Best Islands of Adventure Tips for an Awesome Day at the Park

Are you planning a visit to Universal’s Islands of Adventure? These tips for Islands of Adventure will help you plan your visit to the Universal Orlando theme park.

Islands of Adventure is one of 3 theme parks at the Universal Orlando Resort. The other two are Universal Studios Florida and Epic Universe(opening summer 2025)

If this is your first visit to Universal you should plan on visiting both of the Universal parks. They each offer unique rides and attractions worth visiting.

Islands of Adventure is home to five unique lands and lots of thrilling rides and attractions. There are intense roller coasters for the big kids and a fully immersive Dr. Seuss land for the little ones.

My Best Islands of Adventure Tips

  • Arrive 30-45 minutes before park open.
  • Ride the most popular attractions in the first 2 hours of park opening.
  • Take advantage of single rider line when it is available.
  • Use Mobile ordering for dining when available.
  • Stay on-site if you can to take advantage of perks.
  • Pack and Prepare for water attractions.
  • Expect a lot of walking.

Want more details? Read on for my tried and true tips for Universal’s Islands of Adventure.

entrance to islands of adventure
Entrance to Islands of Adventure at Universal Orlando Resort.

The first time I visited Islands of Adventure I was so impressed with the attractions. They were unlike anything I had ever experienced. The rides at Islands of Adventure offer something for everyone.

From the Adventures of Spider-Man to Dudley Do-Rights Ripsaw Falls, the attractions are unique and fun for families.

If you are planning a full day at Islands of Adventure check out this one day Islands of Adventure itinerary. Not sure where to start? Read our Complete Guide to Your Universal Orlando Vacation!

Best Tips for Islands of Adventure

As out-of-town annual pass holders we visit often but we also value the importance of maximizing our times at the park. These are my best tips for visiting Islands of Adventure.

Purchase Tickets Ahead of Time

Always purchase tickets before you arrive at the parks. The best place to start checking prices is the Universal Orlando website. After that I suggest comparing it to the Universal ticket deals from Undercover Tourist.

There are different deals offered seasonally from both websites and that is why I always check before I buy.

Arrive Early

A big Islands of Adventure tip is to arrive early! There are a few ways to get early entry into Islands of Adventure.

Guests staying at a Universal on-site resort receive early access to a designated park. If you are staying off-site and have an annual pass you may have early entry perks.

If you do not have early entry perks, plan to arrive 30-45 minutes before park opening to be one of the first people through the gates.

hogwarts and tips for island of adventure at universal orlando
Hogwarts Castle is impressive on the outside and the attraction inside is unique too!

Ride the Most Popular Rides in the First 2 Hours of Park Opening

If you want to spend less time in long lines ride the most popular attractions early in your day. This may mean a lot of walking back and forth but then you will have time to explore the park at a slower pace.

If you are not an early riser, consider riding the most popular rides in the last 2 hours of park opening.

The most popular rides at Islands of Adventure are:

  • Hagrid’s Magical Creatures Motorbike Adventure
  • Jurassic World Velocicoaster
  • The Incredible Hulk Coaster
  • The Amazing Adventure of Spider-Man
  • Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey
  • Jurassic Park

All rides and attractions will see longer wait times as the day progresses and if you are visiting during spring breaks or other high crowd days.

Pro Tip: Check the wait times on the Universal Orlando app in the weeks before your trip to see what the average wait times are for the attractions you want to ride.

Plan Your Must See Attractions Before You Arrive

Before you arrive at Islands of Adventure spend some time looking over the Universal Orlando Resort app and learning about the rides before you start your vacation.

Download it to your phone and learn about the rides. This is also a good time to check the ride wait times. If a ride has a long wait time consider riding it early in the day.

Take Advantage of Single Rider Line

If the lines are long and it is a busy crowd day consider the single rider line. This line is used to fill up the ride vehicles when there is an open spot.

You will be split up from your group but wait times are usually 10-15 minutes. Don’t use single rider if you are traveling with a child that may be scared on the ride. They will ride with a random guest.

Rides that have single rider line at Islands of Adventure are: Doctor Doom’s Fearfall, Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey, Jurassic World Velocicoaster, Skull Island: Reign of Kong, Popeye & Bluto’s Bilge-Rat Barge, and The Incredible Hulk Coaster.

Hagrid’s Magical Creatures Motorbike Adventure occasionally has a single rider line. Ask a team member at the entrance of an attraction for confirmation.

Use Mobile Order on Dining to Save Time

Mobile order is available at participating dining locations. Guests need to have a credit card linked to their account on the Universal Orlando app.

Most mobile ordering is done from your app. Multiple casual dining locations had QR codes on the tables that guests could place their orders on, then a team member would bring you your food.

This seems to be more popular across the resorts. If you do not want to connect a credit card there is still a walk-up option available.

Stay On-Site for Guest Perks

If you want to have special perks consider staying on-site at a Universal Orlando resort. Guests staying at all of the resorts receive early entry in the parks.

Guests staying at a Premier resort receive Universal Express Pass. This is a line skipping pass that can be a huge time saver at the parks. The Universal hotels that include express pass may be worth the extra cost of the upgrade.

When taking advantage of early entry at Islands of Adventure ride Hagrid’s Magical Creatures Motorbike Adventure first, if you plan to ride it. Then you can do the other attractions that are open during early admission hours.

Be Prepared to Get Wet

Island’s of Adventure has three water rides. In order of wet to soaked they are Jurassic Park River Adventure, Dudley Do-Rights Ripsaw Falls, and Popeye and Bluto’s Bilge-Rat Barges.

They also have One Fish, Two Fish, Red Fish, Blue Fish that is not technically a water ride, but if you don’t move your fish you can get wet!

If it is a really hot day you may not mind getting soaked on any of these rides. We have used a poncho on all of them to stay dry and they have dryers in the park you can use for a fee.

Jurassic Park will get you the least wet and we can usually ride this without too much worry. Dudley Do-Rights will get you a little less soaked than Popeyes.

I suggest wearing flip-flops and storing your sneakers in a locker. If you ride Popeye you will be totally soaked through your shoes.

If this does happen, use paper towels to fill your shoes in your hotel room. I find they work the best to absorb the water quickly. Learn more about the Best Water Rides at Universal Orlando.

Plan to Walk A Lot

Islands of Adventure is laid out in a circle without a central hub. This means you will have to walk the entire circle to go from one location to the next.

There is no cut through to get from one section of the park to another. I suggest planning your day and itinerary before you arrive at the park to prepare for the amount of walking.

Islands of Adventure view
The view from across the lake at Islands of Adventure. Marvel Superhero Island is to the left. Seuss Landing is to the right. Jurassic Discovery Center is across the way.

Use the Lockers at the Park

At Islands of Adventure lockers are required to ride certain attractions or have a non-rider hold your items.

They are The Incredible Hulk, Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey, Jurassic World Velocicoaster, and Hagrid’s Magical Creatures Motorbike Adventures.

On the Harry Potter attractions you may be allowed to keep things in your pockets.

To ride The Incredible Hulk and Velocicoaster you are required to walk through a metal detector and everything must be stored in a locker.

The locker’s are at the entrance of the rides and are free for your time in line and on the attraction. Most small bags will fit in the free lockers but you may need to pay for a larger locker if you have multiple items.

We have seen the locker process change in the numerous times we have visited the park. Typically, you will scan your park ticket to gain access to the lockers so be sure to bring that with you.

Prepare for Scary Attractions

Out of the Universal Orlando theme parks, Islands of Adventure has the bigger thrill rides and scare factor.

King Kong has actors in the line that are there to scare people waiting, my kids really dislike this but others may be fine with it. Update: They haven’t been back since 2020. If you are concerned ask about them at the entrance.

I wrote an entire post covering the Islands of Adventure scare factor and height requirements that I suggest you read before visiting the park.

Best Age for Islands of Adventure

One of my biggest tips for visiting Islands of Adventure is to know what the people in your group want to see. The best age for Islands of Adventure will be different for everyone, and only you know your kids.

Check the height requirements and learn about the characters and attractions during your planning process, before you arrive at the park.

Universal’s Islands of Adventure Review

Islands of Adventure is a great park and I think families will find something they love for kids of all ages.

With that being said the attractions are a bit more thrilling and may be best for older kids. My youngest started visiting the park when he was 5 years old.

When we first started visiting he went on less rides and has grown to enjoy more with each visit. There are some rides that my kids are okay with experiencing once and then being done with it.

Judging how your kids will react to an attraction is a personal decisions and I always recommend doing your research.

Can’t Miss at Islands of Adventure

This is always going to be debatable but I would have to say the best ride currently at Islands of Adventure is Hagrid’s Magical Creature Motorbike Adventure.

It has all the ingredients for an amazing theme park attraction including thrills, amazing storytelling, and surprises.

I go into more details on this post about the best rides at Islands of Adventure to help you decide what rides will be our your must do list.

Photo Courtesy of Universal Orlando Resort

Universal’s Islands of Adventure Characters

Islands of Adventure has some of my favorite characters. You can meet Dr. Seuss characters like The Cat and the Hat and the Lorax. You can also meet some Marvel characters like Spider-Man and Doctor Doom.

The character interactions are fun and often have short lines. Read our full post about 65+ Characters to Meet at Universal Orlando Resort.

Islands of Adventure Dining

Dining can be a tricky thing when visiting a theme park and Islands of Adventure is no different. They have a sit down restaurant, Mythos, that is pricey but offers not your typical theme park food. I listed the restaurant options below and put our favorites in bold.

  • Blondie’s (Quick Service, Toon Lagoon Area)
  • Cafe 4 (Quick Service, Marvel Area)
  • Captain America Diner (Quick Service & Character Dining Marvel Area)
  • Circus McGurkus Cafe (Quick Service, Seuss Landing)
  • Comic Strip Cafe (Quick Service, Toon Lagoon)
  • Three Broomsticks (Quick Service, Wizarding World Hogsmeade)
  • Mythos (Lost Continent)
  • Confisco Grill (Sit Down, Port of Entry)
  • Fire Eaters’ Grill (Quick Service, Lost Continent) The food was good but the dining area is small.
  • Green Eggs and Ham Cafe (Quick Service, Open Seasonally, Seuss Landing) Not a lot of seating but very good.
  • Pizza Predattoria (Quick Service, Jurassic Park)
  • The Burger Digs (Quick Service, Jurassic Park)
  • Thunder Falls Terrace (Quick Service, Jurassic Park)
  • Wimpy’s (Quick Service, Toon Lagoon)

When we visit Islands of Adventure as a family we are usually looking for something quick that the entire family will enjoy.

Check out this post where I share our favorite places to eat at Universal Orlando Resort.

Eating at Green Eggs and Ham at Islands of Adventure.

Universal’s Islands of Adventure is a great park to visit for families and I hope these Islands of Adventure tips help you and your family have an amazing day at the park.

Read Next: What to Do at Universal Orlando: 25+ Can’t Miss Things to Experience

Thank you for reading my post! This post may contain affiliate links at no extra cost to you. Although we try to provide the most up-to-date prices, we do not guarantee prices listed on our site. At times we are compensated or hosted by destination and brands. All opinions are honest and my own. If you would like to learn about how I work with affiliate partners you can read more here.

Sharing is caring!

Leave a Comment