Tips and Tips -- Universal Florida -- Islands of Adventure

Islands of Adventure

There are two parks at Universal Florida (Islands of Adventure and Universal Studios), plus City Walk, along with three hotels (Hard Rock, Portofino, and Royal Pacific).

As I recommended before, if you stay on site at a Universal hotel, you will get an Express Pass for the days you go to the park. During the busy season, this is critical! Who wants to spend hours waiting in line for one ride??

I don't.

Even with the Express Pass there will be a wait . . . a shorter wait, but still a wait.

And my #1 suggestion?

Don't even bother to go to this park if your kids love roller coasters, but aren't tall enough to ride!

The tallest height required to ride all rides, including the Incredible Hulk, The Dragon Challenge (previously called Dueling Dragons) and Dr. Doom's Fearfall is 54 inches, and the Harry Potter ride is 48 inches.

Measure your kid carefully!

True, there is tons of stuff to do other than roller coasters, but it little Billy's heart is set on riding Harry Potter, but he's only 46 inches, he will be doomed to disappointment! Especially now that that woman fell to her death on the Texas Giant roller coaster. If they can't click you in tightly, you will be removed from the ride.

Embarrassing, yes, but it's better than dying.

Here is a link to download the Universal Maps.

Islands of Adventure

Find a map. Study the map.

And you'll notice the item most visited is up at the top of the map, The Wizarding World of Harry Potter. Top of the map means at the back of the park. The shortest way is through Seuss Landing, just keep walking to the right . . . and follow the crowd.

I'll talk to you about this area when I get to it later in the blog.

Breaking down the park, section by section, I'll starting with the first zone to your right after you enter the park.
Seuss Landing.

As you might have figured out, this area is all things Dr. Seuss, it's main function is to keep little tykes entertained. We rode all the rides. It's fun, but not exactly the type of fun we roller coaster people crave.

Sorry, but there is one ride with a minimum height requirement:

The High in the Sky Trolley Ride--34 inches--
above the walkways, like a small roller coaster
One Fish, Two Fish, Red Fish, Blue Fish--
wet goofiness
The Cat in the Hat--
inside ride, tells story
If I Ran the Zoo--
outside play area
The Lost Continent

Sorry, but we tend to walk right through this area. We did see the Eight Voyage of Sinbad, and tried to see Poseidon's Fury, but it shut down--thunderstorm, yanno.

The Eight Voyage of Sinbad Stunt Show--
self explanatory-- stunt show
The Mystic Fountain--
never found it, okay, never looked for it!
Poseidon's Fury--
special effects guided tour
The Wizarding World of Harry Potter
Everyone wants to visit Hogsmead Village. You have to go through the village to get to the Harry Potter ride, take your time later to walk around after you go for a ride. Take time to look in the windows, go into the stores and sample Butterbeer. I personally like the regular Butterbeer over the frozen variety. You can also eat at the Three Broomsticks. The last time we went, they wouldn't let you just look around the Three Broomsticks, you had to buy something--you can get Pumpkin Juice or Butterbeer in here, along with a variety of meals.
If you want to visit Ollivander's wand shop, you have to wait for the 'show'. About 20 people are let in at a time . . . and it's a VERY tight space. One lucky kiddo is chosen to pick a wand. Yes, it's identical to the movie scene. The you then shuffle into the gift shop . . . another tight fit. Lots and lots of really cool stuff. Be prepared to pry open your wallet. Last year, a wizard's robe cost around $100.

 Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey --
This the ride you want to ride. Think of it as a compilation of the first four books/movies rolled into one. Be aware that ALL LOOSE ARTICLES MUST BE PUT IN A LOCKER, prior to getting in line. This means purses, cameras, backpacks, etc.
*Recommendations: Go through the line to experience the castle and the show. Once you go through the line and want to ride again, find the singles line.
Flight of the Hippogriff --
A fun little roller coaster for all members of the family. Travels past Hagrid's hut and the nest of the hippogriff.
Dragon Challenge --
This used to be called Dueling Dragons. Not much has changed with this double roller coaster, except how the path winds to the door of the castle--You'll see Ron's flying car. The dragons are the red or the blue. They are both fun coasters with loop-de-loops, but I think the red side is a little better.

Jurassic Park
This section of the park has an 'educational' feel to it. There are two additional areas, one is the Discovery center, where you can grow and hatch your own dino egg, plus other interesting stuff. There is also a jewelry store that has a variety of amber products--not surprising, and no, I didn't see any mosquitos sealed in the amber. The other area is a kid's playground, called Camp Jurassic.
Jurassic Park River Adventure --
Fun boat ride with drop, you will get wet
Pteranodon Flyers --
Two-person 'fliers' that you ride above the walkways. Fun, but mainly for kids. Adults MUST be accompanied by a kid to ride.
Toon Lagoon
This is a fun area. Until last summer, we usually walked right through this area since we don't like walking around wet. If you plan to ride these rides, plan to bring a change of clothes. Oh, the janitorial service is hard-core about NOT letting you use the hand dryers to dry yourself. For a small fee, there are drying booths available around both these rides. There is also a play area called Me Ship, THE OLIVE. Yes, it's a boat. 
Dudley Do-Right's Ripsaw Falls --
serious log flume ride.  Very fun, but you WILL GET SOAKING WET
Popeye & Bluto's Bilge-Rat Barges--
Marvel Super Hero Island
This is a fun area, too. The rides are a little more intense than some of the other areas. If you have health issues or little kids, you will probably want to sit this section out.
Amazing Adventures of Spider-Man--
Very cool indoor 3-D ride. It does jerk your car around, so if  you have neck issues, you need to be warned.
Doctor Doom's Fearfall--
Zips you into the air and then drops you. If you liked Tower of Terror, you'll like this one. Great view at the top.
Storm Force Accelatron --
spinning teacups type of ride
The Incredible Hulk Coaster--
This coaster is literally a monster! Fast acceleration, lots of loops and spins. I've ridden this ride over 10 times and every time, I tend to black out a for a couple of seconds. Must use the lockers to store loose items.

 That's it for this side of Universal Florida!
I'll post about the other side tomorrow.
Later, Peeps!

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