SPOTLIGHT: ‘E.T. Adventure’ at Universal Studios Florida is a slice retro theme park magic
E.T. Adventure at Universal Studios Florida is undoubtedly a slice of retro theme park fun. It is classic Universal creation that exists now only in Florida but at once point stood proudly at Universal’s Hollywood and Japan locations, as well.
The immersive story begins in a forest where you board a bike-like vehicle (you don’t need to peddle here) and take off with ET on a journey to return him to his home, the “Green Planet.” Along the way, you bike through the forest, fly over the city, and then time-warp to the colorful caverns of ET’s home where he thanks you personally by name.
The attraction stands as a testament to the history of not just the film but also theme park attractions. With the passage of time, the contemporary 1980s setting has itself become a new thematic element to the story. Can you believe it’s been nearly 40 years since the theatrical release of the film?
So now, all these decades later, the attraction becomes not just a voyage into a sci-fi fantasy but also a flashback rewind to a period of American history currently enjoying a new cultural appreciation among the likes of company like “Stranger Things” and “The Goldbergs.”
Certainly, it’s far from a time like today where mobile sports betting is just a few taps away from a device that fits in your pocket.
While the attraction is in desperate need for modernization — and it truthfully seeming that that day will never come — it’s a cherished piece of theme park history with a lot to appreciate. So we invite you to take a look at the attraction as it stands today…
Starting the Experience
A fairly uninteresting switch back queue leads to three sets of unassuming double doors that take you into the boxy purple building. Upon entering, three aisle ways lead to another trio of double doors. This room is where you’ll enjoy a video with director Steven Spielberg setting up the attraction.
For your interplantary adventure you have to have a passport! Tell the assistant at the kiosk your name and they will hand you your passport which you’ll hand back over to the Team Members at the loading station.
A forest queue sets up various visuals from the movie including mysterious men in suits and a foil covered umbrella with a Speak & Spell. We also see a transmission by Botanicus on the Green Planet imploring the need and urgency of returning E.T. home.
It’s a good thing that at the time, there wasn’t a casinous site or other such frivolities to distract from the mission!
Another way in which E.T. Adventure is a theme park classic is that it marks the first time a theme park attraction had its own original musical score and for this project the film’s musical composer John Williams returned to score the music!
Attraction Load Station
Full Ride-Through Video
E.T. Toy Closet
The attraction exits out into the gift shop which features a large selection of E.T. merchandise and a photo-op opportunity to put yourself into two iconic moments from the film, one via green-screen “movie” magic.
E.T. Photo-Ops in the Gift Shop
See it for Yourself
E.T. Adventure at Universal Studios Florida is the original and only remaining version of the attraction still in operation today. Be sure to check the Universal official site to ensure the attraction is open for your visit.
MORE INFO: E.T. Adventure official website