By Eileen Wang and Dasang Dolma
Our Must-go Attractions:
Thrill – Hulk Coaster, Jurassic Park VelociCoaster, Hagrid’s Magical Creatures Motorbike, Hollywood Rip Ride Rockit, Revenge of the Mummy
Family – The Simpsons’ Ride, Popeye & Bluto’s Bilge-Rat Barges, Jurassic Park River Adventure
Shows – The Bourne Stuntacular
Trying to fit both Universal Studios and Islands of Adventure in just one day can definitely be difficult, so even if you can’t accomplish everything you want, it is still rewarding to get in your must-go or favorite attractions. For us, we made it a top priority to get in the above attractions during our trip.
Hulk Coaster (Islands of Adventure)
Eileen: For thrill seekers like myself, I definitely recommend going to the Hulk Coaster to start off your day on a high note. Even though the ride officially opens at 9 AM, I still suggest arriving about half an hour in advance for a shorter wait time on this popular attraction. As one of the fastest rides at the theme park, riders launch up to 67 mph through twists and upside-down loops. Hang on tight!
Jurassic Park VelociCoaster (Islands of Adventure)
Eileen: As a new ride that was just introduced to Islands of Adventure in 2022, my sister and I had high hopes for it. Luckily, the ride did not disappoint, as we zoomed through intricate loopty-loops and turns. The wait was around 20 minutes for us when we went on it, but the wait times can also be quite high for this popular attraction, so just remember to look at the wait times on the Universal app to help you throughout the day.
Popeye & Bluto’s Bilge-Rat Barges (Islands of Adventure)
Dasang: Raft down the rolling rapids with Popeye! Located in Toon Lagoon, Popeye & Bluto’s Bilge-Rat Barges is a great ride for mild thrill seekers, as you are tossed around the river. But, be prepared, and bring a change of clothes – you will get wet. Wait times usually aren’t too bad for this one, so hit the Barges up on a hot afternoon after a long day in the park!
Hagrid’s Magical Creatures Motorbike Adventure (Islands of Adventure)
Eileen: This was one of the longest wait times of the day at 55 minutes, but I got to say that the experience was worth it! The tracks are quite smooth, the drops are modest, and we blew through the wind on Hagrid’s motorbike!
The Simpsons’ Ride (Universal Studios)
Dasang: The Simpsons never go wrong, especially with a trip to Krustyland! This is an indoor simulation roller coaster for mild thrill seekers. With one of the best queues at Universal, I certainly didn’t mind waiting in line for this ride, which is one of the more relaxing ones compared to the more thrill-intensive experiences at the park. Plus, Homer is always a vibe!
Hollywood Rip Ride Rockit (Universal Studios)
Eileen: This is highly recommended for thrill seekers, as this intense ride is packed with action. From choosing your own music to a 90-degree incline and reaching a maximum speed of 65 mph, you’ll truly be rocking it throughout the ride!
The Bourne Stuntacular (Universal Studios)
Eileen: If you want a nice way to cool off in the late afternoon, then the Bourne Stuntacular is definitely your escape from the heat. I suggest getting in line about 30 minutes before the showtime to ensure a spot in the theater, as it can quickly get filled up. The show is packed with stunts, incredible visual effects, and one of the best shows that my family and I have watched. Honestly, you can never go wrong with Jason Bourne.
*As a big fan of the Mummy franchise, I was more than disappointed to find the Revenge of the Mummy ride undergoing refurbishment. However, if you get a chance to go to Universal/Islands of Adventure after the ride reopens, I definitely recommend trying it out, as the theme of this psychological ride is spot on. The ride races through the tomb of the mummy, Imhotep, at speeds of 55 mph, as he and his mummified soldiers try to chase you down in the dark. Oh, also, did I mention the flesh-eating scarab beetles?
Simpsons’ Fast Food Boulevard – A convenient, reasonably priced option for lunch that is also close to The Simpsons’ Ride. We highly recommend the Krusty Burger and the Chicken and Waffle sandwich from Cletus’s Chicken Shack.
Mytho’s – One of the best, if not the best, themed restaurants in the park. The atmosphere is unlike any other with Greek mythology inspired statues and carvings adorning the walls. The outside is just as spectacular with mini waterfalls and beautiful carvings! It feels like eating in an enchanted cave!
Lastly, just remember to be flexible in your schedule! Don’t be afraid to take some risks in changing parts of your schedule on the spot, as many of the risks we took actually worked out in our favor! We wish you all the best on your fantastical trip!