Seth Kubersky, author of The Unofficial Guide to Universal Orlando, shares with us his review of Hagrid’s Magical Creatures Motorbike Adventure.
This new family-friendly thrill ride, which replaced the Dragon Challenge twin roller coasters, is also a coaster, but it’s a highly themed one without huge hills or upside-down loops. Instead, Hagrid’s Magical Creatures Motorbike Adventure focuses on thrilling launches through forested terrain during outdoor segments, as well as close encounters with animatronic creatures inside and between the ride’s indoor buildings.
After exploring the immersive queue, guests board 14-passenger trains inspired by Hagrid’s motorcycle and sidecar. Highlights of the adventure include a vertical tunnel that leads into a backwards helix, followed by a free-fall drop into darkness. Fantastic creatures and familiar figures from the Potter world make appearances during your experience, such as the flying Ford Anglia, Fluffy the three-headed dog, and old Hagrid himself (an impressively lifelike animatronic).
If you feel Universal’s attractions are too dependent on video screens and simulated movement, Hagrid is here to answer your prayers with richly detailed scenery, spectacular practical effects, and accelerated airtime that’s exhilarating but not too extreme for tweens and parents to enjoy together. While the coaster’s 50-mile-per-hour top speed might not sound terribly swift, it feels far faster when you’re navigating ground-hugging twists and turns through a grove of 1,200 real trees. Move over, Everest, and step aside, Seven Dwarfs: Hagrid’s has a near-flawless combination of theme and thrills, making it easily the best “story coaster” in Orlando—and a strong contender for the best ride at Universal Orlando.
Hagrid’s Magical Creatures Motorbike Adventure Touring Tips
If you want to ride Hagrid’s first thing, be at the park gates an hour or more before opening. Better yet, join the queue between noon and 1 p.m. (the wait usually drops during lunch) or after 5 p.m. Ideally, you want to ride after sunset for the best experience.
The sidecar sits lower but closer to the effects, so every rider gets a good view. A Virtual Line was supposed to be offered when the queue grows long, but has not been implemented; check Universal’s smartphone app for details.
Hagrid’s ride does not currently offer Universal Express access, but it may in the future. A single rider queue is available, but it skips the preshow (which features Musion holograms of Hagrid and Arthur Weasley) and doesn’t save much time.
Larger guests (with over 40″ waists) should test the sample seats before lining up and request the motorbike seat to enjoy a little more breathing room than is offered in the cramped sidecar.
Watch this video for a look at opening day of Hagrid’s Magical Creatures Motorbike Adventure, along with our author’s first reaction: