E.T. Adventure is a dark ride manufactured in-house by Universal and is located at Universal Studios Florida. It used to also be located at Universal Studios Hollywood and Universal Studios Japan, but both have since been replaced by other attractions. In Florida, it is located in the Woody Woodpecker KidZone area of the park and opened with the rest of the park in 1990. It is the only original opening day attraction left in Universal Studios Florida. In this review I will be breaking down the entire experience as well as my thoughts on the ride.
When you enter the queue for the ride, you will more than likely start in the extended queue section where there is TV screens showing clips from the film and trivia that quizzes you on your knowledge of the film before heading into the ride. A grouper at the end of the extended queue puts you and your group in a line behind a door. Once the doors open you head into the pre-show.
After heading through the doors, you will watch the pre show on monitors overhead. Stephen Spielberg, the director of the film, explains to the guests that he needs their help bringing E.T. back to the Green Planet. In order to do this, Spielberg explains that the guests need “Interplanetary Passports” to get to the planet. You then proceed into the next room and give your name to a team member who puts it on the passport. You then turn left through a door and go to the main part of the queue. This is a very wooded area where police are looking for E.T. You then pass by a Speak & Spell that says “Help ET”, and E.T.’s teacher Botanicus popping out of his spaceship every couple minutes. Their is also a very strong pine scent which is one of the best theme park scents ever in my opinion. You then get the loading platform where you hand your passport to the grouper and prepare to board your ride vehicle.
Your vehicle is a bike suspended on a track on the celing themed after the bikes the kids fly in in the film. The restraint is a typical lap bar that comes down.
After pulling down your lap bar, you start heading up and are moving, police and NASA are trying to capture E.T. and arrest the riders, the bikes then fly over the city. This part of the ride feels a lot like Peter Pan’s Flight over at Magic Kingdom but arguably better!
After flying over the city, you arrive at the Green Planet. In the Green Planet, E.T. has been returned with his healing touch and you celebrate with his friends. This part of the ride is very colorful and friendly. After passing through E.T.’s friends, you are being waved goodbye by E.T. himself. E.T. thanks you by name because of the passports you gave to the grouper before you boarded the ride.
You then get to the unloading station where you exit the ride, where the exit leads you into E.T.’s Toy Closet, the gift shop selling E.T. merchandice (and Reese’s Pieces!!!).
My Thoughts: I have heard the quote tossed around that this ride is “the best dark ride never built by Disney”. Although Universal has some better dark rides that are more modern, in terms of classic dark rides I would have to agree with this. I waited about 50-55 minutes because they were running at limited capacity and I still thought it was worth it for one ride. There was a sense of magic and wonder in this ride that no other ride at the park can capture. Flying over the mini city on the bike was a moment I felt the magic of a Disney ride. The rest of the ride is so warm and magical it’s the exact opposite of what you’d expect from a ride in this park. There have been rumors of the ride closing, they have ceased for a while but I would be devastated at it’s closure. This ride is not only a big part of the park’s history, but is a ride the entire family can enjoy, something you can’t find anywhere else at the park.
Tips: There are not really any tips as this ride sees relatively short waits and there is nothing really hidden or secret in the ride, but the ride can sometimes run at limited capacity in which it can see wait times slightly higher than normal, so be prepared for that.
Final Thoughts: In my opinion, this is exactly what the park needs at the moment and nothing can beat the magic that this ride gives at the park. It’s perfect for the entire family and is the only dark ride at Universal other than Despicable Me that kid’s won’t be scared of. It’s a classic dark ride, classic Spielberg, and most importantly, classic Universal!