Guide to the Best Rides at Islands of Adventure at the Universal Orlando Resort

Are you visiting Universal Orlando and looking for the best attractions at Islands of Adventure? This list will share the best rides at Islands of Adventure that should be on your must-see list when visiting the Orlando theme park.

The best rides at Islands of Adventure are Hagrid’s Magical Creatures Motorbike, Velociocaster, Jurassic Park, and Cat in the Hat. We try to include them every time we visit the park.

Islands of Adventure is one of the theme parks at the Universal Orlando resort. The other is Universal Studios Florida. There is also a water park, Volcano Bay.

For more information about Universal check out this guide: Guide to Universal Parks and Resorts Orlando Florida

The Islands of Adventure rides have more thrills than the Universal Studios park but you can also find great rides for young kids too!

Islands of Adventure has some of the most fun lands at any theme park. I love Seuss Landing and the Wizarding World of Harry Potter areas the best.

They are immersive and have some of the best theme park attractions in the country.

Universal Studios and Islands of Adventure are great theme parks! Be sure to read our itinerary posts on Universal Studios and Islands of Adventure to help you plan your day at each Universal park.

entrance to islands of adventure
Entrance to Islands of Adventure.

Best Rides at Islands of Adventure

How do you determine the best rides at Universal’s Islands of Adventure?

It does depend on what kind of attractions you prefer but for us I look for great theme and fun for our family.

Most of the rides on our list have incredible theming. Some have big thrills while others are really just fun!

List of Islands of Adventure Attractions and Rides with Height Requirements

  • Doctor Dooms Fear Fall (52″)
  • Dudley Do-Rights Ripsaw Falls (44″)
  • Flight of the Hippogriff (36″)
  • Hagrid’s Magical Creatures Motorbike Adventure (48″)
  • Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey (48″)
  • Hogwarts Express
  • The Incredible Hulk Coaster (54″)
  • Jurassic Park River Adventure (42″)
  • Velocicoaster (51″)
  • One Fish, Two Fish, Red Fish, Blue Fish
  • Popeye & Bluto’s Bilge-Rats Barge (42″)
  • Poseidon’s Fury
  • Pteranodon Flyers
  • Skull Island: Reign of Kong (36″)
  • Storm Force Accelerator
  • The Amazing Adventures of Spider-Man (40″)
  • The Cat in the Hat (36″)
  • The High in the Sky Seuss Trolley Train Ride (36″)

You can read more details about ride scare factor and height requirements on my post: Islands of Adventure Height Requirement and Scare Factor for Families.

Now lets get into the best of Islands of Adventure and what the best rides at Islands of Adventure Orlando you don’t want to miss!!

Best Rides at Islands of Adventure

Hagrid’s Magical Creatures Motorbike Adventure

If you are a Harry Potter fan and even if you are not, Hagrid’s Magical Creatures Motorbike Adventure is a must ride.

Hagrid’s is my favorite Universal’s Islands of Adventure attraction. It is so good!

Hagrid’s is located in Hogsmeade in The Wizarding World of Harry Potter.

There are two areas of Harry Potter at the Universal resorts: Diagon Alley at Universal Studios Florida and Hogsmeade at Islands of Adventure.

Guests need a park-to-park ticket to experience both on the same day.

Guests board a motorbike ride vehicle and are taken on an adventure that has animatronics and a few amazing surprises. This is part dark ride with indoor and outdoor areas of the roller coaster.

I don’t want to give away anything but make time to ride Hagrid’s on your next visit.

Pro-Tip: Hagrid’s is what you should ride first when you arrive at Islands of Adventure!

There is not an express pass option for Hagrid’s Magical Creatures Motorbike Adventure and the lines have been exceeding 120 minute waits.

They have recently added Hagrid’s to the Universal App virtual que. This allows guests to reserve a time to ride on their phone before they arrive at the attraction.

You must be on Universal property to make this reservation. This is not guaranteed to be available on the day of your visit. You have to check the app day of to see if it will be available.

Photo Courtesy of the Universal Orlando Resort

We have always prioritized Hagrid’s first thing in the morning at rope drop. To take the best advantage of this stay on-site and use the early entry perk for on-site hotel guests.

I suggest arriving at park gates around 45 minutes prior to opening to be one of the first guests in the park. Guests must show their resort key to be allowed access to Hagrid’s.

Other attractions may be open during early entry as well. On our most recent visit it was Hagrid’s and Velocicoaster.

I have reviewed a few Universal resorts if you are looking for more information about where to stay: Hard Rock Hotel Review, Cabana Bay Beach Resort, Dockside Inn and Suites, and Surfside Inn and Suites.

The Amazing Adventures of Spider-Man

This ride is located in the Marvel Super Hero Island of the park. It is a 3D ride where guests board a simulator and make their way on an adventure.

This ride has a lot of familiar Spider-Man villains popping up and this is a great ride for families. All of us really enjoy riding Spider-Man.

Jurassic Park River Adventure

Jurassic Park River Adventure is a boat attraction that takes visitors through the world of Jurassic Park until something goes terribly wrong.

Most of this ride is a boat ride with animatronic dinosaurs until you start the slow climb up the lift hill where you start to encounter much darker scarier dinosaurs.

I love Jurassic Park! It is fun to see the dinosaurs and get a bit wet on a hot Florida day. The end is a bit thrilling with an encounter with a T-Rex but all of my kids enjoy the Jurassic Park attraction.

Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey

Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey is unlike any attraction I have ever been on. As you enter Hogwarts castle your journey begins.

The line is part of the attraction and many people will walk through only to exit the attraction before riding. Throughout the line you will see many references to Hogwarts and come across familiar characters from Harry Potter.

The ride itself has riders flying through the grounds of Hogwarts. It can twist riders upside down, sideways, and backward.

Along the way you will come across dangerous encounters with a dragon, spiders, and dementors. This ride switches between animatronic scenes and screens.

A word of caution: This ride can cause serious motion sickness. I usually ride once during our visits because I can’t ride more than that.

Hogwarts castle at Islands of Adventure
Outside of Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey

The Incredible Hulk Coaster

The Incredible Hulk Coaster was completely refurbished with a new track in 2016 making it a smoother ride than previous years. Located in Marvel Super Hero Island it is usually one of the rides that is most popular for guests.

Hulk is a seriously intense roller coaster that most will say is a must ride at the park. Guests are launched through twists and turns, and it is top on the list for thrills at the park.

If lines are long consider using the single rider line to shorten your wait time.

Dudley Do-Rights Ripsaw Falls

Dudley Do-Rights is Islands of Adventures take on a classic log flume. You board a log flume and are sent on your way down the water. This is located at the Toon Lagoon area of the park.

You realize as you are riding that this is more intense than your typical log flume. Dudley ends with a 75 foot drop and you will be soaked. Read more about Water Rides at Universal Orlando.

The ride vehicle is also very tight making it an uncomfortable ride. There is a test vehicle outside the attraction.

Popeye and Bluto’s Bilge-Rat Barges

This attraction is a raft adventure that will get you soaked. Located in Toon Lagoon guests board a raft and start on an adventure with Popeye. I suggest riding this and Dudley’s around the same time and at the hottest time of the day.

It is always a fun time to ride Popeye and see who is going to get drenched.

Skull Island: Reign of Kong

I was hesitant to add this to the list because some of my family members dislike it, but I think for your first visit it is worth experiencing.

Skull Island is a mix of 3D technology and animatronics. The best moment comes at the end when you are face to face with Kong. Skull Island is located between Toon Lagoon and Jurassic Park areas.

The reason all of my kids don’t like it is because there are scare-actors in the line that will pop out at you. The attraction itself isn’t super scary but this has them avoiding the ride.

If you find this to be an issue for your family speak with the attendant at the ride entrance. Sometimes they can assist you in avoiding them.

Since COVID reopening I have not heard the scare actors are back. Check with a ride attendant if you are concerned.


Velocicoaster opened in June 2021 and we were lucky enough to ride during a soft opening in May. Velocicoaster is one of the best rides at Islands of Adventure!

If you like thrills and roller coasters you will love this new addition to the park. You are racing with a velociraptor and are launched at top speeds of 70 mph.

This is an intense coaster. If the speed doesn’t scare you the barrel rolls over the water and the top hat hill might! We all love the thrills of this ride but be ready to expect an intense ride.

The Cat in the Hat

The Cat in the Hat is located in Seuss Landing and is perfect for kids of all ages. Guests board their “couch” and are taken through the story of The Cat in the Hat.

From there they see all the mischievous things that Thing 1 and Thing 2 do. I love this area of the park and taking a ride through a beloved Dr. Seuss story is one of my favorites.

I know this may seem like a stretch but I like a little nostalgia when I visit theme parks and The Cat in the Hat offers a good balance to the thrills across the park.

Related Post: Everything to Ride, Eat, and See at Seuss Landing at Universal Orlando

seuss landing cat and the hat

Hogwarts Express

Hogwarts Express is really an incredible way to immerse guests into the World of Harry Potter. Guests can take the train from Hogsmeade to Diagon Alley in Universal Studios.

Out the windows you will see scenes of the English countryside and London, as well as some surprises along the way.

This is an all ages attraction that I highly recommend. The only downside is you can only ride this attraction if you have a park-to-park ticket.

This allows guests to visit Universal Studios and Islands of Adventure in one day.

Best Rides at Islands of Adventure 2022

Although Islands of Adventure didn’t open any new attractions for 2022 I have to say Velocicoaster and Hagrid’s are tied for the very best attraction at Islands of Adventure.

If you are looking for intense thrills Velocicoaster is for you. I suspect it may move ahead of Hagrid’s as the best ride for some coaster enthusiast.

If you are looking for more family friendly Hagrid’s Magical Creatures Motorbike Adventure is probably a better choice.

How to do the Best Rides at Islands of Adventure

Now that you know what rides can’t be missed at Islands of Adventure you might find yourself wondering how you are going to ride them with young children or long lines.

There area a few different options to limit wait time when visiting the best attractions at Islands of Adventure.

If you are traveling with young children some of the best rides at Islands of Adventure are Cat in the Hat, or anything in Seuss Landing.

Ride the small roller coaster, Flight of the Hippogriff in Hogsmeade or take time to explore Camp Jurassic in the Jurassic Park area.

Child Swap at Islands of Adventure

Each ride and attraction has a family room for children that may be too small or not wanting to ride.

You wait together for the attraction and as you get closer part of your party will go to the family room with the small child, and the other part will ride.

After the ride you will switch and ride with the other part. We did this for Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey when my kids were small.

My youngest and I sat in the family room watching Harry Potter movies and my husband and older children went on the attraction. When they were done I got to ride the attraction with my older children.

I’ve also used the family room to wait while my family rode Velocicoaster. That way we can wait in line together and I can hold their things while they ride.

Single Rider Line at Islands of Adventure

Single rider line is a line specifically for single riders. This means you will be split from your group and put on the attraction when there is an opening. This line tends to move quickly but you will most likely be split up from your group.

List of Attractions with a Single Rider Line at Islands of Adventure:

  • Doctor Doom’s Fearfall
  • Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey
  • Velocicoaster
  • The Incredible Hulk Coaster

Express Pass at Islands of Adventure and Virtual Line

Express Pass is an upgraded add-on to your admission ticket. It allows guests to skip the line and have priority ride access.

I go into details in this post, Everything You Need to Know About Express Pass at Universal Orlando. Basically it is a great perk but also very expensive and not always needed.

If your resort offers it, take advantage of it, but on low crowd days it is not usually necessary if you arrive at rope drop.

Currently Hagrid’s is the only attraction at Islands of Adventure that has a virtual line option. I highly suggest taking advantage of it to minimize wait times.

List of Attractions at Islands of Adventure with Express Pass Line

  • Doctor Doom’s Fearfall
  • Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey
  • The Incredible Hulk Coaster
  • Skull Island: Reign of Kong
  • The Amazing Adventure of Spider-Man
  • Dudley Do-Rights Ripsaw Falls
  • Jurassic Park River Adventure
  • Popeye & Bluto’s Bilge-Rat Barges
  • Caro-Seuss-el
  • Flight of Hippogriff
  • Hogwarts Express
  • One Fish, Two Fish
  • Poseidon’s Fury
  • The Cat in the Hat
  • The High in the Sky Seuss Trolley Train
  • Storm Force Accelatron

Universal’s Islands of Adventure is a great park for families. With its fun themed lands there is something for everyone. I recommend riding each one at least once and make your own list of best rides in Islands of Adventure for your family.

Read Next: Universal Orlando with Kids: 71 Must Do Attractions

Sharing is caring!

Leave a Comment