Universal’s Islands of Adventure is much more like a traditional amusement park. Each Island has a distinct personality, but many rides are pretty straightforward amusement park rides, with the Universal theme cleverly grafted on. Exceptions include Spider-Man and most of the rides in Seuss Landing but especially the Cat in the Hat. Which never gets old.
And I’m old.
Here’s a quick rundown on our favorites. In some case, I am reporting second-hand. As discussed, certain types of roller coasters I do not ride.
Marvel Super-Hero Island
Hulk. This is a serious roller coaster. Upside down doesn’t begin to cover it. I’ve never ridden it, because NOT my thing, but it gets rave reviews from the rest of the family.
Spider-Man. I enjoy this 3-D ride. It’s fun, not too jarring and full of story. Be warned that younger kids may find the story too intense.
If you are lucky, while you are in the Marvel area, the Heroes may come out, although Spider-Man seems to be there nearly all the time. This summer, though I bet Wolverine will be even more popular.
Toon Lagoon is all about water. The core rides are Pop-Eye’s Bilge Rat Barges and Dudley Do Right’s Ripsaw Falls. Be warned: the Barges seem to be dumping more water than they did in previous years.
DO leave your packs and personal belongings with a non-rider or in a locker. And put your shoes in the center waterproof sections on the Barges.
You will get wet!
Douglas, David and I love the Jurassic Park River Adventure ride, but our nieces were a bit freaked out by the storyline. Be sensitive to people’s fears on this ride.
The Lost Continent
This area has always seemed a bit like a fish out of water, and in fact, has lost one of its rides to the Harry Potter area under construction. The males in our party liked the Dueling Dragons roller coaster but my older niece did not. In previous years, we’ve done Poseidon’s Fury; it was okay, but I wouldn’t wait in line for it.
Everything is improved with a little Dr. Seuss. That said, here are the highlights.
- The bookstore, or just outside. Characters – the Cat, Sam, the Grinch, Things One and Two – can often be found here.
- The Cat in the Hat ride. Worth it times two.
- One Fish Two Fish
If you have time, do the Carousel. If you have lots of extra time, do the High in the Sky Trolley Train Ride for the views of the rest of the park you get during the ride. If there’s a line, don’t bother. Likewise, the cookie aficionados in my family say don’t bother with the cookies in the bakery at the train ride exit.
For Universal tips and map, see my earlier post on Universal Studios.