Yes, we did it. We waited in line for 2 hours and 45 minutes for the brand new Universal Studios Islands of Adventure ride, Hagrid’s Magical Creatures Motorbike Adventure. We are just really cool parents like that. Granted it said it was a 120 minute wait when I stepped through the gate. Was it worth the wait?
Let’s start at the beginning. The “ruins” that the ride is situated in are beautiful. The first section of the ride’s line is outdoors with a spectacular view of the rollercoaster track just before you enter the indoor part of the queue. It moved along quickly there. My daughter commented that it would be a long walk into the ride if there was no line.
Next you enter a stone room where you watch a little 4-D type introduction by Hagrid and Mr. Weasley. This is the most interesting and interactive area in the line. I got excited thinking that meant we were almost at the ride part. Nope.
The next part got a little unpleasant. We were ushered into a beautiful room with vaulted ceilings, to make room for the next group to watch the film. It was there that I realized what all the headlines declaring glitches in the ride experience were all about. The A/C was definitely broken. And this was a claustrophobic room with wall to wall people, moving up and down the room in four rows with chains in between. I lost count of the people that shoved me out of the way to get ahead or swore they had family way “up there” in the line. Hmmmm. Anyway. The longer we were in there, they sweatier the whole room got. It smelled like the gym. And this is a ride that you cannot bring anything on, so most people had stashed wallets and water bottles in a locker beforehand.
So what is Universal’s solution? They will SELL you drinks at the END of this room. So here I am carrying a now sleeping two year old that will not be able to ride this attraction because she is not tall enough. But I must carry her through this line and am not allowed to go directly to the child swap area. I am in a room swamped with sweaty bodies and a little water fountain or pricey bottled drinks I cannot get to until I leave the room after ONE HOUR. Universal, you should have bought a Costco pack of Dixie cups and passed out some ice water from an Igloo drink cooler, or something. This is why you are always a step behind Disney World (see how to make Disney into a field trip).
A perky employee bearing the name tag “J.C.” began to push past me on the way to somewhere. I asked him to make sure someone in charge knew the air was off. J. C. smarted off to me that his only concern is food and beverage. Say what?
So on his pushy cut back through the line I stopped his fellow employee, bearing the name tag “Nick”. “Nick,” I said, again with a smile, “can you make sure someone knows that the air is not working in here? Carrying a sleeping baby on my feet, in this heat is really starting to wear on me.” Nick answered, “I’m sorry ma’am. I work for the food and beverage department.” A slight improvement over J. C.
“Nick,” I blocked his path further as he was trying to wriggle by with that baloney for an answer. “I see you wear a radio. Surely that radio can contact someone outside the food and beverage department.” I am pretty sure he decided to humor me so I would move out of his way. It was VERY tight quarters in this line and he was not going anywhere without shoving me. Nick gave in, “I will let someone know that there is an air problem in here.”
Finally we were able to exit that horrific hall of perspiration and go down into a new section of the queue resembling a long, winding cave. At least there was air conditioning. I really thought there would have been more to see and do in the line of a brand new ride. But we are not in Disney World. There were a few magical creature posters and odd and ends at the end of the cave. At long last we reached the child swap area. The rest of the family had 20 more minutes of line. Rainbow Baby was awake after an hour nap in line. Again, they do not do much of anything interesting with the child swap area. A Harry Potter movie was playing, which alternately bored and frightened my two year old.
Then it was my turn to experience Hagrid’s Motorbike Adventure! My complaint with Universal Studios is that they do not have enough rollercoasters. I grow bored with the nauseating virtual reality rides. Universal must have finally listened and created what people really want. I feared this would be a wimpy Flight of the Hippogriff mini coaster.
Boy, was I surprised. This was an amazing ride! I don’t want to give away the details, but it was worth the wait (minus the hot, stinky part). Hagrid’s Adventure is fast, thrilling, has several great surprises. It is not that type where I am not sure if i just blacked out for a second, like The Hulk. It is more along the excitement lines of Animal Kingdom’s Everest or the pure fun of Hollywood Studios’ Rockin’ Rollercoaster. The motorbike element adds another level of entertainment. Be sure to lean forward and grab the handlebars for the full experience (unless you are in the sidecar). I would have liked a little more back or neck support, but that would have ruined the motorbike experience.
It is going to be the busiest thing at Islands of Adventure for a long time to come. And with good reason. It is a blast! Hagrid’s Motorbike Adventure is my new favorite rollercoaster.
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