Universal Orlando switches ride times on its new Hagrid coaster

July 11, 2019, 2:23 PM · Universal Orlando again is changing its operating hours for Hagrid's Magical Creatures Motorbike Adventure.

After opening-day crowds and capacity problems swelled wait times to 10 hours, Universal put the new Wizarding World of Harry Potter coaster on an indefinite delayed-opening basis. While that kept people from rushing to the coaster when the park opened, encouraging visitors to spread throughout the park instead, focusing the ride's operating hours during the afternoon didn't help its overall uptime given Central Florida's abundant late-day thunderstorms during this time of year.

Now it's possible that Universal saw that as a feature and not a bug as it looked to minimize what's been speculated to be overheating problems related to the coaster's record seven launches. Less run time means less wear on the trains and track, after all. Opening late also allowed maintenance crews to work on the ride in daylight and without having to wait for crowds to clear.

Universal has announced that it is switching up the timing on Hagrid's operations and now will be opening the ride earlier in the mornings, but closing it earlier in the evening in return.

Universal had been cutting the queue at the point when the estimated wait time equaled the amount of time before Islands of Adventure was scheduled to close for the night, so that the coaster would not need to run past closing to clear its queue. Now Universal will be closing guest access to the ride earlier than that, so that maintenance and testing can begin before park close.

I've been checking the posted wait times for Hagrid's several times a day since the ride opened and have noticed a general decrease in the past week or so, with wait times averaging between two and three hours. Today's announcement suggests that Universal might be moving toward increasing the number of hours that the coaster runs each day, as the chance of weather-related delays should be much lower with earlier starts.

Featuring a record seven launches and Florida's longest roller coaster track, Hagrid's Magical Creatures Motorbike Adventure is a narrative-driven adventure through The Forbidden Forest, featuring encounters with animatronic creatures from the Wizarding World, including centaurs, pixies, unicorns, and a Blast-Ended Skrewt. It's currently our top-rated ride at Universal's Islands of Adventure and hovering in the top 10 of our readers' favorite roller coasters overall.

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Replies (7)

July 11, 2019 at 3:26 PM

Man, so much bad news today. First Rise is delayed til 2020 and now Hagrid's operation times are being shortened... again.

July 11, 2019 at 4:00 PM

It’s operating times aren’t being shortened, just starting earlier. It was running 11 hour days (still longer than Gringotts for it’s opening year) with a mid day opening and the last guests leaving around 11pm, yesterday it opened early and was “at capacity” around 6pm with a two hour wait.

July 11, 2019 at 4:41 PM

This doesn't seem like it will be fixed anytime soon. Is this cause for concern? Will this run for a few years and then end up as a new e-ticket at Defunctland?

Summoning AJ for his expertise...

July 11, 2019 at 6:39 PM

It also seems like people are waiting in line much less than the estimated time, possibly due to the ride's great capacity (when it works).

July 11, 2019 at 6:40 PM

What a mess. I feel Universal was really hoping this ride would steal at least a little bit of Disney's GE thunder, but it'll be hard to shake the bad first impressions.

July 11, 2019 at 7:14 PM

This appears to be a temporary measure as they work out some efficiency/capacity issues with the new and complex ride system. They are moving the opening to the morning in an effort to expand the capacity with more trains and will gradually extend the opening as reliability increases. I suspect they will have this sorted in 2-3 months.

July 12, 2019 at 1:47 AM

We've seen this happen with three major attractions in succession at UO with Gringotts, Volcano Bay, and now Hagrid. It's almost like Universal is purposely trying to screw up the opening of every major attraction as much as possible.

I realize there is a lot of pressure from a business perspective to plan out earnings in advance, but the company is owned by Comcast now, they don't have to be rushing everything to make short term sales goals despite pissing people off who are paying a lot of money.
...Oh wait, I said the C word. Maybe I answered my own question there =P

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