Yes, today was the day for Universal Studios Islands of Adventure, complete with the new Wizarding World of Harry Potter. We got up really early in order to be waiting at the gates when the park opened. Parking in Spiderman 453 today we joined the huge crowds heading into Islands of Adventure.

Entering Hogsmeade

On the other side of the turnstiles we joined the massive crowd being held back until the park officially opened at 9am. As soon as 9am rolled around people (us included) started running towards the Wizarding World of Harry Potter. Eventually we made it in, before they closed it off and started issuing tickets for return later in the day. The whole place was amazing though, more so that I had imagined it would be. There are lots of pictures.We headed straight towards the ride in the castle (Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey) and joined the already 60 minute long queue. After about 10 minutes we reached the lockers to store our stuff and decided to go for the single rider queue and were on the ride pretty fast. It was really good so we rejoined the single rider queue and got to go again. Then we realised that all the cool stuff, the castle tour of all the classrooms was part of the queuing system so we joined the hour long queue just to see them. Right at the end of the queue we discovered that there was actually a “castle tour” that took you straight through…fail! Deciding that the shop was waaay too crowded we joined the queue for the Dragon Challenge (used to be the Duelling Dragons) annoyingly the guy at the entrance was not clear with his directions and we ended up missing the lockers completely and I was sent back to the beginning to stow my bag…grrr. I was allowed back through child swap to do the ride, and then we both queued again so we could try both rollercoasters. Our planned lunch at the Three Broomsticks went out the window with their lack of vegetarian options. Nevertheless we HAD to try butterbeer so we joined the queue in the Hogs Head. Butterbeer is really good, so good in fact that we came back for more later in the day. I have no idea what is in it, but it is really nice. The whole place was so busy that we decided to return later in the day rather than face a 45 minute wait to even get inside any of the shops. Just before leaving Lizzie was tapped on the shoulder by a strange man, it turned out to be Ed, the lovely paramedic who had looked after me so wonderfully the day before. He was surprised to see me up and about since I had looked so ill the day before, but said he was glad I was feeling better. Aww, we love Ed, Lizzie particularly! Leaving Hogsmeade we popped by the Forbidden Continent for Poseidon’s Fury, which I might add is crap now they have tried to update it, I much preferred the original Zeus vs. Poseidon version… who the hell is Darkenon and what is his Classical significance?!! By the time this had finished we were really hungry, so headed over to Seuss Landing and Circus McGurkus Café Stoopendus for lunch, although we were disappointed to see that the Green Eggs and Ham Cafe was closed.

The closed Green Eggs and Ham Cafe 😦

I think by this point we can safely say that theme parks are the home of uninspiring vegetarian food, with perhaps one choice per restaurant if you are lucky… poor Liz, cheese pizza it is. After lunch it was time for some Dr Seuss themed rides the Caro-Seuss-el and the Cat in the Hat ride before heading towards Toon Lagoon for the water rides. To my dismay, and Lizzie’s joy (she isn’t a fan of log flumes) Dudley Do Right’s Ripsaw Falls was closed, but we did go on Popeye and Bluto’s Bilge Rat Barges, which was fun, but very very wet. I was soaked to the skin and did not dry out for several hours. Making our way back through Marvel Superhero Island, I waited in the sun (to dry out a bit) while Liz went on Dr Doom’s Fear Fall before we both headed over to the Incredible Hulk Rollercoaster. It is truly amazing, accelerating half way up the first incline (the bit that most rollercoasters do slowly) and twisting you upside down straight away. It was well worth the extra wait for the front row seats, which I have never done before. The speed of that helped dry us out a bit, but I imagine the person after us was a little grossed out to find a damp seat awaiting them (sorry whoever you were). After the Hulk we headed back to the Spiderman ride and froze in the indoor air conditioned queue in our still damps clothes. After that we headed back to Seuss Landing to go on the skyride that we had missed before returning to Hogsmeade for more Butterbeer and to browse the shops at our leisure.

Sunset over Hogwarts Castle

Both of us resisted the urge to buy wands (at $32 dollars each it was a bit difficult to justify) and enjoyed signing our credit card receipts for our smaller purchases with feather quills. After a final butterbeer while watching a dance off between Beauxbatons and Durmstrang students we headed to Jurrasic Park to go on the riverboat ride. I was slightly persona non grata after this, I had forgotten that it was a log flume… oops. It was almost closing time so there was no queue but we did get wet even as we sat down since the ride had clearly been running with empty seats. This ride is seriously scary in the dark, and then it takes you inside and up and up and up.

Posing with the students from the dance off!

Then just as you are attacked by a huge dinosaur you plunge into the darkness and come out in a huge plume of water at the bottom. I was almost dry before that as well. Apparently its one of the highest log flumes in the world, with an 85 foot drop… fun times. We headed back towards the exit and could not resist going on the Hulk rollercoaster one last time, its brilliant in the dark by the way, before heading back to the car and the campsite. Back at the campsite we were not up for very long before heading to bed after a pretty exhausting day.

 

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