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Blog #794

Islands of Adventure - 8/8/2017

Today was the day that I finally made my way to Universal’s Islands of Adventure.  Sarah made her trip to the park way back in July 2011 with Mom and Tyler.  Now it was my turn.  I left the hotel at seven o'clock to board the the shuttle bus to the park.  Then I made my way through CityWalk and to the gates of the park where I waited with the other early arrivals for the turnstiles to open.


Islands of Adventure

The gates opened and I joined with the crowd of other guests as we made our way towards the park’s signature attraction, The Wizarding World of Harry Potter.  Located in the back of the park, it was a bit of a walk.  Almost everyone was headed directly to Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey.  As I walked I noticed that Dragon challenge had not yet open.  As I neared the ride entrance I stopped to ask the park workers when the ride would open.  The lady told me it would open in about a half hour and they recommended I go ahead and ride the Forbidden Journey first, before the lines for that ride got too long.


I proceeded to the Forbidden Journey where I entered the single rider line.  Since most of the park guests were families, I gained a big advantage and moved right to the start of the ride where I believe I may have been one of the very first riders of the day.  The ride itself is unlike any other dark ride I have ever been on.  It is highly themed and very immersive.  The building, the queue, the visual affects, the motion base are all outstanding.  Universal has truly out-Disneyed Disney.


Forbidden Journey

Next I rode the family coaster, Flight of the Hippogriff.


It was finally time for me to ride the coaster that I came all this way for, Dragon Challenge.  After dealing with the metal detectors and security I made my way to blue side on the coaster, which I guess is Hungarian Horntail.  Then I rode Chinese Fireball, the red side.  I took a couple laps on each one and was not disappointed.  These are two great B&M inverts.  I love ’em.  Some coaster geeks prefer one over the other, but I couldn’t find where one was any better or worse than the other.  They were both equally thrilling.


Dragon Challenge

I circled my way around the park for the rest of the day riding many of the other attractions including Skull Island: Reign of Kong, The Cat in the Hat, The High in the Sky Seuss Trolley Train Ride, Jurassic Park River Adventure, Doctor Doom's Fearfall and The Amazing Adventures of Spider-Man.  I ate at The Burger Digs in the Jurassic Park area of the park.  I took a break from the Florida heat in the afternoon with a quick trip back to the hotel for a fast shower and a power nap.  When I returned to the park I grabbed a large cup of chilled fresh fruit as I past through the Port of Entry area.  This was a great refreshing treat on such a hot day.


There were a few more outstanding attraction throughout the park. One of them was The Incredible Hulk.  This B&M looping roller coaster had a unique tire launch system, seven inversions and all the thrills I expected for B&M.  The ride had great theming and a very detailed queue.  I lines were very long but I braved the crowds three different times during the day including my final ride of the evening.


The Incredible Hulk

Another standout attraction was The Eighth Voyage of Sinbad live-action stunt show.  This had a fun story, lots of action and effects and some fun pop-culture references.


One surprise in the park that really got my attention was Poseidon's Fury.  This live-action indoor special-effects show was unlike anything. Amazing effect like appearing and disappearing words on a well, gravity defying tunnel of water and massive walls that vanish in just one second to reveal a giant panorama for the grand finale.


Poseidon's Fury

Once delightful and fun surprise I stumbled upon was The Mystic Fountain.  This talking fountain entertains, splashes and interacts with guests.  It was a lot of fun just watching the kids have fun with it.


The Mystic Fountain

Today’s great adventure at Universal was well worth it.  I really would have regretted not visiting the park if I had not taken this opportunity to ride Dragon Challenge before it closes.


Tomorrow I’ll be flying back home and saying goodbye to hot and sunny Florida.


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