Hello everyone, this is Julie and today I had the amazing opportunity to experience an opening of a new attraction at Universal Orlando Resort, I am talking, of course, about Hagrid’s Magical Creature Motorbike Adventure (Hagrid’s Adventure for short) at the Wizarding World of Harry Potter in Island’s of Adventure park.
This was a unique experience for me because I have never been to an opening of a ride at Universal, I have done plenty at Walt Disney World, Pandora, New Fantasyland and 7 Dwarfs Mine Train among others. I wasn’t sure how Universal would handle the crowds and the demand for a new Harry Potter attraction.
My day started very early, 3:30 am to be exact, headed out of the door around 4 am and started scanning social media for fellow fans that were on their way to Universal. I quickly learned that the parking garage was set to open at 5:30 am which gave me time to stop for some food, coffee and a potty break. Cars were actually parked on the side of Universal Blvd. waiting for the garage to open, at 5:30 am on the dot they did and I parked the car, went through bag check which at Universal is a breeze with metal detectors and x-ray machines for your bags and was at the entrance to Islands of Adventure by 5:45 am.
At 6 am Team Members started telling us that they would open the turnstiles in a staggered way, so that not everyone was going in at once and thus not create the mad rush to Hogsmead. I entered and fast walked (some people were running, rude) towards Hogsmead and made it very close to the actual entrance. Universal used barricades to control the lines.
And then the waiting game started, friendly neighbors allowed me to go to the restroom while they held my spot, Universal Team Members came through with Gilly Water for everyone for free and medical Team Members were on hand asking everyone how they were feeling.
Another quick scan through Twitter and I learned that the line actually got all the way to the entrance of Island’s Of Adventure and actually spilled outside. Thankfully the wait wasn’t too long and Team Members started letting people inside the queue at 8:30 am (9 am was official opening). Again they used the staggered, wave system. About 200-300 people at a time were allowed into the queue with the next wave about 5 minutes apart. This was brilliant since Universal utilizes lockers and it would’ve been a mad mess to get everyone in at the same time.
The queue pretty much follows the old Dragon Challenge queue through some caves and Hagrid’s classroom, here you actually get to see Hagrid and Arthur Weasley using some magic to get a motorbike with a companion seat ready to fly.
Unfortunately Mother Nature did not receive the memo that we wanted to ride as fast as possible and sent in some early thunderstorms which delayed our trip. Team Members again on hand inside the queue making sure everyone was alright and allowing people to go through back doors to use the facilities and be able to come back in.
The ride itself was brilliant. The ride vehicle has the motorbike and sidecar, I took the sidecar since I am a big wimp and felt more secure there than exposed in the bike. The loading system move constantly and when operating at full capacity this attraction has some real potential of loading and getting through people very fast. Once seated you pull your lap bar down and then, just like magic, we are off.
The first thing I though was “Wow this is fast” it felt at times faster than Test Track but having written a previous article on all the statistics I knew that it was 50MPH, still you can feel and hear the motorbike gathering speed, the turns are fun and it has a lot of them, no real rollercoaster drop like Expedition Everest but there is a portion where it goes backwards. You encounter many creatures, Fluffy, Fang, Hippogriffs, Centaurs, Unicorns and the Devil’s Snare, and if you remember from the movie and book this one needs an incantation to let you go, and it does, in the form of a vertical drop that comes completely out of the blue.
My 3 words to describe this attraction are: fun, fast and unexpected. It’s also the longest coaster in Florida at 3 min and 23 seconds. My only complaint is that Hagrid’s animatronic was static and I hope they can get him moving soon.
Grabbing my things out of the locker was very simple and I was pleasantly surprised that guests who did not want to ride Hagrid’s Adventure were able to come into Hogsmead through a side entrance while the majority of people going to the ride had the right side of the entrance.
All in all I am happy I decided to go that early, making a 5 hour line in the darkness of night and the coolness of the morning is much better than making a 5 hour line in the heat and humidity of the afternoon.
The attraction did clock in at 10 hour wait in the morning but it did go down, currently as I am writing this article it’s down because of weather.
I’m happy to say that Hagrid’s Magical Creature Motorbike Adventure is a great addition to Islands of Adventure and the Wizarding World of Harry Potter, and at $300 million, a good investment.