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FREE Universal Studios Florida & Islands of Adventure 1-Day Touring Plan

The purpose of this plan is to give you a framework for visiting the most popular attractions at Universal Studios Florida (USF) and Islands of Adventure (IOA) in one day.

This plan is written for guests with and without Express Passes; however, to accomplish everything on this list during busy days, we highly recommend that you consider purchasing Express access. You can learn more in our complete guide.

It’s important to understand that, for most of the year, it’s simply not possible to do everything in both Islands of Adventure and Universal Studios Florida in a single day – so we have selected the fan-favorites for this touring plan. With that said, though, we strongly recommend that you consider giving your family at least three days (if not four) to experience everything Universal has to offer and at a pace that gives you time to have fun, too. If you can do this, then we have a special three-day touring plan just for you. (We also have a full guide covering how much time, exactly, you and your family should spend at Universal Orlando Resort.)

Finally, Universal features free resort-wide wifi and an updated mobile app that provides wait times for the rides and performance times for the shows. To download the app, follow these links: Android or iOS.

Skip to: COVID | IOA | USF

The globe at Universal Studios Florida
Your day of adventure at Universal Orlando awaits!

COVID-19 note

Ever since Universal Orlando reopened after its initial COVID-19 closure, changes have been implemented that will impact your touring of the parks. Most pertinently, all single-rider lines have been closed (even though we still have those attractions that normally feature them marked as such), and there has been a greater emphasis placed on Virtual Lines, whether these are used exclusively or in conjunction with standby lines. This last point means that you’ll have to secure a return-time slot before you’re able to go to the ride at all, and it’s also important to note that the roster of Virtual Line-enabled experiences can change on a daily – or, even, hourly – basis, depending upon the overall crowd levels. (For more on this, please see our insider’s guide.)

You can read more about how the parks operate in a COVID world here.

Islands of Adventure

1. Entrance to Islands of Adventure
We recommend that you get to the turnstiles 45 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.

Why are we starting at Islands of Adventure? Simply put, in the early morning hours, most guests are drawn to The Wizarding World of Harry Potter – Diagon Alley at Universal Studios Florida. So we’re going to skip that crowd by waiting until the evening to visit USF.

2. Hagrid’s Magical Creatures Motorbike Adventure – SR (single rider)
The Wizarding World of Harry Potter – Hogsmeade

Restrictions and access: 48 inches; has a single-rider line. Summary: a thrilling, perfectly immersive outdoor roller coaster that takes you through the Forbidden Forest.

If Hagrid is using a Virtual Line that day – which is a pretty sure bet – you’ll need to use this time to grab a return-time slot instead of riding through the Forbidden Forest with the Hogwarts professor. Start trying to get your virtual spot as soon as possible, and slide it into wherever you can in the touring plan – everything else can be molded around what is arguably Universal Orlando’s flagship attraction!

3. Skull Island: Reign of Kong – EP (Express Pass) SR
Skull Island

Restrictions and access: 34 inches; has Express Pass access and a single-rider line. Summary: board a large expedition vehicle and travel deep into Skull Island in the search for King Kong.

Upon exiting Skull Island, it’s time to visit Hogsmeade.

4. Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey – EP / SR
The Wizarding World of Harry Potter – Hogsmeade

Restrictions and access: 48 inches; loose articles must be stowed in the free lockers inside Hogwarts Castle; has Express Pass access and a single-rider line. Summary: the first part is a tour of Hogwarts Castle’s most iconic rooms. The second part is a revolutionary flight simulator.

We’ve now experienced the big attractions inside Hogsmeade. Note that we’ll be skipping Ollivanders Wand Shop at this time because we’ll visit the location in Diagon Alley later.

Let’s head to Marvel Super Hero Island!

5. The Incredible Hulk CoasterEP / SR
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: one of the best high-speed, outdoor roller coasters in Orlando, featuring a story centered on the Hulk and a soundtrack provided by Fall Out Boy’s Patrick Stump.

Alternative 5. Doctor Doom’s Fearfall – EP / SR
Marvel Super Hero Island

Restrictions and access: 52 inches; has Express Pass access and a single-rider line. Summary: Dr. Doom needs fear, and you have agreed to provide him with an unlimited supply by going on this launch tower attraction.

6. The Amazing Adventures of Spider-ManEP / SR
Marvel Super Hero Island

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

Now it’s time for Toon Lagoon and its water rides! Ideally, you will go on the next three attractions in a row because you will get soaked, for sure, on the first two and, most likely, on the third.

Warning: especially-warm weather may drive up the wait times at the water rides. If you encounter this and are concerned about time, skip Dudley Do-Right’s Ripsaw Falls.

7. 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: the ultimate flume ride – you will get soaked.

8. Popeye & Bluto’s Bilge-Rat Barges – EP
Toon Lagoon

Restrictions and access: 42 inches. Summary: traditional raft ride – you will get soaked.

9. Jurassic Park River Adventure – EP
Jurassic Park

Restrictions and access: 42 inches; has Express Pass access. Summary: a dino-filled boat ride that ends with a plunge – will get you wet depending on where you are sitting.

Now we have some choices. You’re likely to be getting hungry by this point. If you can fend off hunger for a while longer and it’s before noon, you can enjoy a little more of Islands of Adventure. Depending on your family’s interests, we offer these two additional attractions (please note that you should only attempt to do one or both of these if they can be accomplished before noon):

10. Camp Jurassic
Jurassic Park

Summary: a truly gigantic play area with everything from slides and climbing nets to caves and water cannons.

11. The Cat in the Hat – EP
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.

Around noon, it’s time to leave Islands of Adventure and continue our touring at Universal Studios Florida.

Because you have park-to-park admission, you have the opportunity to ride the Hogwarts Express. Assuming it has a wait time of 30 minutes or less, which it almost certainly will in the first half of the day, get in line and head over to USF. Alternatively, you can walk to the other theme park, if you please. Note: there are no restrictions to ride the Hogwarts Express (strollers and ECVs are welcomed), and the train does sport Express Pass access.

Either way you arrive at USF, head for Hollywood…

Universal Studios Florida

12. The Bourne Stuntacular
Hollywood

Restrictions and access: none; doesn’t have Express Pass access. Summary: a high-octane, thrilling, and totally immersive stunt show starring Jason Bourne.

*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.

13. Lunch time – Fast Food Boulevard
Springfield: Home of the Simpsons

This quick-service dining venue offers the widest variety of food in a single restaurant, not to mention some pretty wacky theming (it’s a huge hit for Simpsons fans!). If you’re not quite up for fried food, Bumblebee Man’s Taco Truck right down the way is just as good. Not interested in eating? Then go for drinks at Moe’s Tavern or Duff Brewery.

A word of caution regarding Fast Food Boulevard: it’s a very popular destination for lunch at USF. If you’re visiting when it’s really busy, it may be in your best interest to stop at Mel’s Drive-In in Hollywood instead. While Mel’s doesn’t offer the variety or novelty of Fast Food Blvd, it’s classic Universal Studios and still one of our favorites.

14. The Simpsons Ride – EP
Springfield: Home of the Simpsons

Restrictions and access: 40 inches; has Express Pass access. Summary: motion-simulator ride choke-full of characters straight from the show and generous portions of Simpsons humor.

15. Men in Black Alien AttackEP / SR
World Expo

Restrictions and access: 42 inches; must stow loose articles in the free lockers adjacent to the attraction’s entrance; has Express Pass access and a single-rider line. Summary: Men in Black is a shooter ride where you are the newest MIB recruit.

We’re going to walk by the London waterfront of Diagon Alley now. We know it looks amazing – trust us, we’ll be getting back here soon!

16. Revenge of the MummyEP / SR
New York

Restrictions and access: 48 inches; must stow loose articles in free lockers adjacent to the attraction’s entrance; has Express Pass access and a single-rider line. Summary: a not-to-be-missed high-speed, indoor roller coaster.

We’ve reached another point where you may need to make some decisions about what you want to visit most.

Here’s the scoop: you want to give yourself two or three hours for Diagon Alley, depending on your interest in Harry Potter. So, you’ll have to do a little math and determine what time you need to be at Diagon Alley given USF’s closing time. Then, based on that calculation, you know how much time you have to fit in one, two, or all three of the following attractions (they’re listed in our priority order):

17. Transformers: The Ride – 3DEP / SR
Production Central

Restrictions and access: 40 inches; has Express Pass access and a single-rider line. Summary: as a NEST recruit, jump into this intense, 3D simulator experience and prepare for battle alongside Optimus Prime and Bumblebee.

18. Despicable Me Minion Mayhem – EP
Production Central

Restrictions and access: 40 inches to ride the motion simulator; otherwise, there are stationary platforms available; must be 48 inches to ride alone; has Express Pass access. Summary: join Gru and the girls in this family-friendly simulator ride featuring an all-new storyline and animation from the films – and plenty of Minion shenanigans.

19. Hollywood Rip Ride RockitEP / SR
Production Central

Restrictions and access: 51 inches; must stow loose articles in free lockers just past the attraction’s entrance; has Express Pass access; usually has a single-rider line; also has a front-row line. Summary: high-speed outdoor roller coaster where you pick your soundtrack.

If you miss any of these three attractions, you can try again at the very end of the night. We just want to be sure we leave two or three hours for Diagon Alley, since it really is one of the most impressive theme-park lands in the world.

Should you be lucky enough to have more time than you thought you’d have at this point, then we have two more recommendations:

20. Horror Make-Up Show – EP
Hollywood

*Verify the schedule in your park map and try to arrive 15 minutes before the show is scheduled to begin.

Restrictions and access: none; has Express Pass access. Summary: just as much of a comedy routine as a behind-the-scenes look at horror effects.

21. Race Through New York Starring Jimmy Fallon – EP
New York

Restrictions and access: 40 inches; has Express Pass access; often has a Virtual Line (return-time system), but in the last few hours of the day, it will have a standby queue. Summary: a simulated race through New York with talk-show host Jimmy Fallon and popular characters from The Tonight Show.

Summary: a standard (albeit funny) motion-simulator ride that has you, well, racing through New York City against Tonight Show host Jimmy Fallon. Beforehand, experience one of the best queues in all of (Universal) Orlando.

The time has finally arrived: prepare to enter Diagon Alley. Remember, depending on your family’s interest in Harry Potter, you should be arriving at this point in the touring plan with two or three hours left before park closing.

Before we enter Diagon Alley, we need to explain our mini-plan for this land. Essentially, the only attraction inside Diagon Alley with a significant wait time is Harry Potter and the Escape from Gringotts, but this can be as high as an hour or two.

So, when you head into this area, you need to look up the Gringotts wait time and decide, exactly, how you want to spend your evening. It’s worth noting that Escape from Gringotts does have a single-rider line, but it skips the entire bank tour and preshow, which are just as impressive as the attraction (for the record, the single-rider line is usually a quarter to a half of the posted standby time).

Given the explanation we just offered, we’re going to list Escape from Gringotts next. Keep in mind, the later you can get in line, the shorter the line will be… but you will be missing out on the Wizarding World at night. The other stops in Diagon Alley may be done in any sequence.

22. Harry Potter and the Escape from Gringotts – EP / SR
The Wizarding World of Harry Potter – Diagon Alley

Restrictions and access: 42 inches; must stow loose articles in free lockers before the attraction’s entrance; has Express Pass access; usually has a single-rider line. Summary: impressive tour through Gringotts Wizarding Bank followed by a multi-dimensional, multi-sensory 3D track-based motion ride (remember, single-rider line skips the bank tour and entire preshow).

23. Ollivanders Wand Shop
The Wizarding World of Harry Potter – Diagon Alley

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

24. Interactive wands and spell-casting
The Wizarding World of Harry Potter – Diagon Alley

Summary: display your wizarding talents with your new interactive wand as you magically affect the displays in various storefronts and, possibly, other secret areas. Note: you’ll need to purchase an interactive wand at Ollivanders or Wands by Gregorovitch to participate (and there are additional spellcasting locations over in Hogsmeade, as well, for later in your vacation).

25. Dinner time – The Leaky Cauldron
The Wizarding World of Harry Potter – Diagon Alley

Taking quick-service theme-park dining to its pinnacle, The Leaky Cauldron offers a variety of British fare set in a beautiful dining hall full of whimsical, wizarding decor.

Remember earlier when you might have skipped Transformers, Despicable Me, or Rip Ride Rockit? Now would be the time to check the current wait times and see if you want to try again. However, if you’re perfectly happy staying inside Diagon Alley and you still have more time before the end of the evening, there’s so much more to see…

You can catch the live entertainment in Carkitt Markett (Tales of Beedle the Bard and Celestina Warbeck), taste the treats of Florean Fortescue’s Ice-Cream Parlour, and slink your way through the creepy corners of Knockturn Alley. And before you leave, make sure you’ve seen the sights of the London waterfront, including the Knight Bus with its conductor and interactive shrunken head, and 12 Grimmauld Place (keep an eye out for Kreacher!).

We hope you’ve had an incredible day at Universal Orlando Resort!

Do you have a question about the information on this page, would like to provide feedback, or did you spot an inaccuracy? Please let us know by posting in our Orlando Informer Community on Facebook.
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