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The newest attraction at Universal Orlando Resort, Hagrid's Magical Creatures Motorbike Adventure, has been incredibly popular. Wait times have been absolutely insane, with some waiting as many as 10 hours to get a chance to ride the new roller coaster. However, with that popularity has come difficulties. The constant running of the ride has already caused breakdowns which, when combined with the Florida weather delays, has meant that wait times have been even longer than anticipated.
This morning Universal Orlando Resort announced that in order to keep the ride in peak working order, maintenance teams will need more time to work on the attraction, and so the ride will not be opening along with the park every morning, and instead will be opening some time around mid-day for the next couple weeks.
You can read the official statement below.
Clearly, for Universal Orlando to be taking this step, things are not going quite as expected for the new ride. While certainly one expects any new theme park attraction to be popular, Hagrid's Magical Motorbike Adventure has been dealing with an incredible demand which the park admits it wasn't anticipating. People are standing in lines that last for half a day.
Because the lines have been so long, the attraction has been running late into the night, after the rest of the park has closed, to work through the line. The only other alternative is to kick people out of line at the end of the night, and that would lead to a lot of unhappy guests. Because of the late nights, it seems that the routine maintenance that the ride needs isn't getting done at night as it should.
Assuming that the lack of overnight repairs are the reason that the roller coaster has been breaking down during the day, then this is probably the best possible solution to a situation that simply doesn't have a good solution. It's either open the ride late or deal with breakdowns.
Not every delay has been specifically due to the ride breaking down. Weather is also an issue. Hagrid's Magical Creatures Motorbike Adventure is an outdoor roller coaster, which means that when it rains, the ride has to be put on hold. Since this is Orlando, that certainly happens, and it's been something the roller coaster has been dealing with since it opened.
Still, this will certainly lead to some frustrated people. The vast majority of people visiting the Universal theme parks are going to be people on vacation who have a limited amount of time to spend in the parks. Many may have specifically scheduled their trip at this time of year in order to be sure to ride the new coaster. Now their chances of doing so will be greatly reduced.
Clearly, the decision to cut back on hours is something of an emergency decision. This is the last thing Universal Orlando Resort would be doing if there were any other choice. Safety is an issue and if proper maintenance can't be done on the ride, that becomes a potential problem.
It will be interesting to see how this new schedule works out. The ride has seen some delayed openings already. Based on the way it has been handled, the line for the ride likely will not open until the ride does, and who knows how many people would be willing to get in it if it did? One can imagine guests starting to mill around the ride around lunch time waiting for it to open, which could cause issues with people trying to walk through.
Talk of a virtual queue that would allow guests to hold a place in line without having to physically stand there has been has been going on, but it doesn't look like that will be used consistently.
Hopefully, the new roller coaster will be able to work through these issues. By all accounts the ride really is worth it, some are calling it the best roller coaster in Orlando.