Florida 03/22 – Hollywood Studios + Universal Studios Islands of Adventure

Day 9

With Florida for the most part now complete, it was time to revisit some of the most stand out, life changing, poll wrecking, World class attractions that we had experienced thus far, starting with Rise of the Resistance.

Disney’s Hollywood Studios

Because we didn’t want to pay over 50 dollars for parking today, we opted to take the sketchy hotel shuttle bus 1 last time.

We didn’t plan to or want to stay all that long at Hollywood Studios anyway, but the shuttle bus now gave us a deadline that had we to stick to, unless we wanted to miss Velocicoaster, pay lots of money or faff like we’ve never faffed before, it was a fun challenge to be fair.

Knowing what we were doing now, sort of, meant we took the sketchy shuttle bus to the Disney transport hub, walked to the nearest Disney resort hotel, jumped on their bus and in less than 10 minutes we were at the gates of Hollywood Studios. Putting the claims of 2 hours to get from the transport hub to Hollywood Studios by our sketchy bus driver totally to shame.

Tower of Terror

Because we missed Tower of Terror last time, this was where we needed to start today, and it was a good thing we got there not long after opening.

The ride was running with not all the lift shafts in operation meaning the queue was moving far slower than normal, and it was rapidly filling up behind us.

Eventually though, after much sitting down on the queueline walls to rest our ruined legs, and meeting Goofy, it was time to enter the Hollywood Tower Hotel itself.

This ride man, the atmosphere it creates is ridiculous, from the moment you step into the hotel until you leave, I can’t put it into words, it’s just something you have to experience.

I loved the dark ride section on route to the lift shaft that’s unique to the Orlando version, it’s a nice change from staying in the shaft the whole ride, plus it helps build the dread perfectly.

As for the drop section, I’m so glad to report that the Japanese one was tamed down, because Orlando’s ToT hits every bit as hard as I remember the French one hitting, and when these are running as they should they are just so much fun.

Rise of the Resistance

If anything, Rise of the Resistance was even more intense a second time around.

This might be difficult to explain…

The shock value was still there for certain, how could that ever wear off? But knowing roughly what I was about to get myself into as I entered the first preshow was such an exciting experience. Then being able to sit back a little more, and breathe the ride in a little more, instead of trying to take it all in the first time around, it felt a lot more rewarding.

It was a little sad that a key show element, which was in B mode last time we rode, was once again in B mode, but you can’t have everything I suppose.

Opinions remain from last time, absolutely stunning, simply incredible, one of the best dark rides ever created.

With what we came to do complete, we still had around 45 minutes before we needed to head to the bus park. “What’s the queue for Runaway Railway?”, “80 minutes”, “Star Tours is only 30 though”, “let’s do it”.

Star Tours

To almost 100 percent validate how great RotR and Smugglers Run are, I still don’t really like Star Tours.

This is going to be hard to explain, and annoy everyone…

Please remember I’m not a fan of Stars Wars, and to date have watched 1/3 of one of the movies, and it was one of the new ones, I did like it though.

I really like the serious, high stakes, modern feel of the new Star Wars rides. They are easy to understand and don’t require you to know much about Star Wars to enjoy them. Being a Star Wars fan just elevates the experience to new heights.

RotR you’ve followed the resistance to a cave network and get yourself in big trouble for daring to side with them.

Smugglers Run you are asked to pilot the Millennium Falcon, a ship everyone knows, to do some misdeeds for an eccentric character, and some money.

Then Star Tours just feels built 100 percent to cater to die hard fans.

We’ve flying to planets only fans will know, why are we as park goers even allowed to fly there? There’s tons of weird humour and inside jokes, the kind of stuff that puts me off watching the original Star Wars films.

Then the ride hardware, I mean I can’t complain too much, it opened before I was born, but it’s very primitive these day.

I’ll stop moaning before I annoy too many people. Hopefully in the future Disney can update it though because right now it feels like the Star Wars ride you ride if Smugglers Run has too big of a queue.

With that bonus ride we were done with the park and took a casual stroll to the bus park for our hotel shuttle bus, which of course was late…

After a quick bite to eat, which I recall as being a Subway, it was time to get back on the road, this time in the hire car, and launch to Islands of Adventure. Side note, even though American Subway is 15 times better than British Subway, how can it exist in a country where Firehouse and Quiznos do business?

Universal Studios Islands of Adventure

Powering from the parking lot to the entrance of Islands of Adventure once again felt like a real pilgrimage, and then, in almost no time at all (the crowds were much lighter at this time of day) we were on the edge of the Forbidden Forest ready for another lesson with Hagrid.

Hagrid’s Magical Creatures Motorbike Adventure

This time there was no locker faff, the queue was slightly shorter, and even better, the preshow was now working.

And thanks to Hagrid and Arthur Weasley being 2 of the most entertaining characters in the films, this preshow instantly became the best Harry Potter preshow at the Resort and was a nice cherry on top of what is already an incredible attraction.

As for the ride itself, much like RotR, a second lap, this time as the sun was going down, allowed me to really sit back and experience the coaster to its fullest, and it’s amazing.

We also got to experience a temporary block brake stoppage at the bottom of one of the drop tracks. As someone who’s almost as impressed with the techinical aspects of Hagrids as I am with the actual show experience, this was awesome to be part of.

It wasn’t so great for the couple a few rows in front though, who were convinced something terrible was going to happen. Maybe this experience will convert them into coaster nerds and they will do their research and learn how truly impressive Hagrid’s ride system is, but more likely they are probably scarred for life.

Opinions remain from last time, absolutely stunning, simply incredible, one of the best family coasters ever created.


Then it was time to go see the dinosaurs again.

A fellow UK based coaster fan happened to be having his Florida holiday at the same time as us, and we had seen from his social media that earlier in the day VelociCoaster had been struggling with technical issues. Sadly these issues were still present tonight, but all credit to Universal they always got the beast up and running again. These issues just meant we weren’t able to marathon the coaster as much as we would have liked, but I’d for certain say we got enough rides tonight to be content and to be sure of how we truly feel about it.

Not much had really changed from last time, but possibly getting more familiar with the layout hurt it slightly. Nothing to fear though, VelociCoaster is still amazing, still a World class coaster and the Mosasaurus roll is most certainly still one of the most ridiculous elements I’ve ever experienced.

That marked the end of our slightly more chilled out day of revisiting the best Disney and Universal have to offer. Thank you for reading, and click here for day 10 of my trip report where we give Busch Gardens and Iron Gwazi the same treatment, but not before visiting the rather frustrating Legoland Florida.

Florida 03/22 – SeaWorld Orlando + Fun Spot Kissimmee
Florida 04/22 – Legoland Florida + Busch Gardens Tampa

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