's Expert Guide to Universal Islands of Adventure

Universal Islands of Adventure

Islands of Adventure is a high-energy, high-thrills park that is grouped in 6 ‘islands’ around a central lagoon and features some of the world’s most impressive theme park design. From the Marvel Super Heroes to Seuss Landing, there is plenty to admire before you even get to the rides, while the arrival in 2010 of The Wizarding World of Harry Potter – Hogsmeade, added further complexity, and greater popularity. We suspect there is more in store, too, to keep the park fresh and compelling.

Expert Tip

General Advice

Islands of Adventure is laid out effectively in a big circle, with the entrance, Port of Entry (with most of the shops), at the bottom of the circuit. This makes it easier to navigate than the Studios park, but it still covers a big area – once around is almost a mile!

What not to Miss

Universal Classics

Virtually everything here is a comprehensive journey in its own right, with the Amazing Adventures of Spider-Man still one of the most-highly rated 3-D simulator rides in the world. High-powered coasters like The Incredible Hulk appeal to adrenalin junkies, while those who like to get wet can choose from 3 rides that all promise a soaking – Jurassic Park River Adventure, Dudley Do-Right’s Ripsaw Falls and Popeye & Bluto’s Bilge-Rat Barges. Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey still builds the biggest queues, though, while the village of Hogsmeade is worth an in-depth exploration.

Jurassic Park River Adventure at Universal Orlando Resort

Character Meet And Greets

Look out for Spider-Man and Marvel Super Heroes like Captain America, Storm and Wolverine, at regular intervals during the day. You can expect to see the likes of The Cat in the Hat and Thing One & Thing Two at Seuss Landing and you can often find Betty Boop and Popeye at Toon Lagoon, with a selection of classic comic-book characters.

Characters at Universal Orlando Resort

There is no daily parade in Islands of Adventure, but the Marvel Super Heroes arrive up to 6 times a day in a roaring procession of specially-themed quad bikes.

Live Entertainment

As well as the fun-filled ‘Oh! The Stories You’ll Hear’ character celebration in Seuss Landing, look out for the action-packed Eighth Voyage of Sindbad Stunt Show in The Lost Continent area up to 4 times a day.

Small-scale fun

Younger children can sometimes feel left out at Islands of Adventure with all the big-scale rides, but Seuss Landing has plenty to amuse little ‘uns while the Camp Jurassic area is a great kids’ adventure playground and the Jurassic Park Discovery Center has more child-orientated fun.

Seuss Landing at Universal's Islands of Adventure

New Attractions/Expansions

Hogsmeade Islands of Adevnture

With the Diagon Alley area in the Studios park, the Hogwarts Express now links to The Wizarding World of Harry Potter – Hogsmeade that has Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey and the The Flight of The Hippogriff ride. The Lost Continent ‘island’ was basically cut in half to allow for the expansion of the Harry Potter area, hence the re-theming and added areas like Ollivander’s wand shop and the Three Broomsticks restaurant, as well as The Hog’s Head pub and two live shows – the Triwizard Spirit Rally and The Frog Choir. Plus, even more great shopping!

Encounter the mighty Kong in thrilling new adventure Skull Island: Reign of Kong. Guests can embark on an expedition across the island, meeting terrifying unimaginable creatures along the way, before the grand finale that brings you within inches of the legendary beast.

Skull Island: Reign of Kong at Universal's Islands of Adventure

The Incredible Hulk Coaster has recently been enhanced with some brand new features to make it even more ‘incredible’. The most thrilling elements of the ride, like the zero gravity roll and 67mph speeds have remained, but there’s a new entrance, laboratory-style queueing experience, gripping story and gleaming ride vehicles.

Incredible Hulk Coaster Universal's Islands of Adventure at the Universal Orlando Resort

Expert Tip

Wizarding World of Harry Potter Advice

Hogsmeade remains the busiest area of the park, with the biggest crowds, hence you should head here first for the shortest waits. Otherwise, leave it for the last few hours of the day. For early arrivals, The Three Broomsticks offers a good breakfast. And don’t forget you can save your feet by taking the Hogwarts Express to the Wizarding World in Universal Studios!

Annual Events


Christmas at Islands of Adventure means Grinchmas, when Seuss Landing becomes a wintry wonderland and a major focal point. Stroll into Who-ville for a special telling of The Grinchmas Wholiday Spectacular, featuring music recorded by Mannheim Steamroller, while the Seussian streets abound with Who characters and you can also meet The Grinch himself in his own holiday ‘grotto.’

Grinchmas at Universal's Islands of Adventure

  • Dates: The Holiday season runs from early December to January 2/3.
  • Tickets: All the Christmas events are free with park entry.
  • Times: Events and shows take place throughout regular park hours.

Exclusive Experiences

Hogwarts Express - Universal Orlando Resort

See the park with your own expert guide and front-of-line access to most of the rides and shows with this small-group (up to 12 people), red-carpet treatment. You’ll get exclusive backstage access, learn fun insider information and enjoy the park and even some character meet-and-greets without waiting in line. Choose from a 5-hour, 1-park experience, a 7-hour, 2-park version or an even more exclusive Private VIP tour for just your family.

Expert Tips

Single Rider Advice

While queues for Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey can top two hours at peak periods, you can cut down on wait times by using the Single Rider line, if you don’t mind your family being split up. There is also a Single Rider queue for Spider-Man, The Hulk, Dr Doom’s Fearfall, Ripsaw Falls and the Jurassic Park River Adventure.

Dining Advice

More of Islands of Adventure is out in the open air than Universal Studios, hence it’s easy to overheat in the Florida sun. If you start the day by making a lunch reservation at either the full-service Confisco Grille or Mythos Restaurant, you will guarantee a relaxing sit-down when you are likely to need it most.

Recommended Visit Time:

1-2 days (depending on peak periods).

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