Islands of Adventure
FYI: This park contains the Wizarding World of Harry Potter.
If you are coming from the Universal parking garage and through City Walk, this is the first park you will see as you walk straight to the gates. If you are arriving via water taxi, you will have to go to your right and around the lagoon to get to the gate.
Disclaimer: I am simply trying to give the blog reader an idea of what to expect from these various rides. If you have a health issue--I am not a doctor, nor do I play one here on this blog--please follow your physician's advice and use your best judgment.
To refresh your memory, here is a copy of the map. The entrance is at the bottom of the map, and I'll start my ride tour with Marvel's Super Hero Island and move about the map in a clockwise manner.
MARVEL SUPER HERO ISLAND
The Incredible Hulk Coaster -- Express pass -- High speed coaster, once the cars leave the boarding area, it will shoot onto the track. Shoulder harness-type security and you can brace your feet against the flooring. Loose articles will fly away unless secured. This coaster has some serious G's as I have blacked out more than once on this ride, but only for a second or two. Loops, corkscrews and high drops.
Storm Force Accelarton -- Express Pass -- think Disney's spinning Teacups as each pod rotates while the entire floor rotates. The faster your child turns the wheel, the faster you go. Those with weak stomachs are advised to sit this one out.
Doctor Doom's Fearfall -- Express Pass -- Even with the Express Pass, you can wait upwards of 30 minutes for this ride. It's a fun dropping type of ride. Actually, it's the anticipation that gets you before it shoots you into the sky. The view is wonderful. Though it drops you a couple of times, it isn't that bad.
The Amazing Adventures of Spiderman-- Express Pass -- Use your pass if you have one. 3-D with a little 4-D water sprinkling you. Each car seats eight, four in front, four in back. Front is the best! The cars spin, jerk and careen in various patterns according to what is on the 3-D screen. The front has the best view, but it doesn't have any neck support. The back seat has better support. You can brace yourself against the seat, but if you've never ridden it you can't anticipate the direction it will go next.
Me Ship, The Olive -- interactive play area. You can squirt water at the people on the Bilge-Rat Barges. Hubs and kidlet played here. I sat and waited.
Popeye & Bluto's Bilge-Rat Barges -- Express Pass -- I would call this a basic round raft ride, but there's nothing basic about it. Waterfalls, rapids, and drops are just a few surprises you will get in this river raft. YOU WILL GET SOAKED. Pack extra clothes accordingly. Near this ride, there are 'dryers' to dry you--for a price, of course. If the janitorial service catches you trying to dry off in the bathrooms, they will kick you out of the bathroom. Yeah, been there done that.
Dudley Do-Right's Ripsaw Falls -- Express Pass --YOU WILL GET SOAKED. Pack extra clothes accordingly. This was one of the best water flume rides I have ever been on! It's big drop is sizeable, which makes it extra fun!
Pteronodon Flyers -- this is really a kiddie ride. Each flyer seats two. If you are taller than 56", you will need to be accompanied by a kid. It was okay, not worth the long wait in line.
Camp Jurassic -- large playground. If you let your kids loose in there, either go with them or make certain they know where to meet you. It's confusing and easy to get lost as there are different exits.
Jurassic Park River Adventure -- Express Pass -- water raft ride through Jurassic Park . . . .and escaped dinosaurs. One big drop at the end. You will get wet, but not necessarily soaked like the rides in Toon Lagoon. It was an okay ride. The problem is that many of these rubber rafts tend to leave you smelling 'sour'. Many times, we'll give a ride like this a miss just so we don't smell sour all day. If you've never ridden it, then ride it, but be prepared for the stink.
Jurassic Park Discovery Center -- Interactive play area. Universal is trying to 'teach' park patrons. We don't want to be taught, we want rides to ride! Though we did 'grow' our own dinosaur once. There is NEVER a line unless it's from people escaping the Florida heat.
THE WIZARDING WORLD OF HARRY POTTER
Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey -- before entering this ride, you MUST put all loose articles, bags, etc. into a free locker. Though there isn't an Express Pass for this ride, there is a single rider queue (hidden unless you know where to look!) If you are staying onsite at a hotel, use the early entry time to blow through parts of this line. You must stand in line to ride this ride at least once! The standby queue takes you through Hogwarts: Professor's Sprout's classroom, Dumbledore's office, Defense Against the Dark Arts classroom, and various other corners of Hogwarts. You see status of the founders, the House points counter, various talking pictures, etc. When you use the single rider path, you miss the best part of the castle! The ride itself seats four across, with a shoulder harness to keep you in place. Keep it snug! The ride takes you through a visual journey, where you experience flying, dragons, and the dark forest. Though the car rotates forward, backward, and side to side, you are strapped in pretty well. It is a dark ride and might scare some riders who have not seen any of the first four movies. A DO NOT MISS RIDE!
The singles rider line is to the left, through an open door and up about 3 or 4 stairs. It is almost directly across from the doorway leading from the lockers. If you pass a cast member, you have gone too far.
Flight of the Hippogriff -- Express Pass -- Kiddie rollercoaster that takes you to Hagrid's home and by the Hippogriff nest. Only way to see inside the hippogriff nest is to ride the ride.
Frog Choir -- in a courtyard on the way to the Harry Potter Ride--check times for show
Triwizard Spirit Rally -- in a courtyard on the way to the Harry Potter Ride--check times for show
Ollivander's Wand Shop -- though this isn't on the list of attractions, it is a not-to-be-missed show. The line forms quickly since only a limited number of people can be allowed into the shop for each show. A kid is picked out of the audience to portray Harry Potter. Of course, it exits out into the gift shop. :-)
Honeydukes -- Mmmm candy . . .
Three Broomsticks and Hog's Head Pub -- The Three Broomsticks serves breakfast and lunch--pretty much all day. It's an experience just to sit in the main room and look around. If you want to look around, be prepared to eat as they won't let you inside without ordering food. Hog's Head Pub is adjacent to the Three Broomsticks, but there isn't much seating since the restaurant "reserves" numerous tables. I don't like this practice AT ALL! The Pub offers non-alcoholic beverages, including butterbeer along with real beer--which is pretty tasty.
Dragon Challenge -- Express Pass -- formerly known as Dueling Dragons. Shoulder harness, dangling feet, each row seats four. The rollercoasters haven't changed, but the path to the ride has been embellished with Harry Potter stuff, namely the flying car. There's either the red or blue dragon to ride. Both rides are different. They used to send them off in tandem, so you criss-cross with the other coaster, but the last two years, they didn't time them. Normally, we like to ride in the back of the coaster, because it feels faster, BUT the front row of this ride is pretty cool! It has enough speed that you don't feel like you're waiting for the rest of the cars to catch up before you start. And with no track below your feet, it's totally fun!
THE LOST CONTINENT
The Eight Voyage of Sindbad Stunt Show -- Express Pass -- check times for the show. We haven't watched this in years, but I seem to remember a lot of standing, which didn't do my back any favors.
The Mystic Fountain -- squirts the clueless . . . or children.
Poseidon's Fury -- Express Pass -- guided tour. Tell you the truth, we never did this attraction. If we did, it was forgettable.
I hate to say it, but this area is dying just like the Jurassic Park section. They need to come up with a big ride to rejuvenate it. There is a restaurant called, Mythos, but we've never eaten there.
The High in the Sky Seuss Trolley Train Ride --Express Pass -- Four seats per car, two front, two back. Sort of tight due to it being a kiddy ride. It's fun to do since it takes you above the walkways, but if there is a long wait you can skip it without missing anything
Caro-Seuss-el -- Express Pass -- merry-go-round. 'nuff said.
One Fish, Two Fish, Red Fish, Blue Fish -- Express Pass -- wet interactive play area. We started to do this one, but as soon as we got squirted, we quit not in the mood to get wet. Probably lots of fun for the little tykes. Bring extra clothes.
The Cat in The Hat -- Express Pass -- ride the couch car through the story. This one was killer on my neck with all the spins, jerking and other stuff. There's a lap bar, but that's it. And since it's a couch, there is no upper back support. Fun, but painful.
If I Ran the Zoo -- interactive playground.
And that's it for today. I'll put together the rides from the Universal Studios park on Thursday!