Orlando theme parks during summer afternoons, get HOT! But that doesn’t mean you need to call it a day and head back to your room. On the contrary, it just means it’s time for more fun! After all, there’s no better way to while away those scorching hours at Universal than by crossing your favorite Islands of Adventure water rides off your list.
When it comes to water rides, Islands of Adventure has some of the best attractions for you to cool off with your family. Get completely soaked in a roller coaster like Dudley Do-Right’s Ripsaw Falls, go on a dino excursion on the Jurassic Park River Adventure, or relive your childhood at the Popeye and Bluto’s Bilge-Rat Barges. A good log flume, river rapids, or a splashing water roller coaster on a hot summer day – take your pick!
While all three rides are unique and entertaining in their own right, it can be difficult to choose between them if you are in a time crunch! Worry not; this list of Islands of Adventure Orlando water rides is ordered based on popularity to make it easy for you to make your choice.
We have also listed some water playgrounds and attractions that can be visited with toddlers or little kids who cannot ride the Islands of Adventure water rides due to height restrictions.
Islands of Adventure Water Rides: The big three
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Jurassic Park: River Adventure
River Adventure, located in Jurassic Park, the largest of the six islands in Islands of Adventure, tells an enthralling dino-themed story with an iconic drop.
The Jurassic Park water ride is based off the 1993 film and is most well-known for its incredibly realistic audio-animatronics. Beginning with a nice and smooth lazy river ride, the experience quickly builds itself into quite the terrifying one!
You begin the ride on a tour boat that floats on tranquil waters through the giant Jurassic Park gate, while an introductory video plays in the queue. Once through the gate, you hear the Jurassic Park soundtrack playing in the background and start to feel like you are taking a calm tour through a real-life Jurassic Water World.
Just as you get comfortable taking in the different ecosystems and start gazing in awe at the prehistoric creatures, your boat is knocked off course by a loose Hadrosaur! You experience breaches caused by a Velociraptor and Dilophosaurus in quick succession before the ultimate finale.
Brace yourself as a gigantic (and realistic) Tyrannosaurus rex comes bearing down on you with her enormous teeth bared! The Island of Adventure ride ends with you and your family narrowly escaping the fearsome giant by way of the ride’s 85-foot drop that plunges you into the water below!
Although queues are usually long for this famous Islands of Adventure water ride, you can definitely rely on the mysterious walkway and tropical scenery to keep you entertained. Spend some time checking out the miniature model of Jurassic Park while you wait and prepare yourself for what’s to come!
When it comes to the actual “water” aspect of this ride, it is unquestionably one of the best in Orlando due to how much it soaks riders consistently throughout the journey. Try to get front-row seats on your boat if you like getting wet.
If you instead want to try your best to stay dry (no guarantees), you can opt for seats at the back as it is less likely you will get as wet sitting back there.
Once you are done with the ride, you can dry off at the dryer station that is large enough to fit three adults at once. If you don’t want to spend time and money on this, wear a poncho when you board the ride or carry a change of clothes for after the ride.
Even though it’s one of the best Universal Orlando water rides, it can still be a little too scary for younger kids, even if they are technically tall enough to ride (42″). However, teens and brave tweens accompanied by a trusted adult are guaranteed to have a blast! The park has a child swap program for parents who are visiting with their toddlers and infants in tow.
Dudley Do-Right’s Ripsaw Falls
Located in the most happening section of the park, Toon Lagoon, this log flume ride is based on the Dudley Do-Right Show’s characters. If you love roller coasters, you will be delighted to know that this Islands of adventure water ride is pretty much just that: a water roller coaster!
The ride follows a relatively simple story that begins when you board a four-person canoe and watch the damsel in distress, Nell Fenwick, get kidnapped from her dressing room! Dudley Do-Right takes you on an exciting journey full of twists and turns as he tries to rescue Nell from his nemesis Snidely.
Laugh along to the parodies of other attractions and humorous one-liners, until the canoe suddenly drops in a big splash!
The ride has three drops in total, the last of which is a scary 75-foot drop that descends from a steep 45-degree to 50-degree angle. After that, the ride falls into a “dangerous” dynamite shack, and riders are lifted off their seats as they hover over a small slope!
Before its descent below sea level in the final explosive flume, the ride takes passengers through indoor and outdoor ride segments that feature a few small drops.
If you have ridden Disney’s log flume ride, Splash Mountain, this ride will be familiar to you, except that there are no sinking logs here. And unlike with other Islands of Adventure water rides, there is no way to avoid getting soaked on this one.
Whichever seat you choose, you are guaranteed to leave fully drenched! In fact, aside from the splash zones during the ride itself, spectators on the overlook bridge can also spray water onto you at a small cost. As usual, the front seats are the ones to choose for the wettest experience.
Keep in mind that this is one of the most popular rides in Islands of Adventure. Due to this, the staff may rush you to get seated quickly when boarding the ride. To get a feel for the seats before you board, try out the test vehicle at the ride’s entrance.
The ride has a minimum height requirement of 44 inches and has a few scary parts too, so very young children are better off skipping this one. Teens and pre-teens over 11 will enjoy the thrilling bits and the water splashes.
Universal Express Pass will be very valuable for this ride since it’s one of the most popular Universal water rides. But it’s no cause for worry if you don’t have it since the queue is made fun with the help of various scenes from the story that you can walk through.
Check out Snidely Whiplash plotting his kidnapping and then spend a little time at the movie theater that showcases movie parodies to keep you entertained.
Popeye & Bluto’s Bilge-Rat Barges
Popeye & Bluto’s Bilge-Rat Barges is another water ride in the Toon Lagoon area of Islands of Adventure.
While this ride isn’t as thrilling as the first two, it definitely has the cutest storyline, so eat some spinach to gain strength and buckle in for a fun ride. Sail along with the iconic sailor man, Popeye, as he chases after the goof Bluto in a circular raft boat.
Bluto distracts the riders as he kidnaps Olive Oyl once again, sending you on a mission through rushing rapids in a thrilling rescue mission that ends in a humorous yet semi-thrilling drop.
Although a little dated, Popeye’s ride in Islands of Adventure is still a popular Universal Orlando water ride. Keep your eyes peeled for plenty of visual puns and signage jokes, and the distraction, an 18-foot octopus. You’ll see that it might have been based on the Popeye movie that starred Robin Williams.
A large number of water guns and cannons, raging rapids, splashes of water, and spectacular dips and drops along the route will ensure you stay drenched throughout the ride. Even a poncho couldn’t protect you from this one!
Having said that, the Popeye ride at Islands of Adventure is one of the most family-friendly Islands of Adventure water rides, perfect for a hot Florida afternoon. As long as your kid is above the required height of 42″, you can take them on the Islands of Adventure Popeye ride since it isn’t as scary as it is funny! Despite involving a lot of water, this ride has no terrifying drops or plunges.
Pro tip: Bring a change of clothes for after the ride and instead of shoes, carry a pair of flip-flops to wear during water rides.
Other Water-themed Attractions at Islands of Adventure
Running from one Islands of Adventure ride to another on a hot summer’s afternoon can be exhausting, especially with little kids below the 42″ height requirement! That’s where play areas and water shows come to the rescue. Luckily, Islands of Adventure has plenty of play areas to keep your little ones occupied.
Play Area: Me Ship, the Olive
If you have little ones who are fans of Popeye but too short for Bilge-Rat Barges, bring them to this fun and interactive playground based on the same cartoon show to blow their minds!
Named after Popeye’s one true love, Olive, this ship is a three-layered interactive playground that is filled with rope ladders, water cannons, crawl spaces, punching bags, bells, buttons, horns, stairs, and slides! Kids will love navigating through the levels using the stairs, slides, and ropes.
Although the play area appears to be tied up at the dock and like it might lean to one side at any second, there’s no need to worry, as this is only an illusion. It’s not even a real boat, after all. The ship has a cargo section on the 2nd level that is, of course, full of Spinach!
Once kids reach the ship’s top level, they get to shoot water at the unsuspecting riders of Popeye & Bluto’s Bilge-Rat Barges’ below using the huge cannon! Kids will also enjoy putting their piano skills to the test on the top deck where a piano’s keys are painted to the tune of Popeye the Sailor. Once they are done exploring, kids get to slide down to the lower deck.
Tucked into a corner of Toon lagoon in Islands of Adventure, this play area is accessible to everyone. Plus, no queue! And if you have tiny toddlers who may not be able to walk around on the ship, the Sweet Pea’s Playpen with oversized stuffed toys is perfect for them.
Ride: One Fish, Two Fish, Red Fish, Blue Fish
Hop onto a Dr. Seuss flying fish and glide around a little pond with your little ones. The ride features a number of water fountains strategically placed around the sides of the ride.
Turn, spin, and swoop by following the instructions of the music, and you might be able to step out of the ride without a drop of water on your clothes (if that’s what you want!). Kids will love using the easy-to-use control features to make an adorable yet daring escape from the spraying water fountains.
Located in the Seuss Landing area of Islands of Adventure, this interactive circle ride is quite similar to the popular Walt Disney World’s Dumbo attraction. If your children are new to the water rides at Universal Orlando, starting with this ride will prepare them for the other water rides.
Kids of all ages can enjoy this ride, but those under 48″ need to be accompanied by an adult. If you have the Express pass, you can use it here to skip the queue!
Play Area: Camp Jurassic
Located across from Jurassic Park River Adventure Orlando, Camp Jurassic is a dinosaur-themed play area set within a thick “jungle”.
The multi-level prehistoric playground is packed with a variety of exciting features, like slides, nets, suspension bridges, and even secret tunnels complete with squirting fountains and water cannons! Kids love cross-swinging across the suspension bridges and scaling the dinosaur-capture nets.
If you have young children, go early in the morning when the ground is foggy to enhance their experience! While there is no height restriction, this play area may be a little too intense for toddlers.
Show: Poseidon’s Fury
If you are a Greek mythology fanatic, bring your kids to this show to expose them to the beauty of the mystical Greek Gods! Located in the Lost Continent, this explosive under-the-sea adventure live-action show lasts 25 minutes long.
During each experience, it makes use of over 200 unique flame effects and four different types of lasers.
The attraction appropriately conveys the god of the sea, Poseidon’s fury, with water cannons, mist screens, mortars, and more! With live action and special effects but no height requirement, the attraction takes you on an archaeological expedition that is best suited for kids that are old and brave enough to enjoy them.
Enter this walk-through indoor attraction and get drawn into the ancient temple of Poseidon. After venturing deep beneath the ocean, you will find yourself in the middle of a titanic conflict between Poseidon and the wicked Lord Darkennon. In this breathtaking spectacle, water spurts all around you as fireballs and laser flashes are thrown around.
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