“ Universal Orlando Resort, Florida. „
I recently returned from 2 magical weeks in Orlando, Florida.
During our stay we visited many theme parks, including Universal Studios Islands Of Adventure. There are 2 Universal Studios parks in Orlando - the original Universal Studios (which first opened in 1990) and the newer Universal Studios Islands Of Adventure (which first opened in 1999). This review will focus on the newest Universal Studios park.
We caught a taxi from our hotel and back again. There is a taxi rank right outside the parks and we didn't have to wait for a taxi. Car parking is also available for $15.00 per vehicle, per day. Universal Studios is nearby all the other main theme parks in Orlando and is only roughly a 20 minute drive from Walt Disney World. When you arrive you have to pass through Universal Citywalk which is full of bars, clubs, shops, restaurants and general entertainment (mini golf, cinema etc). We didn't stop at Universal Citywalk (only for photos) but it did seem quite lively in the evening. You don't need a ticket to enter Universal Citywalk. This is where you decide what park to choose - right for Universal Studios and left for Universal Studios Islands Of Adventure.
We bought our tickets at the gate, you can also buy them online. One day park tickets cost $88.00 for adults (these can be used in either Universal Parks but not both) and children cost $82.00. One day park tickets to BOTH parks cost $123.00 ($117.00 for children), although you will certainly need more than one day to cover both parks. We wanted to visit both Universal Parks, so we purchased the most sensible and cost effective tickets - 2 day park-to-park. These tickets cost a whopping $139.99 for adults ($129.99 for children) and allow you in to both parks, for 2 separate days. Tickets are very expensive but if you want to visit both Universal parks I would definitely advise paying an extra $16.99 for a 2 day park-to-park ticket. Park hours vary between 8am - 10pm. Park hours during our visit were 9pm - 8pm and we spent the whole day there.
As the name suggests Universal Studios Islands Of Adventure is owned and run by the American movie production company Universal. Universal are behind some of the best and highest grossing films ever made. Every ride/show/attraction in the original Universal Studios park is based on Universal movies, however Islands Of Adventure have branched out and included characters licensed from rival studios. This is great because there are no other theme parks in the world that include the likes of Harry Potter, Marvel and Dr Seuss!
We had children in our group ranging from 4-8 years. The 4 year old got on most rides but children any younger many struggle to meet some height requirements. Before our holiday I was advised to skip Islands Of Adventure because there were apparently too many adult rides and not enough for children. I'm glad I didn't take that advice because this was one of our favourite parks in Orlando! Be sure to bring an autograph book because there are lots of characters to meet. We visited on a weekday and although the park was quite busy, we didn't have to queue very much for rides which was excellent and allowed us to cover most of the park. Avoid weekends and American holidays if possible! Islands Of Adventure is situated around a big lake. This is a good set up as it means you can make your way around the park easily and wont miss anything. We made our way around the park clockwise. There are a number of shops at the entrance/exit, we didn't end up visiting these shops but I did notice an all year round Christmas shop!
We started off at Marvel Super Hero Island. The biggest rollercoaster in the park can be found here - it's green, HUGE and super fast... not surprisingly, it's called The Incredible Hulk! This was probably my most favourite roller coaster in Orlando. We queued for a front seat which took about half hour longer than the regular queue, but it was well worth it. It takes off at high speed, has loads of loops and reaches speeds of 65 mph! Another favourite in Marvel Super Hero Island was 'The Amazing Adventures Of Spiderman'. You wear 3D glasses and sit in carts (which hold about 8 people). It's an attraction which is like a 3D simulator but is also a ride which actually moves, spins and drops. I still can't get my head around it, it's very clever! You take a turbulent trip around the streets of New York as you encounter all of the Spiderman villains, as well as Spiderman himself! This is a great ride for kids and adults. 'Doctor Doom's Fearfall' (Fantastic Four themed) is a thrill ride which takes you high up and drops you back down at high speed. Unfortunately I didn't get to do this ride but I'm told it was very good! A tamer ride in Marvel Super Hero Island is 'Storm Force Accelatron' which is like a spinning teacup ride. It's not the most exciting ride but it's a good little family ride and had a very short queue. Marvel Super Hero Island is visually spectacular and is sure to please comic book geeks young and old! There were plenty of places to eat and shop here, although we didn't do either of those. One thing that we all really enjoyed was meeting some Marvel Heroes! During our visit we met Wolverine, Storm, Rouge and Captain America. You can also meet Spiderman, Dr Doom and Cyclops (I'm sure there are plenty of others that we didn't see), plus there is a daily Marvel Super Hero parade which we didn't find out about until we got home!
The next part we visited was Toon Lagoon. This 'island' is themed on classic cartoons. This is a fun area for children (although our kids didn't know most of the characters!) and enjoyable for adults (I love Popeye!). It's home to 2 wet rides and there is also a little Popeye-themed wet play area - if you don't want to get wet, skip Toon Lagoon! 'Popeye and Bluto's Bilge-Rat Barges' is a river rapids ride where you sit in round rafts that hold about 10 people. My advice for this ride is to wear as little clothes as possible as you WILL get absolutely SOAKED! It lasted a lot longer than I expected and we got a lot wetter than I expected, especially as people watching the ride can shoot water guns at you and detonate water cannons! It was great fun and something I definitely recommend doing. There are dryers at the exit, although the Florida sun should dry you off in no time. We were going to ride 'Dudley Do-Right's Ripsaw Falls' afterwards, which is a log flume ride. It looked excellent and almost looked as if it turned in to a rollercoaster at the bottom of the drop. However some of our group didn't want to get wet again so we decided to skip this one. There are lots of nice shops in Toon Lagoon, I particularly liked the Betty Boop shop. There are 3 different counter service restaurants here too. We met Popeye and Olive Oyl in Toon Lagoon and all agreed that the theme was really fun.
Me and my daughter love the movie Jurassic Park so we were rather excited to visit the next part of the park. You enter under a big Jurassic Park archway (much like the one from the movie) and one of the first sights you see is one of the cars from Jurassic Park and a huge T-Rex emerging from the bushes! It's set out like the real Jurassic Park - lots of lush vegetation, wooden buildings, little exhibits scattered about and even a dinosaur or two! The main ride here is 'Jurassic Park River Adventure' and despite being a popular ride, we queued for about 5 minutes! You sit in boats (in rows of about 4) and take a leisurely cruise along a river where you encounter a number of friendly animatronic dinosaurs. I thought the dinosaurs looked pretty convincing. Some of them were standing in the river, some of them were in the bushes and some of them gave you a fright as they sprung up from the water! Everything begins to go wrong as your boat accidental takes a wrong turn and in to the path of some rather scary dinosaurs. Lots of the dinosaurs pop out when you're not expecting them and some of them even spit 'acid' at you! We came face to face with a MASSIVE T-Rex, just when we thought we were about to be eaten, we plunged down a huge slide and in to a big splash. It's great fun. I thought the kids might be a bit scared but they loved it. We got a little bit wet but not uncomfortably wet. There was a fun looking ride called 'Pteranodon Flyers' which were small seats suspended from a cable high up in the air. I was a bit worried about the kids riding on this one (they were single seats) so sadly we decided to skip it. There are 4 different places to eat in Jurassic Park, we decided to eat at a counter service restaurant called The Burger Digs. Two vegetarian burgers (which were very nice) with chips and drinks cost around $20.00. You could create your own burger by putting all the salad and sauce in yourself, which I really liked, plus their were a pair of big dinosaur skeletons in the middle of the restaurant which was pretty cool! Below the restaurant is the 'Jurassic Park Discovery Center' similar to the discovery center in the movie. There's life-size dinosaur models, interactive games and you can even watch a dinosaur egg hatch! There's a few other things to see in Jurassic Park including 'Camp Jurassic' (a kids play area) and 'Triceratops Discovery Trail' (a walkthrough attraction which features a full-size interactive replica of a Triceratops). Everybody was really keen on getting to The Wizarding World Of Harry Potter so we missed those two attractions, I wasn't too bothered about the play area but would have liked to have seen the Triceratops. There were plenty of places to pick up Jurassic Park merchandise too.
The Wizarding World Of Harry Potter is a spectacular sight! Hogwarts has been recreated and looks just like it does in the movies. You can go inside Hogwarts where there is a ride called 'Harry Potter And The Forbidden Journey', this is the most popular Harry Potter ride and is an absolute must do. We queued for about half an hour but the queue had plenty to see (like most queue lines in Universal). There is a room where you board the ride, you can do child swaps here which was really handy for us as our younger two didn't reach the height restriction. This was another ride that blew my mind and was a mixture of real sets, animatronics and projection screens. You sit in 'enchanted benches' of 4 and are held in by over shoulder restraints. The ride includes all of the main Harry Potter characters and your enchanted bench takes plenty of twists and turns (almost upside down at points!). Next to Hogwarts is a small rollercoaster called 'Flight Of The Hippogriff' which had no queue at all and wasn't the most exciting rollercoaster, but the kids enjoyed it and thought it was fast. Hogsmeade Village is really impressive too. It's covered in snow and looks so authentic, the window displays are brilliant too. My most vivid memory is watching a screaming Mandrake (plant) moving about in one of the shop windows (I actually heard it before I saw it!). There's are 2 joint rollercoasters called 'Dragon Challenge', they were formally called 'Duelling Dragons' and the idea was that the rollercoasters raced against each other, at the same time. However due to a couple of incidents they don't run the two rollercoasters at the same time any more. You can choose either fire (red coaster) or ice (blue coaster). We chose ice and thankfully there wasn't much of a queue. It was a thrilling rollercoaster and one which we all enjoyed, although I still preferred 'The Incredible Hulk'. There are loads of great shops which sell every bit of Harry Potter merchandise that you could think of. There's even a wand shop! There are a lot of good places to eat too, they include unusual food and drink from the Harry Potter stories. We didn't eat here but I slightly regret not getting myself a Butterbeer! I'm not a Harry Potter geek (although I have seen about 4 or 5 of the movies with my daughter and have enjoyed them all) and absolutely loved this area of the park, so I imagine this would be an absolute wonderland to diehard Harry Potter fans!
The next area of the park is called The Lost Continent. It is themed to ancient myths and legends. None of us were too interested in this part of the park (and we were running low on time) so we really didn't spend much time in this area. I noticed there were plenty of places to eat and there were also a couple of shows. One thing which we all enjoyed was an interactive fountain called 'The Mystic Fountain'. At first glance it just looked like a normal fountain but then it started talking to us! Needless to say the kids ended up getting completely soaked.
The last 'island' is Suess Landing. This is a lovely themed area of the park which is cute, unusual and whimsical! It's perfect for children and fans of Dr Seuss. There are no big thrill rides here, but instead a number of fun and tame rides. Our favourite was 'The Cat In The Hat' which is a dark ride set inside a big stripy hat. You sit in carts of about 6 and ride through the story of The Cat In The Hat, where you get to see all your favourite Cat In The Hat characters. It was longer than I expected, fun and spinney! There's a Dr Seuss themed carousel called 'Caro-Suess-el' which is nice for little ones. There's also another spinning ride called 'One Fish Two Fish Red Fish Blue Fish' where you ride in fishes and can make them go up and down (similar to the Dumbo and Aladdin ride at Disney's Magic Kingdom). There's also fishes around the edges which squirt water at you, so my daughter had lots of fun lining me up with the fish and watching me get soaked! The kids really enjoyed 'If I Ran A Zoo'. They kept calling it a maze but it was more of a play area which was full of tunnels, slides and even had a water play area (all Suess themed). This kept them entertained for about half an hour whilst we had a rest and positioned ourselves at the entrance and exit to avoid any escapes! There's a slow moving tram ride called 'The High In The Sky Suess Trolley Train Ride' which gives you a good view of Seuss Landing from above. It's not the most exciting ride but like most things in Suess Landing, there's just something about it that makes you feel warm and fuzzy inside! There are places to eat (although we didn't) and some amazing Dr Seuss shops to visit (which we did!). I saw a LOT of kids (and adults!) wearing 'Thing 1' and 'Thing 2' t-shirts!
We had sore feet, very little money left in our bank accounts and many of us were still soaked. But to say we had a good time would be an understatement, we had the BEST time. I would say this was one of my favourite parks in Orlando. There are so many things at Islands Of Adventures that can't be found elsewhere and all of the different 'islands' were so varied. It has themes and rides that appeal to everybody. Everything was done really well and clearly no expense was spared! I had previously heard that this park was horrendously crowded and we would spend hours queueing, but we must have timed it well because the longest we queued for a ride for was about 35 minutes. If you're visiting Orlando, I definitely recommend giving Universal Studios Islands Of Adventure a visit!
Universal Islands of Adventure is one of two theme parks in the Universal area of Orlando in Florida and it is the better of the two in my opinion. My husband and I have just come back from a week's holiday in the theme park capital of the world and we had a fabulous time in Islands of Adventure which is the home, amongst other things, of the brand new Wizarding World of Harry Potter. There are six different 'islands' in the theme park and they are all completely different, which makes exploring them a whole lot of fun . . .
===Marvel Super Hero Island===
When you enter the park, if you walk in a clockwise direction, this is the first area you come to. The first thing I noticed about this island is that it is loud, which sort of goes with the theme of superhero and everything seemed supersized as well. I'm not a big superhero fan but I recognised enough of the characters to appreciate the theme. There are characters wandering around area during the day who are happy to pose for photographs and sign autograph books, which seemed to delight guests both young and old (to be honest I think most of the older guests were looking to pose with Storm rather than any of the male characters!).
The attractions in this area were good, although they are more geared towards older guests. There is a roller coaster on which riders seem to spend more time upside down than the right way up. I didn't go on it (I'm a total wimp) but my husband loved it and went on it more than once. He said that it was just scary enough to feel the adrenaline rush but not so much that it wasn't fun. There was a ride called Storm Force Acceleration that sounds a lot better than it was because it was essentially just a spinning teacup ride, we did appreciate the tongue in cheek way that the ride announcer declared it to be 'the best ride in the world'! Doctor Doom's Fearfall was one of those rides that it a huge upright construction where you are thrown up and down, so that it feels like you are driving too fast over one of those little humped bridges. The final ride here, and my favourite by far, was The Amazing Adventures of Spiderman. It is a 3-D ride and you have to wear glasses, but they aren't the cheap card ones that fall off, which is good because you do get a little bit thrown about in the ride. There is a height restriction of 40 inches, but it isn't scary and I think younger fans will enjoy it as much as older ones. The ride is very clever and the 3-D thing is impressive and works well. Most importantly, it lasts a couple of minutes, so it does feel like you are getting value even if you have had to queue for a while.
In between all of the rides, there are the expected shops and restaurants where you can buy all manner of marvel themed souvenirs of your visit.
This is the second of the worlds if you walk round the park in a clockwise position and features characters mainly from Popeye. It is very brightly coloured although it is quite small and there are only three rides between the shops and themed street decorations. The first ride, Me Ship, The Olive is one that will appeal to younger visitors, although it is not so much a ride as a huge boat construction that you can wander round and play interactive games like shooting water canons and the like. The second ride is Popeye and Bluto's Bilge Rat Barges and involves getting wet. Very wet in fact. To be honest I thought it was pretty lame and it just seemed to involve going round a series of very tame flumes and getting water dumped on you. It is good for younger visitors who like just a little bit of a thrill though it does have an over 42 inch height restriction. The last ride was undoubtedly the best and is called Dudley Do Right's Ripsaw Falls. There was almost always a queue for this ride, even though we visited in the quiet time of October, but it is absolutely worth waiting for. You'll get soaked (this seems to be the theme in this part of the park), but it is quite a long log flume type ride that has a couple of little dips and one big one. We thoroughly enjoyed this one.
This was one of my favourite areas of the park because I love the Jurassic Park River Adventure Ride. It is (another) log flume that starts off a bit like the film where you are taking a gentile ride through Jurassic Park and learning about the dinosaurs that live there. But, part way through your boat goes off course and you end up in the carnivore enclosure where the raptors and T-Rex are playing havoc. The only way out is down a particularly high water shoot of course. It's great and because the boats that go round it seat about 25 people each, the queues for it are never that big. The animatronics throughout the ride are very impressive too.
There is another ride called Pteranodon Flyers, but I'm afraid I can't tell you too much about this one because it is only for people under 56 inches unless you are flying with someone under 36 inches. The kids riding it seemed to be having a lot of fun on it though. The whole of Jurassic Park is good for children though because there are a couple of other things that they'll enjoy, including the Discovery Centre which is a bit like the one on the film where you can do various things like seeing what you would look like as a dinosaur and watching an egg hatch. It's quite fun though and we spent a bit of time here wandering around. The final attraction here is Camp Jurassic which kids will love as it involves huge dinosaur nets and caves to explore, we loved being like two big kids in this bit and there are some water guns at the top where you can take aim at unsuspecting people walking past underneath!
There are lots of shops here where you can get Jurassic Park souvenir and all kinds of things for even pocket money budgets. There is also a restaurant near the Discovery Centre that sells the burger and chip type thing that you'd expect and there are plenty of tables so you can rest your weary feet at what is about the halfway point in the park.
===The Wizarding World Of Harry Potter===
I am a massive Harry Potter fan and this area was without a doubt my favourite of all the places we visited in the whole of Orlando. My husband is not a fan, but he still loved it and appreciated the amazing attention to detail that made the place so good. The area is based on Hogwarts school and the nearby magical village of Hogsmeade. You can do everything that you would expect to do in the places including getting a picture of the Hogwarts Express train, have a pint of Butterbeer (which was very nice even though we couldn't quite work out what it was) in The Three Broomsticks (a pub that sells typical English food) and watch a sing song by a group of Hogwarts pupils.
Walking through the shops was a treat though because they sell all of the things that feature in the books. Ollivander's Wand Shop sells all of the wands of the main characters and you can even see the real thing in a demonstration at the back of his shop. You can get all kinds of treats in Honeydukes which sells things like chocolate frogs, sugar quill lollies and Bertie Botts Every Flavour Beans. Or you can head to Zonkos and get magic tricks and the like. Even for those who detest shopping in theme parks, you can't fail to enjoy this as it is part of the whole experience.
Aside from all of this, there are three rides. I was actually surprised at the selection of rides in the area because I didn't think they were particularly suitable for children. Maybe they feel like they have covered the younger visitors with all of the things I have already mentioned. The first ride is The Dragon Challenge which is a full on roller coaster with loops, dips and everything in between. I didn't go on it, but my husband said it was pretty scary. Even if you don't go on it, it is worth wandering up the queuing system to see all of the decorations there such as Hagrid's hut and the flying Ford Anglia in the Forbidden Forest. The second ride is a much tamer rollercoaster which is thrilling enough for younger visitors but no good for high thrill seekers. The last ride is Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey and it is without a doubt the best ride I have even been on. You sit in a four seated car that is attached to the wall at the back and takes you through the 'thrilling world of Harry Potter' parts of it are almost like a simulator in front of a screen and parts of it have animatronic features that you pass through. It really is very clever and lasts for at least three minutes I would say. It is so hard to describe but it is brilliant and highly recommended, although I did see one of the younger visitors in floods of tears when he got off because some parts of it are quite scary. The queuing system for this ride goes through the Hogwarts castle and you see all of the features that you recognise including moving paintings on the walls, the sorting hat and the greenhouses outside, which makes the inevitably long waits much more interesting.
===The Lost Continent===
This is a really small area and seems to be nothing more than a bit of a filler in the park to be honest. I'm afraid that I can't really say much about the two attractions in this area because we didn't go in them. Mainly because they never seemed to be open when we were passing through. The Eight Voyage of Sinbad Stunt show only takes places three times a day (at least it did at the time we visited, it may open more in summer) and Poseidon's Fury is a guided special effects tour that we didn't really fancy. We did though enjoy The Mystic Fountain which was a fountain in the centre that cracks jokes at passers by and squirts water at them - it was quite amusing to watch really.
Is the one area of the park that is entirely aimed at young visitors and features characters like The Cat In The Hat. There is a little merry-go-round which is (rather cleverly, I thought) called Caro-Seuss-El and features a selection of Dr Seuss' most popular characters. There's a trolley ride that passes, very slowly, over the park and a couple of interactive play areas.
We didn't go on any of the rides here but we did enjoy wandering round because it was a fun place to be and the shops all included a lot of bright souvenirs that seemed to delight the children that were in here.
There umpteen places where you can get something to eat throughout the park and it caters for all kinds of things from snacks and quick bites to full blown meals. I didn't think the prices were that bad to be honest - certainly much less than I thought they were going to be. We got a couple of (huge) slices of pizza and a (huge) soda for the equivalent of about £8. You are free to bring in your own food though if your budget doesn't extend to theme park prices, although expect to have your bag checked when you enter the park and to have to wait in line to do so.
Lots of the rides (especially the ones that do loops and the like) don't allow you to take loose items onto them, but all of these have free lockers that you can use at the ride entrance. It is an idea though to find one away from a ride entrance and leave your things there until you need them because the queues for lockers can be quite long.
The park is, for the most part, a smoke free zone although there are designated smoking areas throughout the park that can be found on the map and are clearly sign posted when you get to them. It is definitely worth getting a map as you enter because they are invaluable for planning your day to get the most out of it and to find out when the character meet and greets are.
If you are celebrating a special occasion - everything from your first visit to your honeymoon, then make sure you mention it to the front gate staff because they'll give you a funky little badge to wear. This is particularly good for those celebrating a birthday because all of the staff throughout the park will make a point of saying happy birthday and making you feel extra special.
In terms of ticket prices for getting in to the parks, it is an absolute minefield depending on what you want. You can get tickets for just Islands of Adventure, which are about £50 for one day, although the daily price does go down the more days that you book. The best value if you are staying for a week or more is to get a pass that allows you unlimited entries into a number of parks. We paid about £150 each for a fortnight long ticket that got us into Islands of Adventure, Universal Studios and Wet n' Wild water park. There are also untold numbers of places you can get tickets from but I would add that it tends to be cheaper if you buy them in advance.
For any more information, the Universal website is excellent; www.universalorlando.co.uk
As part of our fantastic family holiday of a lifetime to the amazing World of Disney in Orlando we also paid for 14 day flexticket plus passes to Universal Studios parks as part of the package bought through Virgin Holidays. Our tickets allowed 14 day continuous access to Universal Studios, Universal's Islands of Adventure, Aquatica, SeaWorld Orlando, Wet n'Wild Orlando and Busch Gardens at Tampa Bay. These tickets were £203 per adult and £191 for children. So for 6 of us were quite a lot of money!
My wife had researched Universal Studios quite a lot before we arrived in Florida and despite visiting the park 20+ years ago with her son and parents wanted to make our visit as memorable as possible including The Wizarding World of Harry Potter at Islands of Adventure in fact she even knew how to avoid the welcome meeting by the Virgin reps which you are supposed to do within 2 days of your arrival! So, one morning towards the start of our second week my wife took the long walk to the other area of our Disney resort where we were staying at 830am to see the Virgin rep and to get early admission to Islands of Adventure with free parking permit and free keyring (Yes, we are now all members of the Order of the Phoenix!).
So, from the Port Orleans (French Quarter) of Disney's Riverside resort it was only a 15-20 minute car journey (or would have been if we had programmed the satnav correctly) - we ended up in the main staff parking area with security guards manning the gates and yet again during our stay in Florida heard the immortal words "In 50 yards make a legal u-turn!". What's wrong with that you say? Well, when you are crossing 5 lanes of traffic traveling towards you at 50mph you'll understand. We had to be at the park by 8am and arrived with minutes to spare. We were amazed to find when parking the car that they had spent the time to create an effect on the floor of the car park like you would see on an artex ceiling and wondered how long it must have taken the poor bloke that had done it.
On exiting the car park travellators take you to Islands of Adventure of to its sister park Universal Studios. When we got to the main gates they were still locked and are early entry permits were all checked by their staff prior to the gates being unlocked. As they opened we had to put our tickets in the turnstiles, followed by the daily fingerprint scan (adults only) and bag search. Once through the gates the hundreds of fellow park guests with their early entry passes like us were on a mission with 90% or so heading towards The Wizarding World of Harry Potter for Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey. In fact it was like a queue waiting for the doors to open in the January Sales and despite being near the front of the queue we were passed by loads of people and probably only half way to the attraction by the time the first ones were being strapped in. We were in such a hurry that barely noticed any of the attractions in Seuss Landing or The Lost Continent. As we approached we could see Hogwarts standing proudly on a hill and we walked through a street of shops including Ollivanders where you could buy wands including Harry's and Honeydukes where you could buy all sorts of candies (including snot jelly beans, chocolate frogs and witches hats).
The reason we got the early admission passes is because we knew Harry Potter and Forbidden Journey is a very, very popular ride and in our case the queue time was around 40 minutes as you slowly advance towards the entrance to Hogwarts. As you walk through the building paintings start talking just as they do in the films and you are met by holographic images of Harry, Hermione and Ron who describe your mission and followed by Professor Dumbledore. Cars face sideways and you are sat in groups of 4 with full restraints coming down over you before starting on your ride. The cars twist and you can move up, down and sideways up to 180 degrees. It gives you the sense of flying on a broomstick as you fly around Hogwarts and discover what it's like to be playing quiditch and being chased by forces of the dark lord. The ride ends as you are greeted by the whole school applauding your exploits and as you leave the ride you enter a shop where there is plenty of opportunity to buy Griffindore shirts, plaques and various other Harry Potter merchandise and also to buy your ride photo although when we visited the machines were not displaying the photos on the screens.
After visiting the toilets we decided to have breakfast at The Hog's Head where they advertised a full English breakfast for around $10. Well it was edible but certainly not English and none of us eat all of it as just wasn't that good, but it was enough to keep us going.
As we left we took the opportunity of tasting Butterbeer from one of a number of outside stalls in the area with standard cups being around $3 and tankards $10 which were refillable with coke etc from stalls around the park for 99 cents. Butterbeer is certainly an experience with a frothy head which appeared to be whipped cream and the main drink tasting like a mixture of tizer and irn brew.
My mad 8 year old daughter decided that the Harry Potter ride was not scary enough and persuaded my son-in-law's partner to go on Dragon Challenge where you can ride either the red or green roller coaster. Mad is probably not the word as these two fast coasters appear to mingle around each other and although she came off loving it that couldn't be said of my son-in-law's partner who felt rather ill!
We spent quite a while walking in and out of the shops around Hogwarts before heading for Jurassic Park and as we did so noticed that the queues had now risen to 90 minutes and at one point the ride experienced technical difficulties and they were intending to suspend the ride.
Our first stop in Jurassic Park was to the Dinostore and Jurassic Outfitters selling books, hats, collectables, dinosaurs and Jurassic Park logo'd items. The area is also shared by The Jurassic Park Discovery Center where you look at fossilised remains of a Tyrannosaurus Rex and look at fossil remains on wall exhibits that magnify and identify fossil fragments. You can also look at dinosaur eggs and view the nursery / hatchery.
Our one and only ride in Jurassic Park was the Jurassic Park River Adventure. The queue was around 40 minutes and unlike Disney, Fast Track tickets are extra so we never bought any particularly considering the amount we had spent already! The ride is in the form of small boats with 2-3 guests per seat and 5 or 6 rows long and as you gently meander along the water you enter large gates into Jurassic Park where you are met by a stegosaurus and other dinosaurs that spit water at you. There is also a notice stating that your ride will not go through the section of park containing carnivores (or so you think). Your boat is bumped off course into the restricted raptor containment area where you learn that the power is down and the raptors have escaped. Your boat ascends (steep ramp) to the Environmental Systems building where the raptors are waiting for you and as you attempt to escape you discover a tyrannosaurus rex waiting for you and as it reaches down to gobble you up down the shoot you go! So did it eat you or did you escape - well I'll leave that to your imagination but this was a great ride and at 85ft is nearly 30ft higher than Disney's splash mountain.... and steeper! I would have loved to go on the ride again but with queues being so long that would have been impractical.
Overhead there was what appeared to be a gentle ride - Pteranodon Flyers which looked fun, but not a ride we went on. It is classed as a roller coaster and I could see very little to suggest it was but we were unable to find the ride entrance. We left Jurassic Park and headed for Toon Lagoon.
After a quick drink my wife had charge of the bags as the rest of us headed for Popeye and Bluto's Bilge-Rat Barges. Now when we think of river rapids in the UK at Thorpe Park or Alton Towers it is a gentle ride with the possibility of a few drips on your clothes. Well this is the American style white water rapids where you do in fact get wet, so wet in fact that our daughters were literally wringing out their clothes and I ruined our camera which was stored securely in a pocket in my combat trousers. We all loved this ride and without doubt would have gone back on it if the queues hadn't dramatically increased. There's also the possibility that you'll get splashed from water cannons fired by other park guests, and there's also an encounter with a giant octopus. All in all a fun exciting ride. This would in fact be our last ride in Islands of Adventure.
The one ride I regret not going on at Islands of Adventure was Dudley Do-Right's Ripsaw Falls which is a log flume ride with a difference - it has two lanes side by side that drop 75ft - below water level and unlike the normal log flumes where after the drop there is a gentle return to the entrance on this ride you literally whizz through rapids before finally heading back. Unfortunately this is one ride where I truly missed out but with queues of nearly 90 minutes and a rather worried look from my wife - as she thought it was much steeper than the Jurassic Park.
Marvel Super Hero Island had a number of thrill rides - for the insane! Yes, my 8 year old would have loved any ride in this area but no-one was brave mad enough to go on them. Don't take my word - these are the facts!
You accelerate from zero to 40 mph in two seconds flat, with the force equal to that of a jet taking off an aircraft carrier. The world turns upside down as you experience a weightless "zero g" roll. Then you feel a surge in power as you pick up speed and a menacing roar fills your ears. All you can do is hang on as you experience the rage, power and fury of the Hulk, smashing through the sky and plummeting down to earth on a high-speed roller coaster rampage of destruction.
 The Hulk launches riders upward 150 ft. and reaches top speeds of 67 mph.
 The ride has a total of seven inversions and two subterranean trenches during the 2-minute 15-second ride.
Doctor Doom's Fearful
With menacing Doombots watching your every move, you're strapped into your seat. The tension builds. Suddenly the countdown reaches zero and you are rocketed skyward, 150 feet into the air, then hurled back down faster than the force of gravity itself. Doctor Doom's diabolical device has done its work... he collects the fear from your body and sends you on your way, ready to claim his next victim.
 The initial launch at the beginning of the ride uses more thrust than a 747 jet engine and accelerates faster than the space shuttle. Doctor Doom's Fearfall has two towers that each stand 200 feet tall.
Still we had time for both girls to get face painted - the youngest with a princess effect and the other with a joker effect that cost us about $25 in total. After face painting we looked in a nearby shop selling marvel comics and other marvel memorabilia and as we exited came out behind a number of marvel super heroes as they rode off on their motorbikes and sidecars.
As left Islands of Adventure along CityWalk we saw Bubba Gumps Shrimp Company (yes the original on which the film Forrest Gump was very loosely linked) and the Hard Rock Café. In fact Universal advertise the area as The Entertainment Capital of Orlando. It is full of bars, nightclubs, music, special events, drive-in mini golf and 20 screen Cineplex with IMAX and of course shops.
Island of Adventure is full of shops selling gifts, food and drink. T-shirts were in the region of $20-$30 - very similar to Disney prices and for a standard sized soft drink around $3. There is plenty to see and do and enough for the real thrill seeker. If you really want to take advantage of Fast Track, prices are around $20 per person for the Universal Express Pass. This is a wonderful place to spend the odd day or two of your vacation. In our case in addition to a 14 day unlimited pass to Disney.
If you are in a position to visit Orlando I would certainly recommend Island of Adventure. In our case a 14 day pass to Universal was excessive as we only visited 3 parks, so before booking it is vital you plan well in advance. It may work out cheaper per day to book before you travel but you also need to understand what you will achieve. You'll love this park - we did!
I have been to Florida a number of times and each year I spend less and less days at the theme parks. However, if there is one ticket that I always purchase it is a ticket to Universal's Islands of Adventure theme park.
I'm not sure this is the best park for families with young children but if your kids are aged 9 or over then this park is superb.
The park itself is one of two Universal parked, the other being Universal Studios, and is by far the best. It is split into five different lands, each with their own character and rides. My favourite ride is Hulk which has an incredible start but there are just so many good rides.
When going to the park make sure you purchase one of the refill cups. From memoery these are about 12 dollars but considering drinks in the park are around 3 dollars you will soon start to save money with it.
For somewhere to eat in IOA, try the Burger Digs in Jurrasic Park, great for all the family. If you are happy to spend a little more then the Mythos Resteraunt in the Lost Continent has won numerous theme park dining awards. I have to admit that I have never tried it.
If you like theme parks you'll love Islands of Adventure at Universal Resort, Orlando. Whereas the Disney Parks are more catered toward the younger family with small children, Islands of Adventure is definitely where most of the "white knuckle" rides are in Orlando! Possibly the only park with scarier rides is Seaworld. And with the addition of a new land, The Wizarding World of Harry Potter, this summer its now even bigger and better!
I was lucky enough to go here 2 days after the new Harry Potter land opened - it was madness! People queuing for hours and hours just to get into the land let alone queuing to get on the rides! All well worth it though.
The park has several "lands" which are basically areas designed and themed differently. The Port of Entry is the main entrance and is where most of the gift shops etc are. There is a Cinnabon (my favourite - cinnamon flavoured cakes etc mmmmm!). Also a few clothes shops, a huge gift shops, and restaurants.
Marvel Super Hero Island
The first land you get to, which is home to the infamous Incredible Hulk rollercoaster (loops the loop many times and is not for the faint hearted). You will feel dizzy when you get off this ride! Of course as it's themed around superheros the whole land is done in comic book style. The Spiderman 3D ride in this land is one of the best in the park, you sit in a car and wearing 3D glasses you follow Spiderman round on one of his missions. Other rides are Dr Dooms Fearfall (you climb to the top of a tower and then drop) and Storm Force Acceleration (a bit like the teacups ride).
If you haven't guessed by the name this is the land of the wet rides. Personally, I don't mind water rides, but a couple of these will get you drenched to the bone as if you'd just got out of the shower. Not pleasant for me so I avoid these rides! Popeye and Blutos Bilge Rat Barges - don't go on this if you hate getting wet! You get into an 8 person boat and go whizzing down the rapids - and you get drenched to the bone. You do dry quickly in the Florida sun, but its not nice if you're wearing denim! Dudley Do Rights Ripsaw Falls is a log flume ride - you don't get as wet on this one but still wet enough! There's also some kids rides and a stunt show in this land.
Dinosaur land - there's only one real ride adult type ride here and that's the Jurassic Park River Adventure - you get about 30 people in a huge boat/raft and you go round on an adventure, seeing dinosaurs jumping out at you etc. The ride ends in a log-flume style way, with you shooting down a ramp out of darkness into the water. Sit at the front if you want to get wet. The other ride is Pteranodon Flyers, which you can only ride with a child. The flyers go around Jurassic Park high up in the air on a rail. There's a Discovery Centre which looks exactly like the Visitor Centre from the film - here you can eat in the restaurant (fast food) or pop downstairs and see replicas of dinosaurs and some fun games for kids.
The Lost Continent
Themed to ancient myths and legends, this land is home to no real rides but two big stunt shows. Poseidon's Fury is an indoor special effects show. It's kind of like a ride, but you walk around with a guy in character who is trying to find lost treasure. It's quite good and clever actually but a lot of darkness and scary for younger children. The Eighth Voyage of Sinbad is a stunt show, which is set to a script. I found it rather boring to be honest and is one thing I'd miss out next time.
This is where most of the kids rides are based and is themed on Dr Seuss. The Cat In The Hat is a fun ride even adults can go on, and is just a fun little ride with various Cat in The Hat models. You then have a carousel, a spinning ride and a story corner.
The Wizarding World Of Harry Potter
The brand new world based on Harry Potter. A ride that used to be in the Lost Continent, Duelling Dragons, is now in this lands and is now called Dragon Challenge. This is two rollercoasters that snake around each other - lots of loop the loops and you come within inches of the other coaster! The streets of this land do look like they are out of a film - there's long queues though - not only for the rides but also for the gift shops! You can buy a Butter Beer like in the films, which I didn't think was that nicely it was a bit sickly. The other main ride here is Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey. There will likely be a big queue for this but its worth it. It's a bit like Spiderman but isn't 3D. You still in a car and you are lifted up and down and round and round through the streets and over Hogwarts. It is rather clever and good and is as if you are in the film for real (and I am not a Harry Potter fan!). Daniel Radcliffe and the other stars all feature in the ride too which is cool. Even when you are queuing up there are holograms of the 3 main stars, and other fun bits (I wont spoil it for you) so even queuing isn't that boring! There is another ride called Flight of the Hippogriff but it's a kids ride - a very tame rollercoaster. This land is a must see though - so much effort has gone into the streets etc. Die hard fans will love it.
Queues even in the height of June were non existent really - maybe 15 minutes as most (except for Harry Potter). My advice for Harry Potter is don't queue with everyone else at the start of the day to get into the land - leave it til after lunch when its slightly emptier.
There are lockers next to the 'mad' rides where you can't take bags on, and they are usually free for the duration of the queue so you shouldn't have to pay while you're on the ride which is good news. They are quite expensive when you have to pay for them, although if you had kids they are handy if you don't want to carry nappies etc around all day.
There's no free queue jump here like Disney anymore, unless you pay about $200 to queue jump all day - but to be honest the queues were so short (and it was BUSY) it's not worth the money!
I prefer Universal Studios over Islands of Adventure but that's just me! This is definitely a must-see park. I would highly recommend it. You're better off buying a 2 day/2 park ticket if you are planning on visiting Studios as well - you can take 14 days to use them up so you don't have to go on consecutive days if you don't want to. Ours cost us about £120 I think for 2 parks so not too bad - not as expensive as Disney anyway!
There's plenty of parking and most hotels on International Drive have free shuttles. There is actually a bus (37) that goes to International Drive which is $2 and you can get off, and then get on the I-Trolley to your hotel if the free shuttle isn't at a convenient time (we did this as our shuttle wasn't til 8 and we had done everything by 5!).
Drinks wise you can buy a refillable cup for $10 I believe and then you get 75cents refills all day! Cheaper than buying drink and drink after drink! Food is expensive but it always is in theme parks. Universal Resort actually has a lot of choice for food - better than Disney and Seaworld for sure.
Definitely visit this place if you are in Orlando!
I am a theme park junkie, and when we went on holiday to Florida in October 1999, I was delighted and ovewhelmed with the huge variety of attractions to satisfy my need for thrills! Universal Studios Islands of Adventure was, by far, my favourite of all the theme parks we visited, in my opinion, outdoing Disney, Seaworld and Busch Gardens, although these parks were also awesome.
Universal Islands of Adventure opened in May 1999, as an aditional park adjacent to the hugely popular Universal Studios. The two parks are seperate attractions, although you can get tickets that allow you to hop between parks, but you would not see everything in one day. When we went, in October, the park had only been open a couple of months, so everything was really shiny and new, in contrast to Disney, which was starting to look a bit tired. The park is divided up into five sepearately themed "islands", which are situated around a large lake. You enter the "islands" through the Port of Entry, which is the main entrance to the park, and home to cafes, restaurants and gift shops, as well as the customer services desk. I shall review each "island" in turn:
Marvel Superhero Island:
This is a must for comic book fans of all ages. There are loads of photo opportunities here, and the park does a great job of immersing you in the comic book experience, with giant pictures of superheroes everywhere. This part of the park is home to the white knuckle rides, including the Incredible Hulk coaster, which starts by shooting you out of a tunnel at massive acceleration, before looping you round sevaral loops and leaving you disoriented! One of the best rides in this section is the 3D Spider Man ride, which is not for people who get motion sickness! You are bounced and twirled around a 3D comic book adventure, culminating in a drop off a skyscraper before being caught in Spideys web! Doctor Doom's Fearfall is a tower drop ride, which lifts you high above the park before plummetting you into oblivion. Thsi section of the park has some gift shops, as well as a comic book shop, and two places to eat, Cafe 4 and Captain America Diner.
The rides in this section are slightly more family friendly than the previous section, but there are still a couple of high adrenalin rides here. Again, you are completely immersed in the whole experience and you really feel that you are part of a cartoon. The cartoons featured here are not really ones we are overly familiar with in the UK, such as Dudley Do Right, but there are also a lot of Popeye and Betty Boop themed attractions, which may be more familiar to UK visitors. The best ride in this section is Dudley Do Rights Ripsaw Falls, which looks absolutely amazing. You can see the people going down the massive drop of this log flume and getting completely soaked! Luckily, as this is Florida, you soon dry off in the heat, unlike UK, where you walk around in soggy jeans all day after riding a log flume. There is also a brilliant rapids ride, themed on Popeye, which is more intense, and wet, than any rapids rides in the UK theme parks. There are a couple of fast food outlets and gift shops in this section, and loads of photo opportunities, including a giant bomb, and a clever frame where you can stand holding a dog lead and when you turn the photo sideways it looks as if you are flying, being pulled along by a great dane!
When you enter the giant gates and hear the familiar music, you really feel as if you have walked into the movie. The whole atmosphere, sights, sounds and smells, make you believe that a dinosaur is going to pop out at you any minute. There are some fantastic rides in this section, including another log flume, this time with a twist. It starts off like a boat tour through the park, with animatronic dinos gently grazing nearby. Suddenly, the boat goes off course, and the ride turns into a nightmare as you enter a dark tunnel....this one is really scary, and my favourite ride in the park! This section is also home to the discovery centre that was featured in the first film. You can actually stroke an animatronic dino. It looks so realistic, you think it is really alive.
This section is all about ancient myths and legends. At the centre is a huge ancient looking temple, which is home to one of the rides, Poseidon's Fury. This section also has a theatre, which is home to the amazing Sinbad stunt show. At the centre of the area is a "mystic Fountain" which actually talks to guests and interacts with them. When we went, the fountain gave us a riddle to solve, and soaked us with water because we didn't know the answer! Part of this section is Greece themed, and part is Arabian themed, complete with bazaar.
Finally, a section dedicated to kiddies! Most parents are familiar with the Dr Seuss books, such as Cat in the Hat, and the Grinch. These books are Huge in the US. This section is home to the Caro-Seuss-el, which is similar to the carousel at Disney, featuring all of the Dr Seuss characters. I loved the One Fish Two fish Ride, which is a flying fish ride, where you can make the fish go up and down by pressing the button. There is a huge kids play area in this section, including an indoor soft play area and an outdoor water play section. we didn't have kids when we went, but still had fun in this section, although my husband found the Cat in the Hat ride a bit sickly. Lots of Seuss themed shops in this section too.
Universal has announced that they will be opening a Harry potter section of the park, which I am sure will be very popular, and to the very high standard of the other sections of the park.
The park itself is impeccably clean, and the staff are lovely and helpful. The restaurants can be a bit pricey, but you get really big portions that should keep you going for the whole day. Can't wait to go back, this time with the kids!
My favourite theme park on the planet! You cannot go to Florida without visiting here and once you do visit, you'll want to go back so I'd recommend getting the orlando flexiticket!
They have the best rides, and the best themes (maybe not for really little ones, you probably wont beat Disney there but the adults need some fun too!) We always go in November when there are never any queues but I can imagine they are horrific in the summer so be prepared for serious queues.
Dont miss Spider man 3D, Jurrasic park or The Incredible hulk. Seuss landing is a personal favourite and One fish-Two fish is great fun for all even though I'm sure it's intended for children!
You can switch between Islands of adventure and Universal with most passes but I'd recommend you keep a whole day for this place at least. Every time I go, there is something new to discover and with the highly anticipated opening of The wizarding world of Harry Potter in Spring this year (which is located within the park, not a park on its own) I cannot wait to go again soon!
I love this theme park. Its a totally different type of park to what you find at Disney. It has none of the magic you associate with Disney but offers its own type of enchantment.
Firstly lets start off by setting the scene. To get to Universal Islands of Adventure you must walk through City Walk, which is the entrance to both Universal theme parks. Here you'll find lots of shops and big name restaurants such as Hard Rock Cafe, NBA City, Bubba Gump, to name but a few. As you head to Islands of adventure just soak up the atmosphere, treat yourself to an ice cream at Dipping Dots or a cocktail at Jimmy Buffets margharita ville and your anticipation will start to build.
Once through the turnstiles you're in Port of Entry with lots of places to eat where you'll need to pick up a map to help you navigate through the 5 islands which are :
Marvel Superhero Island: Here you'll find the intense Incredible Hulk Rollercoaster, its mean and its green. You'll also find other attractions such as Dr Doom's fear fall and a 3d ride, the Advenutures of Spiderman. I've been to wussy to try any of these. I prefer a less intense experience.
Toon Lagoon: Prepare to get wet in this Island, as you'll find a few water rides like Ripsaw Falls and Me Ship the Olive for kids to explore and get soaked.
Jurassic Park: Definitely my favourite Island, I just love that t-rex. You'll find him peeping out the greenery as you walk to the lost continent or just try Jurassic Park River Adventure where he tries to attack you as you hurtle down a 85 foot drop and get totally soaked. Theres also the Jurassic visitor centre where you can see a raptor hatching, all great animatronics. Theres also a play area called camp Jurassic which gives kids a chance to blow off steam and yes you guessed it, get wet. Universal has an obsession regarding soaking its visitors.
The Lost Continet: Here you'll find duelling dragons coaster, and a Sinbad Stunt show, which I've not seen but everyone says its great, loads of action and flames!
Seuss Landing: My daughter's favourite. Here is a great carousel, named Caro-seuss-El with loads of weird make believe animals, it cool. Also the Cat in the Hat ride, and the trolley in the sky.
There are plenty of decent places to dine in the Islands but my favourite is Mythos Restaurant in the Lost Continent. The food isn't your usual theme park burgers, its offerings are a bit more adventurous. I had a nice grilled chicken club sandwich with fries, mmm.
I can't wait till I return next year as by this time the Wizarding World of Harry Potter will be open, and I'll be expecting great rides and attractions.
A great park with some wild rides, but something for everyone. I can't go to Orlando without at least one (or two) visit to Islands of Adventure. Enjoy!
I visited this theme park in October 2009 and absolutely loved it. It was a last minute decision really and I only ended up going because I decided the Universal 2 Park Ticket was a better deal than just going to Universal Studios!
I would quite honestly say that this could be the best theme park I have ever visited. I went with my boyfriend, we are both in our late 20's and we had the time of our lives!
The park is sectioned into several 'islands', namely:
Marvel Super Hero Island
The Lost Continent
There was currently a new area being developed whilst we were there, The Wizarding World of Harry Potter, due to open Spring 2010. This looked absolutely brilliant and is going to make an amazing park even better!
The decor in each of the areas was wonderful. It was really unique, great detail and so colourful. Each area was very distinct from the others and it felt like a lot of work had gone into the design of the park.
The main rides in the park in my opinion were:
Incredible Hulk Coaster - absolutely brilliant. Without a doubt the best coaster I have ridden, and I have ridden a fair few! Went on this 3 times and each time was better than the last. Amazing.
Dueling Dragons - 2 coasters go at the same time and come within inches of each other. Exciting and a novel idea.
Spider Man - A simulator type ride but it felt very real! Lots of special effects, great.
Dudley Do-Right's Rip Saw Falls - Brilliant log flume type ride, went on for ages with some really steep drops!
Jurassic Park River Adventure - Very well done ride, mixture of calm and excitement!
We were VERY lucky when we visited as there were absolutely no queues. We went straight on to each ride and it made our day even better! We visited out of season so it may not always be like that, but we were very impressed.
We took advantage of the Eat All Day promotion which was worth it, fpr $20 you can get a main meal and dessert at selected food outlets, as many times as you want throughout the day.
When we visited, opening hours were 9am - 7pm which was plenty of time to enjoy the whole park, especially as there were no queues.
I bought my tickets direct from the Universal site as I wanted to take advantage of the Horror Nights promotion. I got a 7 day 2 park ticket for about $120 per person. It's quite pricey but considering Alton Towers is about £40 for 1 day, this is a far better deal.
Overall, an amazing theme park and highly recommended. A must-visit if you are going to Florida and I would certainly rank this above the majority of the other theme parks.
I have been to this theme park twice now and each visit was amazing!Every ride is absolutely amazing and there is something there do suit every body. This park has to be the no.1 theme park in the world. The rides and entertainment are world class. Some of the fantastic rides at this park include:
The Hulk Rollercoaster
Jurassic Park water ride
Dudleys Rispsaw Falls
Storm force accelatron
Dr Dooms Fearfall and many many many more..
You are treated like a royal at this park and it will be an unforgetable day! There are rides for young children, teenagers, adults and grandparents! It truly is a magnificent day out that every one will enjoy! I think we paid approximately £50 for an adult 2 pass for both universal studios and universal isalnds of adventure. Fantasric Day and worth every single penny you pay! Must go!
Universal's Islands of Adventure is a theme park located in Florida which opened in May 1999. The park was an expansion that changed the original Universal Studios Florida into a resort to rivel Disney World.
The park theme is of a journey of exploration. Guests depart from a main port on to five "islands," each having its own distinct theme. In 2010 the 5 islands will be exstended to 6 with an island based on the popular Harry Potter franchise.
The parts main port is called (simpaly) Port of Entry. Here you will find shops and guest services. From there you vencher out in to the rest of the park. The islands you will come across are:
Marvel Super Hero Island
Here Marvel comic books are brought to life. This area is great for kids to meet characters and of the adults to take in big thrill rides. The rides here are:
Incredible Hulk Coaster, The Amazing Adventures of Spider-Man, Doctor Doom's Fearfall, Storm Force Accelatron.
The name says it all. This area is aimed toward (I think) kids more than adults The rides here are:
Dudley Do-Right's Ripsaw Falls, Popeye and Bluto's Bilge-Rat Barges, Me Ship, the Olive,
This ares is dedicated to the Jurassic Park movie. The area has some thrilling rides and has discovery-based exhibits. The rides here are:
Jurassic Park River Adventure, Pteranodon Flyers, Camp Jurassic, Jurassic Park Discovery Center,
The Lost Continent
This island is themed to ancient myths and legends. This island is kind of a 1 ride island as the coaster here is amazing but the show is boarding. The rides are:
* Dueling Dragons, The Eighth Voyage of Sindbad, Poseidon's Fury,
Seuss Landing is specially geared towards small children and is based on the works of author Dr. Seuss. It is a great place to spend time with the little ones. The rides here are:
Caro-Seuss-el, The Cat in the Hat, If I Ran the Zoo, One Fish Two Fish Red Fish Blue Fish, The High in the Sky Seuss Trolley Train Ride.
The Wizarding World of Harry Potter
This is a new island opening in 2010 will bring The books and films of harrp Potter to life here there will be the Forbidden Forest, Hogsmeade Village and the iconic Hogwarts castle. The rides here will be Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey, Dragon Challenge, Flight of the Hippogriff,
This park is great but I think is more towards the thrill rides than the shows and nice rides that Disney do. But I would say to any one you must go.
I have visited Universal Island of Adventure on numerous occasions in the last 5 years. In my opinion, it is the best park in Orlando for thrill rides. The park is divided into 5 islands: Marvel Super Hero Island, Seuss Landing, Jurassic Park, The Lost Continent and Toon Lagoon.
There are many headliner rides throughout the park, some of which include: Spiderman, Incredible Hulk roller coaster, Duelling Dragons, JP river adventure, Ripsaw Falls.
My favourite ride in all of Orlando is Spiderman. It is described as a 4D ride. The ride is basically an indoor roller coaster combined with 3D video. It is a superb ride and can get very busy so head for this first.
Duelling dragons is another favourite. It combines two roller coasters (fire and ice) who intertwine and at certain points, just miss eachother.
JP river adventure was a bit of a disappointment if i'm honest, it could have been really good. You sit on a river raft and travel through JP looking at numerous dinosaurs. The finale is a steep water drop whilst being roared at by a T Rex.
Incredible Hulk ride is a very fast roller coaster. Very enjoyable.
As with most other orlando parks, the scenery and attention to detail is top notch.
Definately a park not to be missed.
When I went to Orlando Florida a few years ago, there was one park that really stood out from the rest and this was islands of adventure, this park has the most fearsome rides in a beautiful and colourful environment.
As soon as you walk through the entrance you are faced with the massive hulk ride, and this was the first ride I went on, the queue was pretty long but it was worth the wait, the ride was powerful and went up to speeds of 60 mph.
The park was split up into different sections, one being the Marvel comics section, there was a cat in the hat section, a fantasy section and jurrasic park section, I can't remember the other one. Each section had it's own magic, every single building had so much detail it looks like it costed huge amounts of money to build and it took a long time, until they made it perfect.
One of my favorite rides was the dueling dragons where two roller coasters set off at the same time, and during the ride it looks like you are about to crash into each other before being jolted in a different direction, I found that the back of the blue dragon was the best seat.
There are plenty of water rides, for those who want to get a little wet, rip saw falls was more of a roller coaster with water added, whereas Bluto's bilge rat barges, got you absolutely soaked, and it did't help when people could go on water pistols at the edge of the river and blast you with extra water :)
We visited Islands of Adventure on a Monday and it was much less busy than a Saturday. There are five differently themed 'lands' or islands with a lake in the middle. You walk around them all in a big circle, there are bridges connecting them etc. I think you can also get boats from island to island.
The five lands are:
Marvel Super Hero Island
The Lost Continent
Some of the rides include:
The Amazing Adventures of Spiderman, located in Marvel Super Hero Island - a 3D ride with our arachnid based superhero battling the baddies and saving the day. You queue up through the building of the Daily Bugle newspaper and walk past Peter Parker's desk. The ride is excellent and extremely popular and therefore the queue is always long. We went on this first, as soon as we arrived in the park, just before 9am.
The Hulk Rollercoaster, located in Marvel Super Hero Island - a very big, very fast rollercoaster that sends you upside down quite a few times. I did not like this but it's one of the most popular rides here.
Duelling Dragons, located in the Lost Continent - 2 roller coasters coloured blue and red and named Fire and Ice that race each other and look as though they're going to crash.
Dudley Do-Right's Ripsaw Falls, located in Toon Lagoon - surely the wettest log flume ride ever. Nobody gets off dry, not even a toe is left dry!
Jurassic Park River Adventure, located in Jurassic Park - a log flume type boat ride past a variety of dinosaurs with a small drop or two, plus a HUGE steep drop at the end. You will get wet.
The Cat in the Hat, located in Seuss Landing - a surreal but gentle ride around inside a big house full of Dr. Seuss characters. Lots of the effects are like looking through a kaleidoscope and send your eyes a bit funny.
One Fish Two Fish Red Fish Blue Fish, located in Seuss Landing - this ride holds about 3 people per "fish" and goes round and round and round. Children can "fly" the fish by pulling a lever to make it go up and down. There are water jets within this ride and you get soaked if you go down. If you stay up you'll be above the water but where's the fun in that?!
JURASSIC PARK DISCOVERY CENTRE
This is a very good, interactive, educational part of the park and very popular with children. My nephews love it but they're dino mad. It's a bit like an interactive museum where children can touch and sit on various model dinosaurs. But there's also a really interesting bit where they can see baby dinosaurs "hatching" from their eggs and even put unhatched dino eggs into a scanner machine to reveal a picture of the baby dino inside. We spent about an hour in here; the kids ran free, we ate lunch, and we missed a rainstorm while in here too.
FOOD & DRINK
All the usual fast food outlets are here, but there's also a cold food snack bar just outside the Discovery Centre, selling things like baguettes and salads.
Like all Florida theme parks, this has something for everyone and is another great day out.
I last visited Islands Of Adventure about two years ago with some friends, and it is by far the best theme park in florida for thrill rides, also being a childhood fan of marvel comics, i loved the comic themed area of the park, with spiderman, acptain america et al riding around on quads, and entertaining the young kids.
the park is split up into a few areas, marvel island, seuss landing etc, and by far the best is marvel island (although i might be a little biased) as it has some really great rides such as the hulk coaster, which is an adrenaline junkies dream, and also my personal favorite (unusually not a coaster) the spiderman 3D ride.
Ahuge amount of work has gone into this park and if you have the time it is soo worth a visit if you are in orlando. The park itself adjoins Universal studios orlando and also the boardwalk (a restaurant and nightlife centre operated by universal) so is easily accessable as there are around 30000 car parking spaces, and endless free shuttles to and from local hotels.
a whole day is needed to get around it, and during the peak season, maybe 2 if you want to do everything.
there are loads of tickets that you can buy, but i would reccommend the 2 week universal pass as it gives you access to universal, islands of adventure, and sea world, and works out cheaper than buying the on the day one park tickets for each.
food and drink in the parks is the usual fare of mcdonalds and other fast food outlets, and as per usual, they have higher than normal prices, but as long as you get a good deal on your dollars, this isnt really an issue.a lot of the park is open to the elements so make sure you take plenty of sunscreen during the hotter months as you will inevitably burn without it.