My plea for an E.T. Adventure update at Universal Studios Florida – DePaoli on DeParks

Universal Studios Florida has changed a lot through the years. But since it’s opening day, there is one ride that has stood the test of time. E.T. Adventure is an opening day attraction that may not be on the top of your mind when you enter the park. But for me, it’s the attraction I ride repeatedly when visiting this park. I love it and I’m truly grateful that it’s still around. But I’d be lying if I said every time that I ride it, I didn’t think how I would love to see Universal invest some money into some updates.

e.t. adventure

If you’re unfamiliar, E.T. Adventure acts as a sort of sequel to the classic 1982 movie, “E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial.” The Universal Orlando website describes the ride this way.

E.T.’s home planet is dying, and he needs your help to save it. Board your flying bike and take off on a thrilling (but gentle) ride through the sky. You’ll dodge bad guys and soar into the stars where his magical home awaits, filled with wondrous otherworldly creatures.

If you’re a fan of traditional theme park rides, there’s a good chance this one holds a soft spot in your heart as well. Through the years, there have been various pre-show videos shown as you enter the attraction. In the original, the riders were being “cast” in the “movie” and Steven Spielberg appeared in the video as the director. After a while, the video changed, and the riders became friends, simply helping E.T. get home.

The video we see today was created in 2002 for the 20th anniversary of the film. That means it’s now over 20 years old. Although there’s nothing particularly wrong with an old video being used, it would be nice to see an update. The pre-show video is showing its age, and computer effects now available 20+ years later would certainly help make a more polished presentation. It would also be nice to have Steven Spielberg take part in an updated shoot. The master director is still as relevant as ever.


After viewing the pre-show video, guests meet up with Universal Team Members who ask their names. The riders’ name is then put into a computer and scanned onto an “interplanetary passport.” This old technology is how E.T. knows what names to say as he says “goodbye” at the end of the attraction. At the time, this touch was revolutionary. Although it may not feel as unique today, it’s still a nice touch.

The update I would like to see in this feature is simply the voiceover work. The way E.T. speaks the names may have been acceptable in 1990, but in 2023, automated phone systems sound more convincing. We now live in a world where A.I. technology can turn text into a convincing audio message from your favorite celebrities. I would love to see current tech like that used to update this charming feature in the ride.

After you get your interplanetary passport, you then enter still one of my favorite queues of all time. If you’ve been on the ride, there’s a good chance you can smell the iconic pine scent while reading this. Although I have no particular updates I would like to see in this area, I do wish the use of scent was used more throughout the attraction. I honestly wouldn’t mind smelling some Reese’s Pieces somewhere in the attraction. But that may just be my chocolate candy-craving speaking too loudly.

E.T. Adventure Ride At Universal Studios Florida

Inside the actual ride, the main thing I want to see is some serious love given to the animatronic figures. The figures are pretty rudimentary compared to todays standards of animatronic figures. I recognize this isn’t an inexpensive update, but it’s not like you’re riding by these figures quickly or from a distance. The ride is slow-moving, and the rider is mere feet away from these figures. In the case of the human animatronic figures on the ride, some of them look like department store dummies. I think they all deserve an upgrade.

One effect I would love to see updated is the transition into the Green Planet. With today’s technology of projection mapping, there could be a killer effect created taking you from the skies of Earth onto the Green Planet.

e.t. the extra terrestrial

I ask all of this with absolute love for the current attraction. Would I love to see updates like these happen? Yes. But I’m simply grateful that E.T. Adventure is still flying strong at Universal Studios Florida after being gone from Universal Studios Hollywood for so many years. Even with the current construction updating the former Woody Woodpecker’s KidZone surrounding it, E.T. Adventure lives on.

This is my plea to Universal Orlando. “Be good,” and give some much needed love to your only existing opening day ride.

What do you think? Would you like to see updates, or do you prefer it in its 1990s nostalgic state? If you want updates, what are some you would like to see? Leave a comment and let me know.

Jeff DePaoli is a producer and voiceover artist living in Los Angeles.

Jeff DePaoli is a producer and voiceover artist living in Los Angeles. He can be heard as the voice of Disney Trivia on Alexa as well as the host of “Dizney Coast to Coast,” the ultimate, unofficial Disney fan podcast. Get your FREE gifts of “America’s Hidden Mickeys,” “On the Rohde Again,” “Theme Park Comfort Kit” and more at DePaoli’s opinions are his own and do not necessarily represent Attractions Magazine.


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  1. As a massive E.T. ride fan, I 1000% agree. The animatronics need some serious fixing. Especially the name E.T. at the end. It moved so much more back in the day. All your suggestions I totally agree with. I just hope it’s not easier for them to just demolish than fix it. I don’t know what I’d do if they ever got rid of this ride! I think I’d cancel my annual pass!

  2. it is precious that old one has been remained. If it’s possible, i hope that i can see update. The most important thing is E.T. attraction should be permanent!

    1. I agree. I hope that it’s a permanent attraction as well. I hate to imagine Universal Studios Florida without it.

  3. I totally agree! It needs some major TLC. Every year we go on it, I pray it is still around the next time we come. Such a nostalgic ride!

    1. I feel the same way. I’m constantly concerned it’s going to go away. Thanks for reading.

  4. This is one of my favorite rides at Universal Studios Orlando and I completely agree with the suggestions you’ve made here. Have any of you heard about the threat Spielberg would have made if the park got rid of ET? Is there any truth to that? Cheers!

    1. I have heard the story that it sticks around because of Spielberg, but I have no idea whether or not there’s any truth to it. If it’s true, bless that man. Haha!