Do you have your best Islands of Adventure itinerary ready for your next Universal Orlando trip?
If not, I want to show you how to plan a hectic day into one that is easy and filled with excitement!
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Islands of Adventure was once rumored to be Universal’s answer to Disney’s Magic Kingdom theme park.
This concept has since changed, making Islands of Adventure stand on its own by leading parks in having the top thrill rides.
It has enhanced its popularity in the magnificent theming found in the Wizarding World of Harry Potter.
What to Know Before You Start Your Islands of Adventure Itinerary
Islands of Adventure is located in the Universal Orlando Resort and is just a quick ten minute walk from Universal Studios or a short ride on the Hogwarts Express.
What time does Islands of Adventure open?
Universal’s Islands of Adventure is opened 365 days a year from 9 a.m to 6 p.m. in the regular season.
Hours may change based on the busyness of the park.
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How much does it cost to go to Islands of Adventure in Florida?
The cost of admission starts at $110*, but I like discounts so I use Undercover Tourist to find cheap Islands of Adventure tickets.
Please keep in mind that the cost for tickets to Islands of Adventure vary based on the season and are subject to change at anytime.
Now that we’ve got the basics of the park down, I want to show you how to discover Islands of Adventure in one day.
Can you do Islands of Adventure in one day?
Yes you can!
Do keep in mind that this journey will be challenging, but if you stick to the Islands of Adventure itinerary then you’re bound to see it all.
…keep in mind that ALL is very subjective.
This list has some of the top hitting attractions on it, but you can eliminate or add any item you feel fits your type of day.
The key to accomplishing this one-day venture is to arrive at Islands of Adventure early and reviewing the map below.
If you have a special early entry option, then take advantage.
Your Best Islands of Adventure Itinerary
Now that we have the basics out of the way, let’s go through how to do Islands of Adventure in just one day!
1 – Purchase Tickets in Advance
Purchase tickets online, download a park guide, and map out your day prior to coming to Islands of Adventure.
This will help you maximize your time at the park and it will allow you to come up with the perfect Islands of Adventure itinerary for your day.
Remember to go over your Islands of Adventure Packing Checklist, which you can read here.
2 – Start Your Islands of Adventure Itinerary Early
Try to arrive one hour prior to the park opening time.
If you’re eligible for early park admission, then take advantage of the opportunity.
Early park admission is available for Universal Orlando Resort hotel guests and sometimes Annual Passholders.
3 – Discover and Tour the Port of Entry
The Port of Entry is an overlooked area of the park.
Let the magic wisp 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.
Mission: Try to find the gambling hall in the Port of Entry.
4 – Face the Hulk
Once in the gates, head left and challenge the ferocious power of the Incredible Hulk steel roller coaster.
On this ride you will step inside a high-security research compound commanded by General Thaddeus “Thunderbolt” Ross as a research subject.
Hold on and enjoy 67 miles per hour of pure thrill!
5 – Ride with Storm
Take a quick spin with Storm in Marvel Super Hero Land. This classic spinning cup amusement park attraction is nicely tucked away behind Hulk.
Hipster Power Tip: The best time to ride this attraction is at nighttime. You’ll be able to get the full effect of the ride with Storm’s lightning strikes.
6 – Dive with Dr. Doom and Fly with Spider Man
After riding into the storm, finish up your Marvel adventure with Dr. Doom and Spider Man.
Afterwards, you will have enough time to have a late morning/early afternoon watery thrill.
7 – Make a Splash in Toon Lagoon
Toon Lagoon is where you should ride Dudley Do-Right’s Ripsaw Falls and Popeye & Bluto’s Blige-Rat Barges.
The Toon Lagoon area focuses around the classic Comic Strip Lane characters.
This street is filled with restaurants and shops themed around classic cartoons such as Popeye, Beele Bailey, Krazy Kat and more!
8 – Travel Deep into the Jungle and Find King Kong
Go on a quest to find the legendary King Kong on the Skull Island: Reign of Kong attraction.
This is one of the newest attractions at Islands of Adventure.
9 – Go on a Dinosaur-filled Adventure
Step back in time and enter the arches of Jurassic Park. Take a tour through the pre-historic themed attraction on the Jurassic Park River Adventure.
10 – Explore the Discovery Center in Jurassic Park
The “science center” like place is designed just like the Discover Center on the original Jurassic Park film.
You get to see incubated dinosaur eggs and learn about DNA sequencing.
It’s a great place for an AC break, plus there are spaces on the backside with epic views of Islands of Adventure.
The back area of the Discovery Center is currently under construction for an upcoming Jurassic World themed roller coaster.
11 – Eat Lunch
By this time, you can enjoy lunch in the jungle-lodge themed Thunder Falls Terrace, a quick service restaurant in the Jurassic Park area.
You can also head over to the Wizarding World of Harry Potter and have lunch in the Three Broomsticks.
Enjoy classic British cuisine here such as Fish and Chips and Shepherd’s Pie.
12 – Experience The Wizarding World of Harry Potter
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.
Hipster Power Tip: Take the Hogwarts Express over to Diagon Alley inside Universal Studios for more wizarding adventures!
13 – Make it Official and Become a Wizard
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.
14 – Enjoy Wizarding Entertainment
Celebrate the magic of the Wizarding World of Harry Potter by watching the Frog Choir and the Triwizard Spirit Rally put on a showcase straight from the film.
Plus, you can now watch the new Hogwarts night show on the castle.
15 – Experience the New Hagrid Roller Coaster
As you make your way over to Hagrid’s Motorbike Adventure, be prepared to see what it’s like to be one of Hagrid’s students as you board the famous motorbike.
This is a must do experience on your Islands of Adventure itinerary.
16 – Discover The Lost Continent
Uncover the mysteries hidden within The Lost Continent. Be sure to explore and find the ancient titans of Poseidon’s Fury.
17 – Fall in Love with Seuss Landing
Walk through and experience your favorite childhood books come to life.
Finish your Islands of Adventure itinerary up with the great stories of Dr. Seuss by riding:
- The Cat in the Hat
- High in the Sky Seuss Trolley
You can kick it up a notch and board the Hogwarts express for an enchanted trip to Diagon Alley in Universal Studios. This saves you the long walk from Islands of Adventure to Universal Studios.
Final Thoughts on Your Islands of Adventure Itinerary
As you can see, Islands of Adventure has something to offer everyone with any type of vacation goal.
Whether you’re going solo, have a big family reunion, or enjoying a romantic day, you’ll never run out of things to discover.
What’s your favorite route to take at Islands of Adventure? Let me know in the comments section below.
If you enjoyed this article, then you’ll love these:
- Best Photo Spots at Islands of Adventure
- Universal Orlando Must Do Attractions
- 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
- Diagon Alley Grand Opening from A-Z
- Signs You’re Already Addicted to Diagon Alley
Until next time, Happy Park Hopping Hipsters!
Read the Orlando Theme Park Solo Vacation Planning Guide for your next dream trip!
(Original Article Date January 21, 2018/Updated April 10, 2020)