Universal’s Islands of Adventure is so much fun! There are rides for guests of all ages, especially those who love Marvel superheroes, dinosaurs, Harry Potter, and Dr. Seuss characters! Seriously, how can you go wrong with a lineup like that? It was easy to pick our Top 5 Rides at Universal’s Islands of Adventure!
Universal’s Islands of Adventure is a great family-friendly park. It has been named “Best Theme Park” several years in a row. It has attractions for all ages from small children to thrill seekers.
To be fully and completely honest, we have let you know that we might be a little biased. We absolutely love the parks at Universal Orlando Resort. There are great places to stay (we recommend Surfside Inn & Suites for families and the Aventura Hotel for adults/couples!), amazing restaurants, and even the Volcano Bay water park. If you have time, be sure to also head over to Universal Studios Florida and see all that it has to offer! For now, though, here are
The Incredible Hulk Coaster
Hulk Smash! That’s what you’re going to want to do the second you get off this ride because you’ll be so mad that it’s over — until you turn around and get back in line, of course! It’s a launch coaster with a top speed of 67 mph, two subterranean trenches, and seven inversions, this is the most extreme of all the rides at Universal Orlando Resort.
Related post: How Scary is the Incredible Hulk Roller Coaster?
Watch our video: Incredible Hulk Roller Coaster
Here are some ride specs for The Incredible Hulk Coaster:
- Year built: 1999
- Engineer: B&M (first B&M coaster with a launch design)
- Drop height: 105’
- Total height: 110’
- Speed: 67 mph
- Inversions: 7!
- Notable: Features an onboard sound system that plays a ride-specific score composed by Patrick Stump of Fall Out Boy.
For years, I’d been intimidated by the massive track, but once I got on, it became one of my favorite rides in the world. In fact, during one trip, I rode it six times in two days! Recently, The Incredible Hulk Coaster was revitalized with new cars and tracks as well as an amazing musical score. You’ll feel like you’re ready to join The Avengers!
Hagrid’s Magical Creatures Motorbike Adventure
New in 2019, Hagrid’s Magical Creatures Motorbike Adventure is a story coaster that takes riders through the Forbidden Forest. You can ride on the motorbike or the sidecar, but the experience is largely the same. The best part is having the Harry Potter score blasting through the speakers while coming face-to-face with famous creatures such as Fluffy, the three-headed dog and even Devil’s Snare!
Here are some ride specs for Hagrid’s Motorbike Adventure:
- Year built: 2019
- Engineer: Intamin
- Drop height: 17’
- Total height: 65’
- Max vertical angle: 70°
- Speed: 50 mph
- Inversions: 0
There are seven launches, more than any roller coaster in the world and it’s the second in the United States to feature a vertical freefall (Verbolten at Busch Gardens Williamsburg was the first!). Along with suddenly dropping 17 feet, it’s the longest roller coaster in Florida and features a 65-foot “spike” at more than a 70-degree angle.
This ride made its debut in 2021 after a tough pandemic year, and it does not disappoint! If you love Jurassic World and intense roller coasters, you will absolutely love VelociCoaster! It replaces the Triceratops Encounter in the Jurassic Park area, representing one of the biggest glow-ups in Islands of Adventure history.
Related post: How Scary is VelociCoaster?
Like the Incredible Hulk, this is a launch coaster. What that means is that you will experience sudden acceleration at the beginning of this ride. You will also experience a second launch mid-way through VelociCoaster to help it reach max speeds. There are multiple inversions, with some taking place over the lagoon. For an extra thrill get on this ride at night to see the glowing train lights and reflections in the water!
Jurassic Park River Adventure
This ride is such a classic. It’s cheesy, and if you believe the rumors, it’s also about to undergo a major overhaul. So far, it doesn’t look like it’s going to be replaced by a Jurassic World ride like the one at Universal Studios Hollywood. They’d be crazy to get rid of it, in our opinion, because everyone loves Jurassic Park River Adventure. There’s no way we couldn’t include this in our Top 5 Rides at Universal’s Islands of Adventure!
Here are some ride specs for Jurassic Park:
- Year built: 1999
- Engineer: Vekoma
- Drop height: 85’
- Total height: 85’
- Speed: 50 mph
- Inversions: 0
- Notable: The angle of the final drop is 51 degrees.
The sketchy old boat, the murky water, the Jurassic Park theme music… you feel like you’re at the real thing! The ride starts calmly enough as you embark on the cruise tour, but an unexpected breach in the containment area makes things a lot more interesting! There’s an 85-foot drop right at the end, similar to what you’ll find on most water rides, but you’ll be so happy to escape the massive T-Rex that you won’t care!
Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey
You will literally flip over this ride! Don’t let the fact that this ride relies on virtual reality rather than an actual ride track fool you. Your seat on Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey is capable of maneuvering in ways you’ve never imagined! You’ll soar over the Quidditch pitch, through the corridors of Hogwarts, and deep into the Forbidden Forest. Watch out for the Womping Willow!
Related post: How Scary Is Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey?
There’s a lot to say about this ride. First of all, my oldest son is a major thrill seeker but he was absolutely terrified on Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey. Turns out that, despite being a sturdy 6′ 3″ young man, he gets pretty scared of animatronics. So, if you hate hyper-realistic, motorized replicas of people and creatures, skip this (and the Hagrid’s ride and Jurassic Park, too!).
Same advice if you hate spiders. Finally, unlike the ones at Universal Studios Hollywood and Universal Studios Japan, this version of the ride has a dragon that breathes real fire. We LOVE it, but if you’re freaked out by flames, don’t bother with this!
The Amazing Adventures of Spider-Man (Honorable Mention)
Outfitted with a pair of 3D glasses, you’ll follow Spider-Man on this virtual reality ride as he battles the villains of the Sinister Syndicate. What have they done? Stolen the Statue of Liberty! You won’t believe your eyes when you see the detailing that went into this set. This is definitely one of the Top 5 Rides at Universal’s Islands of Adventure!
The graphics are in high-definition and are better than the ones on Transformers: The Ride-3D at Universal Studios Florida. If you’re prone to motion sickness, this is the better option. We took Caleb on the ride and he was so small you couldn’t even see him in the pictures. He absolutely loved it, though!
Top 5 Rides at Universal’s Islands of Adventure With Small Kids
Traveling to Universal’s Islands of Adventure with kids? You’ll want to know which rides are best for the younger crowd. My first suggestion is that you get familiar with the ride height requirements at Universal Orlando Resort. Take a good look at those requirements because they may narrow down the selection considerably.
Also, don’t assume that your measurements will be the same as those at Island’s of Adventure. When we took Caleb for a checkup right before the trip, we were told that he was 44 inches tall. At the park, he barely cleared the 42-inch mark indicated on the markers. That meant we couldn’t do certain things that we had planned.
Fortunately, we still had a blast and we’re so grateful that he’s a roll-with-the-punches kind of kid. That being said, we learned the hard way that he does NOT like getting drenched. He was okay with a little splashing, though!
Top 5 Rides at Universal’s Islands of Adventure for Small Kids:
- The Cat in the Hat (36 inches or Taller) – It’s a bit of a creepy ass ride for adults, but kids seem to like it. Caleb made us go on this about 700 times! Good thing it wasn’t busy while we were there in September — and we had Express Passes!
- Flight of the Hippogriff (36 inches or Taller) – The only Harry Potter-themed ride he could get on at Islands of Adventure which is too bad because he loves Harry Potter and really enjoyed the Escape from Gringotts coaster at Universal Studios Florida.
- One Fish, Two Fish. Red Fish, Blue Fish (34 inches or Taller) – It was hot while we were there, so he loved this colorful, splashy ride! You can control how much you get wet by raising or lowering the ride car you’re in. We were grateful that he didn’t mind a few sprays because we needed cooling off!
- The High In the Sky Seuss Trolley Train (36 inches or Taller) – We did this one a few times. It’s a slow-paced ride with great views! It was very, very popular with kids, which unfortunately led to us having to wait while they cleaned up what appeared to be a vomit mess. Be sure to read our 5 Ways to Avoid Germs at Amusement Parks!
- Jurassic Park (42 inches or Taller) – Caleb was a little leery of the dinosaurs at first, but he relaxed when he saw the raptors fighting. “They look so fake,” he chuckled. He made it all the way through the dark part, past the T-Rex, and down the 85-foot drop. What he hated was that the “fake dinosaurs poured water” on him. We’ll bring a poncho next time 🙂
Whether you go on your own, as a couple/family, or with friends, you can’t go wrong with Universal’s Islands of Adventure. There’s something for everyone, even park guests who don’t want to get on any rides. As the name suggests, you’ll have the best experience if you just let loose and enjoy the journey. Have a great time!
- How Scary is the Incredible Hulk Roller Coaster?
- How Scary is Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey?
- Top 5 Rides at Universal Studios Florida
- How Scary is Flight of the Hippogriff?
- How Scary is Harry Potter and the Escape From Gringotts?
- Ride Height Requirements: Universal Orlando Resort
- 7 Effective Tips to Prevent Motion Sickness on Rides & Roller Coasters
- 5 Ways to Avoid Germs at Amusement Parks (and What to Pack)
- Where to Eat at Universal Orlando Resort
- 5 Reasons to Stay at Universal Orlando Resort
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