25 Amazing Islands of Adventure Tips (for First Timers)

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.

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Incredible Hulk Islands of Adventure Tips with Green roller coaster.

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:

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!

Universal Studios guide and tips
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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. Hours may change based on the busyness of the park.

How much is an Islands of Adventure ticket?

The cost of admission starts at $125*, but I like discounts so I use Undercover Tourist to find cheap Islands of Adventure tickets.

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!

For a no obligation, FREE Universal Orlando Vacation Quote you can fill out the form with Destinations in Florida by Clicking HERE!

25 Best Islands of Adventure Tips

Islands of Adventure Tips Bluto Barge River Rapids Ride with Hulk Roller Coasters in the Background

1 – Buy Tickets in Advance Online

This one tip will save you both money and time!

It’s best to buy your tickets ahead of time. This prevents waiting in the long ticket line once you arrive at Islands of Adventure.

2 – Get Universal Orlando Tickets from a Trustworthy Website

Buy your Islands of Adventure ticket directly from Universal’s website or from a reputable source such as Undercover Tourist.

Undercover Tourist has special rates for Orlando theme park visitors.

Kong Skull Islands of Adventure Tips with King Kong
Kong Skull Island

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.

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.

Islands of Adventure Tips High Trolley in the Sky

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.

You can view the whole list of ticket options here and save money too!

Mythos Islands of Adventure

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.

Islands of Adventure Tips Bluto Barge River Rapids Ride with Water All Over

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.

If you’re an occasional participant of the rides, then pass on the Express Pass and spend that money on some theme park food and merchandise.

Islands of Adventure Tips Panorama View

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.
  • Single Park Universal Express: You can use for either Universal Studios, Islands of Adventure, or Volcano Bay only. You cannot use this pass at more than one park.
  • 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.
  • 3-Park Park-To-Park + Express Unlimited: This includes admission to Universal Studios, Universal’s Islands of Adventure, and Universal’s Volcano Bay, plus Universal Express Unlimited access.
Islands of Adventure Tips with Jurassic Park and Hogwarts in the background.

Islands of Adventure Rides and Attractions for Express Pass

  • Amazing Adventures of Spider-Man
  • Caro-Seuss-el
  • Cat in the Hat
  • Doctor Doom’s Fearfall
  • Dudley Do-Right’s Ripsaw Falls
  • Flight of the Hippogriff
  • Hagrid’s Magical Creatures Motorbike Adventure
  • Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey
  • High in the Sky Seuss Trolley Train Ride!
  • Hogwarts Express: Hogsmeade Station
  • Incredible Hulk Coaster
  • Jurassic Park River Adventure
  • One Fish, Two Fish, Red Fish, Blue Fish
  • Popeye & Bluto’s Bilge-Rat Barges
  • Poseidon’s Fury
  • Skull Island: Reign of Kong
  • Storm Force Accelatron

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.

Islands of Adventure Tips Popeye Red and White Ship and Olive

The Universal Orlando Resort app allows you to find:

  • ride wait times
  • show times
  • dining venue hours

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

Universal Orlando Resort Map
Universal Orlando Resort Map

You can also read the perfect Islands of Adventure one-day itinerary here!

6 – Know When the Best Time to Visit Islands of Adventure

This is one of the top Islands of Adventure tips to use!

Holiday peaks, crowd sizes, weather, and a few other factors have a lot to do with your Universal Orlando experience, including how long you’ll be waiting in line for your favorite rides.

Dudley Do-Right's Ripsaw Falls Islands of Adventure
Dudley Do-Right’s Ripsaw Falls Islands of Adventure

Best Times to Visit Islands of Adventure

  • January
  • February
  • April
  • November

These months are closely followed by March, May, September, and October as still pretty decent visiting times.

Get the full Islands of Adventure Crowd Calendar here!

7 – Get to Islands of Adventure Early

Loews Portofino Bay Hotel Universal Orlando Resort
Loews Portofino Bay Hotel

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.

Islands of Adventure Tips Hulk Roller Coast Wide View

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.

Learn how to find your perfect vacation home rental in Orlando by Clicking HERE!

8 – Discover and Tour the Port of Entry

Port of Entry | Islands of Adventure. #UniversalOrlando #IslandsofAdventure #ThemePark
Port of Entry | Islands of Adventure

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!

The High in the Sky Seuss Trolley Train Ride

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.

Islands of Adventure Tips Jurassic Park Entrance Gate

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).

10 – Explore the Wizarding World of Harry Potter Hogsmeade

Hogsmeade at Universal Hogwarts Castle Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey
Hogsmeade at Universal Hogwarts Castle Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey

Join muggles, witches, and wizards while discovering the magic hidden in Hogsmeade. Don’t forget to ride Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey, and Flight of the Hippogriff.

If you’re a Harry Potter fan, then you’ll probably want to skip the other rides and head straight back to the Wizarding World of Harry Potter Hogsmeade section of the park.

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.

Hogsmeade at Universal with steam coming from engine and guests walking around.

How is Butterbeer served?

  • Cold Butterbeer
  • Frozen Butterbeer
  • Hot Butterbeer (seasonal)
  • Potted Cream Butterbeer
  • Butterbeer Fudge
  • Soft Serve Butterbeer Ice-Cream

Where to find Butterbeer in Islands of Adventure?

Harry Potter World Butterbeer
Warm butterbeer…it’s a winner!!!

You can find a Butterbeer offering of some sort inside the Hogsmeade section of Islands of Adventure at:

  • Three Broomsticks
  • Hog’s Head pub
  • Honeydukes
  • The Butterbeer street carts.

12 – Ride Hogwarts Express From Hogsmeade to Diagon Alley

Red train ready to go at Wizarding World of Harry Potter. King's Cross Station #harrypotter #universalstudios #diagonalley #themepark
King’s Cross Station

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

You can get the full Universal Orlando packing checklist here!

14 – Know What You Should Wear to Islands of Adventure

What to pack for universal orlando resort. Standing with Hogwarts Express Conductor in front of red train.

Lightweight clothing such as shorts, leggings, comfy shoes, a t-shirt, a hat, and sunglasses are all perfect for your trip.

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.

Toon Lagoon Islands of Adventure

Acceptable items:

  • 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


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Prohibited items:

  • 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

The Pharos Lighthouse islands of adventure #UniversalOrlando #ThemePark #IslandsofAdventure
  • 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
  • Go on an Adventure Inside Poseidon’s Fury

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

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.

Islands of Adventure Tips Seuss Landing with NikkyJ

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
  • 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 – Skip the Universal Dining Plan

If you’re not planning on being at Universal Orlando Resort for more than 4 days and you usually eat light, then I say skip out on the Universal Dining Plan.

Islands of Adventure Tips at Seuss Landing Circus McGurkus Cafe Stoopendous

It’s not a good plan and if you budget correctly for your trip, you’ll be able to make your money stretch inside the park.

Hipster Power Tip: If you want to get the Universal Dining Plan, then look up the menus for the participating restaurants before your trip. This will help you maximize your money.

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.

Islands of Adventure Tips with Seuss Landing Characters at a Race

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.

20 – Have Breakfast at the Three Broomsticks

While discovering the Wizarding World of Harry Potter in the morning, be sure to have a traditional English breakfast at the Three Broomsticks.

Hogsmeade Village 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.

Three Broomsticks traditional British food
Three Broomsticks traditional British food

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

You’re going to want to stake out your spot for the Hogwarts lights show early as it can get dangerously crowded in Hogsmeade.

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.

Diagon Alley : Ollivander's Wand Shop. #harrypotter #universalstudios
The Wand and the Wizard

Hipster Power Tip: Don’t forget to experience the new 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!

Hogsmeade Wizarding World of Harry Potter World

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.

T-Rex in Jurassic Park Islands of Adventure. #UniversalOrlando #IslandsofAdventure

Now go out there and start your Universal Orlando theme park adventure today!

Let me know below if you’ve ever went to Islands of Adventure before in the comments section below?

Islands of Adventure tips. #UniversalOrlando #IslandsofAdventure #themepark #traveltips #florida #orlando
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Until next time, Happy Park Hopping Hipsters!

NikkyJ

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