I have just split up from the Beast in the Orlando Airport as we both are heading back to Denver via different airlines (due to some scheduling issues not relevant here), and thought I would take a moment to give you a few more thoughts on the past few days here in Orlando at Islands of Adventure and the Grand Opening of The Wizarding World of Harry Potter.
As great as WWOHP and HP and the Forbidden Journey are, as will be discussed in great length in podcast(s) to come, the overriding issue to come out of these past couple of days is the crowds. These are crowds and queues the like of which the Beast and I have never seen. Yesterday at the Grand Opening, the wait was 6-8 hours to get into WWOHP, then you would have had to wait up to 2 more hours for Forbidden Journey or (amazingly) to get into Ollivander's to have a magic wand "pick you." The wait to order Butterbeer was anywhere from 20 minutes to an hour and a half. Let that sink in a little. People were waiting hours to get into an area of a theme park so they could wait longer for the "privilege" of buying more stuff. Incredible. I say this not as a criticism but as an observation that I think Universal has hit an amazing home run. I'm sure many of you have seen some of the overhead pictures of the lines and they are simply amazing. For those of you familar with IOA, once you got into IOA (which took a while itself) the line started on the Jurassic Park side of WWOHP, went through JP, then through Toon Lagoon, then through Marvel Superhero Island, then through the Port of Entry and then through Suess Landing (in effect the entire park except a small piece of the Lost Continent). Anyway…Wow.
As we briefly commented earlier, Forbidden Journey is just great. The interactive nature between the 3-D filmed scenes and the set pieces raises the bar to a fantastic new level. We rode Spiderman again immediately after FJ and, although Spidey's greatness is clear, FJ blows it away in nearly all aspects of the ride experience…again, more to come…but big, big thumbs up.
The re-theme of Dueling Dragons to Dragon Challenge was a bit disappointing since the themeing of Dueling Dragons was one of our favorites, but I think we can live with it (although the Beast and I were wondering where all of those skulls went!).
We bowed to the Hippogriff and enjoyed the quick, kids ride on Flight of the Hippogriff, although I'm not sure everyone on our ride bowed appropriately because it seemed a little ticked off as we went by!
Anyway, a great trip, video, pics and podcasts to come…but for now, I have a plane to catch. See you soon
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