These Are the Best Rides at Islands of Adventure (2024)

Disclosure: As an Amazon Associate and a partner of other affiliate programs including, CJ and Tripster, we may earn commissions from qualifying purchases via links found in this article.

Park enthusiast ranks top 9 rides at IOA in Orlando

I think Islands of Adventure has superior rides compared to Universal Studios. I mean, I do like Escape from Gringotts, Revenge of the Mummy, the Hollywood Rip Ride Rockit and Minion Mayhem at Universal. But I don’t think any of those would crack the top three or four rides at Islands of Adventure. So which ones should you prioritize? Let me rank them:

Overall, Islands of Adventure has better rides compared to Universal Studios. The VelociCoaster is arguably the best ride at Islands of Adventure. Hagrid’s Magical Creatures Motorbike Adventure and The Incredible Hulk Coaster also are some of the best rides in the park.

velocicoaster at islands of adventure
The new VelociCoaster is the best ride for thrill-seekers in the park (photo by James Overholt/

1. Jurassic World VelociCoaster

This award-winning rollercoaster is fun to just watch. There’s a great spot behind the Hogshead and Three Broomsticks in Hogsmeade that is perfect for watching the coaster speed past. It’s sleek, powerful and daring, this is everything you want in a roller coaster. It’s also easily the most thrilling ride in the park. Plus, it has dinosaurs. 

Hagrid's Motorbike ride in Universal
Hagrid’s Magical Motorbikes is fun and welcoming (photo by Craig Russell/

2. Hagrid’s Magical Creatures Motorbike Adventure

Hagrid’s may not be as thrilling as my No. 1 pick, but the theming, adventure, fun and accessibility to the whole family make this a close second. If you’re not a rollercoaster zealot, the VelociCoaster can be intimidating to the point where the fun is replaced by fear. Hagrid’s is part of the park’s most valuable intellectual property. It’s thrilling, but it’s also fun and welcoming. Certainly, it’s a perfect theme park ride.

The Incredible Hulk coaster at Universal Studios Florida
The Incredible Hulk Coaster at Universal’s Islands of Adventure launches up to 67 mph (photo by James Overholt/

3. Incredible Hulk Coaster

This fantastic roller coaster is the absolute jewel of Marvel Island. And that makes any thought of retheming complicated. The ride launches at up to 67 mph and powers forward like the Hulk himself.

Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey in Hogsmeade Universal Islands of Adventure
Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey in Hogsmeade is an excellent motion simulator (photo by James Overholt/

4. Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey

This is probably the best of the motion simulators in Islands of Adventure. The Forbidden Journey takes guests underneath Hogwarts Castle for adventures in the school of witchcraft and wizardry. And you will also soar above the castle grounds using state-of-the-art technology for a great theme park experience.

Skull Island Reign of Kong Universal Islands of Adventure
Skull Island, while perhaps a bit scary for kids, is in line with the spirit of King Kong (photo by James Overholt/

5. Skull Island: The Reign of Kong

This ride comes with benefits from being newer than many of the motion simulators in the park. It has some great characters that can earn a jump scare. Therefore, this ride isn’t for kids who are easily frightened. But it’s a great ride that certainly gets the spirit of King Kong correct.

Hogwarts Express
The Hogwarts Express is all about the theme (photo by Mia2you/

6. Hogwarts Express

Truthfully, this isn’t much of a ride. The screens aren’t the most impressive technology and the ride itself is fairly short. But if you’re a fan of the Harry Potter books or movies, the theming is fantastic and this is a must-do experience. I recommend quite a bit taking the train from Hogsmeade in Islands of Adventure to King’s Cross in Universal Studios rather than the other way around. The queue at Hogsmeade is quite pleasant. Note that you must have the park hopper ticket to ride.

The Flight of the Hippogriff at Universal Studios Florida
Flight of the Hippogriff is a coaster that’s perfect for the kids (photo by James Overholt/

7. Flight of the Hippogriff

This is a great little coaster to introduce the young ones to a thrill-ride experience. The ride offers good views of the park and a shady queue. It’s a quick but entertaining little sprinter of a coaster. I love it.

Jurassic Park River Adventure
Jurassic Park River Adventure is a perfect ride for a hot day (photo by James Overholt/

8. Jurassic Park River Adventure

Guests ride through the dinosaur-infested jungle on a boat on their way to a massive waterfall. It’s a standard boat theme park ride. However, I love it because it’s perfect on a hot Orlando day.

The Amazing Adventures of Spiderman Universal Islands of Adventure
If you enjoy motion simulation, Adventures of Spider-Man may be worth it for you (photo by James Overholt/

9. The Amazing Adventures of Spider-Man

Your mileage here may vary. I found the Universal experience heavily reliant on screens and motion simulation. While it’s a good ride, compared to other motion rides in Orlando, from Remy’s Ratatouille Adventure to Skull Island: Reign of Kong, this ride shows its age.

What should I ride first at Islands of Adventure?

The right answer for most people is pretty clearly Hagrid’s Magical Creatures Motorbike Adventure. Wait times through the day for Hagrid stay pretty high, and if you can get early park admission and tackle the gauntlet march to Hagrid’s you can beat the game a bit and be rewarded with a short wait time.

The real trick is to go two days, use the first to grab Hagrid’s and the second to get to as many rides with a minimal queue as you can while the rest of the mob make the march to Hagrid’s. On our second day, we were able to do Forbidden Journey and several rounds on Flight of the Hippogriff before the park opened properly and made it into Jurassic Park as those rides opened.


Subscribe To Our Newsletter

To see a list of current area deals, discounts and offers!

Please wait...

Thank you for signing up!

What are your favorite Islands of Adventure rides? Do you agree with our list? Let us know in the comments, and be sure to check out our coupons page when planning your Orlando vacation.

Photo of author


John Gullion

John Gullion, Managing Editor at the Citizen Tribune, is a freelance contributor for LLC – the parent company of and

Leave a Comment