Top 10 Best Rides at Universal’s Islands of Adventure for 2021


Islands of Adventure at the Universal Orlando Resort has been rated the number one amusement park in the world from 2015 to 2019 according to the TripAdvisor Travelers’ Choice and they will get no argument from us. This park has some of the best thrill rides and attractions of any of the Orlando theme parks and in this post, we are going to list our Top 10 rides for 2021.

Our top 10 rides at Islands of Adventure is a 2021 update from our original post of June 2020.  To see the original video of our Top 5 list from 2020, please CLICK HERE.

Since there are two separate theme parks at the Universal Orlando Resort, not including the Volcano Bay since it is a water theme park, we decided to break down the best rides for each individual park. 

Click here if you want to see our the Top 5 Rides at Universal Studios Florida for 2020.

The Top 10 Best Rides at Universal’s Islands of Adventure for 2021

10. Popeye & Bluto’s Bilge-Rat Barges

9.  Storm Force Accelatron

8.  Dudley Do-Right’s Ripsaw Falls

7.  The Amazing Adventures of Spiderman

6.  Jurassic Park River Adventure

5.  Doctor Doom’s Fear Fall

4.  Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey

3.  The Incredible Hulk (roller coaster)

2.  Hagrid’s Magical Creatures Motorbike Adventure

1.  Jurassic World Velocicoaster

As we have said before, we at Endless Summer Florida love to make “Top 10” (or any number of that matter) lists as we really enjoy seeing the comments from theme park visitors on which rides they think are the best.  Since new rides and attractions are constantly being built, our lists always change.

Everyone’s opinion is different on which rides are the at the top of the list.  Most theme park guests enjoy the roller coasters and “thrill” rides, while many others like the newer “hybrids” where there are a mixture of thrill & screen rides as well as highly themed (like the Harry Potter rides). 

Make sure you watch the videos while reading this post.

10. Popeye & Bluto’s Bilge-Rat Barges

Make sure you stow all your belongings under cover as you are guaranteed to get soaked on this amazing river raft ride. 

Guests will go on an adventure with Popeye the Sailor Man to rescue Olive Oyl from Bluto.  But you will need to hold as your barge will need to make its way through raging rapids as well as a number of water features which will keep you cool within the hot Florida sun.

Popeye & Bluto’s Bilge-Rat Barges is a very popular ride and wait times on busy summer days can get extensive, typically exceeding an hour.  Universal Express is offered and this ride is limited to guests 42 inches in height and taller.

9. Storm Force Accelatron

Help Storm and the X-Men defeat the evil Magneto by spinning your ride vehicle to create lightning and thunder.  Storm Force Accelatron is a kid-friendly attraction but those under 48 inches in height are required to have a supervising companion.

Wait times are typically less than 30 minutes even on a busy summer day.  In most cases guests will be on the ride in 10 to 15 minutes.

Due to the location of this attraction behind the Incredible Hulk, Storm Force Accelatron is often overlooked but we always make sure to get a quick ride before leaving Marvel Super Hero Island.

8. Dudley Do-Right’s Ripsaw Falls

Dudley Do-Right’s Ripsaw Falls is a log flume water ride that’s been a staple at Islands of Adventure since the park opened in 1999.  This five-minute ride is both indoors and outdoors and themed after the Dudley Do-Right cartoon.

Make sure you are visiting on a warm day as riders will definitely come off this attraction soaking wet.

The best part of Dudley Do-Right’s Rip Saw Falls is the 75 foot drop at the end of the ride.  Be wary of the other theme park guests who will use water cannons to get you even further soaked.

7. The Amazing Adventures of Spider-Man

The Amazing Adventures of Spider-Man is a 3D motion simulator type attraction where guests go on an adventure with Spider-Man as he fights the villains of the Sinister Syndicate.  Keep an eye out for the cameo appearance of creator Stan Lee.

This attraction is located within Marvel Super Hero Island and typically has a wait of more than 30 to 45 minutes (on a typical summer day).  

This attraction is limited to guests 40 inches and over and anyone under 48 inches will need to have a supervising companion.  There are a number of twists and turns on the Amazing Adventures of Spider-Man so if you get motion sickness easily, you way want to take a pass on this ride.

LEARN MORE ABOUT UNIVERSAL:  Click here for our Definitive Guide to Universal’s Islands of Adventure

6. Jurassic Park River Adventure

In the Jurassic Park River Adventure you will take a leisurely boat tour through the pre-historic themed jungle where you get up close and personal with a number of dinosaurs.   About halfway through the trip your boat makes a wrong turn into the Raptor Containment Area where you will find that the raptors have broken their cages and are on the loose.  Your boat enters the a large building where you will have to watch out for all the raptors and avoid being eaten by an angry T-Rex. 

The end of the ride is the best par where your boat makes an 85 foot drop at almost 50 miles per hour to the river below.   Either bring a poncho or plan on getting wet. 

Check out our full on-ride point-of-view video of the Jurassic Park River Adventure below. 

Some of the Dinosaurs you will encounter on this ride include:

  • Ultrasarus
  • Psittacsaurus
  • Stegosarus
  • Parasaurolophus
  • Dilophasaurs
  • Velociraptors
  • Compsognathus
  • Tyrannosaurus Rex

The line for this ride can get lengthy with wait times approaching an hour, especially on hot summer days.  If you don’t have a Universal Express pass, try the new “Virtual Line” to get a ride reservation (if available during that day).  A child swap location is also available if you are traveling with little ones that are too small to ride. 

There have been a number of rumors that the Jurassic Park River Adventure will be closed and re-themed into “Jurassic World: The Ride” similar to what took place at Universal Studios Hollywood.  

5. Doctor Doom’s Fear Fall

On this ride you will get shot straight up more than 180 feet above Islands of Adventure and them plummet down faster than the speed of gravity itself. Themed after the Marvel Comics supervillan, Doctors Doom’s Fearfall is a quick ride but very exciting and totally worth it for the view at the top.

Check out our full on-ride point-of-view video during the day.

And our nighttime video offers a different perspective.

At the exit Doctor Doom’s Fear Fall there is a great where you will find a dedication to Marvel’s creator, Stan Lee.  This dedication is easy to walk by as a small display with an empty chair so keep your eyes open as its a great place for a photo op.  

Although lines don’t get as lengthy as some of the other popular rides, a Universal Express pass is always recommended.  Otherwise, try the new “Virtual Line” to get a ride reservation (if available during that day).  A child swap location is also available if you are traveling with little ones that are too small to ride. 

4. Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey

Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey is the ride that started it all at Universal’s Wizarding World of Harry Potter.  This is one the most highly themed rides of any of the Orlando theme parks that takes place within the Hogwarts Castle. 

In this motion simulator you will fly along with Harry on a broomstick for an amazing adventure while dodging dragons, spiders and Dementors. 

One of the best parts of the experience is walking through the Queue where you will feel like a student walking the halls of the Hogwarts Castle.  While you’re walking through the Castle, try to find the Sword of Gryffindor and make sure you say hello to the sorting hat. 

One thing to be aware of – if you get motion sickness easily, then you may want to pass on the ride itself.  You can check out our video of the full experience at the link in the description below.

Universal Express is accepted that this ride (and highly recommended) and at times this ride an hour before park entry to Universal hotel guests and select annual passholders. The new “Virtual Line” ride reservation system is also available at Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey (if available during that day).

3. The Incredible Hulk Roller Coaster

The Incredible Hulk is one of the most intense roller coasters at Universal and perfect for anyone who loves thrill rides.  You are launched with a roar and reach speeds of up to 67 miles per hour on this 2+ minute ride.  There are 7 inversions where you will experience up to 4 G’s.

This entire ride was recently refurbished just a few years ago so it gives a very smooth ride experience.  Check out our full on-ride point-of-view video below.

The line for this ride can get lengthy with wait times approaching an hour, especially on hot summer days.  If you don’t have a Universal Express pass, try the new “Virtual Line” to get a ride reservation (if available during that day).  A child swap location is also available if you are traveling with little ones that are too small to ride. 

2. Hagrid’s Magical Creatures Motorbike Adventure

At a cost of $300 million, Hagrid’s Magical Creatures Motorbike Adventure is the most expensive roller coaster ever built and it does not disappoint.

With speeds of up to 50 miles per hour and some of the best theming in all of the Orlando area theme parks, it’s no wonder that wait times exceeded two hours for a ride on Hagrid’s.  It’s probably for the best that Universal is now using a Virtual Line so guests can make a reservation for this ride on their phone

The ride is fairly long at almost a mile in length and you go forward, background and even free-fall without ever leaving your motorbike.

Wait times can get fairly lengthy at are typically more than an hour.  As of May 2021 Hagrid’s did not offer Universal Express or a single rider line but we anticipate both will be offered once the Jurassic World Velocicoaster is officially open on June 10, 2021.

At times Hagrid’s offers Virtual Line reservations which you can make on the Universal Orlando app with your smart phone.  The app is free to download and you can use not only to make Virtual Line reservations but to check wait times and make mobile food orders (which is now a requirement to enter into any Universal restaurant).

Reservations are definitely hard to come by but Universal releases reservation times throughout the course of the day so if you don’t get one at first, keep trying.

1. Jurassic World VelociCoaster

The Jurassic World VelociCoaster is the new standard of roller coasters at the Universal Orlando Resort.  Officially opened on June 10, 2021, this amazing coaster will take guests on a ride up to 70 miles an hour.  

Located on the site of the former Triceratops Encounter, behind the Jurassic Park Discovery Center and to the rear of Three Broomsticks in Hogsmeade, the VelociCoaster features two high speed launches, 12 individual moments of airtime, four separate inversions and a 155-foot tall top hat followed by a drop of almost 90 degrees.

The VelociCoaster is one of those rides that should not be missed when visiting Universal Orlando.  Since the ride is new, it is anticipated that on-line reservations will be required (similar to that currently used for Hagrid’s) – otherwise, we would anticipate wait times of more than two hours.

Check out our full on-ride POV video of the Jurassic World Velocicoaster.

LEARN MORE ABOUT UNIVERSAL:  Click here for our Definitive Guide to Universal’s Islands of Adventure


Where Should We Stay When Visiting the Universal Orlando Resort?

The Universal Orlando Resort has a number of great on site hotels at Universal and each and every one of them have their own benefits, characteristics and price points.

There are multiple “categories” of hotels which are as follows:

  • Premier Hotels & Resorts
  • Preferred & Value Hotels and Resorts
  • Prime Value Hotels and Resorts

Premier category hotels include the Lowe’s Portofino Hotel, the Hard Rock Hotel and the Lowes Royal Pacific Resort.  Although higher in price, the added benefit of the free Universal Express Unlimited (TM) is well worth the expense.  Once you experience unlimited front of the line access, it is VERY difficult to go back to a theme park without it.

Check out all the Universal on-site hotels and resorts as well as our recommended off site local area hotels by CLICKING HERE.

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