The Top 15 Best Rides at Universal’s Islands of Adventure


Universal’s Islands of Adventure is rated the number one theme park in the United States by TripAdvisor and they will get no argument from us.  Originally opened in 1999, this 101-acre theme park and is right next to Universal Studios Florida and Universal’s CityWalk dining & entertainment complex.

The park is separated into eight different “islands”, each having a different theme.  From Marvel Super Hero Island to Jurassic World as well as the Wizarding World of Harry Potter, visitors will find that Universal’s Islands of Adventure has some of the best thrill rides & attractions of any of the theme parks in the Orlando area

In this post we list the best rides and attractions at Universal’s Islands of Adventure.  As said before, we at Endless Summer Florida love to make “best ride” lists as we really enjoy seeing the comments from theme park visitors on which rides they think are the best. 

Click here to see our Definite Guide to Universal’s Islands of Adventure

The Top 15 Best Rides at Universal’s Islands of Adventure

15. The Cat in the Hat

14. Pteranodon Flyers

13. The High in the Sky Seuss Trolley Train Ride! ™

12. Skull Island: Reign of Kong

11. Popeye & Bluto’s Bilge-Rat Barges

10. Storm Force Accelatron

9.  Flight of the Hippogrff

8.  Dudley Do-Right’s Ripsaw Falls

7.  Jurassic Park River Adventure

6.  Doctor Doom’s Fear Fall

5.  The Amazing Adventures of Spiderman

4.  Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey

3.  The Incredible Hulk (roller coaster)

2.  Hagrid’s Magical Creatures Motorbike Adventure

1.  Jurassic World VelociCoaster

15. The Cat in the Hat

The Cat in the Hat ride is a popular attraction located in the Seuss Landing area of Universal’s Islands of Adventure theme park. Based on the classic children’s book by Dr. Seuss, the ride takes guests on a whimsical journey through the story of The Cat in the Hat.

The ride features colorful, whimsical sets and animatronic characters that bring the story to life. Guests board a ride vehicle shaped like a giant teacup and spin and swerve through scenes from the book, encountering characters like Thing 1 and Thing 2, the mischievous Cat in the Hat, and the well-meaning but bumbling Fish.

The ride is suitable for all ages and is a great option for families with young children or anyone looking for a fun, lighthearted ride. Wait times typically exceed 30 to 45 minutes and Universal Express is offered. The Cat in the Hat is limited to guests 36 inches in height and taller.

14. Pteranodon Flyers

Pteranodon Flyers is a unique ride located in the Jurassic Park area of Universal’s Islands of Adventure.  This attraction is designed to simulate the experience of flying on the back of a Pteranodon, a prehistoric flying reptile.

Riders will enjoy flying high over Jurassic Park in the Pteranodon Flyers attraction. Due to very limited capacity, one of the two riders on the 10-foot Pterandon must be a child ranging in height from 36 to 56 inches.  So two adults above 56 inches in height can’t ride together, allowing more capacity for young kids.

With the limited capacity and popularity of the ride, wait times for the Pteranodon Flyers can get extensive, typically exceeding an hour on a summer day.  Unfortunately, Universal Express is not offered but the ride is worth the wait.

13. The High in the Sky Seuss Trolley Train Ride!™

Another Dr. Seuss classic attraction at Island of Adventure is High in the Sky Seuss Trolley Train Ride!™.  Based on the whimsical world of Dr. Seuss, the ride takes guests on a journey through the colorful and imaginative world of Seuss Landing.

Riders board a slow-moving train while hearing about the story of the Sneetches and ride above Seuss Landing. During the ride, guests are treated to stunning views of the Seuss Landing area and encounter many of the beloved characters from Dr. Seuss’s books, including the Grinch, the Cat in the Hat, and Thing 1 and Thing 2. The ride also features whimsical sets and colorful animatronic characters that bring the world of Seuss to life.

Due to the limited capacity, wait times on busy summer days can get long, typically exceeding 30 to 45 minutes. Universal Express is offered and this ride is limited to guests 36 inches in height and taller.

12. Skull Island: Reign of Kong

Riders will go on an expedition deep into the jungle in Skull Island: Reign of Kong. The ride is based on the iconic movie monster, King Kong, and takes guests on a heart-pumping adventure through the treacherous jungles of Skull Island.

In this 3D / 4D motion simulator attraction,tThe ride begins as guests board large expedition vehicles that are designed to look like they are straight out of the 1930s. As the ride progresses, guests are taken deeper into the jungle, encountering a variety of terrifying creatures, including giant spiders, prehistoric dinosaurs, and of course, King Kong himself.

The ride features stunning special effects, animatronics, and state-of-the-art technology that bring the world of Skull Island to life in a way that is both thrilling and immersive. The ride is suitable for guests of all ages, but it can be intense at times, so it may not be suitable for very young children or those who are easily frightened.

Wait times for Kong typically range from 30 minutes to an hour.  Universal Express is offered and this ride is limited to guests 36 inches in height and taller.

11. Flight of the Hippogriff

Flight of the Hippogriff™ is a fun and family-friendly roller coaster located in the Wizarding World of Harry Potter area of Universal’s Islands of Adventure. The ride is based on the magical creature, the Hippogriff, which is a cross between a horse and an eagle.

The Hippogriff ride is designed to be suitable for guests of all ages and is a great option for families with young children or those who are looking for a more mild thrill ride. After a gentle incline, guests are treated to stunning views of the Wizarding World of Harry Potter area and the surrounding park. 

The ride features a few small drops and turns, but it is not too intense, making it a great option for those who are looking for a fun and lighthearted ride.

There is a 36 inch height requirement but guests under 48 inches will need a supervision companion. Due to limited capacity, wait times on busy summer typically exceeding an 45 minutes but Universal Express is offered.

10. Popeye & Bluto’s Bilge-Rat Barges

Popeye & Bluto’s Bilge-Rat Barges is a thrilling water ride located in the Toon Lagoon area which is designed to simulate the experience of white-water rafting, with guests boarding large circular rafts that hold up to 12 people.

The ride takes guests on a wild and bumpy journey down a raging river, encountering steep drops, twists, and turns along the way. Riders should be prepared to get wet, as the ride features plenty of splashing and soaking.

Bilge-Rat Barges is designed to be a thrill ride and is not recommended for guests who are afraid of getting wet or who have any health conditions that may be aggravated by the rough ride. The ride is suitable for guests who are at least 42 inches tall and can hold onto the raft handlebars.

Popeye & Bluto’s Bilge-Rat Barges is a very popular ride and wait times on busy summer days can get extensive, typically exceeding 45 minutes to an hour.  However, Universal Express is offered which can ease the wait.

9. Storm Force Accelatron

Storm Force Accelatron is a spinning ride located in the Marvel Super Hero Island. The ride is based on the popular Marvel Comics superhero team, the X-Men, and features a variety of special effects and theming elements that bring the world of the X-Men to life.

This attraction is designed to be suitable for guests of all ages and is a great option for families with young children or those who are looking for a more mild thrill ride. The ride begins as guests board ride vehicles that are designed to look like X-Men training machines and it progresses, guests are treated to a series of spinning and twirling motions, accompanied by a variety of special effects and lighting effects. 

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.  Wait times are typically less than 30 minutes, however in most cases guests will be on the ride in 15 to 20 minutes.

8. Dudley Do-Right’s Ripsaw Falls

Dudley Do-Right’s Ripsaw Falls is a thrilling log flume type water ride located in the Toon Lagoon area of Universal’s Islands of Adventure theme park. The ride is based on the classic cartoon character, Dudley Do-Right, and takes guests on a wild and wet adventure through a mountainous landscape.

The ride begins as guests board large log-shaped ride vehicles and make their way up a steep incline. As the ride progresses, guests are treated to stunning views of the surrounding area before plunging down a steep drop and splashing into the water below.

The best part of Dudley Do-Right’s Rip Saw Falls is the 75 foot drop at the end of the ride and one of the most exciting among the Islands of Adventure rides. Be wary of the other theme park guests who will use water cannons to get you even further soaked. Make sure you are visiting on a warm day as riders will definitely come off this attraction soaking wet.

Wait times vary based on the time of the year but  range from 30 to 45 minutes on a typical summer day.  Riders under 48 inches in height are required to have a supervising companion.

 

7. Jurassic Park River Adventure

In the Jurassic Park River Adventure is based on the popular Jurassic Park movie franchise and takes guests on a wild and wet adventure through a prehistoric jungle filled with dinosaurs. Guests 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. 

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.  A child swap location is also available if you are traveling with little ones that are too small to ride. 

6. Doctor Doom’s Fear Fall

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

The attraction begins as guests board large ride vehicles that are designed to look like they are straight out of a comic book. The vehicles are then lifted high into the air before being released in a sudden and thrilling free fall drop.  

Dr. Doom’s Fear Fall is designed to be a high-thrill ride and is not recommended for guests who have any health conditions that may be aggravated by the intense ride. The ride is suitable for guests who are at least 52 inches tall.

Although lines don’t get as lengthy as some of the other popular rides, a Universal Express pass is always recommended. A child swap location is also available if you are traveling with little ones that are too small to ride. 

 

5. 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. The ride is based on the iconic Marvel Comics character, Spider-Man, and takes guests on a thrilling adventure through the streets of New York City. With it’s great story and theming, is considered among the best rides at Islands of Adventure. Keep an eye out for the cameo appearance of creator Stan Lee.

The attraction begins as guests board ride vehicles that are designed to look like Spider-Man’s iconic web-slinging vehicles. As the ride progresses, guests are treated to stunning 3D visuals, special effects, and animatronics that bring the world of Spider-Man to life in a way that is both thrilling and immersive.  There are a variety of special effects and theming elements, including fire, water, and wind effects, that make guests feel like they are a part of the action.

Located within Marvel Super Hero Island, Spider-Man typically has a wait of more than 40 to 50 minutes; Universal Express is also offered. This attraction is limited to guests 40 inches and over and anyone under 48 inches will need to have a supervising companion. 

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, riders 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. 

3. The Incredible Hulk Roller Coaster

The Incredible Hulk is one of the most intense roller coasters at the Universal Orlando Resort and is always among the best rides at Islands of Adventure.  The attraction is one of the most visible rides at Universal and features 7 inversions where you will experience up to 4 G’s.  Riders are launched with a roar from the Hulk and reach speeds of up to 67 miles per hour on this 2+ minute ride. 

Located in Marvel Super Hero Island®, the Incredible Hulk has a minimum height requirement of 54 inches and is suitable for only experienced coaster riders.  Wait times generally range from 30 minutes to 45 minutes on a typical summer day and Universal Express Pass is offered so riders can bypass the regular line. 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 one of the most expensive roller coaster ever built  and is based on the beloved Harry Potter book and movie franchise and takes guests on a thrilling adventure through the Forbidden Forest..  

The ride begins as guests board ride vehicles that are designed to look like Hagrid’s iconic motorbike and sidecar. As the ride progresses, guests are treated to stunning theming and special effects, including animatronic creatures, mist effects, and even a drop track. 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 can exceed two hours for a ride on Hagrid’s.  

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

The attraction has a minimum height requirement of 48 inches and is suitable for riders of most thrill levels. 

1. Jurassic World VelociCoaster

The Jurassic World VelociCoaster is the new standard of roller coasters at the Universal Orlando Resort. This amazing coaster won the Theme Park Insider aware for “Best New Attraction of 2021” and “Best Rollercoaster of 2021”. It was also the “Best New Theme Park Attraction 2021” from USA Today 10 Best Reader’s Choice.

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 will take riders on speeds of up to 70 miles per hour featuring 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.  Wait times typically range from about 40 minutes to more than and hour.  Universal Express Pass is offered and there is a minimum height requirement of 51 inches.

Click here for our Definitive Guide to Universal’s Islands of Adventure

How can I get on Universal’s Islands of Adventure rides quickly?

There are two different ways to bypass the regular lines Universal’s Islands of Adventure rides.  The most popular way to do so is the Universal Express pass which allows guests to skip the regular lines on all of our Top 15 attractions with the exception of Hagrid’s Magic Creatures Motorbike Adventure and the Pteranodon Flyers.

Visitors can purchase a Universal Express pass in one of two different tiers which include one time per ride or an unlimited time per ride.  Daily prices to purchase Universal Express range from $89.99 per person to $379.99 per person. 

Hotel guests staying at one of the Premier Category on-site hotels get Universal Express as one of their benefits for up to 5 people per room.  This could be a substantial savings over purchasing directly. Premier category hotels include the Loews Portofino Bay Hotel, the Hard Rock Hotel and the Loews Royal Pacific Resort

Another way to get a Universal Express pass is to have a Universal Orlando “Premier” level annual pass.  One of the benefits of this annual pass is that it allows passholders to utilize the Universal Express queues one time per day on the participating attractions after 4:00 PM at both Universal Studios Florida and Islands of Adventure

There is a completely free way to bypass the regular lines for some of the best rides at Islands of Adventure (with the cost of admission of course).  This is for visitors to utilize the Single Rider lines that are offered at a number of our top attractions.  

Following is a current list of rides that offer single rider lines at Universal’s Islands of Adventure.

  • The Incredible Hulk Roller Coaster
  • Dr. Doom’s Fearfall
  • The Amazing Adventures of Spider-Man
  • Dudley Do-Right’s Ripsaw Falls
  • Skull Island: Reign of Kong
  • Jurassic Park River Adventure
  • Jurassic World VelociCoaster
  • Hagrid’s Magical Creatures Motorbike Adventure
  • Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey

A single rider line is a separate queue where those visitors who wish to ride alone will be able to bypass the regular line and in most cases, get on the attraction quicker.  Team members use the individual riders to fill vacant seats in a ride vehicle as not all traveling parties match the number of seats available on a ride vehicle.

Jerry Joyce

Jerry Joyce has been a Florida resident since 1998 and has lived in a variety of places in the South Florida area. Jerry is an avid boater & water sports enthusiast, beach aficionado, a lover of great food, muscle car fan and a theme park annual passholder for many years. Some of his favorite places in Florida include the Florida Keys, Walt Disney World, Cedar Key, the Loxahatchee River, St. Augustine and Ten Thousand islands.

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