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Universal Orlando Resort (USO, IOA) Discussion Thread

P. 604: Universal's Epic Universe construction resuming!

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Is there anything in this to justify why there is the drip track or spike. I heard this rollercoaster has narration so have they gone with telling the riders everything instead of showing?

The reverse spike is justified with a (narrated) loss of power to the motorcycle causing you to roll back, and the drop track is based around the Devil's Snare, a plant within the Harry Potter stories that becomes restrictive if you struggle but lets you drop right through if you relax.

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I like how they build a roller coaster in the same time it took them to built new lockers for Harry Potter.   

On Sunday I ventured out to the Universal Orlando Resort for a chance to see the new holiday offerings at the two parks. This year is a little different thanks to COVID-19, but Universal has still man

I mean, who wouldn't want to wait on line for the amazing new King Kong Parking Lot Mayhem attraction? 

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Big Grizzly Mountain is great at explaining visually why it has a backwards section and its launch with the cable snap or the dynamite. Is there anything in this to justify why there is the drip track or spike. I heard this rollercoaster has narration so have they gone with telling the riders everything instead of showing?

Yes, you are supposed to be going up a hill and the bike sputters out and goes backwards. I rode it three times and I BARELY heard the audio of what it was supposed to say. Hagrid says something (I believe) to "Oh, you've lost power..." and then go backwards out of control (apparently) into the drop track building. There is nothing (that I noticed) visually that explains why you are going up the spike and then backwards again.

Edited by robbalvey
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So now the question, for myself, is how this thing runs at night with lighting everywhere?

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it was actually pretty fun at night! Let's be honest... there wasn't that much to see on the ride anyway!

 

So riding it at night with little lighting other than the motorbike lights was just a fun run through the trees.

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It looks like a really cool coaster... but could they not have invested some time and money into disguising the big shed rather than just painting a picture on the outside of it? It really ruins the immersion! The theming is impressive everywhere else... you'd think they would have tried to hide the object that is the most jarring a little better.

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^ Well, you are going backwards at that point. And in the dark, it probably won't even be noticed.

Still, I understand the lack of "atmospheric theming" there on that bldg's wall. They could have

gone a bit more "realistic" with it.

 

P.S. I'm talking about that drop-track bldg. Is that what your post is about? Pardon, if it isn't.

 

And I forgot.....^ "SPOILER ALERT".

Edited by Nrthwnd
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From the sounds of it, Hagrid's seems a bit disappointing (theming wise)

 

If this theming is disappointing then I must be missing something????

It is 100% disappointing theming wise. That was my biggest issue with it. Did you read my review? The animatronic figures are so brief that you see them about as long as you see Everest's Yeti. And other than drop track part of the ride, which I also thought lacked a "wow" moment in theming, you're mostly just meandering the outside portion through some trees. Like, honestly the theming isn't that much more than when Ninja at Six Flags Magic Mountain had lots of trees around it!

 

 

I'd say it's a *little* more themed than Verbolten and a lot less themed than Taron. Which, IMO, is "disappointing" considering the property it is based on.

 

They kept calling this a "story coaster" but I'm kind of at a loss for where the "story" is other than the pre-show and the audio that was difficult to hear while on the ride.

 

Hearing that it cost $300 million changes everything.... Wow!! Definitely should be more than just trees for that much. Also, I’m from Southern California where outside of Disneyland our best themed coaster is probably Manta at SWSD, so obviously I don’t have much to go off of.

To be honest, I was expecting Hagrid's to be a bit more like Big Grizzly Mountain (which fixes a lot of the issues that Everest had.) Here, click this link and watch our Grizzly video starting from this point:

 

On that ride, each of the "story elements" you can clearly see and understand while on the ride. You don't fly by it so fast that you don't know what is going on. And the area has some REALLY unique theming and rock work. To someone who asked "is it kinda hard to really theme an outside coaster of this proportion?" my answer is "not at all." I mean, just look at Big Grizzly or Radiator Springs Racers.

 

Those are the examples that Hagrid's should have been looking at for the bar they needed to reach. What they produced doesn't even COME CLOSE to those attractions. And also having been on Tron... OMG when that ride opens at Magic Kingdom, it is going to BLOW HAGRID'S AWAY! It might be a shorter ride, but HOLY CRAP, the theming inside that Tron building is CRAZY!

 

Seriously, Universal knew Tron was coming. Why did they fall so short on the theming of Hagrid's? Like, did they not go to Shanghai and ride that coaster? Or even watch a video of it???

 

I have been an avid reader of this site for years and I don’t understand why you are so jaded toward Universal even when they do well. You have complained at lengths about the screens at Universal and they went the complete opposite direction with this attraction. You go out of the way to paint a picture of no theming meanwhile the ruins, the large number of animatronics, the sounds of the motorcycle, etc. The ride is not perfect, it seems to go to fast around the sets, and off course dueling dragons was in a league of its own but then stopped running in its true form. This is coming from someone who spends vacations in Orlando 7 days at Disney, 2 at Universal I note.

I have seen only positive to very positive reviews from both potter and non potter fans, only negative review came from this site. You gotta give credit where it’s due some time, and give a fair shake even though you might not connect to it as much as potter fans.

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If this was actually 300 million dollars to build that is crazy! Does anyone know how much it cost to build some of the other highly themed coasters that are out there (Everest, Big Grizzly, Tron, etc.)? I'm kind of interested to see how it compares.

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I was just wondering, is it kinda hard to really theme an outside coaster of this proportion?

 

It's all in the landscaping and fake rock work.

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I have been an avid reader of this site for years and I don’t understand why you are so jaded toward Universal even when they do well. You have complained at lengths about the screens at Universal and they went the complete opposite direction with this attraction. You go out of the way to paint a picture of no theming meanwhile the ruins, the large number of animatronics, the sounds of the motorcycle, etc. The ride is not perfect, it seems to go to fast around the sets, and off course dueling dragons was in a league of its own but then stopped running in its true form. This is coming from someone who spends vacations in Orlando 7 days at Disney, 2 at Universal I note.

I'm am not "jaded" towards Universal, in fact, it's just the opposite. I like their parks and I would like to see them produce amazing attractions! Did you read my review of Hagrid's? It doesn't appear that you did because it is not negative at all, in fact, it is quite a positive review. Here, I'll link you to it so you can read it:

 

https://themeparkreview.com/forum/viewtopic.php?p=1909891#p1909891

 

I said my **ONE** major criticism of the ride (which I'm allowed to have, you know?) is that it was not themed as much as I thought it would be. I never painted a picture of "no theming." In fact the only person in this conversation that has said that is you.

 

My expectation of theming was set pretty high, though, to be honest. After hearing the attraction being called a "Story Coaster" and having been on many other outdoor themed rides: Taron, Radiator Springs Racer, Big Grizzly Mountain, just to name a few, and knowing that they will have some pretty stiff competition in the "motorbike coaster" category soon with Tron opening, I'll be honest, I was expecting Universal to knock this one out of the park.

 

Overall, the ride itself looks great. The themed elements that are there are a nice touch. But my opinion still stands that it is the one area that was lacking the most. I legit expected more of a "show scene" in certain areas, and what we got were some figures scattered throughout the track area that you don't see for very long, and when you did get to an indoor show scene, it wasn't that much of an improvement over Verbolten, Thirteen, or Darkmare, which also have similar drop-track indoor themed sections.

 

With as much as they hyped up the theming, the "story coaster" and the animatronics, I expected more in that department.

 

I have seen only positive to very positive reviews from both potter and non potter fans, only negative review came from this site. You gotta give credit where it’s due some time, and give a fair shake even though you might not connect to it as much as potter fans.

 

In my review I also put the disclaimer that my comments come from a more experienced roller coaster rider and I do have to remember that the majority of the people who have ridden the coaster today or at the media event have probably never been on a coaster with a drop-track feature. I have been on six over the past 14 years. Many of those people probably have not been able to experience the amazing theming on Taron or have ridden other "story" based thrill attractions like Big Grizzly Mountain, Radiator Springs Racers, or Journey to the Center of the Earth. I've also been on several different "motorbike" coasters including the only other coaster in the world that features a bike and a side car as well as having ridden Tron at Shanghai Disneyland. So my basis of comparison is going to be much broader and so is my level of expectations.

 

Honestly, I expected this ride, theming wise, to blow all those I mentioned out of the water. And the end result was that it was "good enough."

 

The coaster itself is a lot of fun. My review was not "negative." And I'm very, VERY happy that this is a departure from a "Screen based" attraction. I don't know why you're getting so defensive.

 

EDIT:

Watch this video of Taron:

My expectations of Hagrid's is that would be more themed that this coaster. And it wasn't. It wasn't as thrilling or as well themed as Taron. I'm not being "negative" I'm just stating my thoughts based on having ridden both coasters.

Edited by robbalvey
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If this was actually 300 million dollars to build that is crazy! Does anyone know how much it cost to build some of the other highly themed coasters that are out there (Everest, Big Grizzly, Tron, etc.)? I'm kind of interested to see how it compares.

Expedition Everest was reportedly $100 million in 2006, or approximately $127 million adjusted for 2018 inflation. Universal's $300 million number might also include necessary demolition work for Dragon Challenge.

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Cool, it's opened! Now we can focus on the upcoming Jurassic Park coaster Which...should be a more fitting 'replacement' for the thrill/intense coaster void, right?

 

I'm curious on everyone's thoughts to this:

Would you have rather seen Universal put in a Dueling Dragons-thrill level Harry Potter coaster instead of Hagrid's and then add a family thrill for the Jurassic Park coaster? Or how it's currently looking to progress with the family coaster (Hagrid) and the thrill coaster for Jurassic Park?

 

I think the Hagrid family coaster is an appropriate addition for its audience. Based off what I've seen, do I think the park could have done quite a bit better with immersing the riders into a story? Absolutely. But think about the story-line the ride before it had...

 

That being said, has ANYONE considered the Jurassic Park coaster being a B&M Flying Dinosaur like the one in Japan? IMO that would make up BIG TIME for the removal of Dueling Dragons and satisfy those who don't find the Hagrid coaster a valid replacement.

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Regarding the lack of theming, is it a possibility that they had the hard date for this coaster to be up and running by, and they simply didn't allocate themselves enough time to do everything that they wanted to do? Is it possible that somewhere down the line they can end up adding more stuff inside the building? Or is it for all intents and purposes complete as is?

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If this was actually 300 million dollars to build that is crazy! Does anyone know how much it cost to build some of the other highly themed coasters that are out there (Everest, Big Grizzly, Tron, etc.)? I'm kind of interested to see how it compares.

Expedition Everest was reportedly $100 million in 2006, or approximately $127 million adjusted for 2018 inflation. Universal's $300 million number might also include necessary demolition work for Dragon Challenge.

 

Radiator Springs Racers cost $200 million and the theming on that is incredible.

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IIRC Diagon Alley's entire budget was $253 million. I seriously doubt this one ride 5 years later was bigger than that. People are just making up numbers. I was once on Twitter by some Disney stan told that Luigis Flying Tires cost over $100 million, LOL.

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IIRC Diagon Alley's entire budget was $253 million. I seriously doubt this one ride 5 years later was bigger than that. People are just making up numbers. I was once on Twitter by some Disney stan told that Luigis Flying Tires cost over $100 million, LOL.

Exactly. I don't actually think the number matters as much as the outcome of the ride experience. And I'll just sum up my thoughts here in an easy to digest bullet-point format since people seem to be putting words in my mouth:

 

- Overall, the ride is fun... a lot of fun.

 

- What is there on the ride looks great.

 

- If you are expecting a ride as thrilling or as intense as Dueling Dragons, this is not your ride.

 

- If you like coasters such as Taron or Cheetah Hunt, you will most likely enjoy this coaster as well.

 

- I'm VERY HAPPY this is not a screen based attraction.

 

- While the theming that is there looks "good" I did expect more from it based on how much they were hyping the figures, the "story coaster" and the indoor section. And that's really the only part of the ride that didn't live up to expectations.

Edited by robbalvey
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Its universal...and harry potter world to boot. Given that, and the stats and few pics/vids we had I expected a fun, though nothing mindblowing, super immersive and well done experience though not anything that intense or WOW in terms of the actual coaster.

 

Seems to be what we have.

Which hey, its an Orlando Park and in a more family area. This is a perfect fit. It seems fun, Im not stoked or anything but I cant wait to ride.

will not wait 10 hours

 

Edit: and yeah like many others it will be hard for me to get over "this is cool but I cant believe they replaced DD with this"

its a shame but well, parks don't cater to us enthusiasts, though they should!

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Edit: and yeah like many others it will be hard for me to get over "this is cool but I cant believe they replaced DD with this" its a shame but well, parks don't cater to us enthusiasts, though they should!

For me it's more the fact that *usually* when a park removes a coaster, it's a ride that is tired, worn out, not running well, people ride once and forget about, or something that was never good to begin with.

 

In the case of Dueling Dragons, that ride has been ranked in the top ten world's best roller coasters! And yes, I know that they stopped dueling it (which I disagree that it couldn't have been made to duel again), but I rode those coasters a week before they closed and I still say they ran just as good as when they opened. OMG. I had a BALLS OUT ride in the back row on Fire Dragon at night about a week before it closed. It was still AWESOME. Easily one of the best inverts out there with the likes of Nemesis, Batman, Montu, and some of the earlier B&M inverts.

 

And that same day, I watched people RUN out of the queue and RUN to get back in line. Here I was in September of 2017 and I watching people run around the queue to "Dragon Hop" just like we did in 1999. Exactly the same. No different. Oh, except instead of running back in line in 1999, in 2017 it was: Run... stop at the metal detector... run some more...

 

I get that rides don't stick around forever, parks aren't museums, and I'm actually "fine" overall with the decision, because parks do what they need to do. It just seemed odd to me that when a park has a ride that has been categorized as "one of the best of it's kind in the world" and people are still RUNNING around to re-ride it, wouldn't you want to do SOMETHING to have that stay in your park?

 

When was the last time a park tore down a "top ten" coaster that was STILL running amazing the day it closed?

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Edit: and yeah like many others it will be hard for me to get over "this is cool but I cant believe they replaced DD with this" its a shame but well, parks don't cater to us enthusiasts, though they should!

 

And that same day, I watched people RUN out of the queue and RUN to get back in line. Here I was in September of 2017 and I watching people run around the queue to "Dragon Hop" just like we did in 1999. Exactly the same. No different. Oh, except instead of running back in line in 1999, in 2017 it was: Run... stop at the metal detector... run some more...

 

Were you still able to "Dragon Hop" with the fluffy bunnies having a timer on them? Or was it too time constrictive?

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Were you still able to "Dragon Hop" with the fluffy bunnies having a timer on them? Or was it too time constrictive?

At the end of the night, absoultely! I probably rode each side at least twice that night. I think I took two rides on Fire and three rides on Ice. (I was always an Ice fan!) I think I did that in about an hour!

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Thanks for the photos, videos and detailed review!

 

Seeing the 600 minute wait time listed, well that certainly shows the passion for coasters at Universal. Lot of pent up demand. In my opinion, they did drop the ball on not keeping Fire & Ice. On the Forbidden Journey ride, Hagrid actually asks the riders about a Dragon. Would have been perfect opportunity to have the Hagrid coaster interact with Fire & Ice. If they really spent the kind of money, and Everest is an much more visually impressive structure for 1/3 the cost, I think they need better project management.

 

On the positive side, the trees are nice and the vehicles are well designed. Will be a good family style coaster for years to come.

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Seeing the 600 minute wait time listed, well that certainly shows the passion for coasters at Universal.

Personally, I see an obsession with the Harry Potter I.P. in that wait time, rather than a passion for coasters.

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