Thursday, 17 March 2011

Universal's Islands of Adventure

Firstly let me say right away that we were soooooo looking forward to Universal we could barely keep the smile from our faces.  You see, for those of you not in the know, Universal's Islands of Adventure houses the ultimate in park attractions for millions of people around the world, namely The Wizarding World of Harry Potter. Heaven!

As you can imagine, upon arriving at the park this was to be our first port of call.............or
so we thought!  We headed straight through the park, past the hoards of tourists queuing for Jurassic Park and Spiderman, with our sights firmly set upon Hogsmeade.  We rounded the corner to be told that the 'area' was at capacity and everyone wishing to visit had to get a return pass.  We'd heard about the great 'Harry Potter queues' but kind of thought that due to it being early in the day, midweek and the middle of February queueing would be in our favour.  Nevertheless, we hovered around the park and returned two hours later.  The 'world' itself is made up of the little village of Hogsmeade complete with many of the shops and sights from JK Rowlings imagination and Hogwarts castle. 

The Three Broomsticks, Ollivanders, Honeydukes and Zonko's were all present but were a little disappointing.  Choice of stock was limited and compared to Disney seemed very expensive.  The queue for Ollivanders alone was longer than that for any of the rides within the area, hence to say we didn't bother but all bought wands from the little stall outside Hogwarts.  Butterbeer however is delicious!  We bought 2 large tankards (which you get to keep afterwards) one was liquid and one was frozen - we had a great debate of which one was the nicest.  Without giving too much away Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey is a must.  The queueing area takes you through Hogwarts castle with many famous sights along the way.  Once through the queuing area we boarded 4 seater cars that took you on an amazing journey through Harry's world.  I'm embarassed to say I had my eyes closed for much of it especially due to inclusion of spiders!  You may be picking up a bit of a theme here that, yes, I'm basically a coward.

Now, other than the Harry Potter section of the park I have to say we were very disappointed on the whole with Islands of Adventure.  This may have a lot to do with the fact that, as I've said before, we're not big on 'rides' and this really is a 'rides' kind of park.  We did go in the Jurassic Park Discovery Centre and upon entering it all looked great, all decced out like in the movie but then after spending a bit of time in there it just seemed to be lacking.  We all agreed that it could have been made a whole lot better.

One things for sure though, we will never be returning to Circus McGurkus Cafe Stoopendus. The name Circus McGurkus Cafe Sick would be more appropriate!  The food here was just horrible - all precooked and left on warming plates, fries were like rubber and tables not cleaned.  In fact I had to clean our own table before we could sit down.  There just weren't enough staff to keep up with the sheer volume of customers.  The music was also ridiculously loud that you couldn't even hold a conversation.  Strangely enough, within 24 hours we'd all been a little ill!  We made our feelings quite clear to the market researchers who were keen to get our opinion outside the park.

So that's it, my post on Islands of Adventure is at an end and is probably half the length of the posts I've written on Disney.......................this should tell you something :)

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