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Matt N’s Frolic in Florida 10th-24th June 2023 (13th June 2023: Universal Studios Florida)


Matt N

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13th June 2023 (Universal Studios Florida)

Today, we did the other park at Universal Orlando that we didn’t do yesterday; Universal Studios Florida! My grandparents didn’t join us today, but those of us who did go were excited to get back into the park and ride a combination of previous classics like Revenge of the Mummy and new attractions like Fast & Furious: Supercharged!

 

As with yesterday, we left our villa at just gone 8am and arrived at Universal Orlando at around 9:15am:

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After walking through CityWalk and entering Universal Studios Florida, we got into the park itself at around 9:30am:

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After entering the park, we noticed that a certain major coaster was on only a 10 minute queue, so my sister and I headed over to ride…

Hollywood Rip Ride Rockit

Hollywood Rip Ride Rockit was on only a 10 minute advertised queue time, which seemed almost unheard of based on our previous experiences at Universal, so my sister and I decided to give it a go. As promised, the queue was very short indeed, and we were on the ride within 10-15 minutes or so. I was interested to get back on Hollywood Rip Ride Rockit, as I’d always remembered enjoying it to varying degrees on previous visits. It provided the first time I ever remember experiencing airtime on a coaster when I first rode it back in 2014, so the novelty of the airtime, height and lap bars made me think it was the best thing since sliced bread. I liked it a bit less in 2016, but it was still a ride I thoroughly enjoyed and was pretty fond of compared to most. But how have 7 years of additional coaster experiences treated it? Well, I’m afraid to say that riding more coasters has massively lowered it in my estimations. Don’t get me wrong, it’s got a relatively decent layout, with 1 or 2 nice bits of airtime, but there was less airtime than I’d remembered, and it was a lot rougher and more uncomfortable than I’d remembered. The ride jolted and bashed us about considerably throughout, and I almost felt like I was getting punched in the stomach entering and exiting the various brake runs. Overall, I’m sorry to say that Hollywood Rip Ride Rockit was a bit of a disappointment for me; it’s got a fair layout, but it was a bit too rough and uncomfortable for me (and my sister seemed to agree), and even as someone who’s done under 100 coasters, it just feels somewhat outclassed in the height/airtime/lap bars genre by numerous other rides I’ve done including Mako, Silver Star, and VelociCoaster. I know that sounds a bit petty and negative, so I apologise for that, but that’s how I felt:

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After Hollywood Rip Ride Rockit, we met back up with my parents and noticed that a new ride we hadn’t done was on a short queue, so we headed towards…

Race through New York Starring Jimmy Fallon

Race through New York had only a 5 minute advertised queue, so we decided to have a go on it. The queue ultimately ended up taking a lot longer than advertised, with us instead waiting around 30 minutes. Most of that was in the living room-type bit after the actual queue, though, so I guess it might not technically count as part of the wait. We were intrigued to ride Race through New York, as it was a new ride that we’d never done before. But how was it? Well, I’d heard starkly negative reviews for this attraction before coming, and I must say that I don’t think it quite deserves the level of vitriol often directed towards it. Don’t get me wrong, it’s not the greatest ride ever built, and it’s pretty far down the list of draws within Universal Orlando for me, but I thought it was a perfectly fine simulator in isolation. Admittedly, there could have been a bit more going on in terms of smellpods, effects and such, but for what it was, I thought it was all right. It was nothing particularly groundbreaking, but it was perfectly fine for what it was, in my view:

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After Race through New York, we headed just down the street to what is a slightly more noteworthy draw of the park (in my view)…

Revenge of the Mummy

Revenge of the Mummy was on a 25 minute advertised queue, so we decided to take a ride. We were initially concerned about the queue taking far longer than 25 minutes, as it nearly filled the queue line and looked far longer than we’d ever queued for Revenge of the Mummy before, but it in fact took only 15 minutes; as with many rides at Universal, the queue was constantly moving at a rate of knots, and the operations were absolutely top-notch! Based on yesterday and today, I honestly reckon Universal Orlando is right up there with Europa Park for operational efficiency and queue moving speed, of the parks I’ve done! But how was Revenge of the Mummy? Well, I’d remembered it being a decent ride 7 years ago, but if anything, it was even better than I’d remembered; this thing is absolutely awesome! There are 2 really decent pops of airtime, the ride carries great speed throughout, it has some really fun twists and turns, and overall, the coaster itself was great fun! Not to mention that the dark ride experience with the theming and special effects was absolutely top-notch; it’s a wonderful overall experience, and the fire in particular is absolutely immense, with Revenge of the Mummy’s use of fire easily being my favourite of any attraction I’ve ever seen use fire! Overall, I thought Revenge of the Mummy was a fantastic ride; it’s not quite as good as the new IOA duo from the previous day, but it’s definitely solidly entered the 9/10 tier for me:

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After Revenge of the Mummy, we initially headed towards Diagon Alley to ride Gringotts. However, the ride was showing as “Delayed”, as was Fast & Furious: Supercharged, so we instead headed to ride…

Transformers: The Ride

Transformers was showing as having a 25 minute queue, so we decided to have a go on it. The queue ended up taking closer to 45-50 minutes, so it was somewhat understated. But how was the ride? Well, I have to say that I thought it was absolutely awesome! The ride was fast-paced, dynamic and full of action, with excellent 3D and loads of brilliant effects, and there was some nice physical scenery too! These Oceaneering 4D dark rides are almost invariably top-notch, from my experience, and I’m looking forward to getting back on Spider-Man later in our trip to compare it to Transformers. Overall, I thought Transformers was an absolutely fantastic dark ride, personally:

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After Transformers, we sat down briefly for a snack and some respite from the sun. I initially considered riding The Simpsons Ride alone, but I discovered that there was no Single Rider Queue and the standby line was 60 minutes, so I decided against it for the time being. However, we noticed that a ride we’d been pursuing earlier was back open on a relatively short queue time…

Fast & Furious: Supercharged

Fast & Furious was on an advertised 15 minute queue, so me and my dad made a beeline over there. By the time we got there, it was already up to 50 minutes, but as we’d gone all the way over there, we decided to go for it anyway. We ultimately ended up waiting about 45 minutes, so the posted wait time was pretty accurate. But how was the ride? Well, I was interested to see how it compared to Kong, a similar ride system which had massively exceeded expectations and been a firm favourite for all of us yesterday, and I have to say that it was notably inferior to Kong, in my view. I thought that the ride being in 2D took something away from it compared to Kong, and it just didn’t feel quite as substantial and impressive for me. I did feel that while the movement alongside the big screen itself was clever and surprisingly convincing, and the physical theming was decent in the places where it was present, the fact that the ride only really had the one big screen meant that it wasn’t quite as impressive for me, and I must admit that I felt a bit overwhelmed by the barrage of noisy air cannons at times. With that being said, I had similar thoughts on F&F to my thoughts on Fallon in that while it’s far from the greatest ride ever built, I thought Fast & Furious was all right in isolation, and not quite deserving of the sheer degree of vitriol it often receives. Overall, then, Fast & Furious was OK, albeit not anything spectacular; on a side note, I should also add that I honestly got wetter on F&F than I have on some water rides, with a surprising amount of unexpected water sprays being present:

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After Fast & Furious, we met back up with my mum and sister and decided to go for a walk around Diagon Alley. Gringotts was still closed, but we just decided to walk around the area and take in the sights for a bit.

 

After that, we decided to go for something a little less simulator-based…

Men in Black: Alien Attack

Men in Black was on only a 20 minute advertised queue time, so we decided to give it a try. As promised, the queue was not overly long, and we quite quickly reached the pre-show. One interesting thing to note is that unlike other dark rides at Universal, loose articles were not allowed on this one, which I was a bit confused by before getting on. But how was the ride? Well, I was interested to ride it, as I didn’t really remember an awful lot about it from previous trips, and I have to say that I thought it was brilliant! There was great physical scenery, with loads of awesome little details present, the interactivity worked really well, and the spinning added a fun (albeit slightly nauseating) touch! Overall, Men in Black was a great ride; I’d say that it’s easily my favourite interactive dark ride I’ve done:

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After Men in Black, I headed alone to ride a previous guilty pleasure of mine…

The Simpsons Ride

The Simpsons Ride was on an advertised 25 minute queue time, so I decided to take a ride. I went alone onto this one, as none of the rest of my family liked the ride previously, and the queue was slightly overstated, taking 15-20 minutes in reality. But how was the ride? Well, I am a Simpsons fan, and the gags and script delivered as they always did, but I must admit that the ride system itself was less fun than I’d remembered, with some very disorientating motions and some pretty jerky moments; it was probably the most intense simulator of the day in terms of the nausea of the ride motions, and I did come off it feeling a tad worse for wear. Overall, then, while the ride film and gags in the queue were as fun as ever, the inherent intensity of the ride system did make The Simpsons Ride somewhat less enjoyable than it used to be for me:

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After The Simpsons Ride, it was 3:15pm and my family were feeling pretty tired, so we decided to head home for the day:

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So, that wraps up our day at Universal Studios Florida! It was a great day; I really enjoyed getting back on some old favourites as well as some new attractions, and it was overall really nice to get back to a really great park! I’ve heard quite a bit of negativity surrounding Universal Studios Florida as of late, but I have to say that I absolutely loved the park and still thought that it was brilliant! I have to say that the theming of the park was far better than I’d remembered, with loads of little details and things to look at, and it’s a very nice park to just exist in, in my view, with a nice, relaxed atmosphere. My family agreed, and had possibly more favourable views on it than I did; they seemed to prefer it to Islands of Adventure as an overall park. 

 

Thanks for reading; I hope you enjoyed today’s report! Tomorrow, we’re headed for our first ever visit to Universal’s Volcano Bay!

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21 hours ago, planenut said:

Another interesting and well worded report.

If you are looking for a Sunday event to get away from the crowds, I would recommend the Orlando Science Center. 

Thanks for the recommendation! We’ve pencilled in Sunday as a rest day, though, as it’s Father’s Day.

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