I’m writing blogs about each of the theme parks in Florida that we visited, with a few hints and tips that you might find useful if you’re visiting… If I can help you save a few bucks and save you some time – then the time I’ve spent on these blogs have been worth it! Links to the blogs about the other parks can be found at the bottom of the page…
Islands of Adventure and Universal are right next to one another, so it’s the same parking, same security etc. I’ve written all about those things on my Universal blog.
As with all of the theme parks, it’s going to be a decision between whether you want to hit the most popular rides first thing in the morning (hoping that the queue will be at its shortest length), or going for the rides with the shortest queue time with the aim of fitting as much as you can into your time there. I think that in this park, the most popular rides were in the Harry Potter section, Jurassic Park, and the Spiderman ride in the Marvel area.
Queuing times varied greatly – and like Universal, the issue with the express passes you can buy mean that the queuing times which are estimated at the entrance to the queue can be misleading. One good thing is the app, which I’d recommend you download, as it gives you maps of the both this one and Universal, information about each ride (like the height requirements etc) and a guideline of the current queuing times. Take the times with a pinch of salt and you’ll be ok!
The Wizarding World of Harry Potter in this park is Hogsmeade. Again, a very popular area and it had very long queue times. The attention to detail was great – and all Harry Potter fans are sure to appreciate the levels they’ve gone to!
There are a few live shows on at Islands of Adventure throughout the day, all of which are worth a look. Our favourite was the big show ‘The Eight Voyage of Sindbad’ which is a stunt show. It takes place in a large stadium-style seating area and is a mixture of action & stunts combined with a romantic storyline. It has lots of loud bangs, fireworks, and music! The performers were great, and really gave it their all – and I thought it was a suitable show for all ages. A great way to cool down from the heat, and sit down for half an hour’s entertainment!
Just outside of this show you can find the Mystic Fountain – which tells jokes and sprays water! Another wonderful little addition you can stumble across as you wander around!
Other, much shorter, shows included a choir singing in the Wizarding World of Harry Potter area and in the Jurassic Park Discovery Centre there was a chance to see a baby dinosaur puppet – which Henry really thought was real!
There are plenty of places to eat and drink at Islands of Adventure, many of them are like a cafeteria. I’m gluten-free, and I found it easy to eat. Whenever I asked what there was that was suitable for me, there was always at least one option. Also, there are many snack bars and seated restaurants with table service dotted around. As in all of the parks, you can buy a reusable cup, which gives you free refills at machines around the park. At Islands of Aventure, you can use the same cup as the one you buy at Universal. The cups certainly do represent good value for money, especially if you are happy to share between yourselves. Be aware that you must refill using special machines around the park – don’t waste your time queuing at a snack bar as the staff will turn you away asking you to use a machine instead.
The Seuss Landing area of the park is great for younger kids. There are several calmer rides there, like a carousel and a train ride, and all are suited for children who aren’t into the fast thrilling rides.
The Marvel Super Hero Island is another great area of the park. The Spiderman ride was our favourite. It is a ride where you wear 3D glasses as you are spun around in a cab the various screens which bring to life the story. The Incredible Hulk ride was closed for refurbishment whilst we were there, but all the signs said it was opening in summer ’16.
The Jurassic Park area of the park was fabulous too. There you can find a ride called the Park River Adventure – expect to get very wet! The Pteranodon Flyers ride was great fun too, and in the Discovery Centre, you can allow the kids to see huge replica dinosaur skeletons and try out the interactive activities. There is a large playground area too, which Henry really enjoyed!
We had a wonderful time at Islands of Adventure. Even though it’s one of the smallest parks, there is just so much to see and do. We ended up going back for 2 full days and one-half day, and there were still things we didn’t have time to do.
Have fun! Be prepared to get VERY wet if you’re planning on going on the Ripsaw Falls, the Bilge-Rat Barges, or the Jurrasic Park River Adventure!
My blog about Universal can be found here
My blog about Seaworld can be found here
My blog about Busch Gardens can be found here
My short blog about Aquatica can be found here