Universal Islands of Adventure Celebrates 25 Monumental Years

On May 28, 1999, Universal Islands of Adventure opened to guests for the first time in Orlando, Florida. The park opened with six “islands” – Port of Entry, Seuss Landing™, The Lost Continent, Jurassic Park, Toon Lagoon, and Marvel Super Hero Island®. At its core, Islands of Adventure embodies the themes of exploration, innovation and immersion, and is a place where guests are surrounded by their favorite stories and characters.  

Universal Islands of Adventure – 1999

When the park first debuted, it featured attractions that were groundbreaking – for their time. The Incredible Hulk Coaster®, a high-speed launch coaster, was voted “Best Roller Coaster” by Discovery Channel viewers in its first year. Other fan-favorite attractions included: The Amazing Adventures of Spider-Man®, a 3D attraction; Jurassic Park River Adventure, a water expedition with dinosaur encounters; as well as The Cat in the Hat™, a spinning adventure with Dr. Seuss’ classic characters.  

Islands of Adventure introduced a new era of theme park immersion and storytelling on June 18, 2010 with the opening of The Wizarding World of Harry Potter™ – Hogsmeade™. This marked the largest park expansion in Islands of Adventure history. This highly anticipated land opened to rave reviews and featured multiple themed attractions, shops, and a restaurant – all faithful to the beloved films.  

The Wizarding World of Harry Potter™ set the stage for trailblazing experiences resortwide. In the last five years, the park has expanded and reached new heights with two award-winning attractions that raised the bar in technical innovation – Hagrid’s Magical Creatures Motorbike Adventure™ in 2019 and Jurassic World VelociCoaster in 2021. Jurassic World VelociCoaster, the newest attraction, reaches speeds up to 70 mph and heights of 155 feet – making it the tallest and fastest launch coaster in Florida. 

Islands of Adventure has not only developed cutting-edge attractions and shows but also authentic, high-quality dining experiences. From traditional theme park fare, to inventive food options and souvenir items like Butterbeer™, Islands of Adventure has food for every taste bud. One of the most popular dining locations is Mythos Restaurant. Mythos is inspired by Mediterranean, Asian, and American cuisine, and it has been recognized by TripAdvisor, USA Today, Orlando Sentinel and more for its mouthwatering, continuously evolving flavors.   

Throughout its 25-year journey, Islands of Adventure has brought guests into worlds of exciting stories that they can only find at Universal Orlando Resort. Whether it’s soaring with dueling dragons, splashing around on Toon Lagoon’s water rides, or flying alongside Harry Potter, Universal strives to continually innovate and elevate the guest experience. Islands of Adventure has loyalists and fans alike, currently holding the title of “World’s Best Theme Park” from Theme Park Insider. This is the ninth time the park has earned this recognition since 2002.    

Universal Islands of Adventure opening Team Members gathered for a commemorative photo.

It took countless Team Members working in-park and behind the scenes to bring the theme park to life – and in fact, there are more than 100 Team Members who helped open Islands of Adventure who are still working at Universal Orlando Resort today. Universal Destinations & Experiences is proud to celebrate these Team Members and the legacy of Islands of Adventure. Here’s to 25 more years of adventure! 

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