Wizarding World of Harry Potter & Islands of Adventure trip report – July 2011 (includes over 150 images!)

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This morning I headed out to Universal Orlando bright and early to catch up on what’s new at Islands of Adventure.

Universal's Islands of Adventure trip report - July 2011.
Universal's Islands of Adventure trip report - July 2011.

I specifically went with the intention of not focusing too much on the Wizarding World of Harry Potter. Turns out, the area still demanded my attention, because today Universal rolled out their new electronic ticketing machines for WWoHP return time tickets. Below you see a large image of the machines (and there are more photos in the gallery at the bottom of the post).

Wizarding World of Harry Potter trip report - July 2011: New WWoHP electronic return ticket machines.
New WWoHP electronic return ticket machines.

These machines are located in front of The Eighth Voyage of Sindbad stadium. Follow this link to learn everything there is to know this topic: Wizarding World of Harry Potter reservation system, return tickets, and standby queue

Now that I’ve gotten the big news out of the way, I’ll take it back to the front of the park. Let me stop us right here for a moment and send out another friendly reminder to PLEASE PURCHASE YOUR TICKETS IN ADVANCE. With Universal’s recent price increase, every single one of these guests is paying a whopping $20 more per person for their multi-day admission ticket at the gate verses purchasing the tickets online or over the phone…

Universal's Islands of Adventure trip report - July 2011: Islands of Adventure ticket windows.
Islands of Adventure ticket windows.

I walked right through the turnstiles at 8:00am. It was busy, but nothing like the crowds coming in as I left around 9:30am (I’ll show you a picture of that in a moment).

Instead of proceeding directly to the Wizarding World, I decided to actually take the normal route through Seuss Landing. Everything seemed happy as usually. Just for fun, here’s a video I shot of One Fish Two Fish Red fish Blue Fish:

[youtube_video]9m1huuCM3Qs[/youtube_video]

I’ll let you in on a little secret: I actually shot that video a few month ago, but didn’t have a post to put it in until now! Please don’t tell anyone my secret.

Circling through Seuss Landing and into Lost Continent, the crowds started to pick up. And then once I was inside the Wizarding World of Harry Potter, that’s when I knew it was going to be a busy day. At approximately 8:20am there was already a 60 minute standby wait time for the wand experience at Ollivander’s and a 45 minute standby for Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey. I felt proud that those OI members who have downloaded the OI Wizarding World of Harry Potter Touring Plan already knew how to best navigate the area.

Wizarding World of Harry Potter trip report - July 2011: If I waited in that line for an hour, I'd probably want to record my achievement as well!
If I waited in that line for an hour, I'd probably want to record my achievement too!

After I was done touring the Wizarding World, I moved on to Jurassic Park, then Toon Lagoon, and finally Marvel Superhero Island. None of these areas was particularly busy this early in the morning, but there was still plenty of activity.

Universal's Islands of Adventure trip report - July 2011: Rippin' down Ripsaw Falls.
Rippin' down Ripsaw Falls.
Universal's Islands of Adventure trip report - July 2011: Incredible Hulk is still an incredible coaster.
Incredible Hulk is still an incredible coaster.

Alright, are you ready for this? Here’s a shot of the crowds pouring into Islands of Adventure as I was on my way out, around 9:30am (you really need to click the image and view it full-screen to appreciate it):

Universal's Islands of Adventure trip report - July 2011: Crowds heading to Islands of Adventure.
Crowds heading to Islands of Adventure.

And before I left Universal, I snapped a couple of shots of the Hollywood Drive-In Golf construction at Universal CityWalk:

Universal's Islands of Adventure trip report - July 2011: Hollywood Drive-In Golf construction.
Hollywood Drive-In Golf construction at CityWalk.

Below you will find the complete photo gallery. Remember, you can click any image to view it full-screen. To advance through the gallery, click to the right of the full-screen image. Enjoy!


Complete photo gallery

Taylor Strickland Taylor Strickland is the Owner & Editor at Orlando Informer, the internationally awarded independent resource for guests visiting Orlando. In this position, he leads the website's overall direction and day-to-day operations, working with a team of writers, editors, developers, and producers.

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15 Comments on "Wizarding World of Harry Potter & Islands of Adventure trip report – July 2011 (includes over 150 images!)"

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USFAddicts
Guest

Great update! Love the pictures!

ghoundz
Guest

Do you think this “return ticket” system will be in effect in mid-September on a weekday, or will crowds be low enough to come and go as they please? Sounds confusing even with your great documentation. You have a great site!

OrlandoInformer
Guest

It’s highly unlikely. September in general is a slow month for the Orlando theme parks, since all the kids are back in school.

Thanks for the positive feedback about OrlandoInformer.com 🙂

peteplay2
Guest
Hey! Just got back from 8 days at Royal Pacific. Used early park admission twice – 7/7 & 7/11. Saw same thing on both days that by 8:30am, already 60 min wait at Forbidden Jouney. Got worse when we left WWoHP – up to 120min about 11:00am on 7/11. As far as I could see, when we exited people were still walking in but employees were counting people entering & leaving. But what was unexpected was the day we got there, Tuesday 7/5. Flight got in early, room not ready, so headed to IOA at noon. We rode other rides… Read more »
OrlandoInformer
Guest
Hi peteplay2, Glad to hear you such a fun experience at Universal and the Wizarding World of Harry Potter. I was actually at their on 7/5, and I thought it was pretty crowded. But I was there first thing in the morning. Sounds like you got lucky that it cleared out a bit for you in the afternoon. And yeah, for the last hour or two WWoHP does almost always empty out. However, I always caution people who plan just on going in the late evening: You never know when Universal might have a special event there that’s closed to… Read more »
Lynn
Guest

I have a question about the new electronic ticketing system at WWofHP. Does the return ticket time still only allow you back into the area? I assume it is not a true “Fast Pass” that will tell you what time to return to the ride, correct?

I always enjoy your site, and it has great information! I am wating expectantly for your PBH post, as we will be staying there in August!

Thanks, Dan.

OrlandoInformer
Guest

I haven’t seen the system in action myself (I headed out of town the day they introduced it). However I’m 99.9 percent confident that the ticket still just gives guests a return time to enter WWoHP. I’ll have a full update as soon as possible.

And I should have all my Portofino stuff up by the end of next week. 🙂

Tony
Guest
A million thank yous for the WWoHP touring plan and tips! We used your tip for booking one of the cheap hotels to get the access and it was worth every penny. We went on the morning of 7/14. You guys were spot on with avoiding the locker line (no bags for us!). The tour only is highly recommended to really appreciate the Hogwarts’ details. We still waited 45 minutes for Olivander’s (with a butterbeer of course) and 50 minutes for FJ but we were able to get an early bite in the Three Broomsticks and saw the pep rally… Read more »
OrlandoInformer
Guest

Thank you so much for the positive feedback regarding the OI Touring Plan and other tips featured on OrlandoInformer.com. I’m not surprised to hear about LeakyCon driving up the wait times. So I’m happy you could go back on a different night and experience the area with minimal crowds.

Thanks again for the feedback!

DaanBos95
Guest

Does the waiting time at the forbidden journey also includes the locker-line?

OrlandoInformer
Guest

Good question. No, it does not. Any time waiting in the line outside the gates of Hogwarts is not counted in the posted wait time for the attraction.

DaanBos95
Guest

So the waiting does only count for the regular line? And not the single-rider?

OrlandoInformer
Guest

Correct. There is no posted wait time for the single rider line.

tomskibeat
Guest
I too visited Orlando in July, and ended up at IoA and WWoHP three times during our visit. A HUUGE shout out of thanks to OI for all of the helpful tips to make the most of WWoHP and Forbidden Journey, including the maps I had printed off for our arrival. We were through the main gate at 8.45, and it was wonderful to see my family’s faces after we had put our bags in the Dragon Challenge locker to walk right past the long queue outside the castle, right up the entrance and on FJ within 30 mins. We… Read more »
OrlandoInformer
Guest

I’m happy to hear that you had such a successful visit!

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