19 Killer Islands of Adventure Tips for First Timers

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.

I understand that with all those activities choose from, 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 with guide you to having the best theme park vacation ever!

But first, grab your FREE Universal Orlando Resort guidebook here!


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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. The cost of admission starts at $110, 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 like a pro!


Sights and Sounds | Islands of Adventure 2018 Full Walkthrough


The Best 19 Tips for Islands of Adventure


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 a 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 usually has special rates for Orlando theme park visitors.


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 Starting at $134 Per Day

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.


2-Park – 2-Day Ticket Starting at $107 Per Day

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.

*Prices are subject to change.

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


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. 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.


Universal Studios Express Pass


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 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
  • 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. The Universal Orlando Resort app allows you to find ride wait times, show times and 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

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.

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

Try to arrive one hour prior to the park 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.


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 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.


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!

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. 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




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.


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?

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 and the Butterbeer street carts.


12 – Ride Hogwarts Express From Hogsmeade to Diagon Alley

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.


13 – Have a Islands of Adventure Packing List

  • Comfy Shoes
  • Small Bag
  • Breathable Clothing
  • Sun Protection
  • Small Umbrella


What to Pack for Universal Studios Florida | The Best Items to Bring to Universal Orlando Resort


You can get the full Universal Orlando packing checklist here!


14 – 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.


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


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


15 – Enjoy the Must Do Attractions and Dining at Islands of Adventure


The Pharos Lighthouse islands of adventure #UniversalOrlando #ThemePark #IslandsofAdventure

  • Experience The Amazing Adventure of Spider-Man
  • Take a Dive on Doctor Doom’s Fearfall
  • Join the Wizards on Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey
  • Discover Skull Island: Reign of Kong
  • Eat at the Three Broomsticks
  • Go on an Adventure Inside Poseidon’s Fury


16 – 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.

This is especially important if you are traveling to Universal Orlando solo.


The Amazing Adventures of Spider-Man The Ride | 4K

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.


17 – 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.

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.


18 – 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.

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.


19 – Have Fun!

Islands of Adventure 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 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 comment section below?



Islands of Adventure tips. #UniversalOrlando #IslandsofAdventure #themepark #traveltips #florida #orlando
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If you enjoyed this article, then you’ll love these:


Want more theme park tips? Check out the theme park tips page. If you’re thinking about going to Disney alone, then read the top 18 tips. Are you planning a Disney vacation soon? Read the Disney Vacation Planning Guide for your next dream trip!

Don’t forget to discover the new magical Disney adventure of Toy Story Land at Hollywood Studios® Theme Park.

Until next time, Happy Park Hopping Hipsters!



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