Title is a bit of a misnomer on this day, as we stayed at Disney’s Coronado hotel, but were visiting Universal Studios’ Islands of Adventure primarily to see the Harry Potter section of the Park.
A quick mention about transportation between Disney and other properties. When travelling from one Disney property to another there are free buses and shuttles, however, when travelling away from Disney you are required to have taxi service. As it turns out Yellow Cab, Checker, City, and Mears are all one and the same company. For a family of four the trip from Coronado to Universal cost $40 without tip, one way, using either van or taxi service. The service was very good, we didn’t have to wait, but it was roughly $100 to get there and back again.
Arriving at Universal we immediately set out for the Wizarding World of Harry Potter and decided to look at other things on the way back through. We didn’t have a strong interest in many of the other areas of the park and we only got the single park ticket.
Entering Hogsmeade and seeing Hogswart Castle it was clear they had done a very good job making it feel like the town. Since we arrived reasonably early and went straight there the lines were not too bad. My daughter wanted to go on the Dragon Challenge rollercoaster from the Tri-Wizard Cup. What we learned was that waiting for the rides provided more scenes from the movie.
Walking to the rollercoaster we saw Hagrid’s Hut and the Flying Car. Inside the building we saw the Goblet of Fire and Tri-Wizards Cup along with other props/scenes from the movies.
After the ride we walked through some of the stores and worked our way up to the Castle for the Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey ride. As you enter you are told that you must put all bags and purses into lockers (this applies to all three rides in this section of the park). The lockers were in tight quarters and for each section there is a terminal/monitor. You use your fingerprint to open an empty locker and later the same to retrieve your items. It is free to use for the duration of the ride and there is a fee for longer use.
Coming out of the lockers you blend back in line. The Castle offers lots to see related to the movie as you wait. There are scenes from the movie, the door to Snape’s potions class, the entrance to Dumbledoor’s office, his office, some teacher classrooms, spaces with frames like the movie that talked, and much more.
The ride itself was a combination of video, animatronics, and simulator on a track making for quite an experience.
When we left the ride and castle it seemed the crowds caught up to us and it had again become very congested with people. We checked out some more shops and then entered the Three Broomsticks for some Butterbeer. We found they had frozen Butterbeer and on a hot day it was the perfect drink.
After leaving that section we passed through the Lost Continent and spent some time in Seuss Landing. Seuss Landing was done extremely making you feel like you were in one of his books. There wasn’t much for older kids, but the whole family did go on the Seuss inspired carousel.
From there we made our way out stopping at some shops along the way and taking more than a few pictures.
The heat was up, sun out, crowds at what must have been capacity, and it seemed the storm was completely behind us.
As we exited the park there was a taxi stand and within a minute we were in one and on our way back to Coronado Springs.