Our 2nd day at Universal Orlando Resort and today we visited Islands of Adventure. However, first, we had breakfast in the Rock Royalty Lounge at the Hard Rock Hotel.
Guests who have access to the Rock Royalty Lounge can get a daily continental breakfast. The breakfast is fairly basic, consisting of cereals, pastries, and a selection of drinks. The lounge itself isn’t huge and is quite a bit smaller than the similar room we experienced last year at Loews Royal Pacific. We discuss the Rock Royalty Lounge further in the coming days.
Islands of Adventure is the home to Univeral’s big new attraction Hagrid’s Magical Creatures Motorbike Adventure. Unfortunately, currently, it is a lottery on whether you will be able to get a ride.
Hagrid’s is extremely popular, but it still isn’t managing to operate at full capacity. There are regular closures, and it still isn’t running throughout the entire day. No matter how Universal has attempted to dress this up, it hasn’t been a great implementation. Those guests who have managed to ride do however state the attraction is superb. Today, unfortunately, the attraction was advertised as having reached capacity for the day, but it is difficult to ascertain whether it was even operating.
However, don’t let the Hagrid lottery put you off going to Islands of Adventure. There are plenty of other fantastic rides in the park, including my own favorite The Amazing Adventures of Spiderman.
Spiderman is still one of the most technologically advanced rides at any theme park, and it is incredible to think it is now 20 years old. There were some significant enhancements made to the ride in 2012, but it is still basically the same attraction.
Spiderman was one of the initial attractions of Islands of Adventure, which means the park itself is also now 20 years old. However, unlike Disney, which never misses a celebration, there is little to highlight this milestone. The park itself is still fantastic, but there are a few areas that do need some work.
Universal has allegedly started building a new theme park in recent months, and an official announcement is expected shortly. Also, there is considerable construction happening in the Jurassic Park area of the park where a new Jurassic World Coaster is scheduled to be announced. However, these new developments should not stop some drastically needed TLC to the rest of the park.
The Lost Continent is now a vast open space without any attractions. This land could be fantastic but needs something new. It just seems odd that this whole area of the park is now without anything to keep you there. Plus, don’t feel you need to visit Poseidon’s Fury due it being the only genuine remaining attraction in the area. Poseidon’s Fury is by some distance the worse attraction at Universal Orlando.
Toon Lagoon is also struggling, which was initially my favorite land in the park. However, the majority of the featured toons are long forgotten, and I suspect most children, apart from perhaps Popeye, would struggle to name any of the characters. When I first went into the land, I was staggered over the theming and how it felt like you had walked into a real toon world, but today that illusion has faded. Partly I think this has been down to maintenance, but also due to the high caliber of lands that have been launched in other parks over the last 20 years.
Finally, Seuss Landing seems to become paler every time I visit. I am sure all it needs is a fresh coat of paint, but the magic has certainly also gone paler too.
Ultimately, there is nothing too wrong with Islands of Adventure, but it isn’t currently the park I loved for its magical theming on my first visit in 2000.
However, one area where the magic does exist is The Nighttime Lights At Hogwarts Castle. I was mesmerized by these this evening, and it certainly is one of the very best night shows you will see anywhere.
Just 3 more days of our Orlando Vacation remain. You can catch up with all our Orlando Live Blogs for 2019 by clicking the link.