Islands of Adventure – Ultimate Guide to Rides, Dining + Tips & Tricks

Islands of Adventure Water Rides

Islands of Adventure is definitely one of our families favorite parks. The beautifully themed lands, incredible rides, and some pretty great food make it one of the best parks in America. We have been going to this park for over 15 years now. In this guide, I will give you everything you want to know about Islands of Adventure rides, places to grab a bite to eat, and tips and tricks to navigating the park like a pro. Plus, we will give you a breakdown of the best rides in the park and when to visit them. 

Islands of Adventure Rides:

Best Rides for Adventure Seekers:

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The Incredible Hulk Coaster

This is an intense coaster that sends you flying into spins, upside down and all around. While it may be intense it is one of the smoothest coasters I have ever been on. 

(Make sure to empty your pockets in the Free lockers as no cell phones or bags are allowed on this ride)

Hagrid’s Motorbike Adventures:

Without a doubt, this is the most unique roller coaster I have ever been on. You sit down on a motorbike or sidecar and fly through twists and turns on Hagrid’s motorbike. There are numerous surprises including going backward and a 17-foot drop out of nowhere (Tower of Terror Style). 

*Pro Tip – Either line up first thing in the morning or go around 1 or 2 pm to get on this ride. It is new so the lines get long but at 6 pm they mark it at capacity and you will not be able to ride.

Doctor Doom’s Fearfall:

Fly up a 199-foot tower while your feet dangle and then get ready for quite the drop. Get your stomach prepared for this one!

Best 4D Islands of Adventure Rides

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Skull Island Reign of Kong

This is by far my favorite 4-D ride in the park. You are taken into the jungle and run into quite the battle with Kong, Dinosaurs and all sorts of crazy creatures that will jump out at you. 

Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey:

The original ride that opened in Hogsmeade is a 4d adventure that has you flying around with Harry. This ride does tend to make people with motion sickness a bit nauseous, so be aware.  

The Amazing Spiderman –

Get ready to fight Spiderman’s biggest nemesis in this epic 4D ride. This ride is one of the original rides to include 4-D and it is still one of the best. 

Hogwarts Express – Hogsmeade Station:

Islands of Adventure - Hogsmeade Station

This is the best way to get to Universal Orlando from Islands of Adventure. (You must have a 2-Park Ticket) The Hogwarts Express train takes you from Hogsmeade Station to Diagon Alley. The train ride is pretty amazing and you don’t have to walk. It’s a must do. 

Best Water Rides:

Islands of Adventure Water Rides

Popeye and Bluto’s Bilge-Rat Barges:

My favorite water ride at the park but also by far the wettest ride in Islands of Adventure.  You will without a doubt get soaked. The 12-person raft will have you battling white water rapids and get soaked by waterfalls and so much more. It’s hilarious to see everyone’s expressions as they get soaked. 

Dudley Do-Right’s Ripsaw Falls

This Dudley Do-Right ride is a pretty fun log ride that will send you zooming in and out of water falls. Be prepared to get slightly wet to very wet on this ride.

Jurassic Park River Adventure

This epic ride takes you through Jurassic Park, but not Surprisingly things go horribly wrong and the river raft ride ends with a battle to avoid raptors and a T. Rex as you fall into a giant pool of water. Be prepared to get slightly wet to very wet on this ride.

Best Islands of Adventure Rides for the Little Ones

Flight of the Hippogriff:

This family-friendly coaster is great for the little ones who may not be tall enough for Hagrid’s or the Forbidden Journey.

One Fish, Two Fish, Red Fish, Blue Fish:

Islands of Adventure Rides - One Fish Two Fish

This ride is the must-do ride of the land in my opinion. It is your classic Dumbo style ride but on this ride you have to maneuver your fish up or down to avoid being hit by water. 


Islands of Adventure Rides - Caro - Suessal

This interactive carousel has Seuss-themed mounts and music. It is a super cure carousel that actually the whole family loved as you can move and play with the characters you are riding on. (Fun Fact: my husband split his pants one time getting on this ride, so be careful as you might end up like him racing back to port of entry to buy new shorts. 

The Cat in The Hat

The Cat in the Hat is a fun spinny ride though the story of the Cat in the Hat. Hold on to your glasses and cameras as this ride will surprise you as we have almost lost our camera on the ride.  

The High in the Sky Seuss Trolley Train Ride:

Seuss Trolley Ride - Islands of Adventure

This is a relaxing ride that will take you around Seuss land and give you some great views of Islands of Adventure as you are taking a train on an elevated track.

Storm Force Accelatron:

This is a spinning ride based on X-Men superhero Storm. This ride is a great option if you have little ones not big enough for Hulk, Dr. Doom’s Fear Fall or Spiderman.  

Pteranodon Flyers:

Located in Camp Jurassic, Pteranodon Flyers has your kids flying over Jurassic Park. This does not allow for Express pass, but there is a virtual queue which is nice.

All my BEST Universal Orlando Tips for 2017 all in one place. Click to learn all my secrets as a Travel Writer who has visited (with my 5 kids) dozens of times. This is the ONLY Universal Orlando guide you need. Click through to the website to view my best Universal Orlando Tips and Tricks.

Islands of Adventure Express Pass –

The Islands of Adventure Express Pass is the ultimate way to get around the parks. We never go to the parks without the express pass as you will go on triple the number of rides with the Express Pass. The Express can be pricey so check out my ultimate guide to Express Pass and how to get it for about 50% off here!

Here is a list of all the rides that accept the Express Pass and which ones do not.

Universal’s Islands Of Adventure Express Rides

  • Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey™
  • Hogwarts™ Express (Park-to-Park admission ticket required)
  • Flight of the Hippogriff™
  • The Amazing Adventures of Spider-Man®
  • The Incredible Hulk Coaster®
  • Storm Force Accelatron®
  • Doctor Doom’s Fearfall®
  • Jurassic Park River Adventure™
  • Skull Island: Reign of Kong™
  • Caro-Seuss-el™
  • The High in the Sky Seuss Trolley Train Ride!™
  • Dudley Do-Right’s Ripsaw Falls®
  • Poseidon’s Fury™

Islands of Adventure Rides that do not accept Express Pass

  • Pteranodon Flyers (this ride has a virtual line)
  • Hagrid’s Mystical Motorbike Adventures (Will have an Express Line in the Future)

Islands Of Adventure Tickets

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Islands of Adventures tickets can be purchased at the park gate, however pre-purchasing your tickets online is always a better option to save you time and money. There are 3 parks at Universal Orlando Resort, Islands of Adventure, Universal Studios Orlando, and Volcano Bay water park. I recommend visiting all 3 if you have time as they are all incredible!

A Park to Park ticket allows you to go between the 2 or three parks and also allows you to ride the Hogsmeade Express between parks. 

If you are looking to save some money, here is our complete guide to discounted tickets at Islands of Adventure and Universal Orlando

Islands of Adventure Tips:

I have a ton of Universal Orlando Tips that you should check out for your entire stay. Here are some of my best for Islands of Adventure:

  • Get to the Park Early – You’ll beat the crowds and beat the heat. 
  • Head to the left of the park but bypass Hulk, everyone goes there or Harry Potter first. Ride Spiderman, Kong, and Jurassic Park. There shouldn’t be much of a line. 
  • Use Child Swap if you have little kids that aren’t tall enough to ride. It allows one parent to wait off while the family waits in line when the ride is over the parent waiting off the ride can jump right on the ride without waiting inline
  • Express Pass is worth it on busy days. If there are 4 or 5 people who want an express pass stay at the Royal Pacific Hotel and they are free with the stay!
  • Places to Cool Off
    • Jurassic Park Discovery Center
    • Poseidon’s Fury
    • Toon Lagoon Fountains

A Tour Around the Park

Let’s now do a full tour around the park. There is a ton to do and this will be a guide of what to do, what to see, what to eat and which rides to ride in each of the areas. 

Port Of Entry In Islands Of Adventure

The port of entry is where you step into Islands of Adventure. While this area is often overlooked because it lacks rides. There are tons of fun shops and great food here to explore. This is also where you can find guest services and wheelchair, stroller and ECV rentals. 

Pro Tip – Use the guest services inside the park if you can, the one outside tends to get quite the long line. 

  • There are references to other islands on signs and buildings in Port of Entry.
  • You will find the Cat in the Hat’s hat at Confisco Grille 
  • At the end of the walkway is an incredible view of the Lagoon. Head down to the docks for an amazing picture.  

Dining In Port Of Entry

  • Cinnabon: Somehow we seem to find our way to Cinnabon each time we visit. Those warm gooey Cinnamon Rolls are simply delicious. 
  • Croissant Moon Bakery: This Islands of Adventure restaurant is a good place to get morning coffee, pastry, and other grab and go breakfast items. Croissant Moon Bakery also serves soup, sandwiches, milkshakes, cheesecake, and funnel cakes for lunch and dinner. 
  • Confisco Grille: Confisco grille is a pretty great place to grab a bite to eat. It is usually not to busy and  has a larger menu than most Islands of Adventure restaurants. They serve American, Italian, Greek, Mexican, and Asian menu items for lunch and dinner. Right next door you can grab a cocktail at Backwater Bar. 
  • Starbucks Coffee: This is the only Starbucks in Islands of Adventure, so grab your Starbucks fix here. 

Seuss Landing – Best Area for Little Ones

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Many people fly by this land as they are racing to get to the Wizarding World of Harry Potter. Buy Suess Landing is actually pretty incredible. You will find yourself in a whimsical world that is created by the mind of Dr. Suess

Islands of Adventure Rides In Seuss Landing

  • One Fish, Two Fish, Red Fish, Blue Fish:
  • Caro-Seuss-el

  • The High in the Sky Seuss Trolley Train Ride

  • The Cat in The Hat

Islands of Adventure - One Fish Two Fish

Shows In Seuss Landing

Oh! The Stories You’ll Hear:

Islands of Adventure Shows

Performed on an outdoor stage in Seuss Landing, this show features a reading of The Lorax and appearances from The Lorax, Cat in the Hat, Sam I Am, and other Seuss characters. 

Other Activities to Entertain the Little Ones inside Seuss Landing

Coloring inside the shops

Dr. Suess Land - Islands of Adventure

If it is a hot day sit back and relax with your little one as they color on some complimentary coloring pages.

If I Ran The Zoo:

This is an outdoor play area that includes many of the unusual animals in Dr. Suess Books. It is also a water play area so you may get wet.

Dining In Seuss Landing 

Circus McGurkus Café Stoo-pendous

This is a simple quick service cafe serving pizza, spaghetti, chicken, burgers, and other kid-friendly food. Guests dine under a giant circus tent 

Green Eggs and Ham Café:

This restaurant is bright green and shaped like a ham with a giant fork stuck in it. It serves green eggs and ham sandwiches as well as chicken and cheeseburgers.

Hop on Pop Ice Cream Shop:

This outdoor ice cream counter sells floats, cones, sundaes, and Dippin’ Dots. 

Moose Juice, Goose Juice

Suess Landing Snacks

Serving primarily snacks and beverages, Moose Juice, Goose Juice is a fast option for thirsty guests and you can also grab some giant donuts.

Holidays at Suess Landing

Holidays at Suess Landing involve Grinchmas. This is one of the best times to visit the park and this land in particular as the Grinch comes out and interacts with guests. There are fun shows and a ton more to do in this land. 

Lost Continent Land – Best Place to Grab a Bite

To be perfectly honest, the Lost Continent is my kids least favorite, but persoanlly I love this land. Yes, the attractions aren’t amazing, but the grounds are amazing and this is where you will find the best food in the park.

There are no rides in the Lost Continent but there are two shows. 

Shows In Lost Continent

  • Poseidon’s Fury: Of the two shows this is the one to see. It is a walk through show that is visually stunning as you walk through Poseidon’s Temple. 
  • The Eighth Voyage of Sindbad: This show combines an amazing grotto-like set, stunts, pyrotechnics, and other special effects with a scripted tale of good vs. evil.  

Other Fun Things to do in the Lost Continent

  • The Mystic Fountain: You will find this peculiar looking fountain near the sinbad theater. You can talk and joke with this fountain but be careful of sticking your tongue out as the fountain will spit at you.   

Dining In Lost Continent

This is where the Lost Continent excels and where you should stop for a bite to eat. 

Mythos Restaurant:

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I can write a whole post about Mythos. It is simply amazing. The restaurant is built into a towering rock formation. You are basically inside a giant cave. Ask for a window view and you will be set alongside a picturesque view of the park. This is a full service restaurant serving delicious bite like pasta hummus, burgers and more. I recommend making a reservation to avoid a wait. 

Doc Sugrue’s Desert Kebab House:

This quick-service food counter serves vegetarian, chicken, and beef kabobs and snacks like yogurt and hummus. 

Fire Eater’s Grill:

Here you can grab chicken fingers, spicy chicken fingers, salads, and gyros. 

The Wizarding World Of Harry Potter –  Islands Of Adventure

Universal Studios Hogwart's Express

The Wizarding World of Harry Potter is probably one of my favorite lands of any theme park. The only two other areas that are even comparable are Diagon’s Alley across the way at Universal Studios and Pandora at Animal Kingdom. 

The Wizarding World of Harry Potter in Islands of Adventure recreates Hogsmeade Village, from the Harry Potter books and films. 

Wizarding World of Harry Potter Rides

  • Hagrid’s Magical Creatures Motorbike Adventure
  • Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey:
  • Flight of the Hippogriff:
  • Hogwarts Express – Hogsmeade Station:

How to avoid crowds at Universal Orlando's Hogsmeade. Tips for visiting the Wizarding World of Harry Potter

Hogsmeade Shows

Frog Choir:

Hogwarts students sing Harry Potter songs with the accompaniment of some green friends.

Dining at Hogsmeade

Top Tips for Universal Orlando including where to get Butter Beer and how to avoid crowds at Harry Potter land

I have not tried too many of the dining spots in Hogsmeade, however, kids are obsessed with Butter Beer, and most people absolutely love Three Broomsticks. The one place my husband loves is Hog’s Head which serves up I do have to say some pretty tasty concoctions.

Three Broomsticks: Enjoy rotisserie chicken and ribs and shepherds pie

Hog’s Head: The cinnamon whiskey drink is amazing (sorry I forgot the name), but ask the bartender, they will know. 

More Fun Stuff to do in Hogsmeade

Normally, I would not include shopping at a theme park as a fun thing to do because most theme park stores are kind blah in my opinion. This is not the case in Hogsmeade. Each store has a story and has some incredible decor and super fun and unique items from the Harry Potter Movies. 

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Shopping In Hogsmeade

  • Honeydukes: This is my favorite store as the shop sells Harry Potter themed candies like the world’s grossest jelly beans – Bertie Bott’s Every-Flavour Beans, chocolate frogs, wands, and cauldrons, fizzing whizbees, fudge flies, exploding bonbons,  sugar quills and more
  • Ollivanders: Olivander’s is where you can purchase wands and over at Universal Studios there is a special experience where the wand chooses you. 
  • Owl Post: You can buy stationary, envelopes, quills, pens, journals, bookmarks, and related items in this Hogsmeade store. 
  • Dervish and Banges: Grab Hogwarts robes, sweaters, Quidditch equipment (Bludgers, Quaffles, etc.), and other Wizarding supplies. 

Jurassic Park & Skull Island

Jurrasic Park is my 2nd favorite themed land (well, it’s a tie with Dr. Suess Area) as you walk into through the Iconic Jurassic Park sign to enter the land while Jurassic Park Music plays in the background. Skull Island isn’t technically part of Jurassic Park but it is in the area once occupied by Jurassic Park. 

Islands of Adventure - Jurassic Park

Rides In Jurassic Park & Skull Island

  • Jurassic Park River Adventure 
  • Skull Island Reign of Kong
  • Pteranodon Flyers

Fun Things to do in Jurassic Park & Skull Island

  • Live Raptor Encounter: This is one of the newer additions to Jurassic Park. The raptor will definitely freak you out as you get to take a “fun” photo with it. 
  • Camp Jurassic: This is probably the best play area in the park. Kids and Adults can go through rope bridges, caves, waterfalls slides and more. 
  • Jurassic Park Discovery Center: This is also a super fun area and a great place to cool off as it is indoors. You can interact with several Dinosaur replicas, see Dinosaurs being hatched out of eggs and more. 

Islands of Adventure Ride - Kong

Jurassic Park Dining

  • Thunder Falls Terrace: **Best Quick Service** –  A Wide variety of dishes including rib platters, rotisserie chicken, soup, turkey legs and more
  • Pizza Predattoria:  Serves, you guessed it, pizza. Also, meatballs subs and salads
  • The Burger Digs: Located in Jurassic Park Discovery Center, this indoor restaurant has a simple lunch/dinner menu of burgers, veggie burgers, chicken sandwiches, french fries, onion rings, and milkshakes. You can top your own burgers and sandwiches with ingredients from a cold topping bar.
  • The Mess Tent: Get the Kong Dog, it’s massive!

Toon Lagoon

I personally love Toon Lagoon. There are a ton of fun places to take pictures, there is some decent food to grab a bite and it is home to some ridiculously fun water rides.  

Toon Lagoon Rides

  • Dudley Do-Right’s Ripsaw Falls
  • Popeye and Bluto’s Bilge-Rat Barges

Popeye's Water Ride - Islands of Adventure

Toon Lagoon Dining:

  • Comic Strip Café: If we aren’t eating at Lost Continent or Jurassic Park area we are eating here as there is a wide variety of options. Burgers, Chinese Food, Hot dogs, Pizza,  spaghetti, and more.  
  • Blondie’s: Home of the Dagwood: – Great Place to grab hot dogs or sandwiches
  • Cathy’s Ice Cream:

More fun in Toon Lagoon Fan Secrets

  • Me Ship, The Olive: Play area, great for little kids who can’t ride Popeye’s or Rip Saw Falls
  • The second deck of the Ship has free water cannons that can be used to spray people who are riding Popeye and Bluto’s Bilge-Rat Barges.
  • Photo Opps – Like I said earlier Toon Lagoon is filled with great photo opps. 

Marvel Super Hero Island

Rides In Marvel Super Hero Island

  • Doctor Doom’s Fearfall
  • Storm Force Accelatron
  • The Amazing Adventures of Spider-Man: . 
  • The Incredible Hulk Coaster

Dining In Marvel Super Hero Island

  • Café 4: Serves Italian food like pizza, spaghetti, fettuccine, and meatball subs for lunch and dinner. 
  • Captain America Diner: Cheeseburgers, french fries, onions rings, and milkshakes. 
  • Chill Ice Cream: Walk-up ice cream shop


There you have it. A full tour of Islands of adventure. It truly is one of the best theme parks!
If you have any questions feel free to leave them in the comments or send me a message on my Instagram.
Pin for Later –  Islands of Adventure – Ultimate Guide to Rides, Dining + Tips & Tricks
Ultimate Guide to Islands of Adventure

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