Universals Islands of Adventure Theme Park

By James | Last updated May 10, 2024

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Universals Islands of Adventure draws inspiration from several different sources with cutting-edge entertainment, world-famous roller coasters, and high-tech motion simulators. It continues to lead the way with some of the most thrilling theme park rides in all of Florida.

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It opened in 1999 and compliments its next door neighbor Universal Studios Florida. If you want to park hop then it really is just a hop, skip and a jump between the two parks; a five to ten minute walk from the main entrance or the newly opened Hogwarts “Express” train ride between the two Harry Potter inspired lands.

Islands of Adventure consists of seven interconnected islands plus an entrance area located around a central lake, the Great Inland Sea. The layout means that each island is quite distinct with its own theming and background music. Whilst Islands of Adventure does not have any parades, there are meet-and-greet opportunities. Particularly with some of the Marvel characters on the streets of Marvel Super Hero Island.

Universals Islands of Adventure Attractions

Like Universal Studios Florida, the central water area means you have to navigate from one land to the next in either a clockwise or anti-clockwise direction. Bridges connect each island to its immediate neighbour. Travelling in a clockwise direction:

  • Marvel Super Hero Island – a comic book world populated by The Amazing Adventures of Spiderman simulator ride, Doctor Doom’s Fearfall, The Incredible Hulk Coaster and Storm Force Acceleration
  • Toon Lagoon – very wet cartoon inspired attractions including the log flume ride Dudley Do-Right’s Ripsaw Falls and Popeye & Bluto’s Bilge-Rat Barges
  • Skull Island – still under construction, Skull Island will be home to the newest attraction, Skull Island: Reign of Kong
  • Jurassic Park – straight from the set of the film. There’s the Jurassic Park Discovery Center, Jurassic Park River Adventure, Raptor Encounter and Pteranodon Flyers
  • The Wizarding World of Harry Potter – Hogsmeade – the island which was built in 2010. It has been described as a “theme park within a park” and was on part of the existing Lost Continent. It includes a replica of Hogsmeade village and Hogwarts Castle. There’s also the Flight of the Hippogriff, the new state-of-the-art ride and Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey. From here you can transfer to Universal Studios Florida by riding on the Hogwarts “Express”. You need to have a park-to-park ticket for this.
  • The Lost Continent – a lost city with two shows; Poseidon’s Fury and The Eighth Voyage of Sinbad
  • Seuss Landing – aimed at children including an interactive play area If I Ran The Zoo and The Cat In The Hat.
  • Port of Entry – Confisco Grille, one of two full service restaurants in the park. There’s also stroller, wheelchair and ECV rentals, lockers, Lost and Found, Guest Services and First Aid

Jurassic Park At Universal Studios

 the Jurassic Park area at Universal Studios offers visitors a range of exciting attractions and rides that bring the famous prehistoric world of dinosaurs to life. There’s also some interactive experience and dining options available so you can spend a good couple of hours just in this area. Let’s run through the Jurassic Park attractions.

Jurassic Park Rides

  • Jurassic Park River Adventure – get your raincoats out for this dino water ride. On this ride, you explore the prehistoric lands by boat but you find yourself going off course… To get back on track, you will find yourself heading down an 85-foot waterfall drop to escape a T-Rex.
  • VelociCoaster – A thrilling, fast-paced rollercoaster that will see you racing through a raptor paddock. It’s one of the latest rollercoasters to grace its presence at the Universal Parks so plan your ride times or fast pass to avoid long queues.
  • Raptor Encounter – This is a walk-around attraction where you can get close to the park’s resident Velociraptors. Here you can take photos with a trained raptor and Jurassic Park crew.
  • Pteranodon Flyers – A slow-paced coaster aimed at the younger guests. You gracefully above the park in a ride that mimics the flight of the ancient pterosaur. It’s always work checking out if there’s a little queue to get a bird’s eye view of the Jurassic Park area.

Jurassic Park Experiences and Shops

  • Jurassic Park Discovery Center – Just outside the VelociCoaster ride exit, you’ll enter the Discovery Centre with lots of Jurassic and VelociCoaster merchandise. The center also has a range of interactive learning experiences and photo opportunities.
  • Dino Play Area – A dino-inspired playground and active play area for younger visitors.
  • Jurassic Outfitters – A fun Jurassic Park souvenir shop with lots of fun toys and accessories to choose from.

Jurassic Park Dining and Snacks

  • Thunder Falls Terrace – You can enjoy a full dining experience here with meal options such as chicken and ribs, wings, and salads.
  • Discovery Center’s Burger Digs – Grab yourself a very tasty burger and fries from Universals Burger Digs.
  • The Watering Hole – This is a great spot to relax and grab a refreshing drink or alcoholic beverage after the thrill of the rides.

Cat in The Hat Ride at Universal

The Cat in The Hat Ride at Universal is based on the classic children’s tale from the mysterious world of Dr. Seuss. For the ride, you travel through an action-packed adventure with the mayhem you would expect from the storybook. It’s an indoor adventure on a relatively slow-moving cart, that rolls through a selection of different areas, full of animation, moving characters, and a fun story to follow through. The ride is in the dark but there is a lot of lighting from the moving stages and characters.

The ride is mainly aimed at the younger children in the group but it’s also an enjoyable experience for adults. It makes for a great family experience and is well-suited for most ages. There are a few surprises and very slight jump scares but in general, this ride should be ok for all family members.

Islands of Adventure Shows

Alongside all the thrilling rides, several shows take place throughout the day that are worth catching. The shows are spaced out throughout the day so you can catch them all.

Hogwarts Frog Choir – A show presented by the students of Hogwarts School of Wizardry singing with the backing of the deep-toned frogs that support the songs throughout. You are joined here by all four houses, Gryffindor, Slytherin, Hufflepuff, and Ravenclaw.

Oh! The stories you’ll hear – This show is aimed at the younger audience and takes place at Seuss Landing. The musical show features some of the classic Dr.Suess characters, including The Cat in the Hat, Thing One and Thing Two, Sam-I-Am , The Grinch, and the Lorax.

Hogwarts Triwizard Spirit Rally – This show is the launch event for the Triwizard Tournament and includes a range of acts you will recognize from the Harry Potter series, including the Beauxbatons and Durmstrang.

Eating and Shopping at Islands of Adventure

Like Universal Studios Florida, Islands of Adventure also offers a range of full table service and fast-food quick self service restaurants. There’s also seasonal kiosks dotted throughout the park. Mythos is probably one of the best full service restaurants you’ll find in any of Florida’s theme parks.

If you like a lot of fast-food, then you could consider the Universal Meal Deal which gives you “as-much-as-you-can-eat” at selected quick-service restaurants.

Throughout the park you will find merchandising relevant to the area you are currently in plus the large Islands of Adventure Trading Company at the front entrance.

Islands of Adventure Park Tickets

You can buy single day or multi-day park tickets to Universal’s Islands of Adventure with or without the option to park hop to Universal Studios Florida.

If you want to avoid waiting in line, there is also a Universal Express Plus ticket. Similar to Disney’s FASTPASS+ system but not free.

Getting to Islands of Adventure

To reach Islands of Adventure, you park in the multi-level parking garage. Moving sidewalks lead you to the Central hub. From here, you pass through the CityWalk entertainment area and then continue straight ahead is Islands of Adventure.

If instead you turn sharp right you enter Universal Studios Florida, Universal’s other theme park.