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Universal Studios vs Universal Islands of Adventure

Universal Orlando Resort is clearly considered one of the top two theme parks in the world. With their three incredible theme parks, world-class entertainment, shopping and dining, exciting Universal CityWalk, and variety of onsite accommodations, Universal brings to life your favorite characters from the movies, T.V., and pop culture. Plan your itinerary correctly, and you can visit Hogwarts with Harry Potter, hang with Spider-Man and take on the Krakatau volcano all in one day. 

If a visit to Orlando is on your schedule, you will not want to miss Universal Orlando Resort. If your stay is just for a day or two, or you just want to make the most of every minute, check out our guide to Universal Studios vs. Islands of Adventure to see where you'll want to spend your time and create a strategy to hit all of the highlights. And don't forget Universal's Volcano Bay - one of Orlando's favorite water theme parks.

Regardless of the rides you choose, you can be sure they will be cutting edge, heart-pumping, and super interactive. And don't forget to look into the Universal Express Pass so you can fast-track it to the front of the line. You'll feel like you've walked into the pages of Harry Potter or your favorite comic book with all of your superheroes. Get ready for adventure. 

What are the three parks at Universal Studios Orlando?

Universal has three epic theme parks full of exciting attractions and adrenaline-pumping rides. You'll Find Universal Studios Florida, Univeral's Islands of Adventure, and Universal’s Volcano Bay Water Theme Park. Our guide today is designed for those who are pressed for time and want to plan the best itinerary and right amount of time at Universal Studios Florida and Universal's Islands of Adventure. 

Which is the best park - comparison of Universal Studios vs Universal Islands of Adventure

We leave that to you to decide. It depends on your idea of fun! Many of the rides at Universal have height restrictions, so be sure to check the Universal site for the most current info. 

  • Universal Studios Florida 

Universal Studios Florida is a real working picture and television studio. This is your chance to jump into your favorite films and T.V. shows in fully dressed "backlot" locations. You'll find state-of-the-art rides, blockbuster shows, and attractions all designed to bring the movies and T.V. to life. Get into the action with Fast & Furious for a super-charged chase, or fight aliens along with MEN IN BLACK. Rock out on the Hollywood RipRide Rockit for an adrenaline-pumping roller coaster. Here are some highlights:

The Wizarding World of Harry Potter - Diagon Alley

This attraction is half of The Wizarding World of Harry Potter that Universal offers. It features the wizarding retail district reproduction, themed shopping and dining, and a thrilling ride, Harry Potter and the Escape from Gringotts. At King's Cross Station, you can take the Hogwarts Express directly to Hogsmeade at the Islands of Adventure. Diagon Alley has many popular attractions like Gringotts Money Exchange. 

Despicable Me Minion Mayhem

This is great family fun for all. You'll join Gru in one of his schemes and travel through his villain laboratory, along with Gru, Margo, Edith, and Agnes and end it all with a Minion-inspired dance party where you can all show your moves on the dance floor. 

E.T. Adventure

Hop on a bike with E.T. and travel over the city lights and past the moon to his magical planet. Meet creatures who will welcome you in a song as you relive this heartwarming classic sci-fi film.

Fast & Furious - Supercharged

Take a wild ride on this latest attraction based on the blockbuster movie. The Fast & Furious attraction features more than a dozen authentic vehicle replicas and lots of props that will put you squarely into the action.

Hollywood Rip Ride Rockit

Pick your own song to rock out to as you soar 17 stories over Universal Studios and roll back down at speeds of 65 miles per hour. This is the world's first non-inverting loop, and your entire ride is recorded on video. You'll edit your own video after. Hello Hollywood! 

Kong & Kodos' Twirl 'n' Hurl

Pilot your own flying saucer and travel with the aliens from The Simpsons with a ride that will make your tummy jump. Swoop up and down and circle the alien fields. 

MEN IN BLACK Alien Attack

Be recruited at MIB and jump into action to test your skills, blasting aliens as they try to enter MEN IN BLACK top-secret headquarters. 

Revenge of the Mummy

Take a dangerous adventure full of peril, and come face-to-face with your fears - creepy bugs, free-falling, pitch darkness, and losing control. Escape the ancient curses and solve the mysteries. 

Shrek 4-D

Join the giant green ogre and put on your OgreVision glasses where you'll relax in specially designed seats to watch Shrek, Princess Fiona, and Donkey as they encounter fire-breathing dragons, ghosts, and a 1,000 -foot waterfall drop. Have fun! 

TRANSFORMERS: The Ride -3D 

Jump into the middle of the action of an intergalactic showdown between the Autobots and the Deceptions. Fight long side with Optimus Prime and Bumblebee to keep the AllSpark away from the enemy. 

Many of the attractions have height restrictions. Be sure to check ahead of time. You'll find lots more entertainment and live shows, as well as excellent shopping and dining in Universal Studios, Florida. The kids won't want to miss SpongeBob StorePants and the Universal Studios Store. 

The second big Universal theme park is Universal's Islands of Adventure. See our highlights below. 

  • Universal's Islands of Adventure

Islands of Adventure is designed to take the visitor on a journey of exploration to visit various themed islands. Initially, the park included six islands. In 2010, the park's crowning glory, The Wizarding World of Harry Potter, was added, leading to a massive spike in attendance and making Islands of Adventure seventh domestically in visitors, with 8.1 million guests. 

The Islands are Port of Entry, Marvel Super Hero Island, Toon Lagoon, Skull Island, Jurassic Park, The Wizarding World of Harry Potter, The Lost Continent, and Suess Landing. Bring your favorites to life with this journey. Here are some highlights:

Marvel Super Hero Island

For the comic book fans, you'll love entering this comic-book-style architecture, featuring comic book perspective with exaggerated lines and angles. You'll see colors "change" before your eyes and find lots of dining outlets and merchandise shops along with the attractions. Join the superheroes as they take on the Super Villains in the battle of good vs. evil. Put on your 3-D glasses for the high-speed 3-D rides. 

Thrill to the 67 miles per hour Incredible high-speed Hulk Coaster as you defy gravity like a superhero. You'll swirl through zero gravity and hear the roar of Bruce Banner's alter ego. Rocket to 150 feet into the air and then drop back down faster than gravity with Doctor Doom's Fearfall. Doctor Doom's Fearfall is a pair of 200-foot towers. Beware!! 

Storm Face Accelatron will have you riding with Storm as she faces off against Magneto. And keep a good eye out for your favorite Super Heroes who may well be patrolling the island. 

Toon Lagoon

Popeye, Bluto, and more will thrill you at Toon Lagoon with wild and wacky rides that are more fun than the cartoons ever were. Dudley Do-Right's Ripsaw Falls is a favorite where you'll hop in a log and hang on for a wet flume ride as he races to save Nel from the demon Snidely Whiplash who has he imprisoned in a sawmill. Take a twisting and turning raft ride to save Olive Oyl from Bluto in Popeye & Bluto's Bilge-Rat Barges.

Me Ship, The Olive is lots of interactive fun exploring Popeye's ship. Hand on tight and bring a towel for this one. King's Row & Comic Strip Lane is a chance to meet your favorite stars. 

Amazing Adventures of Spider-Man

You'll mirror Spider-Man as he slings his web and scales tall buildings, then drops 400 -feet to the sidewalk. Help him protect the Statue of Liberty. Enjoy the special effects and 3D technology.

Caro-Seuss-el

Hop on this gentle carousel with Elephant Bird, the Mulligatawnies, and Horton, the elephant, for a silly and fun ride. 

Jurassic Park River Adventure

What starts off as a casual Jurassic Park boat ride soon changes as a dinosaur nudges you off course and the power shuts down, and you end up in the Raptor Containment area with hungry velociraptors. Hopefully, you'll escape the jaws of a mighty T-Rex with a drop into darkness. 

Skull Island: Reign of Kong

Take this 1930's style trip to Skull Island inspired by the movie King Kong. You'll cross swamps and jungles full of prehistoric creatures and descend deep into the heart of the island with King Kong in the shadows. 

The Wizarding World of Harry Potter

One of the most highly visited attractions at Universal, The Wizarding World of Harry Potter, features Hogsmeade, complete with Hogwarts Castle. Experience lots of adventures like Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey, Flight of the Hippogriff, and Hagrid's Magical Creatures Motorbike Adventure. 

In addition to these attractions, you'll find plenty of live shows in Islands of Adventure like The Mystic Fountain, Nighttime Lights at Hogwarts Castle, Poseidon's Fury, and more. They will be character encounters aplenty and excellent souvenir shopping. 

Can you do visit both Islands of Adventure and Universal Studios parks in one day? 

Yes, you will be able to have a wonderful day and hit many of the highlights, but we highly recommend that you allow at least one full day for each park. 

Some tips:

Stay hydrated, wear comfortable shoes, purchase your tickets in advance, and get to the park a few minutes before opening. Here is what you can expect for Universal Studios Weather.  Head to Universal Studios first, as most people go directly to Islands of Adventure. Head to the back of the park and work back around to the from of the park.

If you are traveling with a larger group, break into a smaller group, and don't be afraid to use the Single Rider lane if the wait is longer than 25 minutes. 

Study the Universal Resorts Map and have a plan to be sure everyone gets to see their favorite attraction. Here are some tips on the Best Time To Visit Universal 

When it comes to Universal Studios vs. Islands of Adventure- there is no bad choice but only you can decide. 

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