Do you need super easy Islands of Adventure tips for your first trip?
Prepping for a trip to the Universal Orlando Resort shouldn’t be hard, but I do know sometimes the small details that go into planning can get stressful at times.
First off, the resort has 3 theme parks with another one opening in the future, plus multiple hotels to choose from and the famous CityWalk.
I understand that with all those activities, you’ll want to know easy tips for going to Islands of Adventure like a pro!
Whether you choose to go to Islands of Adventure in Orlando solo or with family and friends, each tip will guide you to having the best theme park vacation ever!
Your first question may be:
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Can you do Islands of Adventure in one day?
You absolutely can do it in one day if you know where to start!
You can grab your FREE Islands of Adventure itinerary and guidebook here!
What are the Islands of Adventure hours?
Universal’s Islands of Adventure is opened 365 days a year 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. in the regular season and 9 a.m to 9 p.m in the peak season.
Just know that hours may change based on the busyness of the park.
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How much is an Islands of Adventure ticket?
Now that we’ve got the basics of the park down, I want to show you how to conquer Islands of Adventure the right way!
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Top 25 Islands of Adventure Tips for Beginners
Now that you know the basics, let’s go through the top tips for your Universal Orlando vacation.
1. Buy Tickets in Advance Online
2. Get Universal Orlando Tickets from a Trustworthy Website
The Park Prodigy has special rates for Orlando theme park visitors.
3. Know the Islands of Adventure Ticket Breakdown (Universal Orlando Tickets)
There are a few options to choose from for Florida residents when buying a ticket for any of the Universal Orlando theme parks.
3-Park – 2-Day Ticket
The 3-Park 2-Day Park-to-Park Florida Resident Ticket entitles one (1) guest admission to Islands of Adventure™, Universal’s Islands of Adventure™ AND Universal’s Volcano Bay™ on the same day.
This type of Universal Orlando ticket is valid for any two (2) calendar days during a sixty (60) consecutive calendar day period which includes the first day any portion of the ticket is used.
2-Park – 2-Day Ticket
The 2-Park 2-Day Park-to-Park Florida Resident Ticket entitles one (1) guest admission to BOTH Islands of Adventure™ AND Universal’s Islands of Adventure™ theme parks on the same day.
Ticket is valid for any two (2) calendar days during a sixty (60) consecutive calendar day period which includes the first day any portion of the ticket is used.
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4. Get a Universal Express Pass
Depending on the time of year you go, you’ll may want to think about getting an Express Pass. Islands of Adventure has some of the most innovative rides with wait times to prove it.
So, are the Universal Express Passes worth it?
Yes and no.
For instance, if you’re only going to be at Islands of Adventure for a day and you come on a crowded day, then I’d say definitely get the Express Pass.
On those peak days, it gets extremely hard to do the park.
Plus, if it’s a hot and humid day, it only adds to the frustration. I know the prices can be out of your budget, but if you can squeeze a little bit more then definitely grab an Express Pass.
Express Passes to Choose From:
- Universal Express Pass: You can skip the regular line ONE TIME per ride at participating attractions each day that your pass is valid.
- Universal Unlimited Express Pass: You can skip the regular lines an UNLIMITED number of times at participating attractions.
- 2-Park Universal Express: You can use this Express Pass at both Universal Studios and Islands of Adventure
- 2-Park Park-To-Park + Express Unlimited: This includes admission to Universal Studios and Universal’s Islands of Adventure, plus Universal Express Unlimited access.
Islands of Adventure Rides and Attractions for Express Pass
- Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey™
- Hogwarts™ Express (Park-to-Park admission ticket required)
- Flight of the Hippogriff™
- The Amazing Adventures of Spider-Man®
- The Incredible Hulk Coaster®
- Storm Force Accelatron®
- Doctor Doom’s Fearfall®
- Jurassic Park River Adventure
- Skull Island: Reign of Kong
- The High in the Sky Seuss Trolley Train Ride!™
- Dudley Do-Right’s Ripsaw Falls®
Hipster Power Tip: There are three resorts on Universal Orlando property that include FREE Universal Express Passes for each hotel guest. They are: Loews Portofino Bay Hotel, Royal Pacific Resort and the Hard Rock Hotel.
5. Have a Game Plan and Download the Official Universal Orlando App
Route your path around the park in advance by retrieving the Islands of Adventure park map on the app.
The Universal Orlando Resort app allows you to find:
- Ride wait times
- Show times
- Dining venue hours
- Mobile Ordering
The app also allows you to do so many other things such as, placing food and drink orders from select restaurants when you’re in the parks.
View the Islands of Adventure Map Below
6. Know When the Best Time to Visit Islands of Adventure
This is one of the top Islands of Adventure tips to use!
Best Times to Visit Islands of Adventure
7. Get to Islands of Adventure Early
Out of all the Islands of Adventure tips, this one will save you time on your trip!
Try to arrive one hour prior to the park before opening time. If eligible for early park admission, then take advantage of the opportunity.
Early park admission is available for Universal Orlando hotel guests and sometimes annual passholders.
Hipster Power Tip: Use Your Resort Perks! Be sure to take advantage of your onsite hotel perks such as, early entrance to Islands of Adventure!
Always check to see which Universal Orlando theme park is offering the benefit since early admission changes often.
8. Discover and Tour the Port of Entry
The Port of Entry is an overlooked area of the park. Let the magic whisk you away into the highly themed shops and eateries.
Be sure to read the titles of the various spots located above the shops. The attention to detail is what makes this area of the park spectacular.
This is one of my favorite Islands of Adventure tips and secrets!
9. Be Sure to Use the Child Swap Program
A true ThemeParkHipster will most likely have a time where little ones will be accompanied you on one of your trips.
Don’t worry! You don’t have to miss out on all the fun Islands of Adventure attractions.
You and your theme park partner can take advantage of the Child Swap Program where you’ll both be able to scream on The Incredible Hulk, as the little ones wait to the side.
The Child Swap Program works by allowing one member of your party to wait in a designated area along with any children who are unable or unwilling to participate.
Once the rest of your group is off the ride, you trade places and take your seat on the ride while those who rode previously stay with the child(ren).
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10. Explore the Wizarding World of Harry Potter Hogsmeade
Join muggles, witches, and wizards while discovering the magic hidden in Hogsmeade.
Don’t forget to ride Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey, Hagrid’s Magical Creatures Motorbike Adventure, and Flight of the Hippogriff.
Become a true wizard and get your wand. Line up to be chosen by Ollivander, the maker of fine wands since 382 BC. Relive the classic Harry Potter scene and hopefully you’re chosen to receive a wand.
I recommend partaking in the interactive wand experience; it’s always pretty fun and you’ll love it.
11. Try EVERY type of Butterbeer
In case you’re a Muggle, Butterbeer is a drink mentioned several times in the Harry Potter books.
It is the drink of choice for many of the adolescents throughout the famous Wizarding story.
It’s a staple drink and a must have beverage whenever you visit Islands of Adventure.
How is Butterbeer served at Universal?
- Cold Butterbeer
- Frozen Butterbeer
- Hot Butterbeer (seasonal)
- Potted Cream Butterbeer
- Butterbeer Fudge
- Soft Serve Butterbeer Ice-Cream
- Vegan Butterbeer
Where to find Butterbeer in Islands of Adventure?
You can find a Butterbeer offering of some sort inside the Hogsmeade section of Islands of Adventure at:
- Three Broomsticks
- Hog’s Head Pub
- The Butterbeer street carts
12. Ride Hogwarts Express From Hogsmeade to Diagon Alley
This is the best way of taking the footsteps of the famous wizard, Harry Potter. The Hogwarts Express is located inside Hogsmeade Station.
In order for you to experience this attraction, you’ll need to have a park-to-park admission ticket.
Park-to-Park tickets allow you to visit all listed parks any time each day.
Hipster Power Tip: You’ll want to ride the Hogwarts Express on both directions (Hogsmeade to Diagon Alley and Diagon Alley to Hogsmeade) as you get a slightly different experience each way.
13. Have a Islands of Adventure Packing List
- Comfy Shoes
- Small Bag
- Breathable Clothing
- Sun Protection
- Small Umbrella
- Hand Sanitizer
14. Know What You Should Wear to Islands of Adventure
15. Know What You Can and Cannot Bring Inside Islands of Adventure
To prevent any embarrassment at the security checkpoints, I’ve listed the items you are able to take with you inside of the Universal Orlando parks.
Please keep in mind that Universal is very strict on what it allows you to bring.
- Bottled water
- Small snacks that do not require heating
- Any food required for medical purposes and medically indicated nutritional supplements
- Food required for special dietary needs
- Baby food/baby formula
- Soft-sided insulated bags no larger than 8.5″ wide x 6″ high x 6″ deep
- Alcoholic beverages
- Picnic lunches
- Food that requires heating or refrigeration
- Glass containers
- Hard-sided coolers
- Soft-sided coolers larger than 8.5″ wide x 6″ high x 6″ deep
- Suitcases and bags with wheels
- Folding chairs
- Clothing with offensive language or content
- Clothing that represents someone as emergency personnel
- Weapons of any kind
16. Know What Rides to Do First at Islands of Adventure
- Soar on the NEW VelociCoaster Roller Coaster
- Ride on Hagrid’s Magical Creatures Motorbike Adventure
- Join the Wizards on Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey
- Experience The Amazing Adventure of Spider-Man
- Take a Dive on Doctor Doom’s Fearfall
- Discover Skull Island: Reign of Kong
- Explore the rest of Islands of Adventure
Hipster Power Tip: If you find a ride or an experience that you’re on the fence about on day one, wait until your second day to try it out.
17. Take Advantage of the Single Rider Line
This line can cut your wait time in half and that’s always a benefit of going to a theme park alone.
It allows you to get around to most of the attractions quickly, because you don’t have to wait in the normal ride line.
This is one of the top Islands of Adventure tips if you are traveling to Universal Orlando solo.
Hipster Power Tip: If the line is less than 30-minutes, then consider waiting in the regular queue for Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey. Going through the Hogwarts Castle queue is absolutely majestic and worth walking though. If you choose the Single Rider line, you will miss all the little details.
Single Rider Lines at Islands of Adventure:
- The Amazing Adventure of Spider-Man
- Doctor Doom’s Fearfall
- Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey
- Hagrid’s Magical Creatures Motorbike Adventure
- The Incredible HULK
- Jurassic Park River Adventure
- Skull Island: Reign of Kong
Be aware that on busy days if the regular line is long, then there’s a chance the Single Rider Line may be long as well.
The Single Rider Line will split up your party. The attraction attendants use Single Riders to fill in extra spot available on the rides.
18. Know How to Save Money on Food at Universal Orlando
This is one of my favorite ways to do Universal Orlando on a budget.
Also if you budget correctly for your trip, you’ll be able to make your money stretch inside the park.
19. Use the Lockers
The lockers next to attractions that require you to store your loose items are free for up to a certain time period. The time period will depend on the wait time of the attraction.
If you go beyond the time frame for holding your items, you will be required to pay a small fee.
Make sure to take a photo of your locker number. Trust me when I say that it will save you the headache of trying to remember your locker number when you’re finished with the attraction.
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20. Have Breakfast at the Three Broomsticks
It isn’t well known because it opens during the time when the park allows those staying in the resorts to get in an hour early.
If you’re staying on site, then this is a perfect addition to your day.
You’ll be able to ride with Harry early, grab your wand from Ollivanders, then have breakfast all before the regular public enters the park.
This is one of the best ways to maximize your time at Islands of Adventure.
21. Get to the Hogwarts Light Show Early (Currently Postponed)
You’re going to want to stake out your spot for the Hogwarts lights show early as it can get dangerously crowded in Hogsmeade.
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22. Get Your Wand at Ollivanders Early
If the line for Ollivanders is short, do it right then. This line gets outrageously long and is not efficient in moving people quickly through it.
Hipster Power Tip: Don’t forget to experience the incredible Hagrid’s Magical Creatures Motorbike Adventure now open at Islands of Adventure!
23. Buy Your Wand at a Cart
You can get the same wand at one of the outside carts or inside one of the shops of Hogsmeade with no wait!
24. Avoid the Lunch and Dinner Rush
Try to eat your meals during off times. Avoid eating during lunchtime (12 p.m. to 1:30 p.m.) and dinnertime (6 p.m. to 7:30 p.m.).
You can use this time to ride more Islands of Adventure rides with low wait times. This is one of my secret little Islands of Adventure tips!
25. Have Fun!
This is one of the best theme parks in the world! You will have an amazing time if you plan the right way and follow these Islands of Adventure tips.
Now go out there and start your Universal Orlando theme park adventure today!
What’s your favorite thing to do at Universal’s Islands of Adventure? Let me know in the comments section below.
If you enjoyed this article, then you’ll love these:
- First Timer Solo Tips for Universal Orlando Resort
- The Complete Theme Park Checklist
- Universal Studios One-Day Itinerary
- Islands of Adventure One-Day Itinerary
- Best Photo Spots at Islands of Adventure
- Diagon Alley Complete Guide
- Best Photo Spots at Universal Studios
- A Celebration of Harry Potter Tips and Tricks
- 7 Ways to Enjoy The Wizarding World of Harry Potter Hogsmeade
- What You Need to Pack for Universal Orlando
Until next time, Happy Park Hopping Hipsters!
About the Author
My name is Nikky. I’m a wife, a mother, a pharmacist turned theme park blogger, and a writer who loves ALL things amusement park related!
Traveling alone to the parks has changed my life and I want to show how you can create your own solo theme park memories.
Connect with me on Instagram!
(Original Article Date: February 17, 2019/Updated July 5, 2023)