Complete Guide to Universal Islands of Adventure in Orlando

Universal Resort Orlando is made up of 3 parks. Universal Studios, Universal Islands of Adventure, and Volcano Bay water park.

The second Universal park is Islands of Adventure. This park offers more thrill rides than Universal Studios, but that doesn't mean kids will feel left out. With areas dedicated to Dr Seuss, Marvel, and classic Cartoons, there is something for everyone at this park.Universal Studios Orlando Rides

Universal Islands of Adventure

Universal Islands of Adventure is split in to 8 lands:

  • Port of Entry
  • Marvel Super Hero Island
  • Toon Lagoon
  • Skull Island: Reign of Kong
  • Jurassic Park
  • The Wizarding World of Harry Potter: Hogsmede
  • The Lost Continent
  • Seuss Landing

Rides and Attractions at Universal Studios

  • The Amazing Adventures of Spider Man
  • Caro-Seuss-el
  • The Cat in the Hat
  • Doctor Doom's Fearfall
  • Dudley Do-Right's Ripsaw Falls
  • Flight of the Hippogriff
  • Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey
  • Hagrid's Magical Creatures Motorbike Adventure
  • The High in the Sky Seuss Trolley Train Ride
  • Hogwarts Express: Hogsmede Station (To Universal Studios)
  • The Incredible Hulk Coaster
  • Jurassic Park River Adventure
  • One Fish, Two Fish, Red Fish, Blue Fish
  • Popeye and Bluto's Bilge-Rat Barges
  • Pteranodon Flyers
  • Skull Island: Reign of Kong
  • Storm Force Accelaration
  • VelociCoaster

Universal Islands of Adventure Park Map

Single Rider Attractions

Many of the rides at Universal Islands of Adventure offer a single rider line option. You'll find a separately marked line for any guest who is willing to ride solo. A Team Member will seat you in any empty seat available to fill out a row. Single rider is a great way to cut down on standby wait times. Just know that if you stand in the single rider line with your group, you will be separated when it's time to ride.

The rides that offer a single rider option include:

  • Velocicoaster
  • The Incredible Hulk Coaster
  • Harry Potter and the Incredible Journey
  • The Amazing Adventures of Spider-Man
  • Doctor Doom's Fearfall

Touring Universal Islands of Adventure

Touring this park will change depending on whether you are a Universal Resort guest (which will give you early access to the parks), guests who have Express Pass, and guests who are focused primarily on Harry Potter.

Guests With Express Pass

Express Pass is an upgrade you can add to your ticket that allows you to jump the line on almost every attraction at the park. You simply head to the ride queue marked as Express Pass and a team member will ask you to scan your park ticket.

Typically wait times with Express Pass are walk on or close to walk on. During the busiest times of year the more popular rides may see a 20-30 minute wait, but this will only be on busy days at the most popular rides.

That being said, if you are planning on purchasing Express Pass or Express Pass Unlimited, or if you are staying at one of the Deluxe Resorts that offers free Express Pass for guests (Loews Royal Pacific Resort, Hard Rock Hotel, and Loews Portofino Bay Hotel) a touring plan will most likely not be necessary.

With Express Pass you are paying a premium for convenience and flexibility. So showing up at the parks at your leisure and hitting rides at your own pace is much easier.

Guests With Early Entry

My number one rule with theme park touring is always to start early.

So if you are a guest at any of the Universal Resort Hotels, I suggest you take full advantage of the one hour of early park entry that you get as a perk for being a resort guest.

At Universal Islands of Adventure the park will open an hour early so that guests can enjoy The Wizarding World of Harry Potter. There are three rides in The Wizarding World of Harry Potter: Hogsmede. Your top priority should be Hagrid's Magical Creatures Motorbike Adventure. Even if you are not a Harry Potter fan, this ride is fun and unexpected. I'm a Disney person, but I truly think this is possibly the best ride in Orlando.

If you want to take advantage of minimal waits, get to the park entrance as early as you can. Even with early entry, waits for this ride will grow quickly. So waste no time heading to this ride.

After Hagrid's Motorbike I would head to Forbidden Journey and then Flight of the Hippogriff.

At official park opening time, head back over towards the front of the park to ride The Amazing Adventure of Spider-Man, The Hulk Coaster, and Skull Island: Reign of Kong. Wait times for these rides climb quickly, so once the park opens officially you'll want to knock them off of your list.

At this point I would then move to the Jurassic Park area. If you are ready for an intense ride, Velocicoaster should be next on your list. I would even recommend doing single rider if you can. If the wait is too long, use the app for wait time notifications.

Here you'll also find a raptor meeting and the classic River Journey ride.

If it's a hot day, and you're ready to get soaked, you will want to hit Dudley Do-Rite's Ripsaw Falls and Popeye and Bluto's Bilge Rat Barges. I would only suggest you do these rides if you are ok getting completely soaked. If it's a cooler day or you aren't interested in getting wet, skip these entirely. Even a poncho wont save you here!

Lastly I would suggest spending some time in SeussLanding. While this area is themed for a younger audience, I don't need to have my kids with me to have fun.

Guests Without Early Entry (Not Harry Potter Focus)

The true perk of having early entry is that you can knock out Harry Potter before the park even opens. Then you can head back towards the front of the park and still experience lower wait times. So the only difference in the plan for guests without early entry, is that they will instead start at the front of the park.

I would suggest arriving to the park at least 30 minutes before park opening. Keep in mind that you'll have to walk from the parking garage area to security and then through City Walk. So give yourself ample time.

Without access to early entry, the wait for Hagrid's Motorbike will probably be a longer wait at park opening. If the wait is under an hour, head to Hagrid's and start there. Otherwise stay to the front of the park and knock out The Amazing Adventure of Spider-Man, The Hulk Coaster, and Skull Island: Reign of Kong.

I suggest using the app to set up wait time notifications on Hagrid's. If wait times drop head over and ride. Otherwise save Hagrid's for an evening ride close to park close if you aren't willing to wait.

If it's a hot day, and you're ready to get soaked, you will want to hit Dudley Do-Rite's Ripsaw Falls and Popeye and Bluto's Bilge Rat Barges. I would only suggest you do these rides if you are ok getting completely soaked. If it's a cooler day or you aren't interested in getting wet, skip these entirely. Even a poncho wont save you here!

At this point I would then move to the Jurassic Park area. If you are ready for an intense ride, Velocicoaster should be next on your list. I would even recommend doing single rider if you can. If the wait is too long, use the app for wait time notifications.

Here you'll also find a raptor meeting and the classic River Journey ride.

After that you can head over to Hogsmede. Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey is a fun and unique ride that you wont want to miss, even if you aren't a Potter fan. Flight of the Hippogriff is what I would consider a starter coaster. It's a lot of fun, and easy for younger kids, but if the line is too long, this would be the ride I would skip in this area.

Lastly I would suggest spending some time in SeussLanding. While this area is themed for a younger audience, I don't need to have my kids with me to have fun.

Guests Without Early Entry (Harry Potter Focus)

The true perk of having early entry is that you can knock out Harry Potter before the park even opens. So if Harry Potter is your focus, and you do not have early access, wait times will be a little higher for you here.

I would suggest arriving to the park at least 30 minutes before park opening. Keep in mind that you'll have to walk from the parking garage area to security and then through City Walk. So give yourself ample time.

Without access to early entry, the wait for Hagrid's Motorbike will probably be a longer wait at park opening. But if Harry Potter is your main goal, I would suggest knocking it out first thing in the morning.

Unfortunately, this ride is known for its breakdowns. Plus it's extremely popular. So getting on early is going to be in your best interest. The last thing any huge Harry Potter fan wants is to wait to ride, only to find out the ride will be down for the day.

Flight of the Hippogriff is a fun starter coaster, but wait times can climb quickly for this ride. So I would knock this one out next while wait times are still lower in the morning.

If you are interested in getting a wand at Olivander's I would do that next. It's a quick show, but lines can get long. If you want a wand, but don't want to wait in line you'll find other shops and carts around Hogsmede that will sell you a wand quickly without the show.

The rest of your day can revolve around casting spells, shopping, eating, drinking butterbeer, and taking advantage of the amazing Harry Potter photo opportunities in this land. If you have a 2-park ticket, I would definitely take a ride on the Hogwarts Express. This will take you too and from Universal Studios and Islands of Adventure. But you can only ride if you have a 2 or 3-park ticket or pass.

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See you at the parks,
-Julie

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