One of the most sophisticated and elaborate theme parks in the world, Islands of Adventure at Universal Orlando is also a visual feast. Like Walt Disney World's Magic Kingdom, it is divided into themed lands–in this case, "islands"–stationed around a lagoon. Each "island" is meticulously themed and is designed to immerse guests and help advance the attractions' storylines.
The islands include: The Wizarding World of Harry Potter (the finely detailed home of Hogwarts Castle and other artifacts from the well-known films and books), Toon Lagoon (home of comic strip and cartoon heroes such as Dudley Do-Right and Popeye), Jurassic Park (where the movie about a theme park comes alive–at a theme park about movies), The Lost Continent (fun with mythology), Seuss Landing (the most whimsical of IOA's islands), and Marvel Super Hero Island (featuring incredible attractions starring Spider-Man and the Incredible Hulk).
Unlike Disney’s sugarcoated Magic Kingdom, IOA features edgy, high-octane, to-the-limits attractions. While its coasters have great themeing, they don't skimp on the thrills. Its river raft ride won't just get you wet; you'll get completely drenched. And Spider-Man is so utterly amazing, you'll be scraping your jaw off the ground wondering how in the world they did that. The Forbidden Journey of Harry Potter Ride is one of, if not the, finest achievements in park attractions. Islands of Adventure is state-of-the-art (and then some) fun.
We are not going to provide an exhaustive list of all attractions and things to do at the park. Instead, let's focus on some of the highlights.
By far, the most popular section of Islands of Adventure is The Wizarding World of Harry Potter - Hogsmeade. It was the first theme park land to capitalize on the beloved franchise. In addition to The Forbidden Journey of Harry Potter, the attraction located inside Hogwarts Castle, it also offers a second E-Ticket ride, Hagrid’s Magical Creatures Motorbike Coaster, a wild, launched coaster. A more tame coaster, Flight of the Hippogriff, rounds out the attractions.
The Hogwarts Express, a themed attraction in its own right, shuttles passengers between Hogsmeade and Universal Orlando’s second Wizarding World, Diagon Alley, at Universal Studios Florida. Discover why passengers must have a two-park ticket in order to ride the Hogwarts Express.
At Jurassic Park, you can ogle gentle prehistoric creatures before things go horribly wrong and you come face to face with a gnarly T. rex on the Jurassic Park River Adventure splashdown ride. It’s not part of the Jurassic Park mythology, but dinosaurs do figure into the rip-roaring simulator attraction, Skull Island Reign of Kong.
The groundbreaking The Amazing Adventures of Spider-Man, the worlds first roving motion base 3-D simulator ride, will astound you in Marvel Super Hero Island. The kick-ass The Incredible Hulk coaster, which features an exhilarating uphill launch along with lots of inversions and positive G-forces, is also found here.
You will get completely soaked on the two water attractions at Toon Lagoon, Popeye & Bluto's Bilge-Rat Barges (a river raft ride) and Dudley Do-Right's Ripsaw Falls (a log flume ride). Our advice: Wear sandals and a bathing suit unless you want squishy socks and underwear. The delightful Seuss Landing includes a number of Dr. Seuss-themed attractions geared to younger children, including The Cat in the Hat dark ride.
What’s New at Islands of Adventure?
- In 2021, a highly themed, launched coaster, Jurassic World Velocicoaster, will be coming to Jurassic Park. The especially intense ride will be the fastest coaster at Universal Orlando.
Tips, Ticket Info, and More
- There are plenty of places to eat in Islands of Adventure and throughout the resort. Find out where you should be eating in our Best Universal Orlando Dining feature.
- The park can get very crowded and wait times can get quite long. Learn how to skip the lines at Universal Orlando.
- For more info about tickets, when to visit, Universal Studios Florida, the Volcano Bay water park, directions, CityWalk, and a general rundown of the resort, go to our Universal Orlando Overview.