Home » Destinations » Your guide to all the rides at Universal’s Islands of Adventure {updated for 2022}

Your guide to all the rides at Universal’s Islands of Adventure {updated for 2022}

Islands of Adventure, the sister park to Universal Studios Orlando, is a must-visit for theme park fans. Adventure-seekers will find intense thrills, and Harry Potter fans will get an immersive experience unlike any other. Read on for our Islands of Adventure list of rides and start planning your visit!

Islands of Adventure rides

Islands of Adventure Rides

After you enter the park through the Port of Entry, you can head right or left and walk through all of the different “islands” (sections of the park) in a circle, and end up right where you started. We’ll start on Marvel Super Hero Island and make our way clockwise around the park as we talk about all the rides.

Marvel Super Hero Island

The Incredible Hulk Coaster

Height requirement: 54″
Thrill factor: 5/5

The Hulk Coaster

The Incredible Hulk Coaster is a high-speed, outdoor coaster, with seven inversions. This coaster shoots you out of a tube at 67 mph, right into a twist, and if you’re not too busy screaming, you can enjoy quite a nice view of the park!

The coaster then goes into a full loop and under a bridge (where things get a little misty). And just when you think the ride is over, you get one more drop and another loop before coming back to the loading area.

This ride is perfect if: You like intense outdoor coasters.

Storm Force Accelatron

Height requirement: n/a
Thrill factor: 2/5

Storm Force Acceleration

Storm Force Accelatron is a tea cup-style ride with an X-Men theme. It’s a good ride to catch after The Hulk since it’s right next door and a little calmer.

This ride is perfect if: You like spinning rides or have little ones in your group. It’s also a great way to spend your time while your thrill-seeking friends go on Hulk.

Doctor Doom’s Fearfall

Height requirement: 52″
Thrill factor: 5/5

Doctor Doom's Fearfall

Towering over Super Hero Island, Doctor Doom’s Fearfall is a free-fall ride where you are helping Doctor Doom collect fear energy to power his super weapon and take down the Fantastic Four. This ride gives you a great view over both parks and the surrounding area — it also shoots you up to a panic-inducing height before dropping you back down!

This ride is perfect if: You like free-falls and intense thrills.

The Amazing Adventures of Spider-Man

Height requirement: 40″
Thrill factor: 3/5

Adventures of Spiderman at Islands of Adventure

Right in the heart of the Marvel Area, the Spider-Man ride takes visitors through the offices of the Daily Bugle and into the “Scoop” ride vehicle, which takes you through a 3-D comic book version of New York City, as villains attempt to steal the Statue of Liberty. Luckily, our favorite webslinger is there to help save the day. Much like the Transformers ride in Universal Studios, this one doesn’t move too fast but the 3-D makes it feel more intense. 

This ride is perfect if: You’re a fan of Spider-Man, you love 3-D rides, or you have little ones who enjoy a slightly more intense experience.

Toon Lagoon

Popeye & Bluto’s Bilge-Rat Barges

Height requirement: 42″
Thrill factor: 2/5

Popeye & Bluto’s Bilge-Rat Barges

Popeye & Bluto’s Bilge-Rat Barges is a river raft-style ride in which you will. get. wet. The circular raft can fit the whole family and will take you on a Popeye-themed adventure along a turbulent river. There are no big drops, but be prepared to get soaked. The park offers paid dryers, but our testers were still soaking wet after a full five-minute dry-off session. Maybe take a poncho!

This ride is perfect if: You want to cool off on a hot day.

Dudley Do-Right’s Ripsaw Falls

Height requirement: 44″
Thrill factor: 4/5

Ripsaw Falls

Another wet attraction in Toon Lagoon, Dudley Do-Right’s Ripsaw Falls is a log flume-style ride that takes you on a classic cartoon adventure. You try to save the lovely heroine from the mustache-twirling villain, who has tied her to the train tracks. The climax of the ride is, of course, going over “Ripsaw Falls” in a big, watery drop!

This ride is perfect if: You want to cool off on a hot day or just can’t resist a flume ride!

Skull Island: Reign of Kong

Skull Island: Reign of Kong

Height requirement: 36″
Thrill factor: 3/5

Reign of Kong

On Skull Island: Reign of Kong, you ride in an expedition bus through the wilds of an uncharted island. As you may have guessed, this island is inhabited by lots of creatures! Giant bugs, bats, and even dinosaurs show up to ruin everyone’s day — thankfully you have a giant ape as your protector! This 3-D attraction takes you into a tunnel where the action is all around you, and it culminates in an up-close encounter with King Kong himself.

This ride is perfect if: You have a range of ages and thrill-preferences in your group — this one is generally good for anyone except the most-sensitive of riders.

Jurassic Park

Jurassic World VelociCoaster

Height requirement: 51″
Thrill factor: 5/5

Velocicoaster

The highly-anticipated VelociCoaster opened in June 2021, and is Islands of Adventure’s biggest thrill. The stats: two launches, four inversions, 70 mph in 2.4 seconds, and 12 seconds of airtime. Not to mention a 360-degree barrel roll that includes an inverted stall, and a 140-foot drop at an 80-degree angle. That’s a lot of numbers that add up to an incredible experience!

We LOVE the VelociCoaster. It’s packed with thrills and airtime while actually being a very smooth ride. The top hat is incredible, and we highly recommend waiting for the first row of seats (the VelociCoaster seats two to a row) — it’s completely worth the extra wait.

This ride is perfect if: The Incredible Hulk Coaster has become a little tame in your eyes.

Pteranodon Flyers

Height requirement: 1st rider 36″–56″, 2nd rider 56″
Thrill factor: 2/5

Pteradon Flyers

Pteranodon Flyers is a bit of a tricky ride, as you have to have two people just the right heights to ride it! The rider in front has to be between 36–56″ and the rider in the back has to be over 56″. It’s a great ride for a parent and child, or even a big brother or sister to ride with their younger sibling.

The ride itself is a relaxing glide over Camp Jurassic. I’ve only ridden it a few times, but every time I’ve wished it could last longer!

This ride is perfect if: You want a relaxing ride with a nice view and you have a little buddy!

Jurassic Park River Adventure

Height requirement: 42″
Thrill factor: 4/5

Jurassic Park River Adventure

The Jurassic Park River Adventure puts you on a large boat and takes you through different dinosaur habitats. You accidentally end up in the Raptor Containment Center with raptors on the loose. The ride ends with a big splash as you go down a huge drop and get absolutely soaked.

This ride is perfect if: You want to get really wet, or you’re enough of a Jurassic Park fan that you have to do all the Jurassic rides!

The Wizarding World of Harry Potter – Hogsmeade

Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey

Height requirement: 48″
Thrill factor: 4/5

Forbidden Journey

Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey is one of the best rides Islands of Adventure has to offer. In fact, it’s easily in my top 5 theme park rides of all time. It’s so unique — you can’t miss it!

If you’ve had dreams of getting your letter to Hogwarts, wait no more! The queue for this ride takes you through the dungeons (look for the Mirror of Erised), castle gardens (look for the mandrakes in the pots!) and into the castle itself where you’ll visit Dumbledore in his office, Harry, Ron, and Hermoine in the Defense Against the Dark Arts classroom, the lady in the portrait that guards the Gryffindor common room, and even the Sorting Hat. As you board the ride vehicles, look up to see the display of floating candles.

On the ride, your journey will include physical elements (giant spiders in the Forbidden Forest, the Whomping Willow) as well as on-screen visuals that make you feel like you’re right there in the action (avoiding a fire-breathing dragon, flying around the Quidditch pitch, soaring across the lake). The technical wizardry brings the movie wizardry to life!

This ride is perfect if: You love Harry Potter or really high-tech, story driven experiences. But seriously, you have to ride it!

Flight of the Hippogriff

Height requirement: 36″
Thrill factor: 2/5

Flight of the Hippogriff is a small outdoor rollercoaster tucked into the back portion of Hogsmeade, right across from the Hogwarts castle. There is an initial climb, followed by a few dips and falls, but overall it’s fun and enjoyable, and obviously geared towards people who enjoy a less intense experience. Our little ones will ride it a dozen times in a row if we let them! Pro tip: Bow to Buckbeak, Hagrid’s hippogriff, at the start of the ride. It won’t change anything on the ride, but we think it makes it more fun!

This ride is perfect if: You have little ones or want to check off all of the Harry Potter rides. 

Hagrid’s Magical Creatures Motorbike Adventure

Height requirement: 48″
Thrill factor: 4/5

Hagrid's Magical Creatures Motorbike Adventure

Hagrid’s Magical Creatures Motorbike Adventure is another ride that makes my top five list! It’s a high-speed outdoor roller coaster with a few special surprises. The ride vehicles are made to look exactly like Hagrid’s motorbike, sidecar and all.

“Riding bike,” as we call it, allows you to lean forward and hold on to the handlebars (as if you were actually riding a motorcycle), and something about that posture makes the ride more fun than your typical coaster. The wait times can skyrocket, even on slower days, and Universal often switches to a “virtual queue” on their app, making it trickier to guarantee a spot (but usually helps the line move faster). Our advice is to get to the park early and head there first, or snag a virtual pass the second they become available (usually right when the park opens). 

This ride is perfect if: It’s just perfect. If you can handle some medium-intense thrills, do it!

Hogwarts Express – Hogsmeade Station

Height requirement: n/a
Thrill factor: 1/5

Hogwarts Express Hogsmeade

Now we come to the final Harry Potter ride at Islands of Adventure — the Hogwarts Express! This is a must-ride for Harry Potter fans, but be warned that you can ONLY ride the Hogwarts Express if you have a park-to-park pass. It will take you from Islands of Adventure to Universal Studios (or vice versa), so you have to have a pass that allows you entrance into both parks.

The Hogwarts Express looks exactly like the famous train from the books and movies, and you can see magical scenes out your “window” as you travel (be sure to watch the window AND the compartment doors), taking you to Kings Cross Station in Universal Studios. The line can get long later in the day, so you might want to get on while it’s still early!

Be sure to take the train both ways, because the experience is different depending on your direction!

This ride is perfect if: You’re heading to Universal Studios or you love Harry Potter!

The Lost Continent

There are no real rides in The Lost Continent, but there are a couple of fun attractions.

Poseidon’s Fury

Poseidon’s Fury is part-show/part-walkthrough-attraction, but it has been closed since the pandemic. It’s still closed as of mid-March 2022, but there is talk of the attraction reopening soon.

The Mystic Fountain

The Mystic Fountain

The Mystic Fountain can be a fun diversion, especially if you’re stuck in the line for Hagrid’s. Talk to the fountain and it’ll talk back! It might also spray you with water or play some music. Our kids always shout “Hi” whenever we walk past, to see if he’ll respond!

Seuss Landing

The High in the Sky Seuss Trolley Train Ride

Height requirement: 36″
Thrill factor: 1/5

High in the Sky Trolley

The High in the Sky Seuss Trolley Train Ride is exactly what it sounds like — a trolley that takes you through Seuss Landing on an elevated track. This ride is unique because it has two tracks. You could go through the story of the Sneetches or learn the Seuss Landing ABCs. It’s a good ride to do more than once!

This ride is perfect if: You have little ones or want to enjoy a breezy view. 

Caro-Seuss-el

Height requirement: n/a
Thrill factor: 1/5

*As of mid-March 2022, the Caro-Seuss-el remains closed for significant refurbishments.

Caro-Seuss-el

In every theme park, there should be at least one carousel! The Caro-Seuss-el checks that box for Islands of Adventure. There are so many funny creatures to choose from and it’s suitable for all ages. There are also benches available for people who don’t enjoy the up-and-down motion of the animals.

This ride is perfect if: You have little ones or just need a break from the bigger rides! 

One Fish, Two Fish, Red Fish, Blue Fish

Height requirement: n/a
Thrill factor: 1/5

One Fish Two Fish Red Fish Blue Fish

One Fish, Two Fish, Red Fish, Blue Fish combines a standard “Dumbo-style” ride with a water ride. There’s fun music played in the background that tells you when to go up or down if you don’t want to get wet, while the fish around the ride try to squirt you with water. The best part is that you can control how wet you get (as long as you and your ride partner share the same goals)!

This ride is perfect if: It’s a hot day and you want to cool down a bit without getting soaked.

The Cat in the Hat

Height requirement: 36″
Thrill factor: 1/5

Cat in the Hat ride

Dr. Seuss’s silly stories are always some of the first ones we read when we’re little. Universal realized this and made one of the most popular works of Dr. Seuss into a fun ride. It’s a gentle, slow-moving ride that takes you through the story of the Cat in the Hat. Our little ones absolutely love it!

This ride is perfect if: You have little ones who like Dr. Seuss books and characters!

The best order to ride Islands of Adventure rides

If you want to ride all the best rides at Islands of Adventure, you’re gonna need a game plan! I’ll give you the order we suggest hitting the rides, for the shortest wait times.

My first tip is to arrive nice and early. Most people don’t, which means you’ll be able to get on several rides before the crowds really start pouring in, and you’ll be that far ahead of them. It also helps if you go during a slower time of year and on a weekday.

If you’d like, you can purchase Express passes — one version allows you to jump to the front of the line once per ride, and the unlimited pass lets you do so as many times as you want. But these are a significant added expense and not an option for everyone.

Be sure to download the Universal app, so you can score some virtual queue passes! These virtual passes are free and allow you to choose a time to return to a ride later in the day. Usually Universal either offers a stand-by line OR virtual queue (not both at the same time), so if a ride is currently offering virtual queue, you will need to get a pass to enter the line for the ride. Be sure to check first thing, as the park is opening, and if there aren’t any available, keep refreshing. More will appear throughout the day. And keep your eye on the app because sometimes a ride will transition to using virtual queue later in the day.

Here’s the order I suggest hitting the rides, but of course you might need to adjust based on any virtual queue passes you’ve snagged or the current wait times.

Islands of Adventure ride order

This list will likely change depending on a few things. If you have access to the early morning hour, try to knock out one of the big rides — whatever is available. Then, find out ahead of time which rides are likely to have a virtual queue. If you can grab a ride time for one ride slightly later in the morning, then head to the other one first.

Another tricky thing about Islands of Adventure is that it’s not an easy park to jump from section to section. The whole layout is in a circle with no central hub, so it takes a while to get from one side of the park to the other. Our ride order recommendation takes this into account and has you mostly riding all the rides in one area before moving on to the next.

Here’s our order recommendation:

  1. Hagrid’s Magical Creatures Motorbike Adventure
  2. VelociCoaster
  3. Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey
  4. Flight of the Hippogriff
  5. The Incredible Hulk Coaster
  6. Storm Force Accelatron
  7. The Amazing Adventures of Spider-Man
  8. Doctor Doom’s Fearfall
  9. Skull Island: Reign of Kong
  10. Jurassic Park River Adventure
  11. Pteranodon Flyers
  12. Dudley Do-Right’s Ripsaw Falls
  13. Popeye & Bluto’s Bilge-Rat Barges
  14. The High in the Sky Seuss Trolley Train Ride
  15. One Fish, Two Fish, Red Fish, Blue Fish
  16. Caro-Seuss-el
  17. The Cat in the Hat

And don’t forget the Hogwarts Express, but you should ride that whenever you plan to switch parks.

What to do other than rides at Islands of Adventure

The rides are definitely the main attraction at Islands of Adventure, but there are plenty of other things to do and see — and let us not forget the food!

Islands of Adventure shows

In Hogsmeade, you can catch performances by the Frog Choir and watch the Triwizard Spirit Rally. In Seuss Landing, catch your favorite characters telling some of Dr. Seuss’s beloved stories in Oh! The Stories You’ll Hear!

At night, you can watch colorful light shows on the Hogwarts Castle. Catch special versions at Halloween and Christmas!

Islands of Adventure play areas

In Seuss Landing, kids can enjoy the If I Ran The Zoo play area, with lots of interactive fun.

If I Ran the Zoo play area

Me Ship, The Olive is another fun play area for little ones in Toon Lagoon.

All of my kids, from the littles to the teens, love running around Camp Jurassic, and the nearby Jurassic Park Discovery Center has some interactive exhibits to keep kids busy while you stay cool inside.

Islands of Adventure special events

At Christmastime, Seuss Landing is the place to be — for Grinchmas! The Christmas decorations come out in their full gaudy glory, and cheery Christmas music is played throughout the land. You can meet the Grinch and Cindy Lou Who, and they even do a musical retelling of the Grinch’s story on stage.

Grinchmas

Best Islands of Adventure food

There is so much good food to be enjoyed at Islands of Adventure! You could spend just as much time eating as you could riding rides. If you’re interested in a full-service experience, Mythos Restaurant in The Lost Continent has a reputation as one of the best theme park restaurants.

You can also sit down at the Three Broomsticks in Hogsmeade — order your food via the Universal app and then it will be brought to your table. We love their Rotisserie Smoked Chicken and Pumpkin Fizz.

Pumpkin Fizz at Three Broomsticks

The Fire Eater’s Grill in The Lost Continent always tempts me when I walk by. Their Chicken Stingers are next on my “must-try” list.

Another favorite is the Green Eggs and Ham Cafe in Seuss Landing. I’m ashamed to say we haven’t tried the Green Eggs & Ham Tots just yet (we could not, would not, at a theme park…jk we would), but we DO love the Pizza Tots and Buffalo Chicken Tots!

Every few steps you’ll find some kind of treat or delicious surprise waiting for you — you won’t go hungry, that’s for sure!

Seuss Landing cotton candy

There is so much fun to be had at Universal’s Islands of Adventure. I hope this post was helpful for your planning, and have a wonderful visit!

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Rides at Islands of Adventure

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