• E.T. Adventure

E.T. Adventure

Luiz Alberto H.

Created: May 17, 2024

Last Updated: May 23, 2024

E.T. Adventure
  • Year: 1990
  • Type: Dark Ride
  • Single rider line: No
  • Minimum Height: 34″
  • Ride Duration: 5min
  • Some cool tricks
  • Nice environments
  • A bit dated

E.T. Adventure Review

Does E.T. really want to go home if he’s been stuck in Universal Studios since 1990?

This ride is to Universal Studios what It’s a Small World is to Magic Kingdom: a charming, cute dark ride that has been a staple since Universal Studios opened its gates over three decades ago. While many rides have succumbed to the passage of time and disappeared - like Jaws and Back to the Future - E.T. remains a fierce warrior, persevering against the tide of technological advancements in the world of theme parks.

et adventure universal (2)-1.webp

Is this the best, most thrilling ride in the world? No, definitely not. But it is a classic. It's like going to the Magic Kingdom and not riding Splash Mountain... which you can't do anymore, by the way, but you get what I'm trying to say.

E.T. Adventure is a slow moving dark ride where you board a bicycle similar to the one seen in the movie. Relax, there are no sharp turns, launch pads, or corkscrews here. If I had to compare it to something, it would be Peter Pan’s Flight at Magic Kingdom. Just like the dark ride set in Neverland, your vehicle does leave the ground at one point, reminiscent of the movie scene when the bicycle starts flying to escape the cops. You will get the chance to see a bunch of animatronics, including alien life forms that Steven Spielberg probably never thought about, and a bunch of (creepy?) mini-ETs that are singing and playing around.

et adventure universal (1).webp

The Good

E.T. Adventure is a very relaxed dark ride and, honestly, quite advanced for its time. One of the coolest features is that, before boarding the vehicle, you provide a ride assistant with your name (or any name, really). Then, close to the end of your tour, E.T. will bid you farewell, addressing you by name. What a cool dude! It's something I have yet to see in any other ride, and it's kind of mind-blowing that it existed in something over thirty years ago.

The setting is also very cool for a dark ride, with a full artificial forest built in the queue and also surrounding you during the ride. You also come face to face with police cars, jeeps, owls, scientists, and various weird aliens that are there to say hi to E.T. There is even a section where your bike gets off the ground and you can see a small city under you, which is just a scale model like one used in movies, but it looks so charming and awesome.

It’s great that a ride this old still has a lot of fun tricks to surprise us. Oh yeah, we also can’t forget that we can listen to John Williams' epic soundtrack, and when John Williams is involved with anything, that’s automatically two thumbs up.

Universal Studios ET adventure 2.webp

The Bad

What mainly works against E.T. is what also works against all of us: time. Animatronics don’t look that good and have very limited movements. The policemen in particular look very artificial, with minimal details on their faces. I understand if Universal doesn’t want to upgrade them and keep this ride with that vintage feel, but I think that some extra work and new animatronics would do wonders for this ride.

Universal Studios ET Adventure queue.webp

Will Kids enjoy this?

Spoiler alert: E.T. does go home near the end of the ride, and you actually get to see his alien planet, full of aliens singing and celebrating your arrival. Now, will little ones get scared by some of them? Maybe. While some of these aliens might be a tad intimidating for little ones, none of them are overly large, and they don't linger in the spotlight for too long.

Most teenagers might find this dark ride a little simple and too boring. I think they will have a better time in Men in Black: Alien Attack, Transformers 3D and Revenge of the Mummy, which incorporates elements of a dark ride but is also a roller coaster.

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