Islands of Adventure, one of two Universal Orlando theme parks, is a fun park that could be toured pretty well in a day... until it got the Wizarding World of Harry Potter. More time may now be required, for fans. Parents with small kids will also love Seuss Landing; teens and 'tweens will want to hit all the thrill rides. Read more about Islands of Adventure Highlights for families.
Below are tips to help you enjoy Universal Orlando's Islands of Adventure, starting with:
Before You Get to the Park
1. Get the Right Tickets, in Advance.
Buy tickets in advance so you won't need to line up at the gate. You can buy at the Universal Orlando site; check for Specials. Multi-day tickets are a good deal, combining both Islands of Adventure and Universal Studios Orlando. Annual passes can be a bargain. Or try an Orlando Flex Ticket that combines other attractions such as Busch Gardens Africa or SeaWorld.
2. Stay On-Property at one of Universal's resorts, and get fast-lane access at popular attractions at Islands of Adventure and Universal Studios Florida. All three hotels have great "beach pools" and free boat shuttles to the parks - read more. Another perk: guests may get to enter Islands of Adventure an hour early -- check current info.
3.Arrive Early for best parking, and to ride popular rides when crowds are lightest. During a visit to Islands of Adventure in June, we pulled into the carpark at 9 a.m. and traffic was light, but by 9:30, cars were already backed up.
4. Buy Preferred Parking.
If you're familiar with Walt Disney World's vast parking lots served by shuttles, wipe that picture out of your mind: parking for Islands of Adventure (and sister theme park Universal Studios Florida) is in multilevel garages with a long covered walkway to CityWalk and onward to the theme parks. Even with moving sidewalks, the schlep is long with kids and it's worth paying a few extra dollars to park in the parking zone nearest to CityWalk. Valet parking is available too. Read all the details about parking.
5. Check Height Requirements Beforehand.
If your kids are big enough to know about cool rides, but small enough for height to be an issue, check height requirements before they get all excited about experiencing a ride.
6. Bring Drinks: Want to save some money on at least some of the day's hydration for thirsty kids? Guests can bring drinks into the theme parks.
7. Bring Waterproofing.
Many rides at Islands of Adventure will soak you! Bring some cheap plastic ponchos, and a watertight container for your money and tickets. A big garbage bag is handy for keeping daypacks and cameras dry on wet rides.
-continue to more Islands of Adventure Tips: how to minimize line-ups, express passes for rides, baby swap, and more.