Orlando, FL Thur. Feb. 19
Universal Orlando Resort-Islands of Adventure receives a more positive rating than Universal Orlando Resort-Universal Studios Florida. But we have not changed our minds that one visit here is sufficient.
Recognize that we are in our mid-60s and roller coaster rides are not high on our travel list. Islands of Adventure is more into roller coaster rides, in our opinion. It was built after Universal Studios and has more color, more landscaping, more pizzazz. It has its own Harry Potter section which continues to attract large numbers of the visitors. The colors in the Seuss Landing were bright and cheerful, in some ways it made me think of the Art Deco district of Miami Beach. (Colors only, not life style.)
Today was cool, even cold. The temperatures ranged from high 30s when we left at 8:30 to 50 degrees F in mid-afternoon. Winds were 10-15 mph. When you were in the shade and with wind, it was cold. In the sun, and protected from wind, it was quite nice. Most visitors today were prepared for the weather. It was busy, which surprised us. Websites had predicted today would be less crowded and we thought the weather would chase people indoors. I guess if you are here on vacation, particularly with children, you go to the parks no matter what. We did observe large groups of teens traveling together. One large group consisted of girls from Argentina celebrating their quinceanera (15th birthday, a Latin custom).
We chose to arrive a little later than yesterday, 9 AM, and found no back-up at the gates but the sign board indicated the Harry Potter rides already had a 60 minute wait. We went instead to the Spiderman 3-D ride which a family from Toronto that we met yesterday had recommended. No wait and Chris handled the ride okay-since she kept her eyes closed.
Islands of Adventure has themed sections: Super Heroes, Cartoons, Jurassic Park, Lost Continent, Seuss Landing,and Wizarding World of Harry Potter. Several of the rides are water rides. We passed on those, as did most, but not all, visitors. Other rides and areas are only for kids and while Chris wanted to borrow some kids so she could go on the rides as their supervising parent, we passed on that option also.
As you might have guessed, Chris prefers tame rides. So we rode on the Caro-Seuss-el (merry-go-round), the High in the Sky Seuss Trolley Train Ride, and The Cat in the Hat. We watched the Eighth Voyage of Sindbad Stunt Show and experienced Poseidon’s Fury, an indoor walk-through attraction with fire and water special effects. Poseidon’s Fury was dark inside, you worried if your eyes would ever make the transition from outdoor sun to the indoor darkness before you tripped over something or someone. The special effects were good, the story lame.
The Wizarding World of Harry Potter has a fantastic roller coaster that we stayed far away from. The stores had similar merchandise to the Harry Potter stores we saw yesterday. We never did check the price on those wizard robes that were everywhere around us-but it was good to observe an article worn equally by girls and boys.
Chris really went out on a limb today in the Harry Potter world. Having already experienced the Spiderman ride, she went on two other Potter rides that had been recommended and which she thought might be tame. Both turned out to be eye closers. The Flight of the Hippogriff is termed a “family friendly roller coaster”. In my mind it was pleasant, certainly had some fast turns but very doable. For Chris, it was definitely a challenge, eyes kept closed and “let’s take a break” after the ride to settle her stomach.
However, the Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey ride was over the top. Again, the family from Toronto had recommended this, and since they steered Chris clear of others, she thought it would be doable. A portion of the time you are in line you walk through a recreated Hogwarts Castle. This is very well done with the picture frames with talking ghosts, a hologram of Harry, Ron and Hermione, etc. For the flight simulator ride itself, Chris made it through-barely. The ride spins, twists, dips, is dark, fast, and moves in unexpected ways. We really had to rest after that one. I thought it was great. I don’t particularly like rides with deep descents or huge twirling motions but I handled it okay. I thought it was the best ride of the two days. When we got back to the Hilton Grand Vacations lodging, Chris looked up the ride on the Internet and huge numbers of commenters complained how the ride made them ill. So congratulations to Chris. Not that she will repeat going on the ride, though.
We left at 4, pretty much having done the rides that interested us. We can check Universal Orlando Resorts off of our list.
Ed and Chris 2/19 10:15 pm