We were ready for rope drop.
Staying at a Universal Orlando Resort, we – and a few hundred of our friends – had early access to the theme parks, including Universal’s Islands of Adventure.
We had a lot of things on our agenda but only a handful of absolute musts.
Hagrid’s ride was at the top of the list.
Universal Studios Orlando opens its Wizarding World of Harry Potter attractions an hour early for its resort guests.
In Diagon Alley in Universal Studios, it means access to the Escape from Gringott’s ride, a lot of shopping and maybe some breakfast at the Leaky Cauldron.
But in Hogsmeade – in Universal’s Islands of Adventure – that means a mass of people hauling to get to the Hagrid’s Magical Creatures Motorbike Adventure queue.
Of course, there’s also a smattering of people doing other stuff like eating at the Three Broomsticks or checking out the Forbidden Journey ride.
We roped dropped Islands of Adventure twice. The first time, we headed straight to the Hagrid queue.
What is the name of the Harry Potter roller coaster?
It’s Hagrid’s Magical Creatures Motorbike Adventure. Hagrid’s for short. However, be forewarned, there is some subset of fans who DO NOT appreciate anyone abbreviating the name.
I can’t tell how big the subset is, but I have seen them in the wild.
What other Harry Potter rides are there?
There is a second Harry Potter coaster at Hogsmeade. The Flight of the Hippogriff isn’t a coaster for kids, but it is certainly kid-friendlier.
Most of the time if someone is asking about the Harry Potter coaster, they mean Hagrid’s.
How many Harry Potter rides are at Universal?
Universal has four Harry Potter rides in total. There are five if you include the Hogwarts Express. Most of them are on the Islands of Adventure side.
There’s Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey and the previously mentioned Flight of the Hippogriff and Hagrid’s Magical Creatures Motorbike Adventure on the Islands of Adventure side.
Harry Potter and the Escape from Gringotts is on the Universal Studios side. The Forbidden Journey and Escape from Gringotts are not traditional coasters and use a lot of 3D effects.
The Hogwarts Express is a magical adventure that transports riders between the two parks, if you have a park hopper pass.
The Dragon Challenge coaster has been permanently closed.
What is the Hagrid coaster about?
Hagrid’s is the newest addition and is a really cool dual-purpose ride. Take away all the theming and it puts you in mind of an old-fashioned wooden coaster with plenty of twists and thrills and a few improvements worthy of a modern thrill ride.
If you take away the coaster, which is a metal coaster to be clear, it’s also a pretty neat immersive ride exploring the lands outside of the Hogwarts School.
The roller coaster experience itself is a mile-long journey featuring seven separate launches, a backward portion and a 17-foot vertical free fall.
It was billed as the longest coaster in Florida when it opened but has since been surpassed.
You reach top speeds of 50 mph as you race through the grounds past the Forbidden Forest. In addition, you get a glimpse of the Wizarding World’s Rarest Magical Creatures including Cornish Pixies, a blast-ended skrewt and of course, Arthur Weasley.
Does the Hagrid Coaster go upside down?
No. It’s not a technical no like the Hollywood Rip Ride Rockit at Universal Studios which says it does not go upside yet twists into a vertical barrel role that is upside down in spirit if not by the literal definition.
On this coaster, you will go more than 65 feet into the air at a 70-degree angle as you skirt the edges of the dark forest and the area outside of Hogwarts Castle.
What is Hagrid’s ride vehicle?
It’s a familiar one to fans of the Harry Potter films.
It’s Hagrid’s motorbike and a sidecar, pictured below.
Will I recognize characters from the movies?
Well, in addition to the aforementioned fantastic beasts and Arthur Weasley, there’s an animated figure of Hagrid. There are also Hagrid’s loyal dog Fang and the three-headed canine known as Fluffy from the first Harry Potter movie.
There are also dozens of little Easter eggs hidden throughout the queue and the ride.
Are there size limitations on Hagrid’s?
You must be 48 inches tall to ride.
Like all thrill rides at Universal, there’s a warning that anyone with a waist larger than 40 inches might not be able to ride. In my opinion, the ride can handle people significantly larger than that.
There’s a test vehicle right at the proper queue entrance – not the one back in the Lost Continent – where you can test yourself.
In my opinion, the motorcycle part is more accommodating than the sidecar.
The rope drop for the Hagrid ride
Our rope drop experience for Hagrid’s was unlike any I’ve ever been a part of.
First of all, it’s a long way. The ride is in the very back of the park and it’s a hike to get back there. Secondly, the Wizarding World is the only part of the park that is open early. Therefore, there are no other big attractions to siphon off the crowd.
No one was racing to Velocicoaster. No one was racing to the Incredible Hulk Coaster. Everyone was trying to get to Hagrid’s, probably the most popular ride in all of Universal Studios Florida.
Are they Harry Potter fans? Fans of the Harry Potter movies? Or do they just want to ride the best ride in the park with the least wait time? It doesn’t matter.
When they drop the rope first thing in the morning, that’s where everyone was headed.
We started away from the main entrance at what is usually the season pass gate. The crowd was smaller, but there were fewer gate agents. Was it a time saver? Hard to say.
We hustled down the Port of Entry and over to the edge of Seuss landing. There, they checked our lanyards to make sure we were resort guests.
We hurried onto the Lost Continent where we met the Hagrid queue which twisted back into an old theater/amphitheater behind the Poseidon’s Fury attraction.
The little detour lengthened the queue substantially but we never stopped moving. It was a quick march down into the theatre, back up and around the Fury and finally, past the entrance to Hogwarts Express.
I think the announced wait time was 45 minutes at that point. However, I have no idea where they started counting it. Again, we didn’t stop moving until we reached the lockers just outside the ride entrance and had to stop and store our stuff.
What’s the wait time like for Hagrid’s Motorbike adventure?
I overheard team members telling those in the rope drop line a few days later – when it wasn’t moving as swiftly – that it was a 200-minute wait from the start of the queue back in the Lost Continent.
In other words, if you can’t hit the rope drop right at the start, you’re better off giving it a bit of a wait. Perhaps finding something else to pass the time.
Although, average wait times for this ride can easily be between 2-4 hours.
Have you been on the Hagrid ride? Was it worth the wait? Let us know in the comments.