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Universal Studios & Islands of Adventure Touring Plans

Universal Studios

Universal Studios Florida has totally stepped up its game in recent years and is a true competitor to Disney.  The Harry Potter areas are absolutely incredible and not to be missed.   I would highly recommend checking it out.  You could hit the highlights at both Islands of Adventure (IOA) and Universal Studios in 1 day if needed but I would recommend spending 2 days there for a more relaxed, all-encompassing tour.  I have provided step-by-step details of our touring plan while at Universal Studios.  I hope this helps you envision your day and assists in your planning.

Day 1 – Islands of Adventure with Park-to-Park Ticket

This plan starts with The Incredible Hulk Coaster/Seuss Landing and then works in a clock-wise tour around the park.

  1. Arrive (8:40 a.m.)
    You park in a large parking garage but it is a hike to the main entrance so arrive early.
    Note: We split up for the 1st couple steps of the day so my older daughter and husband could ride The Incredible Hulk Coaster while I took our younger daughter to Suess Landing (she was not tall enough for the Hulk Coaster).
  2. The Incredible Hulk Coaster (9:05 a.m., 15 minute wait)
  3. The Cat in the Hat (9:05 a.m., no wait)
  4. Caro-Seuss-el (9:15 a.m., no wait)
  5. The High in the Sky Seuss Trolley Train Ride! (9:25 a.m., no wait)
    Cool view of the park!
  6. One Fish, Two Fish, Red Fish, Blue Fish (9:35 a.m., no wait)
    You will get a little wet!
  7. The Amazing Adventures of Spider-Man (10:00 a.m., 10 minute wait)
    Awesome 3D ride – one of our favorites!
  8. Doctor Doom’s Fearfall (10:20 a.m, 10 minute wait)
    Very quick ride – it only takes you up once.
    Note: We skipped Popeye & Bluto’s Bilge-Rat Barges as we had read/heard that you will get soaked…as in buckets of water poured over you.
  9. Dudley Do-Right’s Ripsaw Falls (10:45 a.m., 5 minute wait)
    Fairly long and detailed for a flume ride so that was a plus but watch out, you will get wet!
  10. Pteranodon Flyers (11:10 a.m., 15 minute wait)
    Super fun ride but too short!  Note that this is a ride for kids so adults can only ride with a child 36” to 56” tall.
  11. Jurassic Park River Adventure (11:35 a.m., 5 minute wait)
    You do not get that wet on this ride so no need to utilize the lockers.


    View Entering Hogsmeade

    Note: Good photo opp as you enter The Wizarding World of Harry Potter – Hogsmeade!

  12. Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey (12:00 p.m., 10 minute wait)
    One of my favorite rides ever!!
  13. Flight of the Hippogriff (12:25 p.m., 10 minute wait)
    I would skip this ride – very jerky and hard on the body.
  14. Lunch @ Three Broomsticks (12:45 p.m.)
    Yummy!  If it’s a nice day, try to eat out back on the patio.
    Note: The grandparents took the girls to The Mystic Fountain in The Lost Continent while my husband and I rode Dragon Challenge.
  15. Dragon Challenge (1:30 p.m., 5 minute wait)
    Very smooth, fun roller coaster…and I’m not a huge roller coaster fan so that says a lot!
  16. Hogwarts Express – Hogsmeade Station (1:50 p.m., 10 minute wait)

    Hogwarts Express

    Cute train ride…not sure it’s worth the park-to-park price upgrade though.

  17. Harry Potter and the Escape from Gringotts (2:15 p.m., 45 minute wait)
    Long wait but the elaborate décor makes up for it.  The bank lobby is amazing!
  18. Depart (3:00 p.m.)
    We decided to make this a shorter day since we had a whole second day planned for the Universal Studios side.

Day 2 – Universal Studios

This plan starts with the Despicable Me ride and then works in a counter clock-wise tour around the park.

  1. Arrive (8:40 a.m.)
    You park in a large parking garage but it is a hike to the main entrance so arrive early.
  2. Despicable Me: Minion Mayhem (9:05 a.m., 40 minute wait)
    Worth the wait…great 3D ride!
  3. Hollywood Rip Ride Rockit (10:10 a.m., 5 minute wait)
    You go straight up…no joke, straight up…terrifying!
  4. Transformers: The Ride-3D (10:30 a.m., 20 minute wait)
  5. E.T. Adventure (11:00 a.m., 15 minute wait)
    Slower ride but the décor is awesome.
  6. The Simpsons Ride (11:30 a.m., 10 minute wait)
    Way better than we expected…don’t pass it up.
  7. MEN IN BLACK Alien Attack (12:00 p.m., 5 minute wait)
    Not our favorite ride.
  8. Lunch @ Lombard’s Seafood Grille (12:20 p.m., no wait)
    Very good, sit-down meal.
  9. Ollivanders (1:00 p.m., 5 minute wait)
    Unique experience watching a re-enactment of a wand choosing a wizard.   We also shopped and bought the girls their own wands!
  10. Knockturn Alley/Explore Diagon Alley (1:30 p.m.)

    Diagon Alley

    Be sure to check out the dark alleyway and all the unique shops.  If you purchase an interactive wand, be sure to put it to good use!

  11. Disaster! (2:30 p.m., 10 minute wait)
    Very interactive with audience participation.
  12. Revenge of the Mummy (3:15 p.m., no wait)
    One of our favorite rides!  We went twice!
  13. Twister…Ride It Out (3:45 p.m., 10 minute wait)
    Cool experience but my girls are now deathly afraid of tornados.  Not great when you live in Iowa.
  14. Shrek 4-D (4:25 p.m., 10 minute wait)
    Very cute show!
  15. Depart (5:00 p.m.)
    Be sure to check out the Universal shop on the way out for souvenirs!

Our touring plan was very ride-intensive with less shows so alter the above plan to suit your family best and enjoy your time!

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I’m a working wife and mom with a motto of “Work Hard, Play Hard”. I work in the accounting/finance field for an amazing local company but my true passions are my family, red wine, and traveling. My calling in life had to be vacation planning. I like to think I have quite a knack for this and want to share this passion with others.

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