Hagrid’s Magical Creatures Motorbike Adventure Review
Hagrid’s New Ride, A Love Letter to Frustration
By: Brad Hughes
I arrived at Universal Orlando at 630 am, waiting anxiously for the parking garage to open. Once parked, I headed to the front gate where they promptly informed us that Hagrid wouldn’t open with the park and best case scenario, it would open at 11 am. THen they let us inside the park, we got in line, and oh boy, was it a line. They had us going through Seuss Landing, through back stage at Poseidon’s Fury, behind Sinbad, and we finally stopped near the front of the Sinbad theater near the talking fountain. This was where we stopped and waited for about 2 hours. Universal was really good about letting people get out of line and getting food, and letting people use the restroom. Several hours later they did in fact let us get into the actual queue for the attraction, and from there, it was a nightmare.
Let me talk about the queue first, the outdoor portion of the queue is fine, there wasn’t much to see. It was neat to see Hagrid’s Hut while in line, but not much more than that. There are some pumpkins, its fine. But once you cross the bridge and go into the main part of the queue that’s where it gets interesting. I only saw the first, second and last room of the queue.We sat in the very first room for about 45 minutes and finally they announced the ride had gotten back up and running. I was then led into the pre show, where Hagrid and Arthur Weasley show how they make the motorbikes float. From there we were lead into a massive un air conditioned green house themed area. They then announced the ride had gone down again (for the fourth time.) By this time we had been in line already 5 and half hours, mostly outside. Because the ride kept breaking down, my group decided to hop out of the standby line, and go into the single rider line which turned out to be a great idea.
The single rider line sends you straight into the loading area for the attraction and is a great option if you don’t have 12 hours to wait, and no one should have to do that. The area has one of the coolest effects I have ever seen anywhere. The ceiling has an effect made out of massive LED panels, that makes it look like motorbikes are driving above you on the roof above. It is a fantastic effect and is very entertaining to watch……for the first 2 hours. The ride went down again numerous times and according to Team Members, “there is a ride vehicle giving us trouble and were taking it out of circulation and adding two vehicles.” This was welcomed because I hate when things happen and there is no hope in sight, and no answers.
I wont bore you with more exposition, but the attraction went down about three or four more times before I got on the attraction. There are two different vehicles you can sit on, the motorbike, or the side car. The detailing on these ride vehicles is amazing, both of which I highly recommend testing out before riding. You actually hold onto the handlebars and it truly feels like you’re on a motorcycle. The onboard audio is fantastic as well. They are both very cool, but I am 6’3 and there is no room in these vehicles, my feet couldn’t even fit in them, I had to have them at an angle. However I am a giant and most people probably wont have any issues. Once on I finally got on the attraction, it went down. I was stuck on the ride for about fifteen minutes before taking off. And once you take off, you really take off!
This roller coaster moves! It is hands down the best coaster at Universal, and is now my second favorite Harry Potter ride behind Forbidden Journey. Once you’re off, you encounter Hagrid and a Blastended Skrewt. The Hagrid animatronic is highly detailed but limited in movement. It is a very impressive show scene that is second to none at Universal. Your bike then accelerates as you take a few dramatic banks and turns, then pass the Weasley’s car and shoot up and go backwards. I am still not sure how they switch the track as quickly as they do, it is very impressive and unexpected. You Then shoot backwards and fly through the Forbidden Forrest. You then come to a full stop and the track drops. I was not expecting this at all, and it freaked me out. Once I realized I was ok, the bike shot off, in the fastest acceleration on the ride where you take a few more banked turns and come across a unicorn and its calf. ( I don’t know what you call a baby unicorn.) Then it is back in the unload station.
Once I unloaded they offered us a re-ride and Holly and I took them up on their offer, and I wish we hadn’t. We got stuck on the ride for about 15 minutes in the Forbidden Forest area once the track dropped. Here is the scary part. The show scene above us started up again without warning and we under the track where you drop down, and we could hear the coaster train coming towards us, while we were still waiting to start up again. I knew we were in no danger, but when you hear a coaster train above you barreling towards you, its terrifying. Once we unloaded we were offered another re-ride and we declined. Our adventure to the Forbidden Forest was finally over, nine and half hours later. We got in line at 630 am, and got off finally at 345.
The ride is seriously incredible, and it is a definite A+ attraction. Although they need to get it working correctly, it is the new king attraction at Universal and I cant wait to ride it again.