Best rides at Islands of Adventure at Universal Orlando
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Best Rides at Islands of Adventure

Do you want to plan a trip to Universal Orlando? Looking for the best rides at Islands of Adventure?  If you are headed to Universal Orlando in Florida, one thing to note is that there are two parks. Universal Studios and Islands of Adventure. (three parks if you include the water park Volcano Bay)

We are going to focus on Islands of Adventure and particularly the best rides at Islands of Adventure.  I will give you an overview of the rides in each section and which rides at Islands of Adventure I think are the best.  I will only mention the best rides in each area (Not shows or interactive experiences!) 

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Get Ready for the Best Rides at Islands of Adventurerides at Islands of adventure

How Many Rides are There at Islands of Adventure? 

18

The newest rides are the VelociCoaster  (opened June 2021) and Hagrids Magical Creature Motorbike Adventure (opened in June 2019)

Which Universal Park has the Best Rides?

I love all the parks but the rides at Islands of Adventure are my favorite!   Harry Potter has my heart!  Nothing can beat Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey and Hagrid’s Magical Creature Motorbike Adventure! 

Don’t get me wrong the rides at Universal Studios are great!  I love the Race Through New York Starring Jimmy Fallon.

The rides at Volcano Bay are amazing I just don’t think you can compare water rides to amusement park rides.   

What Island of Adventure Ride Should I Ride First? 

Having a plan of attack is always a good thing.  As you arrive at the park, make sure you jump on the app and get a virtual queue for Hagrid (if needed).   

The lines that get the busiest during the day are Hulk, VelociCoaster, The Forbidden Journey, and Kong.  If you arrive early you can go straight to the ride you want to ride the most. 

If you have a multi-day ticket you can easily ride every ride and not have to feel stressed out.  

Hot Tip

A lot of people say go early but honestly, we have had great luck with staying late. The last hour of the park you can pretty much walk on any ride.  We even went during Easter/Spring Break time. It was packed! But at night, it was awesome! 

Best Islands of Adventure Rides

Best Rides at Islands of Adventure

Islands of Adventure is laid out so that you enter different sections of the park that are themed such as Harry Potter World, Jurassic World, Seuss Landing, Marvel Superhero Island, Skull Island, and Toon Lagoon.  

We are going to list the best rides at Islands of Adventure in each section of the park.

Harry Potter WorldHarry Potter World

I highly recommend planning a trip to Harry Potter World.  It is my favorite section at Island of Adventures.  We will start with the Harry Potter rides.  There are four rides in this area, three of which make the cut of being some of the best rides at Islands of Adventure! 

1. Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey

Forbidden Journey at Islands of Adventure

Height Requirement: 48″

Ride Time: 4 minutes

The Forbidden Journey ride is what started the Harry Potter magic at Universal, and it is amazing!! This is my favorite ride. Located in Hogwarts Castle (more on that later), the ride is a four-minute adventure through the world of Harry Potter.  As you fly on a broomstick you will go on the quidditch field, through the forbidden forest, and face a dragon. 

Is Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey at Roller Coaster?

The Forbidden Journey ride is not a roller coaster.  It is a motion-based dark ride that takes you through all of the best parts of Hogwarts.  There are no loops and you do not go upside down. There is a lot of jerking so you will be harnessed with an over-the-shoulder restraint.

The Lockers

There are lockers once you enter the castle.  You can not take anything extra on this ride.  The lockers are free and secure.  make sure to put your stuff in before you head on the ride, and take note of what locker you use.  If you have any issues with finding or opening your locker when you are done, the workers are very helpful.

Walk Through the Line at Least Once

the line on the Forbidden Journey - islands of adventure

The first time we went to Islands of Adventure, we purchased front-of-the-line passes.  They were awesome except on this ride.  Do not skip the line!

There is so much detail in every section of your wait.  It really feels like you are at Hogwarts Castle!  There is an interactive part of the line where Harry, Ron, and Hermione talk to you as well.

Guess What!! Even if you do not want to ride the ride you can still walk through the line. 

Rider Switch

Rider Switch is an amazing option on the Forbidden Journey ride.  If you have younger kids that are not tall enough to ride or you have a child that may be scared you can easily switch off riders and wait in a special room designed for little kids.

Motion Sickness

This ride can cause motion sickness for some.  That didn’t happen for me and I wanted to ride this ride over and over and over again.  I never got tired of it.

Hands down, I rank this ride the best of the best rides at Islands of Adventure and Universal Studios!  

2. Hagrid’s Magical Creatures Motorbike Adventure

Hagrid ride at Islands of Adventure

Height Requirement: 48″

Ride Time: 3 minutes

Next, let’s talk about the most recent addition to the World of Harry Potter: Hagrid’s Magical Creatures Motorbike Adventure.  This is a themed roller coaster.  There are times when you go slow and experience a story and other times you are flying along the track just like a normal roller coaster.  

I don’t think I have ever experienced anything like this.  

How to Ride

Really important! You can not just go to the ride and get on.  You have to make a reservation on your app.  There is a QR code that you have to scan before you can enter the line.

When we went we got on our app at 9:00 am when the park opened and secured a time without a problem.  Later in the day, we reserved two more times to ride.  On busy days it may be a problem.  

The Lockers

There are lockers right before you get on the ride.  You can not take anything extra on this ride. The lockers are free and secure. Make sure to put your stuff in before you head on the ride. 

The Line

Best rides at Islands of Adventure - Hagrids

The line does have Hagrid’s house and garden.  It is not as themed as the Forbidden Journey ride but it is still fun to experience.  

The Ride

There are two options and experiences for this ride. You can ride on the motorcycle or you can ride in the passenger seat. 

We had the opportunity to do both and it was interesting that I being short (5’1) enjoyed being in the passenger seat more than the motorcycle and my husband (6′) preferred the motorcycle.  Maybe height has something to do with preference?  

This ride is fun!  I will not give away more of the magic that you will experience on this ride, but expect the unexpected! 

Is Hagrid’s Magical Creatures Motorcycle Adventure Scary?

I didn’t think so.  I thought it was amazingly themed.  If you are afraid of the dark, you might find this ride scary. This is one of the best Islands of Adventure rides. 

3. Hogwarts Express

Hogwarts Express at Universal's Harry Potter World

Height Requirement: none

Ride Time: 5 minutes

The Hogwarts Express takes you between the Islands of Adventure and Universal Studios.  It is basically transportation from one park to the other.  

You actually feel like you are on the Hogwarts Express with your favorite characters.  Depending on which way you are traveling the ride is different.

The Line

Hogwarts Express Harry Potter World

The line for this attraction can be very long!  Unfortunately, front-of-the-line passes do not include the Hogwarts Express.  Plan to wait!

Double Park Pass Required

The sad part about this ride is that a double park pass is required to ride.  So if you only have a one-day-one park ticket you are out of luck.

Is it Worth It?

Yes, if it is your first time visiting Harry Potter World.  You need to experience it.  However, what we found is that there was so much to do in both Universal Studios and Islands of Adventure that we only had time to do one park in a day. 

So yes we bought the double park pass to ride the Hogwarts express, but we didn’t get to experience both parks and yet paid a lot more for that ticket.

4. Flight of the Hippogriff

Flight of the Hippogriff

Height Requirement: 36″

The other ride in the Wizarding World of Harry Potter is the Flight of the Hippogriff.  This ride is a junior coaster.  I think it is great to have an option for younger guests but it is just that; if you don’t have young ones with you, skip this ride. 

Your young Harry Potter fans will think this is the best Islands of Adventure ride.

There is a lot more to do and see in Harry Potter Worlds. You want some Harry Potter World souvenirs.

Jurassic Park

Best Rides in Jurassic Park Universal

The Jurassic Park section of Islands of Adventure is located between Harry Potter World and Skull Island. There are three rides in the Jurassic Park section.  A new roller coaster called the VelociCoaster just opened and has expanded the Jurassic Park area of the park. 

5. Jurassic Park River Adventure

River Adventure Jurassic Park Ride

Height Requirement: 42″

This ride is low-key-themed.  There is one drop at the end that is pretty fun.  This ride could be scary for little kids.  So even though they are tall enough to ride, consider if they would be scared if a dinosaur pops up and spits water on them.  Also, at the end, there is a giant T-Rex that you have to pass by, (the ride makes it seem that you are headed straight for it.)

Do you Get Wet on Jurassic Park River Adventure?

You may get a little wet but you will not need a poncho to keep you dry. 

6. VelociCoaster

Veloci Coaster at Islands of Adventure

 

Minimum Height Requirement 51″

VelociCoaster is the newest rollercoaster at Islands of Adventure.  It is a legit ride.  This high-speed thrill ride takes you through the raptor’s paddock.  This is one of the best islands of adventure rides! 

7. Pteranodon Flyers

best rides in Jurassic World Universal

Maximum Height Requirement: 56″

This ride looks like so much fun!  It is designed for children and unless you accompany your little one you can not ride on the ride.  This ride makes you feel like you are flying over Jurassic World.  There is also a playground for kids near the ride. 

This is one of the best rides at Islands of Adventure for little kids!

Suess Landing

Seuss Landing Rides

Seuss Landing, located at the front of the park, was designed with the kids in mind.  There is plenty to entertain the little kids.  Two rides are located in this section.

8. Cat in the Hat

Seuss Landing Rides

Height Requirement: 36″

This ride is a themed ride that takes you through the story of Cat in the Hat.  It is great for little kids. 

The Line

There is a lot of detail in the line and it will take you a while to walk to the actual entrance to the ride.  

9. The High in the Sky Seuss Trolley Train Ride

Seuss Landing Universal

Height Requirement: 36″

This is a fun train ride in the sky; literally.  The ride takes you above Seuss Land.  You can watch it pass over you as you are on the ground.  As you are on the ride you will have a great view of the land.

Toon Lagoon


Toon Lagoon Universal

Ready for a blast from the past?  Head on over to Toon Lagoon, located on the other side of Skull Island. The theme in this area pays tribute to Popeye, Betty Boop, and Dudley-Do-right.  There are two water rides in this area.  You are sure to get soaked, so bring your ponchos! 

10. Popeye’s and Bluto’s Bilge Rat-Barges 

Best rides at islands of Adventure -Popeye River Ride at Universal

Height Requirement: 42″

This ride is a rapid river ride.  Each raft can hold about 10 people. The boats are huge!  You can put your valuables in the center under plastic protection to keep them dry. 

Unless you bring a plastic covering, you won’t be so lucky. This ride will soak you to the bone.  It is perfect for a hot day.  But even on a hot day, I recommend wearing a poncho unless you are wearing a swimsuit!  It really gets you that wet.  It is one of the best Islands of Adventure rides! 

11. Dudley-Do-Right Ripsaw Falls

Rides at Islands of Adventure - Dudley do right ripsaw

Height Requirement: 44″

Ride Time: 6 minutes

This is a themed log ride. Unfortunately, not very many people even know who Dudley-do-right is. But you don’t need to know to enjoy the ride!  It has a few great drops and gives you a good splash. 

The ride is pretty long so it is worth the wait!

Marvel Super Hero Island

Marvel Superhero Island

If you are a traditional roller coaster or theme park junkie, Marvel Superhero Island is the place for you.  Located near the entrance, you have a selection of thrill rides.  Some of the more heart-stopping and intense rides at Universal are in this section.  

12. The Incredible Hulk Coaster

The Hulk Coaster at Islands of Adventure

Height Requirement: 54″

The Hulk is one of the most popular and best rides at Islands of Adventure. This is a roller coaster you are going to want to ride over and over again. 

However, the line can be long.  If your priority is to ride the best roller coaster, my suggestion is to get to the park early and make this your first ride of the day.  

13. The Amazing Adventures of Spiderman

Spiderman Ride at Islands of Adventure

Height Requirement: 40″

If you need to tone down the thrills, but not the fun, head on over to The Amazing Adventures of Spiderman.  This is a great family ride, especially, if you have Marvel enthusiasts in your party that are either young too short, or too scared to ride the more intense coasters.  I thought this ride was really fun. 

The Line 

This is another really detailed line.  It is fun to wait in because you are entertained along the way.  

14. Doctor Doom’s Fearfall

Best islands of adventure rides doctor doom

This is a straight elevator ride up to the top with a few jerky stops along the way.  As you hit the top you will free fall down.  I hate drop rides, so this doesn’t make the list for me.  But it might for you!  

Skull Island

Best Islands of adventure rides skull island

Okay.  So I have taken a bit of liberty in naming the “sections” of Islands of Adventure.  I honestly don’t know if Skull Island is an official name.  But however you want to call it,  and if you are a King Kong fan, or otherwise want to try out another thrill ride, head on over to this section to experience its one ride; Reign of Kong.

15. Skull Island Reign of Kong

Skull Island Kong Ride

Height Requirement: 36″

Ride Time: 6 minutes

The ride is indoors with minimal lighting.  Although the height requirement is low, there are some intense movies as the story unfolds of Kong Island.  It can be pretty scary for little ones.  The ride lasts about 6 minutes.

I thought this ride was really fun.

Best Rides at Islands of Adventure

Universal Orlando Best rides at Islands of Adventure

Now that I have given you the rundown of each ride at Islands of Adventure; let’s talk about my favorite five.

I already told you my all-time fave, but here is the full list.

Best Rides at Islands of Adventure:

  • Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey
  • The Hulk
  • Hagrid’s Magical Creatures Motorbike Adventure
  • Kong Skull Island
  • Jurassic World River Adventure

The Spiderman ride just misses the list at number six. I haven’t been on the VelociCoaser yet.  I will update if it makes the top 5.  

The rides at Islands of Adventure are really fun and they are the biggest part of why Islands of Adventure is considered one of the best theme parks in the world.  Keep in mind that there are great experiences beyond the rides.  

I hope this overview has given you an idea of which rides at Islands of Adventure you want to go on.  There are so many things to do in Orlando with Universal being one of the best!  You will also want to check out all the great restaurants at City Walk after you leave the park! 

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74 Comments

  1. Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey…hands down, my favorite! If you’ve never seen the movies, though, watch them before you go. The detail will astound you!

  2. Ok… so we were at Islands of Adventure, but NEVER LEFT HARRY POTTER!!! Hagrid’s motorbike ride is my all time favourite ride ever! It was definitely worth the wait! We utilized the child swap so we didn’t need to check our bags. I only wish we had gone on the ride both days.

  3. All the rides look great. We have been to Orlando more times than I can count but never leave Disney. LOL

  4. The Hogwarts castle is my favorite as well! I really want to go on Hagrids ride, but last time I went, the line was wayyy too long

  5. When I took my boys to Orlando, Islands of Adventure was their favorite park. That was before the Harry Potter days, but I’m sure they would have loved those rides.

  6. Wow! Islands of Adventure has changed quite a bit since the last time I was there. I can’t wait to check it out without grandkids!

  7. I’ve never been to Islands of Adventure, but it looks so much fun! All the Harry Potter rides would make me so happy.

  8. I haven’t been on a roller coaster in a few years & I miss them! But also, Harry Potter World looks so good. Something you’ll definitely appreciate, I’m working on a new show and one of the actors is from Harry Potter!!! Can’t say who until it’s out but I’ll be secretly fan girling & keeping it inside while working haha.

  9. I have not been to Universal in many, many years. This is very comprehensive and the photos make me want to return when it is safe.

    1. We went last summer and I was so impressed with how safe it was. They have it down to a science. Mask and social distancing.

  10. I’ve never visited Islands of Adventure before but it looks like great fun! I especially like your simple summaries of each ride along with your very helpful suggestions.

  11. I am so not a roller coaster person but I might be able to handle the Seuss area. That looks like a super fun area. This looks like a fun area if you into the rides.

  12. I love Islands of Adventures, especially Hogmeades. Do you still have to do virtual queue? When I was there in fall of 2019, I just waited in line. Hagrids was by far my favorite ride at Islands of Adventures

  13. Our favorite ride was Escape from Gringott’s in Harry Potter. The Hulk coaster was my son’s first “big kid” ride – so happy I went on with him.

  14. Hagrid’s ride is amazing! We were lucky enough to get our own compartment on the Hogwarts express on one trip. Fun place.

  15. Thorough walk through! I so want to go here. I am excited for my kids to get a bit older for these big parks! (and post-covid too). 🙂

  16. If I do nothing else at Islands of Adventure, I MUST ride the Incredible Hulk coaster! This is now going on my bucket list!

  17. Harry Potter world wasn’t finished yet when I was there years ago. I keep telling my husband we should go someday. The hulk was also a great ride!

  18. I love this guide to Islands Of Adventure. Hagrid’s Ride would be at the top of my list. Thanks for the great tips on how to best experience this theme park!

  19. Man this looks so fun! I have only been to Universal in CA. With Florida being more “open” now, this might be an option for us in the near future! Your pictures are great and it definitely makes me want to visit.

  20. Island of Adventures at Universal Studios is one of my favorite theme parks! Love all the rides especially related to Harry Potter.

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