One night (Starting at 6 PM) at Islands of Adventure - - - Please Guide Me

Ok, we leave for Florida on Wednesday. I will be doing the family thing all week, with the exception of a solo night at Islands of Adventure. (I've never been there before.)

Since I'm not staying on property, What is the best way to maximize my night there? Should I get tix at the hotel before I get there? Should I sacrifice the flavor of a park I don't know (but have heard a lot about) for quick credit on main attractions? Do I need a Q-bot type of admission add-on?

I will say that I am hard to describe in terms of preferences. I love coasters and fun flats. I also like water rides / slides. I do hate waiting on line, though I realize that it's a required annoyance. Since time is limited, I won't be having a sit-down dinner at the park.

Also - Can I also fit in Universal too, or am I totally being unrealistic.

Thanks in advance. You guys (& gals) have always come through.

Here's To Shorter Lines & Longer Trip Reports!

I hate to be the bearer of bad news but have you checked the operating hours at the park for the rest of August? It closes at 7pm. USF closes at 8pm.

An hour at IOA? If that hour were the first hour of the day you would be able to go on 3-5 rides. In the last hour you'll be lucky to get in 2 rides.

And if you're talking about pulling into the parking garage at 6pm you probably wouldn't be at the turnstile until about 6:20pm to 6:30pm.

They may still have the "shopping pass" available which may work for you as you get a free hour in the park for "shopping" (though they charge you for a full one-day ticket, and refund it if you do come back within the hour). I wouldn't chance it, though. IOA is such a unique park that you really shouldn't rush it.

If you don't think you will be in Orlando again soon, you should really try to squeeze a morning at least in there instead of grabbing the Chik-fil-a sampler of a tour you would get in 60 minutes or less.

rollergator's avatar
The studios are open 'til 8pm, Richie, but I tend to agree that you're really going to miss out on IoA/USF that way. If you want to quick "cre-ho" the place, Hulk's got SR lines, as do Dr. Doom and Spidey....but DD is all the way in the back of the park, has no SR lines, and is virtually out of the question unless you're willing to skip the other stuff OR if you can squeeze 2 hours' MINIMUM at the place. Also, P-Flyers is inaccessible without a child unless you arrive FIRST thing in the a.m.

Mummy and MIB have SR lines, helping out at universal. The other "credit" there, Woody Woodpecker (WWNHC), usually has short lines, but they move SLOWLY.

Unrealistic? Unfortunately, yes. it takes 15 minutes minimum to get from the lot to the entrance gates of either park unless you're sprinting. Bottom line: You need more time. I've never tried the shopper's pass thingy, but it MIGHT be possible to knock out Mummy and MIB via SR and *maybe* even nab MIB once inside an hour, but that is PUSHING it.

Let me know if you can make adjustments, always happy to help out when it comes to "my" park(s)...LOL! :)
*** Edited 8/21/2006 2:19:09 PM UTC by rollergator***


I don't know why I thought that the park was open until ten or eleven. (It's FLorida. It's Summer. Disney's Magic Kingdom is usually open until The parade and Fireworks, The Fastasmic Show at MGM and Illuminations at Epcot.) Heck - back home - even 6FlagsGreatAdv is open until ten.

I am guilty of a noobie error. (I will assume the position if I can chew on a fan belt).

Sure we tell everyone to "Check Out The Website First." I did...but only to look at the attractions. One more click would have told me "Forget it dude."

I guess that Universal wants everyone to spend money along thier city walk.

OK...same scenario...what would you do for coaster thrills or water park fun on a weeknight in Orlando? (6PM - 11 PM).

Here's To Shorter Lines & Longer Trip Reports!

Limited options off the top of my head...

Can you get to Tampa? Busch should be open to at least 10:00 pm. They have been advertising the "Summer Nights" promotion this year.

What about heading to Old Town? The coaster is not much...but it is a credit. The place has some atmosphere. Check though...the coaster was down in July.

For waterpark...your only choice left is Wet N Wild unless you re staying on Disney property and just happen to luck into a Extra Magic hour night which are few and far between for the waterparks! Wet N Wild is teen dominated at night so expect to feel out of place unless you are young and buff. :)

I think Cypress Gardens might stay open until 10:00...? They have quite a few coasters...but they are mostly small ones. Their water park is limited and may close early.

Your options are rather limited I must say IF you have to do the coasters.

I always enjoy World Showcase at Epcot in the evening myself...but I would NEVER pay full admission for it.

Do you Scuba Dive? You can do Divequest at Living Seas Epcot which is the best thing I've done in Orlando. I think 6:00 is when the last group goes.

...and Sea World is always and option. That place is a blast at night. Just skip the shows and you should see most animals. Kraken never has a line. Ride it until your hearts desire. Again...cost may screw you...but it should compete with IOA in price.

rollergator's avatar
Summer Nights ended, I think it ran thru August 1. I got one night out of it this year, and Gwazi WAS running "as good as Gwazi gets"...c'mon, M-Flyers... :)

Old Town has a Windstorm and a kiddie (Dragon Wagon), FWIW...

To do Divequest at EPCOT don't you have to purchase park admission also?
Busch Gardens or Cypress Gardens may be a bit of a haul (an hour for Busch each way, 45 minutes to CG each way).

You can still have plenty of fun in the area.

Go to Downtown Disney and hit DisneyQuest (opens till midnight on Friday-Saturday, till 11pm the rest of the week) and you have a decent coaster simulator in the second floor (Cyberspace Mountain) and one of the cooler arcade games in Pirates on the ground floor. It's a 5-story arcade, pay one price (about $30) to get in for as long as you'd like. You may also want to catch an early show at Comedy Warehouse if you like improv comedy while you're there.

Old Town is a cheap date. It's free to get in an you pay by the ride. The Windstorm coaster in the back is, well, it's a coaster in the back. However, for about $30 or so you can do the G-Force attraction where you hop into a dragster and go 115 mph on a straight track (no, you don't get to actually drive it). Though if you want to drive, the Tom Petty experience in the Magic Kingdom parking lot may open a little later in the summer (don't know the hours there, sorry).

6pm is probably too late for the airboat rides if you need another adrenaline rush. Depending on where you're staying you probably have a decent arcarde, go-kart, skycoaster, mini golf, entertainment center nearby. Dinner shows aplenty. Skull Kingdom. Another rare treat is Skyventure the skydiving simulator (actually a wind tunnel). I think that one's in the $30-$35 range as well.

There's PLENTY to do in Orlando after 6. Just drive down International Drive. There's Skyventure, the indoor skydiving place, Old Town (including the 300' skycoaster if you're a loony), and various other touristy things.
rollergator's avatar
^^ ROFL....Tom Petty vs. Richard Petty, that's some fun confusion in there... :)

Sad that I-Drive lost the Skyscraper Katanga, but it was WAY overpriced...yet to try out the StarFlyer, it was down the last time I found myself alone in Orlando...

Ha! I can imagine a different kind of "Tom Petty Experience" in the MK parking lot! Sorry about that.

Running down a typo? The Waiting (as a theme for a crowded summer Saturday)?

That's a heartbreaker.

Richie Reflux said:

I don't know why I thought that the park was open until ten or eleven. (It's FLorida. It's Summer. Disney's Magic Kingdom is usually open until The parade and Fireworks, The Fastasmic Show at MGM and Illuminations at Epcot.) Heck - back home - even 6FlagsGreatAdv is open until ten.

I am guilty of a noobie error. (I will assume the position if I can chew on a fan belt).

Sure we tell everyone to "Check Out The Website First." I did...but only to look at the attractions. One more click would have told me "Forget it dude."

I guess that Universal wants everyone to spend money along thier city walk.

Yeah, when I first moved to Orlando in January, and started visiting the parks frequently in the subsequent months, one of the first things I noticed was how stingy the Universal parks are regarding night operation. Night hours are really hard to find except in absolute peak seasons.

Even on the tourist infomercials found in the local hotels, the Uni clips say something like, "and when the sun goes down and the parks close, the fun is just getting started, come to City Walk etc."

So yes, I agree, it seems they are pushing City Walk as the nightime destination at the expense of the parks, and missing the boat as far as the nightime parkgoing market.

This strategy backfires on me, though, because whenever I visit an Orlando park that closes early, I simply use one of my season passes to "park hop" to ANOTHER park that is still open for some nightime magic! This is usually one of the Disney parks, especially the Magic Kingdom, as that is my favorite and is usually open the latest, making hopping there from other destinations the most feasable.

I am very impressed with the emphasis on nightime operation/entertainment at three of the Disney parks nearly 365 days a year! The Premium Annual Pass I bought is worth every penny IMO.


rollergator's avatar
"It's Florida, fer cryin' out loud...get these tourists OUT of the parks and back out spending money in other places...they've HAD their daytime at the park!"

Seriously, other than Summer Nights, dark rides in FL are just plain hard to come by...I'd throw some more money at IoA for some nighttime hours, but Halloween and New Years' Eve seem to be the only other times to get some rides after dark....or staying on-site at Disney... ;)

Must be nice to have parks open til 10-11 pm regularly during the season... ;)

*** Edited 8/22/2006 6:26:36 PM UTC by rollergator***

Yes, I actually stayed a couple nights on Disney property so I could experience Everest after dark!

This was because it was generally never open to the public except during daylight hours due to the AK closing early.

I find I can often get a pretty good night experience at the other 3 Disney parks though even without the Extra Magic Hours program for resort guests.

Especially at the MK which is usually open late enough for fireworks and one or even two Spectro parades on at least a few nights a week, with Spectro running nightly during peak seasons.

The 9 PM summer closing at Epcot doesn't have much night operation in the summer (just long enough to get dark enough for Illuminations), but since this park generally has a fixed 9 PM closing year round, I found myself with plenty of time to enjoy the after dark atmosphere in the winter and early spring, and this would of course be true for fall as well.

I agree that I would like to see Busch Gardens add more night hours. I went a few times during March when they had spring break hours, and got to experience most coasters after dark, with multiple laps on Gwazi in the last hour (well, not THAT many laps, but that had more to do with the "slow as molasses" loading proceedure than any crowds. ;) It was near walk-on and I was getting at least 2 laps per side for each time I queued due to the Platinum Pass re-ride privelidge).

I usually did Cypress Gardens on Friday or Saturday during the pre-summer "non peak" season and found the hours (10 PM close) pretty satisfying for the "night experience", and long lines were never a problem. I am seriously looking forward to the long-awaited rebirth of Starliner. I have fond memories of riding Starliner to MIDNIGHT at Miracle Strip, but that's another story!

On a positive note, the last I checked the schedule, AK was slated for some 8 PM closings in December near Christmas/New Years. And with the early sunset/standard time at that time of year, it will be a good chance for "locals" to experience Everest after dark without having to check into a WDW hotel ;)

Frontrider *** Edited 8/22/2006 8:46:30 PM UTC by Frontrider***

Thanks again everyone! I will try to convince the powers that be to do it as a family. Maybe we can get in, hit a few things, and then I will head back out late afternoon.

It does stink when your progeny wants to do it all, but is limited by his 45" length and his fear of dark rides.

Here's To Shorter Lines & Longer Trip Reports!

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