First of all, I really liked how Universal utilizes a parking garage (something I wish more parks would do) and I liked the moving sidewalks that take you from the parking garage to the park. The moving sidewalks are something Iím not used to, but love how they save you from all that walking.
Before we got to the park, we crossed through CityWalk. We didn't really spend much time in CityWalk, but I found it more fun at night, which I imagine is the way it was intended. The only place in CityWalk we went to (other than the Universal Studios Store) was the Hard Rock Cafť, where I only had a drink because I had already eaten. As we walked through CityWalk, I got my first glimpse into the park since the parking garage. From CityWalk, I could see The Incredible Hulk right in front of me and Hollywood Rip Ride Rockit to my right.
In the distance was a coaster I was really looking forward to; it was going to be the first credit of the day. As we got closer to the park, anticipation started to build as I began to wonder what was in store for me.
My first credit for the day was The Incredible Hulk. The wait was about 25 minutes- not too bad considering I was worried about hour-long waits. Walking through the queue line, I was really impressed with the theming that was put into these rides. As I walked into Bruce Bannerís lab, I was surprised with the queue house being completely enclosed as I am used to open queue houses. When the queue split into the ďfront rowĒ and ďall other rows,Ē I decided to ride shotgun.
As I was waiting in line for the front row, I was watching the crew for how ride operations differ from park to park. Since I work in an amusement park, I noticed a lot more than I would have had I not worked for one. The crew was fast and the ride was running three trains. Once I got to the front of the line, I awaited my ride. I saw my train pull into the station and I was ready to ride. My seat was front row, far right. Once seats were checked and the ride dispatched, we started up the lift (if you can call it that) to the launch. Halfway up the hill, we launch. The launch was a great experience and unexpected as far as when it happens. The zero-G roll was fun and the cobra roll and loop were somewhat forceful. I thought the first corkscrew was a little awkward and it looked like something you would see in Roller Coaster Tycoon, but it was still fun. Overall The Incredible Hulk was a good smooth B&M and itís unfortunate that B&M doesnít do launches because this is a truly unique coaster.
My next stop was Storm Force Accelatron. Storm Force Accelatron is just an ordinary tea cup ride themed to X-Menís Storm battling the villain Magneto. It was a walk-on and I got on the next cycle. The ride was fun, but to really enjoy it you should have a friend or more to ride with you because I got a workout turning the wheel to get the cup to spin. After Storm Force, I headed to The Amazing Adventure of Spiderman. This was a very fun dark ride that uses 3D technology and I was really impressed with the overall experience and I thought it was a quality dark ride. It was fun and I really enjoyed it. I really like how the 3D effects were synchronized with the movement of the car to make it look and feel realistic.
Upon exiting the Amazing Adventure of Spiderman, I ended up in the Spiderman gift shop, where I was quickly annoyed with the Spiderman theme song and I thought to myself, ďexit through a gift shopÖ so Six Flags.Ē I then took a right and I saw something looming in the near distance. Dr. Doomís FearFall was about a 5 minute wait and I was grouped to number 2 on the right side (at least I think it was the right side). As I got in my seat, a ride attendant literally came out of nowhere to check our seats. As the ride started up about five feet or so, I was ready for the launch. I had no idea when it would come and then I was shot 150 feet into the air where I was literally shoved up out of my seat for quite a bit of airtime. As I looked out toward the City of Orlando I thought to myself, ďtoo bad this view wonít last long.Ē Coming back down was a series of bounces to get us back to the ground. Overall, FearFall is a different experience from the Intamin 4th Generation tower that I have grown so accustomed to.
Heading out of Marvel Super Hero Island, I made my way into Toon Lagoon to meet up with a part of my group. After being by myself for four consecutive rides, I wanted to ride some rides with some of my supervisors. I tried to meet up with them at Dudley Do-Rightís Ripsaw Falls where I broke my own rule and had to ask for directions to get there, however I missed them yet again and there was a 90 minute wait. I decided to come back later and make my way into Jurassic park. Yet again I missed my group, so I decided to catch a ride on Jurassic Park River Adventure.
The wait for River Adventure wasnít bad at all. I think the sign said it was about 25 minutes, but I think it was actually less than that. I was grouped into the front row of the boat and my first thought was Iím going to get soaked. But then a thought struck me. Sometimes the front row doesnít get that wet; sometimes the water goes right over the front row. I was wrong. The ride starts off as a tour through the area of the ďgentleĒ dinosaurs in Jurassic Park. The tour goes wrong when we make a wrong left turn into the raptor containment area. To the left, we see two raptors fighting over a uniform, complete with nametag, that once belonged to an unfortunate employee. As we headed up the lift, several effects made it feel like we were actually in with the raptors. At the top of the lift, we find ourselves staring a T-Rex in the face. As it looks like the T-Rex will get us, we dive down and get SOAKED. River Adventure is a great water ride and is very well themed. You are sure to get wet no matter where you sit on this ride.
Once I finally met up with my group, we headed back to Ripsaw Falls. This has got to be the best log flume I have ridden yet. I was a little surprised as to how to get in the boat, but after that, it was a fun ride, even though every bit of water that got in the boat went straight for my shoes. I loved how the final drop goes under the water level, pops back up, and then splashes down.
We then headed to Popeye and Blutoís Bilge-Rat Barges. The wait was about 10 minutes, which surprised me because Thunder River at SFOG always gets to about 2 hours or so. The ride itself was pretty fun and we didnít really get wet until the end.
The next stop was back through Jurassic Park into The Wizarding World of Harry Potter. The first stop was Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey. The ride had a 15 minute wait and the line actually moved fast and it seemed like we didnít even wait at all. I really liked the ride itself and loved the storyline. The effects were great and the movement of the ride was perfectly synchronized with everything else. Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey took the spot as my favorite dark ride.
Next up was Flight of the Hippogriff. Overall, it was a good family coaster. The only thing about it was that the wait was originally 45 minutes, but after riding the Forbidden Journey, it had died down quite a bit. They were only running one train, but the crew made up for it by moving quickly to dispatch the train as fast as possible. After that, Dragon Challenge was next. All I have to say about these dueling inverts is amazing. Itís a shame that they no longer duel, but they are still great coasters. First was Chinese Fireball, then Hungarian Horntail.
The wait for both coasters was 5 minutes. The immelman loops on Chinese Fireball were fun, but the airtime hill really wasnít much since the coasters no longer duel. The first drop on Hungarian Horntail was also fun with the turnaround and the zero-G roll was not as intense as BTRís. It also seemed like the cobra roll rattled a little bit and it wasnít as intense as I expected it to be. The corkscrews on both coasters were also not as intense as BTRís and the loops were not like they would be if they still dueled with each other. Itís hard to choose which of the two I like better.
With Dragon Challenge out of the way, it was time to do some shopping in Hogsmeade. After buying my wand and other items to show pride for my Hogwarts house (Ravenclaw), I sat down to eat in the Three Broomsticks. I had the fish and chips platter with a frozen butterbeer. The fish and chips were great and I donít know how to describe the butterbeer. I liked it, but Iím not sure how to describe the taste of it because I donít really eat butterscotch, which is what others say it tastes like.