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Matt N’s Frolic in Florida 10th-24th June 2023 (24th June 2023: Islands of Adventure/Universal Studios Florida)


Matt N

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24th June 2023 (Islands of Adventure/Universal Studios Florida)

Today was the last day of our trip and the day of our flight home, so we decided to head to Universal Orlando for one last visit. If I’m being honest, today’s report will probably be short and quite dull, as we only spent around 4 hours in the parks themselves and it was one of those days where few things seemed to go right. Let me start from the very beginning.

 

As we didn’t have to check out of our house until 10am and my family didn’t want to spend ages at Universal before heading to the airport, we left our house at slightly before 10am to arrive at Universal Orlando at around 11:15am:

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After going through security at CityWalk, we split up, with me and my dad heading to Islands of Adventure and the rest of our group heading to Universal Studios Florida. We got into the park at just after 11:30am:

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Our initial aim was to try and get on VelociCoaster, as we’d noticed that it was on only a 60 minute queue on the app when arriving. However, we were just a touch too late, as the ride was delayed and cycling empty trains. As such, we instead decided to look at a different headline coaster…

Hagrid’s Magical Creatures Motorbike Adventure

Even though Hagrid’s was on an advertised 110 minute queue time according to the app, we decided to scope it out anyway, as we’d noticed that its queue time was often substantially overstated during our trip. The advertised queue time fell as we got closer to the ride, hitting just 80 minutes by the time we got there. The queue looked a little longer than it had been on our previous rides, but as our longest queue previously had been around 40-45 minutes (breakdown aside), we decided to stay in the queue and ride. We got the pre-show again, which is always quite fun, but when we were in the cave section of the queue (around 40 minutes in), the ride encountered a “short delay”. We were initially optimistic given that these “short delays” elsewhere in the trip had traditionally been resolved in 10 minutes or less, so we waited it out, but this delay later turned into an “extended delay”, and when the emergency exit doors were opened by the staff, we bailed and left the queue after almost 70 minutes of total queueing. This was ultimately for the best given that many fellow guests near us in the queue seemingly left not long after and the ride did not reopen all afternoon:

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After our failed attempt to ride Hagrid’s, we headed back over to VelociCoaster, which had reopened and had an advertised 45 minute queue time according to the app. This had gone up to 50 minutes by the time we arrived in the plaza, and in the time we were walking towards it, the queue time was increasing exponentially, going up to 60 minutes and then straight to 75 minutes. With the queue time ever increasing and us needing to meet the others in Universal Studios Florida for food in less than an hour, it was decided that joining this queue was not a good idea. We were later vindicated according to the app, as the queue time did nothing but increase further and eventually peaked at 135 minutes:

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After this, we realised that quite a few other attractions in Islands of Adventure were either delayed or had rather long queues, and we needed to meet the rest of our group over in Universal Studios Florida anyway, so we declared our visit to Islands of Adventure a bust and headed over to Universal Studios Florida.

 

We then met up with the rest of our group, who had ridden ET Adventure and watched the Animal Actors show. They described ET Adventure as being “very retro” with “some of the worst animatronics you’ve ever seen”, while the Animal Actors show seemed to go down quite well.

 

We all sat down to eat lunch together before heading to ride…

Men in Black: Alien Attack

Men in Black was on an advertised 35 minute queue, so we decided to give it a go. The queue ended up taking around 30 minutes overall, so slightly less than advertised; it’s always great when that happens! Interestingly, my grandad even came on with us, making MIB only his second ride of the trip (with the first being Jurassic Park River Adventure on our inaugural visit to Islands of Adventure). But how was the ride? Well, it was just as fun as it had been the other day, with some great theming and an interesting touch in the way of spinning, and I got a surprisingly high score of 30,000! My grandad, however, did not enjoy the ride, saying that the spinning was a bit too much for him thrill-wise:

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After we got off of Men in Black, all outdoor attractions had gone down due to weather, so no outdoor attractions were open and the indoor attractions mostly had elevated queue times.

 

I was informed by my mum that was allowed to go off on my own and ride Revenge of the Mummy on the condition that the single rider queue was open and not too long. Alas, it wasn’t to be as the single rider queue was closed and the main queue time had risen a fair amount since I set off:

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After my failed attempt to ride Revenge of the Mummy, I met back up with my family, who had decided that all of the open queues were too long and that even though we weren’t due to leave for the airport until 4pm and it wasn’t much after 3pm, their preference was to look through some shops and leave the park an hour earlier than planned. As such, we left Universal Orlando for the last time to make our way to Orlando International Airport:

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So, that concludes our day at Universal Orlando and the trip! It was good to go to Universal for one last time, but I’d be lying if I said that today was a highlight of the trip, and I was slightly sad that the trip had to end on a somewhat flatter note. I guess it wasn’t the worst day overall, as I did at least go on Men in Black and beat my earlier score, and weather, long queues and ride breakdowns can’t be helped. However, I was disappointed that I couldn’t have one last go on VelociCoaster and Hagrid’s, and what seemed like a litany of bad luck did, rightly or wrongly, leave me feeling a tad flat. I apologise, as I know that none of what happened was the park’s fault, but I can’t lie about how I felt. Still, at least I got plenty of Universal visits earlier on in the trip, and at least I managed to ride Men in Black today!

 

Thanks for reading; I hope you enjoyed this report! I’m sorry that it was a shorter and slightly more negative one… I know that that isn’t always the best to read, particularly seeing as I’m probably being a tad unfair on Universal here; none of what happened was their fault. When I’m back in the UK and over the jet lag, I’ll write a trip summary talking in a bit more depth about some of the specific things I experienced!

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9 hours ago, planenut said:

There was only one important ride to be experienced on that final day, so I hope that flight went well and all enjoyed it. Thanks for your reports.

No problem; it was a great trip from my end, so I’m glad you’ve enjoyed my reports!

 

The flight mostly went fine; we were delayed in leaving by about 30 minutes due to a thunderstorm, but we got back to London Heathrow at about 10:25am this morning problem-free.

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