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.
IN THIS ARTICLE
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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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.