So I know that I won't end get around to writing a full trip report but we had an awesome day at Universal on Sunday and I figured I'd give some quick thoughts on a few things. We were at HHN this year and last year but it's been years since we went to IOA and honestly, that's far too long. First, let's talk about the 3 rides that were new to us. I can't call it the good, the bad and the ugly, maybe the incredibly good, the less good and the uh... actually I don't really have the words for that last one.Hagrid's
We made Hagrid's our first stop. As an aside, we didn't even get into the line to enter the park until 9 (when they opened), we didn't run and we were still on in an hour. The craziness has died down a bit. As an added bonus, by pure luck of the draw we ended up getting the front row!
We loved the ride but it's a very "us" ride. First of all, we love Harry Potter. Second of all, it has a drop track and Brit thinks that the sun rises and sets with drop tracks. "Verbolten on crack" is the best way to describe this. It just does so much and it's so incredibly fun that it's hard not to love it.
I can't really pick a favorite part but I guess if I had to choose I would say that it's the reverse spike just because not only is it a tremendously fun element but I was really impressed with how well and how cleverly they hid it.
This ride is not as intense as Dragons, but it's really more intense than I thought it would be. That's probably credit to the manufacturer. It's whippy and it's fast. The animatronics are very cool (though you go by them at a quick clip). Honestly, everything about it is just pure fun. I don't really have a single complaint. Brit's declared it her new favorite coaster. I think that's a bit strong but it's up there for me too. It's tremendously fun. I also fully expected Brit to say that because it has a drop track. Her favorite ride in Canada is Wonder Mountain's Guardian so this is what you're dealing with here...Fallon
This ride isn't amazing, but it's better than I expected it to be and that's probably because Jimmy Fallon actually gave a sh*t when he was working on it. The production value is great. It also has the best safety spiel in Orlando. It was also fun riding with JRice since he works the ride and could give us some fun little factoids about it.
It could be a case of nonexistent expectations and I'm not telling anyone to make this a priority but it's not a bad ride. I probably like it better than Shrek and I definitely like it better than the next ride that I'm about to talk about:Fast and the Furious
... what the f*ck is this?
Let me say this. I'm not bothered by Universal's use of screens. I'm not bothered that they keep spraying you with water. I like Kong and it's ride system. I don't dislike this ride for any of those reasons. I dislike this ride because it's a bad ride.
It's a movie about car racing but you ride in a... party bus? The acting sucks. The effects suck. The story sucks. The ride sucks. I don't like this franchise but it's a big franchise for them. This should have been an awesome ride. Imagine if this were like Test Track or even Backlot Stunt Coaster in a show building with an insane theming budget. Why is it a party bus? Nobody who rides a Fast and the Furious ride wants to ride a party bus, they want to ride a cool fast car.
In addition, the ride feels very short despite the massive show building and the final scene is terrible. Kong works because it's dark. You can't really see the mechanics of the ride. Here you clearly see without having to look for it that you're on a track and not moving because of how insanely bright the last scene is. Plus, even aside from that the scene is less than impressive. Vin Diesel is almost the size of the helicopter. It also feels like you're maybe building up to something really cool after that scene but then you find out that... no, it's actually the finale. That was it.
The ride also has 2 pre shows, neither of which are good. The queue is the best part of the ride.
Before this, I never thought that Universal Orlando had any "bad" rides. Rockit has it's days, Shrek is the closest they come but I don't hate it. This ride though? This ride is bad and I think they know it and I think all of their guests know it.
Now for a few more general thoughts and some comments on rides that we HAVE ridden before:
- Gringotts and Forbidden Journey never stop blowing our minds. We always make it a point to ride Gringotts when we go to Horror nights so I've been on that very recently, but it's been way too long since we've been on Forbidden Journey. These are seriously some of my favorite rides ever. I love everything about them.
- I always liked Hulk but JRice told us to ride it in the back row and now I *LOVE* Hulk. Holy living sh*t this ride is powerful. To all of you G-Force-loving Floridians who have Montu, Manta, Kumba and Hulk within 90 minutes of eachother just know that I hate you.
- We rode Mummy like 5 times during Horror Nights but we didn't get our fill so we rode again. That ride is perfection.
- Skull Island: Reign of Kong is a really good ride. I'll never understand the hate for it. This was our first time not expressing it and I loved the live actor and cool animatronics in the queue.
- Jurrasic World looks cool but I really love River Adventure as-is. Going through the Jurrasic Park gates is so cool. I kind of hope they never change it.
- I still love E.T. Adventure. I shouldn't. It has so many similarities to Peter Pan's Flight between the ride system and flying over the city and I don't like that ride at all but I really do like ET. You also don't have to stand in a 90 minute line for it which is a plus.
- Butterbeer is ridiculously delicious. I'd never pay that much for a non-alcoholic beverage anywhere else on the planet but Universal... shut up and take my money.
Overall we had an awesome day at Universal. Thanks again to JRice for coming to work on your day off.