The castle I could see in the distance was beckoning to me…Hogwarts. Luckily, Kate suggested that we head strait for Duelling Dragons while the queues were small, so off we went. Through Super Hero Island, Toon Lagoon and into Jurassic Park. The entrance to the Wizaarding World is in the Lost Continent. We had to get a ticket from a park attendant telling us what time to come back…it said between 11.40 and 12.40
. They do this to control how many people are in the area at once, because it’s so popular, and not awfully big. It was 10.30, so we had a burger. We got a meal deal thing which meant that for $19 we could eat all we wanted all day. We went on Jurassic Park, which was great. We got soaked and it was actually pretty scary…you are on this boat trip around Jurassic Park and all is going well, when suddenly something knocks the boat and you go off course. The voice over is going ‘MAYDAY, MAYDAY, A TOURIST BOAT HAS BEEN KNOCKED OFF COURSE AND IS HEADING INTO THE RAPTOR ENCLOSEUR!’ and all these alarms are going off. There are broken electric fences and empty cages labelled ‘dangerous’ and every now and then you can see a Raptor. You go into this dark room and up onto another level, and at the end a massive T-Rex comes tearing through the wall infront of you and suddenly you are outside plummeting down a waterslide. There were a load of people in the ‘splash zone’ laughing and cheering and taking photos. It was great!
It was 11:45…time for Harry Potter. We walked into Hogsemeade, past the Hogwarts Express, Zonkos, Honeydukes, a butterbeer cart and lots of other things, and then we came to the Dragon Challenge. We had to put our bags in lockers, and then we walked all the way through the empty queue. After only 5 minutes we were on the Hungarian Horntail, which (surprisingly) is the blue one
. We came off and got strait back in the queue to go on the Fireball. I was really impressed that as you go up the lift hill there is another coaster right beside you! One guy shouted ‘we’re gone beat you!’ to the people on the Horntail. They start together, finish together and almost collide 3 times. One cute little touch is that the ride attendants refer to you as ‘champions’ whenever they address you (the ride is based on the first task of the tri-wizard tournament, where the 4 champions have to fight a dragon).
We walked around Harry Potter for a while, got a butterbeer (which was DELICIOUS!) and then queued for an hour to go on ‘Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey’. It was worth it. Once inside the castle, the queue went pretty fast. You go through Dumbledores office, where he talks to you, up some stairs where the portraits talk to each other…into the Gryffindor common room where Harry, Ron and Hermione tell you they’re gone try and sneak you out of there so you have to meet them at the Quidditch pitch, and finally you go into the Great Hall where you are seated in a sideways 4 seater vehicle which resembles a bench. It’s a robocoaster. Basically a carriage on the end of an arm which can twist and turn in any direction, and you can’t see the track. So you are spun round until you are ‘outside’ and Harry appears on his broomstick
. You follow him, flying, I assume also on a broomstick. It really feels like you are flying! It alternates between a 360 screen like a simulator, with your car twisting and turning, and then you movie through real scenes, like spiders and Dementors. The props get frighteningly close, it’s pretty scary. Kate hated the spider part….they are so real, and big, and close. And they squirt stuff at you. The dementors were horrible too, they take long rattling breaths, and come really close and there is a smoke effect which makes it look like they are sucking your soul out…like in the movie. When you make it back into Hogwarts, the whole school is there clapping and welcoming you back.
We walked around a bit more, went into Honeydukes and Zonkos and then wondered elsewhere. We retraced our steps, back through Jurassic Park and into Toon Lagoon. Here we crossed a bridge overlooking an amazing log flume-style water ride called ‘Ripsaw Falls’. The boats were empty, but still going around. We spent about 2 minutes going ‘aw that looks great, why isn’t it open?’ before a group of people cheered and went running in. We cheered too, and followed them on to what ended up being the WETTEST water ride I have ever been on.
We moved on, heading for Seuss Landing and the Cat in the Hat, but making stops and detours along the way
. The best stop by far was Spiderman. Loved it! You get 3D glasses and it’s a bit like the Harry Potter ride, but with a track rather than robocoaster. It was pretty spinny. It was awesome. Then we went on Cat in the Hat and had something to eat again. We’d pretty much done everything now. We went on the Seuss Trolly Train Ride and Kate had photos with Thing 1 and Thing 2, and then we walked around some more. We walked back to Harry Potter, and didn’t need a ticket this time, so we spent some more time there, mostly taking photos. We got another butterbeer.
The day ended with a final walk around the park at night, soaking in all the lights and music and one last meal (just to get our moneys worth…) City Walk is crazy, there’s so much going on at night…night clubs, restaurants, shops, bars, a multiplex, IMAX cinema (we’re going to see Deathly Hallows again there) and lots of stalls and fairground stands outside as well. It was a fun walk to the shuttle stop, followed by an uneventful ride home, and a lovely shower.
Islands of Adventure is amazing! This park was not here last time I came to Orlando. It’s right next to Universal Studios with City Walk in the middle. The lights and noise and bustle coming from everywhere is great. We went on the Incredible Hulk first. It pulls you up the hill at the beginning, but halfway it up it fires you up the rest of the way and spins you round this corkscrew…I loved it! We only waited 10 minutes to get on.