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FREE Islands of Adventure 1-day touring plan – accurate & up-to-date

The purpose of this plan is to give families an opportunity to experience nearly everything at Islands of Adventure in one day.

This plan is written for guests with and without Express Pass access. If you do have Express Passes, you will likely have more time to make your way from one attraction to the next, stop and get character photos, take in the details of the park, etc.

We also want to mention that Universal features free resort-wide wifi and an updated mobile app that provides wait times. To download the app, follow these links: Android or iOS. You can also find published times for Universal’s shows on their website (keep in mind the times are only published approximately two weeks in advance).

Tip: combine this plan with our Universal Studios Florida 1-day touring plan to create the Ultimate Universal Orlando 2-day touring plan!

Early Park Admission

Depending on the time of year, on-site hotel guests and Universal vacation package guests may be able to enjoy Early Park Admission (EPA ) at Islands of Adventure. We recommend you check our EPA page or with the on-site hotel on your arrival to see if EPA is at IoA. To take the best advantage of this benefit, be certain to get to the IoA turnstiles 30 minutes before the park is scheduled to open for early admission.

Once you’re admitted into the park, simply follow the directions of the attending Team Members to get to Hogsmeade. Forbidden Journey is at the end of Hogsmeade in the large castle, it’s tough to miss!

(If EPA is at IoA) 1A. Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey – Sr
Hogsmeade

Restrictions and access: Ride: 48 inches; loose articles must be stowed in the free lockers inside Hogwarts Castle; no Express Pass access but there is a single rider line. Tour-only: no restrictions, loose articles and cameras can be carried on the tour; may be closed with the park is busy. Summary: The first part is a tour of Hogwarts Castle’s most iconic rooms. The second part is a revolutionary flight simulator.

1. Entrance to Islands of Adventure
We recommend that you get to the turnstiles at least 30 minutes before the park opens for the best chance to jump start your touring day.

Once you get through the turnstiles, be sure to pick up a park guide map. Universal’s in-park guide map covers both theme parks, and it includes times for the live shows and many of the character meet-and-greets.

Our first stop inside Islands of Adventure will be Marvel Super Hero Island. Here we will experience the big rides while it’s still early in the morning, thus minimizing wait times.

2. The Incredible Hulk CoasterEp  (Under refurbishment until Summer 2016)
Marvel Super Hero Island

Restrictions and access: 54 inches; loose articles must be stowed in free lockers; has Express Pass access; also has a front row line. Summary: The best high-speed, outdoor roller coaster in Central Florida.

3. Amazing Adventures of Spider-ManEp Sr (Express Pass & single rider)
Marvel Super Hero Island

Restrictions and access: 40 inches; has Express Pass access and a single rider line. Summary: Combining 3-D film, ride movement, and special effects for a completely convincing simulator ride experience.

4. Dr. Doom’s FearfallEp Sr
Marvel Super Hero Island

Restrictions and access: 52 inches; has Express Pass access. Summary: Sit back and enjoy as you are thrust up a 200 foot tall tower.

Now it is time to go to Toon Lagoon and hit the water rides! Ideally you will go on the next three rides in a row because you will get soaked for sure on the first two and most likely on the third.

5. Dudley Do-Right’s Ripsaw FallsEp Sr
Toon Lagoon

Restrictions and access: 44 inches; has Express Pass access and a single rider line; there are lockers nearby for convenience. Summary: Flume ride on steroids – YOU WILL GET SOAKED.

6. Popeye & Bluto’s Bilge-Rat BargesEp
Toon Lagoon

Restrictions and access: 42 inches. Summary: Traditional raft ride – YOU WILL GET SOAKED.

7. Jurassic Park River AdventureEp
Jurassic Park

Restrictions and access: 42 inches; has Express Pass access. Summary: Boat ride that ends with a plunge–will get you wet depending on where you are sitting. Wait times: As high as 75 minutes or longer on really warm days; on other days generally not longer than 20 minutes.

8. Camp Jurassic
Jurassic Park

Restrictions and access: none; Summary: A truly gigantic play area with everything from slides and climbing nets to caves and water cannons.

9. Lunch time – Mythos or Thunder Falls Terrace
Mythos is an award-winning restaurant located in Lost Continent, and it’s considered by many to be the best full-service restaurant inside Universal’s parks.

Not interested in full-service? Thunder Falls Terrace, located in Jurassic Park, is the best quick-service restaurant at Islands of Adventure, excluding Three Broomsticks, which we’re visiting for dinner.

The next set of attractions are inside Lost Continent. Many guests consider these to be the weakest offerings at Islands of Adventure. If you are falling behind on time, you may want to consider skipping the stunt show and Poseidon’s Fury. However, definitely take a few moments to visit the Mystic Fountain if it’s interacting with guests.

10. Eighth Voyage of Sindbad Stunt ShowEp
*This is a live stage show and the showtimes will vary – verify the schedule in your park map and try to arrive 15 minutes before the show is scheduled to begin.
Lost Continent

Restrictions and access: None; has Express Pass access. Summary: This is a traditional stunt show similar in concept to Indiana Jones at Disney’s Hollywood Studios.

11. Mystic Fountain
Lost Continent

Summary: The Mystic Fountain delights younger guests as it talks, sings, and squirts them with water.

12. Poseidon’s FuryEp
Lost Continent

Restrictions and access: None; has Express Pass access. Summary: Indoor walk-through attraction, mixing live action with tons of special effects.

Now that we’re done with Lost Continent, we will be moving into Seuss Landing. As you can probably estimate for yourself, should you happen to be running short on time or you don’t have younger kids in tow, you can skip the Seuss Landing attractions (and proceed to Backwater Bar in Port of Entry for a drinks!).

13. Oh! The Stories You’ll Hear
*This is a live stage show and the showtimes will vary – verify the schedule in your park map. It’s not necessary to arrive more than a few minutes before this show starts.
Seuss Landing

Summary: Dr. Seuss’s books come to life in song and dance as this small stage show invites us to read along. When the production is over, your little ones will have an opportunity to meet the characters.

14. If I Ran the Zoo
Seuss Landing

Restrictions: None. Summary: This interactive play area is filled with fanciful Dr. Seuss animals and contraptions. There is a world of fun to be had here with a little imagination.

15. Caro-Seuss-elEp
Seuss Landing

Restrictions: None; has Express Pass access. Summary: This is a traditional merry-go-round dressed up with Dr. Seuss characters.

16. Red Fish, Blue Fish, One Fish, Two FishEp
Seuss Landing

Restrictions: None; has Express Pass access. Summary: Universal Orlando’s answer to Dumbo at Magic Kingdom, this ride lifts guests up and down and circles them ’round.

17. Cat in the HatEp
Seuss Landing

Restrictions and access: 36 inches; has Express pass access. Summary: Dark ride that takes you into the Cat in the Hat story. Entertaining enough for everyone in the family.

18. High in the Sky Seuss Trolley Train Ride!Ep
Seuss Landing

Restrictions and access: 40 inches; has Express Pass access. Summary: The trolley takes you on a leisurely ride around Seuss Landing as you are entertained by fanciful sounds and effects.

With Seuss Landing complete, we have the opportunity to check out a few attractions we skipped earlier in the day as we moved around for optimal crowd management. Keep in mind that you want to save the last two or three hours of the day for Hogsmeade.

19. Storm Force AccelatronEp
Marvel Super Hero Island

Restrictions and access: None (children under 48 inches must be accompanied by an adult); has Express Pass access. Summary: Marvel spin on the classic egg beater carnival ride.

20. Spider-Man photo op
Marvel Super Hero Island

Your favorite web slinger has his own indoor meet-and-greet space in the building directly across from the Amazing Adventures of Spider-Man attraction.

21. Pteranodon Flyers
Jurassic Park

Restrictions and access: 36 inches; no Express Pass access; guests taller than 56 inches must be accompanied by a guest between 36 inches and 56 inches. Summary: Meandering, outdoor, gondola-style ride designed for kids.

If all goes well, you now have two or three hours left to enjoy the Wizarding World of Harry Potter – Hogsmeade. We have stayed away from this area of the park all day because the intimate nature of its buildings makes it very difficult to maneuver through the shops and gain a full appreciation for all the detail. But, in the evening, the crowds levels lower considerably, making it easier to get on the rides, grab a table at Three Broomsticks, and enjoy everything else there is to see.

22. Dragon ChallengeEp
Hogsmeade

Restrictions and access: 54 inches; loose articles must be stowed in lockers adjacent to the attraction’s entrance; has Express Pass access; also has a front row line for each coaster. Summary: High-speed, outdoor roller coaster that is an absolute must for thrill-seekers.

23. Flight of the HippogriffEp
Hogsmeade

Restrictions and access: 36 inches; has Express Pass access. Summary: Outdoor kiddie coaster that offers fantastic views of Hogwarts Castle and Hogsmeade Village.

24. Ollivander’s Wand Shop
Hogsmeade

Restrictions and access: None; does not have Express Pass access. Summary: Meticulously themed boutique where the wand chooses the wizard.

Note: if you experienced Ollivander’s in Diagon Alley as part of our Universal Studios Florida touring plan, and you were satisfied with the experience, you can skip it in Hogsmeade – they present the same show.

25. Dinner – Three Broomsticks
Hogsmeade

Summary: Stop in for traditional British Fare. If you have a big family, the restaurant’s signature offering – The Feast – can feed six people!

26. Sights & sounds of Hogsmeade
Just as we experienced with Diagon Alley, much of the amazement to be found in Hogsmeade is simply in admiring the intricate details of the land, from the sitting area behind Three Broomsticks to Ron Wealsey’s Ford Angelia in the Dragon Challenge queue. If you have the time, be sure to explore all the nooks and crannies you can, and keep your ears open for the live entertainment in Hogsmeade – the Triwizard Spirit Rally and the Frog Choir – which perform on the stage near Hogwarts Castle.

27. Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey – Sr
Hogsmeade

Restrictions and access: Ride: 48 inches; loose articles must be stowed in the free lockers inside Hogwarts Castle; no Express Pass access but there is a single rider line. Tour-only: no restrictions, loose articles and cameras can be carried on the tour; may be closed with the park is busy. Summary: The first part is a tour of Hogwarts Castle’s most iconic rooms. The second part is a revolutionary flight simulator.

28. The Hogwarts Express
Hogsmeade (Hogsmeade Station)

Restrictions and access: none; even wheelchairs and ECVs are allowed. Summary: the famous train takes guests on a magic journey from Muggle London to the wizarding village of Hogsmeade and back (note that each ride is one-way; guests wishing to return to IOA  will need to exit the train, queue again, and re-board).

If you keep on eye on the time, you should be able to fit in a ride on the Hogwarts Express to USF and back at the end of your day. Just remember that the Hogwarts Express requires park-to-park admission.

Tip: it might be a good idea to use Universal’s app to check out the wait time at King’s Cross Station before planning a round-trip experience.

Final tip: we couldn’t end our touring plan without mentioning that Camp Jurassic is incredibly cool at night. If you happen to find yourself at the end of the plan and you still have time, go back to Jurassic Park!

We hope you had an awesome day at Islands of Adventure!  If you have any questions about this plan or want to discuss your trip with others, we invite you to join our Orlando Informer Forum.

Reminder: combine this plan with our Universal Studios Florida 1-day touring plan to create the Ultimate Universal Orlando 2-day touring plan!