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Didn't like Forbidden Journey?

Universal Orlando: I only thought FJ was ok. What am I missing?

From Anthony Murphy
Posted May 13, 2013 at 7:53 PM
I went on Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey today and I felt that it was only ok. I was expecting something to knock my socks off, but I found it lacking. There were few animatronics and the video component looked artificial. I really wanted to love this ride, but it was just ok. The line was nice and so was the rest of the Wizarding World of Harry Potter. I really feel that Spider-Man is still the top ride! Am I missing something here? I think it's worth checking out, but is overhyped.


Comments in chronological order. Most recent at the bottom. Scroll down to respond.

From Dominick D
Posted May 13, 2013 at 8:10 PM
It's good, but DEFINITELY overrated. The story is where it gets to me. It makes as much sense as the plotholes in The Dark Knight Rises. I still think there are much better rides out there.

From Anthony Murphy
Posted May 13, 2013 at 8:17 PM
I'm glad I'm not alone. Call it high expectations, but I didn't think it was as good as Spider-Man. If they have to build a Harry Potter ride, this will do. The ride technology was there, but the special effects were not.

From Dominick D
Posted May 13, 2013 at 8:33 PM
Gringotts should be even better, so don't give up your hopes yet. Hopefully there the screens will be better.

From Rob Pastor
Posted May 14, 2013 at 6:57 AM
Gringotts screens should be better since Gringotts will be 3D. From what I've read on other sites, the Potter screens blur is somewhat due to limiting motion sickness on the ride. The new Spider Man is great, but I've found the Potter ride grows on me. I, too was a little let down on my first ride, maybe over expectations. But with repeated rides, the attraction has grown on me. So much is happening, so quickly, that you need repeated rides to notice everything happening. I felt the same with Mummy's Revenge. It gets better with more rides. Last vacation I kept riding Potter & Spider Man to try to make up my mind which was best. After many rides, I shifted to Potter as best, with a plus on thrills and a big margin on the queue. Just my own personal opinion, though.

From Brian Emery
Posted May 14, 2013 at 8:32 AM
Bob I think you need more research and need to take a vacation to Universal… Ya know in the name of science and all…. Actually, we should all take a vacation to Universal….

Anyway, FJ is great. It all depends on what you like. Like is subjective. I think it is much better then Spidy, but I do like both rides…. The Mummy is good but needs another 30 seconds of track.

Take Montu in Busch Gardens – over 3 minutes… Now that’s a Coaster…
Have a nice day folks!

From Rob Pastor
Posted May 14, 2013 at 10:10 AM
Brian: Will be at Portofino Universal Sept. 21 to Oct. 4th. More testing and research (LOL). Excited about Transformers, Springfield and Despicable Me (missed it by a few weeks last year). And always excited about Pat O'Briens , Margaritaville and Bob Marley's at Citiwalk. The great thing about staying on site is being able to drink at Citi Walk with no DUI concerns. Hopefully some of the London & Diagon Alley facades will be up by then which will give the lagoon area a more complete look.

From Brian Emery
Posted May 14, 2013 at 11:19 AM
Good for you Mr. Pastor…. I am sure you will have a Harry Potter word ‘Brilliant’ time… I do believe you picked a great time to go. September when all are back in school and the Florida weather is great….. I am Truly Jealous…

And as you know – keep your eyes open for updates from Orlando Informer… You might even run into him there… Plus we will need a trip report when you return; if it’s to too much to ask….

From Rob Pastor
Posted May 14, 2013 at 12:03 PM
Brian: Thank you...Yes I follow OI regularly. Dan Hatfield's is a good site for Universal info. Also, the posters at Orlando United are generally very knowledgable about matters at Universal. And TPI is an excellent site for info at "all" theme parks. Lots of good people out there...I just might do a trip report this time around. We are the few that spends so many days at Universal. But I love Disney too.

From David L.
Posted May 14, 2013 at 4:22 PM
I'm in the group that found the line far more interesting than the ride. Though I only rode it once, and it appears that a few effects weren't working.

From Manny Rodriguez
Posted May 15, 2013 at 10:26 AM
Ive Been on it multiple times IMO It immerses you in potters world

From Russell Meyer
Posted May 15, 2013 at 11:55 AM
I think I'm more impressed by the technology than the ride itself. It is rather dark inside, and the story is really rushed. I think if people really understood the level of complexity of the ride, there would be even greater appreciation for it. Just the ride vehicles by themselves are more complicated than just about anything else on the planet along with the load/unload platform. Then the coordination with the screens, audio through the on-ride speakers and room sound effect, along with the animatronics and other effects (Deamentors) is simply amazing.

From chris cona
Posted May 15, 2013 at 7:09 PM
I rode the Forbiden Journey 8 times in one trip and that ride is mind blowing. I don't understand what you's are talking about.

From Shannon Nelson
Posted May 16, 2013 at 3:30 PM
It's a great ride. FJ, Spiderman, and The Mummy are my favorites. The only reason I rank Spiderman ahead of FJ is the video screens are extremely lacking. How long till an update like there was with Spiderman?

From TH Creative
Posted May 16, 2013 at 5:59 PM
MR. Pastor writes: "I felt the same with Mummy's Revenge. It gets better with more rides."

I Respond: It's "Revenge of the Mummy."

From Rob Pastor
Posted May 16, 2013 at 8:08 PM
Oh, what a glaring mistake. I stand corrected.

From Tyler Harris
Posted May 18, 2013 at 4:34 AM
Are you kidding? FJ is the best ride at IOA next to Spiderman. I saw no issues with the video screens, though the demontor part was creepey.

RATING-9.5/10
P.S The Mummy's a bit jerky, and I don't like that big head at the start.

From Dominick D
Posted May 18, 2013 at 12:20 PM
......What big head?

From David L.
Posted May 18, 2013 at 12:21 PM
Just sayin' I found Jurassic Park, Spiderman, Poseidon's fury, and Popeye all more enjoyable than the Forbidden Journey. Jurassic Park has more impressive AAs and is actually thrilling. Spiderman is just plain fun. Poseidon's Fury is just as well themed as the Forbidden Journey and has an awesome entrance. I enjoy water rides and Popeye met my expectations as the best rapids ride out there.

From Brandon Townsend
Posted May 18, 2013 at 11:07 PM
I'm with you on this one. I have been on FJ several times and still haven't warmed to it. The theming is off the charts, but the actual ride is meh.

From William Clark
Posted May 19, 2013 at 7:47 AM
As someone who has ridden FJ at least 100 times I must say that it is my favorite ride at Universal. An absolute smash hit and in my opinion the best ride there by far. Bearing in mind of course that my complaints on Universal in general are numerous, I think they knocked it out of the park with this ride.

From Manny Barron
Posted May 19, 2013 at 1:28 PM
Waited nine hours to get on this ride, the first day it opened to the public. Needless to say the ride justified the grueling nine hour wait. It is amazing and has so much going on which is a plus. Wonderful ride that has visitors going in an out of Hogwarts and the mix of physical and video sets was great.

Best ride in Orlando... For another few weeks or so until Transformers opens next door. Still #2 in Orlando is pretty fantastic.

From chris cona
Posted May 19, 2013 at 7:50 PM
that ride is like nothning else I have ever expericenced. It's that kind of ride that you still dont expect anything and what's going to come next. Yeah spidey great but it comes second next to Harry and the queue is like nothning else i expected so well done.

From Anthony Murphy
Posted May 20, 2013 at 3:49 PM
Queue was amazing and one of the best I have ever seen, but I felt "meh" when it came to the actual ride. Maybe it was the plot or maybe something that didn't work. Either way, I felt that the actual ride could have been better. I also went on Spiderman on that date.....still the best in my opinion.

From Don Neal
Posted May 22, 2013 at 6:19 AM
I agree with several of the other "meh" posts. The que is fantastic. The theming top notch. The village, shops, and restaurants are outstanding. However the ride wasn't quite as fantastic as some others had stated. It is still a really solid ride. A definite 8 out of 10 but not a 9/10 or 10/10. The story feels very rushed and doesn't make much sense. The video screens are not on par with the rest of the ride.

Spiderman is a great dark ride with a story that makes sense. The setup for the story in the que and the first scene tell you everything you need to know in prep of what is happening next.

For reference, I have ridden Forbidden Journey three times.

From Tyler Harris
Posted May 26, 2013 at 3:30 AM
I agree with Daviad. Popye is awesome.

From TH Creative
Posted May 26, 2013 at 11:16 AM
Don't be so defensive.

From N B
Posted May 26, 2013 at 12:08 PM
Rob, we are go for July 24th through August 1st at the Hard Rock. I would have loved to stay at Portofino, but my teen and tween girls prefer the wildest of the three hotels.

I am salivating just thinking about all that high calorie cuisine on the CityWalk and running out at 10PM for some POB hurricanes to bring back to the pool. Live music at sunset with Italian Margaritas on the Porch of Indecision...

From Dominick D
Posted May 26, 2013 at 12:30 PM
TH who are you talking to?

From TH Creative
Posted May 26, 2013 at 1:51 PM
Dub Dee: That guy standing behind you.

NB: When and where are we meeting for a pint?

From Dominick D
Posted May 26, 2013 at 2:31 PM
Dub Dee, eh? Can't see that name sticking with me for long.

From TH Creative
Posted May 26, 2013 at 3:21 PM
I tripped over this THC TPI post from nine years ago - S-M-R-T ...

From T.H. Creative
Posted February 25, 2004 at 1:34 PM

"In my opinion, Universal needs to swing for the fence and negotiate a deal with J.K. Rowling. Pay her whatever she wants and develop a new island based on the Potter series."

From Rob Pastor
Posted May 26, 2013 at 4:10 PM
NB: Enjoy your trip...I fully understand why teenagers would rather be at the Hard Rock Hotel rather than Portofino. Portofino is a bit too laid back for them, but it's great for us middle agers. Universal will be amazing this summer, even though Diagon Alley won't be ready yet. Transformers, Springfield, and the facades should be up for London by the time you arrive, so the Studio's won't look like a construction zone this year. Plus we missed Despicable Me by a few weeks last year so we'll get to see it many times over when we arrive this fall...Vacations are great when your biggest decision is which flavor Marguarita to order. Universal leisure and relaxation while staying on site at excellent resort hotels minutes from the parks & Citi Walk. Doesn't get much better.

From Tyler Harris
Posted May 27, 2013 at 9:47 AM
Rob, we are taking about FJ not hotels.

I can't post my own thread, I've tried many times and it isn't on the board,.

From Rob Pastor
Posted May 27, 2013 at 7:12 PM
OK. Back on topic, I read on OU that the FJ film carousels received new video & ride profiling last week. Several readers said the video seemed more crisp , though still with a blur, after that change.

From Anthony Murphy
Posted May 27, 2013 at 8:10 PM
That's good to know!

From Joshua Bixler
Posted May 28, 2013 at 7:07 AM
Hey Anthony. For me Forbidden Journey was great because of all the details. I thought Universal Creative did an outstanding job in that regard. The story does make little sense, but I feel the story wasn't really the point. Universal spent $265 million on the park, so I think they were trying to go for the homerun. I think they wanted every little thing in Harry's world thrown at you in the ride, so they could snatch in the rider.

It worked for me. The combination of the castle queue and the smattering of all the HP elements really sucked me in. I really didn't mind that there wasn't a story.

Back to the details. I've ridden FJ over 20 times, and one of my favorite things about the ride is hunting for details. There is not a square inch of that ride that isn't stuffed full of some detail or another. The last few times I rode FJ, I didn't even pay attention to the ride. I simply looked around.

An example is when you are being attacked by the dragon. It's not just a dragon animatronic head that is used. If you look through the cracks in the walls, you will see that there is an entire dragon body connected to that head that is extremely detailed. Universal could have saved money, and gotten away with just the head, but they went all out. You also see all kinds of plants and foliage underneath the dragon which adds even more to the immersion.

Another example is when you crash through the Hogwarts bridge. If you quickly look while your ride bench is going down, you can see just how detailed the bridge is. Universal could have easily made this less detailed. You only see it for a second in the ride, and there is a 99% chance that you aren't even paying attention to it.

I personally think it is their best ride. I love Spider-man to death, but IMHO, FJ beats it hands down.

Granted though, don't feel like you have to find a reason to like the ride. Not every ride is going to be enjoyed by every person.

From Ryan Pickhardt
Posted June 1, 2013 at 3:18 PM
Being a huge HP fan probably will help make this ride #1. I am huge fan of the books and movies so flying around Hogwarts and going through the Forbidden Forest make this ride amazing even if the storyline is a little disjointed!

From Anthony Murphy
Posted June 1, 2013 at 7:03 PM
I'm a HP fan too. Loved the rest of the ride and even likes the line. I just got an eh feeling

From Josh Pearson
Posted June 23, 2013 at 10:35 PM
I put FJ below Spidey/Transformers because it doesn't feel as consistent. Simply put, I feel the dome sections severely limit the ride vehicles' potential. My favorite parts are outside the domes when the vehicles are throwing me up on my back and accelerating to drop me down, tilting at large degrees, rapidly changing direction, etc... The vehicles can't do any of that in the dome sections and the simulation elements in those sections aren't as convincing to me as say, Transformers'.

On the other hand, you have Spider-Man and Transformers, neither of which suffer from limited motion in front of the screens. Both of these rides have consistently exciting motion both in front of and away from their screens unlike FJ. Their simulation elements are also more convincing to me.

Transformers>Spidey>FJ for me. FJ would easily be number 1 if it was four minutes of physical sets. Still an incredible ride though, just not the runaway #1 I often see it labeled as imo.

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