Insider Tips: Getting the Best Seat on the Ride

 Originally published in the Universal Orlando Blog by Matt Korn December 11, 2016

The question that every Universal Orlando Operations Team Member will hear at least 653 times in their career is, “Can I get the front row?”

It’s an understandable question, but I’m going to let you in on a little secret: the front row isn’t always the best row to sit in.

*Audible gasp* Wha??? That just can’t be true!

It’s true, believe it.

To prove it to you, let’s go on a journey together through some of the rides we have here at Universal Orlando Resort, and I’ll give you the insider scoop on where the best place to sit is. Just make sure to keep facing forward with your arms and legs inside the vehicle at all times.

Style One: Simulators

Simulators at Universal come in all shapes and sizes – everything from the moving rovers of TRANSFORMERS: The Ride – 3D to the immersive theater style of Despicable Me: Minion Mayhem. The closer you sit to the screen, the less effective the 3D effects. The best place to sit across the board is somewhere near the middle back (with Transformers, I’ve always preferred row 2).

Find out what the best seats are on the rides at Universal Orlando Resort.

Style Two: Water Rides

With the exception of Popeye and Bluto’s Bilge Rat Barges (sorry, no matter where you sit, you’re getting soaked) the best place to sit on our water attractions all depends on how wet you want to get.

Find out what the best seats are on the rides at Universal Orlando Resort.

Looking to cool off? The front is the best place for you (center, too, if you’re on Jurassic Park River Adventure). However, if you secretly want to avoid the splash, sit a few rows from the back.

Style Three: Dark Rides

Whether it’s the immersive story of Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey or the competitive fun of MEN IN BLACK: Alien Attack, the middle seat is always preferable. By sitting in the middle, you’re given a front and center view of the action.

Find out what the best seats are on the rides at Universal Orlando Resort.

Style Four: Roller Coasters

Ahh, coasters. A better pick-me-up than that cup of coffee and an adrenaline junkie’s favorite theme park pastime. No other ride type has the front row requested more than roller coasters. Why? Most cite unobstructed views and a smoother ride.

Neither is a problem with Hollywood Rip Ride Rockit. Rockit’s trains seat 12, which allows for a consistently smooth ride. And with stadium style seating, you’re always guaranteed a good seat no matter where you sit. However, if you’re looking for a truly rockin’ ride, you may want to try sitting on the left side of the car.

With 22 on-ride speakers and a treasure trove (literally) of theming to look at, Revenge of the Mummy is a roller coaster that is best enjoyed towards the back of the ride vehicle.

Find out what the best seats are on the rides at Universal Orlando Resort.

Both Rockit and Mummy have shorter coaster trains that make selecting the prime seat easy, but what happens when you step up to a coaster with a longer train?

The Incredible Hulk Coaster, for instance, provides three different ride experiences for coaster fans. First timers who may be hesitant to ride can take solace in the middle rows (4-5), while those who love unobstructed views patiently wait longer for the front row. Ask any serious coaster enthusiast about Hulk, though, and they will tell you only one row matters: Row 8. The last row of The Incredible Hulk Coaster provides the most extreme and exhilarating experience.

For those Row 1 enthusiasts, here’s some validation for you: Dragon Challenge. Being the only inverted coaster on property (meaning the track is above you, not below), the best seat on Dragon Challenge is undisputedly the front row.

Ultimately, though, the best place to sit is where you want to sit. At the end of the day, everyone has a preference…so what’s yours? Tell me in the comments below!

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Don Korta
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