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Old Universal Studios Rides: Nostalgic Look Back in Time

Universal Studios is constantly changing its rides and shows to be relevant for modern-day guests. While attractions based on current movies and TV shows brings in new crowds, those of us who have been visiting Universal Studios Orlando for a while miss some of the classic rides that we came to love.

Whether you want to take a trip down memory lane or just see how Universal Studios has changed over the decades, our list of Old Universal Studios Rides is a nostalgic look at how the theme park has changed over the years.

And to see what new attractions are in the theme parks, see our Complete Guide to Universal Studios Rides with a free printable checklist.

Back to the Future – The Ride

This cult favorite celebrated the classic Back to the Future movie series. You would fly on a 1.21-jigowatt adventure from Hill Valley back in time to see dinosaurs and travel through an Ice Age avalanche.

It was such as popular attraction that there is still a Doc Brown character at Universal Studios Florida that strolls around for meet and greets and photos.

This attraction was torn down to make way for The Simpsons Ride, perhaps one of the worst rides at Universal Studios for motion sickness.


Perhaps one of the most popular and most well-known old Universal Studios rides. When Jaws was shut down in 2012 to make way for The Wizarding World of Harry Potter – Diagon Alley, the public outcry was loudly heard!

There are still some Easter egg references to Jaws in The Wizarding World of Harry Potter. Such as the record shop in the London area that has a copy of “Here’s to Swimming’ with Bowlegged Women.”

Guests who still remember this classic movie can take a picture with the hanging shark in the San Francisco area at Universal Studios Florida theme park.

Be sure to see our old-fashioned ways of saving money on your theme park vacation for some old-school tips that still work today!

Shrek 4-D

Travel through a fairytale with Shrek and his team to rescue Princess Fiona in this beloved attraction that was in the theme park for 18 years.

In January 2022, Shrek 4-D shut down to make way for Minions Land expansion.

Universal Orlando’s Cinematic Celebration

This nighttime show at Universal Orlando closed unexpectedly and abruptly in 2023.

With dancing fountains, lights, movie music and some pyrotechnics, this was as close as it got to fireworks at Universal Studios.

Previously, the Universal’s Cinematic Spectacular was the nighttime show that closed in 2017 to make way for the updated show.


Does anyone else remember the hit NBC television series Fear Factor?

That reality show freaked me out because it usually involved bugs and other animals that people are afraid of. So, of course, why not make a theme park show out of it?

Since Universal Studios is owned by Comcast, which owns NBC, it was a no-brainer to make a show based on their popular TV show. In fact, it was the very first theme park attraction to be made from a reality television program!

People were chosen from the audience to drink smoothies made of bugs, have snakes placed on their heads, and other daring feats that would either intrigue you or disgust you.

This show ended in December 2021.

But the nightmares may continue for some of the contestants…

The Wild Wild Wild West Stunt Show

This cowboy-themed show was replaced by FEAR FACTOR LIVE.

Beetlejuice Graveyard Revue

This musical show was filled with all kinds of monsters, not just Beetlejuice!

Dracula, Frankenstein, Bride of Frankenstein and Wolfman were all seen in the revue show.

While the show no longer exists, you can still find Beetlejuice characters at Universal Studios.

This performance ended in 2016 to make way for Fast & Furious – Supercharged.

Disaster! – A Major Motion Picture Ride…Starring YOU

Another attraction that was removed on September 7, 2015 to make way for Fast & Furious – Supercharged, this ride brought you behind the scenes at Disaster Studios to learn all of the insider secrets of creating disaster films.

Dragon Challenge

Two roller coasters, each with a different ride pattern, made this fun attraction. The two different roller coasters offered you an option between Hungarian Horntail and Chinese Fireball.

This thrill ride was closed in 2017 to make way for Hagrid’s Magical Creatures Motorbike Adventure.


One of the original attractions when Universal Studios Florida opened in 1990, Kongfrontation was a ride where Kong grabbed the tram and dropped it during a confrontation in Manahattan.

The ride was closed in 2002 to make way for Revenge of the Mummy.

In a nod to the opening-day attraction, there are references to Kongfrontation in Revenge of the Mummy, such as:

  • Kong statue inside the treasure room
  • Bananas painted on the wall
  • Hat that says “Kong Rules” on the dummy at the beginning of the attraction

However, Skull Island: Reign of Kong is a new attraction at Islands of Adventure theme park. So you can still experience a Kong interaction at Universal Studios!

Jimmy Neutron’s Nicktoon Blast

This kid-friendly ride closed in 2011 to make way for Despicable Me Minion Mayhem.

You boarded a rocket to follow Jimmy on a chase through Nicktoons, including Rugrats and SpongeBob SquarePants.

Lucy – A Tribute

This walk-through attraction wasn’t a ride or show, but rather a chance to explore memorabilia from comedienne Lucille Ball’s career.

Costumes, scripts and movies were shown.

Lucy – A Tribue closed in 2015 to make way for a Hello Kitty Shop.

However, guests can still see Lucy sometimes when a Lucy character strolls through Hollywood Boulevard at Universal Studios Florida theme park.

Wet ‘n Wild

This entire water park was closed in December 2016 to make way for Volcano Bay water park.

Wet ‘n Wild was the first official water park in the entire world!

And it was the world’s first water park to have speed slides!

The Eighth Voyage of Sindbad

This show featured Sindbad, Kabob and Princess Amoura.

It was closed in September 2018.


If you ever wondered what it felt like to be inside a tornado, this is the ride that you wanted to experience.

You had to grab on the railing to withstand the storm force in this special effects experience that was LOUD!

This attraction closed in 2015 t make way for Race Through New York Starring Jimmy Fallon.

Want more vintage Universal Studios? Check out the strange but true history of the Universal Studios globe over the years.