Hagrid's Magical Creatures Motorbike Adventure at Universal's Islands of Adventure.Moving along from the hotels and restaurants, it's time to get to the attractions in our 2020 Theme Park Insider Awards. Our next honor is for Best New Roller Coaster and it goes to a ride that pushes the definition of a coaster... and whose name might be longer than some other coasters' ride time —
The replacement for The Wizarding World of Harry Potter's Dragon Challenge opened in June, eliciting immediate raves from critics and headline-grabbing lines of eager fans. Hagrid's up-and-down operations (pun maybe intended) coupled with the huge demand to result in wait times that at one point hit 10 hours and then averaged over two hours pretty much ever since the opening.
Typically, waits like that can kill ride's reputation. But there is no more compelling endorsement for Hagrid's than the fact that almost everyone who has waited in those ridiculous lines has come off the ride saying some form of, "well, actually, that was totally worth it."
That's because Hagrid's routinely delivers that most intoxicating emotion from a theme park attraction — exhilaration. Hagrid's eschews screens and media for a practical adventure through the Forbidden Forest, bringing us face-to-face with the half-giant Hagrid as well as his menagerie of magical creatures. The ride itself features a record seven launches, a spike track, and a free-fall drop, delivering a range of motion that feels as much like a motion-base dark ride as a roller coaster.
But Hagrid's is so much more than the sum of its parts. This is the magic that turns what could have been just a pile of metal into gold, further advancing the trend at the forefront of the themed entertainment industry in creating attractions that combine, and defy categorization into, traditional ride types and forms.
Still, at least for now, casual fans demand that simplistic definition of what a new ride is, so... "roller coaster" it is. And of the new ones this year, Hagrid's is the best.
Our honorable mentions in this category for 2020 are The Steel Curtain at Kennywood and Yukon Striker at Canada's Wonderland.
The Theme Park Insider Awards continue tomorrow with the presentation of our award for Best New Attraction. For tickets to Universal Orlando's theme parks, please visit the Universal Orlando tickets page from our travel partner.
2020 Theme Park Insider Awards:
About Theme Park Insider: Theme Park Insider is a consumer's guide to the world's best theme park resorts, reaching more than five million unique readers via its website annually and winning multiple honors for its reporting, including from the Online Journalism Association and the Webby Awards. Winners of the Theme Park Insider Awards are those locations that received the highest average reader rating, with a minimum number of votes, in their categories over the past year.Tweet
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