Are you ready to save the Green Planet on the E.T. Adventure ride at Universal?
If so, let’s go on a far out journey with this popular creature.
The E.T. Adventure is a classic Universal Studios Florida dark ride and the only remaining original attraction left that’s based on the 1982 Steven Spielberg film.
This sci-fi film took viewers on an epic ride of friendship and loyalty with the extraterrestrial and a young boy named Elliot.
If you’re a fan of this fun attraction at Universal Studios, then hang-on as I take you through an interstellar journey!
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History of the E.T. Adventure at Universal Studios
At the height of its cinematic moment and adoration in the 80’s – E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial was beloved.
It didn’t take too long for the classic film to be turned into The E.T. Adventure Ride at Universal Studios in Orlando, FL.
On June 7, 1990, when the ET Adventure Ride opened for the first time in Orlando, FL, it was one of the original rides that opened during the first year of Universal Studios Florida in 1990.
At the time, it was one of only a few attractions at the park that worked properly without any major issues unlike the ride Jaws.
Universal would go on to open more E.T. Adventure attractions with one at Universal Studios Hollywood in 1991 and one in Universal Studios Japan in 2001.
Both attractions have since been closed with the one in Hollywood closing in 2003 (Revenge of the Mummy is the replacement) and the one in Japan closing in 2009 (Space Fantasy: The Ride is the replacement).
In 2012, the ride at Universal Studios Florida received new track switches by Dynamic Structures.
Fun Fact: The original animatronics were manufactured by Sally Corp. It has also been rumored that in the earlier years, guests were allowed to choose between a bike or spaceship as their ride vehicle
E.T. Celebrates a Big Birthday!
Last year in 2022, the beloved film, E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial had officially been in existence for 40 years! Can you believe it?
The initial concept of the ride was that as a rider, you were going to be acting in the upcoming new E.T. sequel film!
E.T. Adventure was also originally conceptualized by THE Stephen Spielberg!
He had a huge hand in designing/creating the ride’s story. Additionally, John Williams created a musical score exclusively for this ride.
A super unique feature!
Directly from the Universal Orlando’s site, “Bottom line, E.T. needs your help. There’s a big problem on E.T.’s home world, the Green Planet, which, inconveniently enough, is three million light-years away. As if that wasn’t enough stress, E.T.’s friends are in danger because their planet is dying.”
We absolutely love the concept of this awesome ride. It’s one of our very favorites.
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What to Expect on the E.T. Adventure Ride at Universal Studios Florida
As you approach the ride and walk through the outdoor queue line, you begin to feel transported into the golden days of the amusement park boom.
Pre-show for E.T. Adventure
During the pre-show you’re informed that E.T.’s teacher, Botanicus, needs E.T. to come back to his world, The Green Planet, because the planet is dying.
You will then proceed into the Interplanetary Passport room.
It’s here where Mr. Spielberg’s assistant will receive your name (or any name you may feel like having that day) for a personalized experience later to come.
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Forest Queue of the E.T. Adventure
On the last leg of the queue you walk through a bountiful Northwest forest natural trail that speaks directly to the hearts of everyone who loves classic Universal Studios.
You’ll also see periodic visits from Botanicus, the famous elder from ET’s planet.
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The E.T. Adventure Ride Smell
Make sure you notice the smell in the queue for E.T. Adventure at Universal Studios. The smell gives off delightful notes of fresh pine and sandalwood.
This is the area where you will board bikes in the 12-passenger, open-sided gondolas that hang from a ceiling track.
Hipster Power Tip: Be sure to sit in the best seat which is on the far-left side on the front row.
E.T. Adventure Ride Experience
You’re then seated on the bicycle to help guide E.T. home through the redwoods, past police and NASA scientists high above the city with light speed travel through space to follow.
Once you and E.T. arrive on his home planet, his healing touch is felt throughout the planet leading to the salvation of his family and friends.
The ride comes to a conclusion with a joyous celebration from the colorful Green Planet beings and E.T. giving each rider a personal send off.
Hipster Power Tip: You will experience mild aspects of a thrill ride with sudden turns and accelerations on this ride.
He Speaks to You!
E.T. will speak to you at the end of your adventure and thank you personally by saying your name.
Most of the time you can’t understand what he’s saying, but it’s still a fun ending of the ride.
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What to Know Before You Go to Universal Studios Florida
Now that you know what to expect on the E.T. Adventure ride at Universal Orlando Resort, let’s go over a few of the most commonly asked questions.
How big is E.T. Adventure?
The total duration time for E.T. Adventure is about 5 minutes and you have to be at least 34 inches to ride.
The ride is in the dark and 12 riders will fit inside one vehicle, with 3 rows of 4 riders in each row.
You will enter inside a pretend “soundstage” once inside the building. After that, you will board a bicycle and fly with the city beneath you when you look down.
And believe it or not, you “fly” on a platform that goes 12 feet in the air!
Is E.T. Adventure a roller coaster?
The E.T. Adventure ride is not a roller coaster. It’s actually low on the “thrill ride” meter, in my opinion.
Anyone could ride this ride who meets the height requirements without feeling fearful of drops or fast movement.
The most motion you experience will be light motion simulation within the ride. E.T. Adventure is also quite kid-friendly! The whole family can ride.
Guests love E.T. adventure for the flying sensation and nostalgia from the classic film on this suspended dark ride.
The feeling of looking down at the city below is really captured within the experience of this Universal Studios attraction.
Hipster Power Tip: Although I loooove this ride, I normally only do it if the wait time is less than 25 minutes. Which usually means that I’ll actually get on the ride within 15 minutes.
Is ET still a ride at Universal Studios?
Yes, E.T. Adventure is absolutely still a ride at Universal Studios.
It’s a fan-favorite and many adults (like myself) have grown up with the ride, so we all love the memories of riding E.T. adventure when we were kids.
Although it has since been updated, the ride is actually the only ride that is still working in Universal Studios to this day that opened on the first day of the park’s launch like I mentioned earlier.
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Is E.T. Adventure closing?
The E.T. Adventure ride is not closing any time soon. It was, however, going through a major refurbishment in 2017.
During the refurbishment, a few significant changes to the ride were made.
Changes and revisions were also made to the pre-show recently in the early part of 2023.
The pre-show was unavailable to riders for a little while, but it has since been added back in.
So, it could be cause for some confusion since in the beginning of 2023, numerous rides and attractions closed inside the area was right next to the E.T. ride.
This caused many Universal fans to fear that the E.T. adventure ride might close as well, but thankfully it is still open and will continue to be open.
It’s much too beloved by fans for the ride to shut down!
Is ET Adventure open at Halloween Horror Nights?
Unfortunately, E.T. Adventure Ride is currently not open during Halloween Horror Nights.
This doesn’t mean that it couldn’t change one day, though! (And I hope it will!)
- The Simpson Ride
- Transformers: The Ride – 3D
- Revenge of The Mummy
- Harry Potter and the Escape from Gringotts
- Hollywood Rip Ride Rockit
- Men in Black Alien Attack
- Fast & Furious – Supercharged
These rides can vary at times, but this is what is scheduled to be included in the “open rides” for Halloween Horror Night this year.
My hope is that eventually, E.T. Adventure will be added to the list of rides that are kept open!
8 Things to Remember Your Ride on E.T. Adventure at Universal Studios Florida
The E.T. Adventure allows you to take a quick break from the tortuous Florida sun without losing the Hollywood magic. You’ll also need to know the following:
- Universal Express™ Pass is accepted
- This is a Motion Simulation attraction
- Ride lasts about 5 minutes
- It is kid-friendly
- The minimum height requirement is 34″ (86.4 cm)
- Anyone Under 48″ (122 cm) most have a supervising companion
- Riders per vehicle: 12
- Rows: 4
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Accessibility and Additional Information for the E.T. Ride at Universal Orlando
- Accessible in Wheelchair
- This attraction has a modified ride vehicle to assist you in entering the ride vehicle
- Service Animals: There are no side barriers for containment
- Open Captioning
- Child Swap Area
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My Final Thoughts on the E.T. Adventure Ride at Universal Studios Orlando
The E.T. Adventure ride is a true Universal Studios classic attraction. It’s something everyone can enjoy.
This ride holds one of the best memories for me. It was in the Forest Scene of this queue where I realized my mom was pretty cool.
We were on a field trip in either 5th or 6th grade and she chapperoned my group. I only really wanted her to come with me so that I could have an unlimited budget, lol.
However, she actually enjoyed herself and was so much fun to be around with me and my friends.
My school friends talked about how cool she was when we returned to school and I always remember her giving advice to my friends while waiting in the Forest Scene of the E.T. Ride queue.
Such great memories with my mom!
I truly miss her and every time I get on the ride, I remember her and that day on the E.T. Adventure.
If you enjoyed this article, then you’ll love reading about these classic theme park attractions:
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- The Unfortunate History of Boardwalk and Baseball
- How Did Walt Disney World Inside Out Become the Best? Find Out.
- Saying Goodbye to Maelstrom Ride at Epcot
- American Idol Experience at Disney’s Hollywood Studios
Until next time, Happy Park Hopping Hipsters!
About the Author
Traveling alone to the parks has changed my life and I want to show how you can create your own solo theme park memories.
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(Original Article Date: June 6, 2016/Updated July 21, 2023)