Universal Studios, Islands of Adventure

Last park out of seven for this trip! We’ve been on a whirlwind tour, that’s for sure. Min decided to opt out of the park today and wanted to stay at the AirBNB to take it easy before our flight back on Tuesday. We missed her company but totally understood!

Same song, second verse when it came to arriving early — we had plans to go straight to the Harry Potter Hogsmeade section of the park in order to get in line for Hagrid’s Magical Creatures Motorbike Adventure. We all agreed that name is ENTIRELY too long. 😉 We just called it Hagrid from then on.

While waiting at the gate, we were told that Hagrid was down this morning. We had no idea when it would be up and running again, but we decided to bite the bullet and stand in line for it anyway, hoping that it would open before too long. Hagrid is known for super long waits — upwards of 3 hours sometimes. And that just wasn’t in our plans for the day.

At rope drop we hustled with everyone else to drop our bags in the lockers and get in line. Fortunately, the ride started running after only about 10 minutes and a lot of people had diverted to the other Harry Potter ride or elsewhere instead of standing in the questionable line. It worked out! It took us about 30 minutes to get to the front of the line.

Hagrid’s was a LOT of fun! It’s quite different than other coasters and has a lot of little surprises and accelerations throughout the track. However, about half way through the ride, everything stopped for about 2 minutes before the ride resumed. Since it didn’t work correctly, the staff members at the end of the ride allowed everyone in our carts to cycle right back to the front of the line to ride it again! Woohoo! The second time we rode it, we stopped just shy of the end for about 30 seconds. When we did actually pull in, we asked if we could go around again and they said “sure.” Three times!

The third time was the charm though, since the ride worked all the way through. We were all quite pleased though — we’d been able to ride Hagrid THREE TIMES in about an hour and were tickled pink. We were optimistically hoping for a second ride across the entire day, so this was a great start. 😉

Now we crossed Hogsmeade to get in line for Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey. It only took about 30 minutes to get to the front of this line too, thanks to lower crowd levels. Hooray for February! The Forbidden Journey was another example of a creative and unique ride and Universal did a nice job combining screens and movement to simulate the ride.

Again, the theming of this section of the park is spectacular — the Hogwarts castle sits up on a hill and the town of Hogsmeade is charming. We shared a cup of butterbeer (cream soda), which we all found super sweet.

We also caught one of the live shows of the “Hogwarts choir” and their singing toads. It was fun and cute!

From here we worked our way around the central lagoon — through Jurassic Park for the River Adventure and the Skull Island Reign of Kong ride. In Toon Lagoon, Keller and Kamy opted to ride the log flume called Ripsaw Falls and ended up quite wet. Caden and I were glad we sat it out!

We walked through the Marvel section of the park and the kids quickly did the drop tower before we left the park for lunch. Caden and I had hot dogs and Keller and Kamy got sandwiches from a different restaurant. Caden thought his foot long hot dog was funny — and he ate it all!

We returned to the park to ride the rest of the rides in the Marvel section — the Incredible Hulk large coaster for three of us (Caden wasn’t tall enough) and the spinning cups for the kids.

We also went to the Poseidon’s Fury experience and of course hit the Dr Seuss carousel on the way back to Hogsmeade again.

Our plan was to catch Hagrid one last time at the end of the day. Double bonus, we were able to go through fast enough that we could actually get into line a second time! By the end of the day we counted a total of FIVE rounds on Hagrid. Again, we finished off the park with our favorite ride.

What a great way to finish off the end of our trip! We left the park long after dark and significantly after closing time. I think we did all we could in our week in Florida!