islands of adventure, Islands of Adventure: A Bucket List Ride Guide

Islands of Adventure: A Bucket List Ride Guide

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What is Islands of Adventure and Why Should it Be Added To Your Bucket List

If you’re looking for an unforgettable experience, then Universal Studios Islands of Adventure in Florida is the place to be. 

This world-renowned theme park offers some of the most thrilling rides and attractions in all of Orlando, making it a must-have destination on anyone’s bucket list

From cutting-edge roller coasters to classic family favorites, there’s something for everyone at Universal’s Studios Islands of Adventure. Whether you’re a thrill seeker or just want to enjoy some quality time with your loved ones, this park has it all! 

I am a believer that these parks unleash your nerdy side. So, what unleashes your inner nerd? 

Harry Potter? Marvel? Dr. Seuss? Old-fashioned cartoons? Jurassic Park? Whatever your answer, Islands of Adventure will be the perfect place to feel immersed in your favorite Universal movies!

Come join me as I give you a structured guide on all the rides at Universal Studios’ Islands of Adventure and which ones should be at the top of your bucket list.

islands of adventure, Islands of Adventure: A Bucket List Ride Guide
The guardian to the Lost Continent in Islands of Adventure!

General Universal’s Islands of Adventure Bucket List Review:

CategoryTheme Parks
Who Needs to Add This to Their Bucket ListFamilies with older children and any adult who loves Universal movies and/or theme parks
Best Time to GoAnytime school is in session. My family loves to go in mid-January to February to avoid crowds and lower temperatures.
Traveling DifficultyEasy
Physical DifficultyModerate – LOTS of walking
Popularity Rating9/10
Group/Tour RequiredNo
Budget$$$ – Can get bundles on park tickets. Overall food, hotel, and park entrance are expensive and things can add up quickly, especially if you have a large family.
Wheelchair AccessibleMost rides require you to be able to transfer from a wheelchair to the attraction seat.
Book This ExperienceSnag a Park-to-Park Ticket for Universal Florida
Best Place to StayUniversal’s Loews Sapphire Falls Resort

If you want more information on how to use my bucket list review guides, please check out this page.

islands of adventure, Islands of Adventure: A Bucket List Ride Guide
A view up above from Hogsmeade looking onto Hogwarts Castle.

Things to Keep in Mind as You Read My Islands of Adventure Ride Guide

I am a young adult woman who doesn’t fit into any Harry Potter house except Gryffindor (I wanted to be Ravenclaw so badly but was rejected). This means that although I try to give an unbiased guide, it is clear which kind of rides I go wild for. 

Hint: it is the ones that make me feel like my heart is going to explode. As I said, I am a true Gryffindor at heart. I’m not bitter at all but it’s Ravenclaw’s loss…

And although I do talk about them, I am less chatty about options for small children. I am a kid at heart, but I don’t have a kid. This guide is meant for everybody, but you will get the most out of it if you are an average thrill seeker like myself.  

Another disclaimer: Every ride at Universal is FUN in its own way. When I do my bucket list rating, it is not putting the rides down but is meant to be more of a soft guide to how much they need to be added to their bucket list. 

I’ve seen a lot of various people just giving you the facts or saying everything is great. I wanted to create a healthily honest guide where I tell you everything just how it is…because time is money here at Universal! 

Everybody’s ride preferences are different, but I hope this gives you an honest idea of what you need to prioritize when you visit Universal Studios Theme Parks.

Where to Stay When Crossing Islands of Adventure off Of Your Bucket List

Before we begin, I am just going to mention some important accommodations that are run by Universal itself.

Why am I mentioning this in a ride guide? Because since these hotels are offered by Universal itself they offer unique perks for the parks.

This is honestly worth it to hit those waits in lines that are ridiculous during the day. This might save you from spending hours waiting in line for one ride *coughHagrid’s motorbikes…cough*.

Here are the hotels that I have personally stayed in and reaped those sweet sweet insider rewards. Plus, the hotels are stunning!

Below are other hotels that I haven’t personally stayed at but they are in the same circle of Universal Hotels and offer that essential early park admission.

Other perks (hotel dependent) can include Universal Express passes, complimentary transportation, priority seating at some restaurants, and more!

Marvel Super Hero Island Rides at Islands of Adventure

Storm Force Accelatron

islands of adventure, Islands of Adventure: A Bucket List Ride Guide
A view from Storm Force Accelatron!

Category of the Ride

Kid

Brief Description

 It is very similar to the traditional teacups but adds a superhero twist that you are helping Storm defeat Magneto.

Where in the Park

As you enter the park, go directly to the left and it is right next to the Hulk coaster.

Vibe of the Line

Standard theme park style line.

Worth the Wait?

If it is short and you didn’t just eat lunch. It is very similar to other rides at other places, so I would only do it if you are bored and have time. Although I went in May, the wait time never exceeded 10 minutes.

Height Requirement

None, but smaller riders under 48” require a taller partner.

Who Would Enjoy this Ride?

People of all ages who like to be spun around!

What Seat is the Best?

It doesn’t matter.

Suitable for Children?

Yes

Child Swap

Yes

Express Pass

Yes

Single Rider

No

Lockers Required

No

Other Notes

The more people you have in a cart, the faster you will spin. I was by myself and it was a workout to get that thing moving.

Bucket List Rating

3/10

The Incredible Hulk Coaster

islands of adventure, Islands of Adventure: A Bucket List Ride Guide
The Incredible Hulk Coaster from below.

Category of the Ride

Thrill

Upside-Down Thrill

Yes

Brief Description

Get ready for one of the biggest and baddest roller coasters at Universal! Do you know how roller coasters traditionally go slowly up the hill and then down? Not this one! This one shoots you at record speeds out up the hill straight into a corkscrew! Hold on to your hats for this one, cause it will really take the air out of your lungs!

Where in the Park

As you enter the park, head directly to your left.

Vibe of the Line

You wait in Bruce Banner’s high-tech lab. It isn’t the coolest line to wait in, but there is still a theme and things to see.

Worth the Wait?

YES. This one can get up there as far as wait time, so try to get there within an hour of opening or an hour of closing.

Height Requirement

54”+ minimum to ride

Who Would Enjoy this Ride?

Adrenaline junkies who don’t mind being jostled around a bit!

What Seat is the Best?

There is no other seat than the front. Don’t bother with the rest. Ask the attendant to wait once you get to the front of the line. If you want to get whiplash and not feel your neck for the rest of the day, then I would suggest sitting in the very back.

Suitable for Children?

 It depends. Do you like your child? If not, then that’s your answer!

Child Swap

Yes

Express Pass

Yes

Single Rider

Yes

Lockers Required

Yes, and you go through a metal detector so leave everything in the locker.

Other Notes

You race up to 67 mph in this ride and feel zero-g environments. The first initial shoot you reach 40 mph in just 2 seconds and you go upside down 7 times. Although it isn’t my favorite roller coaster I’ve ever done, I think it deserves the trophy for the scariest!

Bucket List Rating

9/10

Doctor Doom’s Fearfall

islands of adventure, Islands of Adventure: A Bucket List Ride Guide
The entrance to Doctor Doom’s Fearfall.

Category of the Ride

Thrill

Upside-Down Thrill

No

Brief Description

This is your standard “drop” theme park ride! However, I was very shocked that it actually (spoiler alert) shot you up fast, and then the way down was actually quite relaxing. I normally don’t go for the “droppy” rides, but this one wasn’t too bad!

Where in the Park

From the park entrance, go to your left past the Hulk Coaster into the Marvel area (Super Hero Island).

Vibe of the Line

You wait in a Doctor Doom-themed line. It is almost like you are going through his lair. And it is inside, which is a big perk when it is scorching out.

Worth the Wait?

If you like drop rides, it is your only option (except for a little surprise during Hagrid’s Motorbikes). Still, it is pretty short. So, I wouldn’t wait all day for this one. When I went, I basically walked on and the wait was low all day. But I suppose it may go up during peak times.

Height Requirement

52”+ to ride

Guests whose waistline exceeds 40” may not be able to ride. You can test the seat before you ride.

Who Would Enjoy this Ride?

Riders that enjoy a mild thrill and the free-falling sensation.

What Seat is the Best?

 It doesn’t matter.

Suitable for Children?

Were they dropped as a kid? Maybe they are used to it. Just kidding–probably not a good idea for small children.

Child Swap

Yes

Express Pass

Yes

Single Rider

Yes

Lockers Required

No, you can put them in an area right by the seat.

Other Notes

This ride shoots you up 185 feet in the air and then drops you!

Bucket List Rating

4/10

The Amazing Adventures of Spider-Man

islands of adventure, Islands of Adventure: A Bucket List Ride Guide
The Daily Bugle waiting area for the Amazing Adventure’s of Spider-Man.

Category of the Ride

3D/4D Motion Ride

Brief Description

 In this ride, you are in a car (called the “scoop”) and go on your own adventure with Spider-Man as he takes out some bad guys! This one feels very immersive and flows nicely. It really feels like you are driving through NY with Spider-Man!

Where in the Park

 Go left once you enter the park. It is in the Marvel Super Hero Island next to the Doctor Doom drop ride.

Vibe of the Line

Wait through the offices of the Daily Bugle! Although some of it is a little outdated, it is still a cute waiting experience and you do feel like a reporter at the Daily Bugle! There is also a section where you are reporting on crime going on that you are going to investigate.

Worth the Wait?

Yes! It’s a classic for all ages!

Height Requirement

40” minimum

40”- 48” to ride with supervision

48”+ to ride alone.

Who Would Enjoy this Ride?

Spider-Man fans who want to be immersed in the ride!

What Seat is the Best?

The front middle two seats.

Suitable for Children?

Yes! It might be upsetting to some children as it is action-packed, but overall it is okay for kids if they can handle it.

Child Swap

Yes

Express Pass

Yes

Single Rider

Yes

Lockers Required

No

Other Notes

This was the first ride to combine moving vehicles and 3D film. There are 25 projectors and the car is capable of turning all the way around in 3 seconds.

Bucket List Rating

8/10

Toon Lagoon Rides at Islands of Adventure

Popeye & Bluto’s Bilge-Rat Barges

islands of adventure, Islands of Adventure: A Bucket List Ride Guide
A view from the loading area of Popeye and Bluto’s Bilge-Rat Barges

Category of the Ride

Water

Brief Description

Think river rapids and soaking waterfalls meet Popeye! You will get SOAKED. There are rapids, waterfalls, and other goodies that will feel amazing on a hot day. There are even water canons that people can shoot you with from Me Ship, The Olive. Just don’t blame me for your wet socks afterward.

There are “People Drying” machines outside. I didn’t try it because it cost money, but it might be worth it if you are wet and miserable.

Where in the Park

Go past the Marvel Super Hero Island to the Toon Lagoon and keep to your right.

Vibe of the Line

A silly Popeye theme right outside. What I noticed about this line was there were a lot of sections and it was pretty diverse! Not the best line to wait in the heat, but could be worse!

Worth the Wait?

Yes–if you want to get wet. And you will get wet. Trust me.

Height Requirement

42” minimum to ride

42” – 48” to ride with an adult

48”+ to ride alone

Who Would Enjoy this Ride?

Families who want to be wet from head to toe with a bit of a thrill!

What Seat is the Best?

Doesn’t matter. People who are going down the rapids at the back are more likely to get wet. 

Suitable for Children?

Yes, it can be quite thrilling going down the rapids, though.

Child Swap

Yes

Express Pass

Yes

Single Rider

No

Lockers Required

No–and BEWARE your bag goes in a small “waterproof” container in the middle. It isn’t perfect, so don’t take anything on the ride that will get destroyed by water. There are lockers to rent, but they cost money.

Other Notes

 This ride takes roughly 7 minutes, which means that is one of the longest rides at Universal.

Bucket List Rating

5/10

Dudley Do-Right’s Ripsaw Falls

islands of adventure, Islands of Adventure: A Bucket List Ride Guide
A far away view of the 75-foot drop on the Dudley Do-Right’s Ripsaw Falls.

Category of the Ride

Water

Brief Description

 Universal’s take on that sketchy log drop water ride! There are several tiny drops, a few simple scenes to see, and then a massive drop at the end.

Where in the Park

Go through the Toon Lagoon and keep to your left. It is a little confusing to find and tucked into the back. If in doubt, find the viewpoint and then follow it to the left.

Vibe of the Line

An average cartoon-like waiting experience. It is nothing fancy but it is mostly inside so that is very nice.

Worth the Wait?

I liked other water rides better, but if you want to go on a dodgy water ride then go for it! Otherwise, I would skip it.

Height Requirement

44” minimum to ride 

44” – 48”  with an adult to ride

48”+ to ride alone

If your waist is over 40”, it is recommended to test out the seat in front to make sure that the headrest is supporting your head and neck properly.

Who Would Enjoy this Ride?

Brave kids and adults who want to cool off during the day.

What Seat is the Best?

Sit in the front if you want to get the most wet. I sat in the very back and still got wet, but not as much.

Suitable for Children?

Yes, if they like large drop rides. There was a young lady who did end up getting off and that’s okay (I half-heartedly wanted her to take me with her!).

Child Swap

Yes

Express Pass

Yes

Single Rider

No

Lockers Required

No–and you hold your bag on your lap. Super sketchy and scary if you have valuables that can’t get wet! Plus, it is quite a drop! So, hold on tight! Lockers are available but they cost money.

Other Notes

The final drop is 75 feet tall!

Bucket List Rating

3/10

Skull Island Rides at Islands of Adventure

Skull Island: Reign of Kong

islands of adventure, Islands of Adventure: A Bucket List Ride Guide
The spooky entrance to Skull Island: Reign of Kong.

Category of the Ride

3D/4D Motion Ride

Brief Description

Visit Skull Island on your own tour bus and experience all the action firsthand. This is a high-packed action ride, complete with a battle between King Kong and a t-Rex. There is very little motion, but with the 3D/4D it is very immersive!

Where in the Park

It is in between Toon Lagoon and right before Jurassic Park. If you are coming from Toon Lagoon, it will be on your left. It is hard to miss and right on the main path. 

Vibe of the Line

This line is COOL! You start outside in a lush forest and then head inside to a scary (and almost ritualistic?) cave.

Worth the Wait?

Yes! In my humble opinion, it is one of the better 3D rides and is heart-racing. I wouldn’t wait all day for it, but it is definitely worth a go if you stumble upon it and it is at a good wait time.

Height Requirement

36” minimum to ride

36” – 48” to ride with an adult

48”+ to ride alone

Who Would Enjoy this Ride?

Anyone who liked an action-packed immersive experience!

What Seat is the Best?

It doesn’t matter a whole lot but the sides of the bus are going to be closer to the action.

Suitable for Children?

 Yes, but it is action-packed and might be frightening to small children. Also, the line itself might be unsettling to some.

Child Swap

Yes

Express Pass

Yes

Single Rider

No

Lockers Required

No

Other Notes

They used to have performers wait in line and scare people as they turned the corner. To my knowledge, they don’t do this anymore but be prepared! There is also a grand total of 887 skulls throughout the attraction. Guests in a wheelchair can stay in their standard wheelchairs.

Bucket List Rating

7/10

Jurassic Park Rides at Islands of Adventure

Pteranodon Flyers

islands of adventure, Islands of Adventure: A Bucket List Ride Guide
A shot from below watching the flight of the Pteranodon Flyers.

Category of the Ride

Kids

Brief Description

This is the perfect ride for the little ones to soar over Jurassic Park! There is a track above and you dangle your feet as you make your way along the track.

Where in the Park

Go to Jurassic Park and make your way to Camp Jurassic.

Worth the Wait?

Yes, if you have a smaller child who enjoys mild thrills and doesn’t mind heights.

Height Requirement

36” minimum to ride

36” – 48” to ride with an adult

48” to ride alone

Over 56” must be accompanied by a rider that meets the 36” height (which is why I was rejected!)

Who Would Enjoy this Ride?

Kids who don’t feel up to the bigger roller coasters but still want a relaxing thrill.

What Seat is the Best?

 It doesn’t matter.

Suitable for Children?

Yes, it is geared towards children

Child Swap

Yes

Express Pass

No

Single Rider

No

Lockers Required

Leave belongings with a parent or another non-rider.

Other Notes

There is a height maximum and it was the only ride I was turned away from (although I did get a weird look on One Fish, Two Fish, Red Fish, Blue Fish).

Bucket List Rating

Can’t say! If you are a little tater tot who has flown on this before, please comment on your bucket list rating!

Jurassic Park River Adventure

islands of adventure, Islands of Adventure: A Bucket List Ride Guide
A dino creeping on a car right outside of the Jurassic Park River Adventure.

Category of the Ride

Water

Brief Description

Your river tour through Jurassic Park goes terribly wrong when you enter Raptor territory by accident and they have escaped! You make your way through the carnage of their path, see a few raptors, and then a giant 36-foot-tall T-rex! Watch out for the T-rex, ’cause it means you are about to drop and get splashed by a massive wave.

Where in the Park

Go to Jurassic Park. If coming from the Toon Lagoon, go past the shop and it should be on your left. If coming from Hogsmeade, keep an eye out for it on your right as you make your way through Jurassic Park.

Vibe of the Line

A covered Jurassic Park jungle-themed covered line. Although it isn’t the fanciest, it is pleasant to wait in. When you first enter, you can even see a mini model of Jurassic Park.

Worth the Wait?

Yes—if you want to get wet. I think it was definitely my favorite water ride at Universal’s Islands of Adventure.

Height Requirement

42” minimum to ride

42” – 48” to ride with an adult

48”+ to ride alone

Who Would Enjoy this Ride?

Families who love Jurassic Park and don’t mind getting wet. I was sitting next to a 10-year-old boy and I thought he died and went to Heaven after this ride.

What Seat is the Best?

You get the most wet in the front and the least wet in the back. Choose accordingly 🙂

Suitable for Children?

Yes, if they like large drop rides. The rest of the ride is pretty chill but can be scary due to the velociraptors and T-rex.

Child Swap

Yes

Express Pass

Yes

Single Rider

Yes

Lockers Required

Other Notes

No. Also, keep in mind that you keep your bags at your feet and it is a water ride. I did find that it is probably the safest for your bag (out of the water rides) because you can push it under the seat with your feet and it will get minimally wet.

I wouldn’t sit in the front row if you don’t want it to be soaked, though. Learn from my mistakes: it is probably a good idea to just rent a locker for the price and then go on all the water rides at once.

Bucket List Rating

7/10

Jurassic World VelociCoaster

islands of adventure, Islands of Adventure: A Bucket List Ride Guide
An upside-down shot captured at the base of the VelociCoaster.

Category of the Ride

Yes

Upside-Down Thrill

Yes

Brief Description

This high-intensity thrill ride is set within the raptor habitat! I originally thought it was going to be boring because there is just a harness on your thighs. But I was delightfully wrong!

Not only does this ride offer loops, speed, and corkscrews, but it does it so effortlessly. It is SMOOTH. And because you don’t have over-the-shoulder harnesses, it feels less jerky and head-banging! As a roller coaster lover, this is a good one, folks!

Where in the Park

Go to Jurassic World and follow the signs. The easiest way is to approach it from Hogsmeade. As soon as you enter Jurassic Park, keep an eye out to go left. It is hidden in a back corner and pretty soon after you leave Hogsmeade.

Vibe of the Line

Starting off outside on a covered patio, it is pretty standard with some raptor accessories. Once you get inside, there are some fun things to look at that make you feel as if you are going through their lab.

You even get to see some raptors (don’t worry, they are secured). After you make your way through the lockers and metal detectors, you go upstairs to see a video of Claire explaining the ride (you wanted more teeth and you got it!) and Owen stating that it is a terrible idea.

Worth the Wait?

YES. YES. YES. I ended up waiting about 45 minutes both times I did this ride (cause I had to do it again) and if I’m being honest I would have waited way more for this adrenaline-filled gem.

Height Requirement

51”+ to ride

Guests with a waist of over 40” or greater might not be able to ride this ride and can check if they are comfortable and properly supported at the seats at the front of the queue.

Who Would Enjoy this Ride?

Adrenaline junkies who want a new and smooth thrill!

What Seat is the Best?

The front! There is a separate line for the front and although it takes a bit longer…it is 100% worth it!

Suitable for Children?

 Do you want your small child to be scarred for life? Then probably not. But if they do ride this, I want to be friends with them because they are my kind of people.

Child Swap

Yes

Express Pass

Yes

Single Rider

Yes, but it is prone to close. And sometimes, I noticed that it didn’t make that much of a difference. Plus, then you don’t get to wait for the front.

Lockers Required

Yes, but unlike other rides, you enter the line first and put your stuff in lockers mid-line. After you drop your stuff, you have to go through a metal detector. Important note! Take note of the color/dinosaur/number. You don’t go back to that room and exit through the other side. I didn’t really listen and totally forgot where my stuff was!

Other Notes

There are two high-speed launches and four inversions!

Bucket List Rating

10/10

Hogsmeade Rides at Islands of Adventure

Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey

islands of adventure, Islands of Adventure: A Bucket List Ride Guide
A shot of Hogwarts, where Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey take place.

Category of the Ride

Thrill (kind of)

Upside-Down Thrill

No, but you do lean backward quite far at the Whomping Willow.

Brief Description

Sneak out of class and go see a quidditch game with Ron and Harry (at least until things go wrong!). This ride combines technology and scenes to create an immersive Harry Potter experience.

There are several rides like this in Universal and I do have to say that it is the only one that gives me slight motion sickness. It is totally worth it but just be warned.

Where in the Park

It is in Hogsmeade in Hogwarts. You can’t miss it, just go to the castle. If you are coming from Jurassic Park, it is right as you exit and one of the first things you see.

Vibe of the Line

Let me tell you that this is by far the COOLEST line you can wait in. It is so cool that there is an option just to wait in line and leave before you get on the ride.

You start out going through the gates of Hogwarts, moving into the underbelly of the castle. After waiting in the greenhouses, you make your way inside the castle. You see many familiar rooms such as Dumbledore’s office, the Defence Against the Dark Arts classroom, and a bit of the Gryffindor common room.

There are other areas scattered about such as talking portraits and castle-like corridors. Overall, it is pretty hard to beat! Although you have to put your bag in a locker, don’t forget your phone/small camera. You will want to take some pictures! Just make sure to secure it for the ride. 

Worth the Wait?

 Absolutely! Waiting in line is almost as fun as the ride itself!

Height Requirement

48”+ to ride

Guests with a waist of 40” or more are recommended to test the harness before they join the crew to make sure they are able to ride. I will say that if you are in the end seats, it is pretty tight.

Who Would Enjoy this Ride?

Potterheads who want to wander around Hogwarts and feel like they are there!

What Seat is the Best?

It doesn’t matter.

Suitable for Children?

 It does move a lot and can be frightening for small children. But if they are brave, then they should be okay.

Child Swap

Yes

Express Pass

Yes

Single Rider

Yes

Lockers Required

Yes, go to the left of the main Hogwarts gate. They are free for up to 35 minutes.

Bucket List Rating

8/10

Flight of the Hippogriff

islands of adventure, Islands of Adventure: A Bucket List Ride Guide
Tracks of the Flight of the Hippogriff with Hogwarts in the background!

Category of the Ride

Kids Thrill

Upside-Down Thrill

No

Brief Description

Fly on a hippogriff for this tame Harry Potter-themed kid’s coaster. This is generally made for kids, but I had a great time on it! It is also a perfect introduction to roller coasters for kids if they are interested but don’t want to have a heart attack on the Hulk.

Where in the Park

It is in Hogsmeade to the right of Hogwarts.

Vibe of the Line

All outside, it is a standard theme park ride. You do get a magnificent view of both Hagrid’s hut, the pumpkin patch, and Hogwarts, though!

Worth the Wait?

Yes, if you have a child who is interested or there is a short wait.

Height Requirement

36” minimum to ride

36” – 48” to ride with an adult

48”+  to ride alone

Who Would Enjoy this Ride?

Little adrenaline junkies in the making who love Harry Potter.

What Seat is the Best?

The front is the best, but I don’t think it matters too much.

Suitable for Children?

Yes, it is a tame roller coaster for children and adults

Child Swap

Yes

Express Pass

Yes

Single Rider

No

Lockers Required

No, there is a net by your feet to put your belongings.

Other Notes

This coaster gives an amazing and unique view of Hogwarts! It was worth it to go on it just for that! The top speed is 29 mph.

Bucket List Rating

5/10

Hagrid’s Magical Creature Motorbike Adventure

islands of adventure, Islands of Adventure: A Bucket List Ride Guide
Motorbikes racing around these castle ruins in Hagrid’s Magical Creature Motorbike Adventure.

Category of the Ride

Thrill

Upside-Down Thrill

No

Brief Description

Jump on Hagrid’s motorbike for a lesson in magical creatures! This coaster doesn’t go upside-down but it goes FAST. It is also full of twists and turns (literally and figuratively) that will make you second-guess what happens next.

I’m not going to give spoilers…just go do it. The first time I rode this, I was flat-out stunned. Out of everyone I talk to, this is always the favorite. It is smooth as butter, non-jerky, and makes you feel like you are flying on Hagrid’s bike!

Where in the Park

As you enter Hogsmeade from Seuss Landing, it is on your right. It is super busy so it is hard to miss. Sometimes, they wrap the line around before you enter Hogsmeade in the Lost Continent. There should be signs and attendants if this happens.

Vibe of the Line

This is another line that is almost as fun as the ride. And it’s a good thing—because you are going to wait a while for this one! You start off outside in some ruins, passing Hagrid’s hut, and then proceed inside.

Some parts are very castle-like, and other parts are like a cave. There are some rooms where you see the story of the ride.

The general vibe of the outside and the ride is castle ruins. When you are in line, pay attention to all of the tiny little details, especially when inside! I found something new every time. Overall, it is just a gorgeous line (I can’t believe that is a thing…but it is).

Worth the Wait?

I hate to say it…but YES. It is going to most likely be the longest ride of the day. Even in non-peak season (when I went), it was still between 65-120 minutes all day with no break or dip.

However, it is a very unique and fun ride that is unmissable! If you are staying in the Universal Hotels and get early access, don’t dawdle and go straight there! Otherwise, bring your hat, good conversation, and some good shoes for standing. Just accept your fate and know it is unavoidable.

Height Requirement

48”+ to ride

Guest with over 40” waist may not be able to ride. There is a seat you can test outside. If you are able to ride but are a larger/taller rider, I would suggest riding the bike instead of the sidecar. My dad couldn’t even fit into the sidecar due to his height and bad knees.

Who Would Enjoy this Ride?

Unless you really hate going fast, it’s really hard finding a person who wouldn’t enjoy this ride. It also doesn’t really matter if you don’t like Harry Potter. It’s just a fun ride and there is a reason why the wait is pure insanity.

What Seat is the Best?

You can’t really request the front (since it is constantly moving) and it is mostly based on luck. Although they are the same, I prefer to be on the bike vs the sidecar.

Suitable for Children?

Out of all the major roller coasters, it is probably the most kid-friendly (besides the Flight of the Hippogriff). But it is an adult ride and does still go fast, so make sure your child is okay with some speed and thrills!

Child Swap

Yes

Express Pass

Yes

Single Rider

Yes, although it only saved me about 20 minutes and I missed the fun parts of the line.

Lockers Required

Yes, they can be found on both sides of the entrance.

Other Notes

 When you see Hagrid during the line, he stands at 7 feet 6 inches tall! He is one of the best animatronics at Universal, with meticulously placed hairs and hand-sculpted features based on Robbie Coltrane.

Bucket List Rating

10/10

Hogwarts Express – Hogsmeade Station

islands of adventure, Islands of Adventure: A Bucket List Ride Guide
Hogwarts Express pulling up into Hogsmeade ready to take its passengers to Diagon Alley in Universal Studios.

Category of the Ride

Transportation to the other park

Brief Description

Although this still counts as a ride, its main purpose is to head over to the other park. Still, it is an immersive experience. As you make your way through Hogsmeade Station, you board the Hogwarts Express just like you would in real life!

The train and its cars look spot on to the movie! You can even hear familiar voices outside of the cabin! The window is a screen (instead of an actual window) and you can say goodbye to Hogwarts and hello to King’s Cross!

This ride ends right next to Diagon Alley in Universal Studios. You can take it back to Hogsmeade when/if you are ready.

You do need the Park-to-Park Pass for this ride.

Where in the Park

It is right before you enter Hogsmeade from The Lost Continent section. If you are coming from Jurassic Park, you will have to travel through the cute magical town of Hogsmeade and exit. You will see it on your left-hand side.

Vibe of the Line

You wait at Hogsmeade Station. There are lots of suitcases and it really gives the vibe of a real train station. You end at King’s Cross and as somebody who has lived there and used King’s Cross frequently, it’s pretty accurate to the train platforms.

Worth the Wait?

 If you want to get over to the other side, sometimes it is necessary. Otherwise, you will have to go all the way out, cross City Walk, and enter the other park. Sometimes the wait is worth not doing the walk or it ends up being the same time.

Beware of the park closing times. Sometimes one park shuts down before the other and it can get hectic at the end of the day. When I was trying to get from King’s Cross to Hogsmeade at the end of the day, the wait time was up to 50 minutes and by that time, Islands of Adventure would be closed.

Height Requirement

None

Who Would Enjoy this Ride?

Anyone who wants to go to the other park or just wants to experience Hogwarts Express.

What Seat is the Best?

It doesn’t matter a whole lot, but if you can be by the window then it is better.

Suitable for Children?

Yes

Child Swap

No, they go with you on the train.

Express Pass

Yes

Single Rider

No

Lockers Required

No, it is just a train ride.

Other Notes

This ride is in both Islands of Adventure as well as Universal Studios. It connects Hogsmeade (Hogsmeade Station) to Diagon Alley (King’s Cross Station) and what you see out the window is different depending on the direction you are going!

Please note that it does require a park-to-park ticket and you will be required to show it before you enter the line. Also, keep in mind that the last train departs at the closing time of the park that closes first.

Bucket List Rating

7/10

Seuss Landing Rides at Islands Of Adventure

The High in the Sky Seuss Trolly Train Ride

islands of adventure, Islands of Adventure: A Bucket List Ride Guide
The tail end of the High in the Sky Seuss Trolley Train Ride high up above Seuss Landing.

Category of the Ride

Kid

Brief Description

This mild train ride gives you a short ride around Seuss Landing while recounting some classic Seuss stories. You will see many classic Seuss characters along your ride. It does also give you a pretty incredible view of Islands of Adventure.

Where in the Park

If you are coming from the entrance, go to the end of Seuss Landing.

Vibe of the Line

It is generally open and has some Seuss-like items scattered around the line. Overall, it is pretty average.

Worth the Wait?

I personally wouldn’t wait more than 10 minutes for it, but it might be worth it if you have a small child and/or are taking it easy.

Height Requirement

36” minimum to ride

36” – 48” with an adult

48”+ to ride alone

Who Would Enjoy this Ride?

Families with small children or adults that want a break from the thrill rides.

What Seat is the Best?

It doesn’t really matter

Suitable for Children?

Yes

Child Swap

Yes

Express Pass

Yes

Single Rider

No

Lockers Required

No

Other Notes

This train has two tracks and reads your favorite Seuss stories! This means that you can ride it a few times and get a different experience. The panoramic views are even better when the Whos decorate this land for Christmas!

Bucket List Rating

6/10

Caro-Seuss-el

islands of adventure, Islands of Adventure: A Bucket List Ride Guide
Your favorite mermaid riding the Caro-Seuss-el.

Category of the Ride

Kid

Brief Description

Think of a normal carousel and add a bunch of wonky Seuss creatures!

Where in the Park

As you enter Seuss Landing from the entrance, it should be on your left.

Vibe of the Line

Standard theme park line.

Worth the Wait?

A carousel is a pretty standard ride for any amusement park, so it isn’t very unique. However, the Seuss characters might make it worth the wait to some people. Plus, it is always going to be a kid favorite.

Height Requirement

None

Who Would Enjoy this Ride?

Anyone who is up for a good ol’ fashioned carousel with a Seuss twist.

What Seat is the Best?

Doesn’t matter. I named my Seuss character Kathy and we were pretty tight by the end 🙂

Suitable for Children?

Yes

Child Swap

Yes

Express Pass

Yes

Single Rider

No

Lockers Required

No, I kept my backpack on the entire time.

Other Notes

This is one of the only rides in the park where you can stay in a wheelchair and don’t have to transfer. This does not apply to motorized chairs/vehicles.

Bucket List Rating

4/10

One Fish, Two Fish, Red Fish, Blue Fish

islands of adventure, Islands of Adventure: A Bucket List Ride Guide
A far away shot of One Fish, Two Fish, Red Fish, Blue Fish.

Category of the Ride

Kid

Brief Description

A low thrill ride that is perfect for kids. In fact, I think this was my favorite ride as a kid! You enter different varieties of fish (not just red and blue! You also get yellow and green!) and go up and down in a circle.

It is also fun because control most of your movement (gently). Be warned though, there is a song going that tells you how to maneuver the fish to avoid a squirt of water! I must admit that I was too enthralled and nostalgic to notice it.

Where in the Park

When you enter the park and go towards your right to Seuss Landing, it is on your right after Cat in the Hat.

Vibe of the Line

Standard theme park line

Worth the Wait?

Would be worth it if you have a small child. It is probably not worth it if you are an adult unless you are riding it for some nostalgia. Not gonna lie, it feels a little weird being on it if you aren’t accompanying a child…but you do you!

Height Requirement

None

Who Would Enjoy this Ride?

Small children and their guardian

What Seat is the Best?

It doesn’t matter. I always had to have the blue fish as a kid.

Suitable for Children?

Yes

Child Swap

Yes

Express Pass

Yes

Single Rider

No

Lockers Required

No

Other Notes

On the upswing, you will reach 12 feet in height!

Bucket List Rating

4/10 or more if you are a small child

The Cat in the Hat

islands of adventure, Islands of Adventure: A Bucket List Ride Guide
The “kid-friendly” Cat in the Hat ride. Personally, this is going to give me nightmares.

Category of the Ride

Kids

Brief Description

This gem is a ride through the Cat in the Hat story. It is a little outdated and I have to warn you—there are some parts that are a little frightening and unsettling. In fact, this ride went viral on the internet a few years back.

The older riders were comparing it to a haunted house because of how scary-looking the Things and the Cat were. Obviously, it is not meant to be scary, but that just makes it wayyyy funnier.

If you want to see what I’m talking about, watch the corresponding video to this blog post and I think you will understand. 

Where in the Park

From the park entrance, head to your right to Seuss Landing and it should be on your right.

Vibe of the Line

It is inside (thank God) and is very lively and Seuss themed. You start at the outside of the famous brother and sister of the story. You pass other outdoor features and fun houses. Not going to lie, the vibe in there was actually very fun. It is very colorful and cartoon-like.

Worth the Wait?

Honestly, yes. It is worth it just for the laugh. It’s just so iconic.

Height Requirement

36” minimum to ride

36” – 48” to ride with an adult

48”+ to ride alone

Who Would Enjoy this Ride?

Little kids and adults who enter liking Dr. Seuss and exit with nightmares (just kidding…kind of).

What Seat is the Best?

The front gets you the best view but it is not the end of the world if you get the back seat. 

Suitable for Children?

Yes

Child Swap

Yes

Express Pass

Yes

Single Rider

No

Lockers Required

No

Other Notes

In Seuss-like fashion…there are almost no straight lines in this ride, including the line. This is one of the only rides in the park where you can stay in a wheelchair and don’t have to transfer. This does not apply to motorized chairs that are available to rent.

Bucket List Rating

11/10…just kidding probably a 5/10 but it is worth it just for the nostalgic laughs.

Universal’s Island of Adventure FAQ

Is Universal Islands of Adventure Worth it?

Absolutely, especially if you are a theme park fanatic. This world-class theme park in Florida boasts some of the most cutting edge technological rides and some old classics! 

It’s attention to detail in the rides (as well as some of the queues) as well as its ability to immerse you in certain movie environments sets it apart from the rest.

A day at this park will truly be filled with adventure and you will be so glad that you added to it to you bucket list!

islands of adventure, Islands of Adventure: A Bucket List Ride Guide
The Beauxbatons putting on a show in Hogsmeade.

Is Universal Studios and Islands of Adventure the Same Park?

Although it is in the Universal region, it is not the same park. Universal Florida is comprised of three separate parks: Universal Studios, Islands of Adventure, and Volcano Bay. 

Universal Studios and Islands of Adventure each require a separate ticket or a park-to-park ticket

The parks are interconnected by the Hogwarts Express that connects Diagon Alley to Hogsmeade and vice versa. This means that you can go between the parks as you wish, but it will require a park-to-park ticket.

Which is better: Universal Studios or Islands of Adventure?

When it comes to attractions in Florida, Universal Studios and Islands of Adventure have both quickly risen to the top of many travelers’ bucket lists. 

Each offers a wide variety of rides and entertainment options, but depending on your interests and the type of vacation you are looking for, one may be better than the other.

For example, from my personal experience I noticed that Universal Studios had less rides, more traditional shows, and had a more laid back vibe to it. Islands of Adventure, on the other hand, had separate sections, more rides, and I was running around like a chicken with my head cut off. 

If you can only do one, I would look at the ride list and see which rides better suit your desires and your family members. 

For me, if I had to choose, it would be a tough call, but I would probably choose Islands of Adventure because of the ride selection. If I wanted to do more shows and wander a bit, I would choose Universal Studios

Although Seuss Landing is made for smaller children, I would say that teens and older adults would enjoy Islands of Adventure more, and families would enjoy Universal Studios more. 

Overall, they both have great unmissable bucket list rides! So, you can’t really go wrong!

islands of adventure, Islands of Adventure: A Bucket List Ride Guide
The entrance to Jurassic Park in Universal Islands of Adventure.

Does Universal Studios or Islands of Adventure have More Rides?

Islands of Adventure is more ride heavy and has more modern rides. If my calculations are correct, there are a grand total of 18 rides

At Universal Studios, there are 12 rides. They are more classical, but still very fun! 

As you can see, Islands of Adventure has more rides that Universal Studios.

Can Universal Islands of Adventure be Done in One Day?

Ask yourself these questions:

Do I have a small child? If yes, then probably you can’t do it all in one day.

Am I here for a relaxed vacation or do I want to go all in? If you want to go all in, then it is possible! 

Am I okay not riding rides more than once? Especially if there are long lines, your experience might have to be “one and done” with the rides. If you are okay with that, then it is possible to do it all in one day. 

Am I going during peak season? If you are going during summer, the crowds are high and the lines are long. You might wait over an hour for the carousel and over two hours for Hagrid’s motorbikes. With that kind of time, it would be very difficult to do it in one day. 

For reference for Islands of Adventure, I went in the middle of May. I timed most things with the app and the singles line and managed to get every single ride done (except one kid ride) in both parks in two days. Just for fun, here were my exact stats for both days:

Islands of Adventure: 27,795 steps, 13.01 miles

Universal Studios: 20,850, 9.44 miles

Total: 48,645 steps, 22.45 miles in 2 days!

Overall, it was very fun, but I wouldn’t call what I did a “relaxing” experience. 

If you can swing it, just get a bundle for multiple days and tackle it at your own pace.

Must do’s at Islands of Adventure?

If I had to create a list of top things that you NEED to do at Islands of Adventure ranked, it would be the following: 

  1. Hagrid’s Motorbikes
  2. VelociCoaster
  3. The Incredible Hulk Coaster
  4. Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey
  5. The Amazing Adventures of Spiderman
  6. Skull Island: Reign of Kong

*Just a reminder that these lines tend to be longer than most other rides. I would either head straight there at opening or go an hour before close.

How Much is Universal Islands of Adventure?

Please note that there are a lot of packages and deals that you can get. 

But generally, It will cost you $109+ (adult) and $104+ (child) for a one park pass. For a park to park ticket, it will jump to $164+ (adult) and $159+ (child). 

As always, these prices are subject to change. Please check out Universal’s official website for up to date price information.

How Tall do you Need to Be to Ride the Rides at Universal’s Island of Adventure?

This is highly dependent on the ride. The most common heights I saw were 38”, 48”, and then around 52”. Again, this might shift a few inches depending on the ride.

Meaning, you needed to be at least 38” to ride, and between that and 48” to ride with an adult rider. If you are over 48” you will be good to ride most attractions by yourself. However, some of the more intense rides (Hulk, VelociCoaster, Doom Fearfall) will require riders in the 52” height range or more. 

Again, this might shift a few inches depending on the ride.

The only ride where I ran into an issue for being too tall was the Pteranodon Flyers in which I needed a smaller rider to accompany me.

islands of adventure, Islands of Adventure: A Bucket List Ride Guide
Coming into Universal’s Island of Adventure.

Is Islands of Adventure a Water Park?

Overall, no. If you want a fancy water park, I would check out Volcano Bay! 

The majority of the rides are water free at Islands of Adventure. However, there are three water rides that you can check out if you want to get soaked or just need to cool off. The three water rides are: 

Popeye & Bluto’s Bilge-Rat Barges

Dudley Do-Right’s Ripsaw Falls

Jurassic Park River Adventure

*Honorable mention to One Fish, Two Fish, Red Fish, Blue Fish that can potentially squirt you with water if you aren’t careful.

With these, I would recommend going on them at the end of the day or go on a high speed roller coaster after (such as The Hulk, the VelociCoaster, or Hagrid’s Motorbikes) to dry off. They also have “people dryers” outside that you can pay for. 

There are also some immersive rides (Like Spiderman) that will just give you a nice spritz of water depending on the story. For example, in Spiderman, glass breaks and they spray you with water to emulate the feeling of glass falling on top of you.

Adventure Bucket List Resources

I am here to help your travel adventures go as smoothly as possible! That way you can check off that bucket list with minimal complications and spending!

AIRFARE – It is no surprise that like many travelers, I have found that Hopper is one of the best resources to use when finding cheap flights. 

ACCOMMODATION – My two favorites are Booking.Com for hotels and VRBO for rentals. 

GUIDED TOURS –  If you are looking for quick and easy tours, check out GetYourGuide and Viator

MULTI-DAY TOURS –  For more in-depth tours that span several days, TourHub has many great options with reputable travel companies. Use my code (ALEXANDRA1GURU) for up to 5% off your next bucket list adventure. 

TRANSPORTATION –  You can either rent a car yourself with Discover Cars or do a guided bus tours like Big Bus Tours

CREDIT CARD –  I always use my Chase Freedom Unlimited card for all of my purchases. There is no annual fee and you get 1.5% cash back and 5% cash back on travel purchased through Chase Travel. 

SIM CARDS –  Avoid expensive roaming charges with an eSim card with Airalo.

TRAVELER’S INSURANCE –  Check out VisitorsCoverage for affordable insurance plans.

Who would you take with you to Universal Islands of Adventure? Make sure to share it with them below!

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islands of adventure, Islands of Adventure: A Bucket List Ride Guide

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