Hagrid's Motorbike ride ... a different perspective

September 11, 2019, 9:29 AM

It was still relatively quiet at the parks after Dorian had long gone, so I decided to keep an eye on Hagrid’s at IOA. During some parts of the day the wait time was listed at 120mins, but that was usually because there had been a delay, and most of the time it hovered between 75 and 90mins, so with my 3 remaining days I thought it would be a good time to take a trip in to USO and see what’s going on.

For me, Universal is not as repeatable a park as Disney, and even the SWE parks, so 4 times in 6 months would see me OK until the new Jurassic ride opened. I like Harry Potter about as much as I do Star Wars, which isn’t a great deal, but as with SWGE I do like the way the lands are so immersive, so even though I don’t understand a lot of what’s going on, and/or what’s being sold in the stores I still like to have a look around. The Hogwarts train journey is a bit blah, but having ridden real steam trains back in the UK when I was a ‘wee lad’ I suppose an aluminum and plastic replica doesn’t quite cut it. Impressive though, I will say that. The 2 videos are tolerable, but if you sit next to the door, people closer to the screen tend to lean over and block your view, but by now I’d seen them enough times not to worry.

The only downside with the 4-day ticket is I have to pay for parking, and at $26 it’s not cheap, but arriving early put me in the Spiderman parking lot, so not too far to walk. I was at the gate by 8:30, so I bided my time trying to get a Slinky FP+ for Thursday night. I digress here, but I have to say I’m addicted to the blue milk with rum at SWGE. How a shot of rum can make a bubbly-gum flavor drink taste so good is beyond me, but it does, so for all of you yet to experience the Star Wars lands, blue milk with rum is the way to go. But here’s the weird part …… why does Disney serve the alcohol milk in a square glass, compared to the round without ?? Is it so they know who’s drinking alcohol in their parks ?? All very, very odd.…. Anyway, there’s my Disney rant out of the way, so back to Hagrid’s ……….

It’s great not being at work, and visiting the parks, so roll on retirement …… :) I had a day off from visiting the parks on Monday, as I somehow managed to find myself at SeaWorld Friday, Saturday and Sunday (long story) (actually Saturday was Epcot, DHS and SWO) but at least I added another 10 rides on Mako. 4 of which was with my friend’s daughter, who had never ridden it before, so that was loud …. especially when I persuaded her to try the back seat. White knuckle riding that’s for sure.

Hagrid’s, as expected, had a delayed opening and finally allowed people in at 11am, so by the time I strolled over, the wait time was listed as 90mins. I hate any wait time over an hour (well if I’m honest, anything over 5 mins …. !!) but as with MFSR the queue would be a one-time only thing, so I joined the line. At least I didn’t have to put my ‘stuff’ into a locker, unlike Hulk and RRR earlier in the day. Oh, and talking about RRR …. what a POS that has become. I can remember it being silky smooth, with a high re-rideability factor, but now it beats the crap out of you, and was definitely a one and done for me. Maybe a one and never again ?? The Hulk as always was great fun. I also tried the Transformers ride for the first time, and enjoyed that. The Mummy is a good coaster to ride when it’s really cold outside as there’s plenty of flames and heat around. Another one and done, but it had been a while since I rode it, so good to get back on.

OK, back to Hagrid’s …….. I joined the line just outside the indoor entrance, so I had a good view of the coaster as I wound my way along the pathway. It looked amazing, especially with the motorbikes zipping by. It’s interesting to note that you can’t see any of the animation areas on your way to the entrance, so good design work by Intamin and Universal. Admittedly I had been spoilt by the queue for MFSR, but nothing prepared me for what was an awful queue line for Hagrid’s. A few eggs, an uninspiring video about motorbike enchantment, and 95% of the queue is walking thru the claustrophobic tunnels of the old Dueling Dragon line. Very poor. It was just on the hour mark, when we were in the final corral area, the ride hit a snag and we were delayed. Oh dear …. that motorbike testing area that happens above you is fine if you walk straight thru, but to be stuck underneath it and to hear it go on and on and on ….. I don’t wish that on anyone. Finally, the ride was working again, and I found myself sitting on the motorbike. It’s a good place to be, as you can see everything, and get a good sense of the speed of the coaster. Next time, I’ll try the sidecar, but that will be thru the single rider line, which moved pretty quickly despite most people being in groups of 2 or 4. The single rider line spills out into the final corral area.

With the motorbike roaring, and Hagrid chatting merrily away we set off, and was soon being blasted off down the track on the first of 7 launches. I only rode it the once, so it was all a bit of a blur, but the concept is good with the various areas of interest along the track, but I’d have preferred less launches and more gravity hills to get us thru the track. It seems all you are doing is being launched, and with the superb Maverick and Cheetah Hunt showing the way launch coasters should be done, I was over Hagrid’s launches by the 4th one. I was expecting some slow time as we went past the animation areas, but it seemed we zipped by them, although not as quickly as the rest of the track. I’ll be honest and say I didn’t even notice the forest, so I guess the trees will have to grow in over the next few years to make that a better visual ? The ride itself is good, but not great. I’m more of a Fury/Steel Vengeance type of rider, so visuals and animatronics doesn’t make a ride any better for me. It zips along for sure, and the motorbike train is very different, adding that little extra to the overall Harry Potter experience. A drop area on any coaster is always a potential iffy area for me because of my back, but the one on Hagrid’s was controlled and cushioned, so I was glad to get thru that part and move on to the end of the ride.

I waited just over an hour, which was way too much time for what the ride is. I’d say it’s worth 30mins at most. I’ll be back early November, so I’m hoping to get some extended ride time via the single rider line. Although apart from being able to take more notice of some of the ‘areas of interest’ I don’t see my view of the coaster ever changing. I’m firmly in the group that will never forgive Universal for taking away our Dueling Dragon coaster.

Replies (7)

September 11, 2019, 10:27 AM

I think your critique is fair Makorider. However, while I haven't had a chance to ride the new coaster, I think it's important to consider that Universal's newest roller coaster is not solely designed to take the place of Dueling Dragons/Dragon Challenge. Those coasters were decidedly aimed at thrill seekers, while Hagrid's has a much wider appeal to the entire family.

I think it's unfair to make a comparison until the Jurassic World coaster opens next year. IOA will then have 2 coasters replacing the 2 that were torn down through the removal of Dragon Challenge. The rumors are that the JW coaster is a far more thrilling experience, more adequately replacing the niche that the Dragons filled (though I always found it strange that a park aimed at the whole family with a relatively meager attraction lineup needed 3 B&Ms with 54-inch height restrictions).

The bottom line is that I think that it's useful to withhold judgement on Hagrid's until JW open to allow for a true apples to apples comparison with the Dragons.

September 11, 2019, 12:29 PM

"The Mummy is a good coaster to ride when it’s really cold outside as there’s plenty of flames and heat around. Another one and done, but it had been a while since I rode it, so good to get back on."

Are you and I experiencing the same attraction? The Mummy is one of the best thrill rides in the park!

Edited: September 11, 2019, 12:55 PM

I wouldn't call The Mummy a thrill ride in any way shape or form, but for the special effects, and despite its relatively short duration, it's a must ride for me when I'm at the Studios. Bearing in mind it's 5 years older than RRR, it has aged considerably better.

For now, IMO The Hulk remains the only thrill ride at the resort. As Russell mentioned, let's see what they do with the Jurassic coaster next year.

September 11, 2019, 1:13 PM

Thanks Mako. Really enjoyed reading your perspective on this coaster. Even though I have yet to experience it (trip planned for Feb 2020), I agree with you about "too many launches". When we rode Cheetah Hunt at BGT, I thought the 3 launches provided just enough thrills to make the coaster fun and "re-rideable". Not sure if 7 is "overkill" or more fun. Will hopefully find out for myself in Feb.

I was also a big fan of Dueling Dragons. Got to ride a number times in the past when it still "dueled". Awesome experience that I hated to see taken away.

September 11, 2019, 3:51 PM

The parks are required to monitor who is drinking alcohol per their liquor license. It’s easy for bartenders to pay attention in a small pub but larger venues need staff and security to monitor who is drinking. I’ve seen people stopped by security to show IDs after sharing a beer at parks before.

September 12, 2019, 9:23 AM

"Bearing in mind it's 5 years older than RRR, it has aged considerably better."

I think being completely enclosed has had something to do with that. I will note that many of the effects on The Mummy either don't work or are mere shadows of what they used to be. That happens to pretty much every attraction as it ages and the cost of maintaining certain aspects of it are not worth the return (see Disco Yeti).

September 12, 2019, 1:18 PM

Solid review Mako. Thanks for sharing.

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