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Universal Studios or Islands of Adventure?

New York
Level Contributor
115 posts
3 reviews
Universal Studios or Islands of Adventure?

My kids and I are visiting family in St. Augustine FL at the end of January and I really want to take a day to visit Universal. We have been to Disney a bunch of times for over a week every time but we will only have 1 day this time. My kids are 8 and 13 and love rides and interactive things. I am a huge Harry Potter fan!!! Trying to decide between the 2 parks. Thought about the park hopper but I don't want to feel rushed and its a huge price difference. Suggestions please. Also not sure of the comparison to Disney but we loved the different places to eat there so any suggestions would be great.

10 replies to this topic
Level Contributor
5,624 posts
37 reviews
1. Re: Universal Studios or Islands of Adventure?

I’d really consider the park to park tickets. They are a worthwhile splurge for a HP fan!!

But, I’d go Universal because Diagon Alley is amazing. I’d hate to miss the castle in IOA but I think Diagon Alley is superior to Hogsmeade (though Hogsmeade is, of course, super cool too).

I love the Mummy and RRR so I’d hate to miss those.

If budget allows, you’ll really like being able to see both parks. Unlike Disney, the 2 parks are right there. There’s no time lost hopping.

Eat in Simpson’s and HP areas.

Buy at least one interactive wand.

Edited: 28 November 2017, 02:39
Chickamauga, Georgia
Destination Expert
for Orlando, Walt Disney World
Level Contributor
43,778 posts
96 reviews
2. Re: Universal Studios or Islands of Adventure?

My best advise is to buy the one-day park-to-park tickets to enjoy all of the WWoHP attractions, and also buy Express Passes so you can cover both parks faster and have shorter que lines.

Yep, it's a lot of money, but if you only have one day, you need to make the most of it.

Destination Expert
for Walt Disney World, Orlando, Antarctic Adventures
Level Contributor
9,746 posts
181 reviews
3. Re: Universal Studios or Islands of Adventure?

Universal Studios would get my vote if you are going to choose only one.

Island of Adventure has several water rides, and they soak you. Uncomfortable wet. It may not be warm enough to ride those in January even if that is your thing. Seuss Land is completely miss-able in my opinion as well. That pretty much leaves Dr Doom's Fear Fall, Kong, the Hulk, and Harry Potter. Spiderman and Transformers are the exact same thing, so no big loss there.

The coasters are better at Universal Studios. We love Men in Black as well. Simpson's land is a hoot to eat in.

Dallas, Texas
Destination Expert
for Boston, Orlando, Walt Disney World
Level Contributor
31,035 posts
117 reviews
4. Re: Universal Studios or Islands of Adventure?

I would also do the park to park to Universal and Island Of Adventure and it can be done in one day which we have done in the summer and enjoyed it.

United Kingdom
Destination Expert
for Mauritius, Grand Baie
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23,562 posts
2,307 reviews
5. Re: Universal Studios or Islands of Adventure?

I prefer IOA but you might have to consider park to park tickets and make the most of it, especially if you are a Harry Potter fan.

Level Contributor
589 posts
64 reviews
6. Re: Universal Studios or Islands of Adventure?

I would pick Universal Studios. I did a 1 day trip last spring and felt I had enough to do there for the day. Island of Adventure isn't as exciting to me, and I feel like it's better for younger kids.

Chapel Hill, North...
Level Contributor
9,731 posts
39 reviews
7. Re: Universal Studios or Islands of Adventure?

I'd do park to park and concentrate on the Harry Potter stuff if you're a big fan. It's amazing. Then just fit in the rest of the attractions as they appeal to you (thrill rides, water rides, shows, etc).

Lancaster, United...
Level Contributor
14,667 posts
129 reviews
8. Re: Universal Studios or Islands of Adventure?

Sorry, but it’s got to be park to park..

You “have” to start at Universal, Diagon Alley, before taking the train over to IOA, Hogwarts.

No self respecting HP fan would do it any other way;-);-)...lol...

Level Contributor
22 posts
74 reviews
9. Re: Universal Studios or Islands of Adventure?

If you are a HP fan, you should go with Park to Park.

Also head straight to the HP areas when you arrive because they get crowded fast. We dined at both Leaky Cauldron and Three Broomsticks but be prepared for long lines to get in. Service was friendly and food tasty, but if you want to make the most of your day it might be better to eat on the move.

We also enjoyed Kong, Transformers and Superman rides.

Level Contributor
143 posts
20 reviews
10. Re: Universal Studios or Islands of Adventure?

I had same question before my trip - we finally chose Universal studios and now i can say that it was a great choice. I completely understand the price point of view of 1 park per day for 1 day Vs park hopper as its a huge difference. We are not a huge fan of massive roller coasters and had a child of 9 years old and had a blast at Universal studios.

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