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Conventional wisdom would dictate that with warnings of a hurricane as powerful and foreboding as Dorian, people would be boarding up the windows and preparing themselves to hole up in a safe and sheltered area. But there are some who are braving the storm and heading to Disney World and Universal Studios in Orlando, and for one pretty big reason: the wait times are obscenely low.
As there are already families from in and out of the area that had planned to visit either of those parks for the Labor Day weekend, Hurricane Dorian obviously has scrubbed the vacations of many others who have decided on a more cautious course of action. As such, this is leaving both Disney and Universal’s Florida parks with reduced lines for attractions throughout their various parks.
On the Universal front, the longest wait is obviously for the newly opened Hagrid’s Magical Creatures Motorbike Adventure, located in the Islands of Adventure park. But instead of the crazy 600 minute wait that the ride saw during its opening phases, the current timing sees only a 90 minute wait to get onto the exciting new attraction.
Though if that seems like a stretch, at one point there was only 5 minutes standing between potential riders and the Harry Potter and the Forbidden Forest adventure. Something that would bring Potter fans straight to Hogwarts, on this, the second day of 2019’s wizarding school year. That same amount of time will also get you on the Flight of the Hippogriff, but if you’re looking to travel cross-park, 10 minutes was the current wait time on the Hogwarts Express at the time of this writing.
Meanwhile, Disney has probably the craziest waiting times of all, as you can get away with only a 25-minute wait to get onto Space Mountain or 30-minute wait for Peter Pan's Flight at the time of this writing. (It was only 20 minutes when I started.) Toy Story Midway Mania had a 30-minute line time, which is a far cry from the previously reported 162-minute record, and is also super low, given Star Wars Galaxy's Edge just opened a few short days ago, and I'd expect Hollywood Studios to be the most crowded park as a whole right now.
If you think those are low, prepare for the next two figures we’re about to throw your way. Should you happen to be one of those families like the ones the Orlando Sentinel spoke to, and you’re making your way through the parks in the face of Hurricane Dorian, you’re probably going to want to head to Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge or Avatar’s Flight of Passage. Pandora awaits in Disney’s Animal Kingdom for all who seek it, and it's biggest ride Flight of Passage is at a current wait time of 75 minutes. Yes, this may seem long to the untrained eye, but just over an hour wait is not even near the longest this line can get up to -- particularly on a holiday.
This isn’t to say that everything at Walt Disney World or Universal Studios Orlando is up and running like clockwork. Several events and water parks on the Disney World campus have been cancelled and closed, per a report by Bloomberg. Hurricane Dorian will likely have an effect on more than wait times and some closings moving forward, and park and attraction closings for both Disney World parks and Universal Studios are subject to change, so be sure to keep a keen eye on conditions.
That being said, consider yourself extremely lucky if you’re able to jump on these rides with as little of a wait as possibly over the holiday weekend. Should you currently be at the parks, or have plans to do so during Hurricane Dorian’s projected path to landfall, please exercise caution and stay safe out there! Though don’t expect those times to hold for too long, as the parks grow more crowded through the day and many people are bound to get the same idea, so the queues will more than likely become longer and longer.
Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge is currently open at Walt Disney World, as is The Wizarding World of Harry Potter and its new Hagrid ride, currently at Universal’s Islands of Adventure.