Travel: Universal Orlando Resort {Day 2}

Due to our lack of planning on day one, we missed out riding the roller coaster we had come so far to ride – Hagrid’s Magical Creatures Motorbike Adventure. If you stay at a Universal Orlando Resort hotel, you get to enter one of the parks an hour early. We knew we had to take advantage of this and get to the park by 8 a.m.

Hogwarts Universal Orlando

For day two, we reversed what we had done on day one {start at Universal Studios Florida and ride the train to Islands of Adventure.} We grabbed Starbucks in the lobby of the hotel, I packed my purse with lots of snacks {in case of low blood sugar while waiting in line} and we hopped on the bus with at least half of the hotel guests, because everyone was doing the same thing.

Hogsmeade Universal Orlando

Hogsmeade

We did it! We got there early, and along with everyone else entering the park at that time, we made a bee line for the Hagrid ride.  We only had to wait about 20 minutes before we were on the motorbike screaming our brains out.

The ride was amazing and probably one of the best roller coasters I’ve ridden.  Each car seats two people – one rides a motorbike, and the other sits in the sidecar.  I rode on the motorbike side and I have to say, it felt super unsafe.  I loved the ride, but at the same time, felt like I could fall off at any moment, so I clung to the handlebars for dear life.

Universal Resort Orlando

We decided we wanted to ride it again and by using the app we were able to get on the virtual line about an hour and a half later. To kill time, we ended up back on The Flight of the Hippogriff {don’t ask, I wanted nothing to do with this lame ride…}

Travel Universal Orlando Resort Day 2Waiting for Flight of the Hippogriff

The wait said 40 minutes, but it was more like an hour, unlike the day before which said 40 minutes and was actually 20 minutes. We were learning the wait times were not accurate, going in one direction or the other. You either got on quicker than it said, or you waited longer than it said.  We also bought sweets at Honeydukes.

Honeydukes Universal Orlando

For the second time on Hagrid, I sat in the sidecar, and I enjoyed it so much more! However, this time we got stuck on the ride for about five minutes. At a point in the ride when we were supposed to shoot off going 50 miles per hour, we stopped and sat still. Then, we slowly moved forward. Then, we slowly moved back to where we initially stopped.

I always have a mild anxiety attack when this happens and so does my daughter. So, in an effort to keep her calm, I just made stuff up and told her the ride was resetting itself. Turns out, I was right! It was resetting itself and we were off in no time. After we rode it the second time, we checked the virtual line again and it was booked for the day.

Because Ella really wanted to ride Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey in Hogwart’s Castle, I told her I would ride it with her at the end of the day. Remember, this is a motion ride, which I cannot do, and we know several people who got very sick riding it. To the point that they were not able to ride anything else for the rest of the day. But, being the good mom that I am, I decided to suck it up.

Travel Universal Orlando Resort Day Two

Unfortunately, it was out of commission all morning and became operational when we left Hogsmeade to head over to Daigon Alley for lunch. We decided we would ride it after dinner, like we had done the night before with the Jurassic Park River Adventure.

Leaky Cauldron

We got in line while there wasn’t much of one as we had done at the Three Broomsticks the previous day. It was about 11:15 a.m. and we only waited about 10 minutes to be seated. While I waited, my sister did some shopping at Weasleys’ Wizard Wheezes, which was just across the way.

Daigon Alley Universal Orlando

My friend Adam works for Universal Studios and he happened to be at the park that day, so he met us for lunch and gave us the tea on all the roller coasters. He confirmed Hagrid’s was resetting itself and because the ride loads using a conveyor belt, sometimes it does stop if someone needs extra help getting on or off the ride.

He told us, as far as motion rides go, Gringotts isn’t as bad as Forbidden Journey. By that point, we were theme parked out and looking forward to going to the pool again, so we didn’t ride it.

The VelociCoaster is going to be the fastest roller coaster at Universal, clocking in at 70 miles per hour. He also said it has to be test run for so many hours before opening to the public, which is what they were doing we saw it the night before. Even though we said we didn’t want to return, we will probably return at some point to ride it after it opens this summer.

For lunch, we ordered split pea soup and salad, cottage pie, fish & chips, a regular Butterbeer, a frozen Butterbeer and a hot butterbeer.  We wanted to try them all, obviously. Ella enjoyed her soup, my cottage pie was okay, and the fish & chips were still good since they’re the same as the Three Broomsticks. The frozen Butterbeer wasn’t much different than the regular one, but the hot Butterbeer was delicious. It tasted like hot milk and butterscotch.

According to Adam, the hot Butterbeer is the most representative of what’s in the books. However, hot beverages in Florida don’t go over well in the summer, so it’s seasonal.  He was a wealth of information, but I can’t share all of it.

We watched the dragon before we left

Pool

We left the park around 1:30 p.m. and rode the bus back to the hotel so we could hit the pool.  We lucked out with the weather the weekend we went with temperatures in the high 80’s, low 90’s.  We drank Piña Coladas and soaked up the sun, which our bodies hadn’t been exposed to in about a year and a half.

Universal CityWalk

We went back to the Universal CityWalk for our final dinner at Bigfire. I had a Filet Mignon and Ella had Mac and Cheese. Their “thing” is that they cook all their steaks on an open flame with wood chips. This makes it taste like to was cooked on a camp fire. I thought it was good, but Ella didn’t love it and she wasn’t feeling the mac and cheese.

About half way through dinner, I realized it was a Sunday and the park was probably closing earlier than it had the night before. We looked on the app, and yes, it was closing at 8 p.m. that night.  It was about 7:20 p.m. and we weren’t done eating yet.  Unfortunately, our going back to the park and riding Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey didn’t happen.  We probably would have made it if we ran to get there, but we decided not to bother.

Instead, we rode the bus back to the hotel, got ice cream from the food court and watched the Golden Globes from bed in our pj’s.

Travel Universal Orlando ResortEight times out of ten, this was my seat on the bus

Departure

Our flight was an early afternoon flight, so we didn’t have to rush to get ready.  We took an Uber from the hotel to the airport and it was one of the craziest Uber rides ever.  The driver would not pull out of the hotel driveway until we had all buckled our seat belts.  Safety first.

Then, he drove like a grandpa through the side streets talking to us non-stop about his Lincoln MKX and how much he loved it. When we made it to the highway, he went full on fast and furious, speeding and weaving in and out of traffic. Thankfully, we made it to the airport safely.

We made it home safely and it was so nice to get out of town. Not everyone feels that travel is safe right now, and that’s okay. It’s a personal choice, because travel can be done safely – wearing masks, washing hands frequently, having temperature checks and social distancing.

No one got sick, and for us, the mental health benefits far outweigh anything else.

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