New Harry Potter coaster opens to 10-hour wait in Orlando

June 13, 2019, 1:26 PM · Universal Orlando opened Hagrid's Magical Creatures Motorbike Adventure to the public this morning, and fans turned out, with queues overflowing out of The Wizarding World of Harry Potter three hours before the park's scheduled opening.

By the time the park opened officially at 9am, the Universal Orlando app reported a wait time for the ride of 10 hours.

Theme Park Insider reader Matt arrived at the park at 6:30 and found the back of the line already at Mythos restaurant, several hundred feet short of the entrance to Hogsmeade. Other readers reported that the line eventually expanded through Seuss Landing and into Marvel Super Hero Island. To get into the actual Hagrid's queue at park opening, you needed to arrive before 6am.

For those who did arrive that early, Universal offered an encore of the ride's opening moment with Warwick Davis, Evanna Lynch, Tom Felton, James Phelps and Oliver Phelps for fans this morning.

Once the ride opened, the line did not always move swiftly. The capacity issues that we reported during the ride's media preview appear to have persisted through its public opening, with fans reporting several downtimes during its first morning. (By 2pm the reported wait time was down to five hours.)

Those who did get through the wait have been raving about the detail in the queue as well as the ride itself, which features Florida's longest-roller coaster and a world-record seven launches, reaching speeds up to 50 miles per hour on its twisting, banked track, which also features a 17-foot drop track element and a backward segment, in addition to several show scenes and on-ride audio from Rubeus Hagrid himself.

Universal Orlando will implement a virtual queue for the Hagrid coaster starting tomorrow, allowing fans to enjoy other attractions in the parks while they await their ride time. But for today, the resort played it old school, with some of the longest wait time seen since the original opening of The Wizarding World of Harry Potter nine years ago this month.

If you want to ride Hagrid's Magical Creatures Motorbike Adventure, we are extending the sale on Universal Orlando tickets that offer five days for the price of two. Tickets are valid for five days within seven days of first use, expiring December 20, with no blockout dates. But you must buy before July 31. So if you want to lock in some great prices for the Universal parks, but wait to go until the queues calm down a bit and the ride gets up to full capacity, you can go ahead and grab those tickets now.

Universal Orlando tickets Buy Tickets: For discount tickets to Universal Orlando's theme parks, visit our officially authorized Universal Orlando tickets page.

Replies (28)

June 14, 2019 at 7:09 AM

The question then becomes, what's better for business? Having 10-hour lines showing how popular a new attraction is but guests frustrated with the wait, or relatively short lines (MFSR is only 45 minutes as I type this even during a reservation overlap period) because the number of people allowed to get in the line has been artificially limited by a reservation or lottery system?

June 13, 2019 at 2:50 PM

Call me a skeptic but I don't think that line ever got anywhere close to 10 hours. I had a friend that got in line at 9 and got on the ride at about 1.

June 13, 2019 at 2:48 PM

Yeah, I would be interested to hear how long a person who entered the queue at 9am ended up waiting to get on the ride, assuming that s/he never left the queue. If you are there, please tell us how long you ended up waiting!

June 13, 2019 at 3:24 PM

Been in storms here and have some of my staff that work part time as team members there saying they were told 11 to 12 hours at one point before the rain came earlier today.

June 13, 2019 at 3:54 PM

Yeesh, I thought popular but this? I'm sorry but 10 hours would be a serious breaking point for me (hell, half that would) so these are dedicated fans.

On the plus side, it probably meant shorter lines for other rides in the park to enjoy.

June 13, 2019 at 4:06 PM

I can't wait to ride in August, but definitely 9 hours longer than I will wait for any ride!

June 13, 2019 at 5:57 PM

...and STILL undisputed Heavyweight Champion of immersive theme park lands, The Wizarding World of Harry Potter!

June 13, 2019 at 5:01 PM

Russell Meyer: What’s MFSM?

June 13, 2019 at 5:28 PM

Hey Keith, I agree they started it all and everyone is thankful, but choosing a winner is going to bring out the torches and pitch forks here, lol

Disney's Millennium Falcon Smugglers Run

June 13, 2019 at 5:29 PM

I have to assume such a long line is in part due to operating at reduced capacity and partly due to the fact that this ride won't run in the rain, but it certainly says that there's still plenty of excitement regarding a new Potter attraction. It will be interesting to see how much (if any) the opening of Star Wars at DHS changes that.

June 13, 2019 at 5:39 PM

A whole land should Destroy 1 ride, but ideally both benefit

June 13, 2019 at 5:47 PM

Yup, since actual goal is not to merely fight it out carving pieces of the theme park tourism pie but to make the entire pie far larger with more for every stakeholder in the industry- including the fans:)

June 13, 2019 at 6:05 PM

>>>The question then becomes, what's better for business? Having 10-hour lines showing how popular a new attraction is but guests frustrated with the wait,

I don't think the risk is that high. The only people who would have joined that queue would have been the true believers who could have all been slapped in the face once an hour every hour on the hour, and they'd still walk away satisfied customers.

In the meantime, the PR department has an amazing press release to put out - Orlando's Biggest and "best" coaster has 10-hour queues!

June 13, 2019 at 6:41 PM

To the average visitor, 10 hour wait means stay away, to the inside it means wait a week, so it could be detrimental or could tell people i NEED to experience this ride, probably all cancels out in the end?
Per K;
A person is smart. People are dumb, panicky, dangerous animals

June 13, 2019 at 8:51 PM

@ Adam, I think MFSM is.... Millennium Falcom Smugglers Run because Russell mentioned a reservation period.

I wonder how Disney will handle the opening of Rise of the Resistance? It's supposed to be the longest & most immersive ride Disney has....so I'm sure expectations will be high.

The structured opening of Galaxy's Edge with reservations "seems" to be in response to the reaction that Universal has whenever they open a new Harry Potter attraction.

I'm guessing the virtual que will be in full effect one Resistance opens . Disneyland specifically can't handle the sort of crowd that was in Universal Orlando today.

June 14, 2019 at 5:34 AM

The sheer lunacy of it all just makes me laugh. No matter how much I love Orlando, its parks, Universal and Potter to waste over half of your waking day for a 2 minute ride is madness.

June 14, 2019 at 6:43 AM

the_man and Robert Niles:

I had gotten into the line at 8:30am yesterday (opening day) for the ride and was told it would be an 8-hour wait. I'm not sure what magic your friend conjured up to get on the ride at 1, but we had to wait through at least 2, if not more breakdowns (one lasting nearly 3 hours) and 2 stops for inclement weather. The second breakdown lasted from somewhere around 6:15pm to 8:45pm.

At the end of it all, it took us 13.5 HOURS to get from the start of the park line to the end of the ride. They were running the ride LONG after the park had closed - we rode at 10pm, and there were hundreds of people in line after us just in the actual Hagrid line queue.

Call us crazy, but we didn't want to give up after all the time in line. Up until the long weather stoppage - which, by the way, they ran the coaster in rain, just not thunder and lightning - and the extended technical difficulties, we honestly thought we could have done it all in 7 hours. The ride was fantastic, and although I wouldn't have done it again, I'd still wait hours to get back on the ride. Just not 13.5 hours.

June 14, 2019 at 7:58 AM

This is exactly why I always avoid the first few weeks of a new attraction unless I'm going to the park's media day. Every new ride is going to have bugs and quirks that can only be worked out under regular operations, and trying to ride a new attraction during its "break in" period can be pure torture with frequent downtime, less than optimal capacity, and the high likelihood of even a full, outright closure for the day. Theme park tickets cost way too much to take that kind of risk and to subject yourself to hours-long lines just to say you were "one of the first" to ride, when in reality thousands of park employees, ride designers/engineers, media, and VIPs have already ridden the new attraction ahead of you. I could see being there for the opening ceremony if you have a season pass, but single/multi-day ticket holders were probably not happy in the extra crowds gumming up their vacation.

Hopefully the virtual queue will sort out some of the craziness and that Universal can quickly get the coaster up to peak capacity soon, because it does sound like the demand is high for what most certainly be the best new coaster of 2019.

June 14, 2019 at 8:32 AM

That experiences sounds like hell on Earth to me. I can't imagine waiting in a line that long for a ride even though I love theme parks.

June 14, 2019 at 8:54 AM

@ohmyizzy, oh my! I think you deserve a Theme Park Insider award.

June 14, 2019 at 9:10 AM

As it is the opposite of "leisure", it gets a place in the category "masochism" :-)... (as the visitors are doing this to themselves, willingly.. :-)

June 14, 2019 at 9:20 AM

"Undisputed"? [insert Inigo Montoya meme here]

June 14, 2019 at 9:26 AM

I see the first POV videos are available online and I have two thoughts: First is that this is an excellent addition to Islands of Adventure and looks like a really 'fun' coaster (in the same vein as Cheetah Hunt, only with better theming). I very much look forward to riding it in 15 month's time (trip booked yesterday!). Having said that it's actually the theming that disappoints me, or more specifically the timing. I had assumed that this coaster was going to tell a story with a pause of slow drive-past at the major themed elements (Hagrid, Fluffy, etc). But the coaster barely slows down around Hagrid and if you blink as you pass by Fluffy you'll miss him completely! The same goes for the Ford Anglia and the Pixies. It's all very 'rushed' when I was expecting some 'dark ride' speed sections to really play to the themed elements. Ironically the only element that is presented slowly is the final unicorn moment but to be honest that could do with speeding past as the animatronic isn't up to Universal's usual standard, (on the POV video you can see the 'skin' folding up as the large unicorn 'kicks' backwards -it looks like it's wrapped in a blanket, not unicorn skin!).
It won't stop me thoroughly enjoying the ride when I eventually get to enjoy it (with a much shorter wait than 13.5 hours!) but I just don't understand why go to the trouble of theming and then in effect whisk people by too fast to appreciate it.

June 14, 2019 at 11:47 AM

Next time a big new attraction opens up, they should have a premium VIP-type deal, allowing high-spending folks access to the ride all by themselves at 4am. Ride it a few times. Then breakfast in Hogsmeade.

That seems more up Disney's alley, but hey, they should offer it, too. $800/person should keep out the riff raff.

June 14, 2019 at 1:06 PM

Meanwhile, the attraction was down all morning on day 2 for technical reasons and didn't open to guests till just before noon and with no virtual queue option. 6 hour wait time when it did open.

June 15, 2019 at 5:41 AM

In the Netherlands we almost never get news about Orlando or theme parks. It probably was a slow news day but it was on the news here and on the radio. So that is free advertising and a good choice.
This ride looks truly amazing an a lot of fun.
Did Universal do it right to have people stand in line?
https://nos.nl/artikel/2288988-acht-uur-lang-in-de-rij-voor-nieuwe-harry-potter-attractie.html

When Disney opened GE it was actually underwhelming by the way they did it. You could argue they give the public a great service but remember that Star Wars fans camp outside movie theater for days to get in and besides press it drums up excitement. Sure I will never, not for a ride nor a movie, camp outside but I did it for a concert and it was a blast and I made new friends.

June 14, 2019 at 4:00 PM

I dropped into IOA for a few hours this morning, and can confirm Hagrid's ride was about 3 hours late opening due to "technical difficulties" It had reached 'capacity' not much after that. Whatever 'capacity' means ?? No virtual queue either, so a complete mess.

I waited in line for about an hour, but once I heard there would be a delay I bailed and wandered round the park for a few hours. It's a pity, as the amount of people at the front gate wasn't too bad, and IF it had been working I don't think the wait would have been that long.

The line started at Seuss Landing and wound it's way around the backlot and thru the old Sinbad building.

I bought the Florida resident 2 days + 2 days free with the Coca-Cola promotion. Not bad considering the single day 2 park ticket costs about $192 with tax, and for my 4 days it worked out to be approx $58/day.

Mid week Sept/Oct time will be a perfect time to return ... :)


June 14, 2019 at 10:43 PM

Late to the comment section, but I can say my 8 hour wait was WORTH EVERY SECOND.
I made friends in line, got to see the park's backlot and truly be a part of something, the opening of something big...
And of course, I got to finally ride what now might be my favorite ride in Orlando.

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