Family Travel: Orlando’s Island of Adventure, IMG Cred: Universal Orlando Resort


Not everyone loves Disney.  I certainly love everything one could love about Disney parks, but I do remember a time when my adrenaline-seeking teenage body craved a bit more thrill and adventure.  Universal’s Island of Adventure has been named the nation’s best theme park by twice.  It completely rocks; here’s your crash course through the seven islands in the park.

Island of Adventure’s most recent addition is probably its biggest draw.  Folks come from far off countries and continents to visit the Wizarding World of Harry Potter.  Here, and only here, guests can walk through the literary land of their favorite Harry Potter books and movies.  The scenes are amazingly lifelike: stroll through a massive Hogwarts Castle, shop for school supplies, chocolate frogs, and wands at Hogsmeade, and even enjoy a taste of Butterbeer, pumpkin juice, and a ‘Great Feast Platter’ at the Three Broomsticks.  Three thrilling rides fill the land including Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey, ThemeParkInsider’s best new ride from 2010.

Marvel Super Hero Island puts kids right in the middle of their favorite superhero action.  With thrilling rides focusing on the Incredible Hulk, Spider-Man, and Doctor Doom, comic loving thrill-seekers are sure to love it.

Speaking of thrills, be sure to take the 85-foot plunge finale at the Jurassic Park River Adventure.  It is the longest water descent ever built; if the life-like dinosaurs don’t get your heart pumping, this drop will!  Kids not tall enough to ride can play at Camp Jurassic or ride Pteranodon Flyers, a soaring coaster meant just for kids.  For another chance to look back in time, visit Poseidon’s Fury in the Lost Continent Island where you can tour through the remains of an ancient temple.  Other Lost Continent attractions include a thrilling stunt show and the Mystic Fountain, a unique interactive fountain sure to intrigue.

For some whole-family fun, head to Seuss Landing or Toon Lagoon.  Seuss Landing throws you into the whimsical and wacky world of Dr. Seuss; ride the High in the Sky Seuss Trolley Train Ride to journey through some of his most beloved stories and take a spin around the  Caro-Seuss-el.  Arguably his most famous book, The Cat in the Hat, boasts its own ride that takes families on a couch through this silly story of a cat determined to make a mess while mom is away.

Toon Lagoon is your best bet for those hot Orlando summers.  Hop aboard a log flume ride on Dudley Do-Right’s Ripsaw Falls or a white-water raft adventure on Popeye & Bulto’s Bilge-Rat Barges.  

Universal’s Islands of Adventure is best experienced over multiple days as lines for attractions can be long during high season.  

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photo: © 2012 Universal Orlando Resort

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