What do you do when the family need a little bonding time? You pack up the SUV, grab your overnight bag and head to Orlando for a fun-filled weekend of jumping on hotel room beds, eating out at restaurants and riding roller coasters all day long at Universal Orlando's Islands of Adventure!
After a few months of things being crazy busy in bloggy land, Angeline being bombarded with homework at school, and Chris - well his job is always stressful - we really needed to get away from it all and focus on spending time together as a family. Universal Orlando was kind enough to give me complimentary media passes so that my family could explore both parks at Universal Orlando Resort, and we even brought my niece, Katarina, along for the fun!
As soon as we arrived at the park, Chris and Angeline made a beeline for The Incredible Hulk Coaster. They both love roller coasters, but I suffer from motion sickness, so I sat this one out with Katarina. You can see The Incredible Hulk as soon as you turn the corner at the main entrance of Islands of Adventure, like a green beacon of excitement, calling out for adrenaline junkies!
On The Incredible Hulk Coaster, you accelerate from zero to 40 mph in just two seconds! This is one of those rides that allows you to experience a weightless "zero g" roll - which is Chris's favorite!
We all rode The Amazing Adventures of Spider-Man, a 3D ride experience. I thought it was really fun - and was just enough of a "ride" to make everyone else happy while not upsetting my stomach!
This ride was really fun because you basically accompany Spider-Man as he fights the villains of the Sinister Syndicate, so you feel like you are part of the action! It's all 3D, so the villains come right at you and you can even feel a watery mist and the heat as they set off explosions aimed at you! This 3D experience is one of my favorites because there's a simulated 400-foot freefall - wearing my 3D glasses, I did get nervous for a second...I had to remind myself that it was just a ride!
I love Superhero Island at Islands of Adventure, it's one of my favorite parts, second only to Seuss Landing!
We skipped Dr. Doom's Fearfall because the kids were practically dragging us to the Wizarding World of Harry Potter so that they could get a Butterbeer. Though we did make a stop at Dudley Do-Right's Ripsaw Falls in Toon Lagoon so the kids could take a ride - I was even able to capture them going down the falls on camera!
Dudley Do-Right's Ripsaw Falls was the first flume ride to send riders down below the water level, and while it's not exactly a roller coaster, it does have a 75 foot drop!
Tip: Even if you sit in the back of the ride, bring along a poncho! At the end of the ride, as you're floating along, bystanders can spray you with special water nozzles and you will get soaked!
We normally ride the Jurassic Park T-Rex Adventure, but it was closed the day we visited the park. So we made our way over to The Wizarding World of Harry Potter for Butterbeer!
One of Chris and Angeline's favorite rides in Universal Orlando's Islands of Adventure is the Dragon Challenge. Katarina and I sat this one out...One of these days, I am going to remember to bring my Dramamine so that I can ride these roller coasters too!
On the Dragon Challenge, there are two separate tracks, but they don't ride simultaneously. Each track has a 2 minute and 25 second course that includes inversions, a zero-g roll, a Cobra roll, two corkscrews, and two vertical loops!
Now, I am not personally a fan of the Harry Potter series, but Chris, Angeline and Katarina all are, and the Wizarding World of Harry Potter was their favorite part of Islands of Adventure.
Everything is set up to look just like the movies, complete with the shops and train too! My niece told me that Happy Potter fans from all over the world come to Universal Orlando's Islands of Adventure to walk the streets, drink the Butterbeer and buy magic wands in Hogsmeade.
Aside from the Dragon Challenge, there's also The Flight of the Hippogriff, a family-friendly coaster for kids, and Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey, a state-of-the-art adventure unlike any other!
Before we headed over to Universal Orlando's Universal Studios, we made a quick stop in Seuss Landing - my very favorite part of the park!
There is so much to do and see in Seuss Landing!
There is the Caro-Seuss-El, your classic amusement park carousel, the Cat in the Hat ride, the Seuss Trolley Train Ride, and the One Fish, Two Fish ride that even I can ride without motion sickness! ha!
I love Universal Orlando's Islands of Adventure! We has so much fun there, and I have to tell you, using Express Passes is totally worth the extra fee. We never waited more than 20 minutes, even when the regular line said the wait time was 55 minutes long. Of course, the wait times will be longer when the park is full, but it still makes a difference!
We went through the entire park in just a few hours, whereas we usually spend an entire day in one park because the wait times are an hour or so for each ride.
Now let's talk Admission Info! Both Islands of Adventure and Universal Studios are open 365 days a year and open at 9 am. Park closing times vary depending on the season and any special events happening in the park during the evenings, but closing time ranges between 7 PM and 9 PM. You can find a full schedule of park hours here.
Single park, one day tickets are $90.00 for children 3-9 and $96 for adults. 2 Park tickets - that allow you to visit both Islands of Adventure and Universal Studios in the same day - are $130 for children 3-9 and $136 for adults.
Universal Orlando Ticket Specials
If you're a Florida resident, you can save $34 on multi-day tickets!
Right now, US and Canadian residents can buy a park-to-park two day ticket for $175.99 for adults and $135.99 for children and get a third day free!
You can find out more information about Universal Orlando park tickets - even order online - right here.
And stay tuned, because I will be sharing our trip to Universal Orlando's Universal Studios during their Mardi Gras Grand Celebration soon!
Robin (Masshole Mommy)
Gosh, I haven't been there in about 10 years. I keep telling my hubby that I want to take the kids there, but my little guy is such a peanut, that I have been waiting for him to grow a little so that he can go on on all the rides!
Lucky you! Sadly when we need some bonding time we can't do anything this exciting. The resort looks like it would be fun for any family and I'm so glad for you!
This looks like such a beautiful place!! I would love to visit here someday for sure!!
the last time we visited Islands & Universal it was Christmas time & soooooo crowded! I wish we had gone during a non popular time.. I love the ambiance of these theme parks .. oh and Harry Potter just opened if that gives you an idea of how crowded it was.
I love Islands of Adventure. I was there this past summer and it was so much fun. The Harry Potter world totally blew me away - I didn't want to leave!
That looks like so much fun! Haven't been to Orlando in years
The Hulk is my FAVORITE coaster! I used to live nearby and had a season's pass. I miss those days of trolling the park when it was the slow season and enjoying all the rides in record time.
The Amazing Adventures of Spider Man sounds awesome! I'd love the Incredible Hulk roller coaster too (I love roller coasters), but Seuss Landing sounds like the place we'd spend most of our time with my family. Bonus that there's a Starbucks next to the Incredible Hulk Coaster! 🙂
This looks like so much fun! I've never even been to Universal yet. We really need to get there soon!
Shop with Me Mama (Kim)
Oh how I would love to pack up and just go somewhere! I sure need it! I love the pictures you took. But, those roller coasters, NO WAY! LOL. I could NEVER ride on those! Yikes!!! My family on the other hand, yes, yes they could! Glad you all had so much fun 🙂
I love that you can just get up and go for the day or weekend. So convenient! Looks like you had a super fun time!
What a fun day and I love the pictures! I can't wait to go back to IOA!
Oh my gosh, an Incredible Hulk coaster?! I wanna go!!
I really would love to take my boys! I just wouldn't go on the roller coasters I am terrified LOL
I've been there once. It was such a long time ago, but I do remember it being fun!
we WILL get to universal one day. we're most excited to see... well, all of it. my son loves superheroes, and he and his big sis love harry potter.
We've never been to Universal - but looks like we definitely need to go. My kids love SuperHeroes!
Your photos certainly stir up the desire to go to this place, except the roller coasters - too scary.
I love to go to Orlando. Next time I need to take my kids to Universal for sure. WEve not been there yet. After seeing this post it looks like an amazing time.
We had so much fun on our last Universal Trip - I can't wait to go back in just a couple of weeks. I LOVE their 4-D rides.
That looks like such a fun place to go and have family time. I'm going to try to talk my hubs into taking me there this summer. We only live like 5.5 hours from Orlando so completely doable 🙂
Great review of Universal! We just came from there a few weeks while on vacation. We LOVE LOVE LOVE the Hogwarts/Harry Potter area. I think we spent most of our time there.
I wish I could just pop over there for a weekend! It looks so fun!
I'm not going to lie. I'm looking at your pictures and I'm a little jealous! We might have to go here this summer while we are in Orlando. We always do Disney and while you are never to old for Disney - I think this looks like the perfect place for him!
That looks like an amazing time. I can not wait until we get to go.