Family Florida Islands of Adventure travel Universal Universal Studios with kids

Movies to watch before you visit Universal Orlando

Planning a trip to Universal Orlando? Well you should do a little homework first but not the boring kind. The fun kind that includes hours upon hours of movie watching.

Oh boy, are there a lot of movies for you to watch. Some to find little hint clues are around the park (say hi to Bruce). Others because there are whole lands dedicated to them.

Now this post will have affiliate links throughout the post. It is no extra cost to you for clicking on one of these links but will help my site out. If you would like to know more click here. Now lets get into it.

Of course, you don’t have to watch any movies before you go. But who doesn’t want to rewatch some of the classics? Plus your kids might actually know who some of the characters around the park are.

Older movies 

Below you will find some older movies to watch. Like pre 2000s and some 80’s and 70’s classics. 


Universal Studios, Universal Orlando, Beetlejuice

Such a great movie to watch on a rainy Friday night. Now Beetlejuice isn’t around all the time but if he is you gotta grab a hand shake and a picture. 

My daughter took the above picture a couple of years ago and she had no clue who he even was. Well, now she knows.

Back to the Future 

Back to the Future, Universal Studios, DeLorean,

Wouldn’t it be great to travel back in time? While the ride might be gone you can find tribute to it in the Simpson ride.

Plus right before you get to Springfield you will see the train and DeLorean. Some days Doc Brown is even out for pictures.


Another ride that is no longer at Universal Studios and based off a classic movie. While Diagon Alley is an amazing place with so much to offer. It’s still a little sad that we lost this ride.

Bruce the Shark, Jaws, Universal Studios Orlando,

Not too far from Diagon Alley you will find one of the best photo ops in Universal. You have to get a picture with Bruce. Just one question. Do you stand next to him or put your head in his mouth? 


E.T. Adventure, Universal Studios, Original Ride

A rewatch of ET the extraterrestrial is a must before you visit Universal Orlando. This ride is one of the only things left from when Universal opened. It’s a classic ride based off of this beloved movie.

While the ride may be a little dated. It’s much better than some of the newer screen based rides. I hope this ride continues to live on for years to come.

Men in Black

Who doesn’t want to run around and shoot at aliens? Men In Black Alien Attack lets you do just that. It’s a fast paced shooter type of dark ride that is a lot of fun. Although, it might scare some of the younger kids. 

MIB, Universal Studios, Men in Black,

Have them watch the movies before they ride and it might just help them with their fear. If not, at least you got to watch a great movie. 

Classic monster movies 

Halloween Horror Nights, Universal Orlando, Good Guy Doll, Chucky,

Watching the classic monster movies of Universal is a must do I’d you are visiting during Halloween horror nights. Even if you’re not visiting during the fall a Universal monster movie weekend is a good time.

Frankenstein, the mummy, the thing, and more will let you find some of those well hidden Easter eggs. Plus why visit the monster Café if you’ve never seen any of the classics. It’s just sad that the monster universe didn’t take off.

Franchise movies 

Watch one of the below franchise movies or all in that series to have just a little more fun in the theme parks. You could be that movie nerd that points out all the tiny details Universal put in the lands and rides for YOU to find.

Harry Potter series 

Diagon Alley, Harry Potter, Dragon, Wizarding World of Harry Potter, Universal Orlando,

Of course, we had to start out with the biggest one of them all. Chances are you already watched all the movies and the number one reason you are visiting Islands of Adventure and Universal Studios is to visit Diagon Alley and Hogsmeade. 

We can’t blame you for that. Both Wizarding World locations are breathtaking. The level of detail is amazing. 

Immerse yourself in the movies before you jump on the Hogwarts Express and visit the Wizarding World all for yourself.

Jurassic Park series 

Can you believe next year (2023) the original Jurassic Park turns thirty? I remember seeing that in the theaters back in 93. Such a great movie series (Yes even Jurassic Park 3). 

Before you visit Jurassic Island at Universal’s Islands of Adventure theme park watch all of the Jurassic Park and Jurassic World movies. It would make up one heck of a great rainy weekend before you head down to Orlando.

Marvel Movies

Sure we all know that Disney owns the Marvel Universe but are you aware that Walt Disney World cannot use certain characters in its theme parks? Well Universal Orlando has the rights to use certain Marvel Characters like the Hulk, Captain America, Wolverine, and Spiderman to name a few. 

Incredible Hulk Coaster, Marvel Superhero Island, Islands of Adventure, thrill ride, roller coaster,

While Marvel Super Hero Island isn’t anything to write home about. It is home to two of the top rides at Universal Orlando. Of course, we are talking about the Incredible Hulk Coaster and The amazing adventures of Spiderman.

Newer Movies

Some of the newer movies (2000’s and newer) you should enjoy before a visit to Universal Orlando.


Do the Despicable Me movies count as Franchise movies? Yeah, they probably do but I am going to put them under the “newer” movies category. Despicable Me Minion Mayhem is the first ride most people see when they finally enter the park. 

It is also a very fun ride with a great pre show. Just remember to grab a shower before you enter. You don’t want Gru to point you out. And no jumping in the hotel pool doesn’t count.

Kong: Skull Island

Kong, King Kong, Skull Island, Skull Island Reign of Kong, Islands of Adventure,

Looking for a little bit of a backstory before you ride Reign of Kong at Islands of Adventure? You better watch Kong: Skull Island. While you are at it you should watch all the Godzilla ones too. They are some great movies that all tie in very nicely. 


Universal Orlando, Transformers,

Yeah this one too should be in the Franchise movie category. Maybe that’s because Hollywood can no longer just do one movie. Well they can if the movie completely bombs. Otherwise, they milk it for all it is worth. 

There are so many movies you could watch before you visit Universal Studios and Islands of Adventure but we think the above movies, give you the best chance to find all the little nods to them around the park and within their rides. Finding that hidden Easter egg is such a fun time. Plus it helps kill the time while you are waiting in line.

Do you have a movie that you HAVE to watch before you visit Orlando? When was the last time you even watched some of these movies? Are there any that you haven’t seen? Let us know in the comments below. 

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