Universal Orlando Resort: Islands of Adventure-Where Imagination is Reality

Universal Orlando Resort: Islands of Adventure-Where Imagination is Reality

Superheroes, and Wizards, and Dinosaurs…Oh, MY!

Islands of Adventure at Universal Orlando Resort is all about the myths, prehistoric creatures and legends.  From the moment you walk beneath the stone bridge and into Port of Entry, an area of shops and eateries with old world charm, it’s easy to recognize this park is based on imagination.

Outside Port of Entry at Islands of Adventure
Photo: @bizzyrunninganddizn

Islands of Adventure is 1 of 2 theme parks at the Universal Orlando Resort along with Universal Studios Florida.  Together they capture the bulk of the excitement offered at this destination powerhouse. 

In addition, Universal Orlando Resort is home to a water park- Volcano Bay and CityWalk, a dining, shopping, and entertainment district.  This article is the 3rd of a 4-part series breaking down each location.  This time we focus on Islands of Adventure.

Suess Landing at Islands of Adventure
Photo: @bizzyrunninganddizn

The Myths and Legends at Islands of Adventure

Skull Island the Reign of Kong
Photo: @bizzyrunninganddizn

The stories that make-up the Islands of Adventure at Universal Orlando Resort reflect the best of the imaginary worlds inspired by the movies and books that we love. 

Jurassic Park Water Adventure Ride at Islands of Adventure
Photo: @bizzyrunninganddizn

These include the colorful and whimsical Suess Landing to the animated worlds of Marvel Superhero Island and Toon Lagoon.  In between you get adventure and thrill inside Jurassic Park and Skull Island. 

Suess Landing at Islands of Adventure
Video: @dizndonohues

Last, but most definitely not least you can enjoy the magic of another section of the Wizarding World of Harry Potter at Hogsmeade with a magnificent view of Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. 

The Heavy Hitters

Islands of Adventure at Universal Orlando Resort is host to a few BIG thrill rides like fast, towering roller coasters with multiple inversions, simulators that are one of a kind, and super soaking water rides. 

The best of these attractions include:

The Incredible Hulk coaster
Photo: @bizzyrunninganddizn
  • The Incredible Hulk Coaster:  A bright neon green coaster that launches riders at 64mph through twist and flips and turns
  • The Amazing Adventures of Spider-Man: 3D simulated dark ride
  • Dudley Do-Right’s Ripsaw Falls:  A log flume ride with a 75 ft. drop
  • Skull Island: Region of Kong:  A dark ride on a touring vehicle through the jungle with King Kong
  • Velocicoaster: The newest and fastest roller coaster with 70mph speeds, a 155ft. top hat and 4 inversions
  • Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey: A 3D simulator ride where you can take a tour of Hogwarts in the queue then fly with Harry through familiar places from the books and movies. 
  • Hagrid’s Magical Creatures Motorbike AdventureA steel rollercoaster highlighted by the wizarding world’s magical creatures at high speeds.  Look out!  There’s a surprise on this one.
Dudley Do-Right’s Ripsaw Falls at Islands of Adventure
Photo: @bizzyrunninganddizn

Characters and Live performances at Islands of Adventure

At Islands of Adventure, you might be greeted by either adult or newly hatched prehistoric monsters at The Raptor Encounter- I’m not sure either is less terrifying.   You can say “hello!” to the Lorax or maybe the Grinch.  Captain America and his fellow superheroes (villains TOO!) won’t pass up an opportunity to pause for pictures.

Other shows include:

The Wand Ceremony at Olivanders
Video: @dizndonohues
  • The Wand Ceremony at Oleander’s in the Wizarding World both at Hogsmeade and Diagon Alley
  • The Frog choir at Hogsmeade: Students from Hogwarts and magical Frogs sing acapella
  • The Triwizard Spirit Rally: Students from Hogwarts, Durmstrang and Beauxbaton sing and dance to rally the pride of their schools.

You will also have the opportunity to experience the nighttime projection shows (in various themes) on the Hogwarts School.  It is beautiful, but be patient, they cast the show in waves of 20 minute intervals, and you may have to wait through a few shows before it is your turn. 

The Hogwarts’s Express

I chose to talk more about the Hogwarts express this time as it rounds out the articles between the 2 theme parks. 

As I mentioned in the article Universal Orlando Resort: Universal Studios-Where the Movies, TV and Entertainment comes to Life, the Hogwarts Express takes guests on a magical train ride between Kings Cross Station (Universal Studios) and Hogsmeade Village (Islands of Adventure).  It’s the best way to travel park to park, but you will need a park-to-park ticket to board.

Imagine taking the journey to Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry exactly the way Harry had most of his school years- on that beautiful steam engine!  Now imagine disembarking from that train only to look up and see the school- high on the hill above the quaint and cozy village of Hogsmeade.

 Hogsmeade Village

Hogsmeade Village at Islands of Adventure
Photo: @bizzyrunninganddizn

Hogsmeade Village at Islands of Adventure was the first Wizarding World of Harry Potter to be created at the theme parks.  This is where you will find Honeydukes Candy Shop, The Three broomsticks, The Hogshead Tavern, and finally Hogwarts Castle.

Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry
Photo: @bizzyrunninganddizn

Step inside the iconic school, built identical to the one we see in the films, complete with the classrooms and characters coming to life.  Take a ride on Harry Potter and The Forbidden Journey inside or simply walk the halls among the moving portraits.

It’s impressive to say the least.  Honestly, straight off the pages of the books.   

The Food at Islands of Adventure

Islands of Adventure at Universal Orlando Resort probably has the best food options between the 2 theme parks.  In addition to burgers and chicken nuggets, you can also opt for Mediterranean cuisine in the Lost Continent or English favorites at The Three Broomsticks in Hogsmeade. Dining available includes:

Comic Strip Cafe at Toon Lagoon Islands of Adventure
Photo: @bizzyrunninganddizn
  • Mythos Restaurant:  My personal favorite with choices of Mediterranean cuisine, burgers, salads, etc.
  • Doc Surgrue’s Desert Kebab House
  • Fire Eater’s Grill
  • Pizza Predattoria
  • Hog’s Head Tavern: Craft beers and familiar drafts
  • Comic Strip Cafe


This article concludes my review of both theme parks at Universal Orlando Resort.  While I don’t have a favorite, I have always been slightly partial to this park, but I really can’t explain why.  Do you have an opinion on either theme park at Universal Orlando?  If so, comment below and remember to keep a look out for my last article on Volcano Bay waterpark. 

If you would like to know more about Universal Orlando Resort, please check out:

Why CityWalk Can’t Be Ignored.

Universal Studios-Where the Movie, TV and Entertainment Comes To Life

Get Wet & Wild at Volcano Bay Waterpark

3 Reasons Why You Should Stay Longer at Universal Orlando Resort

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