Islands of Adventure trip report – July 2013 (Jurassic Park midway construction begins, summer crowds & more)
I recently visited Islands of Adventure (IOA) at Universal Orlando Resort, and I was curious about any visible changes I could find this trip.
[wptouch target=”non-mobile”]Quick note about the photos in this post: I accidentally left my good camera at home, so today’s images are sort of murky. That being said, remember you can click any image to view it full-screen. And don’t miss the complete photo gallery with 38 new full-screen images at the bottom of the post.
At Port of Entry, I browsed the marketplaces and stopped by Island Market store to check out their delicious items for sale. Later that afternoon on my way out of the park, I purchased some vanilla fudge to take home.
Speaking of the shops at Islands of Adventure, here’s a great moment Dan captured yesterday…
True, Spider-Man doesn’t usually make appearances inside the IOA shops, but we’ve seen him wander through a few times. Just one small way Universal keeps things exciting!
The quirky Seuss Landing is a great location for families. I noticed that Green Eggs and Ham quick-service restaurant was open for guests. The rousing Cat in the Hat ride and One Fish, Two Fish, Blue Fish ride both had posted wait times of 20 minutes for the standby lines. The fun High in the Sky Seuss Trolley Train Ride! minimum height restriction has changed from 36 inches to 40 inches since my last trip report. I observed several families in a short period of time measuring their children, then having to forgo the ride because the children did not meet the new height requirement.
Luckily this is the only Seuss Landing attraction requiring this high of a height restriction.
Crossing the bridge into Lost Continent, I passed Mythos restaurant and was reminded of the great food and service I experienced there during one of my previous visits. Poseidon’s Fury queue was enticing guests to tour the ancient temple ruins. The Mystic Fountain was entertaining park-goers as usual as other guests were heading to the Eighth Voyage of Sindbad Stunt Show.
Meanwhile, midway game barkers beckoned to guests to try their skills at various games to win coveted prizes. How much longer the midway games will be in this location is uncertain, since rumors indicate the games will be moving to Jurassic Park in the future — more on that in a moment.
Entering my favorite section of Islands of Adventure, I noticed the heavy crowds in the Wizarding World of Harry Potter. Based on the crowd level, I was surprised to see the wait times for the attractions were moderate. Dragon Challenge, a thrilling rollercoaster experience where guests can choose to ride the more intense Hungarian Horntail or the smoother and faster Chinese Fireball, only had a posted wait time of 10 minutes for the standby line.
A little further in, not many guests were taking advantage of the covered eating area behind the Three Broomsticks, but numerous guests were enjoying the entertaining musical performance of the Frog Choir. The awesome Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey attraction’s posted wait time was only 45 minutes, and the enjoyable Flight of the Hippogriff mild coaster was just 15 minutes.
Unfortunately I was not able to take any photos of the Hogsmeade Station construction from Dragon Challenge this visit, but Dan snapped a photo yesterday from another angle:
Entering Jurassic Park, I took my usual break at The Watering Hole shaded picnic area. I also noticed many guests getting out of the heat by exploring the Jurassic Park Discovery Center.
Beyond the Discover Center I saw visible signs of construction prep for the Jurassic Park midway games. Markings on the ground, in the extended outdoor queue of River Adventure, were consistent with rumors that work will began here soon.
If what we’ve been hearing is correct, the move will bring the midway games from their current home in Lost Continent — near the front entrance of the original Wizarding World of Harry Potter — to this new spot in Jurassic Park. Although Universal hasn’t confirmed it, this seems perfectly logical since the Lost Continent midway games will likely need to be demolished as part of the Harry Potter / Hogwarts Express expansion.
For readers who are really interested is figuring out exactly where the new Jurassic Park midway games will be located, see our map at the bottom of the post.
Universal aficionados will note that the resort did something similar at Universal Studios Florida when Amity closed, first moving the Amity midway games to a spot near the lagoon, then over to Fear Factor, and finally closing them when the front of The Simpsons Ride was retrofitted to hold midway games.
UPDATE: Sometime between my visit last weekend and Dan’s visit yesterday, Universal put up construction walls for the Jurassic Park midway. Here are three photos Dan grabbed:
Continuing with the trip report, Jurassic Park River Adventure had a posted wait time of 40 minutes for the standby line. Kids in the splash zone enjoyed getting soaked just as much as the riders plummeting to a big splash at the end of the ride.
Toon Lagoon was very crowded on this hot July afternoon. The very popular Ripsaw Falls attraction had a posted wait time of 90 minutes in the standby line. There were many guests on the bridge observing the thrilling drop of the ride and hoping to cool off from the splash of the boats speeding down the large hill.
Also in Toon Lagoon, Wimpy’s seasonal quick-service restaurant was open and serving burgers, chicken fingers and chili dogs. Popeye & Bluto’s Bilge-Rat Barges, a very fun and wet raft ride, had a posted wait time of only 10 minutes for the standby line. Betty Boop was meeting and greeting guests as usual outside her store.
Entering Marvel Super Hero Island, the crowds seemed to be more dispersed and Spider-Man’s posted wait time was 45 minutes for the standby line. It was fun to see Doctor Doom posing for photos with guests. Finally, the awesome Incredible Hulk roller coaster had a posted wait time of only 20 minutes.
It was a fun day at Islands of Adventure, even with the July heat and humidity. And despite a few high wait times, it is evident that we are on the tail end of the peak summer travel season.
Thanks for reading this trip report. Please leave your questions and comments below, and don’t forget to check out the map showing the Jurassic Park midway location.
When you’re done with this post, you can catch up on all our trip reports by right here.
Jurassic Park midway – map
Click any marker to display the attraction or venue name. To scroll or zoom, use the controls on the top-left of the map. You may also switch to different map views by using the buttons on the top-right of the map.
View OI’s map of Universal’s Islands of Adventure in a larger map
Islands of Adventure trip report – photo gallery
Click any image to view it full-screen. When the full-screen image is open, click to the right or use the right arrow on your keyboard to advance through the gallery.
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