at Epic Universe.
Either way, the seven original movies, and two Fantastic Beasts movies will excite you to see the Wizarding World for yourself. Don’t forget to check out seven things to buy before visiting the Wizarding World while you’re at it.
While there isn’t a Trolls ride or attraction, there is a fun meet and greet with Poppy, Branch, and Guy Diamond.
Poppy and Branch are one of the most adorable meet-and-greets at Universal! Don’t miss this one.
Movies to watch before going to Universal Studios
Next, we’ll head over to some of the movie-based rides at Universal Studios.
The Simpsons Movie
My kids love the Simpsons ride and always ride it multiple times. I get major motion sickness from this ride, but the meet and greet is a lot of fun!
Check out The Simpsons movie, or series, before you go.
Springfield is a large theme park area with multiple rides, so it’s worth watching the movie or show before you check it out.
Men in Black
If you’re a competitive family, you’ll want to compare scores on Men in Black. First, watch MIB and MIB II so that you have a little bit of backstory. Next, watch this fantastic video by Rix Flix, telling you how to get the best score.
If you have any Minions fans in your house, they will love Despicable Me, Minion Mayhem. Minion Mayhem is not only a fun “ride” (it’s more of an attraction) but also a fun meet and greet at the end.
Fast and Furious
The Fast and the Furious ride is arguably the worst ride at Universal, but hey, maybe you’ll enjoy it? I lost count of how many movies there are, but feel free to watch them.
Transformers is, in my opinion, one of the best 3D rides at Universal. Before your vacation, don’t forget to check out the Transformers movies, particularly the first one.
While this ride isn’t very thrilling, it is a classic! My kids had no idea what was going on when they rode it, so I suggest watching E.T. before your vacation.
While there is no Madagascar ride or attraction, there is an entertaining meet and greet with the penguins and King Julian! There are plenty of Madagascar movies to watch before you meet the penguins.
The Jaws ride was taken away to create London and Diagon Alley, but plenty of areas still pay homage to this former ride.
The Bourne Stuntacular is Universal’s newest and most popular show. It will make a lot more sense to watch the Bourne movies before you go.
After seeing the show, I researched and learned that there are several Bourne movies beyond the original trilogy! We went home and watched them all and really enjoyed them.
Movies to watch before going to Universal
There you have it! More than 30 movies to watch before going to Universal. I know there are more, but it’s hard to list everything when the theme parks are based on films.
If you have other movies to add, feel free to share them in the comments.
If you’re looking for the best place to buy Universal tickets, I highly recommend buying your tickets through Undercover Tourist! There are a lot of really scammy sites out there, so make sure you’re booking through an approved partner (like Undercover Tourist.)
More Universal Travel Tips
Are you planning a Universal Orlando vacation? We have lots of tips and tricks for you!
- What to pack for Universal Studios (and what to wear at Universal)
- How to Eat at Universal on a Budget
- The 10 best thrill rides at Universal
- Cabana Bay vs Aventura Resort
- 15 Amazing Volcano Bay Tips and Volcano Bay Hacks
- The Ultimate Guide to Universal Orlando Hotels
- First Timer Tips for the Wizarding World of Harry Potter
- Star Wars Land vs. The Wizarding World of Harry Potter
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