On the eighth day of our trip, we headed back over to Universal Studios. We took the MEARS transportation again, and had much better luck. It was on time, and we knew we needed exact change this time, so we were prepared.
Our goal for this day: ride the Harry Potter rides. Since we had heard that the wait times could get ridiculous (like 2+ hours) we headed right over there. Fortunately, we got extremely lucky. We headed first to “Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey.” (That is the one in the castle.)
I don’t remember exactly what the wait time was, but I think it was around 30 minutes. (which is nothing compared to what it could be!) The wait time went fast, though, because you were walking around and through the castle the whole time! Universal did SUCH a good job at creating an entertaining and interesting atmosphere while you wait in line. Around every corner was something interesting. It was SO interesting, in fact, that you can actually walk through and “tour” the castle without actually going on the ride. (hence, how I have photos) Here are some photos that I took in the castle:
The photo on the “Daily Prophet” newspaper actually was moving images! (like an LCD screen)
This was a room that you could see the three kids shown as some kind of projection. They talked to you, and moved around. Whatever kind of projection it was, it was pretty convincing that they were actually there! Although, it didn’t do it the time I was in this room to take a photo, when we went through the first time they actually “cast a spell” and it started snowing! It is cool to think that you could walk through this room twice and get a different experience each time!
This was another room that you could see into. It has another one of the projection type images of Dumbledore!
There were a couple different areas with these, and they are SO cool! They are talking paintings – and they are really well done! They definitely still have a a painted look and feel, but they move and talk! Really cool.
As for the ride itself, it was probably our favorite ride that we went on the whole trip! We heard some people talking about how it was really jerky and how “they never usually feel motion sick, but this one really did it to them.” Eeek! I’ll admit, we were a little worried going into it, that we might have to cut our day short and go lay in bed. After riding the ride, I can see how people might think this ride was jerky and a bit nauseating, but it was SO cool! It was a combination of actual rollercoaser like movement, and simulator screen. Usually it is the simulator type rides that are actually the most nauseating for me, but they did a good job of doing just the amount of simulator versus actual movement. I can definitely see why people would wait 2+ hours to ride this ride!
One of the things that I think Universal Studios does really well, is they have short term lockers near all of the higher intensity rides, so that you can store purses, cameras, packages, etc, for FREE while you ride the ride! Disney really needs to adopt this trend as well. It makes it so much easier for me to bring my camera and still be able to ride all of the rides!
After that, we went on the Dueling Dragons ride. (also in the HP section) The wait time for these was something ridiculous like 5 minutes. I think it actually took us longer to walk through the “line” than it did on the ride. This one was fun as well, the idea is that there are two coasters going at the same time and the tracks are basically intertwined with each other so at some points you are inches (ok, probably actually feet, but it seemed like inches) away from the other coaster. It was fun and very fast.
Here are some more photos of the HP village area…..so cool.
For the rest of the day we wandered around Universal Islands of Adventure some more, did a few more rides – most of which were lame and not worth mentioning. We were kind of sad that it was so cold so we weren’t able to ride some the classics like Jaws and Jurrasic Park.
After heading back to our hotel for dinner and a little rest and relaxation, we headed out to the Orlando Premium Outlets. I was on a mission to check out the Lululemon Outlet……
and hang out with my friend Ashley! I first met Healthy Ashley when she was visiting Madison last Summer, and she is such an amazing, inspiring, lady! Making time to visit her during my trip to Orlando was a must. 🙂
Next up: Breakfast at Chef Mickey’s!