COMPLETE Guide: Universal Studios vs Islands of Adventure

Universal Orlando Resort has two theme parks and a third under construction: Universal Studios, Islands of Adventureand, coming soon, Epic Universe. It is also home to an immersive water park, Volcano Bay.

Universal Orlando

We’re going to look at Universal’s two main theme parks so you can understand the difference between the two and why you might (or might not) want to visit over the other during your next trip.

Universal Studios: Universal Studios really started out with the inspiration to show guests the magic behind making movies and TV shows. You’ll find rides like Hollywood Rip Ride Rockit, the nostalgic E.T. Adventure, and Harry Potter’s Diagon Alley — the spot for Harry Potter and the Escape from Gringotts.


Islands of Adventure: This theme park embraces the journey of adventure, and guests get to explore exciting lands inspired by Marvel comics, Jurassic Park,  and enter the imaginative world of comic strips yore and Dr. Seuss. Home to rides like: The Incredible Hulk Coaster, Hagrid’s Magical Creatures Motorbike Adventure in Harry Potter’s Hogsmeade, and the new VelociCoaster.


We’re going to dissect this analysis a little deeper by looking at what each park offers in terms of:

    • Lands
    • Rides
    • Dining Options
    • Harry Potter

If you can only spare one day at one of these parks, it’ll be important to know which park has the attractions and options you’re looking for! If you want to ride the newest Jurassic Park themed attraction or get a scoop of divine ice cream from Florean Fortescue’s Ice Cream Parlour, you’ll need to know which park you need a ticket for. And in this case, you’ll have to decide which is more important to you — since they’re both in different Universal parks!

The Hulk


Universal Studios offers eight lands or districts that center around the entertainment industry through movies, TV, or theater.

    • Production Central
    • New York
    • San Francisco
    • World Expo
    • Springfield, USA
    • Woody Woodpecker’s Kidzone
    • Hollywood
    • Harry Potter: Diagon Alley
Islands of Adventure offers eight lands or districts that explore the adventures of exciting lands and comic heroes.
Jurassic Park sign at Universal’s Islands of Adventure
    • Port of Entry
    • Marvel Super Hero Island
    • Toon Lagoon
    • Skull Island: Reign of Kong
    • Jurassic Park
    • The Lost Continent
    • Seuss Landing
    • Harry Potter: Hogsmeade


Universal Studios

Note that for Universal, some attractions require children to be accompanied by an adult to ride, so make sure to check each attraction for further safety requirements.

    • Despicable Me Minion Mayhem™ –  40 in (102cm) minimum
    • E.T. Adventure™ – 34 in (87cm)  minimum
    • Fast & Furious – Supercharged™ – 40 in (102cm) minimum
    • Harry Potter and the Escape from Gringotts™ – 42 in (107cm) minimum.
    • Hollywood Rip Ride Rockit™* – 51 in (130cm) minimum
    • MEN IN BLACK™ Alien Attack™- 42 in (107cm) minimum
    • Race Through New York Starring Jimmy Fallon™ – 40 in (102cm)minimum
    • Revenge of the Mummy™*- 48 in (122cm) minimum
    • The Simpsons Ride™- 40 in (102cm).minimum
    • TRANSFORMERS: The Ride-3D – 40 in (102cmminimum
    • Woody Woodpecker’s Nuthouse Coaster™ – 36 in (92cm) minimum

Universal Islands of Adventure

The Amazing Adventures of Spider-man
    • The Amazing Adventures of Spider-Man® – 40 in (102cm) minimum
    • Cat in the Hat™-  36 in (92cm) minimum
    • Doctor Doom’s Fearfall® – 52 in (133cm) minimum
    • Dudley Do-Right’s Ripsaw Falls® – 44 in (112cm) minimum
    • Flight of the Hippogriff™ – 36 in (92cm) minimum
    • Hagrid’s Magical Creatures Motorbike Adventure™ – 48 in (122cm) minimum
    • Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey™ –  48 in (122cm) minimum
    • Jurassic Park River Adventure™ – 42 in (107cm) minimum
    • Jurassic World VelociCoaster* – 51 in (130cm) minimum
    • The High in the Sky Seuss Trolley Train Ride!™ – 36 in (92cm) minimum
    • The Incredible Hulk Coaster® – 54 in (138cm) minimum
    • Popeye & Bluto’s Bilge-Rat Barges® – 42″ (107cm) minimum
    • Pteranodon Flyers™ – children between 36 in–56 in (92cm-143cm) tall with an accompanying guest over 56 in (143cm) tall.
    • Skull Island: Reign of Kong™ – 36 in (92cm) minimum

Dining Options

Harry Potter

Diagon Alley

Universal Studios is home to Diagon Alley. You’ll find more dining and snacking options in this section of the Harry Potter universe, but only two rides. Ollivander’s Wand Shop is featured in both park Harry Potter neighborhoods, but the one at Diagon Alley really delivers on that “going to Hogwarts” kinda vibe.

Islands of Adventure is the host to Hogsmeade. Here you’ll find the latest and greatest (well, so far) of the Harry Potter rides.

    • Rides:
      • Harry Potter & the Forbidden Journey
      • Flight of the Hippogriff
      • Hagrid’s Magical Creatures Motorbike Adventure
      • Hogwarts Express — Hogsmeade Station
    • Food:

So there ya go! The nuts and bolts of each of Universals Orlando parks, what they each offer, and key options you may want to know about as you plan your Universal days.

Keep reading AllEars for more Universal news and tips!

Disney World vs. Universal Studios

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