OverviewOne of the most sophisticated and elaborate theme parks in the world, Islands of Adventure at Universal Orlando is also a visual feast. Like Walt Disney World's Magic Kingdom, it is divided into themed lands--in this case, "islands." Each "island" is meticulously themed and is designed to immerse guests and help advance the attractions' storylines.
The islands include: The Wizarding World of Harry Potter (the enormously popular and finely detailed home of Hogwarts Castle and other artifacts from the well-known films and books), Toon Lagoon (home of comic strip and cartoon heroes such as Dudley Do-Right and Popeye), Jurassic Park (where the movie about a theme park comes alive--at a theme park about movies), The Lost Continent (fun with mythology), Seuss Landing (the most whimsical of IOA's islands), and Marvel Super Hero Island (featuring incredible attractions starring Spider-Man and the Incredible Hulk).
Unlike Disney's sugarcoated Magic Kingdom, IOA features edgy, high-octane, to-the-limits attractions. While its coasters have great themeing, they don't skimp on the thrills. Its river raft ride won't just get you wet; you'll get completely drenched. And Spider-Man is so utterly amazing, you'll be scraping your jaw off the ground wondering how in the world they did that. The Forbidden Journey of Harry Potter Ride is one of, if not the, finest achievements in park attractions. Islands of Adventure is state-of-the-art (and then some) fun.
LocationAt the Universal Orlando resort in (duh!) Orlando, Florida
Ticket InfoReduced price for children, ages 3 to 9. 2 and under are free.
Universal Orlando offers one- and two-park (with park hopping allowed) ticket options for one to seven days.
Save money and time. Get discounted Universal Orlando tickets in advance of your visit. Buy direct from Universal Orlando.
Will your vacation take you to other parks? Think about getting the Orlando FlexTicket, which offers 14 days of unlimited visits to 5 parks including Wet 'n Wild, SeaWorld Orlando, and Aquatica along with Universal's two parks. It's a good deal (if you can visit all of the parks at least once). A six-park package adds Busch Gardens, along with bus transportation to the Tampa park. Buy direct from SeaWorld.
For additional fees (which are quite high), Universal Orlando offers guided V.I.P. tours (reservations recommended).
The resort also offers Express Plus passes, which grant quick access to most attractions. (Unlike Disney's Fastpass program, Universal does not offer complimentary line bypass tickets.) Prices vary for Express Plus according to the time of year.
More Universal Orlando InfoFor more info about hotels, when to visit, directions, other parks, CityWalk, and a general profile of the Universal resort, go to About.com's Universal Orlando Overview.
See the Park
- Wizarding World of Harry Potter Photo Gallery
- Wizarding World of Harry Potter About.com Video
- Islands of Adventure Photo Gallery Tour
HighlightsWild, often amazing (hey, it's right in the name of the Spider-Man ride) attractions including:
- The Wizarding World of Harry Potter
- The Forbidden Journey of Harry Potter Ride
- The Amazing Adventures of Spider-Man roving motion base 3-D simulator ride.
- The Incredible Hulk launched coaster
- The Cat in the Hat dark ride
- Poseidon's Fury presentation- Be amazed by the incredible grand finale.
- Dragon Challenge inverted coaster- The twin-track, dual-train coaster no longer "duels," but the rides are still intense and a whole lot of fun.
- Popeye & Bluto's Bilge-Rat Barges river raft ride- You WILL get soaked on IOA's three water rides, especially Popeye & Bluto's. Store your belongings in the provided lockers. Wear sandals. Forget socks. You may want to bring a change of clothes--unless you don't mind walking around in squishy underwear.
- Jurassic Park River Adventure themed splashdown ride
Holidays Events at Islands of Adventure
What's New at Islands of AdventureNew for 2012
Despicable Me and Spider-Man
Read about the reworked Spider-Man, which will be getting a super-dooper HD makeover, coming to the park.
The Wizarding World of Harry Potter Expansion
There are some exciting developments for Potter fans.
Islands of Adventure Dining
- Mythos- Among the best in-park dining experience anywhere. It offers wonderful, adventurous food, incredible atmosphere, and prices that are surprisingly affordable.
- Confisco Grill- Good full-service restaurant with some interesting choices.
- Thunder Falls Terrace- The rotisserie chicken and BBQ ribs are pretty good at this cafeteria-style restaurant.
- Green Eggs and Ham Cafe- You can actually order a green eggs and ham sandwich--if you dare.