How to Have Fun at Universal’s Islands of Adventure (tips from a 10 year old)

In my last post about our trip to Universal Orlando Resort I shared with you the awesome day we had at Universal’s Volcano Bay.

For the next two days, we moved between Islands of Adventure and Universal Studios and had the time of my life.

Universal Orlando tickets

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.

Islands of Adventure is one of two theme parks at Universal Orlando Resort and is known for it’s 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, Marvel comics, or mythology.

Islands of Adventure was epic.

Not only did this park have the main Harry Potter section, but it also had one of the BEST rides ever, The Incredible Hulk.

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

The Wizarding World of Harry Potter – Hogsmeade

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, 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.

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 - one of the Harry Potter rides Universal Orlando

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).

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.

Hogsmeade Village inside The Wizarding World of Harry Potter at Universal Orlando
Hogwarts Castle at The Wizarding World of Harry Potter in Universal Orlando

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

Universal Studios Orlando Tips - drink ALL the Butterbeer

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.

Butterbeer, Universal Orlando Resort

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 a 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.

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!

You may also want to see what the Harry Potter Studio Tour in London is like!

Islands of Adventure Park

Islands of Adventure

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

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 do the big 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 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

Toon Lagoon

We didn’t spend too long in Toon Lagoon because there wasn’t much to do in this land. But there was really fun ride called Dudley Do – Rights Ripsaw Falls.

This ride is a water ride and you get soaked!

Islands of Adventure

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! (btw 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 and Bluto’s Bilge – Rat Barges

Seuss Landing

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!
One fish, Two fish, Red fish, Blue fish
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 it’s soooo much fun!

The Incredible Hulk Coaster at Islands of Adventure
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.

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 - Islands of Adventure, Universal Orlando Resort. Get insider tips on how to have the best visit here.

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

 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, (I have a post about Volcano Bay too.)

I definitely recommend this park if you like Harry Potter, superheros, and stuff like that. I can’t wait to go back again!

Check out our videos on the Universal Orlando Resort

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Tips for Islands of Adventure

Readu to ride Hogwarts Express

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 18 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 at Universal Orlando

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 most 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

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!

Purchase your Universal Orlando Resort tickets through our partner aResTravel, who can get the best priced tickets for Universal. Check for current deals.

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:

See all Universal Orlando tickets here. 

Where to Stay at Universal Orlando Resort

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

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.

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):

I hope you like my post about Islands of Adventure as much as I did visiting the park.

Check out my post about Universal Studios Florida. Stay tuned!

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