Riding roller-coasters (or any other ride, for that matter) has been an excitement-filled thrill that I've enjoyed since I was the proper height. Yes, I would be completely terrified about what I was getting ready to encounter, but I would only hesitate for a brief moment before taking the plunge. It didn't take long before I became a full-fledged thrill-seeking junkie that required more than what the tame rides reserved for kiddies could offer. Anyone who enjoys going for a wild ride (or two) will discover that Islands of Adventure—part of the Universal Theme Park—does not disappoint when it comes to stimulating your senses to the point of overload.
In a previous post, Preview of Universal Studios and Islands of Adventure, I reminisced about the adolescent switch from Disney World to the Universal theme parks that took place when I was a teenager, and how it was my turn to introduce this familiar territory to my nephew. Over the years, my love for theme parks has never waned. I don't mind the long lines and large crowds. It is what it is. I can set aside my social anxieties and impatience for a day or two so that I can spend it in a fantasy land. After all, that's what Islands of Adventure and Universal Studios are, imagination brought to life. A place where you get to walk among cartoon characters and step into the pages of a children's book or comic strip. It's as if you become part of the story. A level of entertainment that you just can't get anywhere else!
So, starting from the beginning of our day, I'll take you on a tour of my favorite Islands of Adventure rides.
1. The High in the Sky Seuss Trolley Train Ride — We started off in the opposite direction that the crowd was heading in, so our first stop was Seuss Landing. It's one of my favorite areas because I love Dr. Seuss's books, and they really did a great job of bringing them to life. It's so whimsical and colorful with tons of interesting things to grab your attention along the way. The trolley train ride was the second one we rode in Suess Landing. We walked right on without having to wait. I liked this kiddie ride because it gave you a great overview of the surrounding area, a different perspective in which to appreciate the park. It was a good one to start with because it also helped my nephew get used to the experience without being jarring like some of the other rides.
2. Poseidon's Fury — Next door to Suess Landing in the Lost Continent where we took a journey through an ancient temple. Poseidon's Fury isn't a ride as much as it is a theatrical tour that you walk through with a guide. At times, it was a little cheesy, but the seemingly scary situations you found yourself faced with were pretty intense. We hesitantly walked through a tunnel surrounded by rushing water without getting wet, and then watched in anticipation as the bad guy was defeated with fire balls and other theatrics. My nephew was so into it. It was exciting for me to see him all worked up. He was squeezing my hand while screaming as he anxiously awaited the outcome. To my surprise, Ju-ju picked Poseidon's Fury as his favorite ride of the day any time we asked.
3. Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey — Ever since I found out that Islands of Adventure would be opening the Wizarding World of Harry Potter, I was determined to experience it firsthand. While I haven't finished all the books, I absolutely adore the movies, so to have an opportunity to walk down the streets of Hogsmeade and shuffle through the corridors of the Hogwarts castle was an extra-special treat for me. A little overcrowded, yes, but the other onlookers weren't going to tarnish my fun time. It was chaos when you walked into the castle, utter chaos! We found a locker as quickly as we could and hopped in the long and windy line. While this did require the longest wait of the day, the line consistently kept moving, which helped a lot.
Once we finally made it inside, I was amazed at how closely they portrayed what I remembered from the movies, the moving paintings were wicked awesome. Having all those neat things to look at made the rest of our wait bearable. The actual Forbidden Journey ride was definitely worth the lengthy line. Everything happened so quickly, though, it was over in a flash. My nephew didn't do as well on this ride. It was a little scary with the enormous dragons in your face and deadly dementors attempting to suck the life out of you. He cried the entire time. We felt so horrible, but he was a trooper. I, on the other hand, thought it was so much fun, although I wished that I could have ridden it a second time. (I'll be sharing more about the WW of HP next week, so be sure to subscribe or follow postings on Facebook)
4. Dudley Do-Right's Ripsaw Falls — After spending time in the Jurassic Park area where we got soaked to the bone on a water ride, we decided to get the other water rides out of the way too, and headed over to Toon Lagoon. It was mid-day and sweltering outside, so relief came at the perfect time. This ride was probably the second longest wait we were required to endure. However, it was also one of the best rides of the day. You hop in a log and hold on as it travels through water-filled chutes. The real fun comes when it's time to take a daring drop, you know, the kind where your stomach gets left behind because you're barreling down a flume. It was awesome! And Ju-ju (my nephew) loved it. He actually wanted to ride it again, but the wait time was too extensive to do so.
5. The Incredible Hulk Coaster — I was on my own with this ride because no one else in my group wanted to go a bonafide roller-coaster that takes you upside down. With only a 5 minute wait time, I couldn't resist. It wasn't a problem for me to go alone because I didn't want to miss it and kick myself later for not going. I'm super glad I went, too. It was so exhilarating! I forgot how alive you feel when being launched through the air. This roller-coaster is no joke either, at the very beginning it catapults you from zero to 40 mph in only two seconds! It was the last thing I rode on our first day. What a ride!
I hope you enjoyed hearing about some of the Islands of Adventure rides that I relished during my recent trip to Orlando. As hard we tried, it was impossible to ride them all, even if you go during the week on a slow day like we did. Our wait times for the majority of the rides didn't exceed 20 minutes, typically, which is unheard of in those places. I've been during times where I've waited in excess of an hour for a 10 minute turn, that can suck the fun out of your day. Thankfully, we were lucky enough to not have to deal with such nonsense. It was much more enjoyable that way!