The Best Rides At Universal’s Islands of Adventure (According To a 10 year old)

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Any trip to Orlando would be complete without visiting Universal Orlando Resort, which is made up of three theme parks.

In this guide, we’re going to be sharing our favorite rides from Universal’s Islands of Adventure, which is known for its thrill rides.

It has seven individually themed islands, each with its own attractions, restaurants and shops.

All the rides and attractions are based after books, movies, Marvel comics, or mythology.

woman and two girls posing in front of universal orlando resort entrance

As a Harry Potter fan, I was excited to visit the main Harry Potter section of the Wizarding World of Harry Potter which is located in this theme park, as well as one of the BEST rides EVER; The Incredible Hulk.

Personally, Islands of Adventure is my favourite theme park at Universal Orlando Resort.

If you’re planning a visit here and not sure which rides to go on, then this guide is for you! I’ve listed my favorite Universal Islands of Adventure rides so you can pick a few to go on during your trip.

The Best Rides at Universal’s Islands of Adventure

dr Suess characters

We had the 3 day park-to-park ticket so we could move between the parks easily.

I highly recommend having that pass. It will make your day so much better, especially for experience The Wizarding World of Harry Potter.

In Islands of Adventure, there are lots of different lands.

For example: Jurassic Park, The Lost Continent (the one we didn’t do), Marvel Super Hero Island, Port of Entry, Toon Lagoon, Suess Landing, and The Wizarding World of Harry Potter.

Here are some of our favorite rides in each land.

Jurassic Park

There wasn’t really much to do in Jurassic Park, but it was still fun.

The Jurassic Park River Adventure ride was fun though and one of our favorites.

You think it’s relaxing until you pass the giant T-Rex and other dinosaurs and do the big, 85-foot drop at the end!

Savannah didn’t know it was coming, actually – nobody knew it was coming lol, except me because I watch videos of intense rides and stuff…..

Anyway, it was so funny to see her face drop and let out a tiny scream!

She’s not into scary rides and we convinced her to come on this saying it was just a gentle float down the river, which we thought it was!! She’ll never forget that ride.

Some more attractions at Jurassic Park:

  • Camp Jurassic
  • Jurassic Park Discovery Centre
  • Pteranodon Flyers
  • The Jurassic World VelociCoaster

Toon Lagoon

We didn’t spend too long in Toon Lagoon because there wasn’t much to do in this land.

The famous Skull Island: Reign of Kong ride is located between Toon Lagoon and Jurassic Park, so we rode this one on the way in.

The ride is like a safari that takes you through the story of King Kong. It’s one of the most popular rides in the park.

There was a really fun ride in Toon Lagoon called Dudley Do-Right’s Ripsaw Falls.

This ride is a water ride and you get soaked!

people coming down log ride

Since there is child swap, (more information on that later) I got to go on it twice, so I got twice as wet lol!

It is about a 4-5 minute ride so it is one of the longer rides.

Be prepared for the steep drop at the end! (by the way, it’s basically the same steepness as Rip Ride Rocket Roller Coaster!)

Oh, and it was really funny because there was a people dryer right next to the ride!

More rides in Toon Lagoon:

  • Me Ship, The Olive
  • Popeye & Bluto’s Bilge Rat Barges

Seuss Landing

girl in front of Cat in the Hat at Universal Orlando

Savannah really liked Seuss Landing because there was a couple of good little rides for her so we visited this land a couple of times.

And since it is literally beside the Harry Potter section, we went here right after some epic magic. Some rides are:

  • The Cat in the Hat – Savannah loved this ride!
  • Caro – Seuss – ell
  • If I ran the zoo
  • One fish, Two fish, Red fish, Blue fish
  • Oh! The stories you’ll hear!
  • The High in The Sky Seuss Trolley Train Ride!
two girls in One fish, Two fish, Red fish, Blue fish ride
One fish, Two fish, Red fish, Blue fish

I definitely recommend this land if you have a child between 2 – 7

The Lost Continent

We didn’t do The Lost Continent, but it sure looked cool.

Rides and Attractions:

  • Poseidon’s Fury
  • The Eighth Voyage of Sinbad Stunt Show
  • The Mystic Fountain

Marvel Super Hero Island

Ok, so this is where the intense stuff begins.

First of all, it is home to my favorite roller coaster, The Incredible Hulk Coaster. This is a launch coaster and goes at high speeds; it’s soooo much fun!

The Incredible Hulk Coaster ride on the water
The Incredible Hulk

The ride goes for what feels about 5 minutes, and honestly – at the end of it you just might be as green as the Hulk lol. It’s definitely the most intense ride in the park but one that everyone should go on.

mom and child smiling on The Incredible Hulk Coaster
Watching Caz and Kalyra at the start of the Hulk coaster from child swap area

It has 7 inversions and I love roller coasters that go upside down! I think it is one of the best roller coasters in Florida.

The Incredible Hulk Coaster -doing a loop

Another fun ride I recommend, is The Amazing Adventures of Spider-Man.

Spider-Man is another simulator and motion sickness ride when you sit in a vehicle. The best part is when all the villains attack you and you bump up and down and stuff lol.

Some more rides:

  • Doctor Doom’s Fear Fall ( i wanted to do this ride but we ran out of time. Also, you go up fast instead of down)
  • Storm Force Accelatron

The Wizarding World of Harry Potter: Hogsmeade

woman and two girls smiling in Hogsmeade Village at Universal Orlando Resort
Arriving in Hogsmeade

The incredible Wizarding World of Harry Potter is divided into two sections: Diagon Alley is in Universal Studios Florida, while Hogsmeade and Hogwarts (my favourite section), is in Islands of Adventure.

If you don’t want to do the long walk from park to park, you can ride the awesome Hogwarts Express between the two.

Why would you not want to take this magical train trip each time?

It really feels like you are in the world of Harry Potter.

family posing in front of Hogwarts Express, The Wizarding World of Harry Potter, Universal Orlando

Pay close attention to the windows, as there are 3D videos shown on the journey.

What is so cool is the videos are different depending on what direction you are traveling.

Hogwarts Express -train

For example: if you leave Hogsmeade station, Hagrid is waving goodbye. If you leave Kings Cross, it looks like you are traveling from London to Hogwarts.

The Hogwarts Castle is AMAZING (I was literally crying when I walked in lol).

young girl standing in front of Hogwarts Castle at The Wizarding World of Harry Potter in Universal Orlando

We had one-hour early entry passes because we were staying at Cabana Bay Orlando Resort, so Hogswarts Castle was the first thing we experienced in the Wizarding World of Harry Potter.

Unfortunately it wasn’t the whole Hogwarts Castle because it would take up the entire park lol.

The Harry Potter overture was playing, there was fake snow on the roof, and the castle rising up on the hill in the background.

snow covered building in Hogsmeade Village inside The Wizarding World of Harry Potter at Universal Orlando
Hogwarts Castle  on a hill

All the shops from the book are there like Honeydukes, Zonko’s, and so much more. Universal puts so much detail into the wizarding world so it feels like you are in the books.

I felt like I was in my dream world.

girl pointing a toy wand at a window

Mum was crying as well. (that was from mum because she always pretends to be me when editing my posts and literally changes everything. Btw she wasn’t crying. – kalyra)

I always thought it was silly when people cried at Disney World, but now I understand.

I was overcome by the pure magic of Harry Potter and what J.K. Rowling was able to create. It was so joyful – Caz.

Where to Taste Butterbeer

family in front of butterbeer truck

Ok, if you go to Harry Potter world, I DEFINITELY recommend Butterbeer. ( yes parents, it’s alcohol-free) OMG, it’s delicious!!

I’ll never forget how excited Harry, Ron and Hermione were in the book to try butterbeer and how their first taste was the best thing they had ever tasted.

That’s how we felt after our first taste.

It’s like nothing you’ve ever tasted before and it’s incredibly delicious. How they recreated that exact reaction from the book in real life is incredible.

a mug of frozen butter beer and butter beer drink

Butterbeer is like a creamy, butterscotch and creaming soda treat. The marshmallow frothy top is  divine.

Here are the options for your butterbeer:

  • Cold ButterBeer (normal) where you can get it in Diagon Alley: Leaky Cauldron, The Hopping Pot. In Hogsmeade: Three Broomsticks, Hog’s Head Pub, and street carts.
  • Frozen Butterbeer (like a slushie) You can get this item at the same places. (Mum’s favorite).
  • Hot Butterbeer (my fav) In Hogsmeade: Hogs Head Pub
  • Butterbeer ice-cream (yum) In Diagon Alley: Leaky Cauldron. In Hogsmeade: Three Broomsticks
  • Potted Cream – Same places as the Butterbeer Ice-cream
  • Butterbeer Fudge – In Diagon Alley: Sugarplum’s Sweet Shop Hogsmeade: Honeydukes.

Unfortunately, we missed the fudge and potted cream- we didn’t know about them!

Again, all of these items are non-alcoholic.

Watch our video from The Wizarding World of Harry Potter:

Rides at Hogsmeade, Islands of Adventure

There are two rides at the Hogsmeade section of The Wizarding World of Harry Potter.

The Flight of the Hippogriff

The Flight of the Hipogriff

Flight of the Hippogriff  is a great roller coaster for the younger kids. Although it’s a little wild for a beginner ride. Savannah loved this ride because she is a fan of Buckbeak in Harry Potter.

I recommend this roller coaster ride for younger kids.

Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey

Harry Potter and the Forbidden journey is one of my favourite rides ever, and one of the best rides at Islands of Adventure.

This is a motion sickness ride and simulator so if you don’t like those kinda rides then I recommend not trying this ride.

However, if you ARE fine with those kind of rides, then I DEFINITELY recommend this ride.

It’s amazing because you go around inside the Hogwarts Castle through different rooms and even in the forbidden forest and on the Quidditch pitch where you can play Quidditch with Harry and Ron.

close up of hogwart's castle

When you first get on the journey, you can hear music and if you look up to a mirror, you can see Hermione talking to you.

The only part I don’t like in this ride is the dragon part because the dragon blows hot air on you.

The best part in my opinion is the Quidditch section and when the whomping willow is trying to attack you, and you sway to the side and it feels like you are about to go upside down because you also sway backwards.

And if your thinking, no it’s not like normal simulator rides when your in a big movie theater. You actually sit in a vehicle (each one fits 4 people) going through the castle!

Also, the queue is fantastic. I would the ride again just to go through the queue again. Since you’re in the Castle, the queue goes through rooms of the castle and it is absolutely amazing.

Some of the rooms are:

  • Defence against the Dark Arts classroom (the best one because Harry, Ron and Hermione talk to you)
  • Gryffindor common room, a hallway with picture’s talking and moving, and many more.

The Forbidden Journey is just fantastic and I highly recommend it.

Hagrid’s Magical Creatures Motorbike Adventure

Riding Hagrid’s Magical Creatures Motorbike Adventure is like zooming through the Forbidden Forest on a real magical motorbike!

You get to feel the wind in your hair as you twist and turn past all sorts of creatures like unicorns and Cornish Pixies.

And guess what? Hagrid himself guides you through the forest, showing you all these amazing animals that you’ve only read about in Harry Potter books.

The best part is when the motorbike goes super fast and you feel like you’re flying!

It’s the most exciting ride ever, and I can’t wait to go on it again.

The Hogsmeade Experience

My experience at Hogsmeade was incredible.

My dad was never really into Harry Potter but when we came here it inspired him to read the books.

If you come to Universal Studios or Islands of adventure, you have to check the out The Wizarding World of Harry Potter!

Tips for Visiting Islands of Adventure

girl holding up wand on station waiting for hogwarts train

Mum put me in charge of planning a trip to Universal Orlando Resort. So I knew a lot of tips before going that would save us time and money.

We learned a few more during our visit to Islands of adventure in the Universal Orlando Resort.

Dad has written an in-depth post sharing tips for Universal Orlando Resort, which will save you money and time.

Here are just a few of my favorite tips.

Use Child Swap

Each ride and attraction has a child swap area where one member of your party can wait with the little ones while the rest of your party rides.

Once they are off the ride, you swap places and whoever rode can stay with the kids while the adult(s) who sat out get the opportunity to enjoy the ride.

This is how I got to have so many turns on each ride. It saved me plenty of wait time to go on rides again. It was awesome.

Be a Single Rider

If you are 10 years or older, then you have the option of grabbing a quicker spot as a “single rider

Go Early and Stay Late

Hogsmeade lit up at dusk

It’s best to hit The Wizarding World of Harry Potter either at 8 am (if you have early park admission by staying at an on-site hotel) or after 4 pm when the park clears out a bit.

Check opening hours as sometimes the park may close an hour later. It closed an hour later than normal on the Friday night we visited.

Head straight to the back of the park while people linger at the front taking photos and stopping at some of the attractions.

Get Universal Express Passes

If you stay on-site at certain hotels you get free Universal Express Passes to the most popular rides and attractions, which allows you to skip to the front of the line.

If not staying on-site, you can also buy a Universal Express Pass upgrade to your admission ticket when you arrive at the park.

Meet Your Favorite Characters

family posing with the lorax at universal
Meeting the Lorax

There are meet and greets with various characters throughout the day – including Seuss characters, Marvel Super Heroes and Spider-Man.

You can find meet-and-greet times in our park maps. Park maps are available at the front of the park and in various retail and restaurant locations

Consider a meal plan

If you are planning on eating at least 2 meals at the park, then consider purchasing a Meal Plan.

You’ll save some cash as long as you eat two meals. One of the things that really impressed me about the park (besides how clean it was) is how yummy and diverse the food is!

There’s something for every age and it’s gooo-ood food!

Tickets for Islands of Adventure

Get your Islands of Adventure tickets and Universal Orlando tickets through our affiliate partner, Undercover Tourist, who provide authentic attraction tickets at discounted prices:

You can find Universal Orlando Resort tickets through our partner aResTravel, who can get the best priced tickets for Universal. Check for current deals here!

Where to Stay at Universal Orlando Resort

Cabana Bay Beach Resort swimming pool
Cabana Bay Beach Resort, Orlando,Universal Orlando Resort Florida

Staying on-site at Universal Orlando Resort helps a lot.

It can get you into the park earlier (all resorts) and give you Universal Express passes (excluding Cabana Bay and Sapphire Falls).

We stayed at Cabana Bay Beach Resort which is the closest hotel to Volcano Bay.

girls looiking out over balcony over pool at Cabana Bay Beach Resort
Cabana Bay Beach Resort

If you stay at a hotel at the Universal Orlando Resort, you can come and go easily back and forth depending on the day and the weather (and the mood of your children).

Here are the current Universal Resort Hotels to choose from (in order of Budget to Luxury):

Final Thoughts on Universal’s Islands of Adventure

Universal’s Islands of Adventure was so much fun.

It was definitely one of my favorite parks besides Volcano Bay, which is Universal Resort’s own water park.

I definitely recommend this park if you like Harry Potter, superheros, and stuff like that.

I can’t wait to go back again!

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