FLORIDA: Universal Studios and Islands of Adventure

Universal Studios Florida
The iconic Universal globe
Even though Universal only has 2 theme parks in Orlando compared to Disney's 4, many people especially young adults would pick Universal over Disney. This was the case even before the Wizarding World of Harry Potter opened last year. That additional area in Islands of Adventure makes it that much easier to pick Universal over Disney if your time in Orlando is limited.


We opened and closed our Islands of Adventure day in the Wizarding World of Harry Potter as we have detailed in our previous post. In here is what happened in the middle of the day.

Universal Islands of Adventure Jurassic Park
Entrance to the Jurassic Park area
Universal Islands of Adventure Jurassic Park
Jurassic Park River Adventure
Crossing the bridge from the great view of Hogwarts brings you to Jurassic Park. The River Adventure Ride is arguably the most popular Universal Studios thrill ride before the Forbidden Journey and the Spider-Man ride so we had to ride it. Thanks to the Wizarding World mania, there was no wait time so we pretty much walked thru the queue until we reached the boarding gates. The Pteranodon Flyers which is a gliding roller coaster ride looks good too so we wanted to ride it. Sadly after walking in Camp Jurassic to get to the beginning of the queue, we were informed that it was for kids only.

Universal Islands of Adventure Toon LagoonWalking past Jurassic Park brings us to Toon Lagoon. First thing we noticed here is that a lot of people are soaking wet. First ride we saw was the Dudley Do-Right's Ripsaw Falls and from the looks of it, the people might have gotten wet because of that ride so at that time, we decided to skip it. We then saw the Popeye ride which is a river raft ride and went for it. In the middle of the ride is when we realized that it is actually this ride that got people soaking wet! This is the wettest we ever got from a theme park ride. Realizing that not a single square inch of our clothing is dry after the ride, we then went ahead and rode the Ripsaw Falls.

Universal Islands of Adventure Popeye ride
The end of Toon Lagoon brings us to Marvel Superhero Island. One of our favorite rides is here so obviously we had to ride it especially because we first rode the Spider-Man ride in Universal Studios Japan and the ride language is in Nihongo(Japanese). Thanks again to Harry Potter, wait time was just 10 minutes in this highly rated ride.

Universal Islands of Adventure Amazing Adventures of Spider-Man ride

Universal Islands of Adventure Wolverine
A picture with Wolverine
Seuss Landing was the next land and it was pretty obvious that it is the kiddie part of the park. We had to ride at least one and we picked the Cat in the Hat ride. It's not something we would spend half hour in the queue to ride but it was worth riding since there was no wait time in the queue at all.

Universal Islands of Adventure Seuss Landing
The area bridging Seuss Landing and Wizarding World is the Lost Continent. The Dragon Challenge ride in the Wizarding World actually used to be a part of the Lost Continent and it was called Dueling Dragons. Universal probably didn't want to open the Wizarding World with just the Forbidden Journey and the Flight of the Hippogriff rides so they decided to steal a ride from the Lost Continent. What was left in this area now is a Sindbad stage play and Poseidon's Fury which is a walk through special effects show. The finale of this show was kinda like Fantasmic of Hollywood Studios where they project the movie storyline into water.

Universal Islands of Adventure Cat in the Hat
Universal Islands of Adventure Lost Continent

Universal Islands of Adventure Sindbad
Sindbad stageplay set


Universal Studios Florida
Having visited Universal Studios Japan and Universal Studios Singapore before made it easier for us to plan our day in Universal Studios Orlando. We just prioritized the rides that we haven't ridden yet and the ones that we had to ride again. Seeing that there was not that many people in the park(again most likely because everybody would rather go to the Wizarding World), it even made it easier for us to plan this visit.

Honestly, there was really nothing much to plan at all because there was hardly any lines in any of the rides, so all we had to do is walk around the man-made lake and ride whatever ride we see. Anyways, here are the must-do attractions in the park.

Terminator 2: 3D - a stage show and 360 3D movie combined. This attraction makes it in almost every list of top ten theme park attractions

Universal Studios Florida T2 3D Terminator 2

E.T. Adventure - a simulated flying bicycle ride putting you in the scenes of the movie and into the world of everyone's favorite alien

Universal Studios Florida ET Adventure

The Simpsons Ride - this replaced the Back to the Future ride. A roller coaster simulation ride featuring the characters of the cartoon

Universal Studios Florida Krustyland Simpsons Ride
Men In Black: Alien Attack - an interactive shoot-em-up ride where you get to shoot at aliens and a good number of them looks like the ones in the movie

Jaws - boat ride that starts as "supposedly" just a tour of the village until the mutant shark shows up and starts causing chaos

Disaster! - a classic Universal Studio ride where they start showing you behind the scenes of how they make movies then put you into one of the climactic scenes

Beetlejuice's Graveyard Revue - a pop-rock music show featuring horror movie characters

Universal Studios Florida Beetlejuice Graveyard Revue
Singing monsters!

Revenge of the Mummy - a dark roller coaster ride with characters from the movie

Universal Studios Florida Revenge of the Mummy

Twister... Ride it out - another special effects ride showing behind the scene footage of the movie and a mini-twister special effects for the climax

Shrek 4D - obviously, a 4D ride with Shrek, Donkey, Fiona and the rest of the crew from the first Shrek movie

Hollywood Rip Ride Rock It - a high-speed and sudden loops, twists and turns roller coaster ride

Universal Studios Florida Hollywood Rip Ride Rock it