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Island of Adventure Strategy

Universal Orlando: Does anyone have a plan on maximizing the day at IOA?

From Charles Pang
Posted October 27, 2010 at 8:52 PM
I'm going to IOA Nov 12, it's a Friday. I check out the strategy for visiting IOA on this website, but it's pre-Harry Potter. Does anyone have a plan on maximizing the day at IOA?


Comments in chronological order. Most recent at the bottom. Scroll down to respond.

From Terri Pierce
Posted October 31, 2010 at 2:55 PM
Stay on site or in a partner hotel so that you can get into the WWOHP early. Go do everything you want to do in that hour within WWOHP, and I mean everything! Visit the stores, ride the Forbidden Journey 2 or so times, ride Fire and Ice or whatever they're called now, and get as many pictures as you can. Oh and get Butterbeer then too! I say this because we did this then decided to go back later in the day, HA! I stood in line for 30 minutes to buy a 10 dollar chocolate frog! The lines for butterbeer were so long they were leading into Jurasic Park.

The rest of they day will depend on where you eat. We made a path from WWOHP>Dr. Suess> Marvel while riding everything thing. We walked through Toonlagoon and Jurassic to get to lunch stop (Three Broomsticks! I recommend this but eat early, (11ish) wasn't busy at all. After lunch we did the opposite, Jurassic>ToonLagoon>Mavel>(Hotel)>Lost Continent>WWOHP riding everything plus reriding everything we wanted to reride. We had plenty of time to sit and have a beer, or soda. We didn't stop in many shops as we wasted a lot of time trying to go into the shops at WWOHP towards the end of the day. We would have had around an hour and a half more if we wouldn't have done that.

From Mike Gallagher
Posted October 31, 2010 at 7:13 PM
Terri,

10 Bucks for a chocolate frog??? For that price, it better do the old Looney Tunes "Hello, my baby, hello my honey, hello my ragtime gal"

How big is the darn thing? Life-size?

From Hermione Potter
Posted November 1, 2010 at 5:36 AM
It's not the frog you want, it's the card! Each frog comes with a collectible holographic wizard card. The card plus the HUGE chocolate frog (think if your fist was made of solid chocolate...now picture it shaped as a frog) is totally worth $10.

That being said, I got Godric Gryffindor on my first try and happily didn't have to keep buying more to find him. :)

From Colin Creevey
Posted November 1, 2010 at 11:29 AM
$10 is madness for a lump of chocolate shaped like a frog! But obviously if they can get away with charging these prices they may as well. Was there two weeks ago and it was still very crowded, but we didn't get in early. It was 75 mins wait when we got there about 10am, and about 90 mins for the wand shop. We bought the wands from the stand outside, didn't think it was worth waiting that long to get into a shop. Had promised the kids, but the wands are another rip off - $100 for 3 for our lot. About 2 years ago bought a HP cloak here in Ireland for €30, cost almost $100 there. An hour before closing the wait time was about 45 mins for FJ, but the wand shop was still as long. Rest of the park was fine, 15/20 mins were the longest wait times on any of the other rides.

From Eric Malone
Posted November 2, 2010 at 7:53 AM
Personally, I suggest doing everything else in IOA first if you're not staying on-site, and saving Potterland for last, later in the evening, about a handful of hours before the park closes or so. Forbidden Journey is usually about twenty/thirty minutes wait (usually even less than that), Dragon Challenge is a walk-on, and Hippogriff usually is, too. The shops won't be particularly crowded like they are earlier in the day, and you can actually enjoy yourself.

Having said that, it's also good to enjoy Potterland later in the day, because by that point the sun will be down (or going down, depending on when you decide to foot it into Potterland) and everything is lit up beautifully. You can get some awesome night-time shots of everything.

Anyway, so to sum it all up: Go early if you're staying on-site, go later in the day if you're not.

From Carlo Mangiafreno
Posted November 2, 2010 at 11:58 AM
My strategy:start with lost continent. do the only ride there(Posideons Fury), and head backwards onto Seuss landing. Do the trolley ride, the carousell and cat and the hat, onefish 2fish, then head over to Mythos in Lost Continent for lunch (cuz it's AWESOME!!). After, go to Marvel Superhero Island and do the Hulk, Storm Force, Dr. DOOM, and Spidey. Then, cruise through toon lagoon and go into Jurassic Park. I suggest trying out the discovery center if you've never been in it, it's pretty cool. Then, it's finally time to do the Wizarding World! Do FJ first(if crunched for time, or if the line's insane, do single riders if you dont mind splitting your party up. it's VERY fast. It's like a free express line!), then the Hippogriff, Then the Dragon Challenge. Eat at the 3 Broomsticks, and if you want, dare to wait the incredibly long line for Olliver's Wand Show(not worth 2 hours, all i'm saying). After that, redo FJ, and BS the rest of the day.

From Terri Pierce
Posted November 3, 2010 at 9:47 PM
Yeah for a frog. I felt bad for my brother, here I am not even a fan of Harry Potter getting to go see the park the first year its opened while hes stuck at home having to work and take care of his lady and my "to be" niece. So I stood in line.. for a frog. *Feels a yelling coming on from a frog about what it means and how it's worth it *

From Joshua Kirkpatrick
Posted November 4, 2010 at 10:44 PM
I always start at Harry Potter then go on all the other IOA rides, then do Universal. Sometimes, I will go back to Potter after Universal.

From Charles Pang
Posted November 5, 2010 at 9:47 AM
Hi Joshua, When you go the first thing in the morning to Harry Potter is it really busy? How long a wait for FJ

From Joseph Boone
Posted November 9, 2010 at 7:41 PM
I just got back from a trip to Orlando and spent several days at Islands of Adventure becuase it is by far my favorite park.

Currently, they are letting people into the park well before the official opening time of 9:00 AM. I believe (but am not sure) that you can get in as early as 8:00 but would be limited to the Port of Entry and the Marvel Island until they drop the ropes to the rest of the park at 9:00.

The earliest I got there was around a quarter till 9:00 when and I took advantage of that to ride Spider-Man and the Hulk before the rest of the park was even open. This is what I strongly recommend you do as well. Try to get to the gate by 8:30 and you'll have plenty of time to go on the best Marvel rides before 9:00. Realize that parking and walking to the gates takes a good while so you probably want to be arriving in your car around 8:00.

If possible, buy your tickets in advance so you don't have to screw with it then. You can buy online and claim them at a kiosk outside the park the night before (go after 8:00 PM and the parking drops from $15 to $3).

Once you have done the Marvel rides, go wait at the rope by Dr. Suess and head back to Harry. You'll have a lot of company but you should get on Forbidden Journey within 15 minutes. Another tip, if you are carrying a bag try to drop it off in a locker before getting to Forbidden Journey or you'll have to go through a detour to lockers in there that will add to your wait.

If you get to the park late and the line for Forbidden Journey has gotten ridiculously long you have two options. You can pay the fee to upgrade to the Express Ticket or wait and go on shortly before the park closes. The wait will go down to 15 or 20 minutes in the last half hour or so. Actually, there is a third option which is to suck it up and wait for the 40-60 minutes that the ride typically has going throughout the day but I don't really recommend that.

Once you have Marvel and Harry Potter under your belt, the rest is cake. The waits are reasonable in the rest of the park. I do recommend a change of clothes if you plan to hit the water rides because you will be as wet as if you jumped into a swimming pool after a couple of trips through the rapids. I start with Jurassic Park, then Ripsaw Falls, and then the rapids and that way you'll get wetter and wetter as you to maximize the fun.

Finally, let me just say that while you want to take care of business in the morning to get on everything, do take time to simply enjoy being there. IoA is quite an amazing experience if you slow down and soak it in and I highly recommend you try to enjoy the atmosphere that Universal spent a fortune putting there for all of us. Have a great time!

From Hermione Potter
Posted November 10, 2010 at 6:30 AM
Hey Joseph, the Express passes aren't good on Forbidden Journey. The don't work on Rockit at the other park either, so maybe it's because they're the new ones?

From Joseph Boone
Posted November 11, 2010 at 7:59 AM
Ah, thank you for correcting me about the Express pass! I did without them myself, but foolishly assumed it would apply to all of the most popular attractions.

This makes it even more imperative to get to Forbidden Journey ASAP when the ropes drop or to wait until closing time when the line is even shorter.

From Hermione Potter
Posted November 11, 2010 at 4:35 PM
It was worth the $25 for the hassle free day to me, but those two were the only rides it didn't work for, so it wasn't bad.

From Pyra-Danny V
Posted November 12, 2010 at 9:48 AM
Definitely agree with the above writers. Get on the Harry Potter attractions either once the ropes drop... or in the last hour (lines are 30 minutes or less)

When I visited on a weekend, there were wait times of 20 minutes or less at EVERY ATTRACTION outside of Wizarding World. With those type of queues, I say you don't need a strategy for the rest of the park.

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