Islands of Adventure was the second theme park to open at Universal Orlando Resort. The park opened on May 28, 1999, along with City Walk. The park’s theme is a journey of exploration across themed islands. The park is home to Hayy Potter, Marvel, Jurassic Park, Dr. Seuss, and some of the biggest thrill rides in Orlando. Our Guide to Islands of Adventure is part of our 2023 Guide to Universal Orlando Resort for Beginners. Our guide
Jump Right Into Guide to Islands of Adventure
Are you looking for specific information? Our handy jumps will take you to key information in our Guide to Islands of Adventure for Beginners.
- Islands of Adventure the Basics. Are you looking for information on tickets, Express Passes, Height Restrictions, or just what the park is like?
- Planning your trip to Islands of Adventure tips, tricks, and hacks to plan your day
- Islands of Adventure Useful Information, if you have a question about the park, you will probably find the answer here.
- The Islands to Explore details on all the Islands at Islands of Adventure.
- Islands of Adventure Dining, all about food and drink at Islands of Adventure
Islands of Adventure the Basics
Islands of Adventure opened on May 28, 1999, following three years of construction. The park covers an area of 101 acres. The park’s icon is The Pharos Lighthouse, located in the Port of Entry.
There were six islands when Islands of Adventure opened, but the 7th Wizarding World of Harry Potter and 8th Skull Island has since opened. The current islands are:
- Port of Entry
- Marvel Super Hero Island
- Toon Lagoon
- Skull Island
- Wizard World of Harry Potter: Hogsmeade
- Jurassic Park
- The Lost Continent
- Seuss Landing
The number of guests visiting Islands of Adventure has increased recently and doubled since 2009.
What is Islands of Adventure like?
Islands of Adventure is a beautiful theme park with some outstanding theming. Each Island is themed superbly, and you do feel you are in Jurassic Park or Hogsmeade. The transition from one island to another is done almost seamlessly.
The park contains many big E-Ticket attractions and will appeal most to thrill-seekers. Families with young children will find attractions at Walt Disney World more suitable. However, there is enough for people of all ages to enjoy a day at Islands of Adventure. We think younger guests will enjoy Islands of Adventure more than Universal Studios.
Islands of Adventure will usually take two days to experience. The park is becoming more popular, and in busy periods you will struggle to complete everything in one day and, on occasion, even in two days.
Planning your trip to Islands of Adventure
Planning your visit to Islands of Adventure is an essential activity. The planning process does not have to be as rigorous as a trip to Walt Disney World. However, with some research, you can soon create the perfect day.
We have created several guides and have provided plenty of useful information so you can plan a sensational trip to Islands of Adventure.
- Our 2023 Guide to Universal Orlando Resort has plenty of additional information if you plan to visit the resort.
- We have created a list of our Top Tips when visiting Universal Orlando
- Mistakes happen when on vacation, but you want to avoid these 20 Universal Orlando Mistakes.
Universal Orlando Tickets
Universal Orlando has several ticket options, but the most significant decision is whether you want to buy a Park-to-Park Ticket. Guests who do not buy this option cannot ride the Hogwarts Express.
Visit our Guide to Universal Orlando Tickets to learn more
Islands of Adventure, like many theme parks, has a system for priority boarding of attractions. The system is called Express Pass, and it is not cheap.
The decision on whether to buy an Express Pass can be difficult. At quieter times of the year, it is usually not essential.
There are different Express Pass options, and guests staying at the top Universal Resorts receive Express Pass as an added benefit. You can learn more about the options available in our Guide to Universal Express Pass.
WiFi & The Universal Orlando Resort App
Park WiFi has recently improved and is available throughout Islands of Adventure.
The Universal Orlando Resort App allows you to store tickets, access wait times, join Virtual Line Experiences, access showtimes, and more. There are handy interactive maps, and the app will even save where your car is parked. You can now preorder food from select restaurants using the Universal Orlando Resort App.
Universal Pay allows you to add a debit or credit card to the App. This feature allows you to use the App throughout the park for contactless payments.
The Universal Orlando Resort App is available at the Apple App Store & The Google Play Store.
Virtual Line Experience
Universal has been using Virtual Lines for several years. The concept is simple: reserve your place using the Universal Resort App and join a much shorter line later in the day.
Virtual Lines were frequently used during the resort’s reopening but are now only occasionally used. However, ensure you can access the App if they get reintroduced.
The majority of attractions at Islands of Adventure do carry height restrictions, and these are enforced strictly. The following attractions have restrictions:
- Skull Island: Reign of Kong Must be at least 36″ (91cm). Children between 36″–48″ (91cm-122cm) must be accompanied by a supervising companion.
- The Amazing Adventures of Spider-Man Must be at least 40″ (102cm). Children between 40″–48″ (102cm-122cm) must be accompanied by a supervising companion.
- The Incredible Hulk Coaster Must be at least 54″ (137cm).
- Doctor Doom’s
FearfallMust be at least 52″ (132cm).
- Dudley Do-Right’s Ripsaw Falls Must be at least 44″ (112cm). Children between 44″–48″ (112cm-122cm) must be accompanied by a supervising companion.
- Popeye & Bluto’s Bilge-Rat Barges Must be at least 42″ (107cm). Children between 42″–48″ (107cm-122cm) must be accompanied by a supervising companion.
- Jurassic Park River Adventure Must be at least 42″ (107cm). Children between 42″–48″ (107cm-122cm) must be accompanied by a supervising companion.
- Pteranodon Flyers is designed for children 36″–56″ (91cm-142cm) tall. A child
meetingthis requirement must accompany guests over 56″ (142cm) tall. Children between 36″–48″ (91cm-122cm) must be accompanied by a supervising companion.
- Flight of the Hippogriff Must be at least 36″ (91cm). Children between 36″–48″ (91cm-122cm) must be accompanied by a supervising companion.
- Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey Must be 48″ (122cm).
- Cat in the Hat Must be at least 36″ (91cm). Children between 36″–48″ (91cm-122cm) must be accompanied by a supervising companion.
- The High in the Sky Seuss Trolley Train Ride! Must be at least 36″ (91cm). Children between 36″–48″ (91cm-122cm) must be accompanied by a supervising companion.
- Hagrid’s Magical Creatures Motorbike Adventure Minimum Height 48″ (121.9 cm)
- Jurassic World VelociCoaster Minimum height 51″
If the kids are not big enough to ride, it does not mean you have to miss out. All rides at Islands of Adventure have a Child Swap facility. Child Swap allows the rest of a family to ride an attraction when a child is either too small or young to experience the ride.
The young child sits with a parent, usually in a dedicated waiting room, while the family rides. Once the first group is off the ride, parents swap supervision, and the rest of the family rides without waiting. Usually, attendants will allow an older child even to ride again.
To use Child Swap at Universal Orlando, speak to the cast member at the entrance to the ride, who will advise of the procedure to follow. How you access child swap does vary on each attraction.
Characters at Islands of Adventure
There are numerous character opportunities at Islands of Adventure. Many of the character opportunities are unique to Islands of Adventure. Most meet, and greets are scheduled, with details available on park maps. However, unscheduled meet and greet might happen throughout your day.
Character opportunities at Islands of Adventure include:
- Spider-Man and the Marvel Super Heroes
- Cat in the Hat, the Lorax, and other Seuss characters
- Betty Boop, Popeye & other Classic Comic Book Characters
- There are various
charactersin the Wizarding World of Harry Potter, but not the stars!
Perhaps one of the unique character opportunities is the Raptor Encounter in Jurassic Park. Guests can meet and have their photos taken with an intimidating velociraptor. Just don’t feed him; guests have been known to lose hands!
While I’m not sure it counts as a character meet & greet, the Mystic Fountain is tremendous fun.
The majority of characters at Islands of Adventure will sign autographs. Waiting times tend to be shorter than at Walt Disney World.
Useful Information when Visiting Islands of Adventure
Park Hopping at Islands of A
Guests can also jump between parks by riding the Hogwarts Express at the Wizarding World of Harry Potter. However, you must have a park-to-park ticket to ride the Hogwarts Express.
Like Walt Disney World, Universal Orlando wants to know if you are celebrating. Whether it is a birthday, honeymoon, anniversary, or just your first visit, you can collect a Celebration Button from Guest Services.
Universal Team Members will interact with guests with celebration buttons; you might get the odd treat!
A First Aid Station is inside the Guest Services Lobby, just right of the main entrance turnstiles. The main Health Services station is in Sindbad’s Village within The Lost Continent.
Nursing Facilities are available free of charge at Islands of Adventure. They can be located on park maps, the resort app, or by asking any team member.
There are diaper stations in all restrooms.
Stroller & Wheelchair Rentals at Islands of Adventure
If you need a stroller or wheelchair, we always recommend bringing your own or hiring in advance for the length of your vacation. Day hire is available but can work out quite expensive. You can hire strollers, wheelchairs, and ECVs inside Islands of Adventure as you enter the park.
ECVs are limited in quantity and are hired on a first-served basis. Universal recommends these are reserved in advance by contacting Guest Services at 407-224-4233.
Universal Orlando now sells FuelRod charging packs. These packs cost $30 and come with a mobile charger and adaptors for the most popular mobile phones and tablets.
Once your FuelRod is empty, you can replace it at a station for a fully charged replacement, but there is a $3 charge. We recommend bringing your own portable charger instead. If you should decide to buy FuelRod, there is often an offer of free charges on their App.
Paying for Goods at Islands of Adventure
Major credit cards are accepted throughout Universal Orlando. ATMs can be located on park maps. Currency exchange is available at guest services. Guests staying at a Universal Resort can charge purchases to their rooms.
Recently Universal Orlando introduced a new payment option called Universal Pay. This new option allows guests to make hands-free payments using the Universal Resort App. Guests simply store their credit or debit cards in the App. The app lets you control your budget by setting a maximum daily spend. However, we are not convinced it is more convenient than using Apple Pay.
Lockers are available to hire at the entrance to Islands of Adventure. Lockers measure 12” x 13” x 16.9”.
Certain attractions at Islands of Adventure do not allow you to take loose items on the ride. Standard-sized lockers (14 in x 5.5 in x 16.9 in) are available for small loose articles that are free when you ride. If you have larger items, larger lockers are available but carry a charge.
The following attractions have free lockers available:
- The Incredible Hulk Coaster®
- Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey™
- Hagrid’s Magical Creatures Motorbike Adventure
- Jurassic World VelociCoaster
Also, there are lockers available at the water attractions. These lockers cost $4 for the advertised wait time and an additional $3 per 30 minutes to a maximum of $20 per day.
Additional Universal Orlando Useful Information
Are you looking for different information about Universal Orlando Resort? In the following post, Universal Orlando Useful Information, we have batched together some of your most common problems. If you have a question, you will likely find the answer here.
The Islands at Islands of Adventure
There are eight islands to explore at Islands of Adventure. All guests on arrival enter into Port of Entry. Most attractions have a height requirement, and an adult must accompany children under 48″(122cm) on all rides.
Port of Entry
The Port of Entry is the entrance to the park and your first island. The area has a magical feel and is home to shops, guest service, and hire facilities.
The park’s icon Pharos Lighthouse is within the Port of Entry. One of the Seven Wonders of the World, the Pharos Lighthouse of Alexandria, inspires the lighthouse.
Other islands are reached at the end of the Port of Entry, and guests can walk clockwise to Marvel Super Hero Island or anticlockwise to Seuss Landing.
Marvel Super Hero Island
Marvel Super Hero Island was part of the original attractions in the park. The agreement to sell theme park rights to Universal was made when Marvel Entertainment Group was an independent company.
Disney bought Marvel in 2009, but theme park rights remain in perpetuity with Universal in parts of the United States & Japan. The contract is complex, including what characters are allowed where, but the following link has further details.
- The Amazing Adventures of Spider-Man is a sensational 3D simulator & my personal favorite. This ride sets the bar all other 3D attractions try to beat. It had a refresh in 2012 but is still essentially the same ride. Hard to believe it will be 20 years old in 2019.
- The Incredible Hulk Coaster is perhaps one of the greatest coasters ever made. This coaster is ferocious and isn’t for the faint-hearted. I have started to give this coaster a miss after pulling my neck on it a few years back.
- Doctor Doom Freefall has big drops and some fantastic views.
- Storm Force Accelatron is a very, very fast teacup ride.
There is also an opportunity to meet the Avengers inside Marvel Super Hero Island.
There is water everywhere at Toon Lagoon. Toon Lagoon allows you to get very wet with some of the wettest water rides you will find anywhere. Unfortunately, I have found this area desperately needed TLC in recent years.
- Dudley Do-Right’s Ripsaw Falls is a fun flume ride. The final drop is very fast.
- Popeye & Bluto’s Bilge-Rat Barges is perhaps the best & wettest barge ride you will ever experience. Do not expect to get off this ride dry; you will be soaked!
- Me Ship, The Olive kids play ship.
Skull Island: Reign of Kong riding a safari truck; you have a 4D Kong Encounter. Many small children will find this attraction scary.
Bit of a mish-mash in themes now as we have both Jurassic Park and Jurassic World. Despite this, the area looks great again after a period of construction.
- Jurassic Park River Adventure is an entertaining boat ride with great audio animatronics followed by an 85-foot drop. You will probably not get as wet as in Toon Lagoon, but this isn’t guaranteed.
- Jurassic Park Discovery Center watching a raptor egg hatch is the fun highlight.
- Pteranodon Flyers is only for those between 36 and 56 inches (91 and 140 cm) or those with a child of that height may ride this scenic attraction.
- Raptor Encounter is a rather scary encounter with Blue.
- Camp Jurassic prehistoric playground.
- Jurassic World VelociCoaster is a high-speed adventure through the park’s raptor paddock. One of the most popular rides in the park and a big hit with coaster fans. VelociCoaster features two high-speed launches, a 155-foot-tall top hat, four inversions, and a maximum speed of 70 mph. Express Pass has recently started to be accepted.
The Wizarding World of Harry Potter – Hogsmeade
The Wizarding World of Harry Potter opened on June 18, 2010, at Islands of Adventure. The area is themed around Hogsmeade and was the first part of the Wizarding World; the second part of the land is at Universal Studios.
There are shops, bars, and restaurants to explore, all themed around the books. Take your time when visiting Hogsmeade, as there is much to discover.
The big attractions in the Wizarding World of Harry Potter – Hogsmeade are:
- Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey. After touring the dramatic reconstruction of Hogwarts, soar through the grounds on a bench. An awe-inspiring attraction. In our opinion, this is an attraction you should not miss.
- Flight of the Hippogriff is a fun kid’s coaster for the whole family.
- Hogwarts Express ride to Universal Studios. Park to park ticket is required. The experience is different in both directions, so make sure you ride twice.
- Hagrid’s Magical Creatures Motorbike Adventure was the big new attraction for 2019 and is still one of the park’s most popular attractions. Fly deep into the wilds of the Forbidden Forest on this thrilling motorbike coaster. Express Pass is still not accepted on this ride.
Plus, ensure you don’t miss the nighttime lights at Hogwarts Castle when available. Unfortunately, this is now seasonal and unlikely to open before The Fall.
The Lost Continent
Not much of this land remains, and it is now the least interesting area of the park. Universal removed a significant part of the island to construct the Wizarding World of Harry Potter. The Eighth Voyage of Sinbad closed in September 2018 to further reduce available options.
The Mystic Fountain remains the highlight of this otherwise pointless island. While there have been no announcements, expect The Lost Continent to be an area for future redevelopment.
Poseidon’s Fury is the only remaining genuine attraction. However, it is possibly the worst attraction in Universal Orlando & you should keep away!
Seuss Landing is the one area at Islands of Adventure where small children will find plenty of attractions to enjoy. All attractions are based on the zany world created by Dr. Seuss.
Due to recent reports, resulting in many of Dr. Seuss’s books no longer being published, it will be interesting to see if this land gets rethemed.
- The Cat in the Hat is a fun dark ride but a little bumpy.
- Caro-Seuss-el is a very magical carousel.
- One Fish, Two Fish, Red Fish, Blue Fish is a Dumbo-like attraction in which you have to avoid getting wet. Hint to stay dry; the top jets have not worked for years!
- If I Ran The Zoo play area.
- The High in the Sky Seuss Trolley Train Ride! A zany train in the sky.
Islands of Adventure Dining
Universal Orlando has not reached the same level as Walt Disney World for dining options. While food quality has improved in recent years, it is still some distance behind Walt Disney World. However, dining options are, in our opinion, better value than at Walt Disney World.
Islands of Adventure only has 2 table service options, both bookable and through the park’s website or Resort App. While walk-up tables can be available, we strongly recommend booking in advance. Reservations can usually be secured on the morning of your visit, but planning is recommended.
Serving a selection of Mediterranean and Asian dishes, this table service venue is excellent value for money. It isn’t fine dining, but the food is excellent. Entrees are even cheaper than at some of the quick service locations.
Mythos serves a mix of Mediterranean, Asian, and American fare. Previously the restaurant was award-winning, but the food is more casual these days. The restaurant is good value for money and serves much better food than the Quick service locations.
Quick Service Locations
In addition to the two full-service restaurants, there is a choice of casual dining locations. Options are not as great as Walt Disney World, but the quality is usually reasonable. Prices, in our opinion, are too high in some of the locations, especially The
To learn more about Universal Orlando, visit our 2023 Guide to Universal Orlando Resort. The guide contains the latest planning tips.
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