Full disclosure – My hotel accommodations and park tickets were provided for me by Universal Orlando as a travel agent FAM (familiarization) program. My experience and opinions are my own.
Guests staying at Universal Resorts get one hour early access to the Harry Potter area of Islands of Adventure. Hagrid’s Motorbike Adventure is a roller coaster that is new since my last visit in 2018. I know the wait times are long for that during the day, so I wanted to take advantage of the early entry for that ride alone.
The early hour was from 9 – 10 am. Anticipating that the line to get in may be long, I was down at the food court for breakfast at around 7:30 am. I was happy with the selections available. I chose a breakfast sandwich with potatoes on the side and found a seat completely alone outside. It was already quite humid and warm out.
There were several other guests at the bus stop but again there were plenty of buses lined up and waiting so it was a quick trip over to Citywalk. I was there at around 8:15 and found a bench to sit on and wait a bit as I didn’t want to stand for too long.
I went over to the park entrance around 8:40 am. They had three lines of guests waiting for the early park entry. There was plenty of team members to answer questions and direct guests as well as a team member with a microphone who was talking to guests and providing information.
They started entry about ten minutes before 9 am. As you walked into the park, the main area was open to all guests. When you approached the Harry Potter area, it was roped off and you needed to show your room key so that only resort guests were admitted to that area.
I was in line for Hagrid’s by 9:10 am and finished with the ride at 9:30 am. It was mostly walking the through the queue with a little bit of a wait at the loading area. The ride was so much fun though maybe a little too much for my stomach… I am really getting old!
Side note: I wanted to note about the ride vehicle for Hagrid’s. I am a plus size lady and fitting on Universal rides always causes me some anxiety. On my very first visit to Universal, many years ago, I was at a heavier weight and didn’t fit on the roller coasters. When we visited two years ago, I did a lot of research and tried all the test seats before we got in line for the attractions. I would not say I had a lot of wiggle room, but I was able to ride everything without any issues.
I researched Hagrid’s vehicles before I left. There are two options because there is a motorbike and a side car. The side car is a tighter fit while the motorbike seems to give a little more space as it is open on the sides. I did not try the test seats this time and just went for it. I was able to fit in the motorbike section with no problem. I did see two ladies try the test seat in the loading area and they were turned away. I don’t love that this is a consideration at Universal, but it doesn’t seem to be changing any time soon.
Anyway… after riding Hagrid’s, I went right over to the other Harry Potter attraction in Islands of Adventure, Forbidden Journey, which was my favorite on our last trip. Again, it was just a matter of walking through the queue and I was on the ride. I was done with both Harry Potter attractions by 10 am. The park was open to all guests at that point and the wait time for Hagrid’s was up to 75 minutes. There is a threshold at which Hagrid’s changes to a virtual queue system where you can receive a return time in the app. At that point, it was still a stand by line.
Riding Hagrid’s was really my main goal for the day, so with that accomplished, everything was icing on the cake. Limiting my walking was also important so I decided to take the Hogwart’s Express over to Universal Studios. A perk of the social distancing guidelines was having your own car on the train. It was so nice and cool in there!
I did the Late Night with Jimmy Fallon attraction with no wait time. I also went to see the Bourne Stunt show again. No long wait this time.
I stopped for a late lunch at the Today Café which is themed for the Today Show. I love the Today show so of course I liked the theming. There was a team member at the door who was allowing guests in 3 at a time to order at the counter. I asked if I could sit at a table outside to eat. He said it was not a problem at all and he gave me a table number to tell my cashier. I wanted something light and healthy, so I order the avocado toast. It was like a little salad with mashed avocado on top of toast. Tasty.
After lunch, I went to see the Horror Make Up show. This little show is easy to bypass but it is completely worth doing. It was somewhat about showing how effects are done in horror movies but it is also just fun. Beetlejuice was entertaining the audience while the theater was loading. He talked to everyone and was quite funny.
I decided to call it a day after the show. I mobile ordered my doughnuts again.. because why not?
And I saw Homer on my way out!
I have been a huge Disney and travel fan since childhood. I love going to new places and, of course, heading to Disney as often as I can.