Click on photos for larger view
Ticket, special commemorative ticket and pamphlet
June 26th, 2010
We went Islands of Adventure at Universal Orlando, Florida the weekend after opening of the new Wizarding World of Harry Potter (located in the Islands of Adventure park). We went to both Universal Studios, Islands of Adventure (the park next door to Universal Studios) and walked the Universal City Walk and our hotel the Loew's Royal Pacific Hotel. We also drove a little around Orlando and went to "The Holy Land Experience". All these things will have their own pages (see below).
We went to Islands of Adventure on the second day of our trip. We got up early cause I was like a little child and went to the park without eating breakfast because we had special Breakfast tickets to eat at the Three Broomsticks. We did not know what to expect but we had a special deal to get into the park early as hotel guests and extra early to get into the "Wizarding World of Harry Potter". So we thought when we got there, there might be only a couple hundred people max but NO. It was CROWDED. I loved it! I am like a kid in this respect; I love the films and books and was impressed with most of it. The rest of the park includes these area: Marvel Super Hero Island, Toon Lagoon, Jurassic Park, The Lost Continent and Seuss Landing as well as the Wizarding World of Harry Potter. I liked this park better than Universal. I enjoyed the water rides on this one mainly. Here's some Misc photos:
Left to Right: 1) Bird in the park 2) Another bird taken when crossing the bridge from Jurassic Park to Wizarding World of Harry Potter 3) The Islands of Adventure Tower/Entrance
After entering the park, we rushed like mad along with thousands of people it seemed (though we were lucky to be in front and walk pretty fast), we headed straight for the Wizarding World of Harry Potter. It was the only place open in the park anyway (at least for that one hour). We followed the mass crowd and made it to the Castle (through the town really fast, opting to look at it AFTER we went to the ride). But we did take photos of Hogsmeade, The Gate and the Train Station/Train. Here are some photos:
Left to Right: 1) Hogsmeade Gate/Entrance 2) Closer view of Hogsmeade Gate/Entrance 3) Can't see because of the sun/glare but that's Sirius Black on a wanted poster (moving) 4) Hogwarts Express
Left to Right: 1) Hogwarts Express 3) Hogwarts Express and Station Guard 3) Side view coming into the entrance of the Hogwarts express 4) Hogsmeade Station (actually it's a storage locker area)
Left to Right: 1) Snowy rooftops 2) The Streets of Hogsmeade 3) Buildings/Rooftops 4) Shops of Hogsmeade
Left to Right: 1) Buildings of Hogsmeade 2) Hogshead Sign (place to get drinks etc) 3) Hogshead and other shops line the street that is Hogsmeade 4) The Hogsmeade/Hogwarts signpost
Left to Right: 1) Snowman
We were amongst the first groups to go on the 4D ride and it was GREAT. While in line, we went through the Hogwarts greenhouse. Luckily for us, with our Hotel bracelets, we were able to go ahead of others and not wait in the long queue. Once inside the castle itself, we see some objects that are familiar: the Clock where points are added/subtracted for House points, the Architect statue, Moving portraits, a Pensive, Dumbledore speaks to us from his office and it's so real looking you think he's really there!, the kids speak to us and it starts snowing!; there's the daily prophet nailed to a wall with a moving picture of harry, The Griffin Statue that leads to Dumbledore's office, candles floating in the air, Mirror of Erised, Defense Against the Dark Arts Classroom features the hanging skeletal remains of a dragon; and lastly the sorting hat. You ride with wrap around screen view so it seems like you are flying with Harry. You will whip around and turn fast and go down quickly and your stomache will go up to your throat! After you are done with the ride, you are herded out like all the other rides in both parks, to a gift shop. Here you will see a couple more cute things like some books/bottles, Skele-grow and some merchandise. Here are some photos of the Castle and around that ride:
Left to Right: 1) Inside the queue for "Forbidden Journey" I think this is Dumbledore's pensive 2) The sorting hat 3) Moving paintings 3) the dragon skeleton from Defense against the Dark Arts Classroom
Left to Right: 1) Statue of the architect of Hogwarts 2) the greenhouse 3) the greenhouse 4) the Griffin Statue that leads up to Dumbledore's office
Left to Right: 1) Hogwarts 2) details of the clock on Hogwarts 3) rooftop of Hogwarts 4) A closer full view of Hogwarts
Left to Right: 1) Dumbledore speaking 2) Skele-grow in the gift shop 3) Hogwarts again
fter leaving there (buying just a Phoenix stuffed toy), we head to Olivander's before breakfast. We heard the line would be so long and it would take hours, but the people who were slower than us are still on the rides and the crowd outside Olivander's is long but not that long yet so we do it. It's a little show where a group of 30 people go in at once and Ollivander talks about wands; he picks on child out of the crowd to get his want and some things happen like the wrong want choice the boxes rattle from the shelf; when the right wand is chosen, air and light come to the child. Nothing in the shop except Ollivander and a bunch of fake wand boxes... and a few wands on display. Then you are herded into the gift shop, where nearly everyone buys an overpriced piece of plastic in a fancy box. That would include me. I got Hermione's wand and at 35.00 I think it was (it's plastic and not worth it), We started to go into the shops like Dervish and Banges where we got a treat: we got to see "The Monster Book". We went into the Owl Post and the Owlry which is nothing more than sending a letter to yourself with a Hogsmeade Postmark, and a bank of benches where Owls hoot and move above you in the rafters while you rest your feet.. Here are some photos of Olivander's/Dervish and Banges, the Owl Post and the Owlry (Gift shop next to Owl Post):
Left to Right: 1) Wands on display 2) Wands 3) Ollivander looking for the right wand for a customer 4) Ollivander telling us about how the wand chooses us
Left to Right: 1) Wands 2) more wands on display and 3) even more wands on display. 4) Dervish and Banges sign (This is where they sell Quidditch stuff/robes etc.
Left to Right: 1) The Monster book (it is sleeping/moving) 2) The Owlry 3) The Owl Post 4) The Owlry again
After Olivander's, we head off to the Three Broomsticks for Breakfast. Great stuff; would be better if you could go back for more! LOL There were four or five choices. I got the American Breakfast which was Eggs, bacon, potatoes, Bacon, Sausage and a Croissant. Hubby got the Pancake breakfast with Pancakes, bacon, sausage and a croissant. They had a traditional English Breakfast and a Continental breakfast and a smoked salmon breakfast as well. Here are some photos of the Three Broomsticks:
Left to right: 1) Entrance to the Three Broomsticks 2) Inside the Three Broomsticks at the table/a Wizard 3) Inside view of the Three Broomsticks 4) Far wall/Fireplace of the Three Broomsticks
Left to right: 1) view inside the Three Broomsticks
After breakfast, we went out and looked around Hogsmeade at the shops. You could see some props in the windows. We saw a moving knitting needles, bludgers/Quidditch equipment, Gilderoy Lockhart in his moving book cover, and other things throughout like sweets in Honeydukes Window, jokes in Jonko's and even a Wizard chess set. Other things like Robes and musical instruments and inside the shops, some other things like Extendable ears (Jonkos) and other such cute things from the films. Here are some shop windows:
Left to right: 1) Shops in Hogsmeade 2) TheQuills shop 3) Zonko's joke shop window Showing Puking Pasties 4) Inside Zonko's Joke Shop
Left to right: 1) Inside Zonko's Joke Shop/Honeydukes - comedy routine 2) Inside Honeydukes 3) Inside Honeydukes YUM! 3) Honeydukes Window
Left to right: 1) Shops and entrance to the bathrooms where you can hear Moaning Myrtle 2) Gilderoy Lockhart's book in the window of
Left to right: 1) Another inside photo at Honeydukes. Hungry yet? 2) Extendable ears inside Zonko's (you have to look up). 3) Quidditch Equipment inside the shop window of Dervish and Banges
Although I did not go in the restrooms, I hear Moaning Myrtle can be heard in the boys and girls rooms alike. We got some expensive Butterbeer which I do not see the big deal about. Tastes like A&W cream soda with a heavy whipped cream on top. I bought some "Pumpkin juice" which i did not like very much; it tasted like cloves and a bit like Pumpkin Pie, which I am not a fan of. I wanted to buy a chocolate frog, but they are very small for the 10.50 that they cost. The Butterbeer we sprung for a mug so we could take that home and that was 10.50 each as well for two cups. VERY VERY expensive for what it is and costs to make. Here's some photos of the Butterbeer seller and some Pumpkin Juice.
Left to right: 1) Butterbeer seller 2) Pumpkin Juice (I think it was 6.50 for a small bottle)
We left there and headed out to the rest of the park and later revisited it before we left to take more photos and see the "Frog Choir" where students from Hogwarts sing with their toads. Here are some photos:
Left to right: 1) Hufflepuff and Ravenclaw Flags 2) Gryffindor and Slytherin flags
Left to right: 1) The Frog Choir 2) The Frog Choir was lead by a very upbeat conductor 3) Frog Choir 4) Frog Choir sings in harmony well.
We then waited for the Beauxbaton's and Durmstrang students to do their show. The Beauxbaton's did a little dance while the Durmstrang students put on a little choreographed show with their walking sticks. Here are some photos:
Left to right: 1) The students of Durmstrang and Beauxbaton's come in for the Tri-wizard Spirit Rally 2) A Beauxbaton student does a little dance 3) The students get ready for the rally 4) Beauxbaton's do a choreographed dance at the "Tri-wizard Spirit Rally"
Left to right: 1) Durmstrang students get ready for their part in the Tri-Wizard Spirit Rally 2) Boom boom... Durmstrang students in unison 3) Durmstrang students pump up the crowd 4) Durmstrang students choreographed moves
Left to right: 1) Beauxbaton and Durmstrang students pose for photos along with the Conductor
We did NOT go into the Dragon's challenge cause I am scared of roller coasters but we did go inside a little and took a photo of the Ford Anglia and Hagrid's Hut. I heard there were other cool things inside the queue, but I didn't think I could go in there unless I went on the ride, so I did not try to get photos there. I was unable to get a photo of Hagrid's hut in the front because we also skipped Flight of the Hippogriff, but I probably should have done that one as though it was a coaster, it was a more mild looking one. If I go back, I most certainly will suck it up and do that one. Here are some photos of the "Flight of the Hippogriff" and Dragon Challenge (dueling roller coasters):
Left to right: 1) Hippogriff Ride area 2) Hippogriff Ride entrance area 3) Hagrid's Hut back side 4) Hagrid's Hut Back Side
Left to right: 1) Dragon's Challenge Entrance 3) Ford Anglia can be seen inside the Dragon Challenge queue area 3) Another photo of the Ford Anglia.
That's it. I missed taking photos of certain things like the kids in the Forbidden Journey Ride, The Marauder's map, and the machine inside Honeydukes as well as some of the other window storefronts . We also never went in the Hogshead or the bathroom and I should've done those things... maybe next time. After that, we left the park briefly and came back to the park after a rest at the hotel. We were so hot and tired... upon coming back, we went to Marvel Super Hero Island:
MARVEL SUPER HERO ISLAND
We skipped the "Incredible Hulk Coaster" cause I don't do coasters and we skipped "Doctor Doom's Fearfall" cause I am too scared of that too! This is a ride that goes straight up vertically and then down super fast. It's really high. I took photos of those anyway. We also missed "Storm Force Accelatron" only because we didn't see where it was...I was so hot that I told Scott let's trudge on to Toon Lagoon anyway because I want to do the water rides and cool off. But we saw the "Amazing Adventures of Spider-Man" and so we did that and glad we did. It was a 3D adventure. It was quite fun and one of Scott's favorites. We looked around some shops and then continued on to Toon Lagoon. Here's some photos of Marvel Super Hero Island:
Left to right: 1) Marvel Super Hero Island street 2) Crowds and more of Marvel Super Hero Island 3) The Hulk Coaster 3) Close view of the Hulk Coaster
Left to right: 1) Dr. Doom's Fearfall as seen from our Hotel dock area. 2) Dr Doom's Fear Fall, a closer view. 3) A building that I don't know what it is 4) The Incredible Hulk Roller Coaster from our hotel area I think (or Universal City Walk)
Left to right: 1) Marvel Super Hero Island street scene and 2) The Amazing Adventures of Spider-man ride entrance.
Toon Lagoon was what I was looking forward to more because of the water rides, which historically are always my favorites. We did not go on Me Shi, The Olive because Scott thought that was for little kids and not a ride, so we skipped that but I took photos. We next tried to go on "Dudley Do-Right's Ripsaw Falls Adventure" and my heart was in my stomache because the drop on that thing is HUGE. But was we approached, we learned the ride was malfunctioning and it would be at minimum over an hour to fix if not more. So we trudged onto "Popeye and Bluto's Bilge-Rat Barges" and I loved it! We got nice and wet and it was a decently long ride. It's one of those more mild floating on a tube rides but I love those. It was fun and wet/cool. We also skipped Mat Hoffman's Aggro Circus, which is a skateboard and BMX expo. It wasn't interesting to either of us. We checked back on the Dudley Do Right ride but it was still non-functioning. So after visiting a cute shop called Gasoline Alley and getting a drink, we headed out to Jurassic Park. Here are some photos of Toon Lagoon:
Left to Right: 1) Popeye Statue 2) Me Ship, The Olive (interactive kids area) 3) Hagar the Horrible (Gift Shop) 4) Gasoline Alley (Gift Shop)
Left to Right: 1) Dudley Do-Right Ripsaw Falls (Log Flume Ride with big drop) 2) a fire hydrant fountain surrounded by dogs from various comics:
Left to Right: 1) Blondie's (Food) 2) Popeye and Bluto's Bilge Rat Barge Ride 3) Closer view of Popeye and Bluto's Bilge Rat Barge Ride 4) Entrance to Popeye and Bluto's Bilge Rat Barges
Left to Right: 1) Beetle Bailey's (Gift shop) 2) Popeye Statue 3) Tumbleweeds 4) Wimpy's (Food)
Left to Right: 1) Midway carnival games; this photo is of a cast member who had a most genuine smile and I love the photo 2) Tumbleweeds (don't know what this is; just a front or part of Cathy's or possibly a gift shop. 3) Gasoline Alley signs which were pretty cute.
Jurassic Park had my favorite ride next to the Harry Potter 4D ride. It was part water ride so right up my alley. But before we got to it, we stopped to eat some lunch and explored the "Jurassic Park Discovery Center" which in my opinion was the only thing that really needs some rehab. The dinosaurs didn't look that great and a lot of the play center was scratched up and looked dingy. We ate here forget what; I think Scott had Pizza and I had some pasta or some chicken fingers. It was ok. Scott ate some desert here too. I mainly just wanted a refill on my cup and this is the only restaurant for a while that would take our meal/drink deal so we had no choice but to go there. We walked around the discovery center after, looking at the dinosaurs and kids having a good time and then we walked to "Camp Jurassic" which pretty much is nothing but a a place to walk and for kids to run around. It's got paths filled with a lot of tropical plants and "faux" dino-prints and a couple bones here and there. A couple small bridges and caves to go in and some sounds in the cave and nothing more. It was cooler in this section though and quiet since nobody was in there... from there I spy "Pteranodon Flyers" which is kind of a sky ride where you can see over Jurassic Park and it looks fun and we start to go and we were not allowed. Seems you have to have a CHILD with you. One child and one parent per gondola so we were not allowed to go (and Scott didn't care as it looked boring to him). So on we went to the last right: "Jurassic Park River Adventure" which was totally slow and boring and corny till the very last turn.... ;) That made the ride worth it! AGAIN! I said in my best "Dinosaurs" baby voice. After Jurassic Park, we refilled our dinks, wandered over to the Wizarding World of Harry Potter again where I bought some Pumpkin Juice and walked around and saw the Singing Frog Choir and Tri-Wizard Rally (see photos above) and then onto The Lost Continent. Here are some photos of Jurassic Park:
Left to Right: 1) Jurassic Park sign entrance 2) Jurassic Park Discovery Center and restaurant 3) Jurassic Park Restaurant "The Burger Digs" and 4) Bridge
Left to Right: 1) Camp Jurassic building 2) Camp Jurassic cave 3) Came Jurassic Mining building 4) Camp Jurassic Tree/bridge/path
Left to Right: 1) Stegosaurus interactive display 2) A dinosaur skeleton 3) More dino skeletons 3) A Brontosaurus
Left to Right: 1) Besaurs 2) The Stegosaurus in the Discovery Center 3) Triceratops faux fossil 4) the family that would NOT leave! I kept waiting and waiting for them to leave to get a photo but they would NOT go.... Anyway, a T-Rex looms from the jungle to eat you.
Left to Right: 1) There's that family again. I wish the T-Rex would've roared and scared them away! 2) T-Rex bones 3) A waterfall
THE LOST CONTINENT
I loved the looks at this area. I look in a shop that has some knives (replicas) and some old looking stuff that is neat. I am tired and we sit on a fountain. All of a sudden there's someone speaking to us. I didn't realize it at first. They are doing a comedy routine at our expense, asking us if the drink is refreshing and be careful I don't spill it etc. I ignore; not at first realizing it's us they're talking to till others walk by and the voice starts making fun of a shirt or some hat or whatever. Turns out it's the "Mystic Fountain". You are supposed to make a wish.... We head into "The Eight Voyage of Sinbad" which turns out to be a stunt show with live actors dressed up as Sinbad, the princess, the evil queen and minions etc. It was cute and in the shade and a good place to relax as it takes a good amount of time so my feet can stop throbbing. After the show, we go to "Poseidon's Fury" which turns out to be another sort of stunt show. It's sort of the Terminator show in the other park; half screen and half live people. It left us basically unimpressed but it was just "ok" and nothing that spectacular. We had to stand through it so it did not make me too happy. After there, we leave to the last land and we know we are doing nothing there as it's the kids land. But we have to walk through it to get out and so I go there, snap photos and hit the gift shops to find something for the baby. We find nothing that we can't find elsewhere cheaper. It's "Seuss Landing". Here are photos of bother "The Lost Continent" and "Seuss Landing":
Left to Right: 1) Poseidon's Fury Sign/Entrance 2) Poseidon's Fury facade 3) Rocks near Poseidon's Fury 4) Poseidon's Fury facade
Left to Right: 1) Poseidon's Trident is HUGE 2) Poseidon's Fury rocks 3) Lost Continent Gargoyle sentry 4) Another view of the Gargoyle
Left to Right: 1) Lost Continent Crowd shot/street view 2) Fire Eater's Grill (restaurant) 3) Lost Continent Souvenir shop 4) Mystic Fountain
Left to Right: 1) "Eighth Voyage of Sinbad Stunt Show" entrance/sign 2) Boat with skeleton and treasure 3) Sinbad's sidekick swinging on a rope 3) Sinbad and the Princess interacting
Left to Right: 1) Witch on Fire 2) Witch on fire falling off cliff into water 3) Sinbad and sidekick (look at the sidekick's arm stretching into other barrel 4) Witch's Minion
Left to Right: 1) Stage 2) Evil Queen makes fire/sparks from her staff 3) Treasure 4) Another stage shot
Left to Right: 1) The Evil Queen
Left to Right: 1) Princess is hanging from the mast 2) Sinbad in the crow's nest 3) a skeleton
We skipped a lot here because as the name implies, it's really for the wee ones. We just rested, visited some gift shops and ate at the last restaurant Circus McGurcus and took photos before heading out to the last gift shop on the way out of the park and back to our hotel. Here are some photos of Seuss Landing:
Left to Right: 1) Police2) One Fish Two Fish Red Fish Blue Fish (Kid's Obstacle Course) 3) Mulberry Street Gift Sop 4) Merchandise in the gift shop
Left to Right: 1) More merchandise in the Mulberry Street Gift Shop 2) If I Ran the Zoo (interactive play area for kids) 3) The Grinch display in one of the shops 4) Green Eggs and Ham Restaurant (may be closing and wasn't open that day) limited menu of Burgers, chicken tenders but they have a "Green Eggs and Ham" sandwich which isn't on the menu but they do offer. BIZARRE.
Left to Right: 1) The Cat in the Hat (slow moving ride through the Cat in the hat story but a little spinning on your "couch") 2) Caro-Seuss-el a carousel ride 3) Seuss Landing arch 4) Seuss Landing Sign
Left to Right: 1) Bliss/Mulberry Street Sign 2) Circus Mc Gurcus
That's pretty much it. Went went back to the Hotel and Day three, we hit the "Holy Land Experience". See the link to my page for both the hotel and the "Holy Land Experience" below.
Sites other than Disney you might like to visit:
Orlando Airport NEW