The Wizarding World of Harry Potter – Roller Coasters
Florida Guide > Universal Parks
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Hogwarts this way
We have annual passes to Universal Studios and Islands of Adventure, so we were delighted that our Florida trip gave us the opportunity of sampling the newly-opened section of the park - the Wizarding World of Harry Potter. We had heard that the park was incredibly busy, but were not prepared for the length of the queues just to get into the HP village. We arrived at the park around 10. 00am but found that there was a queue snaking around the park, starting by the entrance to the HP area and going on seemingly forever. We followed the queue, trying to find the end, but it stretched for as far as the eye could see. So we decided that we would sample the rest of the park, which was relatively quiet, and come back mega early another day to hopefully avoid the queues.
We were staying for a couple of days at one of the Universal hotels, which gave us an upgrade to our annual tickets, to Express Pass status. Currently this does not apply to any of the rides in the HP area, but applied to most of the other rides. Staying in the hotel also has another advantage – getting into the parks one hour earlier than the general public. So, armed with our express passes, we set off on a mission to sample all that Harry Potter could offer – and were standing at the entrance to Islands of Adventure at 8. 00am (matchsticks propping our eyes open). It was great fun showing our passes and getting in ahead of the general queue that was already forming, and we route-marched straight to HP World and joined the strangely long queue at the Forbidden Journey ride. It was then that we found out that the ride had broken down the evening before and was still being tested. We were advised that it might be an hour or more before it would open.
Disappointed, we decided to leave the queue and try the other rides and take a more leisurely stroll around the HP village. We had previously tried the Dragon Challenge rollercoaster ride when it was known as Duelling Dragons but it was still good to see how they had Potter-fied the queuing area and the ride was as exhilarating as before. Then on to the Flight of the Hippogriff, a tamer rollercoaster, formerly known as the Flight of the Unicorn. Walking round the queuing area, we took in the HP props and buildings, like Hagrid’s hut and declared them as very authentic. My other half, who is a total wimp when it comes to rides, decided he could manage this coaster and we all had a good laugh at his face as he grimaced his way around the ride, while clinging on for dear life.
Once he had stopped his legs from shaking when he exited the ride, it was on to the HP Village while the area was still relatively quiet.
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Page added on: 28 November 2010
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The following photos have been submitted by our villa owners for this article.