Disclaimer: Some of this post is a repeat of my Universal Studios Post. Information unique to Islands of Adventure is bold.
The attention to detail at Islands of Adventure was amazing! I loved Marvel Island and Seuss Landing, even though my kids were “so over” Seuss Landing. They are just too old now. No more carousel rides for us. =(
In July 2017, our family went to Orlando, FL. Being from California, we are familiar with Disneyland, Universal Studios, and Sea World. Our kids were dying to go to Universal Studios Orlando. That place is not cheap especially for a family of 6. Although Universal Studios Hollywood has some entertaining aspects, it is not my #1 amusement park. I was worried Universal Orlando would be similar. Boy, was I wrong! Universal Studios Orlando is awesome! Our family went to both Universal Studios and Islands of Adventure. I highly recommend both. This post will be focused on Islands of Adventure.
The park is divided into different Islands: Seuss Landing, The Lost Continent, The Wizarding World of Harry Potter, Jurassic Park, Toon Lagoon, and Marvel Super Hero Island. Each area is so well done. As closing time was approaching and there were less crowds I loved causally strolling the park and getting a closer look at everything.
There were plenty of rides for all our kids ages 7-12. For the younger and shorter crowd, there is Seuss Landing, Camp Jurassic, and a roller coaster in Harry Potter World.
July 3rd and 4th turned out to be pretty great days to be there. Shockingly, the longest line we waited in was 40 minutes.
The attractions are amazing! Most of them are 4D and move so if you have issues with motion sickness, you may struggle at this park.
It is hot in Florida but all the lines are air conditioned and an experience in themselves which helps pass the time during long wait times. A spray bottle or mister might be a good thing to bring.
Tip #1: Discount Tickets through undercovertourist.com I’ll be honest, I was a little nervous about the legitimacy of this site. I didn’t need to worry though because our tickets were emailed to us within 24 hours, they were legit, and saved us a few hundred dollars! Score!
Tip #2: Stay in a Universal Resort. With your stay, you get Early Park Admission. You will get 1 hour access to the park before it opens to the public. This is your time to go to Wizarding World of Harry Potter before the masses. Your stay also includes a shuttle from the resort to Universal City Walk which is the entrance to Universal Studios. Get to the shuttle prior to 7:30am in order to be in the park at 8:00am so you can take full advantage of Early Park Admission. We stayed at the Cabana Bay Resort: review post about that resort will be posted later.
Tip #3: Entrance to the park requires you to go through security and walk through Universal City Walk. Highly recommend purchasing your tickets prior to arriving at the park which will result in less standing in line.
Tip #4: Download the Universal Studios Orlando app. It has a map and attraction wait times. We put this to good use.
Tip #5: IMPORTANT: Plan your day ahead of time. In the middle of the park is a lake that you must walk around to get to the different areas. Make sure to hit everything you want in each area before going to your next spot. Otherwise you will be walking for miles! (This may have been our experience)
Tip #6: Some attractions do not allow you to bring your belongings. Free lockers are provided outside the attraction entrance. A few of the roller coasters do not even allow cell phones. Double check with a ride attendant before entering the line, getting all the way to the front, and having to turn around to put your phone in a locker (this may or may not have happened to us).
Tip #7: Check the weather forecast. It rains in Florida. There are lightening storms in Florida. If lightening is in the area, the outside rides will be shut down…plan accordingly. We are still bummed we didn’t make it on the Hulk Ride because of this. If rain is in the forecast, be prepared. Ponchos in the park are $10 each. We got caught in the middle of a torrential downpour, we were soaked, and then freezing as we went to an air conditioned restaurant and waited in line for a ride.
Tip #8: Refill cups. You buy one cup and pay for how many days you need it. It also works at the Universal Resorts. It can be filled with soda and ICEE. There are self serve soda machines throughout the park. The cups have a chip in them that allows you to fill up. I was pretty amazed by this. #easilyamazed
Tip #9: Utilize the Single Rider line for the rides with longer wait times. This saved us a lot of time. Our 2 braver children and The BizNinja put this to good use. You will be in line together for the entire wait but will separate and join another group for the ride.
Tip #10: There is a child swap option at each attraction if you have children who do not meet the height requirement.
Tip #11: I saw a sign outside the park that said no outside food or drink but I walked right in with a backpack full of snacks, sandwiches, and waters.
Tip #12: A fun ride for the shorter crew in Jurassic Camp is Pteranodon Flyers. In order to ride you have to be under 48 inches tall unless you are accompanying a smaller child. You do need a virtual line pass in order to ride. The kiosks are located next to the attraction entrance and will tell you what time to return to the ride so get your pass early. You need your Park Ticket in order to receive the line pass.
Tip #13: In order to ride the Hogwart’s Express you HAVE to have a Park-to-Park ticket. This ticket will allow you to go back and forth between Universal Studios and Islands of Adventure within the same day. For Harry Potter fans, this is a cool experience and one I would recommend. Don’t miss walking through the brick wall at Platform 9 3/4. The train going to Universal is a different experience then the one that goes to Islands of Adventure so make sure to ride it both ways.
Tip #14: We ate dinner at Hog’s Head in Hogsmeade in Harry Potter World. They have a family feast just like in Harry Potter. It came with ribs, chicken, potatoes, salad, vegetables, and corn on the cob. Fed our family of 6 just fine.
Tip #15: Dudley Do Right’s Rip Saw Falls: This attraction needs its own post! You will get soaked! I’ve never gotten so wet on a ride before. It was hot outside and I was in clothing that could handle the water but be prepared. Also, this line takes FOREVER! The attendants can’t see the entire line so they are unable to yell out “Party of 2,” which results in logs not being filled. The last half of the line is inside in a very narrow space with not a lot of air flowing through. Although the ride was fun, the line made it not so worth it. The wait time said 20 minutes and it took us an hour to get through. Use your discretion =)
Poseidon’s Fury: This is a hidden gem. We had no idea what it was but the weather was bad and everything was shut down so we found our way into this. It is a show. No seating. It is indoors and has fire and water. Our 7 year old was chosen to “assist” our tour guide.
Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey: Amazing! This is not a roller coaster but is a little intense with some scary parts and it moves around quite a bit but our 7 year old loved it! There are a few other thrilling attractions in this area that our taller kids LOVED! NO cell phones allowed on those rides. The smaller kids loved Flight of the Hippogriff while the thrill seekers rode the roller coasters.
Spider Man: Marvel Island is awesome! Superheros can be found walking among the crowd.
Jurassic Park River Adventure: Fun water ride. Did not get as soaked as some of the other water rides.
Skull Island: Intense King Kong Ride.
The Incredible Hulk Coaster: Our taller kids took advantage of single rider for this ride. The BizNinja and I wanted to ride it also but it was shut down most of the afternoon/evening because of lightening.