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The Top 10 Universal Islands of Adventure Rides

by Tad on September 14, 2023 Orlando   Video

Islands of Adventure - Rides'Sup? Tad here — your resident adrenaline junkie! Whether you want to go on an epic escapade with your favorite cartoon characters or encounter magical creatures, there's no better place to visit than Universal Islands of Adventure. Across six different islands, you'll find 18 awesome attractions (19, if you have a park-to-park ticket). From more mild-mannered rides to the most heart-pounding of thrills, there's something for frogs of all ages.

That being said, there's only so much time in a day, so sometimes you need to prioritize. Not sure what the must-hit attractions are? Well, you're in luck, because I'm breaking down (in no particular order) the top 10 Islands of Adventure rides that you certainly can't miss. Strap in and hang on! Things might get a little wild ...

The Top 10 Universal Islands of Adventure Rides

Jurassic World VelociCoaster

How do you make a raptor paddock more terrifying? Well, by putting a roller coaster inside, of course! Despite the warnings of raptor trainer extraordinaire Owen Grady, Jurassic World went ahead and completed this daring project and, boy, does it bring a new dimension of thrill to the park. Jurassic World VelociCoaster features two high-speed launches, a signature 155-foot-tall top hat, four insane inversions and reaches a maximum speed of 70 miles per hour. From the moment you enter the rattling cages containing some of the most dangerous carnivorous creatures to ever walk planet Earth to the moment you conquer the crazy Mosasaurus Roll over the lagoon, the fear is real ... but so is the fun. Smooth, fast and full of epic elements (and the Golden Ticket Award winner for the Best New Roller Coaster of 2020/21), Jurassic World VelociCoaster is a thrill seeker's dream.

Popeye & Bluto's Bilge Rat Barges

Islands of Adventure Rides - Bilge Rat Barges

If you're looking for a ride to get you cool on a hot summer (or any season) day, look no further than this raging rapids ride in Toon Lagoon. The story? Well, you're on a mission to help Popeye save Olive Oyl from the clutches of the dastardly Bluto. You won't pay much attention to that though when you're being soaked from head to toe over and over and over ... and over again. Unlike log flumes where you're pretty much guaranteed to get wetter the closer you are to the front, this spinning raft ride takes no prisoners. No frog is spared from their soaking-wet fate on this seven-minute-long, splash-filled adventure.

Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey

Islands of Adventure Rides - Forbidden Journey

Welcome to the hallowed halls of Hogwarts School of Witchcraft & Wizardry. For the first time ever, the headmaster, Professor Dumbledore, has allowed muggles into the school for a tour of the grounds and an in-depth lecture about the history of Hogwarts. However, The Boy Who Lived and his two best friends convince you to skip the boring presentation and watch the Quidditch match instead. Once you enter the Room of Requirement, you'll hop aboard an enchanted flying bench that — with a little help from some Floo Powder courtesy of Hermione Granger — will whisk you off to the Observatory. There, you'll meet Harry and Ron who will lead you to the Quidditch pitch.

As expected, things take a turn for the worse. Suddenly, you'll find yourself being chased by Hagrid's treasured Hungarian Horntail, outmaneuvering Aragog (the large, sentient spider), whacked around by the Whomping Willow and hunted by a horde of Dementors. This thrilling attraction combines physical sets and screen-based moments to deliver a magical experience that has you diving, turning, pivoting and tilting in just about every direction you can think of.

Flight of the Hippogriff

Islands of Adventure Rides - Flight of the Hippogriff

While Universal Orlando is filled with epic attractions for the most daring of thrill seekers, there are also plenty of thrills for tadpoles to enjoy. One of them is Flight of the Hippogriff, a family-friendly roller coaster that brings you face-to-face with Buckbeak, the titular Hippogriff, before it sends you spiraling and diving past Hagrid's hut and above his famed pumpkin patch. Swift but surprisingly rambunctious, the best time to take this flight is once the sun sets during any of the nighttime shows at Hogwarts Castle. The climb up the lift hill offers an incredible view of the magical projections.

Hagrid's Magical Creatures Motorbike Adventure 

Islands of Adventure Rides - Hagrid's

If you're not quite ready for the daring drop and insane inversions of Jurassic World VelociCoaster but are still looking to feel the wind in your hair, then enroll in Hagrid's Care of Magical Creatures class and hop aboard a motorbike. While the syllabus originally only had you going to the edge of the Forbidden Forest for an up-close encounter with a Blast-Ended Skrewt, the bikes lose control and bring you deep into the forest where you ride past Fluffy (the three-headed dog), Cornish Pixies and a centaur before becoming entangled in Devil's Snare. I won't spoil what happens next ...

Holding the record for the longest roller coaster in the state of Florida and featuring a record-breaking seven launches, this highly-themed story coaster reaches a maximum speed of 50 mph and offers two completely different experiences depending on whether you sit on the motorbike or in the sidecar.

Jurassic Park River Adventure

What starts as a relaxing guided tour 65 million years in the making takes a turn for the perilous when a startled Parasaurolophus knocks your boat off course and causes you to drift into the Raptor Containment Area. Before you know it, you're climbing up a steep lift hill into the water treatment facility where dangerous, carnivorous creatures await. Snarling Velociraptors and spitting Dilophosaurus are no match for the terrifying Tyrannosaurus rex which has its bloodthirsty eyes set on you. The only escape? A pitch-black, 85-foot plunge. (As I referenced above, this is one where you want to sit closer to the front if you're looking to get soaked.)

The Amazing Adventures of Spider-Man

Islands of Adventure Rides - Spider-Man

Think you've just entered the Daily Bugle offices for a nice tour? Think again. Doctor Octopus and his fiendish friends have taken the Statue of Liberty hostage and threaten to destroy it if New York City doesn't surrender to them. With all the staff reporters having fled for safety, Editor-in-Chief J. Jonah Jameson recruits you as a cub reporter to get inside the new state-of-the-art news-gathering vehicle, the "Scoop," and follow the city's web-slinging superhero into the field for some headline-making coverage. You'll soar above the streets and scale skyscrapers as you're caught in an epic battle between the friendly neighborhood Spider-Man and the Sinister Syndicate.

This indoor, simulator dark ride combines 3D film, ride movement and practical and visual effects for a gravity-defying adventure that puts you right in the middle of the action.

Pteranodon Flyers

Islands of Adventure Rides - Pteranodon Flyers

Soar high above Isla Nublar beneath the 10-foot wings of a Pteranodon on this gondola-style ride designed with tadpoles in mind. That's right! If you're taller than 56 inches, you need to be accompanied by a smaller frog in your party. That means, as of now, I can only go on this ride with Lily in tow. So, before she gets too big, I'm soaking up every relaxing flight and the spectacular views it offers. If your tiny tadpole isn't afraid of heights, get on this one while you still can!

The Incredible Hulk Coaster

Islands of Adventure Rides - Hulk Coaster

Welcome aboard, test subject. You've agreed to undergo experimentation by General Thaddeus "Thunderbolt" Ross and be exposed to a gnarly blast of gamma radiation. Succumb to your power and feel the rush on this 3,700-foot-long coaster that takes you from zero to 40 mph in two seconds flat. That's not all though! This steel beast features seven inversions (including a 110-foot cobra roll and a zero-G roll) and reaches a maximum speed of 67 mph — producing four G's along the way. Not to mention the epic onboard score composed by the lead singer of Fall Out Boy, Patrick Stump! This is another coaster I recommend going on once the sun sets as it somehow feels marginally faster in the dark.

Skull Island: Reign of Kong

Islands of Adventure Rides - Skull Island

This expedition's about to get wild. What starts as a routine supply delivery turns into an up-close encounter with Skull Island's creepy creatures and prehistoric predators. Before you know it, your expedition leader is abducted and your truck starts being attacked by vicious Vastatosaurus rex! Just as all hope seems lost, a certain ape arrives and saves the day. This trackless dark ride merges physical and digital effects and features dark caves, 3D projections, simulated chases and a massive animatronic of the King himself. Standing three stories tall and 18 feet wide with a head larger than an automobile, you'll feel his chilling breath and thunderous roar ... leaving you to wonder if this gigantic primate is a reluctant friend or menacing foe.

What is your favorite Islands of Adventure ride? Is there any ride you can't wait to hop on during your next trip? Let me know in the comments below!

Related: What Not-to-Miss at Universal Islands of Adventure

Stay cool!

Keep hopping, Tad!
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