PKI Jizzman wrote:Great write up! It definitely sounds like it'll be my favorite at the resort, too. I haven't been keeping up with how it's doing now since I don't have a trip planned but yikes I hope Universal has learned its lesson. I really hope those who had an awful experience choose to go to another park because that type of experience would frustrate me as well.
Thanks! I'm planning on going back to Universal on Sunday and it seems to be running longer and more consistently. At last.
bert425 wrote:fantastic update, that I loved reading thru.
question on the Jimmy Fallon "ride". . .as someone who actively dislikes Fallon's "schtick". . . hated him on SNL, and NEVER watch the Tonight Show. . . . would I still enjoy the ride?
or is it SO MUCH FALLON that it would annoy me beyond being able to enjoy?
Thanks! If you hate Fallon, this is not the ride for you. I don't mind him and find it ok. It's definitely zany.
If you missed my previous report on Hagrid's, here's the short version.
We waited 3 hours for Hagrid's. The ride broke down. The queue was evacuated. We got Express Passes. The ride reopened immediately after the queue was evacuated. We loved the ride. We rode it a second time. Then the line was closed.
Hey look it's Dueling Drag...Motorbikes.
Hagrid's was open for 3 hours and broken down/closed for 8 hours.
For the irony, I decided to wear my Dueling Dragons t-shirt to the park. And I lost count how many employees complimented me on my shirt. Even further, most wished the ride were still standing! What does that say?
I figured the shirt would make for an amusing photo op by Hagrid’s, but it had a surprising benefit. An employee working the Incredible Hulk Coaster saw my shirt and escorted both Emily and I up the Express Line. Thank you Jordan!
Some women wear low-cut shirts to get free drinks at bars. Meanwhile, I wore this super nerdy coaster t-shirt and got to skip the line.
Back in 2017, I raved about Hulk. I believe I said it was better than Kumba and the best coaster in Orlando. That wasn't the case on this visit. The launch still packed a punch, the zero-G was whippy, and the cobra roll had me greyout.
But the rest of the ride felt slow. The loops were still forceful, but nowhere near what I remembered in 2017. The same could be said about the corkscrews and final few turns. That being said, Hulk is still running smooth and it has a unique layout. 8 out of 10
Hulk starts with a bang.
But sort of hit a lull in the second half. I remembered it being forceful start to finish back in 2017.
Hulk angry. Hulk smash.
Universal has a ton of great dark rides, but my favorite is probably Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey. The robot arm ride system is spectacular. The range of motion is incredible and it results in a very unique ride experience.
But the most underrated part is the physical sets. As you’d expect, the ride does have a fair amount of screens, but it also mixes in grand set pieces like the dragon, Dementors, and Whomping Willow. Forbidden Journey tells a great story and adds in some exciting thrills. 10 out of 10
A toast to Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey.
Our first day had a massive rainstorm, so that was the perfect time to ride Ripsaw Falls. I mean, we couldn’t possibly get any wetter, right? Wrong!
Ripsaw Falls is arguably the most drenching log flume on the planet. Beyond the drops soaking you to the bone, you have a freaking waterfall and dozens of sprayers that nail you in the face.
But it’s all worth it since the drops are fantastic. The final one in particular is better than most coaster drops. Oh and the ride does tell a story. It’s nowhere near the level of Splash Mountain’s animatronics, but the cartoony style is maintained throughout. 9.5 out of 10
If you hate water, you'd be better off jumping in the ocean than riding Ripsaw Falls.
Popeye’s was down for maintenance (at this point, Emily realized the universe conspires against her riding river rapids rides), so we made our way over to Jurassic Park River Adventure. I still find it ironic this is easily the driest of the park’s water rides even though it looks like it should be the most soaking.
As good as Ripsaw’s drop is, I think I prefer the drop on Jurassic Park. And it’s a better overall ride thanks to the impressive dinosaur animatronics. It also helps you don’t get unpleasantly drenched. 10 out of 10
I made sure to appreciate the iconic gate scene just in case Jurassic World comes to Orlando as well.
We then walked onto Skull Island: Reign of Kong. I think the 3D tunnel is a neat ride system. Having action on all sides is overwhelming. And that King Kong animatronic at the end is stunning. 8 out of 10
The only downside was that the 3D glasses kept falling off. I thought maybe I grabbed a bad pair, but Emily had the same issue. We ended up having to hold them against our face the whole ride.
The sequel (Skull Island) isn't as good as the original (Kongfrontation), but it's still quite good.
Our second day at Islands of Adventure was brief. We spent more time on the Studios side. But we did park hop for two of the dark rides we missed- Cat in the Hat and Spiderman. It was tempting to get another ride on Hagrid's, but we just didn't want to deal with that queue line again.
I honestly don’t remember the last time I rode Cat in the Hat. It’s a fine ride, but there’s a lot of empty space between animatronics. The spinning is a neat touch though. 7 out of 10
No Mike Myers Cat in the Hat in sight. Thank goodness!
Last but not least, Spiderman is still awesome. Everything about the ride works so well- the ride system, the 3D effects, the film quality, and the sounds. It truly is one of the best dark rides in the world. 10 out of 10
I know the resort is named after the studios side, but I honestly think Islands of Adventure is the superior park. Islands of Adventure has one of the strongest and most diverse ride lineup of any park. And it will only get better once Hagrid's operational quirks are behind it (still was a disaster on my visit on Sunday) and the new Jurassic Park coaster opens.
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