Universal Studios Islands of Adventure

Theme Park:Universal Studios Islands of Adventure (since 2001)
Address:6000 Universal Blvd
32819 Orlando
Operated by:Universal Parks and Resorts

Universal Studios Islands of Adventure in Orlando, Florida is one of the most famous theme parks worldwide.  Due to the huge success of The Wizarding World of Harry Potter themed area, the park is often called the Harry Potter theme park, yet the  park has much more to offer. The Islands of Adventure are famous for its numerous world-class attractions, including the LSM launch coaster VelociCoaster and the Family Launch Coaster Hagrid’s Magical Creatures Motorbike Adventure by Intamin; two of the world’s finest roller coasters.


Highlights of the Theme Park



Dudley Do-Right’s Ripsaw Falls

A surprisingly wet log flume



Hagrid’s Magical Creatures Motorbike Adventure

Probably the best roller coaster with a very long name



Harry Potter and the forbidden Journey

Flying through the air on robots



Incredible Hulk Coaster

Tyre driven madness



Jurassic Park River Adventure

A great water ride




The awesome launch coaster




Going back to Hogwarts

Port of Entry

The Port of Entry themed area is the large and extremely attractive entrance area to the theme park. The large souvenir shop is located here, as well as all kinds of catering options. The area serves as a hub to the themed areas Marvel Super Hero Island and Seuss Landing.

Seuss Landing

The Seuss Landing themed area is dedicated to the children’s books by the famous American author Dr Seuss. Here you can meet well-known characters such as the Grinch, the Lorax and the Cat in the Hat in an environment that is as colourful as it is clearly designed and minimalist.

The Cat in the Hat

The journey leads through the events of the book, with the nameless boy narrating the ride. The cat in the hat and the fish also have their say at various points during the ride. As in the book, all sorts of mischief happens when the mother violates the house and leaves the children alone. The cat in the hat appears and with it Thing 1 and Thing 2. Chaos increasingly breaks out, which is staged quite well in the ride. The end comes quite quickly and after the chaos has been cleared up by the cat with a machine, we get off the ride.

Caro-Seuss-el und One Fish, Two Fish, Red Fish, Blue Fish

Seuss Landing is home to two colourful carousels. While the Caro-Seuss-el is more classic and features colourful animal characters from children’s books, One Fish, Two Fish, Red Fish, Blue Fish requires a little skill to avoid getting completely soaked on the carousel. The accompanying song tells you what to do, but if you don’t listen, the fun is all the greater.

The High in the Sky Seuss Trolley Train Ride

The High in the Sky Seuss Trolley Train Ride consists of two lengthy powered coasters from Mack Rides, but they don’t build up any speed here and are more of a high-backed railway through the area. There are anecdotes and jokes, but a ride on the two tracks is not really exciting.

The Lost Continent

The Lost Continent theme area itself is a little lost in its current form. There used to be the big walkthrough show Poseidon’s Fury and the stunt show The Eigth Voyage of Sindbad. Today, both are no longer in use. What remains is probably one of the most beautiful themed areas in the world and, with the Mythos restaurant, probably one of the best restaurants in a theme park worldwide.

The Wizarding World of Harry Potter – Hogsmeade

Hogwarts Express

The Wizarding World of Harry Potter theme area spans both Universal theme parks in Florida. While you can visit Hogsmeade and Hogwarts in the Islands of Adventure, you can explore Diagon Alley in Universal Studios. Both themed areas are connected by the Doppelmayr funicular railway Hogwarts Express. However, a ticket valid for both parks is required for the journey. While a park hopping ticket makes little sense at Walt Disney World due to the distance between the parks, the walking distance between the two Universal theme parks is a big plus, as well as the opportunity to take a ride on the Hogwarts Express, which is a really great experience. It is also recommended to ride both routes once, as the film sequences shown are different.

Hagrid’s Magical Creatures Motorbike Adventure

Where the Dueling Dragons once stood – two B&M inverted coasters that met several times during the ride, but in the end no longer dueled, which meant that many of the visual attractions were simply no longer there – now stands a rollercoaster with an incredibly unwieldy name, which we will simply call Hagrid’s for the sake of simplicity.

The ride on Hagrid’s begins with a long right-hand bend that takes us into the first launch area. After a short left-hand bend, we then take a right-hand bend at some speed, after which we reach the second launch area. At high speed, we then race into a passage close to the ground with numerous left and right turns before briefly taking our foot off the accelerator at Hagrid’s hut. This is where Hagrid and a Blast-Ended Skrewt await us. After this short lesson, we head back towards Hogwarts. Over the third launch section, we gather enough speed to climb a hill and immediately throw ourselves towards the ground in a left-hand bend. This is followed by a number of ground-hugging bends along a lake. After adjusting our speed a little, a right-hand bend leads us directly into a small hill and another right-hand bend takes us to Fluffy, the three-headed dog. After a short left turn over a switch, we reach another launch section. We then dive into a tunnel at full speed and then race up a long straight. Unfortunately, we run out of steam and experience part of the journey in reverse. We then come to a halt in a cave, but are attacked by the magical creatures. With Hagrid’s help, we manage to escape. After the freefall segment, the path leads us into another launch section, which takes us into a wide left-hand bend followed by a right-hand bend. Shortly afterwards, our speed is reduced to a minimum and we approach the end of the ride.

Hagrid’s Magical Creatures Motorbike Adventure is a really good roller coaster and my personal favourite at the Islands of Adventure. The overall concept of the ride is simply harmonious and the finale of the ride with the small freefall element was something I really didn’t have on my radar. I at least was blown away and can only warmly recommend a ride on this rollercoaster to anyone.

Flight of the Hippogriff

Flight of the Hippogriff is the standard model of a Vekoma Junior Coaster, which you can also experience in the park next door as Woody Woodpecker’s Nuthouse Coaster. Accordingly, the ride begins with a short curve out of the station and the subsequent lift hill. You immediately complete a left-hand steep curve with a subsequent upward helix, cross a short valley and a wide right-hand curve near the station. Over a hill, you cross the route you have just travelled, whereupon you lose some height in another helix. This is followed by a left-hand bend, after which the braking section awaits. Here you wait a little until the train in front of you has been dispatched at the station and you can enter it.

Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey

The wild ride through Hogwarts begins with Hermione’s generous use of floo powder, after which we soon find ourselves in the observatory. Slight tilting effects to the side during transport provide initial excitement, as all movements are absolutely smooth – which is quite unexpected given the otherwise very rough movement profiles of the stationary Robo-Coasters. In the observatory itself, we join Harry and Ron and experience a fabulous ride over the rooftops of Hogwarts towards the Quidditch match. Meanwhile, we meet Hagrid, who asks us if we have seen the dragon, only to encounter said dragon a few moments later. Pushed by the dragon, our path leads us into a bridge, where the dragon is waiting for us as an animatronic, but we manage to escape.

Shortly afterwards, we find ourselves in the Forbidden Forest, where we immediately encounter Aragog. Hermione rushes to our aid and chases him away while we continue our escape. More spiders get in our way, but we manage to leave the forest. The whomping willow awaits us in the clearing, although we manage to avoid it quite well, it does eventually catch us and we are thrown into the Quidditch stadium. So far so good, after all it was our goal and we are right in the middle of the action – which is much cooler than the trendy muggle sport.

When Slytherin stupidly scores a goal against Gryffindor, Dementors get into the arena. Since evil plus evil stupidly still equals evil, Harry immediately escorts us out of the arena. We are separated from Harry and soon find ourselves in the Chamber of Secrets. Another Dementor chases after us and even Lord Voldemort gives us the slip. We manage to escape, but a horde of Dementors is already waiting for us. It’s getting cold, the gondola bearer’s movements are noticeably slow and a heartbeat can be heard from the subwoofers on the benches. At the last possible moment, Harry chases the Dementors away and we follow him through the collapsing entrance towards Hogwarts. In the main hall leading to the grand staircase, we meet all sorts of students and teachers and, last but not least, Albus Dumbledore, who uses Floo powder to transport us to the Room of Requirement, i.e. the station of the ride.

I was amazed. I would never have believed the Kuka robots capable of such a ride. I was also simply overwhelmed by the scale of the decorations and screens. The whipping willow in particular thrilled me so much that I could only smile for the rest of the ride. The symbiosis between the projection and the real backdrop simply works perfectly and the ride system supports this in the best possible way. The robots’ great freedom of movement in particular brings an incredible dynamic to the ride, which is also utilised perfectly and ultimately offers an absolutely wild but extremely harmonious ride through the Harry Potter universe. I’d love more of this!

Jurassic Park

Jurassic World VelociCoaster

As soon as it opened, the VelociCoaster was labelled the best roller coaster in the world by many roller coaster fans. All the more reason to take the ride with all kinds of crazy people from the Buzzed Bars Coaster Club and spend lap after lap on this rollercoaster.

The ride begins with a left-hand bend that leads us into the launch area. The velociraptors, which are supposed to chase after our train for entertainment reasons, have apparently escaped and so we now have to complete the route through the enclosure as quickly as possible. The journey begins with a very steep uphill curve, which turns into a large drop. However, we only reach the bottom after the following dive loop, which is extremely challenging. This is followed by a nice turn to the right, after which we change direction on a hill. We are now steadily gaining height, but the first velociraptor is already waiting for us up here. Taron-esque, we then wind our way towards the ground, only to continue our route in a left-hand bend. In a right-hand bend, however, we narrowly escape the second raptor. After an implied turnaround, we then enter a tunnel in a right-hand bend, whereupon we accelerate a second time.

Now we race up the Top Hat, which characterises the entrance area to the roller coaster. Whilst we turn on our own axis on the ascent, the subsequent drop is quite straightforward. A slight swing to the right then leads us into a very wide stall above the walkways, where we spend a long time upside down. This is followed by a wide Bavarian curve with a negative incline in between. After a speed hump, we then shoot through the so-called Mosasaurus Roll – a fast barrel roll – which is incredibly popular with American roller coaster fans. After a short swing to the right and left, we reach the braking section of the ride.

The VelociCoaster is a really good rollercoaster with a highly dynamic layout, but it doesn’t quite come close to its European role models Taron and Taiga. While the first part of the ride is extremely compact, the second part focuses mainly on long curves and speed; the VelociCoaster should therefore be seen more as a roller coaster with two acts, with either the first or second act being more appealing depending on your taste.

Jurassic Park River Adventure

The Shoot-the-Chutes Jurassic Park River Adventure is also one of the best rides of its kind. The ride through the time-honoured dinosaur park is certainly one of the most famous rides in the world, which makes it all the more enjoyable when the posted waiting times go by much faster than expected.

As the ride is thankfully based on the first film, we are looking forward to an adventurous ride without divorce drama and genetically modified hyperdinos on the island of Isla Nublar. After leaving the station, a short lift hill takes us to an intermediate level, where we bob along the canal for a few metres before approaching the significant gate from the film. The gate opens, the music plays and we feel like we’re back in our childhood, so my primary school self was addressed, and so the path leads us leisurely through the Ultrasaurus and Stegosaurus enclosures. In the Hadrasaurus enclosure, we receive a warning that the raptors have broken out. Meanwhile, two dilophosaurs are fighting over the remaining coat of a park employee, enough distraction for us to take care of our own escape. As we approach a building, a small container almost falls on our heads. In the building itself, we then use the transport system inside to get to the power station. On the very long lift hill, we gain a few metres in altitude and are attacked from both sides by Velociraptors. Once we reach the power station level, we are attacked by more dinosaurs as we approach the evacuation path in a wide curve. A short lift hill brings us to the aforementioned drop, so that we can only just escape from a T-Rex that has just appeared. We now descend a good 26 metres, whereupon the obligatory splashdown takes place and the ride, which is absolutely worth experiencing, comes to an end.

Camp Jurassic and Pteranodon Flyers

The small suspended roller coaster Pteranodon Flyers is located in the middle of the children’s area Camp Jurassic, which unfortunately adults are not allowed to ride without a child up to a certain age. For whatever reason, the ride has a rather low capacity for a theme park like Islands of Adventure, which can lead to longer waiting times.

Skull Island: Reign of Kong

The Skull Island: Reign of Kong dark ride is based on the latest King Kong films. The ride is based on the concept of a safari through Skull Island, punctuated by the dangerous oversized wild animals. There are some animatronics, but the majority of the ride takes place on large screens to the right and left of the ride, while the truck is on a platform that moves in sync with the film. This is very cool and impressively realised, especially compared to other immersive tunnel attractions worldwide.

Toon Lagoon

The Toon Lagoon themed area is home to the two water rides Dudley-do-Right’s Ripsaw Falls and Popeye & Pluto’s Bilge-Rat Barges and is characterised above all by the colourful drawing style of classic American comics.

Dudley-do-Right’s Ripsaw Falls

The log flume Dudley-do-Right’s Ripsaw Falls is based on the character Dudley Do-Right from the American animated series The Adventures of Rocky and Bullwinkle and Friends, which first aired between 1959 and 1964.

Once you have squeezed yourself into the incredibly tight seats – which are equipped with individual restraints – the journey can begin. On the way to the first lift, we bob along through a nicely designed scene with some funny allusions. After the lift, we travel quite quickly through the canal before making our way through a mine. Back in daylight, we pass under the final descent once and then make our way to the next tunnel. When we have to avoid a railway in this tunnel, we set off on our first drop. Surprisingly, this takes us over a small hill and ensures that everyone on board gets wet. After a right-hand bend, we quickly enter the next descent, which is just as moisturising. After a few bends, we climb the second lift hill, which takes us right to the top. After a left-hand bend, we then split into one of the two descents, which we immediately tackle. Interestingly, the descent takes you far below the level of the final splashdown. We reach the required altitude over a hill with a crest that is always covered in spray and immediately start the splashdown. This is followed by the return to the station, whereupon our ride on this fantastic log flume unfortunately comes to an end.

Popeye & Bluto’s Bilge-Rat Barges

The Rapid River with the unbelievably bulky name Popeye & Bluto’s Bilge-Rat Barges is one of the wettest rides of its type. The ride is characterised by its winding course with numerous rapids; however, the numerous water effects that protrude into the ride make it wet, which makes for surprised faces, especially on the lift. A great ride!

Marvel Super Hero Island

The Amazing Adventures of Spider Man

Just like at Universal Studios Japan, everything is just right on The Amazing Adventures of Spider Man dark ride. Perfectly coordinated movements interact with the video projections in the most ingenious way, leaving you speechless and amazed as you leave the ride vehicle and wanting to queue again. The electric shock scene, triggered by the villain Electro, and the scene with the anti-gravity cannon are particularly noteworthy here too; otherwise I find it difficult to describe this dark ride, as it really is simply overwhelming.

Doctor Doom’s Fearfall

The two towers of Doctor Doom’s Fearfall both house a Space Shot from S&S, while the theming inside suggests an Intamin Giant Drop, as do the rather unusual check-in areas of the towers. However, the ride itself is surprisingly fun and is highly recommended, especially in the evening (and with correspondingly short waiting times), as you can catch a great view of the beautifully illuminated park and Orlando at night.

Storm Force Accelatron

The Storm Force Accelatron teacup ride is characterised above all by its extremely large and rather sluggish gondolas. The ride is accompanied by rock music and lighting effects.

Incredible Hulk Coaster

One of the time-honoured rides in Orlando is the Incredible Hulk Coaster, B&M’s first roller coaster with a launch, although this was probably not provided by B&M but outsourced. It is the first roller coaster with a friction wheel launch.

After leaving the station, the path leads us straight into the launch cannon. The experiment goes wrong and we are shot out of the cannon straight into the first inversion of the ride; a zero-G roll. Immediately after the big descent, the track leads us into a Cobra Roll and then, without mercy, into an oversized loop. After a short dive under the park paths, we take a quick spin around the launch cannon before tackling our next inversion – a corkscrew. Over a long downhill straight, we then gain momentum for loop no. 2, which we also ride through with plenty of pressure. This is followed by two larger cornering manoeuvres that lead us into a block segment in the middle of the second loop. After another downhill section, we race through a second corkscrew and a right-hand bend before quickly approaching the end of the ride in an uphill helix.

Like many of the great B&M rides of its time, the Incredible Hulk Coaster is simply an incredible power machine. The ride is merciless and impresses with its constant high pressure in almost all manoeuvres.

Pictures Universal Studios Islands of Adventure

Conclusion Universal Studios Islands of Adventure

I really enjoyed the Islands of Adventure. Together with Universal Studios Florida right next door, the park offers an incredibly high-quality entertainment package that I would like to experience much more often. Everything is just right here. What’s more, the VelociCoaster and Hagrid’s Hagrid’s Magical Creatures Motorbike Adventure are two of the best rollercoasters in the world within the same park.

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