Universal Studios

Ranking the Rides at Universal's Islands of Adventure

Universal Orlando Resort boasts two thrilling theme parks: Islands of Adventure and Universal Studios. As a Universal Annual Passholder, I’ve visited both parks frequently over the past year. Although I love the parks and their attractions, some stand out from the rest and some are not the best. Here are my rankings and reviews of every ride at Universal’s Islands of Adventure.

  1. 1. Hagrid’s Magical Creatures Motorbike Adventure

    This rollercoaster is a masterpiece. From the countless points of acceleration to a few fun surprises (I won’t spoil them for you), I could ride this ride all day. Everything from the line to the ride itself is impeccably themed, and I think J.K. Rowling would be proud of the insanely realistic magical creatures you speed past.

  2. 2. The Incredible Hulk Coaster

    The Hulk’s iconic launch start always keeps it at the top of coaster lovers’ lists. Beyond that, its line is epic, the in-ride music is epic, and the seven flips upside down are epic. This one will rattle your brain (in the best way).

  3. 3. Dudley Do Right's Ripsaw Falls

    This flume ride features charming (albeit old) theming and a thrilling splash-filled drop. The ride starts with a comfortable float around so that you can get the storyline, and fakes you out with a few small drops before sending you up the big lift hill. The length and enjoyment level of this ride keeps it at number three.

  4. 4. Doctor Doom’s Fearfall

    Although the length of this drop tower could be longer, it makes up for it by shooting riders into the sky at blinding speed. The drop part of this ride truly isn’t very significant, but the upward velocity is thrilling.

  5. 5. Jurassic Park River Adventure

    Although this ride could be called a slightly less wet and long Ripsaw Falls, it’s still a classic. The robot dinosaurs make you feel like you’re heading into the real Jurassic Park, and the drop is just high enough to get your stomach up into your throat.

  6. 6. The Amazing Adventures of Spider-Man

    Spider-Man is one of Marvel’s most beloved heroes, and his ride is well-loved as well. Although it’s a simulator and not a rollercoaster, it adds exhilaration with 3D and 4D effects and is not as dizzying as other simulators tend to be.

  7. 7. Popeye & Bluto's Bilge-Rat Barges

    The Bilge-Rat Barges is the fastest circular raft ride I’ve ever ridden. It honestly reminds me of real white-water rafting, except more fun and less scary. Popeye whisks riders under waterfalls and around corners on a ride sure to soak all involved.

  8. 8. Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey

    As a Harry Potter fan, I looked forward to this ride a lot, but it has earned the number eight spot because of its puke factor. Although the line is the best in Islands, the ride itself is very nauseating for anyone prone to motion sickness. Furthermore, the simulator is fine if you’re not nauseous, but with that awesome queue, the engineers really could’ve done more with the actual experience and concept.

  9. 9. Caro-Suess-el

    This adorable carousel lets you ride on one of many different animals from Dr. Suess’s famous books. What it lacks in excitement it makes up for in aesthetic appeal and a short wait time, so make sure to stop at this one on your way to Hogsmeade.

  10. 10. The High in the Sky Seuss Trolley Train Ride!

    The Seuss Trolley Train Ride is a pleasant jaunt around Suess Landing. The trolley even has two different storylines for its two tracks, so you might need to ride it twice!

  11. 11. One Fish, Two Fish, Red Fish, Blue Fish

    Although this attraction is somewhat of a staple at theme parks (you can move up and down in your fish as you fly around in circles), it doesn’t wow anyone. The water squirting at you also adds an element of excitement, or misery, depending on how you look at it.

  12. 12. Flight of the Hippogriff

    Flight of the Hippogriff is a cute kids ride and is decently fun, but it earns the 12th spot because of its short duration. You’re smiling and going over the first little hill one second, and coming back to the start the next.

  13. 13. Storm Force Accelatron

    The Storm Force Accelatron is basically a Great Value teacups ride. If you love spinning, this one’s for you, but it’s not for me.

  14. 14. The Cat in the Hat

    Although a weird part of me likes this ride, logically, it doesn’t have much appeal. The waiting area is always freezing cold, so don’t head over after a water ride, and the attraction itself is very outdated. The Cat in the Hat himself is terrifying and the design of the ride doesn’t immerse the rider in the Cat’s world at all, but simply makes a sad attempt to.

  15. 15. Pteranodon Flyers

    The Pteranodon Flyers are a peaceful and pleasant cruise through the sky. However, because you have to be with a kid to ride them, they get the fifteenth spot. (Geez Universal, I know I’m 21, but please let me ride the kiddie rides).

  16. 16. Skull Island: Reign of Kong

    Anyone who has experienced this sad excuse for a ride knows why it’s last. I would rather ride Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey and get sick than go through this mind-numbingly boring simulator. The coolest part of this attraction is the line, where a witch doctor might jump out at you from the shadowy caverns.

Islands of Adventure may not be flawless, but it’s definitely an awesome theme park. The Universal park offers much more beyond these attractions, from award-winning food to thrilling shows. You might not agree with all of these rankings, so take the opportunity to make your own!