The big day was finally here. Ever since I'd heard that they were going to build 'something to do with Harry Potter', I'd started to look forward to it. As soon as I had details I started planning. One of the reasons we stayed at the Hard Rock Hotel last night was that Hotel guests get into the Harry Potter area one hour earlier than normal park opening. That gives you a chance to get on the big ride – The Forbidden Journey, without having to queue for a couple of hours. The ride is supposed to be amazing so I had everything planned down to the smallest detail to make sure we got on it at least once, and possibly twice this morning.
Firstly, the stay at the hotel so we'd be onsite and would get that early entry.
An alarm call for 6am so we'd have time to pack the few bits we'd need for the morning, check out on the TV, leave my email address so the bill could be sent, and leave our luggage with Bell services.
Then get the launch down to City Walk and be at Islands of Adventure before 8am.
It all went perfectly and we were at the turnstiles about three people back at 7.25am. Yeah, I know. Just a tad early, but I was a bit keen. And I really wanted to get on Forbidden Journey. At 7.50 they let us in and we walked towards our goal. Fast. Poor Stephen was a bit out of breath by the time we got past Seuss Landing but I was relentless. Then Hogwart's Express came into sight. We almost sprinted past it. There weren't many people ahead of us so we were confident of getting on that ride soon. We walked up towards the castle and…
You know how sometimes you can do all the research? And plan for every detail? And still things go wrong. Things that are beyond your control.
Forbidden Journey was not operational. It was broken. And they had no idea when it would be running again. Honestly? For about a second there I was really hacked off but I took a deep breath and reminded myself that I was on holiday. They were letting people in for a 'Castle tour', which basically meant you could walk round the queue area to see what the inside looked like. That was cool, as they could have just turned everyone away so we went in for a look. It's pretty amazing in there. The talking portraits on the stairs, Dumbledore's study, one of the classrooms with Hermione, Harry and Ron doing a piece in there. It was just like walking into the book/film. It was a bit disapointing to exit the queue area instead of going onto the ride as the load area was just in sight but it was no use getting upset about it.
Instead we went and took some more photos while it wasn't so busy.
This is the entrance to Forbidden Journey, in the castle. This was taken at about 8.40 and you can see several people loitering in the hope that the ride will start before the hoardes arrive at 9am. We were loitering too.
We kept going back to check if Forbidden Journey was operational but by 9.05 the crowds had descended and it was getting really busy. We decided to give up and go and get some breakfast. We walked round via Spiderman as we thought it best to go on that before eating. That's a brilliant ride and a slight consolation for missing the one we really wanted to go on.
Then we went into the Boulangerie and had breakfast croissants, consisting of ham, egg and cheese on croissants, surprisingly enough. While we were sitting there, enjoying the sun and drinking our coffee, we amused ourselves by quickly counting how many people were coming in. It was almost 10am by now and the flood of people arriving had only just started to slow a little. We made it about 80 people per minute. Given that, we decided that it just wasn't worth going back to check on Forbidden Journey as either it'd have a 2 hour queue or it would still be broken. Either way, it'd be disappointing.
So, we went back to Universal Studios and did the following:
Jaws – as we managed to miss it yesterday and it's still good.
Twister – another one we missed, one of my favourite films and I do enjoy the attraction
Men in Black – Love it, and had to do it again
Terminator 2 3D – another of my favourite films and such a brilliant attraction. Had to go again.
ET – 'cause we're just big kids
We made good use of our room keys to go in the Express lines over the two days. We went on all our favourite rides at Universal Studios, some twice. So we missed going on one ride. It'll be there another day and if we don't get back this trip, there's always another year. It's not a big deal. The important thing is that we've had two fun days.
So then we walked back to the hotel, got our luggage and came home to The Beach Club. Our room was ready when we arrived at 2pm. I've done a couple of loads of laundry and the delicates are hanging on the line over the shower – which we get at the Beach Club. Everything is so familiar here, it really is like home. The guy who brought our luggage up said it all really. He asked how many times we'd stayed here and when we told him, he said we were repeat offenders. Love it!
While I unpacked, Stephen fetched some lunch from the resort shop. They have some lovely food there. Today I had a delicious veggie wrap followed by some chocolatey gateaux. Stephen had an Italian sandwich and a banana.
And that's me all caught up. I'm very weary now after that early start, and being out in that hot sun. The temps were not in the high eighties today. We made the low nineties. We're forecast 91 degrees tomorrow and then we're back into the 80s. It's a hard life…