• Getting Ready to Experience Islands of Adventure
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Getting Ready to Experience Islands of Adventure

Ben A.

Created: Oct 31, 2023

Last Updated: Apr 25, 2024

Getting Ready to Experience Islands of Adventure

If you are gearing up to head to Islands of Adventure (IOA), then we have the essentials of what you need to know. We'll cover which app to get, what to pack and how to get to the parks.

What should you bring?

Just like a hiking tour, you need to prepare yourself before you experience Islands of Adventure. Follow these instructions and you will be ready to have an amazing time. Here is a rundown of what you need:

  • Cellphone with the Universal Orlando Resort app
  • Backpack or a fanny pack
  • Snacks
  • Jacket (if you are visiting during the Winter)
  • Slippers/extra t-shirt (if you plan on experiencing the water rides)

Before anything else, it's important to point out that you can not enter the following rides with anything in your pockets. Yes, this includes your cellphone, coins or a toothpick: The Incredible Hulk Coaster and Jurassic World VelociCoaster.

Okay, let's dive into what you need to pack for your first day at Islands of Adventure!

Get the app!

Download the Universal Orlando Resort app on your phone a week before your visit. This is a simple and fast way to see park opening hours and queue times for every attraction. You can even buy your tickets or Express Passes using the app. Speaking of phones, don’t forget to have your ticket ready in a screenshot!

Log in the official website a day or two before your visit - and on the day of your visit - to see which rides are closed to the public. Maybe one of your favorite attractions won’t open today, so you can still try and visit the park at a later date. Hagrid’s Motorbike Adventure in Islands of Adventure is an amazing ride, but it’s also plagued by technical difficulties, so it’s always a good idea to see if it’s open to the public or not.

Islands Adventure Seuss Landing 1.webp

Pack for the Day!

Bring a backpack or a fanny pack. It doesn’t matter if you’re traveling with your significant other or a group of six people, you will probably need a backpack to gather all your stuff and all that Harry Potter merchandise you’re going to be buying. 
The main hassle of bringing a backpack or a fanny pack is that you will need to store them inside a locker before entering most attractions in Islands of Adventure. In fact, there are two rides that have metal detectors inside the queue where you are not allowed to enter with anything in your pockets - phones and wallets included: The Incredible Hulk Coaster and Jurassic World VelociCoaster.

The munchies come for everyone!

Bring something to eat. It’s up to you if you want a ham sandwich that can replace a whole meal or if you prefer to stick to cookies and cheese rolls. 

You will be walking a lot all day and this will be enough to make you thirsty and hungry. This is especially true for Islands of Adventure, since most areas can be far apart and the park is rather big. There are drinking fountains scattered all over, but you can also bring your own drink and replenish it whenever you wish.

The chill that sneaks up on you!

Depending on the time of year, you might want to bring a jacket to keep you warm. Florida isn’t exactly known for its freezing temperatures, but some guests feel cold in December and January when temperatures can go as low as 41°.

Islands Adventure Comic Strip 1.webp

Shoes are the most important accessory!

Wear something comfortable like your favorite sneakers, but it might be a good idea to grab an extra pair of sandals or flip flops just for the water rides. Maybe an extra shirt or a poncho if you want to be extra careful, since some of those rides can get you drenched. 

Soaked Threat Level™

Islands of Adventure has a bunch of water rides and they are all recommended if you want to have a good laugh. They also have their very own Soaked Threat Level™ created by yours truly. Here are the respective water rides and their threat levels so you can see by yourself if you want to bring an extra pair of sandals or if you prefer to trust Lady Luck:

Soaked Threat Level Green

This belongs to Jurassic Park River Adventure. I’ve been to this ride multiple times and never got soaked, scout’s word. The main drop isn’t that high and, most of the time, only my face gets the worst of it. Maaaybe the top part of my t-shirt as well. Both my pants and my sneakers laugh in the face of danger. No need to replace your sneakers with sandals here.

Soaked Threat Level Red

This one goes to Dudley Do-Right’s Ripsaw Falls. I’ll just get this out of the way, you will get soaked here. This is a long, colorful and very underrated ride, with multiple delightful drops. Make sure you don’t bring anything with you in your pockets, take off your socks, put on your sandals and you will be mostly alright once it’s all said and done.

Soaked Threat Level Nuclear

The gold medal goes to Popeye & Bluto’s Bilge-Rat Barges, a river rafting ride that goes under waterfalls with the single objective of getting you soaked from head to toe. Your shirt will get soaked, your sneakers will get soaked, your soul will probably get soaked. Wear a pair of sandals for this ride and pray Popeye shows you mercy.

Islands Adventure Marvel Island 1.webp

How to get to Universal Studios and Islands of Adventure

I can already tell you that there are three main ways to get to the Universal theme parks: driving, calling an Uber or taking a shuttle if you are a guest at an Universal hotel. 


I will list three particular things that deserve to be part of the Human Inventions Hall of Fame. The paper, the fire and the GPS. That last one is one of the greatest creations of the century, which made traveling around the world much easier. It made us a little bit lazy too, but that's a fair trade.

With that said, I can safely say that the easiest way to reach your destination is with a car and a GPS in hand, which can be the one already installed in your vehicle or Waze in your phone. 

If you are driving, know that there is a single parking lot used for both Universal Studios and Islands of Adventure. Just type in “Universal Studios” and voilà, you will be guided straight to the parking lot. Isn’t technology great? Unless you are staying at the Aventura Hotel, then you can use an old technology called legs, walk for ten minutes and get ready to ride those roller coasters. 

Regular parking is $30 and the price basically goes up every year, while prime parking can be either $50 or $60 depending on the selected date. The main difference here is that prime parking will get you closer to the entrance. This means that you will take five steps less to reach the entrance than if you had chosen regular parking. So, is prime parking worth it? Nope.

After parking, you still need to actually get to the theme parks. Write down where you parked your vehicle or snap a quick picture with your phone, this always helps. Now you will follow the signs and walk about five minutes until you reach Universal’s City Walk, which is an entertainment complex full of restaurants, stores and an overall fun place to catch the latest movies.

Almost there! You should see big signs pointing to both Universal Studios and Islands of Adventure. Islands of Adventure will probably be to your left, while Universal Studios will be on your right. Now choose your destiny, relax and enjoy the ride.


Another good, safe option is choosing a ride-sharing service similar to Uber. I tried it only once, but it worked out fine. Just beware that prices might hike later on when you are about to exit the park, especially if it’s during a special night with fireworks or just after a big show. This will be, after all, the time when guests are all leaving together. 

Uber is also proud to call itself the “Preferred Rideshare Partner of Universal Orlando Resort”. They even have their very own dedicated Uber Zone located in the Jurassic Park Garage, where you will meet your driver to go back home. You can read all about Uber and Universal here. It’s also important to note that you will be charged an extra $4 for… reasons.

Universal Studios Shuttles

Every Universal hotel & resort also offers special shuttles that come in every 15-30 min and can take you not only to Universal Studios and Islands of Adventure, but sometimes popular attractions like the Kennedy Space Center and Sea World. Just keep in mind that you need to be staying at one of their hotel chains to make use of this service.

It’s always a good idea to check at what times the buses leave and also if they bring guests back from their destinations, since you don’t want to get stuck somewhere far away without knowing how to return to the comfort of your room. Universal shuttles that take you all the way to Universal’s theme parks are completely free to hotel guests, but you should ask if the service has any cost if you decide to visit any other destination. 

When taking a shuttle to the theme parks, keep in mind that the bus will leave you at Universal’s City Walk. From there, it’s a very short five minute walk to either Universal Studios or Islands of Adventure. Have fun!

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