Review: Universal Island of Adventure theme park, Florida

For fantastic family fun, you can’t beat a trip to this magical theme park

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Best for… Fun seekers! This is the perfect theme park destination for kids up to 11 who love iconic characters and thrilling rides.

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Highlights for under-4s

Seuss land is a must if your toddler is a fan of this much-loved children’s book character, and little ones will particularly enjoy the hilarious ‘Cat in the Hat’ ride. Hold on tight as this cheeky cat and his friends Thing One and Thing Two spin and twirl your car as they try to bring the house down.

If your tot is a bit of a nervous rider, start off with the gentle “Caro-Seuss-el.’ This smooth ride will take your little one on a colourful adventure and his horse can even be animated by puling the reigns to make his eyes blink and his ears wriggle. The surprised look on his face will make a great Kodak moment!

Highlights for older children

Fans of the bestselling books and movies will be dying to visit the Wizarding World of Harry Potter. As soon as you walk into this themed-area, it’s as if you’ve been transported on to the movie set with Hogwarts School dominating up on a high cliff, snow covering the floor and a sense of magic in the air as you walk through Hogsmeade. 

Classic moments come alive on thrilling attractions such as ‘Dragon Challenge’, a high-speed coaster where you’ll ride one of two fire breathers, and the ‘Forbidden Journey,’ where you’ll soar above the castle with Harry and come face-to-face with Dementors. Your Hogwarts’ recruit can stock up on magical goodies at classic venues Olivanders wand shop, Zonko’s, and Dervish and Banges.

Marvel lovers will jump for joy when they step onto ‘The Amazing Adventures of Spiderman’ ride. The diabolical villains of the Sinister Syndicate are up to no good and it’s up to Spidey to save the day. You’ll follow right alongside the web-slinger on a 3D simulator car, crashing along the streets, scaling skyscrapers and enduring a 400-foot freefall. If that doesn’t float your boat, take a seat on Dr Doom’s ‘FearFall,’ where you’re kids will be rocketed 150 feet in the air then hurled down at breathtaking speed.

Thrill-seekers will love embracing the full force of Hulk’s rage on his towering coaster and feel the fear of escaping the jaws of a massive T-Rex on the Jurassic Park ride. The Simbad show is also a must-see with amazing stunts, fire tricks, and funny moments for the whole brood to enjoy.

Splash out on

Pictures! There are so many good photo opportunities to be had and, if you bulk buy, you get the snaps cheaper. Just don’t buy the first image that’s taken of you when you enter the park –photos of you and your brood on rides are much better keepsake moments.

Insider tip

It can get really hot in Florida and at this theme park there’s not much shade. Make use of the free water fountains and fans on offer to stay cool.

Where to eat

Restaurants are abundant in this park and can get extremely busy between midday to 2pm. If you’re looking for a sweet pick-me-up then look no further than Seuss Landing Dining, with tasty snacks, frosty cold drinks and nutritious meals on offer.

If you’ve got little ones who are Potter mad than a wholesome meal at the rustic Three Broomsticks tavern is bound to please. Identical to the iconic building in the movie, your brood can enjoy everything from hearty fish and chips to magical treats such as Butterbeer and Pumpkin Juice. Take note – this place books up fast, so head there as soon as you enter the park to make a reservation!

Finally, what will give your mini superhero the energy to survive the park and heat all day? A tasty meal from the Marvel Super Hero Island Dining, of course! Great for kids, this little restaurant serves everything from chicken Caesar salads to spaghetti and meatballs in a cool comic book style setting.

Family facilities

The park has multiple pram parking spots and baby changing facilities. Buggies are available to rent out for the day at $14.99 for a single, and $24.99 for a double. Lockers are available at $8 per day, and family size ones cost $10 per day.

Essential information

The park is open 365 days a year. Opening times are normally 9am but closing times can vary according to the time of year. Fast track tickets are available, but price depends on what month you’re visiting. A park map is available for free on arrival.

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One day passes to the park cost $88 per adult, $82 per child, and two day passes cost $119.99 per adult and $109.99 per child. Got online to Universal Orlando to book.

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